Topic: Review: The Spirit within / the Spirit upon III
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1 Cor. 15: ;
The Spirit within / the Spirit upon – Pentecost
Though the Holy Spirit had come within the disciples and undoubtedly many others during the first 40 days following the resurrection of Jesus, the actual ministry of the Holy Spirit seems to have begun 50 days after the resurrection on the day of Pentecost.
“When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.” ~ Acts 2:1-4
The day we call Pentecost fell on the Jewish feast day which came 50 days after Firstfruits…namely, The Feast of Weeks. Jesus is referred to as Firstfruits in many places in scripture, but the following one will server to illustrate the point.
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, the people of Christ.” ~ 1Cor. 15:20-23
There were a total of seven feasts on the Jewish calendar, and of them there were 3 which were “solemn feasts. During these solemn feasts, all Jewish males were required to travel to Jerusalem to attend (Exodus 23:14–17;34:22–23;Deuteronomy 16:16).
Described in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Weeks (the second of the three “solemn feasts”) gets its name from the fact that it starts seven full weeks (or 50 days), after the Feast of Firstfruits.
N ow, God referred to the feasts as “holy convocations”. This is a very exciting truth because the word “convocation” means, DRESS REHEARSAL! These feasts were intended to prepare Israel for MAJOR events in the future. Each and every one of the seven Jewish Feasts signifies an important aspect of God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection and after ascending to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised His disciples following the Passover feast in the upper room (John 14:16–17). Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within them and empower them for ministry. The promised Holy Spirit arrived on the Day of Pentecost, known to the Jews as the Feast of Weeks. This was a festival of joy and thanksgiving celebrating the completion of the harvest season. It was celebrated as a Sabbath with rest from ordinary labors (Leviticus 23:21; Numbers 28:26).
The Feast of Weeks was essentially a harvest celebration, the seven weeks between firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks were harvest weeks. During these 7 weeks they would move from the grain harvest to the barley harvest and end finally with the wheat harvest.
On the Feast of Weeks, the children of Israel were not to simply bring the firstfruits of the wheat to the Temple (as they brought the firstfruit of the barley at the Feast of Firstfruits), but rather two loaves of bread. These two loaves were specifically commanded to be made with fine flour and baked with leaven (Leviticus 23:17), and they were to be used as a “wave offering” for the people.
These two loaves, however, could not be eaten until after the ceremony was completed (Leviticus 23:14; Joshua 5:10-11) and could not be placed on the altar due to its leaven content. In addition to the wave offering, two lambs, one young bull, and two rams were to be offered as burnt offerings before the Lord (Leviticus 23:15-22; Numbers 28:26-31). The feast was concluded by the eating of communal meals to which the poor, the stranger, and the Levites were invited.
The spiritual significances of the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks are many…
- Jesus was crucified as the “Passover Lamb” at the annual celebration of Passover
- Jesus rose from the grave at the Feast of Firstfruits.
- Jesus taught His disciples for 40 days before ascending to heaven (Acts 1). The number 40 represented to the Jewish nation…a generation, a time of testing, proving and preparing. A time of radical transition or transformation
- The disciples had to wait for 10 days for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Ten is viewed as a complete and perfect number, as is 3, 7 and 12. It is made up of 4… the number of the physical creation, and 6… the number of man. As such, it signifies testimony, law, responsibility and the completeness of order. On this day the beginning of the new order began – by the empowering of the Church with the person and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
- On the Day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks, the “firstfruits” of the church were gathered by Christ as some 3,000 people heard Peter present the gospel after the Holy Spirit had empowered and indwelt the disciples as promised. With the promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the first fruits of God’s spiritual harvest under the New Covenant began.
So the Feast of Weeks is a symbolic festival which pointed to the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church. It is significant that the harvest immediately prior to the Feast of Weeks was the wheat harvest, because it was prophesied as such by the prophet Joel almost 800 years before Christ.
“Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in Jehovah your God; for He gives you the former rain in just measure, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and shall praise the name of Jehovah your God, that has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. And you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Jehovah your God, and there is none else; and my people shall never be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” ~ Joel 2:23-29
The coming of the Holy Spirit occurred on a day which God had commanded every able bodied Jewish male to be in Jerusalem! So we see in Acts that Jews from many different countries were in Jerusalem that day to celebrate the completion of the harvest season.
It is possible that the two loaves which were brought to the Temple represented both Jew and Gentile; however they became one in Christ with the advent of the Spirit’s coming. Writing to the Ephesian believers, Paul said” “For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jew and Gentile) one, and have broken down the middle wall of partition between us … to make in himself of two (Jew and Gentile) one new man, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:14-15).
There was to be leaven in those two loaves, for the Church had not yet been glorified. During this age, there is still sin within the Church. Messiah Yeshua (the head) is unleavened. On the other hand, the Church (the body) still has leaven within her. Therefore, leaven was to be included in those two loaves.
The difference between the Gift of Tongues & Praying in Tongues
During the main portion of the service we actually talked about the difference between Tongues as a gift and Tongues as a prayer language by examining 1 Cor.14 as well as other passages.
I hope you will enjoy the rest of this teaching and as a result be better equipped to co-partner with the Spirit in the work of the ministry!
We encourage you…give it a listen!