Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pentacost: It ain't about speaking in tongues...

O.T. was called “Feast of Harvest” (Exodus 23:16) or “Feast of Weeks” (Exodus 34:22)
N.T.  calls it “Pentecost” because it was 50 days after Passover.
“Das Boot/U Boot” VS. “Submarine” Speaking in Tongues with translation 1 Cor. 14 at its finest.
What would happen: In the temple courts, the farmers would present a “free will offering”, as they were blessed, of grain  and recite a liturgy that we see in Deuteronomy 26. Israelites in Egypt, became a great nation, harsh treatment from Egyptians, God heard their cries and delivered them to the land he had promised.  Towards the tail end: “I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.” As a result of this covenant, The Lord would declare them his people, as he had promised, that they would KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS and he would set them high above all nations and that they would be a people holy to Him.  This was all said in Hebrew. Later Jewish tradition would make an oath to the covenant part of the Pentecost celebration.
In terms of Law and Gospel, this was an intense covenant of Law.
Acts 2:1-21
Acts 2:1. ESV “When the day of Pentecost arrived”  KJV “When the day of Pentecost was fully come”
Luke’s verbiage in the Greek R.C.H. Lenski:  It was here, time was filling up and up towards what was going to happen. Not merely Pentecost, but the fulfillment of what Christ had said to the disciples in Acts 1:5,8 “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. “ 
Acts 2:2-4
Luke gives us descriptions: “sound like a mighty rushing wind” and “tongues as of fire”. These were supernatural occurrences. Here we see the fulfillment of what Christ and John the Baptizer had said. They had been baptized by the Holy Spirit and with fire and were now speaking in tongues, more appropriately, earthly languages that the Holy Spirit was giving them. They were doing this loudly and intelligibly, as they were given by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:5 devout – they were here for Pentecost, the ones from outside of Israel were known as the Jews of the Diaspora, or the “dispersion.” And they were that because of wars and persecutions, their business activities, they had been spread out throughout the Roman Empire and beyond it. 

Acts 2:6-11They heard the “sound like a mighty rushing wind” and came to check to see what was going on and found the disciples speaking in the crowds native languages. During the observation of the Feast of Pentecost, the liturgy that they were reciting was going to be in Hebrew.  From the Galilee area common language would have been Aramaic and otherwise the universal language would have been Greek. But they weren’t hearing Hebrew or these other two universal languages, they were hearing the articulated, fluent, accurate languages of their native homes. They know that the disciples are from Galilee and that there is no way that they could know all these languages fluently. So they don’t understand how this is happening. Well, they probably didn’t know what Jesus had said to the disciples, that this very event was going to happen, but hopefully they would have know what the Prophet Joel had said, which Peter is going to remind them of shortly.
Then we get the running list of where all these people are from
Acts 2:9-11
These people are from literally all throughout their known world and they are hearing the disciples speaking fluently in the crowds native languages, declaring the mighty works of God. This wasn’t small talk, it wasn’t mere conversation in the crowds native languages. There was no (Como te llamas?/ Me llamo Leif Halvorson. Y tu? / Me llamo Pedro. Soy de aqui? / No soy de aqui. Soy de Sidney, Montana en Los Estatdos Unidos/ Ohh)
There was  no exchange of names, not talk about where they were from or other trivial things such as this.They were boldly, loudly, accurately, articulately declaring the mighty works of God

Acts 2:12 Obviously some Lutheran’s in the crowd. People who’ve gone through confirmation, remember the continual question from Luther’s small catechism? What does this mean? These people genuinely wanted to know what was going on. It’s possible at this moment that the Holy Spirit is starting to work in people who are in the crowd.
But then there was “the other people”
Acts 2:13
They hear the word of God and they try to dismiss it by making fun of the disciples. Often times, we’re like these people. At first glance, all that they are doing is making fun of the disciples. But what they are actually doing is much different than doing something that might be considered as innocent as poking jabs at the disciples.  And at this Peter throws down the hammer.

