I learned an essential lesson as a young Christian, and that was not to take my theology from hymns or praise and worship songs, but only from the Bible.

For example, in the denomination in which I was brought up, we sang this song written by the founder: “Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame, | Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire! | Thy blood-bought gift today we claim, | Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire! | Look down and see this waiting host, | Give us the promised Holy Ghost; | We want another Pentecost, | Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!” Are you sure “We want another Pentecost?” I don’t think so. Why not use the fire that God supplied centuries ago?

So let’s go back to the book and check the facts. All we need are five verses from the last chapter of Luke’s gospel (vs. 45-49)and four verses from the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (vs. 1,3-4,8). Luke wrote both books. Luke 24:49 is the crucial verse in that gospel. Jesus is speaking, “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (ESV). There is no specific instruction to do anything except to expect. The hearers were all Jewish by religion and so they would continue their daily routine of going to the temple for prayer three times each day.

There is no indication that we should take Jerusalem in a symbolic way, as many preachers do when they speak of “your Jerusalem,” your hometown. I believe in reading what the Bible says literally unless the passage is identified as a figure of speech. The above is also true of verse 47, that the gospel “should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem,” which is how it happened.

Picking up the account in Acts 1:4, we read, “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father…” Wait, or tarry as in the KJV. The text is “to keep on waiting for,” until you receive what it promised. The early Pentecostal believers after Asuza Street in 1906 held “tarrying meetings” where believers could pray and seek the Lord to receive “the baptism.” Later incidents in the book of Acts show that waiting was no longer necessary.

And then the oft-quoted verse 8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Notice the “when,” not “after that” (KJV). So the primary purpose of being “clothed with power from on high” is to witness to the ends of the earth the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Acts 2:1 we read, “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” It doesn’t say which place, but it had to be a large place because of the crowd that heard the speaking in tongues, and because of the number of men present. So I think we can rule out the Upper Room, so beloved of preachers. It also doesn’t say who “they” are, but in the text (and the KJV and others) the sentence starts with “and,” a connective word, so we can go back to the previous verse, Acts 1:26 where we are told specifically that there were 11 disciples plus Matthias, which makes 12.

One final comment is on the “sound like a mighty rushing wind… and divided tongues as of fire [that] rested on each of them” (verses 3 and 4). These signs did not appear at any of the other occasions when people first spoke in tongues in the Book of Acts.

In summary, on the weight of the evidence in the Word, there was no repetition of the command to wait or of the signs on the Day of Pentecost, and so no need to want another Pentecost. The book of Acts does record other incidents where people spoke in tongues when they received “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” the term always used after the Day of Pentecost. When we discover who we are in Christ and that we have Christ in us, we should realize that we have wall-to-wall Holy Spirit within us also and can be a real witness for Christ to a dying world. 

Now we can sing, “I’m rejoicing night and day, As I walk the pilgrim way, | For the hand of God in all my life I see, | And the reason of my bliss, Yes, the secret all is this, | That the Comforter abides with me.” Now its become personal: “the Comforter abides with me.” In John 14:16 Jesus said the Comforter would “be with you forever” and in verse 17 he says “for he dwells with you and will be in you.”

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