May 23, 1904


Pastor C T Russell arrived home on Saturday from attendance at a series of conventions in the west. He was in excellent health, his long and rapid journeying apparently not affecting him. A crowded audience as usual greeted him at the Bible House chapel at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon. His topic was The Significance of the Day of Pentecost to the Christian, from the text:

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. . . . And they were all filled with the holy spirit." Acts 2:1-4 The Pastor said:

I am glad to be with the home friends again, and glad to talk to you today, especially concerning the meaning of Pentecost, of which this day is the anniversary. Strictly speaking, Friday last was the exact anniversary of Pentecost, but since Pentecost the difference between the Jewish method and that now in vogue for reckoning the calendar accounts for the difference. Pentecost, however, was on a Sunday, as was also the Lord's resurrection, memorialized in what we call Passover Sunday or Easter Sunday. Christians are generally agreed that the crucifixion took place on the afternoon of the sixth day of the week, which we call Friday, that our Lord was in the tomb on the seventh day of the week, the Jewish Sabbath, which we term Saturday. The word "Pentecost" signifies the fiftieth day. These 50 days began to count from the Jewish Passover Sabbath, the 50th day of Nisan; seven times seven weeks brought the account to another Jewish Sabbath, and the 50th day following that would be the first of a new week in Jewish reckoning the 50th day or Jubilee day. This reckoning of the passover and 50th day following it, namely, Pentecost, are the beginning of the "Feast of Weeks" which the Jews celebrated year by year during their dispensation, but understood not the deep significance of the ceremonies they performed. They had no conception whatever of the antitype to which these ceremonies pointed.

I need scarcely remind you of the great transactions of that Pentecost day which followed our Lord's death and resurrection and Ascension. You will remember the account, of which our text is a portion. You remember that before leaving His followers our Lord informed them that a new dispensation was opening, and that although He had previously forbidden them to go to gentiles or Samaritans, they should understand that henceforth their message would be unrestricted to "him that hath an ear to hear" of any nation, but that their mission, their work, was to begin at Jerusalem. You recall further that our Lord admonished the disciples that they were not yet equipped for the work of the dispensation, and instructed them, saying, "Tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." (Luke 24:49) They probably knew not how long the tarrying would be, for "the holy spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (Luke 7:39), and they could not understand spiritual things until they obtained this blessing. True, a measure of the holy spirit had been on the apostles during our Lord's ministry, so that they worked miracles, healing the sick, casting out devils, etc. ; but the power under which they then operated was not from the Father direct, but was imparted to them by our Lord Jesus, whose representatives they were in the teaching and preaching and miracle working. However, the Lord had promised them a recognition by the Father in due time, and it was for this that they were to wait.

They were not waiting as sinners for power for repentance, for they were already believers in the Lord Jesus, accepted Him, and, more than this, they were already consecrated to the doing of the Father's will. But, although every proper step on their part had been taken, they had not yet been acknowledged of the Father they had not yet received the spirit of adoption into His family. They had left the house of Moses, the house of servants, and had attached themselves to Jesus, the Son of God, that they might be members of the house of sons, this liberty or privilege having been accorded them (John 1:12); but now they waited for the matter to be made bonafide, actual.


The descent of the holy spirit upon them might have been as quiet a matter as was the descent of the holy spirit upon our Lord Jesus at the time of his baptism might have been no more marked a manifestation than there is on the Lord's people today, when, becoming united to the Lord, they become partakers of His spirit and are adopted into the Father's family. However, it was not only in the interest of the early church, but in our interest also, that the Lord marked this great and important transaction with wonderful outward manifestations the cloven tongues and flames of fire resting upon the heads of the apostles and possible upon others, the rushing mighty wind filling the place where they were and causing some kind of sensation, the after miracle of the tongues and other gifts of the spirit. All these attestations to the momentous significations of Pentecost we may well rejoice in. They impress upon us the importance of the great events which on that day had their beginning.

What great events? We answer in harmony with Peter's words that the events of that day signified, first: That the Lord, who had ascended from them 10 days before, had reached the heavenly courts, had presented to the Father the evidence of His sacrifice and had made a portion of the merit of the same applicable to His people to the household of faith to all who would believe in and accept Him as their Savior. These things were shown back in the Mosaic types; the high priest, having slain the bullock, took its blood into the Most Holy and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, to make atonement for his body (the under priests) and for his household (the house of Levi, which typifies the household of faith all believers). As soon as the blood of the bullock was sprinkled upon the mercy seat, justice pronounced absolution of sins for the particular class for whom the blood was applied, who, therefore, were [HGL215] thenceforward in fellowship with God and in harmony with the blessings he had to dispense. Justice relinquished its claim and divine mercy accepted the consecrated ones as prospective members of the body of Christ as sons of God (John 1:12). Second: The sending forth of the holy spirit marked the "adoption" of these into the family of God, into joint heirship with the Lord Jesus Christ, or under another figure it marked their "espousal" as members of the prospective bride of Christ.

