The True Pentecost

Modern Pentecostalism claims to inherit its name from an historical, biblical event known as “the Pentecost”. The Pentecost was part of the Jewish feast known as the “Feasts of weeks”. It was during these celebrations that the Holy Spirit descended and began Its work within the infant Church. Let us read on Acts 2:1-3:

(1) “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 the whole house where they were sitting.
(3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”

It is our intent to offer you, my dear beloved readers, a well-balanced and accurate narrative of the events occurred at Pentecost. In order to achieve this, the beloved readers must take a stand in an objective and unbiased position, free from any dogmatic influence that may undermine our purpose. Our purpose is: To make the crooked straight and to reform the distortion of Pentecostalism.

In the tradition of the Pentecostal bodies, the emphasis is made on the descent of the Holy Spirit and its miracles. Pentecostals claim, “The miracles and signs manifested by the Spirit are that which counts”. The things which are emotional, visual, and supernatural entice men through sight, leading them this way astray and away from that which the Lord has granted to us in His great mercy, that is, the Eternal Gospel, which is an indispensable element in order to be able to obtain eternal life.

When speaking of visible signs, we must have prudence as our ally, for Satan succeeded in conquering the man of Eden by luring him through sight: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes…” (Genesis 3:6). This is still Satan’s favorite method of deception: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

It is said, and this is true, that there is no other better principle of hermeneutics and parameter than the Gospel. Being the fact that it is the Gospel the beginning and the end of redemption, let us therefore test all things according to God’s salvational purpose which is in Christ, that is, to “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10). If our statement is in full accordance to the fulfilment of this primary divine purpose, then, we must accept it; but if said statement goes against it, then, we must reject it for it is not from God. By the light of this great purpose is that we will bring forth an accurate analysis of the Bible’s Pentecost, and at the same time, we will uncover and refute the Pentecostal perversion of this historical event.

In order for us to discern correctly that which is truly significant and meaningful on Pentecost, it is imperative to take a look back to the past and pay heightened attention to the following facts: Let us see:

God scattered men in Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) in order to avoid them to save themselves through human methods. God achieved this by confusing their languages. Through this, God confounded and dispersed a people which pretended to achieve what is impossible: “Self-salvation”.

God promised Israel deliverance, salvation and restoration. These promises were accomplished and fulfilled through the Promised Messiah. Christ is the total and absolute fulfilment of all the promises made to Israel through Abraham:“And we declare to you glad tidings-that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus…” (Acts 13:32-33).

God had promised He would speak to His Israel in other language: “For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11).

Let us now continue, by the light of the statements we have already exposed unto you, to bring forth the true interpretation on regards to the Bible’s Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit was passed out on the apostles. Notice this important detail: The events at Pentecost are opposite to Babel’s. On Pentecost, God used once again the languages, but this time with a different purpose, that is, to gather and not to scatter. At Pentecost, God restored the proper order of things by allowing an efficient form of communication and He also gathered the Jews of the Dispersion (Acts 2:5), fulfilling this way the promises made to Israel: “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). By the way, God fulfilled the prophecy made to Isaiah which foretells that in a strange tongue He will speak to Israel.

The True Meaning of Pentecost

Let us enumerate the most notable events occurred on the Day of Pentecost by the light of Acts chapter 2. Obviously, we must stand out the following events:

The descent of the Holy Spirit

The manifestation of the gift of tongues

Peter’s preaching of the Gospel

Now, let us review and analyze these events and then, we will place them in their proper order according to the significance the Holy Word of God gives them:

1) The descent of the Spirit:

The Holy Spirit has been historically acknowledged by the orthodox religions as the Third Person of the Trinity. Christ, speaking to the apostles, foretold and clearly established its function as Guide of the Church. In reference to the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus said:

(8) “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8)

( 13) “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
(14) He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14)

By the light of these biblical passages, we can conclude that Christ and His work will be the Spirit’s constant message. In other words, the Spirit is in charge, as a divine agent, of teaching the Church in regards to the event of Calvary. In regards to this, the Lord says:

(26) “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” (John 15:26)

At Pentecost, as soon as the Holy Spirit descended, it began its work as our guide to commend Christ as our only way to attain everlasting life. Notice that this primary work of the Spirit-which is to lead us to Christ-is accomplished the way the Lord foretold. Peter, being directed by the Holy Spirit, reproved the people of their great sin, and later he introduces them to the Anointed King and Lord of Israel as the only true way through which all men receive forgiveness, and as a result, acquittal and everlasting life (Be sure to read Acts 2:32-40).

