BY: LLOYD ELLEFSON
The three major feasts which were celebrated by the Israelites are described in Lev. 23:1-27. They varied in length, but all contained holy days. These feasts were celebrated in Jerusalem (the holy city that is set apart and pictures a covenant). These were not ordinary feasts, but they represented lots of food, as feasts always do. The fact that all the males who belonged to Israel were to present themselves before the Lord in Jerusalem at each of these feasts combined the idea of appearing before God, with food. It is the Lord who supplies the feast that enables us to go on to another era in our relationship with Him.
The first feast to be celebrated was the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, and it had to be celebrated before any of the other feasts. Eating the Passover lamb began a process of deliverance for God’s people. In typology it symbolizes a deliverance from our bondage to the flesh or our carnal nature. This deliverance begins when we are made a new creation, and continues as this new life grows and is sustained by feeding on the Christ. So the feasts symbolize our participation in the eating of the bread of life. This brings forth growth and progression in our relationship to the Lord. This progression is symbolized by the feasts.
After the children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea where they experienced God’s great deliverance from Pharaoh and his army, God provided them with water, manna and meat. Then, “In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.” (Exodus 19:1)
In 1 Cor. 10:1-5, Paul refers to their experiences in the wilderness; they are pictures of spiritual realities. “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.” All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Baptized into Moses would mean baptized into the law. Now the law is a relationship with God; it is a covenant. They ALL ate the same spiritual meat, ALL drank of that spiritual Rock (Christ) that followed them, yet ALL except two were overthrown or died in the wilderness.
“Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.” (v. 6) What a negative example for us! They were a called people – called according to the eternal purpose of God, but they craved evil things. So they all had to die in the wilderness! The death of all these people did not alter nor stymie the purpose of God. We have lots of people who hear a call of God or Christ, participate in a form of repentance, etc., and then drift away. Figures state that 50-60% of Americans claim to be Christians. 53% of the Catholics in a poll (before 87) said they were born again.
The cloud that led them is a type of the witness of the Holy Spirit which confirms God’s promises to us. God had promised to take them out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land; that had been prophesied. They were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Notice that they were not baptized in the cloud and in the sea, but into Moses. This means they were baptized into the law and its relationship to the cloud and the sea – which is very literal. The sea was a water of separation that separated them from Pharoah and his armies, then closed over them and destroyed them. It brought a separation. And the cloud was a picture of the Spirit who would eventually lead them through and out of the wilderness.
In this study we will first see how the feast of Pentecost was celebrated in the Old Testament, and then look at its spiritual significance for us. This includes the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, and the new law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus at Pentecost. Fifty days after the Passover, the Israelites came to Mount Sinai. We remember that Pentecost (the feast of the first fruits) was celebrated 50 days after the Passover (in the third month). That was the first indication that a harvest was to come. Growing out of this, fruit would appear. In the wilderness of Sinai, Israel camped before Mount Sinai. (Ex. 19:2) God spoke to Moses from the mountain and told him that if they would obey Him, they would be His own possession, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. In verses 9-10, God said He would come down to them in a thick cloud.
When God revealed Himself to Moses, He identified Himself as “Lord” or “Yahweh”. The names of God bring a progressive revelation of God to man. During creation, He was called Elohim (Creator). In the name “Yahweh” the character of God begins to be revealed. He is the righteousness of God, the One who brings judgment, as in Noah’s day. Now He came in the law. People who only want to call God by the name of Yahweh are still in legalism. You can almost bet your last nickel, that if someone is using the name Yahweh to prove he is right by addressing God correctly, he is still in the law. The law’s glory was Mount Sinai; this is where Yahweh is really in evidence.
In preparation for hearing from God, the children of Israel were to consecrate themselves for two days, wash their clothes and refrain from sexual intercourse. The third day they were supposed to go to the mountain – within certain boundaries. Anyone who disobeyed would die! A long blast of the trumpet would call them to the mountain. “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” (Ex. 19:26) That was an impressive display of fireworks to the tune of the trumpet blast! All the people in the camp trembled with fear as they stood at the lower part of the mountain where Moses had stationed them. All of Mount Sinai was in smoke, for Yahweh had descended on it in fire.
