Tongues and Tribes: Understanding Pentecost

When we love each other, despite our differences, we represent our Father well.

It can be hard at times to love those that do not love us in return, or those that share a different understanding than we do. But I have recently been reminded about the power of God’s love for us, that even when we were sinners, Christ died for us. A demonstration of underserved mercy and undeserved grace, given to us when we were enemies of God.

Christ set a precedent for us, something for us to emulate.

An amazing thing happened in the upper room at Pentecost, actually 5 things, and I want to share them with you because they give clarity to the season and time in which we live.

  1. While praying in unity (one accord) the Spirit of God fell, as prophesied and foretold by Jesus. The tongues of flame were a sign of judgement against the Jews for rejecting the Messiah. This would come to pass through the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
  2. The flame also signified revival, which occurred through Peter’s sermon after prayer. The Holy Spirit gave Peter a ‘tongue for revival’ which was supernatural power, the draw of the Holy Spirit.
  3. The tongues spoken were likely a heavenly language, which was heard in earthly dialect. The disciples appearing ‘drunk’ suggests the utterance of babble. But this wasn’t babble, it was an undoing of the Tower of Babel. A sign that the Holy Spirit through Jesus was drawing all men (Jew and Gentile) to Himself. A sign that Christ had broken the curse of sin. Rather than dispersing men by dialect, a sign of the curse, He was drawing men to Himself, uniting them as “one nation, a royal priesthood”. Bringing together tongue, tribe and nation.
  4. This marked the beginning of the Last Days, as Peter mentioned when quoting from Joel.
  5. It was the beginning of a new era, a new season, leading into the Time of the Gentiles as prophesied by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, documented by Luke in Chapter 21. This would officially begin in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was trampled under foot and the Second Temple was destroyed.

The account of the upper room is a beautiful picture of unity among disciples, prayer and seeking God first, the power of God moving and leading to revival. A template for us as we seek God for our cities and our nation.

We are one nation, with many tribes.

Similar to Israel, the Church represents one body (or nation), through many different factions. We call them denominations but in reality we are tribes. Tribal identity continues as God gives understanding of truth in part, to different factions, as a checks and balances of power. But when we rise above tribal differences, not trying to force our beliefs on others, we will realize the unifying prayer and power of the Holy Spirit as demonstrated in the upper room.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit as prophesied by Joel and preached by Peter continues today. We must remember that God gives different members of the Body different gifts. The gifts are still active, we may just have a different gifting.

We are no better or worse than anyone else based on the spiritual gifts God gives us, we should encourage each other and love one another as equals. This kind of love is compelling and it is how we will be known as disciples of Christ.

The point is unity.

The central theme of Pentecost is the power of God over the power of man.

The Church was small then, able to meet in one location. But the overall message is this: if we pray in one accord, in genuine repentance, the Holy Spirit will move again as He did at Pentecost and He will give us all, not just our pastors, evangelists and teachers, the supernatural power of revival.

Money gives the illusion of power and it has become a stumbling block to the American Church. We fight for position, for power, for money and land. But the time has come to repent, to seek God in spirit and truth. To repent of our tribal in-fighting, and to rise as a unified nation.

The call of the hour is solemn assembly, for repentance. A call to sackcloth and ashes, to repent of our competition and to love each other. To pray in one accord and to ask the Holy Spirit for revival power.

I am thankful for you, your gifts, and how the Lord is going to use you during these strategic times.

2016-06-03T04:22:03+00:00

About the Author:

Matt Cote is the Founder of Concept Church, a digital media ministry. He is the author of the book, End Game.