PENTECOST – WHERE IS THE POWER?

 

Now that we are in the very season of Pentecost, we were requested to republish our article “PENTECOST – WHERE IS THE POWER?” The truths addressed in this teaching are especially pertinent now with all the buzz regarding revival in the air (many of you have no doubt heard by now of the “healing explosion” in Lakeland, FL, and its many tributaries across the world). We rejoice with all those touched by God’s power and grace as a result of this movement.

 

While we embrace God’s promises of revival and have personally experienced God’s power in various ways and at different times, we must never lose sight of the centrality of Jesus and the supremacy of His Word. The saints must realize that the power gifts cannot fix character flaws nor replace the need to be made whole and mature as a new creation. These marvels take place only as Christ is formed in us, and as we abide in Him!

 

Secondly, it is imperative that God’s people understand that the Lord pours out His Spirit publicly in large waves of power only at strategic times and for the purpose of arming and strengthening His people to withstand approaching battles. Historically, every major outpouring of God’s Spirit served to counteract waves of darkness encroaching upon the earth. Just as the first outpouring in Jerusalem (Acts 2) prepared the early Church to face the intense persecution and dispersion that was soon coming upon them, every future outpouring likewise fortified the Church and enabled her to withstand and overcome hell’s fury.

 

The Azusa outpouring preceded the dark clouds of communism spreading across four continents. The healing revivals of the 1940’s and 1950’s fired up the Church as Nazism swept 52 million souls into death during WWII, leaving  Europe and the Jewish nation scarred for life. The Charismatic movement outpouring of the 1960’s and 1970’s re-energized the saints of God as Islam began flexing its muscles around the globe, and we believe that the present outpouring of the Holy Spirit is meant to help the Church counteract the spirit of humanism and carnality that is swallowing up the West.

 

The two greatest global outpourings promised us in the pages of scripture, Joel 2:28-32 and Isaiah 60:1-3, are both framed in the context of great darkness and upheaval. Both are emphatically for the purpose of separating God’s children from the children of this world as it plummets into chaos and the final night. So, let us rejoice in the demonstration of God’s goodness, mercy and power as He extends His hand to touch multitudes today. Let us do so, however, fixing our eyes on Jesus, abiding in His Word, and taking our stand against the dark powers of our times. We must overcome today’s battles if we are to claim our heavenly rewards, and this outpouring, as every other true outpouring, was sent to empower us.

 

OUR PENTECOST

 

Pentecost is for you! Passover is our past, speaking of our personal exodus out of slavery and oppression by the blood of the Lamb. Tabernacles is our future, speaking of the grand finale of the age, the harvest, the epic victory of God and the coming of His awesome Kingdom. Pentecost, the summer feast, is where the church of God is living today; the season of the progressive and relentless moves of the Spirit.

 

The sun was hot and bright over the eastern slopes of the Mt. of Olives when the Spirit came. Fifty some days had already passed since that unforgettable Passover when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by Roman hands, rejected by His own, while myriads of lambs were being slain in the Temple courts. By now, spring had turned into summer in Judea and the small band of disciples was timidly huddled in an upper room. It was time for Pentecost.

 

“And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” Acts 2: 1-4.

 

As the Church and the nation of Israel pass through the season Pentecost, it is important that we open our hearts to comprehend all that the Spirit of God is offering us. What actually happened at Pentecost? What is the Spirit saying to the church through this fourth biblical feast? On that historic Feast of SHAVUOT (Pentecost), the resurrected Jesus poured out His Spirit from heaven upon the small band of disciples waiting in the upper room in Jerusalem. In that very moment, the tragic separation between heaven and earth melted away, the impassable chasm was bridged, and the promise of the Father was realized. But, where and when did the saga begin?

 

PENTECOST - A SECOND GENESIS

 

The historic Pentecost in Jerusalem was, in a way, a “redemptive repeat” of the original genesis when God breathed His life giving Spirit into the nostrils of Adam. At Pentecost, God was again breathing His RUACH, the Eternal Spirit, into the nostrils of mankind. Why now? Because now the blood of Jesus was shed at Passover, atoning for our sins, and our heavenly Father was able to draw near once again and send His Spirit into our hearts.

 

Following thousands of years of tragic separation between a Holy God and fallen man, heaven kissed earth in blessed reconciliation. In fact, just as Pentecost is a natural progression following Passover in God’s calendar, so the infilling of the Spirit is likewise the natural progression following our salvation.

