Pentecost…End of the Beginning

Today is the day on which we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Or, more accurately, Pentecost, today, is the day we recognize that He’s never left us. One of the Scripture readings was from Acts; Peter reaching back to the prophet Joel to tell us that God’s breath, His Holy Spirit, is upon us. But note that Peter’s context is the Day of the Lord, when He shall return to judge the nations (Acts 2):

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

As a pesky tuliphead sidenote, Peter didn’t finish that last verse from Joel Chapter 2. Joel 2:32 continues,

For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

“Those whom the LORD calls.” Just in case any Arminians might be feeling their oats. Back to the main point, however: the Day of the Lord, as prophesied by Joel, and as (partially) fulfilled at the creation of Christ’s church.

We celebrate Pentecost as a beginning; Joel’s prophesy portrays it as a harbinger of the end time, when God will judge us all. Viewed through the lens of salvation history, the first Pentecost was the mid-point. In actuality, the end of the beginning, in which the incarnation, passion, and resurrection of Christ was God’s way of completing His beginning revelation to us.

This may Pentecost also be considered the beginning of the end. More accurately, the beginning of the End. After the first Pentecost, we are now moving towards the Day of the Lord; towards the judgment for all. Call it slouching towards Babylon, as we, despite celebrating Pentecost each year, make idols of cars, jewelry, houses, clothes, fame, and a myriad of other unworthy things. Myself most definitely included.

Yet God is merciful for those He has chosen. Again from Joel, Chapter 2:

12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;

It is good to always be mindful of our coming judgment before the Throne. Especially as we celebrate the many gifts of the Holy Spirit this day — who will be with us, always, on this journey to the End.

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