Post Title: The Second Act of Creation
Pentecost (Shavuot) is essential to kingdom people. Without it, we fail to understand our high calling fully, and we fall prey to the temptation to delegate our spirituality to professionals. Ultimately, without it, we are missing some of the most meaningful truths about our great God. I want to give you three characteristics of the LORD and his purposes that the feast of Pentecost teaches us.
1. HE IS AN IN-BREAKING GOD
The LORD, by his initiative, broke into human affairs and showed himself as sovereign. It was a cosmic event that happened at Sinai. The rabbis call it the second act of creation. In the first creation, he made the world. In the second creation, he made a holy nation that was to participate in the redemption and the blessing of the world.
In the first creation, he made everything by his word, turning chaos into order. In the second creation, he gave his word that transformed the least of the peoples into a holy nation, a kingdom of priests.
His word turns chaos into order; his word takes the least and turns it into a priest.
And his word will do the same for you and for me. Are you getting this? You are a priest! Yet too many of you, like me, are sitting down on the job.
2. HE IS AN INDWELLING GOD
The LORD is looking for a people who will bear his image and bless the nations in his name. This God is in search of man, that is his perennial purpose. Therefore salvation—in the context of Pentecost—is not some escape to another world, it is not a free pass to heaven. Salvation is a summons to serve the Sovereign of the universe.
If you are not responding to the call you are missing out on the blessing.
Pentecost teaches us that salvation includes responding to and serving God here and now. His kingdom is being realized in this world. The reward of our salvation is in the world to come. God saves us in order to rule and reign over us through his revelation. And through us, he wants his world to come into its divine calling and purpose. The bottom line is this; he is looking for a people to dwell in, among, and through.
3. HE IS AN INCLUSIVE GOD
All of Israel saw these events. This was not some individual mystic experience upon a high mountain having a spiritual hallucination after fasting for forty days. All Israel heard the word of the LORD go forth. It was a cosmic event, not some private revelation.
The sages say Torah was given specifically in the desert and not in the Promised Land. Why?
Because it was an open space where anybody could come. The Torah of God is given in a public place for all. You and I have been brought to Mt. Sinai in Jesus, we have been brought to that place where we have been joined together with Israel.
We read in Leviticus 23:17 how two loaves with leaven are to be waved before the Lord at Pentecost, in marked contrast to Passover in which there is no leaven.
a. At Passover it is the lamb without blemish that is sacrificed. Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7).
b. At Pentecost it is to be you and me – ordinary people, the greatest and the least. We all have leaven and sin in our lives, but we are still to be offered up to God.
I see the two loaves as a picture of Israel and the nations that join the new covenant in Jesus. Because of the one Lamb, two loaves are offered up before the Lord as a sacrifice of service, of worship, as an offering unto the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. With this in mind, listen afresh to these texts from Ephesians that were foundational for Paul.
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Then he uses this imagery of how the two have been joined into one in the Messiah.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
So far, so good. But to what end you might ask?
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
Here he employs the same temple language that Peter uses! We are saved to serve as a kingdom of priests. We are to be a holy nation unto the Lord. Hallelujah!
There will always be those who say, "Well, all I care about is getting saved, getting some blessings, and going on to my eternal reward." For you, I pray that God will send a Moses from the mountain to cast down the covenant, smash and pulverize the idols of our existence and say, "Take eat, this is your God."
Paul has encouraging words for those who say, "Oh Lord, I am not sufficient for these things." In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.
Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.
Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.