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Pentecost, The Spiritual Bridge

Today is Pentecost. Many churches recognize Pentecost but very few observe it as a Holy Day. Fewer still understand the true meaning of Pentecost.

So, let's talk about Pentecost .... where it came from, why, and what it means to us today.

First, let's discuss the history of Pentecost

The subject of Pentecost, or Shavu'ot in Hebrew, actually begins with the weekly Sabbath before the waving of the omer or wave sheaf offering of barley on the first day of the week after Passover. Fifty days after that is Shavu'ot. Shavu'ot means weeks. As we shall see, Shavu'ot is the anniversary of the giving of the Torah or the law or the Pentateuch. These fifty days provide a bridge between the Holydays of Abib (or Nisan) and Shavu'ot, and are sometimes called the "counting of Omer."

Lev 23:15-16, 21 And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath [the weekly Sabbath - H7676], from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. {16} `Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD....... {21} On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no servile or strenuous work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.

There is sometimes confusion between the wave sheaf offering, or first of first fruits, referred to in Leviticus 23:10, and the new grain offering referred to in verse 16. Verse 10 refers to the first of the early harvest of barley. Verse 16 refers to the thanks offering of wheat.

(Exo 34:22 NKJV) "And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, . . . . . . .

Exodus 19:1-3 strongly implies and Judaism believes that the law including the ten commandments were given on Shavu'ot at Sinai. Let's read those verses:

Exo 19:1-3 (NKJV) In the third month [Sivan - the same month in which Pentecost falls] after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came <to> the Wilderness of Sinai. {2} For they had departed from Rephidim, had come <to> the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain. {3} And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:

Exodus 23:16 refers to Shavu'ot as the Feast of Harvest:

Exo 23:16 (KJV) And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: .....

These first fruits were the harvest of the barley and wheat which were sown just after last fall's Feast of Tabernacles. Between Shavu'ot and the fall harvest of the current year, the rest of the grain, the fruit harvest and all other crops will be harvested. The sacrifices for the Feast of Weeks are described in Numbers 28:

Num 28:26-31 (NKJV) Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your <Feast of> Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no servile work. {27} You shall present a burnt offering as a sweet aroma to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year, {28} with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths <of an ephah> for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram, {29} and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; {30} <also> one kid of the goats, to make atonement for you. {31} Be sure they are without blemish. You shall present <them> with their drink offerings, besides the regular burnt offering with its grain offering.

But it is the two wave loaves which make this sacrifice different:

Lev 23:17-20 (NKJV) You shall bring from your dwellings two wave <loaves> of two-tenths <of an ephah>. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. <They are> the firstfruits to the LORD. {18} And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be <as> a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD. {19} Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. {20} The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits <as> a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.

In the New Testament, the Feast of Weeks is called Pentecost or fiftieth. The word "day" is implied.

We read in Acts that the New Testament church was keeping Pentecost:

Acts 1:1-9 (NKJV) The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, {2} until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, {3} to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. {4} 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; {5} "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." {6} Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" {7} And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. [A lesson for those who set dates.] {8} "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." {9} Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
Acts 1:15 (NKJV) And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), .....
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

[The original Greek reads 'they were all together together' or they were all together with one accord (with one mind).There was complete agreement about when Pentecost was kept]

{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.

This is the Power that Christ promised to send to the elect in John 16:7. Let's read it.

John 16:7 (NKJV) "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him [i.e. It] to you.

In God's Master Plan, Pentecost pictures the giving of God's Holy Spirit. So, let's get the picture: The Law was given at Mt. Sinai. The Power to keep the law was given at the first New Testament Pentecost after Christ's crucifixion.

What does the term "speaking in tongues mean?" Jerusalem contained people from all over the known world. The predominate languages were Hebrew, Aramaic, Roman and Greek and many people knew one or more of these languages plus their native language. It appears to be in these languages that they were speaking.

2nd. Let's look at the significance of being "The First Born".

