Day of Pentecost
Questions for study:
Why a gap of 10 days between Jesus’ Crucifixion and Ascension?
Why did God choose Pentecost for the arrival of the Holy Spirit?
Should Christians celebrate Pentecost? Why or why not?
What are MacArthur’s two perspectives of Pentecost?
What does the Apostle Paul mean by “sealed”?
This is the number of days between Jesus’ Crucifixion and Ascension (Acts 1.9). The Apostle Paul gives us the only details about Jesus’ activities, in 1 Corinthians 15.3-8. This passage is one of several in which Paul states or implies that Jesus dialogued with him, including Galatians 1.12, 2.2;Ephesians 3.3;1 Thessalonians 4.15; 2 Corinthians 12.1, 71. Of course, these dialogues began in Acts 9.1-19a, which Paul describes in greater detail in Acts 26.16-18. Perhaps, such dialogue with the Holy Spirit is what Paul means by “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17). Further, Apostle John (20.30) implies that there were more events.
In 1 Corinthians 15.3-8, Paul outlines a chronology of Jesus’ events that confirms His Resurrection (“according to the Scriptures”) and the instructions of the Holy Spirit regarding the Kingdom of God (Acts 1.1-3). Paul’s mention of Jesus’ meeting with James, His half-brother (Matthew 13.55) infers that James was chosen to be head of the emerging church, not Peter. Dr. Luke includes Paul’s confirmation of this in Acts 12.17, 15.18-21, and 21.18. (A related apology substantiating this would be the Apostles’ earlier argument about ‘who is the greatest among us’ [Luke 9.46-48]. Jesus would not have acceded to their immaturity, I believe, by appointing Peter above his associates.) Thus, Jesus was conducting Kingdom business during His 40 days—organizing them and gathering them for work, as we see in Acts 4.32.
Pentecost would not be for another ten days after Jesus’ ascension. I have not found any explanation for these ten days. So, I offer my thoughts that ten is the sum of seven and three. In Biblical numerology, Seven is the number for God, Who consecrated the Seventh Day of Creation as Holy (Genesis 2.1-3). Likewise, Three is the number for Completion, Perfection, Wholeness, and identifies the Trinity (google.com). King Solomon reminds us that “a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Ecclesiastes 4.12, NASB). BTW, the other combinations of numbers totaling ten have no Biblical significance.
40 Days + 10 Days = Pentecost
Paul emphasizes the significance of this Holy day as his explanation for not returning to encourage the Christians at Ephesus (which is most unusual) and for meeting with pastors and overseers at Miletus (Acts 18.21, 19.21,20.16). The coming of the Holy Spirit on this day had occurred about 20 years earlier. Perhaps, Paul’s regular conversations with Him created a desire to celebrate His ‘special day’, maybe like Jesus’ Virgin-birth day. Have we minimized an important event? Should Christians celebrate Pentecost? See Joel 2.28-32 and Acts 2.14-18.
Why did God choose Pentecost for the arrival of the Holy Spirit? Some rationale is gained from understanding that Pentecost (Greek for 50 days, after Passover/Jesus’ Crucifixion) was chosen by God “to commemorate the completion of the grain harvest” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary, google.com; Leviticus 23.15-17). It was the second of three important feasts when all Israelite males were to assemble with a gift in Jerusalem (Exodus 23.14-17, Deuteronomy 16.16). They were to bring an offering representing God’s blessings on their crops (Numbers 28.26, Exodus 34.22a). The offerings were termed “First Fruits”.
So, this Pentecost was the celebration of another “Harvest” of “First Fruits”. Jesus had begun His ministry with this idea in mind. Matthew 9.37 records Him saying, “‘The harvest truly is plentiful.’” His words concerned the lost and leaderless crowds before Him (verse 36; see Numbers 27:17, 1 Kings 22:17, Ezekiel 34:5, Zechariah 10:2). Jesus ended His ministry by paying the ultimate price for the ‘sheep’ (John 3.16, Hebrews 9.26-28, 1 Peter 1.19-21). As He said, “‘It is finished’” (John 19.30). “Those gathered into the church then were also the first-fruits of the full harvest of all believers to come after” (MacArthur Study Notes, Acts 2.1, OliveTree.com).
MacArthur, also, give us a different perspective of Pentecost: “The Holy Spirit came on this day as the first-fruits of the believer’s inheritance (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:11-14)” (ibid). Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as our “guarantee” of better things to come. Jesus had discussed this with the disciples in John 14.16-17, and in 26 (fulfilling John 1.9).
The Holy Spirit came to “seal” Jesus’ followers for eternity (Ephesians 1.13-14). Kings of old would place wax from a candle on their documents and stamp them with their rings for identification and authority. Thus, Jesus gave us authority over satan’s strongholds (Luke 10.17-19) as part of our “better things to come” and for fulfilling God’s command at Creation to “have dominion” (Genesis 1.26). MacArthur writes: “Four primary truths are signified by the seal: 1) security (cf. Daniel 6:17; Mathew 27:62–66); 2) authenticity (cf. 1 Kings 21:6–16); 3) ownership (cf. Jeremiah 32:10); and 4) authority (cf. Esther 8:8–12)” (ibid, Ephesians 1.13-14).
The Pentecost of Acts 2.1 was quite a day! We will consider the unusual events in our next study.
Day of Pentecost 190623
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.