Rabbi Schneider - Fulfilling God's Promise (Pentecost)
Did you know Father God has some appointments with you? I know you want to get His appointments on your calendar. You see, the Lord actually gives us His appointments in the 23rd chapter of the book we call in Hebrew, Vayikra, which is translated in English as Leviticus. In Leviticus 23, the Lord says, "These are my appointed days". So we get this term "appointment" because these are the Lord's appointed days. And He wants us to mark them and worship Him in a particular way during His holy appointed days. Now, this is the last of the Lord's appointed holy days in the springtime. And many of you know that everything that Yeshua, that Jesus did during His earthly ministry He timed to the exact day to fulfill these spring holy days. In other words, as many of you know, once again, He was crucified on Passover. He was buried during the next spring holy day called unleavened bread. He rose from the dead on the Hebrew holy day called First Fruits.
Today we're going to be talking about the last of the spring holy days called, in Hebrew, Shavuot, also referred to as Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, meaning fifty. Now, how do we go from Shavuot, meaning weeks, to Pentecost, meaning fifty? Because this particular holy day took place at seven weeks and a day after Passover. So it took place fifty days after Passover. So that's why in Greek it's called Pentecost. Pentecost means fifty. So we're gonna zero in now on what Pentecost is about and particularly, beloved ones, how it applies to your life and my life today.
So, Father God, we thank You now for the Ruach HaKodesh, for the Holy Spirit. We ask You to come and touch us and, Father, that You would carve a deeper place of habitation in our soul through hearing Your word today, that You could rest within us even as you rested in the Tabernacle. In Jesus' name. Amen.
By the way, as a side note, did you know in the Book of Shemot, in the book of Exodus, when the Lord told Moses to build Him, we call it in Hebrew, a Mishkan, which is translated in English as tabernacle, the Lord said, "I want you to build me this Mishkan, this tabernacle exactly according to the pattern that I show you". And He gave us the reason why. He said, "That I might dwell among you". So the purpose of the Tabernacle is that there could be a resting place for the Lord. The same thing is true in our lives. When we're walking under the Lordship of Yeshua, when we're submitted to His Word, when we're walking under His obedience, a covering comes over our life. And we become in a place where the presence of the Lord can rest.
So the more submitted we are to Yahweh, the deeper His Spirit can rest within us. And I believe that these holy days that the Lord gave us in Leviticus 23 are important because each one reminds us of a key truth of the Lord's redemptive process that is operating in our life. So that, for example, when we celebrate Passover, we're reminded of the importance of the blood. Today, we're going to be talking about Pentecost and we're going to be reminded today, as we consider Shavuot or Pentecost, about the importance of being led by and walking by the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh. So we're going to begin by going to the original source. We're going to go to the Torah today.
And by the way, the Torah actually means instruction. But we formally referred to the Torah as the first five books of what many Gentile Christians would call the Old Testament, the Writings of Moses, also referred to as the Pentateuch. So we're going out of the book of Leviticus 23. And I'm going to be reading here Leviticus 23, beginning in verse 16. The grass withers and the flowers fade, beloved ones, but the word of the LORD, bless His name, abides forever. Hear the word of God. "You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath, then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord". Fifty days after Passover, a new grain offering was presented to the Lord. Most of these holy days were rooted in an agricultural context in which Israel was living in when the word came to them. But they have other levels of anointing on them.
So that over time the Hebrew people associated Shavuot or Pentecost with the day that the Lord appeared to them at Mount Sinai in the wilderness in fire and glory with the mountain shaking. They then heard the voice of God, and then the Lord wrote His law on the tablets of stone, and Moses gave them to the people of Israel. So let me say that again. Shavuot or Pentecost originally rooted in Israel's agricultural process. But as time went on, it came to be understood as the day that the God of Israel, which most Semitic scholars believe is pronounced a breathy Yahweh, a living active form of I Am, the day that the God of Israel gave His people the Torah. So think about this now. We come to Acts 2. And the Bible says the day of Pentecost had come. We also read in the scriptures of Paul wanting to get back to Jerusalem for Pentecost.
