Saturday, 15 March 2008

Precursor of Pentecost

Studying the Hebrew Bible thoroughly one is struck by how all the events of the NT, all the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels are foretold in the OT - how the Law, the Prophets and the Scriptures really were and are the blueprint for how things were going to be. One exciting thing to check out is Elisa’s movements around Israel and how it corresponds in strikingly much to how Jesus walked around.

On another note, as I was working my way through 1 Kings 18 in Hebrew I was struck by verse 24: "Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire-- he is God. Then all the people said, 'What you say is good.'" (NIV) האלהים אשר יענה באש הוא האלהים As we will know – the true God answers Elijah with fire from Heaven. And as if to emphasize that there was no ‘natural’ explanation (like lightning) for this miracle, it is made clear that there was not a single cloud in the sky and Elijah had drenched the alter and the wood with water.

Now, what is the ultimate 'proof' of the LORD being God? Just as in the time of Elijah, the one true God proves Himself the only One by fire from heaven. On the day of Pentecost: "They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2:3 (NIV) And He put this 'fire', this Holy "...Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 1 Cor. 1.22 (NIV) and later Paul writes again that He "...has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 1 Cor. 5.5 (NIV)

Feeling the presence of God in our lives is no mere sensation of feelings – it is this ‘fire from Heaven’ with which we have been baptised to life. And as Paul writes, it is a comforting token of what is to come – it gives us certainty of what we believe in! The world is so full of false ‘gods’, inspired by the devil to divert attention from the true God. But the test today just as in the days of Elijah is simple: will there come fire from heaven? Only from the only true God. Only from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in whom is our salvation through Jesus.

1 comment:

yemsee said...

Precursor to pentecost - i like it!

nice one John... the Spirit being our assurance...

interestingly.. the Lord usually gives a few reasons why He is the real God:

this is one of the classic ones:
Isaiah 41:21-24 21 Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. 23 Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. 24 Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.

- that He knows what is to come because He will actually carry it out (as He says later on in Isaiah)

- the other is that He is creator

- the one you refer to in Elijah is not really merely just doing some great unnatural sign - but it is salvation
- it is with other gods the people will bear the punishment themselves, but with the Lord, the fire of wrath will fall upon the sacrifice, His only Son, Christ, thus the people will be spared, and the life-giving Spirit will be poured abundantly on those in the desert

how about a little Hebrew exegesis on the 2nd half of 1 Kings 19 eh? =)