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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 56

The Advent Part 48

Peter begins his discourse with the mention of the prophet Joel, which means Jehovah is God. He makes mention of a prophesy that came by way of Joel, concerning the last days and the fact that in these last days God would pour out His spirit on all flesh.

The fact that this message was being delivered on the Day of Pentecost made it even more relevant than if it would have come any other day. For those unaware of the significance of the Day of Pentecost, it was, to the Jews, the celebration of the harvest. The harvest began the second day of Passover when the first fruits of the wheat would be brought into the temple. It was the second major feast in which all able bodied Jewish males were required to attend, the other two being Passover, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

On the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended, the first fruits of the spiritual harvest, and that of the New Covenant, were brought before Christ through the hundred and twenty disciples who had been gathered in the upper room, and later, through the three thousand individuals who were subsequently baptized with the Holy Spirit on that day. It was with them, and through them that the Congregation of God began, and this was the first harvest of souls that took place on the day of the celebration of the Harvest.

The promise of God prophesied by the prophet Joel was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, but it continues in its fulfilled until the end of the Church age or as Paul puts it, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Romans 11:25, “For I do not desire, brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

Throughout the years there has been much discussion as to what exactly ‘in the last days’ means. These were the words of the prophecy given by Joel signifying the time when that which God was foretelling would come to pass. From a Biblical standpoint what ‘in the last days’ was referring to, was the age of grace, the timespan which commenced with the advent of the Holy Spirit, which will come to an end upon the return of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now I realize some have a problem with this, thinking to themselves how it is that over two thousand years could be seen of God as being the last days, but taking into account that to God a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day, taking into account that God is not constrained by time and space as we are, yes these past two thousand years, and as many years as we have left until the Lord returns are in God’s estimation the last days.

These are the days of the Bride of Christ, these are the days in which whomsoever calls upon the name of the Lord, whomsoever receives the Son of God as King and Savior by faith, and sanctifies Him as Lord of their heart, is saved.

The prophesies, dreams and visions of which the verse speaks are the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to believers whenever He sees fit, in order to build up the Body of Christ. We see the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the lives of the Apostles, whether in Peter’s dream of the great sheet bound at the four corners descending to him, of Paul’s vision of a man of Macedonia, standing and pleading with him to come and help.

‘That’s all well and good brother Mike, but that was the age of the Apostles, of course they had the gifts of the Holy Spirit no one is disputing that, but what about the doctrine of cessation?’

Well, if we diligently study the Word we see that in the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, described as the Spirit of Life, is the one who along with Christ is speaking to the churches.

In fact, every message to each of the seven churches in Revelation ends with the phrase, ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Since we have tangentially happened upon the topic of the Holy Spirit in Revelation, there is also the issue of John the revelator who was repeatedly either in the Spirit, or carried away in the Spirit, as he was shown the great and wondrous things he was shown, both concerning the future of mankind, the finality of this present existence, and the life to come in the Kingdom of Heaven. In these last days, the Church exists through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, and try as man might to minimize this truth, they cannot do away with the Word of God.

Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ and let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.”

Yes, both the Spirit and the bride say ‘come!’, but if the Spirit has already returned to the Father from which He came, why wouldn’t He say ‘go!’ since He was present in heaven with the Father and the Son? I realize that in and of itself the preceding question is by no means conclusive, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was just a thought, something that leapt out at me as I typed the verse, and I think it’s something worth pondering if only for a while.

We mock, belittle, minimize, and dismiss the work, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit at our own peril, because nowhere in the Bible is it shown that the Holy Spirit was only with us for a breath, then ascended back to the Father. Yes, the Holy Spirit will ascend back to God, but only when the Bride ascends with Christ and is presented as pure and undefiled before the Father, only when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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