 

Passover inevitably leads to Pentecost. Passover without Pentecost is unthinkable since it was the very outpouring of the Father’s Spirit Jesus secured through His sacrifice! At Passover, we were freed from the curse of sin and death. At Pentecost, we become members of God’s family and partakers of His divine nature. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13.

 

THE FIRST PENTECOST

 

Redeemed out of Egypt, young Israel arrived at the foot of Mt Sinai during the season of Pentecost. The Hebrew nation was preparing to receive God’s Law which was to equip them for their calling to become a global priesthood. But God’s voice, sadly, was too much to bear. ”And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.’” Ex. 20:18-19.

 

Many today, unwilling or unable to hear and receive God’s voice, still choose to hear man instead. Our churches are filled with spectators, not unlike the sports arenas of the world. Some perform, others are entertained, but how many hear and obey the voice of God?

 

Moses, descending from the mountaintop with the tablets written by God’s finger in his hands, found Israel worshiping the golden calf. Moved with wrath, “Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him.  And he said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, every man of you put his SWORD upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’ So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about THREE THOUSAND men of the people fell that day.” (Ex. 32)

 

The name of that wilderness mountain is Mt. Horev in the original text. The Hebrew root of that word is HE-REV, meaning SWORD, and the mountain is known as the mountain of the sword. As the bloody drama unfolded on that terrible day, a sword passed through Israel as the Levites swept throughout the camp executing the Lord’s judgments. On that first Pentecost, the day of the receiving of the Law, 3,000 souls perished by the ministry of that Law!

 

THE SECOND PENTECOST

 

1,500 years later, once again at the exact Day of Pentecost, 3,000 other souls were touched by heaven, but under a very different dispensation as they were called out of the Jerusalem mob and received eternal life. Responding to Peter’s intense and short message, “those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about THREE THOUSAND souls. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2.

 

The same God who judged 3,000 at the giving of the Law now revived 3,000 by the giving of the Spirit. At that second Pentecost, 3,000 souls were translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light by the ministry of the Spirit, just as the apostle said, “… the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2-Cor. 3:6.

 

God’s two-edged SWORD serves both life and death. The sword of the Spirit is the Word, and in order to return to God and live, we must first die. That HEREV is His word of truth that convicts us of our sin and rebellion, and the same word that kills us also revives us by the power of His Spirit. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Heb. 4:12.

 

At the first Pentecost, God gave His people the Law at Mt. Horev. Now, nearly 1,500 years later, God gave them His Spirit at Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. Both visitations were accompanied with the sound of a mighty wind and fire. On Mt. Horev, God wrote His Law upon tablets of stone; on Mt. Zion, He wrote it upon the hearts of those who believe.

 

THE LONG WAIT

 

For thousands of years heaven longed for this moment in time; for the great reconciliation of fallen man to the Holy God. Painful millennia of separation and alienation swept millions in its relentless torrent, while the Father’s hands remained open and His heart longing. But all along, plans had been made in heaven; intricate preparations carried out with great anticipation for this one special Pentecost in Jerusalem.

 

On that special Pentecost, fifty some days after the cross, after the blood was shed and the price was paid, the gates of heaven opened wide and the Father’s breath of life poured down upon His children. As Peter testified in Acts 2, “This Jesus… having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”  

 

“And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered… and marveled … and they all continued in amazement and great perplexity… But others were mocking and saying, ‘They are full of sweet wine.’” Heaven was at hand, yet most of those present for the occasion had no clue.

 

God’s holy fire filled those who waited in faith and obedience in the upper room, and they carried it to the streets. Those who had been afraid, timid, doubtful and self-condemned were now transformed and their message shook the city. Still, among their audience some were troubled, others amazed, confused, mocking and saying “they are full of sweet wine” to explain away the phenomenon. The choice is always ours to make. Are we in the camp of the prepared and obedient, or are we walking among the scoffers?

 

FEAST OF REPENTANCE

 

Peter, in less than three minutes of anointed speech, drove the message home and declared the whole counsel of God to his audience. He served them the hard truth of their desperate condition, God’s gracious provision and the only hope of redemption. “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” As simple as this question is, as humbling as it sounds to a self-centered and self-reliant soul, this is the only proper response of a heart freshly convicted by the truth.

 

“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself…’” True repentance, Peter said, has generational, long-term consequences that will produce a harvest far and wide.

 

Pentecost is not about tongues or prophecy alone. It’s not about the gifts of the Spirit or the last days in which we live. Pentecost is primarily about repentance and receiving the Father’s Spirit in order to initiate the miracle of personal and familial transformation. Peter offered a simple answer for a simple question: Repent, return, and join the new community to partake in the new life.

