By Mark Jenkins
Why has God called out only a small number of people now as part of His one true Church? Why have only they been given His Holy Spirit, which remains inaccessible to the rest of mankind? Is God playing favorites? Is this the only day of salvation? The day of Pentecost gives us the answers to all of these questions.
God’s firstfruits should have a special view of the day of Pentecost because this holy day pictures them. More than any other day, this holy day—a day of smoke, thunder and lightning—shows their place in God’s family plan. On this day God gave His law and His Holy Spirit. On this day God made it possible for you to be part of the bride of Christ—a firstfruit in His Family.
Let’s review the fantastic history of the day of Pentecost.
The Law and the Holy Spirit
The Bible tells us that God gave the Ten Commandments to ancient Israel with a dazzling display of thunder, smoke and lightning: “[T]here were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled” (Exodus 19:16).
Then God Himself descended and “mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (verse 18). What an awesome display of power! Imagine the profound effect this must have had on the children of Israel. Having just been freed from their captors in Egypt, they must have been deeply moved.
What sort of effect would this display have on your life?
In reality, those people never even made it out of the wilderness. That entire generation, except for two people, died in the wilderness, having broken God’s law again and again.
Only a few hundred years later, the entire nation of Israel was enslaved again, having totally rejected the commandments God gave it. The identity of l0 tribes was lost. The Israelites failed as a nation, having broken the law God gave them in such a fantastic display of power. In fact, that law that they failed so miserably to keep was given to the Israelites at their first Pentecost. If not for the fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering, we would fail just like they did!
In Acts 2, we read about the first Pentecost the disciples kept after Christ’s ascension to His Father. Like the delivery of the Ten Commandments, there was an awesome display of power: There was a rushing mighty wind, there were tongues of fire, and all that were gathered near heard the disciples speaking in theirown language (Acts 2:2-12). The Holy Spirit was sent to the disciples.
There is one verse that actually defines what the Holy Spirit is: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy [Spirit] shall come upon thee, and the power of the hightest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35; see also Acts 1:8). Here Luke calls the Holy Spirit “the power of the Highest:” There is no biblical reference to the Holy Spirit as a third member of the Godhead. Rather, with the Holy Spirit you have access to the very power of God!
This giving of the Spirit was not meant to replace God’s commands—far from it! The Holy Spirit enables us to keep the Ten Commandments, and not merely in the physical way that ancient Israel tried to do. Jesus Christ magnified these commands for us and then gave us the power—His power—to obey!
He said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).