Acts 2:14
In other words cut the wisecracks and listen up
Acts 2:15: (analogue hand clock, opposite side) it was the 3rd hour of the day, which was the time of prayer and sacrifice. On this day they didn’t have their first meal until after the sacrifice, and for this meal they would only eat bread. They would only drink wine when they ate meat and they only had meat at evening meal or their main meal of the day.  The disciples and everyone else who was there for Pentecost would have adhered to this. So Peter is kind of saying to these wise cracks is “look you morons, you know what time it is, now one has had anything yet.”

Peter continues
Acts 2:16-21
You see, the wisecracks weren’t just mocking the disciples, they were mocking God’s word. And to mock God’s word is to mock God. Here we’re seeing the start of the fulfillment of what Joel had said, the rest of which would be completed later. Acts 2:17: Prophesy is not just the foretelling of future events. It also means to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation, to know and believe that Christ is Lord of all, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish and comfort others. This right now, because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this pouring out of the Holy Spirit on to the disciples, Peter and the disciples where prophesying. This could not have happened if it had not been the start of the last days mentioned, which could not have started had it not been that Christ was what and who he was. 
These guys thought they were merely mocking the disciples, but in mocking the disciples, because of what the disciples were doing, they were mocking the scriptures that were now beginning to be fulfilled, thereby mocking Christ. Their faith was in what they were doing. They actually thought that they were keeping their covenant, despite the fact that they weren’t and Christ had fulfilled it for them. This is far worse than what it seems. To put it into perspective, it’s a though if they were there at the crucifixion, looking up at Christ as He’s hanging on the cross and saying, “Naw, I’m good.” They thought it was about what they were doing.

How often are we like this? Every time we have disregard for God’s word. Naw, I’m good. Every time we treat baptism and communion flippantly. Naw, I’m good. Every time we hear a sermon and think “I sure hope Benny was listening to this because he could sure benefit from this” ignoring our guilt and the Holy Spirit who’s trying to convict us of our sin, to bring us to a point of contrition that we might come to confession and repentance. Naw, I’m good. I’m doing fine. I’m doing good stuff. Like these wisecracks, we daily deny the work of Christ.
This event was far more than what it appeared to be at first glance. This unfolding of events was not about the start of a doctrine concerning speaking foreign languages through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This was about the end of the old Pentecost Covenant, which was a Law covenant to the Jews, and the start of the new covenant. A Gospel covenant.

In comparing the two, Law and Gospel, What does the law do? It kills us, destroys us, it convicts us. It shows us how incapable and insignificant we are. It shows us that there is no way possible for us to keep it. When the Law  does its work, and it crushes us, it reveals to us where we really are. Lifeless and hopeless. It brings us to rock bottom. We have absolutely nothing left and have no hope as we face our reality. Suffering the wrath of our righteous, angry God.
Under this old covenant, the people were trying to satisfy the demands of the law but they were incapable of keeping it!  Remember towards the tail end of the liturgy that they would say when giving their offering at Pentecost?  “I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.” Well shucks, you can’t go but 5 minutes, if not sooner, and they’d already broken it. The truth is, they were completely incapable of keeping them, despite the fact that they thought and hoped that they could, they were dead in their trespasses to sin.
But didn’t we say that this was the start of the new covenant?
Yes. Here, with the baptism of the disciples with the Holy Spirit, we see God making possible for the whole of humanity, not just the Jews, to know of Christ and Him crucified, that he had fulfilled the law for them because they couldn’t. That their sins were forgiven through the work of Christ alone. That they might believe and be saved.
Many of these people who were at Pentecost came from across the Roman Empire and beyond. They heard the disciples declare the mighty works of the Lord in their own native languages. So they listened. They would soon leave and disperse back all across the Roman Empire and beyond. And those who believed would take the message of Christ with them, thereby enabling the spreading if the Gospel across the whole world. The end of an impossible Law covenant and the start of this Gospel covenant. Pentecost is about God intervening that the world might know. It’s not about you and what you think you do. It’s about Christ FOR you. You and I are dead. So Christ came down to us to give us life. Christ accomplished this for the world. This is Christ for you. Believe it.
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

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