It amazes me how the Day of Pentecost is overlooked by most churches… even among the Pentecostals! Unfortunately, the most popular Christian holidays are Christmas and Easter while Pentecost is mostly ignored. My goal is to present the case via scripture that Pentecost is the most important holiday of the church year. Let’s begin the journey to see if I succeed in supporting my hypothesis.
In the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve experienced the best that God had to offer. They only knew His goodness.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
21 And God created great whales and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
They were living in paradise and in perfect harmony with God. Then God tells them the only rule for living in His paradise.
And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
He said “You can freely eat of all of the fruit in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you take of this fruit and eat then on that day you shall die.” This was a simple straightforward commandment. Unfortunately, keeping this one commandment was not as easy as it seems.
In Genesis 3 the story unfolds revealing a new character in the plot.
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
Subtle means cunning. We are going to see why the serpent is more cunning than all other beasts.
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
The woman engages in a conversation with the serpent and answers his question. This is her first mistake. Then she proceeds to leave out a word (“freely eat” instead of “eat”), adds a new thought (“neither shall you touch it” which is never mentioned by God, and then changes a word (from “shall die” to “lest[perhaps] ye die”).
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Now the devil contradicts what God said with a blatant lie. God said “You shall surely die” and the devil said, “You shall not surely die”.
The tension has peaked with the option to choose between two clear opposing statements.
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Now the temptation is introduced. He tells them that they will be just like God after eating the fruit. They already knew good but they were unaware of evil. This was about to change.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
Adam and Eve considered the fruit and chose to believe what they saw and heard instead of obeying the commandment from God. This culminated in their loss of holy spirit which impacted their ability to communicate with God.
In John 16 verse Jesus Christ made a thought provoking and unfathomable statement to his disciples.
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
He expounds on this in verses 12 – 16 of this same chapter
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come . 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
His instruction was that it was more profitable for them that he leaves than to stay because the Spirit of truth would come and guide and show them the “all truth”.
They had spent years with the master, seen incredible miracles, and heard the purity of the Word of God. Now their life was going to be better with him gone. There was no way to understand this statement with human reasoning. And they did not understand or accept it.
After Jesus death, burial, and resurrection the disciples thought that the Jesus Experiment was over and returned to their previous lives. Peter, Thomas, and Nathaniel grab their nets and head for the boat.
John 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately, and that night they caught nothing.
Also, the disciples desired to distance themselves from their association with Jesus Christ due to their fear of the Jews.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The “fear of the Jews” was a severe concern for the Israelite’s. This phrase is mentioned only two other times and they are both in the book of John
John 7:13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him [Jesus] for fear of the Jews.
John 19:38a And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews,
The “fear of the Jews” is a reference to a deep respect and concern for the influence and power of the Jewish leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Lawyers). These leaders had the authority to isolate an Israelite from the Temple. This isolation extended to social and business matters.
Unfortunately, the Bible portrays these disciples who had spent three and a half years with Jesus Christ unchanged after his departure. They denied him, were in fear because of him, and wanted to return to their previous life as if they had never known him.
We celebrate Christ’s birth (Christmas) and his death/resurrection (Easter) but the result of these events left his disciples unchanged.
Christ’s Post-resurrection Ministry
Christ’s ministry continued after his resurrection for the next 50 days. Even though he taught his disciples on multiple occasions that he would rise again after three days they still did not believe him.
Matthew 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
(Additional verses: Mark 8:31, Mark 10:34, Luke 18:33, Luke 24:7)
It’s significant to consider his instructions during his resurrection appearances. His first instruction is in John 20
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
He wanted the brethren to know about his God and Father is their God and Father. The second occurrence is in the same chapter
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so, send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.
He commands Peace unto them and then they view his scars. He then breaths on them(reminiscent of Genesis 2:7 where God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul) signifying an imparting of life because they were going to receive spirit life.
