All Nations, Tribes, and Tongues

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians–we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

~ Acts 2:1-12 ~

Pentecost Sunday is the day we remember and celebrate the Holy Spirit coming onto the believes in Christ. This is the day foretold of by the Lord when He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Gift from the Father – the Holy Spirit. But the disciples were not told to remain in Jerusalem forever. Instead, they were to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit and then go out into “all nations” and preach “repentance and forgiveness of sins” that comes from Christ (Luk. 24:47). Just before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told His followers,

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.

~ Acts 1:8 ~

Why is this important? This is important because we all are included in that promise. God’s salvation was not just for one time, place, or people, but for all time, all places, and all people. In Genesis, we learn that after the flood mankind rebelled against God again. Instead of spreading out across the world and filling it, they deliberately stayed in one place  to “make a name” for themselves, so God scattered them by tribe and tongue across the earth (Gen. 10-11). God then chose Abraham and made his people a great nation. But they were not the only ones to receive the blessings of God. God said that through the nation of Israel, all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3).

This was realized with the birth of the Messiah. He came to save not only Israel, the chosen people of God, but all people of the earth (Jhn. 3:16). He came to save us as the second Adam, for in the first Adam all died and in Christ we are made alive (1 Cor. 15:22, 1 Pet. 3:18). Since we are all children of Adam via Noah’s sons, we are able to be saved by Christ, and He did come to save us, as we are reminded in the later part of Acts,

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.'”

~ Acts 17:26-28 ~

Thus, Pentecost is a reminder not only of the coming of the Holy Spirit but also of a glimpse of what it will be like in eternity,

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

~ Revelation 7:9-10 ~

So, “What does this mean?” The Day of Pentecost was a day when the Holy Spirit came down to dwell in us, and it was a day that, in a way, “reversed” what happened at Babel. In those days, all mankind was separated. But now, with the coming of Christ and the Day of Pentecost, we are united and will praise God for all eternity.

Blessings to you and yours,


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