I am continually struck by the anomaly of people's interest in being religious, but lack of interest in honestly relating to God. In a great majority of cases, when two people, who have no demonstrated interest in living openly for God each day, want to get married, they seek out a church and a pastor to perform the ceremony. Why? If people have no real interest in God, why do they want to bear the judgment later of having been exposed to the truth of God on their wedding day? Why not just get the justice of the peace to do it? A secular life ought to begin in a secular way.
Then, too, when a person who spends his whole lifetime living solely for his own interests dies, someone calls the preacher to do the funeral. What's an honest preacher supposed to say? People who live solely for their own interests perish at death in an indescribable Hell. Why does the family want to be reminded of this at such a time of loss? If a person wants to live without God, he will die without Him, too. His family ought to be spared having to think about that, at least on the day of his funeral.
But everyone ought to think about these things at some point, because they are true and eternal things. That is why we have been spending our time in the last few articles studying what the Bible says about the feasts of Israel. These feasts lay the foundation for God's claims. Because the foundation is laid so solidly in fact and logical consistency, everyone ought to think about them at some point when they can clearly think through the consequences of their lives in the light of the God who is.
In another study (047) we came upon the sights and sounds of Pentecost in the year that Jesus Christ was put to death for the forgiveness of our sins. The sound was that of a mighty breath from heaven to make us think of God's offer of life through Jesus. But the sight was of tongues of fire. Tongues are a symbol in divine revelation of judgment from God. Fire is a symbol of how bad that judgment can be. Once I got a notice that because I owned a GM pickup with outside-the-frame gas tanks I might be qualified to receive a certificate from GM for $1000 because they didn't want to be liable to my family if someone hit me broadside and my truck turned into a living demonstration of Hell. Tongues of fire is no joke.
God has offered to us the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life. But God is no pushover. His compassion is boundless, but so is His sense of what is right. If eternal condemnation was not a reality, He would not have sent His Son to die in our place (unbounded compassion). By the same token, if sin was a slight matter, Hell wouldn't be. The offer of life on that ancient day of Pentecost was made because the threat of death is so real. The mighty breath from heaven came because there are cloven tongues of fire.
Pentecost is the fourth Feast of Israel. It is the fourth time God has demonstrated His true identity. How many times will it take for you to be called by His grace before you will come?