“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV).
When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the middle of the night to ask the famous question, “How can a man be born again?” (John 3), Jesus explained that being born again is not a physical birth, but a spiritual re-birth. He said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 ESV).
So let’s take the time to explain this, and if necessary, we can add a Part 6 so we can cover everything. (And Hi, everybody! Thanks for following along in this series. We love and appreciate you!)
In the beginning, God created Adam by first forming him and then by breathing his own breath into him: “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 NIV). Adam did not become a living being until God breathed life into him. Adam had a form but he did not yet have a spirit.
The Hebrew word used here for breath is nĕshamah, which means breath, soul, spirit and inspiration. If you were to stop breathing, and I were to breathe into your lungs to attempt to resuscitate you, I might be able to keep you around long enough for help to arrive, but I would not be able to breathe soul, spirit and inspiration into you. Only God can do that. The breath of God is the Breath of Life.
Now let’s look at something interesting that Jesus did with the apostles after his resurrection but before his ascension. Please note that this took place on the evening of Jesus’ resurrection, in the same upper room in Jerusalem where the Last Supper and the Day of Pentecost described above occurred.
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:19-21 NIV).
In Part 1 of this series, we explained that when Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit, he is at the same time giving us his peace (John 14:27). Therefore, please note that Jesus made it a point to say to his disciples in the upper room before he breathed on them, “Peace be with you!” not once, but twice. First, I think, to reassure them before giving them the proof of his death on the cross by showing them his wounds; and then as a reminder of what he had said to them three days earlier. This time, Jesus breathed on them and endued them with his peace.
This was the first time that the Holy Spirit was imparted to believers, to remain with them forever. At this point, Jesus’ disciples, in the upper room, on the day of his resurrection, were given the proofs of the death of Christ by examining his wounds, and the proof that he had defeated death by rising again by appearing behind locked doors in the midst of his disciples. Once they believed and were filled with joy, Christ imparted his Spirit to them. In that moment, they were born again into the kingdom of God and received salvation. The Body of Christ had been resuscitated.
So why was it necessary for Jesus’ disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father after the ascension, if Jesus had already breathed his Holy Spirit into them? And what exactly happened on the Day of Pentecost?
We will answer those questions in Part 6!
Blue Letter Bible. "Neshamah". Blue Letter Bible. n.d. Web. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5397&t=ESV . 14 June, 2019.
Jesus was crucified on the day of the spring Feast of Passover, and three days later he appeared alive outside his empty tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the day of First Fruits.
After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with his disciples, giving them many demonstrations that he had indeed defeated death, and teaching them about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3). As the apostle John wrote, “There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books” (21:25 MSG).
Luke, who was a gentile, a medical doctor and a follower of Jesus, authored the gospel of Luke and the book of the Acts of the apostles, which tells the story of the birth of the Church.
He wrote that he had chronicled “…all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (Acts 1:1b-2 ESV). Matthew wrote that Jesus had charged them to fulfill the Great Commission, instructing his followers to “…make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (28:19b-20a ESV).
However, Jesus knew that even though he had commissioned his followers to carry the good news of the gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth, the group of men and women who had accompanied him during his earthly ministry were not yet ready to carry out their task.
He also knew, and had warned them, that he was leaving.
Before his departure Jesus instructed them to wait in Jerusalem. He said, “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 ESV).
Jesus told his disciples that he had a huge job for them to do, but that they shouldn’t start out on the project until they were fully equipped.
The promise that they were waiting to receive was the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
But before he could send his Spirit, Jesus had to return to the Father:
“He told them, ‘You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.’
These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, ‘You Galileans! —why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left’” (Acts 1:7-11 MSG).
After they recovered from the surprise of witnessing Jesus’ ascension into heaven, Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the zealot and Judas the son of James – along with Jesus’ mother, brothers and other disciples – men and women - totaling 120 persons, went to Jerusalem, returning to the upper room where Jesus had eaten the Last Supper with the twelve apostles; and “…all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together…” (Acts 1:12-14 ESV), for ten days.