The Apostle Peter, explaining this matter, says that it typified that Christ was exalted to the right hand of God that He had been received into the heavenly courts with glory and distinction as an overcomer, as one who had performed the Father's will, and to whom the high reward was given of sitting down with the Father in His throne the throne of the universe. The sending of the holy spirit upon his faithful followers was to be to them an attestation of all this and of their acceptance with the Father through Him. (Rev. 3:21) Jesus, "being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the holy spirit (the holy spirit as promised) He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." (Acts 2:33)


Peter proceeds to point out that this pouring out of the spirit was a partial fulfillment of a prophecy made long before by the Prophet Joel respecting the "last days." We pause here to notice that this expression "last days" is generally misunderstood. It is generally forgotten by those who study the subject that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and that the entire period from the creation to the full eradication of sin is a period of seven days seven periods of a thousand years each, corresponding to the seven days of the week. Joel prophesied about 800 B C, consequently before the middle of the great week of seven thousand years, and the expression, in the last days, would therefore properly refer to the thousand-year periods with which the great week should close. As a matter of fact, this Pentecostal blessing occurred in the beginning of the fifth of these great thousand-year days. However, the Apostle Peter does not say that the Pentecostal blessing fulfilled all that was predicted by Joel, but merely that it was in his prediction a part of it. And while it was a most important part, it by no means represented the larger part of Joel's prediction. The larger part is to be fulfilled now shortly in the morning of the seventh of these great days in the Millennial morning.

Turning to Joel's prophecy we see that it has two distinct parts one part exclusively for the "servants and handmaidens" of the Lord and the other part for "all flesh." (Joel 2:28, 29) Pentecost marked the pouring out of the spirit of the Lord upon servants and handmaidens, and this blessing there poured out has been for all belonging to this class throughout this Gospel Age. Pouring out of the spirit of the Lord "upon all flesh" is due at the inauguration of "the Kingdom of God's dear Son," when Satan shall be bound and when the sons of God shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, for the blessing and refreshment and restitution of all the families of the earth. (Matt. 13:43; Rom. 8:17-19; Acts 3:21)

The statement of this prophecy is an illustration of the manner in which the Lord throughout the Scriptures has stated His truth in such a form that its force and meaning should not be understood until the due time should arrive and His people should be guided by the spirit into the understanding of the same. The peculiarity of the statement is that the blessings of the Millennial age are mentioned first, and the blessings of this Gospel age last so that this reversal of the order of occurrence has put a haze upon the whole subject. Nevertheless, when we rightly consider it, the statement is properly enough applicable to all, including the church. The operation of God's love and mercy through and in conjunction with the atonement sacrifice of Christ is to bring the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, but this general outpouring will be after certain days represented in this Gospel age, the fifth day and the sixth day the fifth thousand and sixth thousand years of the great week and hence it will be in the seventh. But the blessing of the Lord's servants and handmaidens will not be after those days (the fifth and the sixth days) but "in those days." The entire matter is simple enough, plain as could be, when once the eyes of our understanding open to a comprehension of the greater heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the love of God than we had at first anticipated.


The same blessing is represented similarly in the types of the "day of atonement." That day was for the purpose of making atonement for the sins of "all the people" all Israel, who typified all mankind of all nations redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, who will enter into covenant relationship with God at any time by reason of the blood of the atonement. After making this general statement respecting the whole work of the day of atonement, the type proceeds to particularize and tells first of the sacrifice of the bullock, and, as we have just seen, shows that its blood was applied in a restricted sense not for all Israel not for all the people, who will eventually become God's covenant people through the benefits of the atonement. The merits of the sacrifice of the bullock were typically applied to those constituting the under priesthood (the body of the high priest), whose antitype is the Little Flock, the Royal Priesthood, the Tribe of Levi, the priestly family, representing the antitypical "household of faith," developed before the Millennial Age. This first part of the atonement, we see, was separate and distinct from the after part of it, just as the Pentecostal blessing upon the church is separate and distinct from the after outpouring of the spirit, which is to be general upon all flesh.

