Pentecost: A Commemoration of Future Events

Commemorating Future Events

If I were to tell you “in this day, twelve hundred years from today, a very important man will be born.  I think we should declare a holiday in his honor.” How would you respond?  You would probably think I was nuts.  God, however, can do this sort of thing.  That is why our conversations about Pentecost are sometimes confusing.  Ask a faithful church goer about Pentecost and they will tell you that it was the day the promised Holy Spirit came with power upon the church.  That did happen, on one occasion.  Twelve hundred years before that, God commanded Israel to keep Pentecost.  It was one of the three times a year that God’s people were to appear before Him at the temple in Jerusalem. It was the celebration of the day that Moses brought the tablets of the Law down from Sinai.  It was the day for dedicating the Spring barley harvest to the Lord.  Shavuot or Pentecost was the simultaneous celebration of three events, one in the past, one event that was annually present.  But Pentecost also bore witness to events that were still to come, starting with the event that we read about in Acts chapter 2.  For twelve hundred years Israel celebrated a holiday that was a commemoration of future events.

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