Christ is the first-fruit now, duplicating the wave sheaf offering. But where do the Saints come in? And what is the significance of being firstborn? Let's look at some scriptures to find out:

In Gen 4:3-6, remember that Cain and Abel had brought offerings to God. Cain offered fruit from the ground while Abel offered animals. When God accepted Abel's sacrifice but rejected Cain's, Cain was offended.

In Gen 4:7 God is talking to Cain after rejecting Cain's offering. He says:

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted [have the excellency]? But if you do not do what is right, sin [chataah - H2403] lies at the door; and subject to you is his [Abel's] desire, and you shall rule over him. [Because Cain was the first born.]

The word "sin" is translated from the Hebrew word "chataah" which often means sin offering rather than sin. See Ex 29:14 for an example. So the sentence would read "But if you do not do what is right, a sin offering would be expected, . . . and you would continue to rule over Abel."

In verse 7, God admonishes Cain. The gist of this rebuke to Cain was this: "Why are you angry, as if unjustly treated? If you do well (i.e. you have been innocent and sinless), your thank offering would have been accepted. But because you have not done well (i.e. you are a sinner), a sin offering is necessary. If you would have brought that, you would have been met with acceptance and retained the honors of your birthright. This implies that previous instructions had been given as to the mode of worship Abel offered through faith. Note what Paul said about it:

Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

The high distinction conferred by priority of birth is described in Gen 27:29, which we will read in a moment; but it was Cain's conviction, that this honor had been withdrawn from him, by the rejection of his sacrifice, and conferred on his younger brother - hence the secret flame of jealousy was kindled. The flame grew into hatred, then exploded into revenge. Do we ever experience the same emotions? If so, we need to repent of them.

Gen 27:29 reflects a part of the blessing Jacob received from his father Isaac and describes the importance of being the firstborn. Let's turn to it:

Gen 27:29 Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren, and let your mother's sons bow down to you: cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be he that blesses you.

You might also want to read Gen 25:23, where God went out of his way to point out that in this case the older son shall serve the younger because that was to be the exception to the rule.

But let's turn to Exo 4:22 to see another reference to the firstborn.

Then you shall say to Pharaoh, `This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son,

Why is Israel referred to as God's firstborn son? Because the Israelites became the first to receive God's written law.

However, David knew that it would be Christ, in Hebrew, ha Mashiach, the King of Kings, who would be the Father's firstborn.

Psa 89:27 I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.

Again, speaking of Christ:

Col 1:15-16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. {16} For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Again speaking of Christ and indirectly of the saints:

Heb 1:6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."

But the saints are more specifically identified in Chapter 12:

Heb 12:23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven [in the book of life]. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,

And finally:

Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

3rd. Now, let's elaborate on the New Testament Pentecost:

Again, Pentecost pictures the giving of God's Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the anniversary of the New Testament church. Anniversaries provide a good opportunity to review the past year. Have we grown this past year? Have we grown since receiving the Holy Spirit? We in the Church of God have been given a small 'talent' and it's up to us to see what we will do with it.

2 Cor 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the earnest [or down-payment] of the Spirit [a small part of what is to come in the future].

We have been given a small down-payment of God's Holy Spirit.

Now, let's consider the Parable of the Talents:

Mat 25:14-30 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. {15} To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. {16} The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. {17} So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. {18} But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. {19} "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. {20} The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.' {21} "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' {22} "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' {23} "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' {24} "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. [Taking what you have not earned. Like many today who blame others including God (fate) for their fruitlessness.] {25} So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.' {26} "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? {27} Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. {28} Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. {29} For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. {30} And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

How are we investing or building on the down-payment of the Holy Spirit which we were first given at baptism? How much has it increased? The only way to receive more of God's Holy Spirit is to wisely use what we have. If we just hide it from others and don't use it, what we have will be given to someone else and we will be caste aside.

The first part of this chapter also describes the use and strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

Let's turn to verse 1 of Matthew 25:

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. {2} Five of them were foolish and five were wise. {3} The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. {4} The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. {5} The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. {6} "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' {7} "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. {8} The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' {9} 'No ,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' {10} "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. {11} "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' {12} "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' {13} "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."

