The birthday of the church: Jesus in the Feast of Pentecost (part 2)

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On the Day of Pentecost, Jews from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem. They read, among other Scriptures, Ezek. 1:1-28 and 3:12; and Hab. 2:20 – 3:19. These passages speak of the brightness of God’s glory. Ezekiel heard wind and voices, and saw fire; later, he witnessed the departure of the Shekinah glory. There was expectation on this special day that the Shekinah glory would return and take its rightful place in the Temple’s Holy of Holies. But instead, as Luke records in Acts 2, there was wind, fire, and voices (the 120 speaking in tongues). Rather than returning to reside in the Temple, the Holy Spirit took up residence in the “temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16), the bodies of believers in Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

Everyone can see Jesus in the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot / Pentecost) by observing His promises about the coming Holy Spirit:

  1. His promise to depart and return to the Father (John 16:7). The coming of the Holy Spirit was contingent upon Jesus completing His work of redemption and returning to His Father. See also John 7:39; Acts 2:32-3.
  2. His promise to send the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is said to be a gift from the Father (John 14:16, 26) sent by the Son (John 14:26; 15:26: 16:7). Roy B. Zuck, in A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, comments: “Whatever else is meant by the difficult statement that the Spirit ‘goes out from the Father’ (John 15:26), it implies that the Spirit shares the same essential nature as the Father. In fact, John was indicating here the parallelism between the mission of the Son, sent from God (3:17, 34; 5:36-38; 6:29, 57; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 11:42; 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25; 20:21), and the mission of the Son’s replacement, the Holy Spirit, who would be ‘another Paraclete’ to the disciples and who would enable them to carry on Jesus’ mission after He returned to the Father.”
  3. His promise of the Spirit’s ministry to unbelievers (John 16:8-11). Without the Spirit’s work to convince unbelievers of the sin of unbelief, the righteousness of Christ, and the judgment that will fall upon them if they persist in their rejection of Jesus, no one could be saved.
  4. His promise of the Spirit’s ministry to believers, specifically:
    • To regenerate us, or make us spiritually alive (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5).
    • To indwell us, or take up permanent residence in our human spirits (John 14:17).
    • To baptize us, initiating our relationship to Him and establishing our connection with Christ and other believers (Acts 1:5; 1 Cor. 12:13).
    • To seal us, a guarantee that God will take us fully into His presence on day (Eph. 1:13-14).
    • To teach us, or give us divine assistance (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:12; 1 John 2:27).
    • To empower (fill) us for witnessing (Acts 1:8).
    • To empower (fill) us for service (Act. 6:5; Eph. 5:18). As Paul S. Karleen writes in The Handbook to Bible Study: With a Guide to the Scofield Study System, “Filling is the result of a consistent walk with God, and depends on a genuine and mature relationship with the Holy Spirit, Simply asking to be filled will not bring it.”
    • To equip us with spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Eph. 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11).

5.   His promise to identify His Body (the church) by the Spirit (John 14:16-18; Rom. 8:9-11).

Read more about Jesus in the Feasts of Israel