By Pastor John Mateos Ong and Pastora Monique Lopez Ong
There are three major feasts in Israel. The first is the Passover, which is celebrated at the same time as Holy Week when checked in the Jewish calendar. There are sub-events under the Passover which are the Feasts of the Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. Pentecost is the celebration of the 50th day after the Passover. Leviticus 23:16 says, “Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.” The Holy Spirit came exactly on the 50th day when you see that in the New Testament.The Feast of Weeks is also celebrated on the 7th month. The Feast of the Tabernacle, which is yet to come, has 3 sub-events under it: the Feast of Trumpets, the Atonement, which is the only day where the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies, and the Feast of Booths, which reminds the Israelites what God did when they were in the wilderness.
What is Pentecost? Pentecost marks the first coming of the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. But not all Christian churches teach about the Pentecost because they think that it was only a one time event and that the Holy Spirit has probably stopped woking in the body of Christ.
But no. And these are why.
V. 1 “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Even before the Pentecost, they were already celebrating the Shavuot, the 7 Sabbaths after the Passover, the time when Moses was given the 10 Commandments. Something divine happened that is revealed from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
V. 2-3 “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.” Imagine yourself in the Upper Room, and upon seeing all the people with their fires upon them, you wonder, “Do I have a fire too?” The first ever mirror was invented in 1835, so you know this was not a magic trick. When people say that you have a fire in your head, you needed to step in faith and believe that you truly had one. It has been said that there were about 120 people in the Upper Room, all locked down and hiding. All of them had the fire The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everybody, not just for the Apostles. The very first verse that we highlighted says that there was a sound like the wind. Pentecost was a time for church empowerment and God was doing something different for this small body of believers. Before celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Israelites were already celebrating Shavuot, the time the law was given to them. It was a divine appointment that the Holy Spirit would come at this time. These 2 events are parallel with each other. Both had a loud noise and a fire, as mentioned in Exodus 32, that is why the people did not want to go near Mt. Sinai. In Acts 2, there was fire on top of their heads. The clouds descended on the mountain when God wrote the law on stone. In Acts 2, God writes the law on the hearts of the people. And because of that, 3000 people got saved whereas in the Old Testament, 3000 people died. When God gave the law in the Old Testament, they could not keep it, so the Holy Spirit came to empower them to righteous living. You cannot do it without the Holy Spirit, that is why Pentecost is very important.
Acts 2:4 says “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak withother tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” When we speak about tongues, this is not really a favorite topic and may be subjected to judgement and a lot of discussion. But when you receive Jesus Christ, you are now a citizen of heaven, and heaven has a heavenly language.
Acts 2:5-6 says, “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.” During the time they were celebrating Shavuot, there were many tourists and visitors. God really chose this day to send the Holy Spirit and show His signs and wonders. People were speaking in languages that was different from the rest, but a lot of foreigners were hearing their own language. In verse 6, it said they were confused. But it was a different kind of confusion.
In the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, God came down to confuse people. In Acts 2, people got confused but in a different way. In Babel, the people came together to rebel. During Pentecost, the believers were in one accord in an act of submission. In Babel they were full of pride, wanting to build a tower to reach the heavens and God. The believers in Acts 2 were worshipping in one accord as a sign of humility. God gave the people of Babel different languages, while the believers during Pentecost were given a single pure language. The confusion in Babel divided the people but the confusion in Pentecost restored them because it is the blessed reversal of the cursed judgement during Babel.
Why celebrate Pentecost?
Pentecost marks the indwelling of the Holy Spirit into the early believers. It was the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon His followers, empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church. Also, Pentecost is what you can now call the birthday of the church because even before, when they were with Jesus, they were simply His followers. But when they got empowered by the Holy Spirit, the church was born. People were moving and having believers coming into the fold, thousands in a day. Spiritually, it is the Spirit that brings it into existence and lives it.
Can we claim it today?
