The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

The Pentecost
    To win the confidence of intelligent living creatures God must be true. He must be faithful to his promise, reliable regarding his prophecies, and harmonious with proved scientific facts. There is such a God of truth!
    Not only have those who are his outspoken enemies tried to discredit him, but also most of those who claim to be his servants, priests and ministers. These religious hypocrites have gone so far as to pit their word, their wisdom, philosophies, predictions and plans against God's word, law and purposes. So in this day when all unfounded theories and systems are being shaken from top to bottom, the issue has now become, Who is to be found true, God or man?
    Bewildered seekers for truth have in many cases said in hopelessness: "Oh, the Bible is an old fiddle upon which you can play any old tune." If true, that would mean that the Bible's Author was all mixed up and divided against himself. But this could not be so of the God whose visible creation of the universe is marvelously harmonious and at unity with itself. Reasonably, then, his Book, the Bible, could not be all mixed up and allowing any interpretation to be made of it. Hence, as the reader approaches the study of the Bible with this book in hand, he is neither being invited nor being led to study God's Word according to the perplexing, mysterious religious errors of Christendom. He is asked to study according to what God himself has to say in his own Word. "For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace." What if men, religious and nonreligious, have discredited and belittled the Bible and have placed men's opinions and tra-ditions above it? What if religious leaders have rejected the Bible's straight testimony? What if the highly esteemed clergy of Christendom have been found false and misleading? Do these shocking and disappointing facts change the Bible itself or its message of truth? Sound thinking assures us that the true and living God must have given searching mankind some inspired written revelation about himself. Our stand be that of one of the Bible writers who said: "What, then, is the case? If some did not express faith, will their lack of faith perhaps make the faithfulness of God without effect? Never may that happen! But LET GOD BE FOUND TRUE, though every man be found a liar, even as it is written: 'That you might be vindicated in your words and might win when you are being judged.'

    What show the Bible about the Pentecost?

