Unfolding Light – Part 1

This past Sunday represented an important moment within Christian history—the Day of Pentecost. In Psalm 119:130, Scripture says, “The unfolding of Your words gives light” and this truth plays deeply into the idea of Pentecost.

The Festival of Pentecost

The Festival of Pentecost began as a Jewish celebration of harvest. Also known as the Feast of Harvest of the Feast of Weeks, this holy celebration was held seven weeks and a day after the beginning of the harvest. The Jewish people would hold a big festival to celebrate God’s provision.

If we were to look at the Day of Pentecost simply through a Jewish lens, we would not find the idea of “unfolding light.” We would conclude that God was merely wanting his people to celebrate the harvest, which is a wonderful idea. But as we understand Pentecost according to Acts 2, we see God’s words, his light, unfolding.

The Fulfillment of Promise

Acts 2 fulfills through the New Testament everything God had declared in the Old. This moment of Pentecost accomplished what all of history had been yearning for—the inauguration of the Kingdom of God.

Whether we are considering the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord or the empowerment of the Church by his Spirit, the entire Kingdom was inaugurated inside of this Day of Pentecost. The celebration of the harvest had finally and truly come.

#Pentecost accomplished what all of history had been yearning for—the inauguration of the Kingdom of God. Click To Tweet

The Celebration of Pentecost

After Pentecost, and throughout Christian history (especially in the first few years of Christian history), the Church celebrated the Day of Pentecost, but not in the way some celebrate it today.

They did not celebrate it by way of coming back, waiting, and expecting God to pour out his Spirit. They were not approaching it as an opportunity for their own Pentecostal moment.

That is simply not what we see in the pages of Scripture. The Church would celebrate and rejoice in these moments, but God had been pouring out his Spirit continually throughout the Book of Acts. They had no concept of celebrating this moment as a moment of refilling.

Historically, the Church has not celebrated Pentecost as an opportunity for their own Pentecostal moment. Why? Click To Tweet

The Celebration of Inauguration

We see from Acts 2 to Acts 4 that those who were filled on Pentecost were filled again, but guess what? God had not waited a year to do it. What the early Church celebrated, and what continues to be celebrated by the far majority of Christians throughout Christian history, is the inauguration of the Kingdom.

This inauguration was the beginning of everything by which we now live. The promise-making God of the Old Testament powerfully demonstrated that he was also the promise-keeping God of the New. In the moment he poured his Spirit out, as tongues of fire that rested on individuals and empowered them to speak in all different languages of the known world, the light of his plan unfolded.

This explosion of languages fulfilled what God had always intended to do, reverse the scattering of Babel and bring the world back together. Sweeping from East to West, God’s Kingdom would flow from his Covenant people and harvest from the nations a people who were unified in one purpose. The purpose of serving their King.

The promise-making God of the Old Testament powerfully demonstrated that he was also the promise-keeping God of the New on the Day of #Pentecost. Click To Tweet

The Harvest

The purpose of God’s Covenant people, Israel—to bless to all the nations of the earth—was fulfilled with the inauguration of Christ’s Church. On Pentecost, God said, “Here’s the fulfillment of my promise. Here’s how I am keeping my word and blessing the nations.”

And people from each of these known nations, who had made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of Harvest, heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These hearers took the Gospel message back to their home regions, fulfilling Scripture. The Gospel began to permeate the world.

Pentecost is the celebration of the fulfillment of God’s promises. When we read Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of Your words gives light” we can conclude that the promises we read throughout the Old Testament have now been answered through Acts 2.

God is with His People

What the writers of the Old Testament spoke of was truly understood in the time of the Apostles. As we celebrate Pentecost, we do not celebrate it as a people waiting for tongues of fire to fall on us. They fell already. God is with his people. The Spirit dwell within us.

No, we’re celebrating a promise-keeping God. We’re celebrating the inauguration of the Kingdom of his Christ. We’re celebrating the beautiful privilege that we, as his Covenant people, possess. The privilege of walking in the light of his fulfilled promises and reflecting his glory into a world ready to be harvested.

Filled with His Spirit

Church, we have the Spirit. As Paul told us in Romans, if we do not have the Spirit then we do not belong to Jesus. We don’t need to wait for our Pentecostal moment. It has already come. If we are in Christ, we have already been indwelt by the promise God made long ago.

The Kingdom of God, inaugurated at Pentecost and lived out through us, is the visible, tangible fulfillment of Psalm 119:130. The unfolding of God’s word gives light.

The #KingdomofGod, inaugurated at Pentecost and lived out through us, is the visible, tangible fulfillment of #Psalm 119:130. The unfolding of God’s word gives light. Click To Tweet

Let’s Talk

This does not mean that God does not empower his people in unique and special ways today. He is still comforting. He is still giving important gifts for the church. Tomorrow, we will look at this idea further.

For now, I would love to hear how you view being indwelt and filled with the Spirit. Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

1 thought on “Unfolding Light – Part 1”

  1. Pingback: Unfolding Light - Part 3 | Rebuilding

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