In the New Testament God has revealed Himself differently to us. He has disclosed Himself in the name of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 12:18,22-24 we read, “For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire….But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” We have not come to Mount Sinai, but to Mount Zion. A different relationship exists there. At Mount Sinai it was Yahweh, the righteous one – as seen in the law and its judgment. On Mount Zion it is God our Father – the relationship Christ brought.
In Exodus 24:16-17 it says, “And the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai…And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.” This display of fire and might accompanied the giving of the law. The people were afraid. They told Moses to go up there and they would do everything God said.
In Ex. 20:1-2 (Concordant) it says, “Elohim spoke all these words: `I am Yahweh your Elohim Who brought you forth from the land of Egypt, from the house of servants’.” This is how we got the 10 commandments. Verse 3 says, “You shall not come to have other gods in preference to Me.” Jesus said that everything hinges on the first commandment. “You shall not make for yourself a carving nor any representation of that in the heavens above or that on the earth beneath, or that in the waters beneath the earth.” (v.4) So why do we have all these figures of Jesus, and pictures of Him on the wall? It is because we have not rejected the idea of an earthly father. You see when Jesus said, “Do not call any man your father on earth,” He was rejecting the idea of an earthly father for us – just as He did for Himself. He was telling us that we really didn’t have an earthly father.
In v.7 God says, “You shall not take up the name of Yahweh your Elohim for futility.” (Concordant) You shall not take the name of your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes the name of the Lord in vain. Those who have memorized the catechism will know the commandments as listed in Exodus 20:
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged on the earth.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not answer against your associate with false testimony.
You shall not covet the house of your associate.
You shall not covet the wife of your associate, his field, his servant or his maidservant, his bull, his donkey or anything which is your associate’s.”
As God spoke to the Israelites they trembled with fear. They were more excited about the thunder, lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet and the smoking mountain than about what God was saying. They only wanted to hear what God said through Moses. They were afraid of God and promised to do everything He told them to do. Moses assured them that they need not be afraid. God wanted the fear of Him to remain with them so that they would not sin. “So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.”
God had many discourses with Moses. He gave Moses the pattern for the tabernacle. He was given the dimension of every veil, curtain, rod, and board. He was told of what material, metal, or wood it was to be made. Even the color of the curtains was specified. The building of the temple was included in the giving of the law, because it had to do with our relationship with God – a dwelling place with Him.
The Israelites had been dwelling in Egypt. Now that they had been delivered from their bondage of service in Egypt, they needed a new dwelling place. They were now released by Moses and the law to serve God. Through the law they got a relationship with God, and that relationship gave them a place for God to dwell among them. In the New Testament this is fulfilled in Christ. As the Passover lamb brought a deliverance from Egypt, so Christ’s death brought us a deliverance from the sense mind. Pentecost brought us another law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Many people may not associate the giving of the law with Pentecost; instead, they associate it with their liberty from the law. But God actually gave us a higher law, one which introduces us to a higher relationship, which in turn contains the pattern of the temple – our dwelling place with God.
Jesus came to fulfill the law internally in the spirit. In the day of Moses everything was external, but now it is internal. When God provided food for the Israelites in the desert, they got manna in the morning and quail in the evening; they didn’t only live on manna. They also had animals, but these were used mainly for sacrifices.
In Hebrews 7 it speaks about Melchizedek and Abraham. The new law includes the new priesthood. When God brought forth a new priesthood, of necessity the law had to be changed. The discussion begins with stating that Abraham was God’s covenant man – he was Mr. Faith. He was a type of a LIFE OF FAITH – not just faith. Others before him had faith, like Noah, but Abraham lived a life of faith. God gave a covenant to Abraham, but when Abraham met Melchizedek, he paid tithes to Melchizedek. And it says that without any dispute, the lesser is blessed by the greater. (v.7)
Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek. Melchizedek is greater than the covenant faith in Abraham. The covenant faith that was in Abraham could never be implemented until we know what the Melchizedek ministry does. It takes the priesthood ministry to mediate the fulfillment of that covenant that was in Abraham. It takes the ministry of this priesthood, which is represented by the endless life in Melchizedek, to bring forth the product of this promise – which is the Son. That is how the Son comes into being. That is how Christ is brought forth in you and me. So this ministry of the Melchizedek priesthood is for now.