Being the fact that the Holy Spirit is wrongly used by Pentecostalism to promote their counterfeited miracles and wonders, we are compelled to bring forth the following explanation: The only true way to acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit, is not through miracles and wonders, but through the preaching of the Gospel (the acts of Jesus). Remember that the Scripture warns us that the spirit of Satan will be identify with deceiving miracles and signs, as clearly and explicitly declared on Revelation 13:13-14 and Matthew 7:22-23. Let us read:

(13) “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
(14) And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do…” (Revelation 13:13-14)

(22) “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?
(23) And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:22-23)

However, Satan can never preach the Eternal Gospel, for such action goes against his evil goals. Therefore, by his words we fully recognize him and uncover his pretensions; let us read on Revelation 13:11 :

(11) “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.”

In conclusion, the presence of the Holy Spirit can only be verified without error through the Eternal Gospel. The apostle Paul clearly speaks on this matter: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9)-[the emphasis made on these verses is ours]. However, by saying it twice, the apostle is also calling our attention to that point. The Holy Spirit, more than a miraculous agent, which it is indeed, is the teaching agent of the Gospel.

2) The Manifestation of the Gift of Tongues:

Three things were accomplished through the gift of tongues:

The prophecy of Isaiah 28:11 was fulfilled.

The promises made to Israel were proclaimed and spread (Be sure to read Acts 2:39-41).

The tongues were an evidence of God’s acceptance
of the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-47).

By the light of what we have already mentioned, we can surely conclude that the tongues fulfilled the following goals:

To communicate to the offspring the fulfilment of the promise made to their parents.

To confirm the Gentiles as legitimate members of the nation of God and fellow-participants of the promise made to Abraham.

Both goals were fully met by means of the “gift of tongues”-which was at that moment necessary, but never meant to be a permanent gift. We must be sober and see the close relationship the Word establishes between the tongues and the Gospel. It is imperative to do these things, for it is the Gospel that which determines whether a gift is from God and works on behalf of God’s plan of redemption or not. If the tongues speak with intelligible sound (that is, they proclaim the Gospel), the such come from God; but if said tongues give an uncertain call (its preaching has nothing to do with the Gospel), let it be condemned!

The great truth is that when the Church was born, there were special and distinctive circumstances that made more than necessary and justifiable this gift of tongues. Such circumstances were:

The fact that most apostles were illiterate, with no academic degree (they were not polyglots).

Jews (the sons) came from every country under heaven with their respective dialects.

The need to announce God’s acceptance to the Gentiles.

However Paul indicates that the gift of tongues was meant to disappear in this age. History confirmed Paul’s statement, as written on 1 Corinthians 13:8, “…whether there are tongues, they will cease…” It is logical to conclude that the given gifts will cease after the necessary circumstances which made them useful ceases also. In order to summarize some ground covered on regards to the gift of tongues, we will emphasize the fact that such gift was a mean through which other things were also accomplished, but in no way does this mean that the gift is an end in itself-as Pentecostalism pretends to establish.

3) Peter’s preaching of the Gospel:

On Pentecost, Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s primary function is to teach the Gospel (or to bring forth the knowledge of the Gospel) to the potential Church members. Peter, in accordance to this purpose, preached the simplest, most eloquent and efficient evangelical sermon ever proclaimed. This brief preaching was so effective and successful that 3,000 souls were added to the Church in that day (Acts 2:41).

It is necessary to notice this important detail: Peter did not preach a testimony about a personal change in his life- as done in today’s Pentecostal circles-on the contrary, Peter, in full harmony and accordance to God’s (therefore, the Spirit’s) purpose, proclaimed the wonderful works of God in Christ. By doing this, the apostle brought forth to Israel deliverance, salvation and redemption. The Gentiles, who were also listening, joined God’s Israel.

Peter did not preach about personal high-powered ecstatic experiences of bodily sensations that would make him twist and jump under the mesmerizing influence of the Spirit, as claimed by Pentecostalism. This is the evident implication: The Holy Spirit, inspiring us in an extraordinarily mysterious way, allows us to comprehend the Gospel, but It will never seize or possess us by introducing itself into our bodies. It is, therefore, necessary to suspect of that seizing spirit which is now infesting the Church in our days.

The Biblical Order

When taking upon consideration how significant were the events occurred at Pentecost: First, we must be careful of not altering the specific proper arrangement of things the Word has established. We are not allowed to alter or distort reality to an extent as to exalt or emphasize on that which was intended to be just a mean or medium-as it is the case of the gift of tongues. This distortion is one of the ways to obstruct and hinder God’s purpose. He who supports such misinterpretation is a heretic.

