The hidden meanings of Pentecost

My personality type loves deeper meaning and symbolism.  God uses both these things quite often in the Bible if we know where and how to look for them.  So look at what I found that lends so much more meaning to Pentecost.  This was taken from “The Untold Story of the New Testament Church” by Frank Viola.

About 120 Jewish disciples of Jesus hold a prayer meeting in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem where they all have been living.  The house probably belongs to Mary, John Mark’s mother.  The twelve are present.  Also in attendance is Jesus’ mother Mary and Jesus’ brothers.  It is the day of Pentecost.  Jews from all across the Roman empire have come to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast.  They have come from as far as Asia Minor and Arabia.  The empire is currently enjoying Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”).  For the most part life in the empire is safe with a population of between 70-100,000 million people.   Of that population about half are slaves and the empire is run on slave labor.  Slaves have no legal rights and are viewed as property.  Some wealthy Romans own as many as 20,000 slaves.  More than half the population is dependent on the regular distribution of free grain.  There are between 3 and 8 million jews in the Empire with 2/3 of them living outside Palestine.  Jews are seen as having strange beliefs and circumcision is seen as mutilation and the Sabbath as a cloak for laziness.  As a result they are despised by most Greeks and Romans.   Jerusalem as a city is less than one square mile.  The normal population is 60,000.  Most are Jewish.  During Pentecost, there are more than 125,000 – 500,000 added to the population.  Luke mentions 16 different countries represented.

It is 9:00 AM.  A priest has prepared two loaves of leavened bread.  He pours oil on them and slips them into the oven to be baked together.  At the same moment the Holy Spirit descends into the upper room where the 120 are staying.  The Spirit fills the 120.  One result is that they speak in languages they have never learned.  Because of this, those visiting from around the Roman Empire hear God being magnified in their own language and dialect.  Significantly the day of Pentecost has always been associated with the gicing of the law.  According to tradition, the law was supernaturally uttered from Sinai in the 70 languages of the nations of the world.  With the filling of the 120, spiritually speaking “the first load of bread has been baked”.  Ten years will pass and then the Gentiles will be baptized into the family – the “second loaf”.  So the two oil covered (Holy Spirit covered/filled) loaves will find their fulfillment.  The noise in the upper room provokes a crowd of Jews to see what is going on.  They are bewildered to hear many of their own dialects.  Peter preaches Jesus to a Jewish audience.  Three thousand Jews respond.  The twelve are performing signs and wonders in the city.  The church is in awe as it beholds God’s power made visible.

I love how God chooses to speak a deeper language by having events such as the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the Crucifixion take place on deeply meaningful cultural or historical events so that so much more meaning and understanding can be attained for those who can “see” it.  Seek and you shall find.

One comment on “The hidden meanings of Pentecost

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