So Pentecost an introduction to a new law, a new priesthood, a new ministry. However the greater part of Christianity is bound up in a mixture of the old and the new. One of the dangers of getting out of the legalism of the law, is to get into license. People feel a sense of liberty. Instead of realizing that they have been liberated from the old law into the new law of life in Christ Jesus, they think they have been liberated into no law, so they can do as they please. Their liberty is used to do their OWN WILL, instead of the WILL OF THE FATHER. They become independent, and the latter position is worse than being under some type of legalism. Peter said, “A dog returns to its own vomit.” Something that was in it, was thrown out, and then picked up again. And, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” After being cleaned up it returns to the dirt. We do well to heed this warning!
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, `Speak to the sons of Israel…When you enter the land…and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.'” (Lev.23:9, 10) To enter the Promised Land, the Israelites had to first come out of the wilderness. We, too, have to first come out of the wilderness and settle in the new land, before these things are operational in us. We have to see them in the kingdom of God. The first fruit of the harvest is the first grain that begins to ripen. A sheaf of this was brought to the priest, who waved it before the LORD for acceptance. (v.11) This is the way ; the harvest began.
“Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord. Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine.” We will not enter into the symbolism of each ingredient, but we want to get a basis for the celebration and meaning of Pentecost in the New Testament.
“Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths.” (Lev. 23:14, 15) On the first day after the Sabbath, a sheaf of grain was waved before the Lord. Then seven Sabbaths were counted. On the day after we have Pentecost. That is how we get fifty; 7 Sabbaths plus one equals 50.
“Then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of… fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD.” (vv.16b-17) Bread is made from crushed grain. The crushing causes the grain to lose its identity; after it is mixed with leaven, it is treated with fire. The common thinking is that leaven (yeast) is symbolic of sin. So in Pentecost sin is still present. I have a little trouble with that, because the kingdom of God is likened to leaven in Matt. 13. In Matthew 16:11-12 Jesus has it typify the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. TWO loaves were waved before the Lord, may symbolize the head and the body, but I am not sure of that.
“Along with the bread, you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect…and their libations” (drink offerings). (v.18) At the time the Israelites were offering all these sacrifices, they did not understand what they were doing; they just presented themselves to the LORD and obeyed the law.
In Acts 1 Jesus introduces the disciples to the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the fulfillment of this feast. “For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5) The meaning of the baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today, is a very controversial subject among Christians. Speaking in tongues seems very unreal to those who have not experienced it, so many deny the reality of it for today. Rather than excusing ourselves, we need to be submissive to what the scriptures say.
“And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, `Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?'” (v.6) Perhaps their idea of restoration was getting rid of the Roman government, so they could be free to be Israel, and do what they wanted. They were looking for a natural government, but Christ was speaking of a spiritual kingdom.
“He said to them, `It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” The word used for power is “dumnamis” or “dynamite” – and some want it to be dynamite, don’t they? They would like to blow all the sinners and enemies off the map with it. I think the power referred to is the power of submission, rather than the power to do battle, or to have authority over externals. This is an internal power. So He said, “You shall receive power after (when) the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…” (It doesn’t say “before”, it says “after”) The power of the Spirit would make them witnesses of something new. No longer would they be witnesses of the law.
Now let’s look at Acts 2:1, “When then day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all together in one place.” Since Jesus was raised after three days, and it was another forty days before He ascended, the disciples must have waited in Jerusalem for about a week for the day of Pentecost. If the counting began after His resurrection, then they waited 10 days.
