Thoughts on the Pentecost

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The Pentecost, – the First and the Original one – for Christians, was the day when Weak, Ordinary men were Possessed by the Spirit of God and Transformed into Fearless Giants of Men.

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[Just like gathering Data with No Real Purpose, – Celebrations for celebration’s sake, and Festivals and Feasts just for Festivities, are a Snare; Do have a look at this!]

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The Pentecost is All about the HOLY SPIRIT.

Pentecost

Image: eaglechristianonline.wordpress.com

The Pentecost is also All about POWER.

Peter preaches

Peter Preaches. drdavewhite.com

“The Spirit that God has given Us is not supposed to make us Timid; Instead, His Spirit Fills us with Power, Love and Self Control.” 2 Timothy 1:7.

“The Spirit that God has given us does not make us Slaves; Instead, the Spirit makes us God’s Children.” Romans 8:15.

“The Kingdom of God is not a matter of Words but of Power!” 1 Corinthians 4:20.

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Too Long have we become used to Merely Celebrating Festivals. Of course Mankind Needs festivities, which are good, but we Want them, Actively desire them, which can become a weakness. Feasts and Festivals, even like those of Christmas and Easter, can become just Means of Entertainment in our lives which become boring with time. Just How are we different from the Hebrews who made a statue of a Calf in gold and went and worshipped it? They had wanted entertainment too!

the golden calf and Moses

Image courtesy: raebear.net

We all know that Moses Broke the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, and that Much More happened, besides. 3,000 people were Killed. Please read chapter 32 of Exodus. The Important thing is that The Lord Did Not Castigate Moses for doing this. On the contrary, in the same chapter, We will find that He Disowned the Hebrews, and spoke to Moses saying that they were ‘his’ (Moses’) people, and Not His (the Lord’s)!

The Lord Fully Appreciates Enthusiasm, Fire and Zeal. And it was not just in the case of Moses. More on this later.

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In this post We shall See:

  • What the Pentecost is; seeing its Jewish and Christian meanings,
  • What its Importance is. What Christ Jesus had said about the Holy Spirit.
  • Some notes On Rev. David Wilkerson, and the Pentecostals, etc,
  • And, What and How We can Draw from the Feast of Pentecost.

What Is the Pentecost:

Historically speaking, the First Pentecost fell on the day when the Jews were celebrating their Harvest Festival. For the Jews it was their Harvest Festival, celebrated seven weeks after the day harvesting began, (Deuteronomy 16:9 and 10).

For Christians, the Original Pentecost was like this: When the day of (the Jewish) Pentecost arrived, The Holy Spirit descended upon Christ’s Disciples with Power and Might, in the form of Tongues of Fire. They were Filled with The Spirit and their Lives Changed. Acts 2:1-12.

Christ’s Disciples had been These kind of men:

Christ’s disciples were Frightened men at that time, Most probably into Hiding. After all, their Leader, whom they had even hoped would be the Very Messiah who would lead them out of the Slavery to Rome, had been Ignominiously and Brutally killed. And that had been the Intention of the Jewish leaders, to Quell any sort of deviation from what they were teaching. It had been accomplished by The Might of Rome! Whereas The Disciples were Very Ordinary folk.

Christ had known all this about his Disciples. There had been No Long drawn out process of applying for it and getting selected. Though Jesus Must have studied them, often times it was a Call On the Spot, Responded to Equally. Most of them were Fishermen. Fishing in the Lake of Galilee. Not Sea goers! Ergo, not big businessmen. Consider Your Fish seller in India. Christ’s Disciples could not have been much different.

Indian fish sellers

In India, the Men catch the fish and the Women sell them. The men help out in the chopping. But most of them Sit on the Floor for their marketing. There You have the Disciples. If somebody expects such simple folks to stand up to the Police of the Temple (of Jerusalem) or the Roman Army, would we not say they have another think coming? But These sorts of men were Transformed!

There is More to this. Only One among them seemed to have qualities of Leadership, the talent of Speaking out. Peter. But, poor man, he had ‘Foot in the Mouth Disease.’

And Pentecost was the Day when these kinds of Simple folks were Transformed into Men for whom their own lives became Secondary from then on. As We shall see.

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Those sorts of men Started Speaking like This:

Miracles accompanied the Descent of the Holy Spirit. One of them was that those Early Disciples were able to speak in languages unknown to them. Since the Pentecost was a Festival, there was a goodly gathering in Jerusalem. And those gathered were from very different places; the Bible names 16 of them, (Acts 2:9-11). For the Crowd, to hear these Disciples, who were Obviously Jewish – in All those ‘Foreign’ tongues, must have sounded like Blabbering. Many of them termed them Drunk, and Laughed at them.

And This is How Peter responded to the Crowd: “YOU Killed Him (Jesus) by letting sinful men Crucify Him. But GOD raised Him from Death.” Acts 2:23-24.

Let us see the same verse in a different light:

GOD raised Him from Death. But YOU (are the ones who had) Killed Him by letting sinful men Crucify Him.”