These scriptures also describe the process of a young Jewish couple's courtship and marriage. The parallel is fascinating and fits exactly with the scriptures we have just read. Let me describe it to you, and as I describe it, I'll compare it with these last scriptures:

The couple is chosen by the parents, not each other, though the couple's choices are certainly taken into consideration. [Similarly, God chooses His elect]. In the bride's presence, the prospective groom asks permission of the bride's father to marry his daughter. During the discussion of terms of the contract, the father and the groom agree on a dowry. The dowry is given to the bride's mother to support her should she become widowed. The groom then asks the bride to marry him by passing a glass of wine to her.

This is just another example of how wine is served at special occasions. Consider:

Gen 14:18 where Melchizedek, priest of Most High God, served wine [H3196] and

John 2:1-11 where Christ made wine from water for the wedding [G3631 or H3196]

The bride demonstrates her acceptance of his marriage contract proposal by drinking from the glass. If she refuses to drink of the wine, she is refusing his offer of marriage. Is there an analogy here with the drinking of wine at Passover? As we drink of the wine aren't we accepting Christ's sacrifice for us and demonstrating our willingness to be His bride?

After the bride accepts the groom (she almost always does, but it is her choice), the groom leaves to begin constructing a room for them at his father's house. The bride's family will prepare for the wedding. This typically takes a year or so. During this engagement period the bride wears a veil whenever she is in public to announce to other men that she is taken. [As a comparison, God's elect want no part with other religions.] The engagement period is considered almost as binding as marriage itself and requires a written statement of divorce to break; the only grounds being adultery. There is also an analogy here if one should then join a church which does not keep God's laws and Christ's examples, and which does not have faith in Christ's sacrifice - see Rev 14:12.

After the room is ready and approved by the groom's father (in Christ's case, God the Father), the groom and a group of his friends will come after his bride in the middle of the night, hence the need for oil in the lamps. When he takes her from her home, she removes her veil and places it on his shoulder with the words, "the government shall be on his shoulder." The bride and groom then enter the room which the groom built for them, and may remain there for several days. The best man will stand outside the room to provide food and drink and whatever they may require. The wedding feast, at which the bride and groom sit under a canopy, dressed like a king and queen, can last for a week. Part of the festivities includes the giving of the bed coverings to the bride's father, so that he can prove that the bride had been a virgin.

So, in these scriptures, we have a perfect picture of those in the church who have prepared for the return of Christ, the husband of the church, by keeping their lamps (their obedience to the commandments) lit and full of oil (God's Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit gives us the power to obey God's commandments just as the oil keeps the lamps lit. The light from those lamps compares with our example to the world of the proper way to live. As we can see, Christ's return compares perfectly with the traditional wedding ceremony.

Prov 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light, and the corrections of instruction are the way to life,

Notice that the bride is to be a virgin...not spotted with the world's religions. Notice that the bridegroom waited...How many times have you wondered why Christ has not come already? At times, He seems to be waiting -- Is He waiting for His Saints to get ready? Yes, but He is also preparing a place for His Saints, just as the bridegroom prepares a room for his bride. And our Father has planned the timing of Christ's coming, probably from the beginning of time. We just have to wait.

4th. A few minutes ago I asked how much we had grown.

Let's talk about growing and bearing fruit:

Col 1:9-13 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. {10} And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, {11} being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience with joyfulness; {12} giving thanks to the Father, who has made us suitable to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. {13} For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

What are some fruits of the Holy Spirit we should be demonstrating? Let's look at some scriptures discussing five of these fruits:

First fruit: God's people must do good to all people:

Gal 6:1-10 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. {2} Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. [It doesn't say to just shun them or disfellowship them, does it?] {3} If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. {4} Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, {5} for each one should carry his own load. {6} Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. {7} Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. {8} The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. {9} Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. {10} Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Second fruit: God's Spirit in us enables us to discern God's thoughts and ways:

1 Cor 2:11-16 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. {12} We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. {13} This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. {14} The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. {15} The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: {16} "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

Third fruit: God's Spirit guides us in Christian living:

Rom 8:7-9 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. {8} Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. {9} You, however, are controlled NOT by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Fourth fruit: Those with God's Spirit can see that there is a better priesthood and covenant under Christ:

Heb 8:4-6 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest (he was not a Levite), for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. {5} They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." {6} But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises [not laws, but forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life]. [A mediator is a go-between - between us and God the Father.]