Jesus Christ was crucified during the Passover in Israel – at the time people were judging and selecting the sheep and lambs suitable for sacrificing. It was at this time that Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, to be judged. 50 days later, when the Jews were celebrating the feast of Pentecost according to the law, the second feast was fulfilled – both in the same year. Isn’t it logical then, that the third feast would also be fulfilled in the same year? Yet almost 2000 years later, most Christians are still waiting for it to be fulfilled! They don’t understand that the feast of tabernacles has come.
Acts 2:1-4 “And when the feast of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, 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 Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” This is what we call the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In our studies we have shown that Pentecost is the coming of the law. Here in Acts 2 a new law is given; this is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It makes priests out of those who receive it. When the Spirit comes we will be His witnesses!
The other day I saw something I hadn’t seen before. At the time Jesus spoke to the disciples before His death, He promised to send them the Holy Spirit. Then He said, “In that day you will not ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name.” (John 16:23) The Father will give it IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST! That seems like an enigma, doesn’t it? Yet when we think of it that Jesus Christ is the Mediator, and we ask in His name, the Father has to fulfill it in His name, for He is a Mediator of us to God, and God to us.
Jesus mediates both ways. Did you think Jesus only mediated what we prayed to God without mediating the return? I believe that it is through the Mediator, the Christ in us, that we receive all things. By Him or through Him are all things. He is the total mediation between God and man. He is the Man Christ Jesus, the spiritual man in us, and He affects our prayers and our reception. If we did not have the faith of Jesus Christ, we would not receive anything. We receive things by His faith. It is through Him then, that we pray as well as receive. Don’t think of this too lightly, because I think the reason prayers are often unanswered, is because we look for answers in some other way. If we could only understand that we will receive in the same way that we prayed. It is a great assurance to us to know that we will get an answer to prayer and that it will be received through Him. After all, if He is our life, then both facets – what we pray to the Father and what we receive – will come through Him (Jesus). The fact of praying and receiving are in the Son. It is in our relation to the Son, isn’t it? That is because Christ is IN us. The more we think about that, the more we will see that is exactly the way it works.
In Acts 2:3 it says “cloven tongues like as of fire, sat upon each of them.” And in v.4, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.” Now the same Greek word “glossa” is used for the “tongues” of fire that sat on their heads, as when they spoke with other “tongues”. What does “other tongues” mean? Were these totally other tongues or just other tongues than they spoke? Different languages. It had to be a language that was spoken around the world – it had to be. That was the gift. “There appeared to them dividing tongues as if of fire.” (Concordant) That is sort of a divided language as if of fire. Fire speaks of judgment. It was a divided language that men were speaking – a language of God that had a new level of judgment in it.
At the Jordan, John the Baptist said, “I need to baptize you with water, but there is one coming after me who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus said, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished.” (Luke 12:49-50) The fire that we talk about – the fire which the Holy Spirit brings, the fire about which we read in Malachi, and which the day of the Lord brings – is a purging or a judgment that starts in the ministry. Remember, He said, “I purge the sons of Levi that they will have a true message.” I understand these divided tongues of fire to be a type of the language of judgment. This will come when people receive the coming of the Spirit and become witnesses of God.
Jesus is our example. He saw the leaders of Israel and said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matt. 23:27-28) Doesn’t it seem terrible to us that He said that? Lose His “nice guy” image? Yet that was the biggest help He could be to them. He exposed the delusion they were in!
We also need to expose the delusion people are in. God’s judgment has come, because, as revealed in the Old Testament, His judgments are included in the law that He gave. The law at Mount Sinai came 50 days after the first Passover, and that was their first Pentecost. Now we have a new law, which is spiritual, 50 days after the crucifixion of Christ. If it were only natural or carnal, we would be like everybody else. So here is the coming of a spiritual law which carries a judgment on the intention of the heart.
We are no longer judging people after the flesh. Since God does not look on the outward, we should not look on the outward either. We should look at the intentions of the heart. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) A lot of people have a lot of intentions that they do not function in, right? The judgment is not on what we do, but on the intentions of our heart. This is where God is working with us today. That is why, as we grow in judgment, we can see the intentions of people’s hearts as they preach, sing and worship God. We will be able to discern the things which are external, and those which are reality in the Spirit. This has to happen, and this, I believe, is what the coming of the Spirit brought in this language.
“Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven.” (Acts 2:5) The Jews had come to Jerusalem because it was the feast of Pentecost. They appeared before the Lord in Jerusalem on one of these feast days. “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6) What actually happened? Do we think they were all speaking the language of the Spirit cloven tongues and other languages? Now if this was spiritual, then it would take a spiritual act to understand it. This is an enigma to us because we do not understand the principle involved in tongues and in Pentecost.
Let us look at this in the light of 1 Cor. 14:1-2, and see the principle which is involved here. “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does NOT speak to men, but TO GOD; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” Do you believe some tongues are addressed to men, and some to God? Paul is stating a principle when he says that a man speaks to God, and not to men, when he speaks in other languages. Speaking in tongues to a congregation was never its intended usage. We need to see this.
Many people argue that tongues are not for today. They say tongues were given in order to introduce Pentecost, but now they are no longer needed. They say tongues are given so people can go out and speak the language of the natives in different countries in order to evangelize them. But if this were a language to use when evangelizing, why would Paul say it is not used for speaking to men, for no man understands him. (v. 2) Paul said, “I speak in tongues more than you all”, so he certainly did not say they were only for introducing Pentecost.
In Acts 2:6 it says that “they were bewildered because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language.” Now the question is, were they speaking in different languages or did God open people’s ears to hear what was said in their own language. This would take an act of God. I believe they were speaking mysteries to God. As a sign, God revealed to them what was being said. While they were worshiping, they were hearing them – in their own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God. (v.11) The disciples were not talking to people, teaching them all about Pentecost nor any other subject. The revelation of the wonderful works of God came through the Spirit. In typology, this would typify the coming of a new language – the language of the Spirit. Only God can open our ears to hear the Spirit – to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. “He who has ears”, Jesus said, “let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was an introduction to a spiritual law. However the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit, so it would be useless to give a spiritual law to natural man.
In Acts 2:12 we read, “And they continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, `What does this mean?'” Now listen what happened. “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: `Men of Judea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give heed to my words’.” (v.14) If the people who were speaking in tongues were preaching to the people, why would Peter interrupt them to speak explain things to them? It sounds as though these people were bystanders and listening in on what was happening; but when God wanted to speak to them, Peter stood up and began to speak.
In his discourse, Peter fulfilled what Jesus had said to him, “Thou art Peter, and I will give you the keys of the kingdom.” “Keys” – plural. Peter turned the key to open the kingdom of God to the Jews. In Acts 10, Peter opened the kingdom of God to the Gentiles, after God showed him the sheet with all kinds of animals, and told him to kill and eat. So he went to the household of Cornelius, and the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles for the first time. On both of these occasions, it was Peter who turned the key and opened the kingdom to them. Even in the natural, he fulfilled what Christ said he should do.
In reference to speaking in tongues, I have to spend a little more time on this because the whole controversy of the baptism of the Holy Spirit has basically centered around tongues. There are those who have, and those who have not. I have never been able to find that a message was given to the assembly in tongues – either in practice or in doctrine.
From the audience: In 1 Cor. 14:13 it says, “Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.” Answer: Sure; but he said it is better that we prophesy. “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14:1) Why? Because verse 3 states, “But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” That ought to settle it for people, but it doesn’t. They will just go right on saying that there are messages in tongues which need to be interpretation. But according to Paul, he who speaks in tongues, speaks to God. Man speaks spiritual mysteries to God that have to have an interpretation for man to be edified by them. “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.” (v.4) Look – if tongues were languages to edify other people, why would Paul say that a person who speaks in tongues edifies himself? Why didn’t he say it edifies the church or the heathen? Now what good does it do to edify yourself by speaking in tongues? Once we are edified, we can edify other people – but we don’t edify them with tongues. “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” – he gets built up. “Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.” (v. 5) “But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? (v.6) Why do people claim that these languages are to edify the heathen? Languages are for a sign – not for the believers, but for the unbelievers. What kind of a sign is it? Verse 23 says, “If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?” See what the sign does? It makes them call us mad. If we keep on doing that- it isn’t for them. See? It is not meant for men, to be spoken to men; it is meant to be spoken to God! If they do not understand it they will say that we are mad. If we keep on doing that – if there is no edification – they will say we are mad. So they obviously cannot even interpret it right, even as a sign.
