Bible Study Tools / The Holy Spirit

The Feast of Pentecost

by Michael Erickson

To reveal His plan for mankind, God chose annual Sabbaths (Holy Days) based on the harvest seasons in Palestine (Exodus 23:14-17). The Feast of Pentecost pictures the spring harvest.

Jewish tradition connects the Feast of Pentecost with the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. Then the nation of Israel was committed to keeping God’s Laws, but as we know, they failed. God lamented their failure in Deuteronomy 5:29, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all my commandments that it might be well with them and with their children forever.”

What was missing was the power to transform their physical nature to a divine nature. Or, the power to transform their lives to a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), which Christ prophesied while he was on earth would be given to His people (John 15:26-27; 16:12-14).

This power came in a dramatic way on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 to those who were gathered together in one accord (Acts 2:1-4). Such was the power and transformation that took place, that they were viewed as turning “the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Upon repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands by one of His servants, that power is granted to true Christians (Acts 2:37-38) and begins the transformation. One enters a symbolic watery grave and rises to newness of life (Romans 6:1-6; Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5) as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Once purchased with our Savior’s precious blood (Acts 20:28), firstfuits are expected to be undefiled by the world and to be blameless and without fault” (Revelation 14:4-5).

Most of us know these things. Yet, our Creator saw fit for us to annually observe the feasts to be reminded, refreshed and encouraged. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy to “stir up the gift of God which is in you” referring to His spirit, “a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1: 6-7).

The expectation is for firstfruits to “be Holy as He is Holy” (1 Peter 1:15), “to go on to perfection” (Hebrews 6:1-3). This power “of love and a sound mind” is what makes it possible to do what the Israelites could not do.

Love defines our Creator (1 John 4:7-9) and must ultimately define us. “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us (I John 4:12).

Why must love ultimately define us? It may seem simplistic considering the entirety of what we are to be or become. If God is love and God is a family, then all in the family must be defined by love. Comparing one’s life to the Scriptures on “agape” love (1 Corinthians 13; John 3:16) is vital as a part of self-examination.

Let us all “consider how to provoke one another unto love and good works” (Hebrews 10:23-25) including “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together even more as we see the Day approaching.” We do this not by setting our mind on “high things” (Romans 12:15-17) or thinking too “highly of ourselves” (Romans 12:3) “but soberly,” while thinking on godly things.

Let us meditate on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

As the Apostle Paul encouraged young Timothy, let us all “stir up the spirit” and strive to truly “provoke one another unto love and good works.”

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