Before I go further, a little biblical background.
In the familiar God encounter in Acts 2:2, we find an interesting word. The word “sound” here is the Greek word ἦχος (ēchos), where we get the English word echo. It’s only used 3 times in the New Testament (Luke 4:37; Acts 2:2; Heb. 12:19).
By contrast, the Greek word for the normal way we think of “sound” is φωνή (phōnē), which is where we get the English word phone or phonograph. This word is used 139 times in the New Testament.
In light of this, the Wuest translation renders Acts 2:2 more precisely (bold text added)…
“And suddenly there came an echoing sound out of heaven
as of a wind borne along violently.” (Acts 2:2 Wuest)
This echoing sound from heaven was the promise of the Father, the birth of the true “House of God” on the earth. Jesus was the prototype–the “first born” of this New Creation, which was unprecedented (Col.1:15; 2 Cor.5:17). Before this time, the world was orphaned, without God as their Father (John 14:18). Their hearts were such that they could only relate to Him as a distant and separate God.
Those 120 on the Day of Pentecost were waiting with open hearts, full of anticipation. They heard the sound when it came and their spirits echoed back.
And the world has never been the same.
One other use of echos is in Heb.12:19, about a particular people’s reaction to the sound of Heaven on Mt. Sinai (brackets and bold-text added)…
“and the sound [(echos | ἦχος] of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.” (Heb.12:19)
The people who heard this echoing sound refused to respond… “those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.” And because they refused, they were left as religious orphans, having to relate to God by rules and ritual.
They traded intimacy and freedom for performance and sin management.
So which is your response to the echoing sound of Heaven?
We have two groups of people before us. Both groups represent the people of God–the Acts 2:2 generation and the Heb.12:19 generation.The first responded to the radiating love of God and they changed their world; the second responded in fear and died in the wilderness without ever entering their inheritance rest (Heb.4:2-5).
And the second group did not receive their inheritance, not because there was no sound to respond to, but because they did not believe. They were unbelieving believers.
Their hearts were still tuned to the kingdom of Egypt instead of the Kingdom of God.
Like Esau, they did not value what was being offered to them so they gave up their birthright.
They were God’s free people, yet they lived and thought like slaves instead of sons.
And since both Acts 2:2 and the whole book of Hebrews are directed to believers, the application is for us.
So, which is your response to this reverberating sound from Heaven?
Love or fear?
Are you keeping God at a distance, satisfied with the latest version of Christian religion–wanting your pastor, teacher, prophet, ministry leader…to hear from God for you? Not that they can’t help equip you, they should–but they should not be your connection to God’s echoing voice (1 John 2:27).
Are you walking in the freedom of the Spirit to the sound of Heaven or under the weight of rules, control and religious ritual?
Back to Hebrews 12, the writer continues by saying that we have not be placed on such a mountain like under the Law of Moses, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven.” (Heb.12:22-23).
Beloved, you have come. You are seated in heavenly places…now. You aren’t supposed to be waiting for anything.
The sound of heaven is echoing again. Are you listening?
The Kingdom is advancing. Are you advancing with it?
Or are you waiting for the Kingdom to come when you die or when Jesus returns?
Today is the day…not tomorrow, or for someone else. As the writer of Hebrews says, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Heb.4:7)
Let’s not be like the religious people in Jesus’ day, where He had to tell them that Heaven “played the flute for them but they did not dance” (Matt.11:17). For the Kingdom had come to them but they refused to see it. They refused to dance.
There is a fresh sound from heaven echoing through the valleys and mountains. The Kingdom is advancing. Can you hear it? Heaven is waiting for your response.