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From Sinai to Zion: The Meaning of Pentecost (part 5)

Title: His Spirit, His Life

There are many connections and correlations between Pentecost at Sinai and Zion. Here are some upon which I have been reflecting.

  • Sinai happened because of Passover, the blood of lambs had been shed.

  • Zion happened because of Passover, the blood of the perfect Lamb had been shed.

  • At Sinai there was a visitation from on high in the sight of a whole nation.

  • At Zion there was a visitation from on high in the sight of nations gathered from all over the world.

  • The fire came to the top of Mt. Sinai.

  • On Mt. Zion the fire came down onto the people.

  • At Sinai, the people only heard inarticulate sounds that Moses had to interpret for them.

  • At Zion, the Spirit of God dwelling in the people empowers them to speak in languages that can be interpreted or understood by men of all nations so that all can hear what it is God is saying.

These correlations are fascinating. It is thrilling to realize that we are part of a divine enterprise with the same master plan that God had from the beginning, and he is working to put it all together.

What should our response to all this be?

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven (Hebrews 12:25).

Do you see the correlation between Sinai and Zion? The writer of Hebrews says that when God spoke, they refused. So, he reasons, when you come to the heavenly Jerusalem, to Mt. Zion, do not refuse him who is speaking. We've already talked at length about the importance of drawing near rather than standing back.

What do we hear when we draw near? Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. - Hebrews 13:20-21

The term equip means to prepare you and is exactly the same term found in Ephesians 4:12. The idea is to prepare something for service. He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). The same word can also be used for mending or repairing ( cf. fishing nets in Matthew 4:21).

But the most basic and primary meaning of equip is to prepare. Repairing is a subsidiary function of preparing and it may be that you have some things in your life that need to be repaired. But do not lose sight that God's main purpose for which he has called spiritual leaders and teachers is to equip you for the service of ministry. Or said another way, to prepare you to be the kingdom of priests that you have been called to be.

How do you do God's will? By permitting him to work in you. You do not get the job done by your own effort, strength, or ability. You get it done by letting the Spirit of God propel you into service and inspire both thought and deed.

I hope you are coming to understand that there is more to Calvary than just the event in and of itself. Calvary happened so that Pentecost can occur. God saves you from something, but he does it in order to save you for something. He sets you apart from the world, but he sets you apart unto himself because you have a special mission.

It is an impossible mission if you try to do it in the flesh. When the disciples say "Who can be saved, Lord?" Jesus responds, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." How do you accomplish your God-given mission? By the Spirit of God in you: working the deed, inspiring the thought, holding every thought captive to Christ, making every act an act of dedication, of service.

God has given us his Spirit. His Spirit is his Life.

The Hebraic concept of the Spirit is life. He has come so that you can have his Spirit, his life—because he does not want to spiritualize you, he wants to inspire you to action. The Spirit is not given as gifts, as rewards, or as toys to play with. It is not given for your edification, it is given for the edification of the body. Why? So the body may function in its mission which God has given it. And its mission is to be a priesthood for the whole world.

God's purposes are glorious beyond our comprehension. In Romans 8, Paul tells us the created universe is part of the plan of God. There is coming a time in which creation itself, which is now groaning with birth pangs, is going to break loose into the liberty and splendor of the sons and daughters of God.

I do not know what all of that means, I can simply assure you that it is above, beyond, over, and more than anything you can comprehend. What is very clear is this, you need to focus on your Passover salvation in terms of your Pentecost service. In other words, What has God saved you for?

Do not think of your salvation only in terms of just for yourself. What is it God desires? Our vision should be like that of King David who said he could not sleep until he built a suitable dwelling place for God. And how do we do it? One brick, one person at a time. I join arms with you, you join arms with another, and before long we have people from every nation standing as witnesses to the truth of the LORD God of Israel.

We should be standing together as priests, interceding on behalf of a nation, a city, a community, a family. We are to be a source of blessing to the whole earth. That is the vision of God's salvation, that is what our journey from Sinai to Zion teaches us. From a Hebraic point of view, salvation is a matter of dwelling in the presence and power of God so that his presence and power can spread throughout the earth.

What matters most is that he is honored; hallowed be thy Name, Father!

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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.

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