Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. ó Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. ó Nehemiah 8:8

February 1, 2008

Volume 7 Number 3

What Shall We Do?

The people of Israel had been commanded by Yahweh to keep three great annual feasts. Those who obeyed the command came to Jerusalem from all over the known world with an offering:

16 Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Yahweh your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before Yahweh empty:

17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of Yahweh your God which he has given you. -Deuteronomy 16

The Feast of Unleavened Bread began the day after the Passover, which was on the fourteenth day of the first Hebrew month. The Feast of Weeks began fifty days (the day after seven sabbaths) after the Passover. (The Greeks called the fiftieth day "Pentecost.") The Feast of Tabernacles began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.

The feasts and rituals were put in place as "figures" of the true, until the coming of the Messiah (see Hebrews 9). The "figure" of the Passover, for example, was fulfilled in the Messiah when He was sacrificed as the Lamb of God (see John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7). After He rose from the dead, Yahshua remained with His disciples for forty days, telling them to wait in the city, as the Feast of Weeks approached, until they had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost:

3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen of them for forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. -Acts 1

They obeyed and waited until the day of "Pentecost." Then something very significant happened:

1 And when the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. -Acts 2

What was happening? Yahshua had kept His promise to send another Comforter:

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. -John 14

The Comforter, which is also called the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, is the Spirit of God. The world does not know God and cannot see Him because He is a Spirit:

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -John 4

On that day of "Pentecost," only the people that knew God through Yahshua the Messiah were able to receive His Spirit. The others were standing around in unbelief, supposing them all to be drunk. As they watched, Peter stood up in the crowd and started quoting the Word of God. He began with the prophecy of Joel:

15 For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God Yahweh, I will pour out of 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:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord Yahweh comes:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord Yahweh shall be saved. -Acts 2

The Scriptures were being fulfilled before their eyes. Yahweh had poured out His Spirit upon His people. Peter continued quoting the Scriptures to the Jews on that day, until he finally concluded:

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Yahshua, whom you have crucified, both Lord and the Messiah. -Acts 2

They had crucified the "Lord and the Messiah!" He was the manifestation of the Scriptures. He was the One whose coming they had been looking forward to seeing. When He came, however, they didnít even know Him. Now what? They asked, "What shall we do?"

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? -Acts 2

Peter answered their question:

38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. -Acts 2

They had not believed that Yahshua was God in the flesh, that He had offered Himself as the sacrifice for their sins, that He had risen from the dead, and that God had sent another Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost. They needed to repent from their sin of unbelief. They had thought that they could save themselves by performing the works of the law. Paul, however, explains:

8 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. -Ephesians 2

Peter then told the repentant Jews that they should then be baptized "in the name of Yahshua the Messiah" for the remission of sins. If we are saved by faith, why did Peter declare the need for baptism?

It would have been easy for those Jews to stand there saying in their hearts, "I believe," without allowing the unbelieving Jews in their midst to know it. Were they willing to confirm their faith by taking the action of publicly confessing that they believed that Yahshua died and rose again? Were they willing to join with Him in His death and resurrection? Were they willing to symbolically crucify their old man and be resurrected in the Spirit to walk in the newness of life that Paul so clearly described to the Romans?

3 Know you not, that as many of us as were baptized into Yahshua the Messiah were baptized into his death?

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as the Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. -Romans 6

Were they only going to remain distant spectators? Or were they willing to believe these words of the Messiah?

16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. -Mark 16

If they would repent, believe, and demonstrate their faith by being baptized in the name of Yahshua the Messiah, Peter said they would receive the "gift of the Holy Ghost." As we are baptized into His name, our old spirits die and we are resurrected with His Spirit. He lives in us. Paul explains:

20 I am crucified with the Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but the Messiah lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2

Those who are crucified with the Messiah still have bodies in the flesh, but are alive in His Spirit that dwells in them. Because as Paul told the Romans:

9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of the Messiah, he is none of his. -Romans 8

After repenting, we demonstrate through baptism that we have died to our sins through the death of Yahshua the Messiah, but are now alive in Him. We are then freed from condemnation as we live in His Spirit. Paul writes:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in the Messiah Yahshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. -Romans 8

If we believe Him, and His Spirit dwells in us, then He works through us. He says that He will do anything we ask in His name, provided it glorifies God:

12 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.

13 And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

15 If you love me, keep my commandments. -John 14

If we really love Him, what shall we do?




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