This timing is very important.
Remember that Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was crucified on the day of Passover. His substitutionary death for us on the cross is the fulfillment of the “type” in the book of Exodus of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The remission of sin was represented by the unleavened bread that God instructed the Israelites to carry with them out of their bondage in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-50; John 1:29).
After the resurrection, Jesus remained with his followers for forty days. Four, forty and four hundred are numbers that carry specific meaning in scripture. For example:
On the fourth day of creation, God said, “…Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:14b-15 ESV).
And Moses wrote that Noah’s family and all the animals “…went into the ark with Noah…And the Lord shut him in. The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth…and the ark floated on the face of the waters” (Genesis 7:15-17 ESV).
While Israel suffered in slavery in Egypt for four hundred years, waiting for their deliverer: “Now there arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph…Therefore they set hard taskmasters over them…so they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves.” (Exodus 1:6-14 ESV).
These are types and shadows illustrating our need for Jesus as the Light of the World and our Kinsman Redeemer.
Jesus was crucified and died on Passover. He rose again as a fulfillment of First Fruits (Deut 26:2-4; 1 Cor. 15-20). He remained with his disciples for forty days. Before ascending to heaven, he instructed his followers to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.
They waited for ten days, gathered together in one accord, praying in Jerusalem. Those ten days represent the ten plagues that God visited upon Egypt while Moses petitioned pharaoh to release Israel from slavery. The final, convincing plague that Almighty God brought upon Egypt was the death of their firstborn sons, as a type and shadow of the death of God’s only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary.
The disciples waited together in the upper room and they prayed, until the day of Pentecost had fully come…
(Continued in Part Five)
Luke chapter 4 tells us that after his baptism in the Jordan river, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, fasting forty days and nights and being tempted by the devil (v. 1-13). Afterward “…Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country” (v. 14).
When he came to Nazareth on the Sabbath day, he entered the synagogue and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah:
““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor”
(Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1a ESV).
The Blue Letter Bible states that Jesus was anointed through the Holy Spirit in order to consecrate him to the Messianic office and endue him with the necessary powers for its administration. Notice that the presence of the Holy Spirit, the anointing for operation in the Holy Spirit, and the power to carry out the administration of the Holy Spirit occur at the same time: Presence = Anointing = Power.
In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Paul wrote “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”, using the same Greek word for anointing, chrio, that Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah in the gospel of Luke, referring to himself and his ministry on earth.
Through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in us, we are established in Christ, anointed for ministry, and sealed with the guarantee of our legal standing as children of God and co-inheritors with Jesus.
Therefore that same anointing that was demonstrated by Jesus is extended to us through his Holy Spirit, and we also are called to declare the good news of liberty to all those who are oppressed, herald the recovery of sight to the blind and to proclaim the wonderful grace of God’s favor.
In Jerusalem, in the upper room at the time of the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 ESV), and just two verses later, he promised “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 ESV).
Jesus promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He assured us that because of the presence of his Spirit abiding within us, we would be endued with power to work and to witness for the glory of God, and to extend his ministry through time and space.
Because of the presence of the Spirit of God dwelling within the followers of Jesus, through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, Jesus promised that his disciples would do even more works than he, himself, did. Jesus’ ministry on earth lasted for approximately three years, but the Church, in Jesus’ name, has existed for approximately two thousand years, with the Holy Spirit working through billions of members of the Body of Christ.
The anointing that Jesus manifested through his Holy Spirit is the same anointing that we who believe in his name receive at salvation, and that we operate in today.
Just before Jesus made his second radical departure from the earth, Matthew recounts that he told his disciples, “…All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 18b-20).
But before their mission could begin, Jesus instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father to come upon them, so that they would be endued with power from on high.
He said, “…John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not many days from now…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8 ESV).
“And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9 ESV)…….
(We will explore what happened next in Part Four.)
Blue Letter Bible [US]. “Lexicon : Strong's G5548 – chriō” Blue Letter Bible. n.d. Web. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5548&t=ESV . 6 May, 2019.