In Acts 1:4, it says, “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;” What is the promise of the Father that Jesus was telling them to wait for? It was the Holy Spirit. Others might say that it was just for the Apostles so they could start the church. But Acts 2:39 states that “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” The promise is for you, your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord calls. That was 2000 years ago but you can still claim it today. We are all called. Acts 2:38 says “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
It is through the blood of Jesus that you receive salvation (repent). Baptism in water shows the cutting away of you sinful nature (be baptized). Baptism in the Holy Spirit gives you the gift. This was mentioned 3 times in Acts chapters 8, 10 and 19. This can help establish if you can really claim the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:14-17 says “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Is the baptism of water snd Spirit the same? They fall on the same day, as was the case of Jesus, But most of the time, they fall on separate occasions.
In Acts 10:44-48, Peter actually prays for a group of believers who have already heard the word and the Holy Spirit falls upon them. It says,“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? ” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”
Acts 19: 1-2 says, “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” Why would Paul ask this question if you would automatically receive the Holy Spirit when you get baptized in water? The believers have not even heard about the Holy Spirit! Verses 3-6 continues,... “And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Did you see what triggered the gifts of speaking in tongues and prophesy? It was when Paul laid hands on them and they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2, when they received the Holy Spirit, the date was 30 A.D. When you look at Acts 8, It happened 5 years after the Pentecost. It was 35 A.D. When Peter and John were asking the people in Samaria in Acts 10, this occurred 10 years later, in 40 A.D. In Acts 19, when Paul was sent to Ephesus, it was 21 years after the Pentecost. How can you then say that it is a one time event? This happened then and it is still happening today.
So did Jesus go through all of these things, repentance, being baptized in water and receiving of the Holy Spirit? Jesus was born sinless so He did mot need to repent for anything. He was baptized in water by John the Baptist and a dove descended on Him. In the Old Testament, the blood was the symbol of repentance. Back then, it was the blood that saved lives. Baptism is symbolized by water and the Holy Spirit is just that. Jesus is God, but when He was on earth He was also 100. % human and He had to set aside all of His powers. He ministered on the power of the Holy Spirit. Before He received the Holy Spirit, He did not do anything yet. For the first 30 years of Hs life, He lived an ordinary life. When you repent, you become a new peraon. When you get baptized in water, this symbolizes the old person being left in the water. The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives you power.
In the Old Testament, God designed the tabernacle also show the blood, water and spirit. The permiteroutside is called the outer court where people sacrifices offerings. The tent is called the inner court which had the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. There is only one way inside the tent and it shows that to enter heaven, there is only one way and that is through Jesus Christ. In the outer court is the altar where you kill the sacrifice. The laver is where you wash yourself with water to wash away the blood. That is baptiam. But before you can enter the Holy Placex you would have to be anointed in oil, which symbolizes baptism in the Holy Spirit.
A lot of people are weirded out by this, so to be safe, they simply get baptized by water and go direct to the Holy of Holies, not knowing that they will die if they do so without the Holy Spirit.
Do you know how the Festival of the Unleavened Bread is celebrated? The father bakes bread and hides it somewhere around the house. The only time he can take it out is after the Sabbath. He wakes the bread before the Lord as a symbol of the First Fruit. After the Sabbath, Jesus rose as as symbol for us that He is the first fruit of the harvest to come. 1 Corinthians 15:20 says “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” The Pentecost is the coming of the Holy Spirit and you are now living in the time of Pentecost.This is the time where you need the power of the Holy Spirit. The Feast of the Tabernacle has not yet been fulfilled; it is still to come. But it shows what is going to happen in the future. One day, we will all hear a trumpet sound. And it will signal the judgement that is about to come. But because of the atonement of jesus, we can get into the tabernacle of Christ for eternity and leave behind our earthly tents. This is representative of the Booths. Every time they celebrate the Festival of Shelters, they are reminded of what their houses looked like when they were in the wilderness.
If you have not experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, you can actually receive it right now. You can ask the Holy Spirit to come into your homes to be baptized by Him. The same way that Jesus baptized them with the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room. They were able to turn the world upside down. The church was never the same after that. What can you expect from 11 cowardly people who knew nothing about church planting but were fishermen and tax collectors? But with the power of the Holy Spirit, they were able to build a church.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit happens when the body is united. This is an Upper Room experience. God is going to come in, His outpouring of the Holy Spirit is going to be in a massive tsunami wave in homes all over the world. It can start right where you are.