Pentecost Episodes in the Bible
Pentecost in the Old Testament
The Pentecost of The 70
- Numbers 11:16-29
In the Old Testament there is an episode of Pentecost recorded in the Book of Numbers. Yahweh said to Moses:
Numbers 11:16-17 - Then the LORD said to Moses, "Assemble for me seventy of the elders of Israel, men you know for true elders and authorities among the people, and bring them to the meeting tent. When they are in place beside you, I will come down and speak with you there. I will also take some of the spirit that is on you and will bestow it on them, that they may share the burden of the people with you. You will then not have to bear it by yourself.
Moses gather them around the Tent. The Lord came down in he cloud, and put some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the elders, and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But two men chosen, were left behind in the Camp, they could not go to the Tent, and yet the Spirit, at the same time, came to rest on then, and they also prophesied in the Camp (Num.11:16-17, 24-26).
Here Moses said some prophetic words: "I wish that all the Lord's people were prophets and that the Lord would bestow his spirit on them all!".
Numbers 11:26-30 - Now two men, one named Eldad and the other Medad, were not in the gathering but had been left in the camp. They too had been on the list, but had not gone out to the tent; yet the spirit came to rest on them also, and they prophesied in the camp. So, when a young man quickly told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp," Joshua, son of Nun, who from his youth had been Moses' aide, said, "Moses, my lord, stop them." But Moses answered him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!"
This wish was made a prophecy by Joel (3:28-30), and it was fulfilled in the New Testament in the Great Pentecost.
"This was what was spoken through the prophet Joel: In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men an women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophecy. And I will show portents in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and a cloud of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Act.2:16-21).
The 7 Pentecost Episodes in the New Testament
1 - To Virgin Mary: In the first chapter of the N.T., Mat.1, and Luk.1:
The Holy Spirit descended upon Virgin Mary and the Word of God was made flesh. This is the essence of all the episodes of Pentecost: The Holy Spirit comes to a person, and brings Jesus into him or her. With Jesus in Her, Blessed Mary did the two things every Christian should do:
- She went immediately to serve, to help her cousin Elisabeth (Lk.1:39-45).
- The second, she sung the glories of the Lord in Her Magnificat (Lk.1:46-56).
Come to me, Holy Spirit, do unto me what you did unto my Mother, fill me with Jesus, so I can bring his love and joy and peace to my neighbors and friends, and to the whole world, for the glory of God the Father, for the good of your Church, and for our own good. Thank you Lord. Amen
2 - To Elizabeth and John the Baptist: Lk.1:39-46.
When Virgin Mary arrived to Elisabeth's house with Jesus in Her, the child John the Baptist leaped in her womb filled with the Holy Spirit as prophesied in Lk.1:15. And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit claiming with a loud voice the most intimate and poetic praise to Jesus in the Bible:
- The most intimate, because the dearest praise you can make to a man is to tell him "blessed is your mother", and Elisabeth claimed, "your mother is the most blessed among women" (Lk.1:42).
- And the most poetic, because the she adds, "and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of your womb", and that's poetry (Lk.1:42)
3 - The Great Pentecost: In Acts 2:
This one happened to the Apostles, devoted to prayer, together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and to a total of 120 believers, brothers of Jesus, that at that time were not called Christians, but brothers or disciples (Act.1:13-15).
The 120 brothers were filled with the Holy Spirit, with tongues of fire resting upon them, they spoke in different tongues, and with so much joy that they looked drunk (Act.2:1-15).
- Here the Church was made public, represented for so many people who watched the Pentecost attracted by so much joy and noise, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Parthians, Medes, Elamites... of all races and nationalities, "Jews from every nation under heaven" (Act.2:5-13). The Church of Christ was born at Calvary, among pains and blood, like all the births, but it was made public at Pentecost.
- Here, the 120 brothers of Jesus realized that they did not have Jesus among them anymore, but now it was much better, they had Jesus inside each one of them!... and they immediately became the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Christ who was alive in their hearts.
God the Father, I repent of my sins, and in the name of Jesus send me the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and of joy and of understanding and of peace... I receive you, my sweet dove, and I praise you, I adore you. Thank you for your mighty power, make me humble, the servant of the Lord, like my Mother Mary, your pure Spouse. Thank you, Father. Thank you Jesus. Thank you my lovely and powerful Holy Spirit. Amen
4 - The Pentecost of Samaria: Acts 8:
After Stephen was stoned to death in chapter 6, there broke out a severe persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and the disciples were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria (Act.8:1). An thanks to this "persecution" the Gospel was preached in Samaria by Philip, who was doing signs and mighty deeds, casting out unclean spirits and healing the paralyzed and crippled (Act.8:4-13). Then, Peter and John came to Samaria, prayed for them, lay hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (8:17).
The Acts do not describe what happened, but it was so great that Simon the Magician wanted to buy with money the power to lay on the hands. He didn't wanted to buy the power of Philip to do the mighty deeds of casting out devils and healing the sick, but the power to lay my hands so they may receive the Holy Spirit! (Act.8:18-24).
Here, the Samaritans were already Baptized, including Simon the Magician. In the Great Pentecost of Acts 2, the 120 were also Baptized. This "laying on of the hands" by the Apostles is known in the Church as the Sacrament of Confirmation.
For Peter and John was a great experience: Here they realized that even the hated Samaritans who believe in Christ can receive the Holy Spirit as they received Him in the Pentecost of Acts 2.
