Saturday, September 3, 2011

Glory of the New Testament: Exaltation and Pentecost

We continue in our series on "The Glory of the New Testament" by exploring in today's blogs the themes of "Exaltation" and "Pentecost". 

With Christ's resurrection from the dead, we see vindication of His life and death and identity.  Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:11 "seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow." From Christ's resurrection we see the beginning of these "glories" - that is, His exaltation. 

Acts 1:1-10 records Christ's ascension.  For a 40 day period Christ made a series of appearances to his disciples.  In his final conversation with them, he suddenly defies gravity and disappears into the clouds.  Christ's ascension not only decribes his going up into the air, but also His being seated at the right hand of God the Father.  Passages such as Ephesians 2:6-10, Ephesians 4:9-15; Philippians 2:8-11 and Colossians 1:16-17 list the activites that the now exalted Christ is performing in Heaven on behalf of His church. 

As a result of Christ's exaltation, the Promised Holy Spirit comes.  Acts 2 occurs 50 days following Christ's resurrection, with ten days lying between Christ's ascension and the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.  During this time the Jewish people celebrated the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.  In their calendars, they used Pentecost as a harvest time feast and also as the time to mark the giving of God's Law and the birth of Israel as a nation. 

In Exodus 32:28, we see record of what took place when God had revealed His Law.  As Moses was upon Mount Sinai, the Israelites began to worship a golden calf.  As a result of that event God struck them with a plague - and 3,000 people died that day.  Remarkable parallels are found between the giving of the Law and the coming of the Spirit - one of which being that on the day of the Spirit's coming in Acts 2, Three-Thousand people ended up becoming converted to Jesus!  Other parallels are worth noting:

1. The Giving of the Law occured 50 days following the Jews first Passover, their delivery out of Egypt, which is a picture of the cross and salvation; Pentecost occured 50 days after Christ's death during the Passover.

2. The Spirit at Sinai began to reveal the law, the Written Word, to Israel; In Acts 2 on Pentecost, The Spirit comes to validate and verify the work and identity of the exalted Jesus, the Living Word to His church

The Pentecost theme explains how the Spirit's coming validated everything Christ is and did in His incarnation, humiliation, Gospel accomplishment and exaltation. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the Post-Pentecost Jesus working in and through His church. 

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