Acts 1:6-8 - So when they had synagogued together, they began asking him, “Lord, in this time are You restoring the kingdom rule to Israel?” He corrected them, “It is not your business know the calendar (chronos) or seasons of fulfillment (kairos) (Luke 1:20, 4:13, 12:56, 19:44) that the Father has appointed by His own unique authority. But you will receive [heavenly kingdom authority and] power (Luke 24:29) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my eye-witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” (GS Trans. - gsv)
Why are we still asking, “Father tell us your plan for the ages . . . then I will serve You.”
Old Covenant Preparation for Pentecost is seen in the calendar of Israel . . . In Exodus 34:22, we learn that this feast was 50 days after Passover [“Pente” — 50] (“first fruits” in Num. 28:26). Israel's feasts were celebration remembrances of the redemptive events in Israel's history. Passover recalled the redemption from Egypt. The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated the wilderness. And Pentecost celebrated God's giving of the Torah (Law) at Sinai (Exodus 19:1ff). In the New Testament, Pentecost is of monumental significance (Acts 1:8-9) because after it, the Church changed the world. Pentecost bursts the wineskin of the Feast of Weeks. The restoration purpose of Pentecost was to baptize an unclean, idolatrous (see Ezekiel 36ff). During the Exile the prophets called for heart cleansing and promised a “new covenant” when Israel would be washed clean in a renewal baptism of the Spirit. The prophet Isaiah predicts this pouring out of the Spirit, as did Ezekiel, Joel and Jeremiah and the whole line of new covenant promises (Is. 32:15, 44:3, 59:19, Ez. 37:25, Jer. 31-32, Joel 2:6ff, Zech. 12:9ff). Pentecost was the fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant. But Pentecost continues. In the NT this promise is represented in the sign and seal of baptism. This may seem striking, but it is Scripturally undebatable. See Matt. 3:11, Mk. 1:8, Lk. 3:16, Jn. 1:33, Acts 1:5, 2:38, 10:47 & 11:16. Baptism is the sacrament of Pentecost. Are you pentecostal? Are you baptized?
New Covenant Fulfillment of Pentecost is plain in actions of Acts 2 which empowered the newly formed remnant of Israel in Jerusalem to do what Israel was meant to do - fulfill the promise of Abraham and save the world. By means of those Spirit-baptized Israelites at the first Christian Pentecost (Acts 2), the Spirit took a new Israel through the Red Sea into the Land of Promise. The outpouring of the Pentecostal Spirit’s presence was then revisited in the apostolic history as the gospel moved across racial and international boundaries. The Stone was thrown into the waters of Jerusalem and the waves rolled over the royal Eunuch of Ethiopia, many Samaritans, Cornelius and household (oikos), Lydia and household, the Jailer and household, Crispus and household, Saul of Tarsus, Stephanus and household, and the Acts 19 disciples of John who all received the Spirit with Pentecostal signs. [Nine named as baptized/five households.] Pentecost fulfills the Abrahamic promise by empowering the Church to reach all nations in order “that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). “The purpose of the covenant was that, through this means, the creator would address and save his entire world. The call of Abraham was designed to undo the sin of Adam” (N. T. Wright).
Thus, Pentecost Now is an ignored reality for many. Yet the same power is fully available to all those “washed” in the baptized Church. We are to continue to go the every corner of the this globe and proclaim in the power of the Spirit: There is another King, One Jesus! He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. He sits and God’s right hand and He is Lord!
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more