The second part of the atonement sacrifice, namely, the sacrifice of the Lord's goat was performed by the same priest, and represented the participation of the Lord's faithful footstep followers with Him in this great work. It is His work, not ours' but He accepts us as members of His body and permits us as such to share with Him in His work of sacrifice. He permits us to suffer with Him, to lay down our lives for the brethren, to be "dead with Him," and in all this we are counted in as "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ;" so that really the entire period from the Lord's baptism of the holy spirit down to the [HGL216] end of this age is the Day of Atonement. The important feature of it all was that performed by our Redeemer Himself, which He finished at Calvary. In consequence of that sacrifice, we, His consecrated followers, are "accepted in the Beloved" and privileged to die with Him as members of His body. It is to this end that the Pentecostal blessing of the holy spirit has been poured out upon the servants and handmaidens of the Lord throughout this Gospel Age to enable them to walk in the footsteps of their Lord, to present their bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, and because counted in as members of the body of Christ and suffering in this present time to be glorified as soon as the number is complete and the sufferings and testings accomplished.

According to the type, the completion of the church the last member of the elect having made his calling and election sure, having finished his course with joy, having had fellowship with Christ in His death the blood of the second sacrifice of the atonement will be offered to justice. It is all Christ's offering, since we are nothing of ourselves, but have our entire standing before the Father as reckonedly members of the body of Christ a royal priesthood under a royal high priest. As the Father accepted first of all the atonement sacrifice and blessed our Lord and sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church, so, when the second sacrifice shall have been offered, we may be confident that the remaining portion of Joel's prophecy will have ample fulfillment the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh.


As the Holy Spirit was poured upon the waiting believers by the Lord, so the Lord and those believers glorified with Him in the kingdom will pour out the Father's blessing of restitution, of knowledge of God and spiritual assistances, upon all mankind; and in full harmony with this is the statement of the prophet respecting that glorious millennial period, "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep." "And they shall no more teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know thou the Lord, because all shall know Him from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord." This does not mean universal salvation, but a universal opportunity for securing "the gift of God, everlasting life," on condition of obedience. As the alternative of wilful sin now incurred by the "servants and handmaids" is second death, so the same alternative will confront the world "all flesh" when blest by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit during the Millennium.

The servants and handmaidens of the Lord have needed the refreshment and guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout this Gospel Age, and without it none of us could surely hope to fight a good fight against the world, the flesh and the adversary. Without it we should be unable to comprehend the spiritual things, and consequently unable to grasp the blessings that are freely given unto us of God in the present time, as well as unable to appreciate the things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man the things God hath in reservation for those who love Him, which God hath revealed unto us by His spirit. (1 Cor. 2:9-10) Oh, how much the Pentecostal blessing, the spirit of adoption, the seal of our sonship, means to us who are seeking to make our calling and election sure to those heavenly things to which the Lord has called us the heavenly kingdom and its glory, honor and immortality!

Let me guard you, however, against a serious error into which many saintly people seem disposed to fall. They seem to expect Pentecostal blessings individually and collectively yearly or at least every few years, and some continually entreat the Lord in every prayer for a repetition of that Pentecostal outpouring of divine favor the Holy Spirit. This is the result of a misconception. The Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit, was not merely for nor upon the early church, but equally upon and for all of us who are their successors throughout this age. It needs no repetition. To illustrate, consider our Lord Jesus, upon whom first of all the Holy Spirit was shed forth by the Father at the time of His baptism at Jordan at the beginning of His ministry. He needed not to go yearly to Jordan to receive fresh baptism; He needed not to receive them anywhere. The baptism which He received continued with Him the Holy Spirit once granted was not withdrawn. Its withdrawal would have meant His death as a new creature. The blessing which came to the church at Pentecost was part of that same blessing which came to our Lord Jesus the Head.

The whole transaction was typically represented in the anointing of Aaron, the typical high priest. The anointing oil was all poured upon the head, and Aaron's head typified our Lord Jesus, whom God hath given to be the head over the church, which is His body. (Eph. 1:22-23) God gave not the spirit by measure unto him, is the record it was poured out without limit, without stint; but it did not reach the body until Pentecost. The body could not be accepted or recognized of the Father until the atonement for our sins had been made with the precious blood; but the atonement having been applied and accepted, the Holy Spirit was poured out. In the type this was represented by the holy anointing oil running down from the head to the body.


Mark how the Prophet David draws this to our attention, assuring us that the anointing oil ran down Aaron's beard and over all of his body even to the skirts of his garments. The Pentecostal blessing is abundant for all of the members of the body of Christ. When by faith and obedience, justification and sanctification, we come into membership in the body of Christ, we come under this which was represented in the type by the holy anointing oil the antitype of which is the Holy Spirit. If ever we are "cut off" as branches which do not bear fruitage, it would mean our total separation from the Lord and His spirit, the anointing which ye have received of Him and which constitutes the earnest or foretaste of our inheritance. The inheritance will be attained in the life-resurrection promised to all the faithful.

