Author: Frank Tunstall
One of the scariest things I can think of is that the Pentecostal revival can be lost to the point Jesus bypasses us too!
The new paradigm the heavenly Father launched 2000 years ago at the first Pentecost of the Gospel era included a plan born out of divine genius. It birthed the church with Jesus Christ as its head and ultimately bypassed a Jewish worship system that went back some 1800 years to Abraham. It also introduced a new practice of adoration and veneration that focused solely on Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1:29-36). Christ-centered worship built around the death and resurrection of Jesus continues to be the plan of God to this day. Twenty-first century followers of Jesus must carefully follow the plan so that celebrating the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus is the centerpiece of all worship, including every worship service.
The old system was anchored in sacrificing lambs and rams, turtledoves and pigeons, in faith that the blood of animals would substitute for people’s sins. The spiritual life of the Jewish people had revolved around spilling blood, and then more, and more, and even more blood, with almost 2,000 years of ‘more.’ King Solomon, for example, sacrificed 142,000 animals as part of the dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 7:5). I have often wondered when Solomon finished offering all of those sacrifices, did he have a nagging feeling he had not offered enough to appease Jehovah God.
No person in a works-based system of worship can ever do enough to pay for Jesus’ death on the cross.
Over those long years from Abraham to Christ, the number could have reached a million sacrificial lambs, possibly more. The primary place for making the sacrifices was first their Tabernacle, then the Temple King Solomon built, and some 400 years later, the temple Zerubbabel rebuilt. We should remember Jesus also claimed Herod’s temple as “my Father’s house” (Luke 2:49; John 2:16; 14:2), but the temple leaders never claimed Him.
The new plan born that Pentecost morning faced the fact that Jesus in His incarnate body could not be everywhere at the same time. Simply put, as the church grew He would not be able physically to serve the needs of His people, and give each one His undivided attention. Further, expecting His followers faithfully to come to Jerusalem for the special feast days year after year, from wherever they were worldwide, was unrealistic too.
The new plan had to be designed so that a hundred million people and more could be worshiping God at the same time, with each person known to the Lord by name and each enjoying the Lord’s undivided attention. The Holy Spirit is just that capable, and is such a divine genius that the Spirit does not need to put anyone on hold or use up any time researching a problem. Dear reader, when you start absorbing this reality, you will begin to understand the limitless power of the Trinity. No computer system ever built can achieve such a communication goal, but the Holy Spirit does it routinely, day after day, and never misses a name, or address, and never confuses or forgets a request. He even stores our prayers in golden bowls in heaven (Revelation 5:8).
Jesus did reach out several times to the temple, but “His house” was much too small to house His plan to save the world. In any case, it seemed every visit Jesus made to the temple in His ministry ended in conflict. More than a thousand years of tradition in temple worship certainly helped make the transition to the new order difficult.
The solution of the Heavenly Father was not to try to assimilate the new covenant into Moses’ system. The Holy Spirit simply would not be able to build the Lord’s Church around the Jerusalem Temple and its system of worship, making it a division of Judaism, for example, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees. And, in any case the religious leadership of the temple would never make Jesus Lord of the temple, the sole and final sacrifice for sin, and in His own divine Person the center of worship.
A primary reason the Jewish religious system turned on Jesus with raw hate was their belief Jesus wanted to destroy their beloved temple, although He did not. They were so dedicated to their past, they could not see their future – the new thing God was doing right before their eyes (Isaiah 43:19). Jesus did prophesy its destruction, however, and three Gospel writers recorded the prophecy (Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 21:6).
Instead of trying to blend the Gospel with the temple, Jesus bypassed it with a New Covenant.
One of the scariest things I can think of is the Pentecostal revival that began at Pentecost, and was repeated at Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906 could be lost to the point Jesus bypasses us as well.
Jesus’ body was the temple that Jesus voluntarily sacrificed. In His own Person, Jesus was and remains today the essence of the temple of God. “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days,” was a prophecy of Jesus’ death and resurrection that referred to the Lord as the final sacrifice for sin, not to the destruction of the temple (John 2:19-22; Hebrews 10:18; 1 John 2:2). Jesus’ blood that dripped to the ground to the last drop meant God had sacrificed Himself in our place, becoming the substitute for our sins. Jesus did it without demanding any price (Isaiah 52:3; 55:1). In fact, any estimate a person can imagine is woefully inadequate to pay for Calvary’s horrors.
No, Jesus did not desire to destroy the temple, but that very charge was leveled against Him at His Sanhedrin trial (Mark 14:57).
In the paradigm of the New Covenant, the centerpiece would be a new kind of temple; a temple of the heart. “I will put my law in their inward parts,” God said to Jeremiah, “and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33, KJV; Luke 17:21). It meant in the new worship plan, “where [even] two or three are gathered together,” Jesus said, “there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
It all began that day in the Upper Room in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit fell on 120 worshipers of Jesus. The morning was marked by a powerful, rushing wind, and cloven tongues like fire sat on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and the church Jesus leads was born (Acts 2:2-4; Matthew 16:18).
It is now for us, their successors, to carry the torch of this blessed experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit until Jesus comes back. The initial evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance, and it is followed by power for service, as we walk in the Spirit, hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart with our Lord.
We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died, And is now gone above.
Refrain: Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.