The third occurrence is a few verses later
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
He returns 8 days later when Thomas was present but they are still behind closed doors. Jesus encourages Thomas by presenting the evidence of his scars so that Thomas will believe. Then he instructs them on the blessing of believing without seeing. Biblical believing is based solely on trust that the Word of God is true without any need of proof in the senses realm.
In John 21 is another post-resurrection appearance
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girded thyself, and walked where you would: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
After feeding the disciple Jesus has a conversation with Peter about his commitment to follow him. It would require him to love Jesus more that the world in order to pastor the sheep.
In Acts 1 on the day of Ascension(forty days after his resurrection) Jesus gives his final instructions to the disciples.
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
The former treatise is the book of Luke which contains all that Jesus began both to do and teach. The completion of Jesus doing and teaching was not completed during his earthly ministry. Continuing in Acts 1 Jesus continues his training of the disciples.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
He told them to not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit which will occur soon. In hindsight, we know that this occurred ten days later but the disciples did not know how long it would be.
Fortunately, these men were faithful for the next ten days because God’s plan is about to come to fruition. This plan which began after Adam fell in Genesis 2 was not mentioned in the scriptures because of the mystery. Let’s now take the plunge into Acts 2 to see the radical changes that occurred to the pillars of the Church.
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
There are a total of nine manifestations in the bible but seven of them (faith, miracles, gifts of healing, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and discerning of spirits) were in operation in the Old Testament. The two new manifestation introduced on the day of Pentecost are speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. (See 1 Corinthians 12: 8-10 for the list) Speaking in tongues is the sign that provoked discussion and interest on the day of Pentecost. The miracle on this day is that everybody could understand the language of at least one of the people speaking in tongues.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and was confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews, and proselytes, 11 Cretes, and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
The speaking in tongues resulted in: it being noised abroad, confounded, was understood in their own language, amazed, marveled, generated questions, caused doubt, and mocking. Then Peter delivers one of the sermons for the ages(without preparation or notes).
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
Peter highlights that this is a fulfillment of a scripture from Joel.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams : 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come : 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved . 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain :
Wow! This is the same Peter less than 2 months ago had denied Jesus, decided to go back fishing, and was hiding behind closed doors for fear of the Jews is now standing in the temple proclaiming “you(the Jewish leaders) have taken [Jesus], and by wicked hands have crucified and slain[him]”. This is a level of boldness not demonstrated by Peter spending personal time with Jesus. What changed? It’s the power of the Holy Spirit residing in him. The reason he was not changed previously is that he had Christ “with” him. Now he had Christ “in” him(Col 1:27). This was the culmination of the wisdom of God because if the devil had known then he would not have crucified Jesus
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
I think the devil reluctantly agreed that Jesus departing was more profitable than him staying.
Let’s continue on in Acts 2.
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved : 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
This is still referencing the speaking in tongues
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
He continues to irritate the Jews.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men, and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
One of the great revivals in the church occurred on the day of Pentecost.
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
We just saw a man that was radically changed on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 4 after Peter and John had healed a man that had been lame from birth, they were called before the Jewish leaders.
7 And when they[the Jewish leaders] had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole ; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified , whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved . 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled ; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it . 15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18 And they called them, and z 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
Doesn’t the boldness of these men thrill your heart? All fear has been removed and replaced with the power of God, the love of God, and the Word of God (2 Timothy 1:7).
After they were released they don’t seek safety but pray for more boldness.
29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
We will look at one final record in Acts 5. The apostles were arrested for healing people and teaching the word of God.
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. 17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. 21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning and taught.
The angel released them from prison and told them to go to the temple and preach the Word, which they did. They are apprehended again by the leadership.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. 26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
The book of Acts demonstrates the lasting change in Peter’s life after the day of Pentecost. This was God’s goal ever since Genesis 3 when Adam fell. Man was now complete again with the addition of spirit life to their body and soul life. What was lost in Genesis chapter 3 was restored on the day of Pentecost. We are blessed to be in the church age with the opportunity to believe even though we have not seen. In the next study, we will explore what Jesus meant when he said that the Spirit of truth will guide us into the “all truth”.