Our petitions, therefore, properly contain no requests for fresh Pentecosts, even as in the petitions of our Lord and the disciples such requests are not to be found. Nevertheless it is entirely proper for us to pray with the apostles that the Holy Spirit may "abound more and more" in us, and to be in accord with our Lord's sentiment when he said that "the Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to [HGL217] them that seek Him than earthly parents are to give good gifts unto their children." This giving of the Holy Spirit enjoined in the Scriptures and appreciated by us should not be confounded with the Pentecostal blessings, which was never repeated except on one occasion, namely, when the Lord marked the acceptance of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, and thus taught the lesson that henceforth there would be no distinction between Jew and Gentile as respects the favors of the Divine promises.

What then do we mean when we ask to be more and more filled with the Holy Spirit if we do not mean new Pentecostal endowments? The thought is that when we come into union with Christ through the consecration of our hearts and wills, when we are accepted as members of His body, all the blessings of God represented at Pentecost belong to us, not as individuals but as members of the anointed church. As members of the anointed body, under divine favor and leadings, it is our privilege to grow in grace, in knowledge, and in all the fruits of the spirit, and this properly is termed the filling with the spirit. At the beginning of our consecration, we surrendered our own wills that we might take the Lord's will in every particular, that we may have the Lord's spirit in respect to all of lifes affairs, but it is one thing to will and another thing to receive. The surrendering of our wills, so as to desire to have the heavenly Father's will, spirit, disposition, mind, dwell is us, is the act of a moment, but it requires days and weeks and months and years to become fully transformed by the "renewing of our minds." (Rom. 12:2)

Gradually the Lord's favor toward us, as members of the anointed body, permits us to see the lengths and breadths and heights and depths in His love and in His character, and as we see this the transforming influences in our own thoughts and conduct progress. As the spirit of the Lord comes into our lives we come more and more to love things which at one time we did not love or appreciate, and to hate things which at one time seemed to have little or nothing objectionable in them. Right and wrong have remained fixed as they were; our views of them have changed as we have, under the guidance and blessing of the Lord, made progress from grace to grace and from knowledge to knowledge.


Today, dear friends, as we call to mind the great Pentecostal blessings at the beginning of the age and how its favor has extended down from that time to the present time, let us rejoice before the Lord, giving thanks in Jesus' name for this great blessing, for the relationship which was there established between God and those who accepted Jesus as their Savior, and who made consecration to Him and His service. Let us ever keep in mind that the benefits of this Pentecostal fellowship with God and anointing of His spirit is found in the sacrifice which was finished at Calvary, and that the Pentecostal blessings and favors could not come until He had died and ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, and there symbolically to sprinkle the blood of atonement by which our sins are canceled.

Correct thoughts respecting this subject will not only keep us very appreciative of the relationship which we enjoy with the Father and with the Son, and in fellowship one with another as members of the anointed body of Christ, but will ever keep us humble as respects our natural condition, for it will remind us that we are by nature "children of wrath" even as others, and require even as the world the forgiveness of sins through the merit of the precious blood. Nevertheless, all who receive the anointing of the spirit will be gradually, more and more, transformed thereby in thought and word and deed. Meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness, love will gradually, more and more, be apparent, however "crooked" the natural disposition may have been. And it is our blessed consolation that the Lord accepts our heart desires in these respects in lieu of actual perfection, which will be impossible until we gain our perfect, resurrection bodies. (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

Let us carry away with us another thought, namely, that the anointing which our Lord received and that came in due time upon His church, and in which we are sharers by His grace, is an anointing for a service a double service. In olden times the kings were anointed and also the priests, and respecting the church the Lord has informed us that we are a Royal Priesthood= that in this church both the kingly and priestly offices mingle. Christ being the Chief Priest and the Chief King, and we being His associates in the glorious commission represented in the two offices. He is to be the King of the world, to bring order out of present confusion, to destroy sin and everything contrary to righteousness, but He is also to be the Great Priest, the Great Teacher, the Great Helper, to assist sinners out of all the difficulties to which they have come through disobedience, to bring back into harmony with God so many as are willing to be brought back. In this commission and glorious work of the future, we are to be joint-heirs if we make our calling and election sure, and we wait until the time shall come when the last member of the king and priest class shall have been approved of God, and the earnest or foretaste of the coming blessings shall give place to the actualities of the kingdom and its gracious work on behalf of the world of mankind.

Prev   Next