So, Pentecost, I want to, first of all, make very clear, is not a holiday that first appears in the Brit Chadashah or the New Testament. Christians, I want you to hear this. Pentecost is not, first of all, a Christian holiday in the sense that it's first revealed in the New Testament. Rather, Pentecost had been celebrated for 1,500 years by Israel before we came to Acts 2. Pentecost is rooted, once again, in the Torah in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, verse 16, which I just read. So when we read in Acts 2 that the day of Pentecost had come, there was a history there that those that were gathered in the upper room were thinking about. When they gathered in the upper room, they were not anticipating that the Holy Spirit would fall. Okay? Pentecost is not first of all about Pentecostalism. Okay? It's about God fulfilling that wish He had given the Hebrew people.
Let's read now in Acts 2. The day of Pentecost had come, they're gathered together in the upper room, they're thinking about what had happened 1,500 years earlier when the God of Israel, when their God had given them the ten commandments. They're recalling the history. They're remembering the fire on the mountain. They're remembering that the mountain shook, that Yahweh spoke, that the people trembled, and Moses then came down the mountain, gave them the law, and recite it to them all he had received from Yahweh in the mountaintop, and how the nation of Israel said, "All that Yahweh has said, we will do". And then Moses, Moshe, sprinkled them with the blood of the covenant.
That's what they were thinking about in the upper room in Acts 2. They weren't thinking about going to some city where there was a Pentecostal revival going on. They were thinking about Israel's history. Then suddenly, suddenly, while they're thinking about the same God, the same Lord of all that appeared to them at Sinai, suddenly manifest Himself and makes entrance in the upper room where they were seated. And the whole room was filled with glory and smoke, and the same fire that they saw on top of Mount Sinai, the same wind, the same glory entered into that upper room. Hear the word of God. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together. And I love that they were together because God's anointing falls most heavenly when His people are united together. We're not called just to walk individually. We're called to be together. We're a body.
"When two or three are gathered together," I am in the midst of The Lord. The day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly... And I love that word "suddenly" because there are sometimes things that the Lord does in our life it's a suddenly moment. And we should be open to, and expect, and even pray for suddenly moments with God where He'll interrupt our lives and do something that brings us to a brand new place. We believe, beloved, in a suddenly God. And I speak a word of suddenly blessing in Yeshua HaMashiach over your life and circumstances right now. Let it be.
"Suddenly fire came from heaven, a noise like a violent rushing wind," just like that mountain was quaking at Sinai, "and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And even when the sound occurred, the crowd came together and were bewildered because each one of them," listen now "was hearing them speak in his own language".
When these 120 were filled, they began to speak the word of God in languages that they had never learned, so that all those that were gathered in Jerusalem heard the word of God being proclaimed in their own language. It would be, for example, just to illustrate the concept, if I did not know how to speak Chinese and you're Chinese, I would have been supernaturally given the ability to proclaim the gospel to you in Chinese. That's what happened there. So let's take this apart. First of all, just a few general comments.
Notice, number one, that the tongues that were being spoken of in Acts chapter 2, were not the type of charismatic tongues or Pentecostal tongues that are associated with the charismatic and Pentecostal movement. Those tongues are associated with a prayer language, which is a gift from God, an ability to cry out to Him from our soul in a groaning that's too deep for words, by His Spirit within us in which we're able to directly connect with God, not through English, but through the groaning of the spirit. It's a prayer tongue. And Paul said, "I wish that you all spoke in tongues". But that's not what happened in Acts 2. In Acts 2, what happened was they were given the ability to supernaturally proclaim the gospel in a language that they had never learned. The Scripture describes it as people from every nation under heaven.