This is Serious Stuff. Something that would get Us Lynched. It is not only a question of making the Crowd partners in Crime, that too Murder, but Peter places them in Opposition to God!

Christ’s Disciples Continued to speak in that light, and continue to speak like that Today, in Spite of Getting Persecuted and even Killed for that. That is Some Power. Out of Christ’s 12 Apostles (Disciples), 11 were Killed, and Died a Violent Death.

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OUR Situation is like that of Christ’s Disciples Before Pentecost

Even today, there are even Countries which persecute Christians. china seems to lead in the destruction of churches. One image below.

Church destroyed in china

In russia, they have conveniently ‘converted’ churches into ‘museums’ and what not.

St Basil's cathedral, kremlin

Image source: englishrussia.com/2014/04/21/st-basils-cathedral-from-inside/

The site Clearly states that the church/cathedral is used as a museum. Great is Religious freedom in russia. Wonder how it will be taken if ‘communism’ comes to India and temples are converted into museums!

In India, since the coming of the new regime under the ‘BJP,’ churches and holy artefacts have been damaged and vandalized, but who gets blamed? Rowdy elements. As if rowdy elements have Any interest in damaging Religious things. An image below, of a Church Vandalized in Delhi.

Vandalized Church in Delhi

Can this be the Result of Anything But Organized Vandalism?

My purpose in presenting all that data and images is Not to incite Religious hatred or Retaliation. There have been Criminal Stupidities in Christianity, in the form of, particularly the Inquisition, misguided Crusades, the Ku Klux Klan and other such, the Christian mega rich who loot the world, Christian countries fighting among themselves – like the UK and Ireland, UK over the Falkland, …in Bosnia, …Not to say the Greed for Money on the part of Our religious leaders, the list can be Very long.

But on the whole  Christians are taught, and Expected to be Peaceful. This frequently allows Majority groups of Any place to persecute them. And That is the Situation.

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It would take Real Power to Remain Calm; and Yet, Not be just Concerned, but Actively So, bringing about Positive Changes into Life and the World.

The Power is Available; God Wants to Give that to His Children. But Most Christians are Satisfied with Merely celebrating the Festivals.

Christians, as I said, are Expected to Remain at Peace. But they seem to Misunderstand this as Sitting on Arm-Chairs, and Remaining Inactive. Apathetic. Horribly Wrong understanding.

We Can and We Should Always Better Ourselves. We would do well to do that. There is a Need for that. Think of the Water Situation. Buying Water to Drink, even while at Home, is becoming a Norm. And in the Mighty USA, it seems that they are Rationing Water in California, and who knows where else. And we Refuse Even to Think about these things. Would we Dare to think Just How this situation would be in Our Grand children’s time?

Christ had called for a Change of Heart, Mind and Behaviour. He had used the word: ‘Metanoia.’ Which means Being Ready to make a U-Turn in our Lives.

CHANGE – IS – ABSOLUTELY – DIFFICULT.

Yet We are called to make that Change, particularly in Our Way of Life, Our Moral Life and Our Value Systems, etc. Whereas Christ’s Disciples, having Constantly been with Him for a handsome period of Three Years, did not have much in their ‘moral lives’ that needed changing. What they Needed was Guts, Gumption and Courage, as We do!

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What Christ Jesus had said about the Holy Spirit

Reading the Bible should Not be like reading the newspaper, – something to pass the time, something that helps Us ‘Swallow’ Our Breakfast! Keeping that Well in mind, let us See Christ’s words on the Holy Spirit.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give You Another HELPER, Who will Stay with You For Ever!” John 14:16. Our Lord is Well Aware that He could not stay with us forever in His Earthly form. At the same time He Well Knows our Need for a Helper. And He Arranges it. The Holy Spirit is A Helper Who will be with us Always.

“The HELPER, the Holy Spirit, …Will Teach You Everything and Make You Remember.” John 14:26. The Holy Spirit, the God of Power, not only makes Drug Addicts give up their slavery to it, (see below), but also Helps in common and small things. As I saw.

When I was studying Theology, I was past 35, and I had passed a hard life before that. Coming from a working situation to Studying for Hours in Classes, not to say later in my cubicle, was telling on me. I prayed to the Spirit, and Got the Strength to study!

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The Pentecost and Fire!

Or should I say The Holy Spirit and Fire! It is not just that the Bible says that the Holy Spirit came upon Christ’s Disciples on Pentecost day in the form of tongues of Fire. We will find Frequent Allusions to Fire whenever the Holy Spirit is mentioned.

The Holy Spirit and Fire

[For all the Fire, the Holy Spirit is often shown as a Dove in Christian spirituality.]

Spirituality gets Embedded in Songs, very often and very Much! Let us see how the Idea of the Holy Spirit as Fire comes out in Christian songs. Below, the lyrics of one of my Favourite songs (as I remember it!).

“Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit,

Set our Hearts on Fire…

Holy Spirit Set our Hearts on Fire, (2)

Come Holy Spirit, Let Your Fire fall.

