“ 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (Acts 2:1-11 (KJV)
Pentecost (Whitsuntide) is the 50th day after the first Passover when the Commandments were given at Sinai. The Passover itself preceded the Feast of Firstfruits which also was reflected in the Resurrection of Christ as the Firstfruits of those who slept. It is now observed fifty days past Easter – or the True Passover.
The Holy Days of the Bible are often corrupted by the hands of careless and lukewarm men. In the old Testament Church, the Passover was always referred to as the Passover of the Lord; (24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. Ex 12:24-27 (KJV) 12:48, Lev 23:5, Num 9:10); but in the New Testament, it is often referred to as the Jews’ Passover. Why? Because they had added much of minutia to the observance that greatly expanded the outward form, and reduced the inward and spiritual grace of the observance. (And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem John 2:13 , 11:55; “And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.” John 6:4)
The meaning of Christmas has also been subverted by Santa Claus, glitter, and even an attempt to call it by another name. Easter has become a day to observe fertility rites more than the Passover (Resurrection) of Christ with Easter eggs and bunny taking the place of the King of Glory.
Pentecost is the day of the coming of the Holy Ghost. It happens fifty days following the Passover which Christ sealed with His own blood (rather than that of an unblemished lamb, for He was the Lamb of God). We will see that even the meaning of the Coming of the Holy Ghost has also been usurped by greedy men seeking to enrich the church coffers.
This text today is about prayer as much as it is about Pentecost, for the matter is all wrapped up together in the wonderful manner of working of God, the Holy Ghost.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” This is an example to us of how a church should be – one accord, one place. If the Church body is in one accord with the Word of God, dissension has no room. The common prayers of the Apostles were joined together as one voice, and that voice was also the Voice of God for, if we pray in His Will, the prayer is a repeat of His Word for us. Common prayer is strong in its effect and reception by God.
Prayer is not unlike an echo. It rises to Heaven and, if it be a Godly prayer, is resounds from Heaven with a thunderous echo. Prayer truly is an echo, only the echo is not God’s. It is our spirits echoing, in humble prayer, the will of the Lord. He thunders and we echo that thunder in our hearts. Our truest prayers are but the echo of God’s promises. And our echoed prayer is answered with echo after echo from God – very much like two mirrors facing so that the resulting image advances into infinity.
We are now about to witness in the text an illustration of the working of that Spirit called Holy – the Holy Ghost! Please note from whence the sound of His Voice originates:
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” From Heaven. No will of God originates on earth, but from heaven. That is why our prayers must ‘echo’ the will of God for us.
A rushing mighty wind: A symbol of the Holy Ghost, almost always working in the silent chambers of the heart, here is so powerfully present in its coming that it resembles a mighty gushing wind of tremendous force. There is no corner of the house that is not filled with it. It comes secretly and without known origin; it shakes the structures of the buildings; it purifies the earth by moving trash from its surface; and it softly refreshes the sir and makes it pure. In this, the Holy Ghost is like the morning dew, no one can observe its coming, but the evidence of its presence overwhelms the company. “8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 (KJV)
“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”
Notice the Holy Ghost is like a FIRE! He is bright and shining; He warms the heart; He burns whatever gets in His way; and He moves with rapidity. As Matthew Henry notes: “The Spirit, like fire, melts the heart, burns up the dross, and kindles pious and devout affections in the soul; in which, as in the fire on the altar, the spiritual sacrifices are offered up.”
Pentecost began with fervent prayer in the Wilderness, and so does the same occur here at our day of Pentecost following, by forty-nine days, the events of Holy Week.
“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.” (Lev 23:15-16 (KJV)
This is the seventh week (or 49 days of the morrow) following the Sunday of Resurrection! Once again, fervent prayer is offered and the Holy Ghost answers that call. We note in the events of this moment that the Holy Ghost had the efficacious benefit to change the hearts of men instantaneously to believe on Him whom they had pierced.
Let us examine this effect:
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. What do these other tongues mean and how were they manifested to those around?
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. There were present representatives from every known nations at Jerusalem. They all spoke in ‘foreign’ languages. This must have been a confusing moment? Only in the sense of the modern heresy of so-called unknown tongues.
But not so with the true miracle of tongues “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language”. They were confused, not because they could noi understand the words spoken by the Apostles, but because they COULD!
“And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” If someone came to my hometown from China without any preparation in English language, and spoke a clear and meaning sermon from the Scriptures, could I not say this would be a true miracle?
I am sorry to tell you this, but all those so-called churches who teach that these tongues were utterances of ecstasy that no one else could understand are teachers of false doctrine. They are heretics. It is not the first example of confused tongues being spoken. Remember the Tower at Babel from which we get the term, “babbling?”
“5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” Gen 11:5-9 (KJV)
If a man or woman stands up in a church and begins to speak in a babble that no one can understand, does that edify the church? or does it please God and contradict His clear Word? 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Cor 14:33 (KJV) How can one say “Amen” to some ridiculous babbling that neither he, nor the speaker, understands? Did Jesus ever speak in tongues?
The languages were confounded at Babel as a result of sin, and I believe much of that babbling in churches of today are a response to sinful pride.
The Holy Ghost will not come to you with an uncertain sound. Paul describes this practice in 1 Cor 14:8-9 “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.”
Does God intend confusion to be a reverent manner of worship? Again Paul says: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor 14:33)
So just as man has corrupted the meaning of the Passover of the Lord (Christ has become our Passover), and the meaning underlying Christmas, so has he undermined the meaning of Pentecost and those tongues that were spoken there. I am amazed at the great stretches of imagination men use in contorting the meaning of those tongues spoken at Pentecost to mean just the opposite of what God has clearly stated in Acts 2. IN its simplest definition (and God is simple in His dealings with us) the word tongues means ‘languages’ – perhaps unknown by the listener, but known by whoever’s language group to which it belongs.
The Holy Ghost is an agent of peace, goodwill, love, and obedience. If you hear His Voice, you will not hear the voices of false friends calling you to dress in sexy or inappropriate ways. You will disregard the voices pleading you to go where you should not, or do things you should not do. And He will speak so clearly that there can be no doubt of His meaning. Do you truly love God? Then obey His Holy Spirit in your daily lives!