Among Christians, the Jewish holiday known as Pentecost has been re-appropriated to commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Twelve Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31. For this reason, Pentecost is commonly described by Christians today as the "Birthday of the Church."
This "birth of the church" is a rather erroneous point of view as Jesus never intended to start a divisive church with over 3,000 bickering and backbiting denominations, much less a religion surrounding him. Such is the Christian Church today. As the chief cornerstone his goal was to grow a like minded spiritual family. His primary message while on this earth was that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
What does that mean?
It means that the spiritual gifts, all the grace, wonder and power God has to offer people are at hand. "At hand" means close, near to us, within reach. The general misconception is that Jesus was saying the Kingdom is yet to come, or soon to arrive. On the contrary, he was saying the Kingdom was already there, right now (at the time he said it 2,000+ years ago), and that it’s within reach. All one has to do is accept it.
Keep in mind that Jesus never claimed to be an earthly king. He claimed to be king over a realm that is spiritual. That spiritual kingdom was "at hand". His greatest message is that The Kingdom always was at hand, not just at his arrival, but throughout all history. And the really good news is that the Kingdom of God is still at hand today!
Holy Spirit Miracle on Pentecost
The miracle recorded in Acts chapter 2 where Holy Spirit was delivered to the Apostles was actually a well timed event pre-planned by God to shock everyone into seeing with their eyes that which they were failing to perceive with their heart and mind.
On that date, 50 days after the Passover holiday, was the Feast of Weeks holiday (also known as Pentecost, Shavuot in Hebrew). That was a popular Jewish holiday that brought a multitude of people from all over the land to the Temple grounds. Not only were Jews there, but also gentile merchants taking advantage of the business and trading opportunities. It is very likely there were well over 1,000,000 people present at that event.
What better time than to hold a great showing of power? All the people were sitting together in one accord in the temple. A great rushing wind came through and the Shekinah Glory came down over the apostles, split into divisions and rested over the head of each apostle. That sure got the attention of everyone there!
Then they all began speaking in tongues. Speaking in the languages of the many different ethnic groups there. They were heard speaking glory and praises to God. At that point Peter stood up and delivered the speech of his life. He told of Jesus being the promised messiah and that the Kingdom of God is at hand. And many believed. Over 3,000 people joined the fold of enlightenment that day.
This event was a grand showing of the power of God and personal believing. Prior to his ascension, Jesus promised his disciples a great power coming upon them. They were charged to wait together for this power. Oddly, a power they had already had within them but failed to recognize as such. In the Gospels it is recorded that Jesus commissioned them to go out in pairs and perform miracles. You’d think they would have understood through direct experience, yet they did not. They still thought Jesus was the source of their power.
Be it Unto Your Believing
Now, according to their believing, they are to wait for this great miracle to come upon them. This miracle was to be a grand display that the Kingdom of God is at hand, according to each owns' believing. This was to be a grand spiritual awakening for all people over the earth. Starting with the Jewish nation, then radiating outward to all other nations, peoples and tongues.
And for a while, about 40 years, it went well. The disciples, now apostles, went out proclaiming their message about the Kingdom to all the known world. People believed, miracles happened, the Love of God spread and "the church" grew.
The Apostasy (Falling Away)
Then with a new generation came a falling away from the faith. People went off to serve strange gods and their own earthly desires. As such they appropriately reaped the works of the flesh. Along with political unrest in Rome, the nations they ruled and other surrounding nations, Jerusalem became the center of turmoil. In 70AD Jerusalem was under siege. Jerusalem fell, the temple was destroyed and the people (Jews, Christians and gentiles) dispersed.
The religion of Christianity was growing slowly among refugees and dissenters of Roman rule. They were hunted down and brutally discouraged from following Christ. This persecution continued for about 300 years until the Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity as a way to unite his flailing nation by bringing together all the various pagan religions into one centralized national denomination that would be controlled by the Empire. It was a bold political move.
This seemingly victorious win for Christians turned out to be the underpinning event that led to the demise of the original and true Apostolistic Christianity. The council of Nicea in 325 proved disastrous for the original monotheistic faith and the First Council of Constantinople in 381 sealed the fate of the church.
Rise of the Catholic Church (Modern Christianity)
and the Dark Ages
From this era the Roman Catholic Church was born. "Catholic" means "universal" in Latin. That was the goal of these councils. To universalize all the various religions of the land into one universal religion that everyone would worship, thus bringing balance to the Empire. This new religion was given the name of the predominant faith of the land at that time: Roman Catholic Christianity.
With the rise in power of the Roman Catholic Church, a spiritual darkness fell upon the land. People were violently discouraged from thinking for themselves concerning spiritual matters. The great awakening that happened around 30 AD and struggled to gain a foothold on humanity was tragically snuffed out. What followed was 1,200 years of ignorance, hatred, persecution and the torture or death of anyone who disagreed with the Church.
During that time of dark ages there was no growth. No spiritual growth and no mental growth on human interests, medicine, science or technology. Around the year 1500 AD came a period of time known as the Renaissance, where people began to question the Church and revisit old manuscripts that they were not allowed to read (now known as the Bible) in search of spiritual truth, freedom and enlightenment. Certain leaders such as William Tyndale and Martin Luther are credited with helping to lead people out of the Dark Ages and into a time of growth and discovery, in both spirituality and in humanity.
This period of growth continued for the next 400 years up to about the mid 1800s when the industrial revolution took place. This mental shift took the world for an agricultural society to an industrial mindset. This spurned growth along many lines. Growth in humanity, spiritual awareness, the sciences, medicine and technology.
End of Dark Ages, a New Spiritual Awakening Follows
In the mid 20th century, beginning in the 1960s with a non-religion based spiritual awareness coupled with the rise in charismatic movement within Pentecostal churches, an old awareness once again began to grow and take a foothold on mankind. A new opening of the mind to old spiritual truths was being actively seeked out and hungrily devoured at an astounding rate.
People found they have an insatiable desire for information and growth. Human interests, interpersonal relationships, medicine, the arts, science and technology have soared at an all time history record breaking rate.
This has led to a New Awakening in mankind; both Christian and gentile such as like the event at Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago. People are becoming enlightened to a new spiritual awareness of their true inner God given power. No longer constrained by dark religions, fear based mentality and crushing domination, people in most countries of the world are free to search their own soul for answers and find God in their own way.
|The Dark Ages have officially ended AND a re-awakening to the Kingdom of God is at hand!
Celebrate Pentecost everyday of your life. Know that the Kingdom of God, (AKA) the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. It is near to you, more so than you might think. Actually, it is already inside you. All you have to do is awaken to its power, reach within and bring it out into the world. The power is within you. Time to see it, perceive its reality and then glorify God as children of light.
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