The Suffering of Passover Precedes the Sending of Pentecost















Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Joel, and more specifically, begins with the twenty-eighth verse of the second chapter, and continues through to the twenty-first and final verse of the third chapter. This particular passage of Scripture begins with a powerful prophetic word that not only had direct implications for the generation in which it was given, but also for a generation that was yet to come. If you take the time to read the text that is contained within the opening verses of this passage, you will quickly discover that it is in all reality a prophetic word that would find its fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost. What’s more, is that the words and language that is contained within this prophetic utterance is a declaration of a reality that would continue to manifest within and upon the earth—even after the Day of Pentecost. What the prophet Joel saw and prophesied of was a day to come when the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord would be released within and upon the earth in an unprecedented measure. In order to truly set the scene and stage for this prophetic word, it’s first necessary to understand that which serves as the foundation for this utterance. We dare not, we cannot, we must not conclude that this prophetic word was given independent of a previous prophetic word that is directly linked and connected to it. Perhaps one of the greatest realities that surrounds the words that were given in this passage is that the reality and manifestation that is found in this passage directly hinges upon a prophetic word that was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and is recorded in the fifty-third chapter. I am convinced that there are essentially three distinct passages that must be considered in light of what we read in this particular passage, and we dare not make any attempt to understand the words of Joel without examining the words of three other prophets. In order to truly and properly understand the reality of what the prophet Joel proclaimed with these words, it is absolutely imperative that we first turn our attention to the words of the prophet Isaiah. It is within the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah that we notice a Messianic prophecy that would be fulfilled centuries later when the Messiah would be manifested upon the earth. Consider if you will the words which are recorded in the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah: “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to His own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openething not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:1-11).

 This passage found within the prophetic book of Isaiah is perhaps one of the most well-known passages regarding the coming of the Messiah—and not merely His coming, but also His death and crucifixion. There would be many who would read the words of the prophet Joel and would seek to begin there, however, the story of Pentecost doesn’t begin in the Upper Room but atop a mountain outside of Jerusalem. One cannot fully understand, or even appreciate the events which occurred on the Day of Pentecost without recognizing that which laid the foundation for that event to unfold. There is a tremendous word of caution—and perhaps even warning—contained within this reality, for there are a number of men and women who think they can experience the manifestation of Pentecost without and apart from the revelation of the cross. There are countless men and women who would dare attempt to experience the fullness of Pentecost without recognizing or understanding that there can be no Pentecost without and apart from the crucifixion. I am reminded of the words which Jesus spoke to His disciples when He declared that it was expedient for Him to return unto His Father, and that if He did not return unto His Father, He would and could not send the Comforter. The fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the Gospel of John record the Upper Room experience the disciples had with Jesus—an experience that would first begin with the washing of their feet. On more than one occasion within these three chapters we find Jesus referencing and speaking of the Holy Spirit as being the gift of the Father, and of Himself as being the One who sends the gift. With that being said, however, Jesus made it very clear that the gift of the Father—the promise of the Holy Spirit—could and would not come without and apart from His departure from the earth, and His subsequent return to His Father in heaven. Thus, in all reality, before the promise of the Father could be sent and released within and upon the earth Jesus would need to first be crucified—and not only crucified, but also buried in a borrowed tomb, raised from death to life, and finally ascended unto the right hand of the Father. The ultimate outcome from Jesus’ life and ministry upon the earth was His eventual return to the right hand of His Father in heaven. That return would and could not have taken place until and unless Jesus was first crucified upon the cross atop Calvary.

 Even when referencing the words of the prophet Joel to indicate the events that unfolded on the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter directly linked and connected the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with the events that unfolded on the Day of Pentecost. A vast majority of the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts is Peter’s speech and sermon to all those who found themselves in astonishment and amazement at the events which unfolded on that particular day. As the apostle Peter was concluding his sermon before the people in the city of Jerusalem he brought everything to a head by centering it all upon Jesus the Christ. Read very carefully the words which the apostle Peter spoke to all those who were gathered together on the Day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem—“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but He saith Himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:29-36). What’s more, is that in the very next chapter we find the apostle Peter once more speaking of the death and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ—the single event which made possible the Day of Pentecost. Consider the words which the apostle Peter spoke unto all those gathered together on this very next occasion—“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesu; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when He was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must received until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:13-20).

