|Jewish Memorial, Budapest|
"I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity…”
Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28
My Gentile family with European origin has celebrated the Jewish Passover together for nearly 30 years. Every Easter we gather around a candlelit, white linen table of china, crystal and silverware alongside Seder plates of parsley, horseradish sauce, charoset and shank bones. We eat a Passover feast with unleavened bread and read from the Haggadah as the meal progresses. Why would we do such a thing? Well though we are not Jewish, we know the Jewish Savior and His ways have become ours, including several of the Jewish feasts that declare His glory!
Unbeknown to Jewish Orthodoxy, Jesus Christ is proclaimed every time they celebrate the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Ingathering. The first and second advents of Jesus Christ are built into the traditions of these primary seven feasts. And it doesn’t stop there. Jesus Christ fulfilled the first three feasts in His death, burial and resurrection in Jerusalem on the exact days that the Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits were celebrated. Fifty days later, when the Pentecost was celebrated, the Holy Spirit of God descended upon the disciples who had gathered. There is even more…the last three feasts (Trumpets, Atonement and Ingathering) will be fulfilled in the second coming of Christ through the trumpet judgments, Day of the Lord and His subsequent thousand year reign.
It is an amazing feat when you think about it. God directed Jewish history in order to set up celebrations that would elucidate the first and second coming of His Son thousands of years before their fulfillment. Only God could orchestrate such a prophetic program. And He did!
Now let’s consider Acts and the Feast of Pentecost. At this feast, Jews give thanks and present offerings for the new grain of the summer harvest. It is actually called the “Feast of Weeks” because God commanded the Jews in Leviticus 23:15-16 to count seven weeks (or 49 days) from the second day of Passover to present offerings of new grain to the Lord. What does this new grain represent? The new grain represents the Gentile nations.
On Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus was sacrificed during the Passover feast, tongues of fire descended upon each of the disciples. As the Holy Spirit descended, they began to speak in the different languages of the nations. Astounded and perplexed, the disciples said to one another, “What does this mean?”
What did it mean? Peter answered by referring to Joel’s prophecy. “And it will be in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity.” All humanity! That means the Gentiles will no longer be excluded from the Kingdom of God. In the fulfillment of this prophecy, we become aware of 2 things: (1) we are now in the last days and (2) men and women from every nation can now be saved. I don’t know about you, but as a Gentile I probably take the significance of Pentecost way too much for granted because I was born after Pentecost not before. Prior to this event, you nor I could celebrate the Passover nor eat of the sacrificial Lamb.
Let’s try to put this in perspective. The salvation of God came through the Jews, a nation chosen by God to carry the laws of His Kingdom and bring forth His Son. They were entrusted with His laws of righteousness. Before the fulfillment of Pentecost, we Gentiles were not privy to the Kingdom except in isolated cases where individuals converted to Judaism. But as a whole, all other nations were merely the graffiti that littered the earth with immorality, perversions and idolatry. Gentiles were the heathen without hope of salvation…no ark of the covenant, no priesthood or promises, no freedom or inheritance of life everlasting.
Pentecost however, changed that in dramatic fashion. When the Spirit descended at Pentecost, the invitation came to all nations to enter the Kingdom of God. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
At Pentecost, the Church of Jesus Christ was inaugurated and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to announce His gospel message in preparation for the second coming of Christ. We are now in the last days and privileged by commissioning to proclaim His gospel message of forgiveness. “I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity…” Astounding! Amazing!
Yes, amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved an idolatrous heathen like me. I once was lost but now am found, celebrating the Passover that set me free!
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Week 44--October 31-November 6; Scripture Reading:Acts 1-18; Proverbs 3-5