Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Forty-eight: Power on Pentecost Day!   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter Forty-eight:

Power on Pentecost Day!


                      THE BOOK OF ACTS 
                             AND
                      RELATED EPISTLES

                         Chapter Two


     The time period from Passover to the day of Pentecost was
commonly called in the first century in Palestine, "first fruits
season" or "Pentecost season." The word Pentecost means "count
fifty" and from the wave sheaf day during the feast of
Unleavened Bread (which is a first day of the week) the
Israelites were to count fifty days, and the 50th day was the day
or feast day of Pentecost. During that time period the first
harvest in Palestine was gathered in, the crop being first barley
then wheat. The period of fifty days was the Pentecost season,
hence Luke was getting very specific when in verse one of chapter
two of the book of Acts he said, "And when the day of Pentecost
was FULLY come...." Luke was wanting to make sure all readers
knew that he was now relating the events that took place on the
VERY feast day of Pentecost.
     The disciples he says were all together in one place (Acts
2:1).

     SUDDENLY, from heaven a sound like a massive whirlwind, was
all around the house where the disciples were gathered. Then from
what appeared to be from out of nowhere, cloven tongues like made
of fire came and sat upon the heads of each of the disciples, and
they were miraculously filled with the Holy Spirit in their
minds. And they found they could speak in different languages,
that they had never learned, as the Holy Spirit led them to so
speak (Acts 2:2-3).

     We shall see presently WHY God gave the disciples this
miracle of being able to speak in languages never spoken by them
before.

     There were at Jerusalem, devour religious people from all
the various nations of the then hub of the world, under the great
and far flung Roman Empire. It was soon reported to those in
Jerusalem what had happened to the group of Jesus' disciples, and
as we say, "they came running" to see it all for themselves. 
They were indeed amazed and dumbfounded at what they heard, for
they heard the disciples speaking in their own particular
language. This was more than just a miracle of "speaking" it was
also a miracle of "hearing" for Luke says it this way: "Every man
heard THEM speak in his own language." This strongly implies that
the listener heard ALL of the disciples speaking in his language.
So it was like a Chinese man hearing ALL of the disciples
speaking Chinese, and the Russian person heard ALL of the
disciples speaking in the Russian language, while the Englishman
heard them ALL speaking English. A miracle of the hearing as well
as of the speaking.
     Nothing like this has ever happened before or since. Those
who claim to be "Pentecostal churches" and want to try and
duplicate this miracle of Pentecost recorded here in Acts 2, have
never come close to claiming all the people hear others speaking
in just their particular language. This miracle of this Pentecost
has remained unique.
     
     Those listening were indeed amazed because they knew the
disciples were from Galilee, and so looked upon as basically
unlearned people, just "country folks" - not noble well educated
"city dwellers." Again they said among themselves, "How can this
be? How can everyone of us hear them speaking in the language
wherein we were born?" Those people listening were Parthians,
Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia,
Pontus, and Asia (today what is known as Turkey), from Phygia,
Pamphylia, from Egypt, from parts of Libya about Cyrene, and
strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes (Gentiles converted to
Judaism). they were from Crete and  Arabia, and all of them said
they heard THEM speak in their language, the wonderful works of
God. Again Luke says they were all amazed and were in doubt as to
what this miracle meant. Some others standing by and not given
the miracle of hearing, just mocked and laughed at it all, to
them it was like a bunch of men who had had too much to drink and
were intoxicated with new wine (Acts 2:5-13).

PETER'S SPEAKS WITH MIGHTY INSPIRATION

     But Peter standing up in front of them all spoke out boldly
and powerfully:

     "You people of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem,
     listen to me, I want you to know this. These disciples are
     not drunken as some of you suppose, for it is just the third
     hour of the day (that would be about 9 a.m. as we reckon the
     day hours).
     What you witness it what was prophesied long ago by the
     prophet Joel, who said and wrote: 'And it shall come to pass
     in the last days, says God, I will pour out my Spirit upon
     all flesh: your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and
     your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall
     dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaids I will
     pour out in those days my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
     and I will show wonders in heaven above; and signs in the
     earth below; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun
     shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,
     before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it
     shall come to pass that whoever shall call upon the name of
     the Lord shall be saved' " (Acts 2: 14-21).