Let Your Fire fall, Let Your Fire fall.”

What is important is that a search for such songs gives more than 1.8 Million results!

Search results for Holy Spirit as Fire

The Holy Spirit as FIRE is Ingrained in Christian Spirituality.

……. The Love of God is expressed in terms of Fire too, in Song, as this Very Old, Great Favourite of mine: “To Jesus Heart all Burning, with Fervent Love for men… etc.” And in Art, as Under, in this Beautiful portrayal:The Sacred Heart

The Heart is considered the seat of Love. Artists show Jesus’ Love for us as a Heart surrounded with Thorns, – bearing our Pains; and on Fire in Love for us.

But We prefer our INSIPIDITY, LETHARGY, and APATHY. What is Worse is that we think that we are the wise ones.

Do We Not Look Down on our Fiery ones? Do We not Avoid them?

“The Lord is a Consuming Fire.” Deuteronomy 4:24.

“God’s Judgement is like a Fire that Burns for Ever.” Isaiah 33:14.

Christ’s Teachings have been called ‘Too Hard,’ right during His times! John 6:60.

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On Rev. David Wilkerson, and the Pentecostals

The Spirit is making things happen; in this our day and age. Rev. David Wilkerson (May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011), was a Pastor, who was Very much moved by the Spirit. I happened to read his ‘The Cross and the Switch blade’ during my Youth. In the book he had described how Drug Addicts were healed of their Addiction. Subsequent to reading his book, I found that the ‘Teen Challenge’ existed, and exists to this day. I also found that Nicky Cruz (born December 6, 1938) whom Rev. Wilkerson describes in his book is a Real person. (There is a large amount of material available about them in the net).

David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz

[Two of my Favourite Real Life Christians, Late Rev. David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz.]

I started to believe in Drug Addicts getting healed of their Addiction after finding out all these details. And this is something Extremely Powerful. Even Alcoholism is Nothing compared to Drug Addiction.

That was the time when I had started to Read the Bible (c 1969). I came across passages like Matthew 10:1 and 8, etc, where we see the Lord giving His Disciples Enormous Powers. Coming across Rev. Wilkerson’s book was a God send, indeed.

I started Reading the Bible in Earnest, and started practising what I learnt, and Found Miracles happening! The Healing of my Friend, Raymond Richard’s son of Blood Dysentery in Gorakhpur, when the Doctors in All three major hospitals there washed their hands off the case, was the First miracle the Good Lord allowed through my hands. It was All His work, of course. Nothing mine.

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The Pentecostal Experience is Needed Today

Years ago I heard of a young woman who was vomiting Blood. The doctors had said that they could not do anything for her. Her mother was taking care of this young woman, but she was tired out, so that many a time she did not even have the energy to clean up after her daughter. Many people had come and prayed for her. But there had been no improvement.

Then a group of Pentecostals arrived, who surrounded the young woman, and prayed in what sounded like Thunder. The young woman was healed that day due to their prayers. I am not saying that We should all become Pentecostals, (I am not one), nor that We should pray as loud as thunder.

But that Faith, that Conviction, that things will happen if we pray, and the Courage to pray like that, the Willingness, Readiness and the Very Habit of praying like that, is Not to be seen in Most Christians.

Or maybe we are ready to pray for sicknesses, but do not bother about Social maladies. These we claim to leave to the Lord. Or maybe we Pray, but Do not have the Strength for Action. …The Disciples were not sitting in their room all the while, after all. They were Extremely Active. Thomas travelled all the way to India.

We are Millions of miles away from what our Lord had expected; That We are the Light and the Salt of the Earth. We are Supposed to be that, anyway!

Things happen, and We Retreat, to our TV rooms, and Reach out for that ‘Peg.’ Peg is right indeed! This is not how life is supposed to be.

Power is Offered to All of Us. We are not all called to perform Healings. But To Face life, and To Live it Powerfully, We Need the Gift of the Holy Spirit. A Pentecostal Experience. And It is there for the Asking.

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How to Receive the Spirit?

Let us see what Jesus said about this:

“Having your Weaknesses, you Still know how to give Good things to your children. Know that your heavenly Father is Even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to Anyone who asks.” Luke 11:13, my Own Translation.

That’s it. We have to make ourselves As worthy as possible to Receive Him, of course. And we should see that We are Not going to Use this Gift of His presence for selfish reasons or gimmicks.

Let Us Ask for the Lord to Come into Our Hearts Once again. Or in a Greater Measure. Acts 4:31 says: “When they finished praying, they were all Filled with the Holy Spirit.” Let us remember that the Holy Spirit had Already come down upon them as described in chapter 2. The instance I am quoting happens in chapter 4!

Let us Pray That He Melt Us, Mold Us, Fill Us and Use Us, as the song says. And Break Us, if necessary. We need not worry. Even if He does that, He knows How to do it Gently. We NEED the Pentecostal Experience and the Holy Spirit for Enthusiasm and Zeal in Our lives. We Need the Pentecost On-a-Day-to-Day-Basis.

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