 Each of these passages are incredibly crucial to understanding the events that would unfold we must begin with the words the apostle Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost, and then continue to the words which are found at the end of his sermon. When Peter rose to address the people within Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, he addressed them by speaking these words—“Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:14-21). With these words the apostle Peter not only directly links and connects the Day of Pentecost and the events surrounding it with the prophetic words of Joel, but he emphatically declares that the Day of Pentecost was indeed and was in fact the fulfillment of the prophetic utterance of Joel. With that being said, however, the apostle Peter then makes an incredibly powerful statement regarding Jesus who is the Christ immediately after connecting the events of Pentecost with the prophetic words of Joel. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

 Now I fully recognize that there are a number of men and women who would choose to begin with the Day of Pentecost, and would choose to live in the reality of the outpoured Spirit from on High. The truth of the matter, however, is that without and apart from the Passover, there can absolutely be no Pentecost. THERE CAN BE NO PENTECOST WITHOUT PASSOVER! THERE CAN BE NO PENTECOST APART FROM PASSOVER! I can’t help but wonder how many men and women among us are making every attempt to pursue Pentecost within their lives, yet they aren’t aware of the fact that in order to experience the manifestation of Pentecost, they first need to experience the revelation of Passover. There are men and women who would love to experience the fullness of Pentecost within their lives—the outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord, the dreams and visions, and even the emotions and feelings that come along with it. The sad reality is that there are very few who truly understand and recognize that the Lord first ordained Passover to take place prior to and before Pentecost. THERE CAN BE NO PENTECOST WITHOUT PASSOVER! THERE CAN BE NO PASSOVER WITHOUT THE ALTAR! THERE CAN BE NO PASSOVER WITHOUT THE SACRIFICE! What makes the Passover that which was celebrated throughout the generations of the children of Israel was the Lord passing over all the houses of the children of Israel which had the blood of the lamb upon the sides and top of the doorposts of their houses. Each and every year the children of Israel would celebrate the Passover—not merely because the Lord passed over the houses in the land of Egypt, but because of the lamb that was sacrificed. Passover would and could not happen without and apart from the sacrifice of the lamb, and this is the central reality surrounding the life of Jesus, for He was sent as the Passover Lamb that would be sacrificed upon the altar of the cross. It’s worth noting that directly connected to Passover is both the cross, as well as the altar—two distinct realities which make the Passover possible. The Passover during the generations prior to the coming of the Messiah would require the altar, while the Passover during the days of Jesus would require the cross of Calvary. As much as there can be no Pentecost without and apart from Passover, there can be no Passover without and apart from the altar and the cross.

 I am convinced there are those who would seek to experience Pentecost without Passover, and what’s more, is that there would be others who would seek to have Passover without the altar and/or the cross. There can be no Passover without the fire and the blood, and there can be no Passover without death taking place. One of the most intriguing realities surrounding the ministry before, around and upon the altar is that the altar wasn’t a pretty, or even an attractive place. The altar was a place that was extremely gruesome and even downright ugly because it was not only surrounded by death, but it was also consumed with the scent and smell of death. I am utterly and completely convinced that before we even think about experiencing or enjoying the manifestation of Pentecost, we must first prepare ourselves to experience and walk through the reality of Passover. There are a number of men and women who want the fire of Pentecost, yet they don’t want the fire of Passover that precedes and comes before it. There are men and women who would love to experience the reality of Pentecost, yet they are unwilling to experience the manifestation of death that serves as the precursor for the promise. What we must recognize and understand concerning Pentecost is that the promise of the Father could and would not be released and manifested upon the earth apart from the death and sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. Until and even unless we are willing to experience both the altar and the cross within our lives, we dare not expect to experience any type of manifestation of Pentecost within our lives. The Spirit was poured out upon one-hundred and twenty who had not only experienced the death and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, but had also experienced His resurrection and ascension. The apostle Paul speaks of how Christ appeared to no less than five-hundred prior to His ascension into heaven, and yet we read how there was only one-hundred and twenty present in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. Where were the other three-hundred and eighty who experienced the presence of Jesus Christ prior to His ascension to the right hand of the Father? Is it possible that there absence is a tremendous indictment toward and against all those who are unable to experience the manifestation of Pentecost because they are unwilling to remain in the place instructed by Jesus?

