God’s Spirit and His People And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. (Acts 2:1-5)
THE PENTECOST DAY ABOVE is NOT a first. Pentecost, as a special day, had been going on for 1,500 years or so before the book of Acts. Pentecost was the fiftieth day after Passover. It was the time of celebration of grain harvest that had been completed. Leviticus 23 is the chapter that summarizes everything. This “Special Pentecostal Day” of outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred one time and will not be repeated.
IT'S LIKE THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST were one-time events. We sing about and long for its power and that is good. But, that day of Pentecost is not scheduled to return. We can have individual fillings of the Holy Spirit or collective outpourings of the Holy Spirit that we call: “Revival.”
OUR TEXT TODAY IS ABOUT THE DAY GOD CHOSE TO APPEAR TO HIS PEOPLE who had received His Son as their Savior and Lord. God had previously appeared among His people in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. Pentecost, in the book of Acts, is the official launching day of the Church. As God appeared with fire on the day of the birthing of the Jewish priesthood (Leviticus 9-10) even so, God appears upon the people waiting for Him in Jerusalem. The fire on this occasion was “cloven tongues like as of fire.”
WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING THE BEGINNING OF HE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD in Leviticus 9-10 and noticed how precise it was in its execution. All the parts of that practice were symbolic and taught a truth about God and the relationship between God and fallen man. God established a priesthood of many dedicated men from the Tribe of Levi to do certain things.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CEREMONY, AN ANIMAL WAS SLAIN, and its parts were laid on the altar. God set it on fire. The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, had the duty of burning incense to God by burning incense in censors. They were supposed to have gotten their coals of fire from the fire God had kindled. But, they did not. They obtained fire from another source.
GOD SENT OUT A FIE FROM HIS PRESENCE and burned these two brothers to death. Their fire was called “strange fire.” The warning to all the other priests was to obey God to the letter and don’t substitute your own thinking and your own ideas and ways into the service of God. The message then and now, is that the fire and power of God must be His fire and not of our own invention and making.
GOD ESTABLISHED ANOTHER PRIESTHOOD ON THIS SPECIAL PENTECOST DAY. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1Peter 2:5) The purpose of this new priesthood is to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
THESE SACRIFICES DO NOT INCLUDE ANIMAL SACRIFICES. Paul wrote about it: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
INSTEAD OF OFFERING THE BODIES OF ANIMALS, our New Testament sacrifice is to present our bodies to God in holy living. That is a living sacrifice. Much of our sin problem centers around our bodies. When we deny our bodies some of the things it may want to do, we are engaged in a New Testament sacrifice.
JESUS PREACHED TO THE CROWDS THAT FOLLOWED HIM: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23) They knew what He meant. The Roman army was crucifying Jews all over the place to assert ownership over the Jewish people and to coerce them into obedience to Caesar. Jesus was preaching submission to Him as Savior and Lord. It was an attitude. Submission is an attitude.
TO CARRY OUT HIS WORK AMONG PEOPLE, God gave of His Spirit to work through the New Testament priesthood to aid and direct them to do the work of God. All of this was about “the glory of God.” In the Old Testament, the idea and design of the priesthood, their clothing, their duties, the tabernacle or temple in which they did their duties, all of this was about the glory of God. The manifestation and dwelling of the Spirit of God among them was the crowning work of the Glory of God. The Holy Spirit was among them but not in them. Important!
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE HOLY SPIRIT would at times come upon individuals for a special task. Mostly, though, the Jews knew about the Spirit dwelling in the Tabernacle and later, dwelling in the Temple in Jerusalem where God had chosen to put His name. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. (2Kings 21:4) When the Spirit of God came down among them, they could see it and knew that God was among them.
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. (Leviticus 9:23-24)
ON "SEEING GOD'S GLORY," WIERSBE MAKES THIS VALUABLE COMMENT: The glory of the Lord had appeared when Moses finished erecting the tabernacle, (Exodus 40:34-35) and it would appear again at the dedication of the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1ff). How gracious on God’s part to share His glory with sinful people!
“THE GLORY THAT DWELT IN THE TABERNACLE EVENTUALLY LEFT THE CAMP because of the sins of the people (1 Samuel 4:21). It returned at the dedication of the temple, but then the prophet Ezekiel watched it depart because the nation had become so sinful (Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:4,18: 11:22-23). The glory came to earth when Jesus was born (Luke 2:8-9) and tabernacled in Him (John 1:14), but sinful people nailed that glory to a cross.
“TODAY, GOD'S GLORY DWELLS IN THE BODIES OF HIS PEOPLE (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) in each local assembly of His people (3:16-17), and in His church collectively (Ephesians 2:19-22). One day, we shall see that glory lighting the perfect heavenly city that God is preparing for His people (Revelation 21:22-23).” (Wiersbe)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 17, 2019 – FRIDAY
A.M. 2 Kings 15-17 P.M. John 6:1-21
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1Peter 1:15-16)
Song for Today:
Leave Your Heavy Burdens (2:34) (Melody Four -Male Quartet)