4 Key Truths to Unlock the Meaning of Pentecost

Pentecost is about God’s covenant relationship with His people in the earth. It falls 50 days after the day when the covenant sacrifice has been given. It is the day when the covenant is sealed. We can see through history that God has always sealed His covenant with fire: supernatural manifestations of His presence.

This covenant is a marriage contract. God wrote it in the form of a traditional betrothal contract of the people He originally chose. It sets out that the Bridegroom would go to prepare a place for their life together; that the Bride would live a certain way in order to make things ready; and it includes a promise that the Bridegroom would come back to take possession of his bride at an undetermined date in the future. The people understood it clearly.

Truth #1: Pentecost is about a Bridal Covenant

Exodus 19 — The Original Day of Pentecost

The original day of Pentecost (Shavout in the Hebrew) occurred 50 days after the original Passover. On that day God gave His covenant to His people at Mount Sinai. The story can be found in Exodus 19 and 20 – The Original Day of Pentecost – where the terms of God’s promise are given. The people responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said” Exodus 19:8. This is to be our heart’s response on this day of days.

But we know that God’s people could never keep the terms of the covenant. By chapter 32 in the same book, the people are going astray after a golden idol. Right after meeting God they fall into sin. Does that sound familiar? Don’t be too hard on the ancient Israelites. Doesn’t this describe the condition of the human heart? God knew the frailty of the human condition, so He had a plan. The original Pentecost was just the beginning of a deeper work, just as the original Passover lamb was a sign that pointed to Jesus.

Truth #2: God has given us not only the covenant, but the Power to fulfill it.

Acts 2 – The New Pentecost

Jesus told his disciples, “…wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” Acts 1:4,5. The Pentecost that Jesus was talking about occurred 50 days after the Passover that marked His death. This all happened according to God’s calendar. On this new Pentecost, God gave the seal of His covenant the same way He gave it to His people at Mount Sinai – with flames of fire, and shaking and a mighty wind. But this time the promise is written on their hearts and not tablets of stone. The story can be found in Acts 2 – The Day of the New Pentecost – where the terms of God’s promise are given in Spirit and Truth.

Truth #3: We must be ready! 

Hebrews 12 – Concerning Pentecost

In Hebrews 12 Paul tells us more about the two Pentecosts: “18 You have not come to a mountain that… is burning with fire… But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God…” Paul tells us that we don’t have to be terrified of God the way that Moses and the Israelites were. He assures us that God has brought us through the old Pentecost into a new: “…to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word…” vs. 24. You see, through the original Pentecost the Spirit of God could be with His people as long as they kept the terms of the marriage covenant. But now, through the new Pentecost the Spirit of God can live inside God’s people, giving them a new power to keep the terms of the marriage contract – and much more.

But we must, even more, hold fast to a heart that will “…do everything the Lord has said”. Why do we need to still follow the terms of an old contract, when we now have a new one? Because the terms are the same. The purpose is the same. God’s final goal is still the same. The Bridegroom still wants to obtain for Himself a Bride. We can only become that bride as we make ourselves ready. Paul agrees, as he warns, “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks” vs. 25. Paul continues, “…worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire'” vs. 28, 29. We must become that Bride. We must make ourselves ready for our coming Bridegroom, and for the ultimate celestial wedding. We must prepare, furthermore, because there is a coming Pentecost that we look forward to!

 Truth #4: The Covenant will be unveiled for all mankind.

Joel 2 — The Coming Pentecost

Paul says, “At that time [the first Pentecost] his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens'” Hebrews 12:26.

God has one last Great Pentecost planned, and the day is drawing near! In this last Pentecost He has promised to pour out His Word as He did the first time, “…and your sons and your daughters will prophesy…” – and He promises to pour out His Spirit like He did the second time, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people…” – but this time He promises to pour them out together, and this time it will be for all the people of the earth! This time there will be an unprecedented worldwide harvest. The coming Pentecost will be given to save more than a nation. This coming Pentecost will be poured out to save more than the church. This end-time Pentecost will be poured out on everyone in the world, “…and everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved… “!

So worship God this Pentecost. Thank Him for giving us His Word. Pray together with your Christian family, like the first Christians were doing in the upper room. Prepare your heart by reading the Pentecost scriptures indicated here. Pray that the Body of Christ would be made ready worldwide – that walls of division will come down; that love and unity would spring up; that the Bride would be made ready “without spot or wrinkle…” Pray for more of the Holy Spirit, so you can have the power to live out the Word of God, and give that Word to others. Above all, pray that God will hasten the day of His last Great Pentecost, that the whole world will know Him – which then will usher in the return of our bridegroom!

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About jscotthusted

J. Scott Husted is a writer, educator, minister and teaching missionary currently living and working in Seoul, South Korea. He carries a passion for cultivating authentic community, the establishment of the house of prayer, the plight of children at risk around the world, and raising up a new generation of leaders with a passion for the Kingdom of God.
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