5 - The Pentecost of St. Paul: Acts 9:
Meanwhile Saul (later Paul) had letters from the high priest to arrest the disciples of the Lord and bring them to Jerusalem to be killed. But in his way to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?. He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The replay came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting" (Act.9:1-5)... He was not persecuting Jesus, but his disciples...but every Christian is another Christ!.
Saul was left blind, and did what he was told to do. Three days later, Ananias came, laid his hand on Saul, and immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized (Act.9:6-18).
Here it is different than in the Great Pentecost and the Pentecost of Samaria: Here Paul received the Holy Spirit before he was Baptized!... just as it happened to Virgin Mary, Elisabeth, and John the Baptist... and just like it is happening today to many, who receive the Holy Spirit and then become good Christians.
6 - The Pentecost of the Gentiles: Acts 10 and 11:
Here it happened like in the Pentecost of Paul: First they received the Holy Spirit, and then they were baptized in the Church of Christ.
It happened to Cornelius, a pagan Roman soldier: While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word, and they spoke in tongues an glorify the Lord, just as in the Great Pentecost of Acts 2.
And then, they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Act.10:44-48)... this is the first time Gentiles were Baptized, and thanks to this Pentecost, you and I who are not Jews were baptized (Act.11:1-18).
7 - The Pentecost of Ephesus: Acts 19:
In Ephesus, Paul found 12 men who were baptized with the baptism of John, but they never even heard about the Holy Spirit.
Paul baptized then in the name of the Lord Jesus, and then Paul laid his hands on then, and the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied (Act.19:1-7).
The Great Christian Pentecost - Acts 2
There are several episodes of Pentecost in the Bible, and the essence of each Pentecost is the same as the first one in the New Testament, in Luke 1: The Holy Spirit comes upon a person and brings Jesus Christ into him or her.
And the consequence is double: A life of joy, praising the glories of the Lord, and to serve the neighbor, because my neighbor is Jesus Christ (Mt.25:31-46).
The Great Pentecost of Acts 2 was essential for the firsts Christians; they did not had Jesus in person with them anymore, but in Pentecost they realized and lived the glorious fact that now Jesus was inside each one of them, a much better deal, and the greatest difference between Christianity and any other religion.
Pentecost - Acts 2
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles who were with the 120 brothers and the Mother of Jesus (Act.1:5, 8, 12-15).
This Christian Pentecost of Acts 2 marks the official beginning of the Church of Christ, the beginning of the last times, the Gospel Era, the Era of the Holy Spirit, inaugurated in a Mighty Miraculous Manifestation of the Holy Spirit, with sounds as a roaring wind, with visible tongues of fire upon each of the Apostles, transforming them from selfish and timid men into giants of courage and faith, and with the great miracle of the Galilean Apostles being understood by the people of 17 different nations each one hearing them speak in their own language (Acts 2).
So, Pentecost marks the official birth-day of the Church, essentially missionary in its very foundation, with the birth of the ministries and evangelization with power, love, and enthusiasm... the Church, though, was born at Calvary, and, like any other birth, among pains and blood.
There are 7 Wonders in the Pentecost of Acts 2:
1. The strong violent wind (2:2): A symbol of the power of the Holy Spirit, able to fill us with the love joy and peace of Jesus in our hearts. It came suddenly, but was at the height immediately... The word "Spirit", both in Hebrew and Greek, can also mean "Wind"... a Wind that is always with us, to sanctify us, to guide us, to console us, to love us...
2. The Tongues of Fire upon each disciple (2:3): A symbol of the evangelization made with power and love and enthusiasm... this Fire burns our sins and makes our soul ready to receive Jesus.
3. The disciples were "filled with the Holy Spirit" (2:4): This was the fulfillment of the promise of Jesus in the previous chapter: "You will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Act.1:5).... so the "baptism with the Spirit" is the same as "filled with the Holy Spirit". The Spirit always comes for three things: To reprove us of sin, to convince us that Jesus is the righteousness of God to make us saints, and to convict us of the judgment of Satan and of those who refuse God's offer of eternal life (Jn.16:7-11).
4. The great miracle of speaking in another languages (in 4 verses, 2:4,6,8,11): The Holy Spirit always brings the joy and love and peace of Jesus, the languages that anybody can understand.
5. The onlookers astounded and amazed by this great miracle and by the noisy joy of the Christians (2:7)... though there were some who criticized them saying, "these people are drunk" (2:13). Acts mentions 17 nations with different languages, representing "every nation under heaven", the Universality or Catholicism of the officially newborn Church, and signaling the worldwide proclamation of the gospel of grace to every nation and race (2:5, 9-11).
6. Peter's first use of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, of Mt.16:19, with his first sermon (2:14-41): He started answering the critics, saying that "this men are not drunk of wine, but drunk of the Holy Spirit", emphasizing, all along his sermon, the Resurrection of Jesus who now wants to live in their hearts.
7. The repentance and baptizing of 3000 persons (2:41): The bottom line of any Evangelization is the Holy Spirit, the person most important in our lives right now, as stated in 1Pet.1:2: God the Father already created us, God the Son already redeemed us, and God the Holy Spirit is the person who is now helping us to appropriate the merits of the redemption of Christ for the glory of the Father, for the good of his Church, and for our own good...
We are right now living in the Era of the Holy Spirit... we can not acknowledge God as Abba-Father unless moved by the Spirit, and without the Holy Spirit no one can even say "Jesus is the Lord" (1Cor.12:3, Rom.8:15).