    On his resurrection day Jesus did not ascend to heaven, nor for forty days therefrom. (John 20:17) "God raised him from the dead: and he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people." "Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the holy [spirit] had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." (Acts 13: 30, 31; 1:2,3) Once, on his resurrection day, he breathed upon his disciples and said to them, "Receive ye the holy [spirit]." But that was merely a preliminary notice of what they were to receive in due time, for he told them beforehand : "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 20:22; 16:7) He, "being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the holy [spirit] not many days hence." —Acts 1: 4, 5.
    The disciples still did not understand, not having received the baptism of the holy spirit. They thought that the Kingdom was now to be re-established in the earthly nation of Israel. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the holy [spirit] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This was a plain statement that a world-wide witness work was to follow.
    When the resurrected King finally ascended to heaven into the presence of God to present the merit or redemptive value of his human sacrifice, did he then set up the Kingdom and begin its active operation ? No; it was not Jehovah's due time. The glorified Jesus must wait until the end of the "times of the Gentiles", in A.D. 1914. King David of old acknowledged the coming Seed of God's "woman" as My Lord, and said prophetically: "Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:1,4, Am. Stan. Ver.) Under inspiration the apostle Paul applies this Psalm 110 to Jesus and says: "But he, having offered one enduring sacrifice on behalf of sins, sat down at the right hand of God; henceforth WAITING till his enemies may be placed underneath his feet." (Hebrews 10:12,13, The Emphatic Diaglott)
    In A.D. 33, Nisan 16 was the day on which the Jewish high priest offered the firstfruits of the grain harvest at the temple and also the day when Jesus was raised to "become the first-fruits of them that slept". It was the day when fifty days must begin counting to the feast of weeks or Pentecost, the name Pentecost meaning fiftieth day. On Pentecost the Jewish high priest at the temple offered a second firstfruits, two wave loaves of leavened wheat bread from the first-ripe wheat of the harvest. (Exodus 34:22) What, like unto such, did the glorified High Priest in heaven, Christ Jesus, do on that same Pentecostal day! It should be something that was typified or foreshadowed by the offering of those two leavened wave loaves to the Lord God. Note the Record on what happened: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy [spirit], and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance."—Acts 2:1-5.
    This was a baptism of the holy spirit. On the day of Pentecost the invisible active force of Jehovah God was manifested as fiery tongues upon the head of those baptized with the spirit. The spirit's outpouring at Pentecost was evidence that Jesus had appeared in the presence of God in behalf of his faithful disciples, about 120 of whom were gathered with one accord at one place in Jerusalem. (Acts 1:15) It was evidence that the merit of his sacrifice had been offered and was accepted by God and applied in their behalf; and that they were taken into the covenant for the Kingdom as spiritual children of God and were anointed unto Kingdom service.—Hebrews 9:24-26. This was foreshadowed in the Pentecostal type of the two loaves of wheat firstfruits: "And the priest shall wave [the sacrifices] with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest." (Leviticus 23:20) Both wave loaves of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were holy to Jehovah God, and neither one of the loaves was rejected or thrown away. Those two loaves pictured the disciples of Jesus as being waved or presented by the High Priest Christ Jesus before Jehovah God as holy unto Him. The fact that both wheat loaves were leavened pictured that these disciples were naturally, by birth inheritance, sinful creatures; but the merit of Jesus Christ which was presented in their behalf justified them in the sight of God and thus they were "holy" unto Him.
    The Christian congregation under Christ the Head is the temple in which God dwells by means of his spirit or active force. (1 Corinthians 3:16,17; Ephesians 2:20-22) It manifests itself in the congregation by a great variety of operations and gifts. It is all one and the same spirit of God through Christ, but this shows the endless variety of ways in which it can be applied. "But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose. For example, to one there is given through the spirit speech of wisdom, to another speech of knowledge according to the same spirit, to another faith by the same spirit, to an-other gifts of healings by that one spirit, to yet another operations of powerful works, to another prophesying, to another discernment of inspired utterances, to another different tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. But all these operations the one and the same spirit performs, making a distribution to each one respectively just as it wills. For just as the body is one thing but has many members, and all the members of that body, although being many, are one body, so also is the Christ. For truly by one spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink one spirit."—1 Corinthians 12:4-13, NW.
    On the day of Pentecost the spirit's manifestation started with miraculous gifts of foreign languages and prophesying. Gifts of healing and other marvelous powers followed. We note that the miraculous gifts of the spirit were bestowed in the presence of the apostles or directly through them by the laying on of their hands. Philip the missionary went down to Samaria and preached and won believers there. Though baptized in water, they did not receive the holy spirit and any of its gifts. So the apostles sent down Peter and John. "These went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. For it had not yet fallen upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they went to laying their hands upon them, and they began to receive holy spirit. ... through the laying on of the hands of the apostles the spirit was given."—Acts 8:5-18, NW.
    At Ephesus Paul came upon men who had been baptized with John's baptism and had heard nothing of the holy spirit. So he preached Jesus to them. "On hearing this, they got baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands upon them, the holy spirit came upon them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying." (Acts 19:1-6, NW) Paul wrote Timothy to "stir up like a fire the gift of God which is in you through the laying of my hands upon you". By letter he advised the congregation at Rome: "I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you in order for you to be made firm." (2 Timothy 1:6 and Romans 1:11, NW)So the twelve apostles of the Lamb were go-betweens for the bestowal of the spirit's gifts. Since this is so, it follows that when the apostles passed off the earthly stage, the imparting of miraculous gifts of the spirit passed away with them.
    Paul called attention to this. He showed that these miraculous gifts marked the infancy of the Christian congregation. They were necessary for its establishment, to prove that God's favor and power had turned away from the unfaithful house of natural Israel and now rested upon the Christian congregation as the "Israel of God". When the congregation of spiritual Israel had become firmly established on the twelve apostolic foundations and had grown to maturity, the miraculous gifts of its infancy would be needed no more and would be put away. "But whether there are gifts of prophesying, they will be done away with; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will be done away with. For we have partial knowledge and we prophesy partially; but when that which is complete arrives, that which is partial will be done away with. When I was a babe, I used to speak as a babe, to think as a babe, to reason as a babe; but now that I have become a man, I have done away with the traits of a babe." (1 Corinthians 13:8-11, NW) This accounts for it that miraculous gifts of the spirit are not bestowed upon the remnant today of members of Christ's body.
    It was not God's purpose that all members of Christ's body should have the miraculous gifts of the spirit, for we are told: "Now you are Christ's body, and members individually. And God has set the respective ones in the congregation, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services, abilities to direct, different tongues. Not all are apostles, are they? Not all are prophets, are they? Not all are teachers, are they? Not all perform powerful works, do they? Not all have gifts of healings, do they? Not all speak in tongues, do they? Not all are translators, are they?" So the absence of prophets and inspired apostles today, and with that the absence of miraculous gifts of the spirit, does not prove that today's faithful remnant is not of Christ's body.—1 Corinthians 12:27-30, NW. The Christian congregation is not weaker today than in the first century because of not enjoying the miraculous gifts now. It does not need them now at this time of its coming to full growth. It is anointed with the same spirit to preach now as nineteen centuries ago, and it is just as full of the spirit. By this means it is performing a more powerful witness to God's kingdom now than ever before in its history. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6, ASV) By his "spirit of the truth" the meaning of the Scriptures and their prophecies is being opened up to our understanding as never before, making us strong in knowledge and understanding and in ability to preach the Kingdom message. Moreover, being filled now with the spirit, we can bring forth just as abundantly the fruitage of the spirit. It is by this fruitage rather than by the miraculous gifts of the spirit that we prove we are the same Christian congregation as in the first century, members of the same "body of Christ". It is by cultivating and bringing forth this fruitage that we walk in the "surpassing way", that of love.