Pentecost, Israel 2010
There are three biblically ordained holy days in the spring: Pesach, Omer, and Shavuot. Pesach, known as Passover, commemorates the exodus from Egypt and the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus). Omer, or Sheaf, commemorates the first leaves of the spring and the resurrection of Yeshua. Shavuot, called Weeks or Pentecost, celebrates the first fruits of the harvest season, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The time between the Omer and Shavuot is often called the "counting of the Omer." Biblically, it is more correct to say that we are counting the "days from the Omer" until the day of Shavuot (Leviticus 23:15). There is only one Omer. Counting the days from that Omer-Sheaf emphasizes the importance of the resurrection.
The 50 days of counting also built expectation for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is like the "countdown" before the launching of a missile. Yeshua told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were "clothed with power from on High (Luke 24:49)," that they would be "baptized in the Holy Spirit" in just a few days (Acts 1:5), and that they would receive "power" when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8).
Their expectations were at a peak level. It was obvious to them as they counted the days from the Omer that the "big day" for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would be Shavuot. God planned the counting of the days of the Omer to intensify faith focus and expectation to be ready to receive the Holy Spirit - then and now.
At congregation Ahavat Yeshua this week I compared the disciples' receiving the Holy Spirit to the woman with the issue of blood receiving healing power (Mark 5). She had a focused expectation of faith to receive. We are focusing our expectation in faith for a Second Pentecost to occur in Jerusalem. She touched Yeshua in desperate faith as one person; we want to do the same but in a group. She received for herself; we want to receive so that "all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26)."
God gave the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. When did He "take it back?" The answer is: never. The fire of the Holy Spirit is available to us today as it was to the disciples in the book of Acts. This spiritual power is as real as fire, electricity, or nuclear power in the physical realm. There are laws that govern this spiritual power (Romans 8:2, James 3:6, Hebrews 6:5; 7:16), just as there are laws in physics. True spiritual fire comes from God, through Yeshua, by holiness, toward the purposes of the kingdom of God.
Traditional Judaism holds that Shavuot is also the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments. There is an awesome parallel between the fire coming down on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19 and the fire coming down on Mount Zion in Acts 2.
Religious Jews plan all night sessions on Shavuot to study the Ten Commandments. This tradition may reflect a tradition of staying awake all night in prayer that found its origin back in the Second Temple period. It may explain why thousands of Orthodox Jews were on the streets in Jerusalem on Shavuot morning. After their all night vigil, they were ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was poured out 5 times in the book of Acts: chapters 2, 4, 8, 10, 19. The first time in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit and fire were poured out in Jerusalem, on Shavuot, to Messianic Jews. In Acts 4, the place and the people were the same, but it was not on the biblical Holy Day. In Acts 8, the time was different, the place was different, and the people were Samaritans, partly Jewish, mostly not. In Acts 10, the Holy Spirit was given to Gentiles whose origins were from Europe but were then living in Israel. In Acts 19, the people were Gentiles, and the event took place outside of Israel altogether.
Today the Holy Spirit is available to any community of true believers in Yeshua on any day in any place. Yet I believe that the day is coming soon in which the conditions in which the fire was first poured out will be recreated. The fire will fall again on Messianic Jews, in Jerusalem, connected to the celebration of the feasts. If this expectation is shared in partnership by international Christians in every nation, a mighty revival will break forth as prophesied by Joel and by Simon Peter (Acts 2:17). God's Spirit will be "poured out on all flesh" before the great and terrible day of the coming of the Lord.
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