SUNDAY STUDY: Pentecost, June 4, 2017

Compiled from Jack and Samantha Kelley’s gracethrufaith.com

“Pentecost” is actually the Greek name for a festival known in the Old Testament as the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9). The Greek word means “fifty” and refers to the fifty days that have elapsed since the wave offering of Passover.

Jews now celebrate Pentecost as the day Moses received the Law on Mt. Sinai and the nation of Israel was born in the Sinai (Exodus 19-20).

Christians celebrate it as the day the Holy Spirit came upon the Disciples in Jerusalem and the Church was born, the beginning of the church age.

Until this time, the Lord’s people consisted of Israel, along with a few Gentile proselytes. Not all in Israel were believers, but it was through that nation exclusively that God worked through His covenant promises to form a people for Himself. But now the Lord formed the body of Christ, the church, made up of Jews and Gentiles on equal footing. Paul calls this inclusion of the Gentiles in the church a mystery, meaning that it had not been formerly revealed (Ephesians 3:4-7).

Acts 2 describes that day for us.  On Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were all gathered together in one place when a sound like the blowing of a violent wind filled the house where they were staying and what seemed like tongues of fire separated and came to rest on each of them.  They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as He enabled them. Just before He ascended into heaven Jesus told them to expect this (Acts 1:8) and now it was happening.  Since Pentecost was one of the feasts where attendance in Jerusalem was required, there were God-fearing Jews from many other countries in Jerusalem, swelling its normal population substantially. The sound of the wind had alerted those who were nearby and as they came closer to see what it was, each one of these pilgrims was amazed to hear the disciples, who were all Galilean, speaking in his own language.

Peter got their attention and explained what was going on.  It was the first public presentation of the gospel since the Lord’s death and resurrection, and when Peter had finished, 3,000 of those gathered around had accepted his message and were baptized, and the Lord continued adding to their number daily.

Our purpose as the Lord’s church is not to focus on ourselves and our own happiness. Our purpose is to spread the knowledge of God to all the nations

One day, soon now, all who are in Christ, having heard and believed the Word of Truth, the Gospel of our salvation (thereby receiving the seal of the promised Holy Spirit) will suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth along with all children and others who are intellectually incapable of making informed choices about their eternal destiny.  In one instant we will have been going about our daily routines here on Earth and in the next we’ll be standing in the presence of our Redeemer, our sins forgiven and forgotten, and all our imperfections gone.

Among us will be all the faithful dead of the Church Age, reunited with perfected bodies and restored to eternal physical life. Together we will begin the most incredible journey of exploration and realization ever dreamed of, and it will last forever.

As it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

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