     Now this is an interesting passage, for it teaches us that
some of God's prophetic words can have a DOUBT meaning and a
double fulfilment. The words we have just read, taken from the
book of Joel (chapter two) in the Old Testament, are such that
the details certainly did NOT happen as written on that day of
Pentecost that look is recording for us. And further more the
prophecy of Joel is to take place before the great prophetic "day
of the Lord" that is spoken about in 30 or more passages in the
Old Testament. And is also spoken about in Revelation chapter
6:12-17.  The details of Joel will one day come to pass, a year
or so before the coming of Jesus in glory, just before the "day
of God's wrath" comes on this earth. 
     But Peter certainly had no problem in equating the prophecy
of Joel with the events of this Pentecost day. It was to him a
type of fulfilment, a forerunner of the final mighty and even
greater fulfilment, that is still yet to come on this earth and
on the people of God that He will choose to again mightily pour
out His spirit on, as a witness of the power of God, to the
ungodly people of the earth. It will be a witness to tell the
people of the nations of the world that the Almighty is now going
to step in and shake and roll the earth and its people, in a way
that will really start to get their attention.

     The people of Jerusalem on this day of Pentecost were
attentive for sure, as this witness of the power of God was
manifested in their midst.

     Peter went on to say:

     "You men of Israel, listen, hear these words I'm speaking:
     Jesus of Nazareth, a man that you should have known was
     approved of God among you by all the miracles, wonders, and
     signs, which God did through Him as He lived among you.
     You know all this, it all happened opening before you all.
     Him, according to the will of God from ages passed, as
     planned by the wisdom of the Lord, you have taken Him and
     through wickedness you put Him to death by slaying Him by
     the means of crucifixion. But God has raised Him up,
     resurrected Him to glory, loosed Him from the snare of
     death, for it was impossible that death should rule over
     Him. 
     For David was inspired to tell us that God the Father saw
     His Son living and so death would not reign over Him: 'I
     foresaw the Lord always before me, for He is on My right
     hand' and Jesus then replies in David's writing: 'I should
     not be moved from life by death. Therefore my heart did
     rejoice, and I spoke with gladness, and I knew my flesh
     would rest in death in hope. For you would not leave my life
     in the grave, nor would your Holy One see corruption of His
     physical body. You have made know to me the ways of life;
     and you shall make me full of joy with your face and mind
     towards me, to deliver me from the physical death'
     (Ps.16:8)" (Acts 2:22-28).

     Peter was not through with speaking. He again lifted up his
voice with power and said:

     "Men and brethren, let me speak frankly to you about the
     patriarch David. He is both dead and buried, his grave
     remains with us to this day. He was a prophet and was
     inspired to know that just has God had sworn with an oath to
     him, that of his very fleshly descendants, He would raise up
     the Messiah to sit on his throne. So seeing all this
     beforehand, he spoke of the very resurrection of Christ,
     that His life would not be left in the grave, neither would
     His physical flesh see corruption. 
     This Jesus the Christ, God has indeed then raised up from
     the dead, and we. His disciples, are witness to this fact.
     He is now at the right hand of God in heaven, exalted in
     glory. And we having received from the Father the promise of
     the Holy Spirit, He has given to us this gift of the power
     of His Spirit, that you are now seeing and hearing.
     For we know that David, the man, did not go up into heaven
     where God is, but David himself foretold that: 'The Lord
     said to my Lord, sit you upon my right hand, until I make
     your enemies your footstool'(Ps.110:1)" (Acts 2:29-35).

     This is one of the clearest passages in the New Testament
showing that at death we do not go to heaven where God the Father
and Jesus are living. We are not born with an immortal soul. We
die and rest in death until the resurrection day at the coming of
Jesus in glory to sit on David's throne and rule the earth, when
His enemies will indeed be under His feet, under His rule and
authority. Jesus was raised back to life from the dead, but
raised to glorious immortal life, to go back to heaven and sit at
the right hand of the Father UNTIL the Father sends Him back to
earth to rule all nations for a thousand years (see Revelation
20).

     And because of this magnificent truth Peter went on to say:

     "Therefore let all the house of Israel know as a sure thing,
     that God has made that same Jesus, whom you crucified, both
     LORD and CHRIST" (verse 36).

     Jesus is not only SAVIOR, the anointed Messiah, but He is
MASTER, and ruler of the earth when the Kingdom of God comes to
earth in a very literal way.

