As Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal picture the scene in The Feasts of the Lord, the Temple service was just ending on that fateful Pentecost day in Jerusalem, when the throngs are attracted to a nondescript house near the Temple grounds by a mighty roar like a windstorm. They see “momentary flashes of what seemed like swirling bits of fire” from one of the windows (p. 98).
They had just heard about the wind and fire around God’s throne in Ezek. 1:4 and about God’s delivering power in Habakkuk at the service. Could this be the visitation from God that they had been waiting for the last several centuries?
In a word, yes. Luke’s carefully-crafted account describes the events of that day in terms that bring to mind many messianic prophecies. The fire and wind remind people of God’s glory at Mt. Sinai.
The giving of the Holy Spirit is described in many places, such as Isaiah 30:19-22, where not only do the Israelites see their “Teacher,” but also hear his voice in their ear even when they cannot see him. This is prophecied to lead to total repentance and obedience of the people to God.
Isaiah 59: 20-21. God comes to Zion as Redeemer, bringing a convenant based on the infilling of God’s own Spirit in the hearts of believers. See also Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Isaiah 11: 10-12. The Root of Jesse comes to gather the remnant of Israel and Judah scattered to the four corners of the globe. Several of the places he names are mentioned in Acts 2.
Isaiah 56: 3-8. When God gathers all the Israelites from all the nations, they will be accompanied by foreigners who want to join the Lord and be part of the New Covenant. Notice that the “house of prayer” that Jesus makes in Matthew 21:13 has it origins in a prophecy about gathering of Gentiles to God.
Genesis 49:10. When the time comes for the One who deserves the “scepter” or kingly rule of the tribe of Judah to receive His Kingdom, He is the one who will gather all nations to himself. This is probably a reversal of the “scattering” that took place in Genesis 11:8-9 when God confused the languages at Babel. He who scatters will gather them to Himself at the appointed time. This reversal begins to take place when the Holy Spirit begins to render the division of languages obsolete in Acts 2.
Revelation 7:9-10. This is not really a prior prophecy of Jesus, but it is an image given to Jesus’ disciples of what the final result of the work of the Holy Spirit on earth will be. A great gathering of believers before the throne of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. These believers have been, are now being, and will be drawn from among all nations and all times, but be united in glorifying Jesus Christ and His Father for the work of the Holy Spirit in their salvation.
Pentecost was originally a harvest festival meant to thank God for the “firstfruits” of the harvest. At the giving of the Holy Spirit, God showed that every part of His plan, even the Old Covenant, was meant to show, ahead of time, the spiritual work He intended to complete to save all of humanity from death. We, believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, are part of the “firstfruits” of God’s harvest. Let us live lives of thankfulness in praise of the Great Lord of the harvest gathering.