Today starting last night is the Jewish holiday called Shavuot. It comes from the Feast of Weeks and is also called Pentecost in the New Testament. The Jews describe this as “The word Shavuot (or Shavuos) means “weeks.” It celebrates the completion of the seven-week Omer counting period between Passover and Shavuot.” (“Just as Passover is observed seven weeks from Shavuot, Christians observe the Pentecost seven weeks after Easter.”) “The Torah was given by God to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai on Shavuot more than 3,300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of God’s gift, and God “re-gives” the Torah. The giving of the Torah was a far-reaching spiritual event—one that touched the essence of the Jewish soul for all times. Our sages have compared it to a wedding between God and the Jewish people. Shavuot also means “oaths,” for on this day God swore eternal devotion to us, and we in turn pledged everlasting loyalty to Him.” “Shavuot combines two major religious observances. First is the grain harvest of the early summer. Second is the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt. The first determines the ritual for the holiday, which was one of the three pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel, when Israelite males were commanded to appear before God in Jerusalem, bringing offerings of the first fruits of their harvest. The second determines the significance of the holiday for Judaism, tying it in with the seminal event of Jewish religious memory, namely the entering into a covenant between God and Israel, exemplified by Israel’s assumption of Divine law.”
The Jews celebrate the creation of the world by the word of God. We could learn from them as 2020 is the year 5780 not billions. The word of God was given to them after the exodus from Egypt but sadly they stopped short of accepting the creative word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. They retain the celebration of the Passover in Egypt but neglect the salvation of the cross. Year after year they celebrate the giving of the Torah but at the same time year after year reject the Word becoming flesh. 2 Corinthians 3:14 “But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” “Today, after the reading of the Ten Commandments during Shavuot, Jews reaffirm their commitment to God, to the Torah, and to their faith, by repeating those same words: “All that the LORD says we will do.” Yet they will continue to reject their Savior and miss the freedom of the Spirit.
Each year during Shavuot, Exodus 19 and 20 are read. It is interesting how God presents Himself. Exodus 19:16 “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.” We then see the prophecy of Joel who said, Joel 2:28 “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” Then we see the day Jesus was crucified. Luke 23:44 “It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.” Mark 15:39 “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Pentecost is talked about as the birth of the church. If Pentecost birthed the church, then the church should look like the church that was birthed in power. One day I was reading Acts 2 and I had a mini revelation of my own unawareness. I just wasn’t putting enough emphasis on the language barrier that was present at that time and no they did not have Google Translate. It was kind of like when you look at the old black and white pictures of generations gone by and realize everything wasn’t as dismal as it looks in the pictures. The trees were just as green and the sky just as blue as today. Anyways while reading Peter’s sermon, I realized that I was reading this in English but forgot that those listening were not.
This day called Shavuot or Pentecost was absolutely amazing. Today the Jews are celebrating God giving them the Torah but Pentecost is a celebration of God giving us His Spirit. Earlier Moses had said Numbers 11:29 “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Then at Pentecost God did and as Peter said Acts 2:39 “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Pentecost was meant to be ongoing. Paul said 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” Ephesians 2:22 “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” We were now the temple that God would dwells in and He was now telling the world through Peter. Remember who Peter was before Pentecost.
Here’s how the world was reached. We read earlier “The first determines the ritual for the holiday, which was one of the three pilgrimage festivals of ancient Israel, when Israelite males were commanded to appear before God in Jerusalem, bringing offerings of the first fruits of their harvest.” “Since Shavuot occurs 50 days after the first day of Passover, it is sometimes known as Pentecost, which is a Greek word that means “fifty.” Jesus’ followers were in Jerusalem celebrating Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to them, and so, many churches today celebrate Pentecost as the birth of the church.” Yet many miss the power that took place on this day. This date of Shavuot today is actually the date the bible is referring to as Pentecost. So here is what was taking place at Pentecost that day. Acts 2:5 “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, (Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting), a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Obviously these were the ones who did not hear.
I know that the charismatics think the babble they speak is tongues but it is not, as what happened here is the true meaning of tongues. Sometimes it is very easy to read over passages and miss the magnitude of God’s word. The more you look into God’s word the deeper it gets. Here we have all these God-fearing Jews doing what they were supposed to do and make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. God has also told His disciples to wait and be clothed with power. At the same time the power was released to the disciples who waited, those from all over heard the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own language. Amazing! Acts 2:14 “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel (we read that passage earlier if you want to look back and no you are not looking for this prophecy in Joel to happen as it already has. There will be no blood moons as many lead you to believe): 17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” So what Joel prophesied has already taken place. So Peter is preaching and everyone is hearing in their own language and disciples are made who then return home and do the same.
Peter continues and said Acts 2:21 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” He then preaches the gospel to all the God-fearing Jews from every nation. 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this (in their own language), they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
Today is an amazing day as it is good to remember the words God has given us but there are more words to the story. The Jews are celebrating with an unfinished book. They have rejected the very word they celebrate hearing today at Mount Sinai. The disciples did what they were told and gathered together for Pentecost. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” Acts 1:2 “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty). Jesus had told them after He rose from the dead Luke 24:46 “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Pentecost is fifty days after Easter. How amazing are the plans of God. While those from the nations are gathering together, the disciples were told to also gather together and the gospel of the God’s kingdom exploded across the nations. Yes this event was a one-time event but Pentecost is not. It was meant to be ongoing. The calendar says like the Jews that we celebrate Pentecost, which for the Christian church is this Sunday May 31, 2020 but this is to be an ongoing filling of the Holy Spirit. Those same gifts that allowed the God-fearing Jews from all the nations to hear are still available because of the gifts of the Spirit. We see the power of Pentecost continue in Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
While the Jews will celebrate Shavuot today, the Christian church will have on their calendars Pentecost but like the Jews will also miss the power of the Holy Spirit, which also means that God is not dwelling as He said he would. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” The church will celebrate Easter and have no idea what the power of Pentecost is nor will there be proof of the power of Pentecost. As we talked about yesterday, false and terrible theology and doctrines have corrupted the church so God has turned His face from shining on us. This means there is no power but we have hope. Return to God and He will return to us and he will dwell by His Spirit in us once again. 2 Chronicles 7:12 “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” Luke 24:30 “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Mark 16:12 “Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” 2 Kings 6:17 “And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”