Someone from the audience: Doesn’t it come from those verses in Isaiah 28:11-12, “Indeed He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue…but they would not listen?”
Lloyd Ellefson: If the law of the Spirit and life in Christ Jesus …. and because we have a new law we have a new priesthood. Now it does not come after the flesh like Judah; it comes after the Spirit, which is in Christ, so we have a mediation of a priesthood on a spiritual level, and natural man cannot receive the judgment nor the edification, because it is foolishness or stupidity to him. We have this new law of life in Christ Jesus coming from the temple – and we never knew we were the temple until the Holy Spirit came, and that is what makes us the temple. God bless you! AMEN
Isn’t it wonderful that God has provided a way to make all things new! We don’t need to remain in death – in our old concept of the natural! When Christ said, “Behold I am making all things new”, He meant everything! That is a lot, isn’t it? With the coming of the new, the old is deleted. The revelation of Christ brings a newness that replaces our natural carnal ideas. If we do not receive revelation, the old remains the criterion on which we act.
When leaven is mentioned in the Bible, it is generally thought of in a negative way, but in this parable it does not sound that way. Matt. 13:33a, “He spoke another parable to them, `The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks of meal, until it was all leavened’.” This is the kingdom of heaven. Christ ushered in the kingdom of heaven. He went around preaching the kingdom. And He was the authority or voice that ushered in the kingdom. He said, “The kingdom does not come by observation.” We cannot see it; the rule, the teaching or instruction of God, the laws of God in the Spirit, come like leaven, until everything that is put into it, is permeated.
Here there are three measures of meal. Three compares with the three feasts, three holy places, or three days. He says a woman (and a woman is a picture of the covenant), and she took the leaven and hid it in three pecks of meal. A measure of the kingdom goes into all three phases, until it permeates everything. That is all the dimensions of what God is doing with us or what we are, that may be body, soul and spirit. When the kingdom rules our body, soul and spirit, we are made new. It isn’t the soul marrying the spirit. I think our body is new, our spirit is new, and our soul is new. So that is the way the kingdom is coming – it is unseen, it is hidden.
After it has permeated everything, it is at the point where it is ready to be baked or eaten. The kingdom of God is within us. The Kingdom of God does not come from without, it comes from within. It works WITHIN us until it has permeated everything. In Matt. 8:29, it speaks of two demon-possessed men who were coming out of the tombs, and it says, “And behold, they cried out, saying, `What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time’?” How did they know that He was the Son of God? Remember, the demons were talking; they were possessing humanity, which was wrong. They said, “Have You come here to torment us before the time (or before the season)? Do you think they meant when Jesus Christ comes in the Spirit of truth that is torment to the spirit of error that was in these men? When Christ came in the Spirit, He came as the Spirit of truth, and that is when He begins to deal with this.
And they said, “Are you coming before the time?” They knew that Jesus had not been released in the spirit yet. He was still dealing with them as the Son of Man in the flesh. When Christ comes like that, it is a picture of truth coming against error in a spiritual way. Since Jesus Christ is the truth, the true vine, the true man, and He brought the true bread that came down from heaven, and the true drink, then everything else humanity was eating, drinking, or thinking was false. Everything! Even when they said God is good, it was wrong, because it was not in the right dimension. Can we be that exclusive? Yes, I think that is where our release is coming.
“But just as it is written, `Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him’.” (1 Cor. 2:9) Man in his natural ability and carnal mind cannot be subject to the law of God; he has never learned to know anything about God and His purpose for us by scientific discovery or natural means. Learning about worldly, earthly, natural things and new discoveries, takes us from discovering God. It creates a dependence on the things that have been discovered.
