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What Really Happened at Pentecost?

Posted in Holy Days/Holidays

We’ve all read about the tongues of fire, and people suddenly being able to communicate in languages they had never known how to speak before, on the (so-called) first Pentecost.  When the tongues of fire came down that first Feast of Weeks after the resurrection of the Messiah, it was actually the fulfillment of something that God’s people had been anticipating every year since they first received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, which is also believed to have happened on the Feast of Weeks many centuries before.

But most of us have only focused on what happened here on earth, and we forget some very interesting facts.

  1. Fact one: The sanctuary on earth was merely a pattern of the real sanctuary in heaven (Exodus 25:9 tells us it is after a pattern, and Hebrews 8:2 tells us of the true tabernacle built by God, not man).
  2. Fact two: The feast days and their meanings are an integral part of the sanctuary services, and must be considered together (Numbers 28:16-29:39).
  3. Fact three: The feast days are not about earthly events, but are about heavenly events (Acts 2:19). Something must have been happening in heaven that day that most of us have overlooked. Yet, when you read carefully, you will see that it is there for all who seek to find.

The Pentecost story is told in Acts 2:1-40. Here, we see that the disciples had been counting the fifty days, and assembling to keep the special annual Sabbath together. This one fact should be enough to show any modern day Christian that God’s holy days were not nailed to the cross, for had they been, the disciples would not have been gathered and the Holy Spirit would not have memorialized a day that was no longer valid. Although it happens to fall on a Sunday, it is one of the annual Sabbaths, and not some veiled indication that God’s weekly Sabbath had changed from the seventh to the first day of the week.

Pay careful attention to Peter’s explanation of what was happening, starting in verse 14. Verse 19 reminds us that these events show wonders in heaven, and the signs of those wonders here on earth, which I referred to above as “fact three”.

Verse 30 tells us that God would raise Christ to sit on his throne. We are also told that he is our High Priest in Hebrews 8:1 and elsewhere. This is where knowledge of what happened to kings before they ascended to the throne, or High Priests before they ascended to that office, is imperative to understand what was really happening on Pentecost. The offices of King, and the office of High Priest, are the two offices whose new members had to be anointed. Exodus 40:12-15 gives the instruction to anoint Aaron, the first High Priest, and his sons. Saul was anointed as the first king in 1 Samuel 9:16-17. You will see other stories of anointing kings and priests throughout the Old Testament. Anointing is performed with oil (1 Samuel 10:1).

Following the pattern that God had given mankind for their kings and priests, when God made Yeshua (Jesus) our Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), there was an anointing taking place in the heavenly sanctuary. On that Pentecost day so many years ago, Yeshua was receiving his anointing as our King and High Priest at the heavenly throne. The oil was poured down over his head, and it poured His Spirit down upon his people here on earth. 1 Samuel 16:13 is one verse that implies the link between oil and the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18 are other verses that link anointing with the Holy Spirit. Often, when you see oil referred to in Scripture, it is symbolic of God's Holy Spirit.

Yeshua is still our King and High Priest, and he still longs to pour His Holy Spirit out on his people today. While we shouldn’t expect to see tongues of fire, or to begin communicating with foreign-speaking bystanders in a language we don't know (although God is still capable of making that happen), you will know you have the Holy Spirit when you exhibit His fruit, as found in Galatians 5:22-23. My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13), and enable you to walk in holiness. May you be praying to have his Spirit poured upon you this Pentecost.

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The date of Pentecost varies from year to year. To see an article on how to calculate the timing of Pentecost each year, click here: http://nailedtocross.com/index.php/articles/calendar-studies/5-firstfruits-16th-day-or-first-day-of-the-week