Of course, that was an exaggeration, but the writer of Scripture is making a point. There were people there that spoke all different languages, so many, and all of them were able to hear the gospel in their own tongue because those 120 that were filled with the Holy Spirit were able to communicate supernaturally in a language they had never learned. But it's good to know that the emphasis that is sometimes put on receiving the Spirit, and then the initial evidence, speaking in a prayer language, that's not what happened in Acts 2. It wasn't a prayer language. It was a known language. I want to further move down the pike here and I want to tell you how Peter interpreted what was going on. Because some that were watching this whole thing, it was like, "What is going on"?
The scripture says they were bewildered. They didn't understand what was going on. It was like they were taken aback by what was happening. So the scripture says here, "They were bewildered. How is this happening"? They were bewildered in verse 6, because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They came together and were bewildered. What is going on here? Some thought they were probably drunk. Okay, but listen to what Peter says. "These men are not drunk". In verse 15, "For these men are not drunk as you suppose, for it's only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel". And now Peter gives the interpretation of what happened. And Peter now was quoting, once again, from the Hebrew Bible.
Notice the New Testament is rooted and grounded in the Hebrew Bible. If you're not rooted and grounded in the Hebrew Bible as a New Testament believer, you're missing Jesus's point in John 4, when He said to the woman of Samaria that didn't know the Hebrew Bible, He said to a woman, "You don't know what you're worshiping. Salvation is from the Jews". Those are Jesus' words to this woman that was not practicing Judaism in John 4. If we're not, as New Testament believers, rooted in the Hebrew Bible, we're missing something big. That's why the New Testament begins in Matthew 1:1 by saying, "This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David the son of Abraham". The first verse in the New Testament, the Brit Chadashah, brings us back to the first book of the Old Testament. We need to be rooted and grounded in this.
So this is what Peter does. He quotes now Joel 2 to explain this phenomenon that everybody was witnessing as these first 120 were filled with the Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Peter said this, "And it shall be in the last days," as he's quoting Joel, "God says, 'I will pour forth my Spirit on all mankind and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams, even on my bond slaves, both men and women, I will in those days, pour forth of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy". And so what is happening here is the fulfillment of what Joel said: that the Lord was going to pour for His spirit on all flesh. And the result of that is that we'd be able to speak by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, even as I'm doing now, and even as you do as you're being led by the Spirit.
Even if it's just calling a friend on the phone because you're inspired by the Holy Spirit, you just begin to minister to them and love them. Joel and Peter said, "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy". "Naba" is the Hebrew word speaking by inspiration to the spirit. "Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams". So what does this mean to see visions and dream dreams? It means that we're able to see even sometimes simple pictures that sometimes can be very subtle that the Holy Spirit will put in our mind. It's just a simple picture. And the pictures you need to be paying attention that the Holy Spirit may put in your mind, He's communicating something to you. That's one form of seeing a vision.
Visions don't have to knock you out like it happened to John in Revelation. Most visions are very subtle. You should be paying attention. And then also the Holy Spirit will give us dreams. We need to pay attention to our dreams at night because the Lord will oftentimes speak to us in this mysterious state called sleep, where we're in between, you're hovering in between the spiritual and the material world. Pay attention to your dreams. I've been keeping a dream journal for I don't know how many years. I would even encourage you to get my book entitled "Experiencing the Supernatural". I talk about these in much more depth. Finally, Beloved, as we conclude today, I want to go to the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah gave us a word that really succinctly tells us what happened when the Holy Spirit came.
I'm reading from Jeremiah 31 now, where Jeremiah is prophesying about the giving of the spirit. "Behold days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with them and their Fathers when I took them out of Egypt by the hand". He said that covenant which they broke up, Behold I'll make a new covenant with the house of Israel The Lord said, "I will put my law within them and I'll write it upon my heart". Ezekiel talks about this same promise where the Lord would put His Spirit within us. Beloved one, you now, because of your love and faith in Jesus, had been given the most precious gift that God could give anybody. You've been given the gift of the Spirit.