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” (1 Cor. 1:27) We know immorality has ruined nations that were very strong militarily. “And the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are.” (v. 28) The world worships intellect, money, material things – the foolish things of the world in God’s sight. God has chosen the weak things of the world to break down the things which are considered strong. This is what GOD has chosen; man has not chosen that. We have been doing everything backwards because we have been estranged from God. We need to get back on the right track.
“That no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus.” (vv.29-30a) Christ is life, for He said, “I came to give you life.” Would He say that if people already HAD life? We have to believe that in the material matter we see there is no life, even though we have been given the idea that there is life in matter. God said to Adam, “You are dust and to dust you will return.” You are going to return to that of which you were made – which does not have life. Our bodies are really important to us, aren’t they? We would like them healed, perfected resurrected, and raptured into heaven. I believe Jesus Christ came to put to nothing the things that are. The Adam man could never conceive what God had for him. Therefore we need the spiritual man to destroy all the ideas man has and what God has in store for him. “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (v.30) Christ is our wisdom. Back in v.19 it says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” How can we let go of that which has been our security, our hope, and our provision? Yet all this has to be eliminated entirely. We have to have a 100% change, a 100% separation. Of course, WE cannot, and are not expected to do it.
“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God.” He has made Christ our wisdom. This is what Pentecost is all about! Again and again we see that it is the knowledge that is in Jesus Christ which seems to answer all of Paul’s prayers. “And this is eternal life that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ is life eternal or life that goes through the ages. (eonian – Concordant) It does not say that God gave us wisdom, but He gave us Christ, and Christ is our wisdom. Christ is truth and life, so this knowledge becomes our wisdom, righteousness and sanctification (our setting apart) and redemption.
“That just as it is written, `Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’.” (1 Cor. 1:31) “That their hearts (not their minds) may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself.” (Col.2:2) Our wealth is in knowing Christ Himself! In view of this, we can relinquish all these material things, and not having anything, have everything.
Spiritual understanding is very important. I believe Jesus grew in His spiritual understanding. He was taught by the Spirit that God gave Him. Jesus said, “I can do nothing of Myself. All the things that the Father shows Me I do.” Yet He healed people and did miracles. So what happened between the confession, “I can’t do anything of Myself” and the fact that He did these miracles? He did not get on His knees and say, “Father, heal this person.” He just healed them; He stilled the sea by speaking to it. What was basis upon which He operated? God taught Him something about spiritual authority over natural authority, and He knew because God had taught Him. He had that understanding. He had understanding over death and sickness.
I believe Jesus knew exactly how He was going to go through crucifixion, into the grave and being raised again. He had the riches that come of full assurance and understanding. He knew He was not doing this for Himself. I believe He did this as a pattern Son. He did it for us as the way-shower. He is the way. God is teaching us how to go through these things in this life; by faith obviously. He has given us all things, the full assurance of understanding through the acknowledgement of the mystery of God. When we get to this understanding we will be acknowledging the mystery of God our Father, and of Christ in whom are hidden (concealed) all the TREASURES of wisdom and knowledge. (v.3) Now God has given Christ to us as wisdom.
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” (1 John 2:20) If God is teaching us all things which are needful, what are we waiting for? Is it because we do not believe that the Spirit He has given is sufficient to teach us all things? Are we looking for a greater anointing or for Christ to come and do some more? Do we believe He has actually accomplished all this, laid the groundwork, and finished the work so all things are ready, and set in motion? That the process of redemption is already working? Nothing is lacking. He has given us the Spirit. There is no other anointing. He has taken away our sins; we don’t have to deal with sins anymore. He has made us a new creature; He has given us a new mind. We have a new origin and a new destiny that it is not of the earth. The earthy things are a delusion. Since Christ is the truth, and He opposes all these things, then they have to be error. They are error because they have been truth to us. As the enlightenment of our understanding takes us to a higher level of truth, we see the error we were in.
In John 15:26 we read, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.” The Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit. Even though God gave Jesus the Spirit, He comes out of Christ, who is the truth. “He (the Holy Spirit) shall testify (bear witness) of Me. God bless.
PENTECOST, Pts. 1-2 [Lloyd Ellefson] 1