Fifth fruit: God's elect (the royal priesthood) will inherit the former positions of the chief rabbis and priests:

Mat 21:33-44 "Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard [an area set aside for the producing of fruit]. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower.

Let me pause here to read from the Old Testament verse to which Christ refers. Please hold your place in Mat 21 and turn to Isa 5:

(Isa 5:1-7 NASB) Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. {2} And He dug it all around, removed its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it, And hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones. {3} "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge between Me and My vineyard. {4} "What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? {5} "So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. {6} "And I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it." {7} For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.

I have been told that there are something like 400 references to the book of Isaiah in the New Testament. Continuing with our reading of Mat 21:33:

Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers [ordinary spiritual guides of the people] and went away on a journey [for a long time]. {34} When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants [prophets and other messengers] to the tenants to collect his fruit. {35} "The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. {36} Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. {37} Last of all, he sent his son [i.e. Christ] to them. `They will respect my son,` he said. {38} "But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him and take his inheritance.' {39} So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. {40} "Therefore , when the owner of the vineyard comes [judgment time], what will he do to those tenants?" {41} "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time." {42} Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone [This refers to Acts 4:11 from Psa 118:22, and 1 Pet 2:4-6 from Rom 9:33]; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'. {43} "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit [God's elect]. {44} He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." [A condemnation of the chief priests and Pharisees.]

But living the good life can not be done without sacrifice, effort and sometimes pain. We must remain obedient and faithful to Christ's way of life. The Kingdom will be the inheritance of those who produce spiritual fruit, not those who just happen to be in the right church or are righteous in their own eyes.

John 15:1-10 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. {2} He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. {3} You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. {4} Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. {5} "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. {6} If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. {7} If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. {8} This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. {9} "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. {10} If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.

Before I close, I want to read two more scriptures to you to tie this all together:

Heb 12:18-24 (NKJV) For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, {19} and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard <it> begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. {20} (For they could not endure what was commanded: "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow." {21} And so terrifying was the sight <that> Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.") {22} But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, {23} to the general assembly and church of the firstborn <who are> registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, {24} to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than <that of> Abel.
2 Cor 3:3 (NKJV) clearly <you are> an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, <that is>, of the heart.

If Jewish tradition connected the "Feast of firstfruits" with the "Mount that might be touched", and the "voice of words which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more," we have in this respect also "come unto Mount Zion," and to the better things described as the New Covenant. To us the Day of Pentecost is, indeed, the "feast of firstfruits", and that of the giving of the better law, "written not in tables of stone, but on the fleshy tables of the heart," "with the Spirit of the living God." For, as worshipers were in the Temple, probably just as they were offering the wave-lambs and the wave-bread, the multitude heard that "sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind," which drew them to the house where the apostles were gathered, there to hear "every man in his own language;" the wonderful works of God; And on that Pentecost day, from the harvest of firstfruits, not less than three thousand souls added to the Church were presented as a wave-offering to the Lord. The cloven tongues of fire and the apostolic gifts of that day of firstfruits have, indeed, long since disappeared. But the mighty rushing sound of the Presence and Power of God's Holy Spirit has gone forth into all the world to the Church of God.

Brethren, all this was accomplished for our benefit. Use this Power of God's Holy Spirit that your lamp will shine brightly for God and all the world to see. A lamp is seen. It is not heard. We, like a lamp, can be a witness to others by what they see us do, not by what others hear us say.

(Mat 5:14-16 NKJV) "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. {16} "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Sermon by Wayne Bedwell
Pentecost, May 19, 2013
Copyright, 2013, Wayne Bedwell

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