What is truly important about the day of the Pentecost is the preaching of the glorious Gospel through which God restored Israel, which is also home for the Gentiles. At Pentecost begins “the Age of the Spirit” as the educator and guide of the Church, which allow us to know our salvation in Christ (and all its implications). The signs and wonders manifested at Pentecost are not a qualified evidence that this is the Spirit’s permanent “modus operandi”. The Bible is clear: The only qualified sign of the Spirit is the presence and action of the Gospel. As noted earlier, these secondary signs appeared due to the given circumstances at the time.

Salvation is never attained by the Spirit’s doings but by Christ’s. The Holy Spirit’s marvelous work does not consist of speaking in tongues or performing temporary healings, but to lead us to believe and trust on God’s work in Christ on our behalf-that is, to bring forth the glad tidings that in Christ the original order which was in Eden was reestablished, and that the old things have passed away in God’s eyes.

Now, let us establish by the light of everything we have exposed unto you, the proper biblical order of the events occurred at Pentecost:

God’s purpose was achieved to “gather together in one all things in Christ” through the Gospel.

The promise about the Holy Spirit acting as the teaching agent of the Church and as a powerful vicar of Christ, was realized.

The tongues’ temporary commitment of making possible God’s purpose was accomplished. This is-and there is no other-the true primary goal of the Bible’s Pentecost.

lo nos indica que ese don habría de desaparecer en este siglo.  La historia ratificó ese señalamiento por el apóstol, hecho en Primera de Corintios capítulo 13, versículo 8; veamos:  “…y cesarán las lenguas, y la ciencia acabará.”  Es obvio que al desaparecer las circunstancias que lo hacían necesario, también el don hubo de desaparecer.  A manera de resumir lo aquí expuesto, en relación con el don de lenguas, enfatizaremos que ese don fue un medio de cumplir con unas cosas y de alcanzar otras, pero no constituye, bajo ningún concepto, un fin en sí mismo, como el pentecostalismo pretende.

3) La predicación evangélica de Pedro:

Pedro fue lleno del Espíritu Santo en el día de Pentecostés; y siendo que el Espíritu tiene como primera opción educar (dar a conocer el Evangelio a los potenciales miembros de iglesia), Pedro, en armonía con ese propósito, predicó el más sencillo, elocuente y eficaz sermón evangélico que jamás se haya predicado.  Tan eficaz fue aquel corto sermón, que tres mil almas fueron unidas a la iglesia en aquel día (Hch. 2:41).

Es necesario hacer notar que Pedro no ofreció al público allí presente un testimonio de su cambio de vida —como se hace en los círculos pentecostales del presente—.  Pedro, en armonía con el propósito de Dios y del Espíritu, anunció las maravillas obradas por Dios en Cristo, y de esa manera comunicó a Israel su liberación, salvación y redención.  Las anunció, de paso, a los gentiles, quienes también le escucharon e integraron el Israel de Dios.

Tampoco proclamó Pedro haber experimentado sensaciones agradables que le llevaran a contorsionarse y a brincar, poseído por el Espíritu Santo.  Ello implica que el Espíritu obra inspirándonos de un modo extraordinario y misterioso para que comprendamos el Evangelio, pero jamás nos posee metiéndose dentro de nosotros.  Es, pues, necesario que cuestionemos ese espíritu posesivo que se está manifestando en nuestros días.

El Orden Bíblico

Al considerar la importancia de lo acaecido durante el día de Pentecostés tenemos que permitirnos dejar las cosas en el orden de importancia en que la Palabra las coloca.  No podemos distorsionar la realidad a tal punto que enfaticemos en aquello que es un medio —el don de lenguas— y lo coloquemos como prioritario y fundamental.  Eso equivale a distorsionar y, por ende, a contrariar y obstaculizar el propósito de Dios.  El que así lo hace, se constituye en hereje.

Lo realmente importante de lo acaecido en Pentecostés es la promulgación del glorioso Evangelio con que Dios restauró a Israel, que es también el hogar de los gentiles.  En Pentecostés se inicia la “Era del Espíritu” como agente educativo de la Iglesia, dándonos a conocer nuestra salvación en Cristo y lo que ello implica.  El hecho de que inicialmente apelara a manifestar unas señales no es evidencia de que ese es Su modus operandi continuo y permanente.  La Biblia enseña que la señal de la presencia del Espíritu y Su gestión es el Evangelio.  Como antes señalamos, fue por las circunstancias prevalecientes por las que el Espíritu operó de ese modo.

