On Pentecost in about 1447 B.C.
in the morning “thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain [Mt. Sinai]. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 19:16-18, New Living Translation throughout).
There was no meeting hall for about three million Israelites to squeeze into, much less have six feet of space. But nobody cared because this was God’s Church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38).
God’s Church has never been a building. God’s Church is His people and the spiritual body of Christ. On that epoch Pentecost, God entered into an Old Covenant marriage and gave His eternal 10 Commandments.
On Pentecost in A.D. 31
“all the believers were meeting together in one place”—more than even 50, apparently 120 (Acts 1:15). Way before the craze of seeing how many people could stuff into a VW, they were all in one Accord!
“Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the holy Spirit” (2:1-2).
God began His New Testament Church, and His Holy Spirit was now in them to work powerfully rather than just working with them (John 14:17). Now they were ready to fulfill their commission: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We continue the Great Commission today (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20).
But the Jewish council warned them “never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). The inspired Peter boldly defied them: “We ought to obey God not men” (verse 19, New Kings James Version). The apostles discerned that this was not a time to “submit to governing authorities” as Paul would later explain would be appropriate in most situations.
Pentecost May 31, 2020
What should God’s Church be doing right now today?
“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!” (Psalm 42:4)
“I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people” (Psalm 111:1).
Zoom is really an amazing program
and for several Sabbaths we’ve used it to fellowship with Colorado Front Range brethren. It reminds me of the old Hollywood Squares TV game show, each of us able to see the others in their squares and listen to them talk. It’s a plus to see brethren from all over and not just the 30 from our group in Colorado Springs. But the negative is that it’s all group chat, and you can’t talk in depth privately to one person. Okay, it is still such a joy to see and talk to each other!
How long does this persist? One governor said it would be months before churches could meet, but they were just “entertainment” anyway. That’s not how God sees it!
What counts is that God calls His weekly Sabbaths and His annual Sabbaths (of which Pentecost is one) moedim—commanded, consecrated assemblies. He expects us to show up! And Paul states in Hebrews 10:25: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, and some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Recently it was reported that 500 church pastors in California have notified the Governor that they will meet on Pentecost Sunday with or without his permission. In some states, the governors have been sued for shutting down the churches, but some state supreme courts have upheld the governors.
Repeat: the Church of God has never been a building. We have been meeting together via webcasts and Zoom on God’s commanded Sabbaths and Holy Days.
We pray for our national leaders (1 Tim. 2:2) and especially fervently for our Church leaders to have wisdom to know what God would have His people do. Surely we must look to God to show His mighty undefiable will in this important matter.
With Pentecost so close, on May 31, and especially in light of its history and import,
Let’s notice what the Apostles did in A.D. 31:
“Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voice together in prayer to God … After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:23-31).
Jesus promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:18). Church leaders are looking to God for direction in how to do His Work more powerfully and boldly in this shaky time where people are more receptive to His message. We may feel bewildered like sheep, but Our Shepherd isn’t!
This seems like it just might be an auspicious time in the Church of God! Maybe another Pentecost for the ages!