 

By divine authority, this still is the only invitation given to mankind: Repent, return, join the commonwealth of the Israel of God, and be born anew. This straightforward message must be heard in the highways and byways of mankind, and though our streets are still filled with perplexed and mocking mobs, those who are called will hear the voice of the Spirit.

 

THIS IS WHAT WAS SPOKEN…

 

“But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘and it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘that I  will pour forth of my spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon my bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of my spirit…” Acts 2:14-18.

 

Facing the wide-eyed crowd, Peter interpreted the Pentecostal phenomenon to the bewildered masses. He explained that God was giving Israel a “down payment” of the outpouring of the Spirit prophesied 800 years earlier by Joel. That great outpouring, the scripture promised, was to sweep throughout the earth like a tidal wave of divine power, transforming multitudes without distinction of race, gender, age or socio/economic class. This Spiritual flood, Joel predicted, will be the “great equalizer” which will baptize and sweep in the final harvest into God’s heart, filling many with power before the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Joel 2&3).

 

This prophesied final great outpouring is Heaven’s intervention for times of crisis; a supernatural global baptism of divine life and power that will enable and authorize God’s children to serve Him during the final and traumatic days of this age. With darkness covering many nations, natural disasters shaking the continents, and Israel pressed hard by her enemies, God intends to have His people empowered and filled with His Spirit so that they can walk and minister in His victory and peace. 

 

Pentecost, as Peter prophesied, ushered in the “down payment” of that great spiritual promise. A generous portion of divine life and power was poured out on that day for all who believed and for all who will believe after them. With this fullness of Spirit, those first century disciples were able to serve God’s purpose with zeal and devotion during the times of distress and conflict that the young church was soon to undergo as the good news was “exported” from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. The Spirit was sent not to enable us in our weaknesses - rather to empower us to fulfill the will of God in our generation!

 

ONE MESSAGE FOR ALL

 

From scripture we know that the sound of the heavenly wind was noticed throughout all of Jerusalem as multitudes gathered to celebrate the Feast. Transformed from a fearful and leaderless band, now on fire with God’s Spirit and power, the disciples’ testimony and praises swept through the crowded streets. Miraculously, their words were understood by pilgrims from many nations and languages. What was God doing on that remarkable day in Jerusalem?

 

The gift of tongues that was realized on that historic Pentecost made the good news plain and understandable to people from different nations who heard the message in their own language! In this way, that gift brought an end to the historic and painful cycles of confusion and hostility that had plagued humanity ever since God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel. Following thousands of years of division, isolation, and enmity, the fractured and scattered human family could now, for the first time since Babel, hear, comprehend and respond to the same message - the gospel of our salvation!

 

OUR NEW LIFE

 

Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged… when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.” John 16:7-14.

 

Pentecost is our day. Passover has passed and Tabernacles is not yet upon us, but we live today, in Pentecost. Our lives are in God, and we live by His Holy Spirit who alone can convict (and convince) us concerning the nature of sin; becoming God’s righteousness in Christ; and the Lord’s ultimate judgment and victory over evil. We need to wait on Him as the disciples did in the upper room; and we need to seek Him who alone can lead us into all truth, be our Helper, Counselor and Comforter. Let us be sure we are not as Israel of old who weren’t willing to hear the voice of God. Rather, let us be the people who know His voice.

 

While the nation of Israel remains in need of your prayers as she braces for the impending storm, we encourage you to also keep the Body of Believers in Israel in your prayers. As a practical expression of your faith, your can provide direct support to Israeli Messianic Believers through our ISRAEL FUND which targets disciples persecuted for the Faith, people of excellence, and those with hearts to do great things with God as He establishes His Kingdom in Israel during these turbulent times.

 

ONE NEW MAN CALL is a faith ministry supported by friends of the Ephesians 2:14-15 vision of Jew and Gentile dwelling as one in God’s Olive Tree. To learn more, to support our work, or to provide direct financial support to Messianic Believers in the land of Israel, contact us at the address below.

 

In His grace,

 

REUVEN AND MARY LOU DORON

(C) 2008 One New Man Call

 

One New Man Call

P O Box 164.

Hayfield, MN 55940 USA

507-438-9096

OneNewManMail@aol.com

                       

Forward, Reprint & Use Agreement: You are welcome to forward, reprint and use these messages, provided that you cite original source and contact information.

 

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org