Christians around the world will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday this coming Sunday (May 28, 2023). Pentecost Sunday takes place every year 50 days after Easter Sunday, and 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. The account of what happened at Pentecost is recorded in 2nd Chapter of Acts in the New Testament. Here is that account from Acts 2 (NIV):
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Peter Addresses the Crowd
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
“Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
The Fellowship of the Believers
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
It is important that we have a clear understanding of who the Holy Spirit is, and the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives today. Regarding who the Holy Spirit is, GotQuestions.org states:
There are many misconceptions about the identity of the Holy Spirit. Some view the Holy Spirit as a mystical force. Others see the Holy Spirit as an impersonal power that God makes available to followers of Christ. What does the Bible say about the identity of the Holy Spirit? Simply put, the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will.
The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. In these verses Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” It is a clear declaration that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. We can also know that the Holy Spirit is God because He possesses the characteristics of God. For example, His omnipresence is seen in Psalm 139:7-8, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Then in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, we see the characteristic of omniscience in the Holy Spirit. “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
We can know that the Holy Spirit is indeed a divine person because He possesses a mind, emotions, and a will. The Holy Spirit thinks and knows (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). He makes decisions according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. As God, the Holy Spirit can truly function as the Comforter and Counselor that Jesus promised He would be (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). (Quote source here.)
GotQuestions.org provides the following information on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives today:
Once we are saved and belong to God, the Spirit takes up residence in our hearts forever, sealing us with the confirming, certifying, and assuring pledge of our eternal state as His children. Jesus said He would send the Spirit to us to be our Helper, Comforter, and Guide. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16). The Greek word translated here “Counselor” means “one who is called alongside” and has the idea of someone who encourages and exhorts. The Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in the hearts of believers (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 12:13). Jesus gave the Spirit as a “compensation” for His absence, to perform the functions toward us that He would have done if He had remained personally with us.
Among those functions is that of revealer of truth. The Spirit’s presence within us enables us to understand and interpret God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples that “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). He reveals to our minds the whole counsel of God as it relates to worship, doctrine, and Christian living. He is the ultimate guide, going before, leading the way, removing obstructions, opening the understanding, and making all things plain and clear. He leads in the way we should go in all spiritual things. Without such a guide, we would be apt to fall into error. A crucial part of the truth He reveals is that Jesus is who He said He is (John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 12:3). The Spirit convinces us of Christ’s deity and incarnation, His being the Messiah, His suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension, His exaltation at the right hand of God, and His role as the judge of all. He gives glory to Christ in all things (John 16:14).
Another one of the Holy Spirit’s roles is that of gift-giver. First Corinthians 12 describes the spiritual gifts given to believers in order that we may function as the body of Christ on earth. All these gifts, both great and small, are given by the Spirit so that we may be His ambassadors to the world, showing forth His grace and glorifying Him.
The Spirit also functions as fruit-producer in our lives. When He indwells us, He begins the work of harvesting His fruit in our lives—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These are not works of our flesh, which is incapable of producing such fruit, but they are products of the Spirit’s presence in our lives.
The knowledge that the Holy Spirit of God has taken up residence in our lives, that He performs all these miraculous functions, that He dwells with us forever, and that He will never leave or forsake us is cause for great joy and comfort. Thank God for this precious gift—the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives! (Quote source here.)
There are several symbols in the Bible that are used to represent the Holy Spirit. In an article published on October 4, 2020, titled, “The Symbols of the Holy Spirit,” by Dr. Princewill O. Ireoba, Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith at Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, Nigeria, he writes:
A symbol is a material emblem portraying and unfolding a spiritual reality. The Holy Spirit is presented with some symbols in the Bible, which depict a reality of truth about the Holy Spirit and throw light on both his nature and mission. The symbols of the Holy Spirit are: Dove, Fire, Oil, Wind and Water.
The Dove: This can be seen in the description of the baptism of Christ (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:30-34). A dove symbolises peace (Psalms 55:6; Song of Songs 2:12); purity (Song of Songs 5:2; 6:9); innocence (Matt. 10:16); and beauty (Psalms 68:13; Song of Solomon 1:15; 2:14).
The dove is used to reveal the gentle, yet powerful, workings of the Holy Spirit. A dove is a gentle creature that is easily shooed away, no wonder Paul warns the church against grieving the Spirit of God (Eph. 4:30). Where there is a rejection of His ministry, the Holy Spirit will not remain for long. Through the gentle workings of the Holy Spirit, God points out our failures and nudges us in the right direction.
Fire: Fire as symbol of the Holy Spirit is indicated in the statements about Holy Spirit’s baptism (Matt. 3:11) and the tongues of fire on the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3-4). Fire illuminates, warms, refines, purifies and can change material from one form to another. The fire of the Holy Spirit is not about burning as some project because the Bible never tells us that the Holy Spirit is given for our destruction but for our help.
Oil: In the Old Testament, priests were consecrated and ordained as oil was poured upon their heads (Exod. 29:7–see also Lev. 8). Kings were also anointed with oil as they took up office. Oil was also used to keep the lamps burning in the Holy Place, and it was vital that they should never run dry (Exod. 27:20). The Holy Spirit, thus, not only anoints and empowers for Divine service, but also enlightens and lubricates. The Holy Spirit both illuminates and eliminates friction in our lives. Oil is also used to anoint the sick (Mark 6:13; James 5:14).
Wind: Wind as a scriptural symbol signifies life and activity. It sets forth the power, invisibility, immaterial nature, and the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s work in regeneration is like the wind (John 3:8) and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost Day was described in terms of a sudden “sound like the blowing of a violent wind” (Acts 2:1-4).
Water: Jesus likened the Spirit, which the believer in him was to receive to “streams of living water” (John 7:37-39). The one who is filled with the Holy Spirit has this “living water” flowing from his innermost being. This analogy of the Spirit and water is also found in the Old Testament. (Isa. 44:3; Joel 2:28-29). The water’s functions of washing, cleansing and refreshing correspond to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. (Quote source here.)
There are other symbols that also represent the Holy Spirit, and you can read about them here, here, here, and here.
As we anticipate celebrating Pentecost Sunday this coming Sunday, I’ll end this post with the words of Jesus found in Acts 1:8: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea…
And Samaria . . .
And to the ends . . .
Of the earth . . . .
YouTube Video: “Holy Spirit Come” by Patrick Mayberry:
You must be logged in to post a comment.