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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," March Edition 2010

What Really Happened On The Day Of Pentecost?

Many of us have grown up believing two things about what happened on the day of Pentecost.

(1) It was the "birthday" of the Christian church, and (2) it was the time when the 120 disciples were entirely sanctified.

Friends, nowhere does the Scripture tell us that the Day of Pentecost was the so-called "birthday" of the Christian church.

Also, that first Pentecostal outpouring was something far more than the disciples of Jesus personally and individually getting entirely sanctified, though Peter later does tell us that God did indeed "purifying their hearts" in conjunction with that event (Acts 15:8-9).

Pentecost, rather, was the commemoration of the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai under Moses. That first event was epoch making and did not ever need to be repeated in the history of the world. The law of Moses that constituted the old covenant nation of Israel never needed to be re-enacted, we repeat, for the law, once given, henceforth only needed to be perpetually taught and obeyed.

So it should be with our understanding of what happened on the Day of Pentecost. It was a once for all time affair that never needs re-enacted; we only need now to live out of the provision and dynamic of that epoch-making event. The Holy Spirit of Christ, like the now obsolete law of Moses, has once been given in time in the history of the world (Jn. 7:37-39; 16:8-11), and now, He, too, needs only to be received, honored and obeyed (Eph. 4:30, Acts 5:32).

Jesus made it clear that the promised Pentecostal baptism with the Holy Ghost was to be the time of the establishment of God's messianic kingdom of redemption on earth: "Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mk. 9:1; Matt. 16:28; Lk. 9:27; Matt. 8:11-12; Matt. 26:29; Rev. 3:20).

Dispensationalists say that Jesus' reference to some of those living at that time seeing the coming of the kingdom referred only to Peter, James, and John being with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Radical preterest say that this promised "seeing of the kingdom come with power" referred to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. Both explanations are inadequate.The truth is, friends, that nobody received any permanent abiding "power" on the Mount of Transfiguration, or when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A. D., but the disciples of Jesus did received the kingdom come with power on the Day of Pentecost (see Rom. 14:17): "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8). "I will give power unto my two witnesses [representative of the Word and the Spirit in the whole church] and they shall prophecy 1,260 days" (Rev. 11:3). This is the last half of Daniel's 70th week, now time-free extended by virtue of the resurrection of Jesus and the kingdom age of the Holy Spirit to include the entire present period of the calling of the Gentiles.

The supernatural speaking in languages on the Day of Pentecost indicated that, unike the old covenant inaugurated by the giving of Moses' law, the new covenant kingdom age now replacing it was to be universal, not to the Jews alone, but equally for all mankind, as well.

Now it is important to note that the Holy Spirit was not only defused upon the 120 in the Upper Room, he was poured out--think closely with me here--upon "all flesh," as well. The prophecy of Joel 2:28 clearly indicated that God intended a universal diffusing of his Spirit, and Peter plainly said to the astonished multitudes on the very day it happened: "this is [LITERALLY] that!" (Acts 2:16ff.).

"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11ff.). When did the grace of God that bringeth salvation appear to all men? It appeared with the setting up of the kingdom, with the coming of the new age of redemption through the universal diffusion of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost!

What are the implications of this understanding for evangelism today? Chiefly in our conception of the common faith. The kingdom both IS and BRINGS salvation. When we postpone the kingdom we dissolve the message and power of biblical salvation.

Related Article Links

Were The Disciples Entirely Sanctified At Pentecost?
The Pentecostal Promise Of The Last Days
The Kingdom And Pentecost