Archive for May 12, 2010

Israel’s Day of Pentecost

May 12, 2010

Over the past century a great deal of emphasis has been placed upon the Hebrew Day of Pentecost. Many have established their doctrinal systems around their understanding of this Jewish event. Some believe it to be the “birthday of the church,” while others even hold it to be the “standard” for church practice and experience.

Without ever fully examining the meaning and placement of the Feast of Pentecost from the Scriptures themselves, they proceed to arrange their doctrine and practice upon this event. To them the Day of Pentecost is the pattern of God’s will and plan for our day.

Yet have they ever considered what actually took place on that specific Day of Pentecost some two millennia ago? We will briefly consider two important points concerning the Day of Pentecost.

The Day of Pentecost Was a Part of the Law of Moses

The Day of Pentecost was a Jewish Feast Day required under the Mosaic Law.

This feast is also known as the “feast of weeks” (Deuteronomy 16:10) and “feast of harvest” (Exodus 23:16). The word Pentecost actually means “fiftieth” because it was observed fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits. This was one of the seven great annual feasts of the Lord, and the second of three feasts that required all males to be present “before the Lord” (Exodus 23:14-17).

Pentecost brought to a close the grain season. The cereal harvest began with barley at Passover and ended with wheat at Day of Pentecost (Exodus 34:22 – at Passover they waved the sheaf; at Tabernacles they mark the end of the fruit season).

In the Dispensation of the Grace of God there is no observance of Holy Days.

During God’s current dealings with mankind there are no special days. The Jewish days (feasts included) are spoken of as “weak and beggarly elements” and “bondage” by our apostle (Galatians 4:9-11).

The Day of Pentecost Was a Part of Prophecy

The Day of Pentecost was a part of the prophetic program dealing with Israel.

The events surrounding Israel’s holy Day of Pentecost reveal that it was a day of prophetic significance.

Peter spoke to his Jewish audience on the Day of Pentecost telling them of its prophetic nature.

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16).

Peter goes on to quote the prophecy of Joel.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:16-18).

Paul, the apostle, quoting Isaiah 28:11-12, also clearly reveals to us that the tongues (languages) present on the Day of Pentecost were a part of Israel’s prophetic program.

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear Me, says the Lord (I Corinthians 14:21).

What was the purpose of the prophesied tongues on the Day of Pentecost?

The Tongues on the Day of Pentecost were for a sign to Israel.

Wherefore tongues are for a sign(I Corinthians 14:22).

Signs were a divine requirement under God’s relationship with Israel.

For the Jews require a sign (I Corinthians 1:22).

By God’s design, Israel was His sign nation; signs were their birthright when He brought them out of Egypt.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe you, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign (Exodus 4:8).

Thus, signs belonged to Israel.

We see not our signs (Psalm 74:9).

Thus, signs belonged in Israel.

Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts (Isaiah 8:18).

Tongues were a sign to unbelieving Israel.

Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them who believe, but to them who believe not (I Corinthians 14:22).

Tongues were also the sign of Israel’s fall. In I Corinthians 14:20-22 Paul explains the purpose of tongues, quoting Isaiah 28:11-13.

For with … another tongue will He speak to this people … that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

The Scripture teaches us that the Day of Pentecost was a part of the Jewish economy, anchored in the Law of Moses, and fulfilled according to God’s prophetic plan with the nation Israel. It belonged to a Hebrew dispensation, and with the Circumcision’s Twelve Apostles.

The pattern of God’s will and plan for our day is the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). We do not look back to Israel’s law or prophecy, but to God’s current administration of grace and the mystery revealed to us by Paul, the apostle of the uncircumcision.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 1989, 2010

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