Pentecost or fifty days after Easter is the end of a time period known as “Counting of the Omer” and for the Jews it is the time period they remember the Exodus to the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. For the Christian it marks the birth of the Church and the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Hebrew letter Nun the fourteenth letter of the Jewish alphabet represents Pentecost, which means fifty. Jesus during the Resurrection had shown Himself to the Disciples and had taught them about His Kingdom. After forty days He ascended into Heaven leaving them ten days to seek Him about this promised “Holy Spirit” that was to come. You have to wonder if they fully understood what Jesus was talking about or what was about to happen? Had Jesus explained that when the Holy Spirit came that they would walk in a new anointing and power that had not been experienced by that many people before? In Leviticus 23: 15 – 22 the observance of Pentecost is described. The main offering is the “firstfruits” of the season that is two loaves of baked bread that are to be waved before the Lord. The unusual thing about these loaves is that they are to be made with yeast. Normally offerings brought to the Temple were to be yeast-free as it is a type and shadow for sin. As the Hebrew4Christians website notes these loaves represent the Jew and Gentile being presented to God as firstfruits. In one parable found in Matthew 13: 33 and Luke 13: 20 yeast is compared to the kingdom of God. (Yeast is a living organism that serves a purpose in a sense they give what they are in life! Instead of sin maybe it is the type of yeast you are using!) Acts 2: 2 + 3 tell about the “sound of a violent wind” and “what seemed to be tongues of fire.” Other than God can be dramatic if He wants to be, maybe they symbolize the ram-horn trumpets and the fire for the burnt offerings that had to be made on Pentecost. I have wondered if the Disciples really knew what “wait for the gift my Father promised,” meant? They had seen Jesus operate in miraculous power but you wonder if they thought it would show up like that? I know that many who are Christians do not claim a “Pentecostal” experience is valid for today. Many make fun of it just as the Disciples were accused of being drunk but Peter dispelled that idea immediately (2:15). His closing comments in Acts 2: 38 + 39 talk about the “gift” (the one they had been waiting for) and says that the “promise is for you and your children and those who are far off” so that should include everyone since the first Pentecost and I did not notice that the “gift” was going to change in anyway. Think about the gift of Pentecost! http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html
Storms, attacks, and tests. We have all been through them and the great news is we are still here. In continuing the series this week we will look at storms (See part 1). In the New Testament the word storm can mean anything from winds to rain or the violent storms that would sweep down from the mountains and plague the Sea of Galilee that could be compared to earthquakes. By the way, I hope that you never get in an argument about what you are in – a storm, a test, or an attack!
Hurricanes by the coast, a tornado in the central part of the country, and threats of floods with every passing front has raised our consciousness of storms. The Weather Channel, weather apps, local TV, radio programs, and websites now can give some advance warning of approaching storms. Even in Jesus’ day they could read the signs of approaching weather (Matthew 16:2). Many natural storms may give us a warning that they are coming; sometimes they may not because they form right on top of you.
I think spiritual storms also can give us advance warning that they are coming. Not always, but sometimes, we can see what is coming and prepare for it, or we can always be at some level of preparedness. Storms can be very violent and many times you cannot see that in the advance forecast but storms are only going to last for a given period of time. After a storm there may be a lot of things that may need to be repaired and fixed but like tests they are not going to continue “forever.” Maybe you are going through a windstorm where things are knocked down all around you. Maybe it is a rainstorm where things are being covered with water and washed away from your life. Or it could be a very violent storm equal to a tornado or hurricane where you make it through but everything in your life is changed or gone.
I find it important to realize that wind and rain are symbols of the Holy Spirit but the devil will come against us with violent forms of the symbols to cause grief and destruction.
No matter what it is you are going through storms, attacks, or tests, Jesus is and wants to be your shelter in the storm.