ACTS 2: Study of the Holy Spirit

This is a paper I wrote for my most recent class.  Some of it was finished at about 4:30 in the morning, so if it seems a little random, hey that’s what happens.  Enjoy.  I welcome your feedback. 

INTRODUCTION

The Holy Spirit has probably been the least studied and most misunderstood person of the Godhead. Therefore a correct understanding of the role and purpose of the Holy Spirit within the church is not only an important element of Christina theology, but essential for continued life of Christ’s Church. In order to better understand the third person of the Trinity, one must understand the reason for His coming and the events that surrounded His coming on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2.

Feast of Weeks

The day of Pentecost was also known as the “Feast of Weeks.” It was celebrated seven weeks after the “Feast of Firstfruits.” The word Pentecost means “fiftieth,” because the day was fifty days after firstfruits. In Acts 2, Pentecost was fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul explains that Jesus was “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).” For the feast, the priest was to give a wave offering of two loaves of leavened bread and a sacrifice of 13 animals. This was the only time that leavened bread was used in an offering to God. The two different loaves may represent the two factions of the church, both Jew and Gentile. Wiersbe points out that the leaven in the bread is to show that the church would contain sin until it was with Christ in heaven.[1] He cites Ephesians 5:27, but this passage speaks about Christ loving the church to the point that He gave His own life so that she will be without spot or any blemish. This seems to be contradiction rather than support the sin that is in the church. Obviously, the individual people within the church have sin in their lives, but this is not the intention of God.

In order to bake a loaf of leavened bread, the baker must intentionally include leaven in the dough. The leaven could also be included due to careless cleaning of the bowl with which the dough was mixed. Neither of these two instances is in keeping with guidelines that God sets out for His church. Believers are not to intentionally allow sin to be incorporated into the body, nor is it supposed to be careless about removing sin from within the body. Christ warns his followers to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Mat 16:6, Mark 8:15, Luke 12:1). Paul also exhorts the church to remove the leaven of sin, because the result will be the spread of sin (1 Cor 5:6-8, Gal 5:9). There is only one point in which the kingdom is likened unto leaven. In Luke 13:21, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to the leaven, but the context of the passage is more about something with small beginnings have a great impact. The first passage of the mustard seed (Luke 13:19) starts out as a small item but grows into a plant the size of a tree. The same goes for the leaven; it is incorporated into the three loaves so that the whole batch is consumed. Here the context of the leaven is not in relation to any form of sin.

A better context for the leavened loaves to be presented would be that they represent the daily sustainment of God’s blessings. We must remember that the point of the Feast of Weeks was to give God the glory for the harvest. The Feast of Firstfruits was the presentation of the first grain from the harvest. The Feast of Weeks marked the end of the harvest and the thanks given to God for the year’s harvest. The leavened bread was used daily by the Jews and this is recognition of God’s sustainment seems to be a better representation for the two loaves (Mat 6:11, Luke 11:3). To strengthen this view, Acts 2:46 points out that those converted on the day of Pentecost were daily in the temple and broke bread from house to house.


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Holy (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), 106-07.

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About fanningtheflamesagain

Too many times in life we don't speak up. We don't want to rock the boat. We keep quiet because we think we are in the minority. I never seemed to have this issue. I generally wish I would have kept my mouth shut, but I just can't. Thanks though for stopping by and taking a moment to see my side of the story. May it not be far from what God would have me to say.
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