The Feast of SHAVUOT—Pentecost begins at sundown on May 28th this year. This Hebrew festival was two-fold: To celebrate the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai after the Israelites came out of Egypt’s 400 year servitude. It was one of the 3 feasts which God appointed as mandatory pilgrimages when all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem “to appear before the Lord” (Deut. 16:16).
Pentecost is the Greek word for “50 days,” because the days from Passover to Shavuot were counted by seven weeks of sabbaths plus one day.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared unto His disciples and others during a 40 day period. Before He ascended on high, He instructed them “to wait in the city until they were endued with power from on hight,” referring to the coming of the Holy Ghost (Luke 24:49, John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, 16:7-15, Acts 1:8).
Ten days later—on the 50th day from Passover, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon 120 followers of Jesus, who had obediently waited together in an upper room in Jerusalem for the promise of His coming: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-5).
On the very Anniversary of the day that God had given His Law to His people Israel, He chose to give His Holy Spirit on Mt. Zion. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the utterance of other tongues is proof that Jesus has risen from the dead and ascended on high.
There is much controversy for some concerning the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and “speaking in tongues.” For myself, when I reveived the Baptism at age 7, I was too young to understand or debate the Scriptures. He filled me without my even asking for it or thinking about it, and it has forever convinced me that speaking in tongues is a precious gift every born again believer should enjoy.
Here’s my story from the January ‘05 FIA issue: “How I Got the Holy Ghost”
It was the summer of 1959. I was 7 years old. I had been a “church kid” since my Dad got saved when I was a year old. He and my grandmother, Mother Mary Hardy, as she was known by hundreds who attended her Bible Class over the years, had taken me to church with them almost nightly. They also took me on street meetings every Saturday, where my Dad preached the Gospel on the busy corners of Baltimore. When the anointing would really “kick in” and his voice got louder, I would start “hollering” right along with him from the sidelines where Granny was holding me in her arms.
At the time, my Mom was not saved. She did not come to the Lord until I was almost 6. She could always tell when my Dad had taken me to church, because I would be very animated and “preachy” the next day. Once when I was still a pre-schooler, she said to me, “Sharon, come give Mommy a hug,” and when I did, I withdrew quickly, saying, “Ugh, Mommy, your hair stinks like cigarettes!”
“I can’t help it, Sharon,” she replied. “Yes, you can, Mommy,” I countered. “Just go to church, and put your cigarettes up on the altar, and you won’t smoke anymore,” I gladly offered with the exuberant innocence of a child.
But Mom was not receptive; in fact, she was irate: “Did your Daddy and Granny put you up to this?” she snapped. “No!” I assured her. “There was a man at church who smoked, and he came up and put his cigarettes on the altar, and the preacher prayed for him not to smoke anymore.” This only served to make the conviction on her intensify, but she wasn’t ready to get saved yet!
Old Time Tent Revival
She did get saved eventually, but not before giving my Dad a hard way to go for over 5 years! But the Lord made her salvation extra sweet by letting her get saved in my Dad’s own revival in a little country church in October 1957.
That summer of 1959, my parents were then pastoring a small inner city mission, and God was increasing His favor on the ministry. Baltimore was a good tent revival city in those days, and there was a great tent meeting that we were sponsoring. God’s Spirit was moving mightily every night, and many souls were coming to the Lord.
Being the proverbial church kid, I especially loved the tent meetings: Dancing in the sawdust was a real joy! I eagerly participated in everything, and that included getting in every prayer line, regardless of what it was for! I even got in lines for financial blessings! It didn’t matter; a prayer line was a lot of fun, and I really liked “falling down under the power” and lying in the sawdust. The only thing was, I just fell out “on my own power,” because that’s what I saw most everyone else doing. And, of course, adults would never discourage a child by scolding her for “pretending to be under the power” and falling down on the ground! Actually, most thought it was kind of cute to see little children imitating grown ups in church.
That night the preacher called for people to come up for prayer, and I don’t remember for what specifically. But as usual, I went up. He had us standing shoulder-to-shoulder across the front of the tent, and I was standing near the end on his right. I still don’t know if he actually laid hands on me. I was standing in line, and my next memory is opening my eyes and finding myself lying on my back in the sawdust, and the weird thing was, I don’t know how I got there! This time I never got a chance to do my “courtesy falling down,” I had not gone down on my own power or my own will, or by anyone else’s! It was the Holy Ghost who took me down! How do I know? I was speaking in tongues! And it was the easiest, most glorious thing I had ever experienced!
I looked up into the faces of curious adults who were peering down on me in wonder. I recall one lady in particular, because she was wearing bright red lipstick, which was not worn in those days by church women. She had a look of curiosity, surprise, and even incredulousness. But she certainly was not any more surprised or incredulous than I was!
I had been slain in the Spirit, and I was speaking in tongues, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it! He just filled me!
The next day I was still “walking on air,” and I couldn’t wait to tell my girlfriends about my experience. Karen, also age 7, was sitting on the black and grey sofa in my living room, and I was excitedly relating to her how “I got the Holy Ghost.” I even demonstrated my new “gift”; speaking in tongues, much to her wonderment. She wanted to speak in tongues too, and in my naive, childish faith, I tried to teach her how to speak in tongues! But it didn’t work! Because speaking in tongues can’t be taught! It is a gift to be received from the Heavenly Father!
In the 46 years since then, the Holy Ghost has been my Comforter, Counselor, Teacher, Expositor, and so much more! His presence is to enjoy. His power is to employ. I exhort you to receive His gift, if you haven’t already, and to stir up His gift if you have. Our Lord is in Heaven “preparing a place for us” (John 14:2). He sent the Holy Spirit to earth to prepare us for that place!