The 5th -7th of Sivan, 5779
June 8-10, 2019
There is a period of seven weeks/fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits, the Counting of the Omer that lead to Shavuot (weeks). There are three stories centered around this Feast of Weeks; the giving of the Torah/Law at Mount Sinai with Moses as the mediator, the story of Ruth, with Boaz as a kinsman redeemer, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to believers in Yeshua in the book of Acts.
Moses The Mediator
Just after the first Passover when the Israelites were rescued from Egypt (Exodus), they did not realize that the adventure was just getting off to a start. They had come through the parted Reed Sea and watched their enemies drown, they gathered Manna from heaven for food, they drank bitter water turned sweet by a piece of wood and later, water from a rock and they defeated the Amakekites in a fierce battle as Moses raised his hands to the Lord. Still they became impatient as Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the Law for the people.
God was extremely displeased at the shenanigans taking place down the hill as the people crafted for themselves a golden calf to represent the god who brought them out of Egypt. If not for the intercessory pleading of Moses, He would have completely destroyed all of them except Moses.
Moses came down the mountain only to find utter chaos with his brother Aaron, whom he left in charge, making excuses, "it just popped out of the fire." He was so angry that he broke the tablets that God had given him. The people were given a choice to repent and follow Yahweh and those 3000 who did not repent were killed. To us it sounds so harsh, but sin is this serious.
As Moses continued to mediate for this "stiff necked" people, he would be constantly reminded of his inadequacy for the task at hand. But God, was looking ahead, always seeing the bigger picture as His Way and plan are always far beyond out scope and imagination.
Boaz The Kinsman Redeemer
The story of Ruth is traditionally studied at Shavout because it takes place during this season which is also wheat harvesting season. Elimelech and Naomi were from Bethlehem and went, taking their two sons, to live in the country of Moab. While there, Elimelech died leaving Naomi a widow and the two sons took Moabite women as wives, Ruth and Orpah.
Unfortunately the two sons also died, so Naomi decided to go home to Bethlehem. She told Ruth and Orpah to go home to their Moabite families to find new husbands. While Orpah did leave, Ruth pledged her devotion to Naomi and to Yahweh/God and went with her.
As poverty and hunger were a threat to the two widows, Naomi was reminded of a relative named Boaz. He was a wealthy man and Ruth was allowed to glean from his wheat fields to feed herself and Naomi. Boaz was so impressed by Ruth's devotion and faithfulness that he showed her favor and made sure she had plenty and was also protected from harm.
Naomi was concerned for the future because she had no children nor grandchildren. She encouraged Ruth to seek out Boaz to offer herself as a bride. In this way Boaz would be the kinsman redeemer, as the marriage established Ruth and Naomi into the family line of Judah as great and great great grandmothers to King David. This succession would eventually bring our Messiah Yeshua.
During the times of Ruth and Boaz, Israel was well ahead in keeping out of stride with Yahweh as the people did what was right "in their own eyes." (Judges 21:25) But God still had a plan.
Yeshua and the Ruach Ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit
Over the centuries the great need became more and more evident for a mediator, kinsman redeemer, king and high priest all rolled into One. What a great blessing that we know Him as Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Mashiach. The timing is significant as He was sacrificed as our perfect Passover lamb, was buried during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was raised on First Fruits, appeared to many, over 500, during the counting of the Omer, ascended to heaven after 40 days and instructed them to wait just a few more days.
They knew to be expectant on Shavout because it was known and celebrated as a time of harvest and expectation. When the day of Shavout/Pentecost arrived they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. ~Acts 2:1-5
Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day. ~Acts 2:41
Did you catch that? 3000. Hope after all that time.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ~Acts 2:47
So we remember and we celebrate and we continue to pray for a great harvest of souls in these End Times.
A special Praise for Suzanne's awesome article, Who Is The Holy Spirit? Parts One and Two. I want you to know that she and I did not coordinate this. Praise Yah!!!!!