     When the people listening to Peter heard all that he was
telling them, they were smitten in their hearts with conviction
of it all being very true, as to what Peter had said to them.
     They then cried out with sincere hearts, "Oh, men and
brethren, it is indeed so true....what then must we do?" And
Peter looking at them and feeling the full inspiration of God,
replied: "REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of you in the NAME of
Jesus Christ FOR the REMISSION of SINS, and you shall then
RECEIVE the GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT!  For the promise is towards
you, and to your children, and indeed to ALL that are far off,
even to as many as the Lord our God shall CALL" (verses 37-39).

     We note here the last words. As we saw in the Gospels, God
must CALL people to His salvation, open up their deceived and
blinded minds, so they can understand spiritual matters of truths
from His word. Then as Peter said IF they will REPENT and be
BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ, God has promised to give
them His Holy Spirit. 

     We see here the basic ONE and TWO of the way to enter into
salvation, and into a relationship with the Father and with His
Son Jesus the Christ. There maybe at times some exceptions to
this basic way, but God makes those exceptions, not us (sometimes
giving His Spirit to some people BEFORE baptism - - yet they
should still be baptized - we'll see this exception later in the
book of Acts).
     
     Peter it is recorded by Luke, spoke many other words to them
on that day of Pentecost. The main important words are recorded
for us. The words Peter spoke were given so the people hearing
could save themselves from that wicked and crooked generation
(verse 40).
     Many did harken to the words of Peter and gladly repented
and were baptized. On that one day alone, there were about three
thousand lives won for the Lord. All of them continued with a
stead fast heart in the apostles teachings and fellowship. They
"broke bread" together, a phrase used to denote the fellow-
shipping of eating meals with each other. And they continued in
PRAYERS! Most important at this time of the birth of the
Christian New Testament Church of God. Yes, it would be very
natural and very spontaneous, for prayers to be given by God's
children at this time, as it was the start of a spiritual
movement that later one ruler would say (as we'll come to in the
book of Acts) "turned the world upside down" (verses 41-42).

     So powerful was the Holy Spirit in the lives of the apostles
and others that Luke says "fear" came upon every person, because
of the wonders and signs that were done by the apostles (verse
43).

BELIEVERS SHARE THINGS AMONG EACH OTHER

     All the followers of Jesus, old and new, were together in
Jerusalem, and they had all things in common Luke reports in Acts
2:44. This he goes on to explain in verses 45 to 47. People were
willing to sell their possessions and their valuables of what
sort they were, and then distribute money or goods to every
believer as every person had need. 
     You will notice the words "as every man had need" - this was
not a practice of "communism" or dividing everything equally to
each believer and follower of Christ. Goods and money were given
out AS NEEDED by each individual. Obvious to some were given
more and to some were given less, as each person in their
situation of life had need.
     The new "church of God" had increased by thousands in a
matter of a few days, starting with about 3,000 being baptized on
the day of Pentecost alone. They were not leaving for their homes
in various parts of the Roman Empire - they were staying on in
Jerusalem, rejoicing in the truth and new found faith of God in
Christ Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Many would have run out of
money, or food, or whatever else would be needed to stay on in
Jerusalem and not return home for a while. 
     This situation was a unique circumstance in the history of
those called to salvation by the heavenly Father, and so it
called for much personal sacrifice from Christ's disciples
who lived in the area of Jerusalem, and who had wealth of one
kind or another. It called for a real "giving and sharing" of
their wealth to those who needed physical things to enable them
to stay on in Jerusalem and not return home for a period of time,
that they had not planned for when they came to Jerusalem to
observe the feast of Pentecost or First-fruits.
     It was a natural thing to want to stay around and learn from
Jesus' twelve apostles and to grow in grace and knowledge of many
of the truths of God's word that they were now learning.

     So all those many new, and 120 or so old disciples of Jesus,
continued daily with one mind-set, worshipping in the Temple (the
temple in Jerusalem as still God's Temple and was still a place
to meditate and worship in), and eating meals together (breaking
bread from house to house, means eating meals together in
fellowship, and has nothing to do with taking the bread and wine
as in the memorial of Jesus' death in the Passover service). This
they did with gladness and with a pure heart of devotion towards
God. They were praising the Father in heaven for His grace and
truths. They were model, well-mannered, friendly, courteous,
joyful people, and so it is recorded that they were well
favored by all the people in Jerusalem and area.

     As each day went by God added more and more to His church
and to the way of salvation (Acts 2:44-47).

                ............................

March 2004

TO BE CONTINUED


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