 When seeking to understand the reality of Pentecost, we must recognize that it not only required Passover to occur prior to its manifestation within the earth, but in order for one to experience the fullness and reality of Pentecost, they needed to remain in that place where they would experience the manifestation. There is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest reasons why men and women are unable to experience the direct manifestation of Pentecost is because they are completely unwilling to first experience Passover. There are men and women who are unwilling to experience the cross and the altar within their lives, and are therefore completely and totally unable to experience the fullness of Pentecost. What’s more, is that if you take this even further, I would dare say that this goes back even further to the baptism of John, which was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. THE WATERS, THE CROSS & THE ALTAR, THE UPPER ROOM! If we are to truly understand that which his required to experience the manifestation of Pentecost within our hearts and lives, we must understand that the process began in the waters of the Jordan where men and women allowed themselves to be baptized unto repentance for the remission of their sins before the Lord God. What’s more, is that there was still the matter and process of the cross and the altar that is required if one wishes and desires to experience the reality of Pentecost. Until one is willing to enter into that place of death and sacrifice before the living God, one cannot and one will not be able to experience Pentecost. We love to read the words of the prophet Joel in the second chapter, we love reading the apostle Peter using such words to describe the events which took place on the Day of Pentecost, but we are completely unwilling to first journey back to the prophetic words which Isaiah spoke concerning the suffering of the Servant-Messiah. SUFFERING BEFORE SENDING! One thing I can’t help but consider is how much Jesus both the Father and the Son wanted to pour out the Spirit upon all flesh, yet before the Son could be released to send the Spirit, He first needed to suffer at the hands of men and surrender Himself to the will of the Father. There can be not sending without and apart from suffering, and if we are going to truly experience the fullness of Pentecost within our hearts and lives, we need to understand the direct connection between suffering and sacrifice. SACRIFICE & SUFFERING PRECEDE SENDING.

 THERE CAN BE NO PENTECOST WITHOUT PASSOVER! THERE CAN BE NO PENTECOST WITHOUT DEATH, WITHOUT BURIAL AND WITHOUT RESURRECTION. What’s so incredible about Pentecost is that not only did Jesus have to be crucified upon the cross, but He would actually need to be buried in the grave, be raised from death to life, and finally and ultimately to ascend before the Father. DEATH! BURIAL! RESURRECTION! ASCENSION! The Lord of hosts desired to release and pour out the Spirit upon all flesh, but there was a deeper work that needed to take place before the Spirit could actually be released. The eternal Word of God would need to be crucified upon the cross and would actually need to die upon that cross as the beginning work of preparing for Pentecost. We must recognize that it wasn’t enough for Jesus to merely hang upon the cross of Calvary and then to be removed, or to come off and come down from that cross. Jesus the Christ actually had to die upon that cross, and His body had to be laid within the grave where it would remain for three days. There would need to be a resurrection that would take place after the death and burial, for Pentecost cannot take place without and apart from resurrection. It was the Spirit of the Lord who raised Christ from death to life, and it would be that same Spirit that would be poured out and released upon the one-hundred and twenty in the Upper Room. When speaking of the cross and the altar, it’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we understand that just as it wasn’t enough for Jesus to merely hang there upon the cross and then coming down and coming off it, so also it isn’t enough for us to remain upon the cross, or even the altar and then come off it. It is not wonder that the apostle Paul spoke of our presenting our bodies as living sacrifices upon the altar, for Jesus was a living sacrifice who died upon the cross, and we are living sacrifices who die upon the cross and the altar. We may desperately desire the manifestation of Pentecost within our hearts and lives, and yet if we are unwilling to walk through and experience Passover, we cannot and will not experience Pentecost. The prophet Joel spoke of the Spirit being poured out upon all flesh, and even of dreams and visions, but the Spirit cannot and will not be poured out on those who aren’t willing to first experience Passover. What’s more, is that why on earth would the Father entrust dreams and visions which reveal His heart and mind to those who aren’t willing to walk through and experience Passover, and even wait in that place spoken of by the Lord. In all reality, I would dare say that the Upper Room where the one-hundred and twenty were in was not only an altar upon which they had placed themselves, but it was also an altar that was created by them through their prayer and unity. Oh that we would recognize and understand that the fire can never and will never fall upon an empty altar, and we must be ready, willing and able to place upon the altar that which the fire of the Spirit can actually come upon and consume.

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