La salvación no nos llega por las realizaciones del Espíritu, sino más bien por las de Cristo.  La grandiosa obra del Espíritu no consiste en hacernos hablar en lenguas o en propiciar unas sanidades temporales.  Su grandiosa obra consiste en llevarnos a creer y confiar en lo que Dios obró en Cristo para nuestra salud; en traernos la gloriosa buena nueva de que en Cristo ya fue restablecido el orden edénico, y que las cosas viejas ya pasaron para los efectos divinos.

Establezcamos ahora, a la luz de lo que aquí hemos analizado, el orden bíblicamente prioritario de los hechos antes señalados:

1) Se alcanzó el propósito de Dios “de reunir todas las cosas en Cristo” por el Evangelio.

2) Se hizo realidad la promesa de la participación del Espíritu como agente educador y poderoso vicario de Cristo.

3) Las lenguas llevaron su temporal cometido en la canalización del propósito de Dios.

Ese, y no otro, es el orden verdadero y prioritario del Pentecostés bíblico.

Incompatibilidad del Presente Don con el de Pentecostés

Preguntamos:  ¿Para qué sirven las lenguas hoy?  Más bien para obstaculizar la predicación del Evangelio, antes que para viabilizarlo.  Hoy día, donde se manifiesta este supuesto legítimo don, reina la confusión y el desorden.  No se edifica la iglesia ni se dan a conocer las maravillas de Dios en Cristo.  Por tanto, sea anatema.

Las lenguas han sido tomadas y sacadas de su contexto y orden bíblico para que así sirvan como medio de confundir antes que de edificar.  El gran apóstol declara que para que las lenguas sean de bendición hay que utilizarlas correctamente o, de lo contrario, no deben ser permitidas; veamos:

(5) “Así que, quisiera que todos vosotros hablaseis en lenguas, pero más que profetizaseis; porque mayor es el que profetiza que el que habla en lenguas, a no ser que las interprete para que la iglesia reciba edificación.

(6) Ahora pues, hermanos, si yo voy a vosotros hablando en lenguas, ¿qué os aprovechará, si no os hablare con revelación, o con ciencia, o con profecía, o con doctrina?

(7) Ciertamente las cosas inanimadas que producen sonidos, como la flauta o la cítara, si no dieren distinción de voces, ¿cómo se sabrá lo que se toca con la flauta o con la cítara?

(8) Y si la trompeta diere sonido incierto, ¿quién se preparará para la batalla?

(9) Así también vosotros, si por la lengua no diereis palabra bien comprensible, ¿cómo se entenderá lo que decís?  Porque hablaréis al aire.” (1 Co. 14:5-9)

La diversidad de idiomas o lenguas fue utilizada por Dios para confundir (Génesis 11:1-9); y también dentro de la diversidad Dios nos trajo orden, comunicación y edificación por medio de ellas (Hch. 2:1-12).  Por consiguiente, las lenguas pueden ser utilizadas para bendición o maldición, dependiendo del uso que se les aplique.  En Pentecostés fueron utilizadas por el Espíritu para bendición.  Es imposible decir lo mismo de su utilidad hoy, pues, obviamente, no vienen a los propósitos de edificar, sino de desordenar y confundir.

En los círculos pentecostales desde hace unas décadas se ha venido manifestando este “don” fuera de su contexto histórico y también teológico, propiciando un medio ambiente impropio para la verdadera adoración y edificación de la Iglesia.  Lo peor de todo es que la Iglesia Pentecostal priva a sus prosélitos —por causa de ese desmedido énfasis en el que se coloca el don de lenguas como finalidad— del único modo verdadero y eficaz para alcanzar seguridad, esperanza, gozo, paz y legítima santidad.  Ese único modo es la continua predicación del Evangelio Eterno o el testimonio de Jesús que “es el espíritu de la profecía” (Ap. 19:10).

En el día de Pentecostés que nos describe la Palabra en Hechos 2, no nace una iglesia carismática o pentecostal; lo que realmente nació fue una iglesia evangélica en todo el sentido de la palabra.  Los carismas son muchos y variados, pero ninguno de ellos constituye un fin en sí mismo.  Tan sólo el Evangelio da sentido a la fe, al ministerio y a la Iglesia.  Es a ese glorioso Evangelio Eterno que debes entregarte con todo tu corazón, para que vivas por la fe y seas preservado en el día de la ira (1 Jn. 2:28).