“This is that…”
Today there are many who have a certain understanding of the book of Acts and the events that happened at Pentecost. In 2 Peter 2:2 we are reminded there will be false teachers and many who will follow their way. And again in 2 Timothy 2:4, the scriptures tell us they will not endure sound doctrine and will turn away from the truth. So with this in mind, let us ask the question …
What was the purpose of Pentecost?
The end result of Peter’s preaching to the Jews at Jerusalem was to get them to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Acts 2:14-40).
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37-38)
In a nutshell - “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
God’s mission had been accomplished!
What? Is that all?
Pretty much. End of story.
Well what about all this drama of tongues and ‘fire’ and ‘wind’?
Let me explain. In the Old Testament, God only spoke to Israel through their prophets in the Hebrew language. But now at Pentecost, we have God speaking in other languages to the Jews. This would have shaken them up no end.
In essence, God was saying to the Jews “You no longer have exclusive access to me. I now reach out to the Gentiles and will speak to them in their languages. Both you Jews and the rest of the world, will all start again with everyone on an equal footing. You are all sinners and need the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.”
Where do you get all this from?
The meaning of the feast of Pentecost is found in the Old Testament. “Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:17; Leviticus 15:15)
The two “wave loaves” contained leaven, because they represented the union of the Jew and the Gentile, in whom the leaven of sin still abides.
Isn’t it amazing that 1500 years ago when the law was given with all the accompanying feasts, that God would have them rehearse in advance, and without full knowledge of what they were doing, of the day that would come, when the Gentile would have equal access to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then Pentecost would have jolted the Jew right out of their comfort zone?
Correct, with their rejection of Jesus Christ by sending him to the cross, God demanded and was instituting a new way for all mankind. Truly, new wine was not to be put into old wine skins.
Pentecost was a spectacular sound and light show if ever there was one
Absolutely, the Jews were dreadfully unsettled with the unexpected events at Pentecost. It was very dramatic indeed.
“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.” (Acts 2:2-4).
The incredible and amazing events at Pentecost would have turned their heads right around!
Now for the explanation
Having got Israel’s attention, God says “I’ll get Peter to say a few words and explain it all to you.” Peter then gets up and starts to allay their anxiety and fears by talking about the prophet Joel. He says “Look gentlemen, don’t be alarmed. Just relax. This is not a one off event as it will be repeated again in the future. God is pouring out his Spirit on all flesh here at Pentecost and will do this same thing again sometime in the future in the last days in the Tribulation. Just like today, Israel will also call upon the name of the Lord to get saved.”
Peter repeats the words found in the book of Joel. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance …” (Joel 2:32)
I’m still a little confused?
This self-same Spirit of God will operate twice –at Pentecost and in the future seven year Tribulation - TO PRODUCE THE SAME RESULT – THAT IS TO GET ISRAEL TO CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE SAVED.
Although Peter was not aware of the time frame, we now know that the Tribulation would be approximately 2,000 years after Pentecost.
Just as Israel was pricked in the heart at Pentecost, Israel in the Tribulation, will also mourn and see who they have pierced.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
Truly Pentecost was a two edged event
A wounding followed by a comforting. While being pricked in the heart, they were also to be comforted by the Holy Ghost that would lead them to Christ.
As Jesus said “But when the Comforter (the Holy Ghost) is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, HE SHALL TESTIFY OF ME:” (John 15:26).
Well what does “this is that” mean?
Because Joel is mentioned in Acts, everyone believes that Joel is writing about Pentecost.
Nothing could be further from the truth. As it will turn out, the two events will be separated by about 2,000 years.
Let’s insert some words to clarify what Peter was saying. He says “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;” (Acts 2:16)
THIS Spirit being poured out here at Pentecost
IS the same Spirit
THAT will be poured out in the last days
Peter says “You men of Israel, you can see for yourselves that God’s workings and manifestations will be different – here at Pentecost we have tongues, ‘fire’ and ‘wind’ but then in the last days, in the Tribulation, the sun will be darkened, the moon turn to blood, wonders in the heavens and in the earth there will be blood, fire and pillars of smoke and “… your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” (Acts 2:16-17)
But didn’t they get power at Pentecost?
Yes, but this was to go and witness about Jesus. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Unfortunately, today’s Pentecostals sees the word “power” and add other things like speaking in tongues, physical healings, commanding Satan, money, wealth and taking cities for God. This was not the power given at Pentecost with the promise of the Holy Ghost.
To be filled with the Holy Ghost simply means to speak about Jesus
Here are three examples:
Stephen “… being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God“ (Acts 7:55)
Barnabas “… was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.” (Acts 11:24)
Philip. full of the Holy Ghost (Acts 6:5) tells the Ethopian about Jesus (Acts 8:26-39).
And of course this makes sense, as Christ said that the Holy Ghost wouldn’t speak of himself (John 15:26) but of Christ.
Receiving the Holy Ghost and being filled are two different things
Receiving automatically happens when a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved – the Holy Ghost comes and lives in that person. But as the scriptures say “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17). People long to be Holy Ghost filled but because they still have one foot in the world they have no power (Romans 12:2). As we die daily to the flesh, God fills that space with more of himself – the Holy Ghost.
Two events but the same outcome
Pentecost was a voluntary turning to the Lord but with Joel, Israel will be forced to the Lord. The same Spirit of God was and will be present at both times producing the same result.
Want more proof?
The Jew at Pentecost knew they were not in the last days of Joel. That was to be somewhere into the future. At Pentecost there was
1. No visions
2. No dreams
3. No prophecy
4. No sun being darkened
5. No wonders in the heavens
6. No moon turning into blood
7. No blood, fire or pillars of smoke in the earth
“THIS IS THAT …” is about the Cause
and the Result NEVER the Events!
1. CAUSE Spirit of God Spirit of God
2. EVENTS Different Different
3. RESULT Salvation Salvation
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