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Pentecost - Acts 2 with Joel 2

The Prophecy is Yet to Come!

                     OUTLINE OF THE FEAST OF PENTECOST



     Pentecost is THE GREEK NAME for the Old Testament Feast of
Weeks (Exodus 34:22; Numbers 28:26; Deuteronomy 16:10). It is
called the Feast of Harvest in Exodus 23:16. According to
Leviticus 23:15-16, on the seventh Sabbath (seven weeks or 49
days) after Passover, the sons of Israel were to celebrate the
harvest by bringing voluntary offerings to the Lord. In the New
Testament this celebration was called Pentecost, which in Greek
means "fiftieth," because this celebration landed on the day
after the seventh Sabbath, or the fiftieth day after Passover.

(The COUNTING to Pentecost is the ONLY way to figure WHEN the
feast day of Pentecost should be observed. I have given full in-
depth study instruction on HOW to count to Pentecost, in other
studies on this Website - Keith Hunt)


EARLY HISTORY

     During the Feast of Weeks, the primary offering was new
grain consisting of "two loaves of bread for a wave offering,
made of two-tenths of an ephah [approximately one bushel]; they
shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to
the LORD" (Leviticus 23:17 NASB). The leaven came from the bread
of the preceding barley harvest. Because the bread contained
leaven it was not placed on the altar, but rather, was eaten by
the priests. The second offering was a burnt offering of seven
male lambs, a young bull, and two rams (Leviticus 23:18). A grain
offering and drink offering were brought with the burnt offering
(Leviticus 23:18). The people also brought a male goat for a sin
offering and two male lambs for a peace offering (Leviticus
23:19). Portions of the lamb and the grain offering were waved
before the Lord and then eaten by the officiating priest
(Leviticus 23:20). The feast was a sacred occasion; no work was
to be done on the day of observance (Leviticus 23:21).


PENTECOST AND THE GIVING OF THE LAW 

     After the Romans destroyed the Temple in A.D.70, it was no
longer possible to bring sacrifices to the Temple, and the
purpose of the Feast of Weeks changed. Because of the close
connection of the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles with the
period during which the Israelites were in the wilderness, the
rabbis connected the Feast of Weeks with the giving of the law at
Mount Sinai. Exodus 19:1 says that the children of Israel arrived
at Mount Sinai in the third month, the same month that Pentecost
is celebrated (see 2 Chronicles 15:10). Because of references to
Pentecost in the Book of Jubilees (6:17-21) and perhaps in the
Dead Sea Scrolls, Dunn concludes that the tradition is
pre-Christian. He says, "But had Pentecost also become
specifically the feast which celebrated the law-giving at Sinai?
The answer is probably, Yes ... the giving of the law at Sinai
was the most important of the covenants. And the custom of
reading Exodus 19 at the feast of Pentecost was probably already
established in the century before Christ" (Dunn, p.784). This is
also the view of Witherington, who says that it is possible, but
not certain, that associating the Feast of Weeks with the giving
of the law is an earlier tradition. He cites a passage from
Philo, who wrote before Luke, describing a phenomenon occurring
at the giving of the law that was somewhat similar to the
"tongues of fire" that were manifested at Pentecost
(Witherington, p.131).

(Further and deeper study would show, from Jewish sources
themselves, that the connection of Pentecost with the giving of
the Law was a much later addition and interpretation of the
Feast. Further more there is not ONE WORD in the Bible claiming
the giving of the law was on Pentecost. Further to that it is
IMPOSSIBLE to chronologically determine from the books of Moses
that the giving of the law was on the feast of Pentecost. Notice
above in Witherington's view the words "possible" and "not
certain." And Philo only uses supposed "phenomenon" which is not
in the Scriptures, so obviously comes from Jewish traditions,
which may well be wrong, see what Jesus had to say about Jewish
"traditions" in Mark 7. The bottom line is that Scripture nowhere
says the giving of the law was on the feast of Pentecost - Keith
Hunt)


     Whether or not the transformation of the feast occurred
before or after the first century is uncertain. In either case,
at an early date Pentecost changed from a celebration of the
first fruits of the harvest to a commemoration of the giving of
the law. Jacobs (P.1320) states that this remarkable
transformation to "the anniversary of the giving of the Torah"
was based on the reading of Exodus 19:1: "In the third month
after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on
that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai." Thus, in
addition to the customary reading of the book of Ruth to
celebrate the harvest, select portions of the Torah (the
Pentateuch) were read to honor the law of Moses.

(Again, this is all Jewish made up theology. We prove elsewhere
on this Website that the giving of the law cannot be connected
with the feast of Pentecost. Scripture nowhere says the law was
given on Pentecost - Keith Hunt)


NEW TESTAMENT REFERENCES

     In Acts 2:1, Luke states that Jesus fulfilled His promise to
send the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:8; see also
John 14:1617; 15:26-27; 16:7,13). Luke's account of the events of
the Day of Pentecost stresses the gift of the Spirit accompanied
by the visible and audible sign of speaking in tongues (foreign
languages), empowerment for the proclamation of the gospel, and
the birth of the church. The coming of the Spirit on the small
but faithful group of Jesus' followers is the actual beginning of
the church, evident because Luke emphasizes that the 3000 who
responded to Peter's message and submitted to baptism were
"added" to the church.

     On his second missionary journey, Paul bypassed Ephesus "in
order that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was
hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of
Pentecost" (Acts 20:16). Paul apparently intended to participate
in Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks) with other Jewish believers.
There is no evidence that the first-century church celebrated
Pentecost, though there are two other references to Pentecost in
the New Testament.

(The fact of Church history shows clearly that the first century
Church of God, DID celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, and in fact
it is one of the Feasts of God that has been celebrated in the
Roman Catholic church from the start, and the Roman Catholic
church came "out of" the very true Church of God in the first
century A.D. Likewise the Church of England, which came out of
the Roman Catholic church, has remained faithful in celebrating
the Feast day of Pentecost, ON a SUNDAY - Keith Hunt)


     In 1 Corinthians 16:8 Paul informed the Corinthians that he
planned to "remain in Ephesus until Pentecost." As in Acts 20:16,
it is apparent that though he was a believer, Paul remained
faithful to his Jewish heritage in practices not related to
salvation.

(The Feasts of the Lord have nothing to do with "Jewish heritage"
per se. Those Feasts belong to the Lord as Lev.23 makes very
clear. The Feasts of the Lord are an extention of the 4th
commandment; they amplify the 4th commandment. You cannot be
saved by keeping the works of observing the Feasts of the Lord,
you are saved by grace [see my study "Saved by Grace" on this
Website]; yet on the other hand, it is written, "to him that
knoweth to do good and does it not, to him it is sin" - and
doing sin, practicing sin, as a way of life, once the truth has
been revealed to you, dis-qualifies you from receiving the grace
of God, whereby you might be saved. If you have been shown the
light and truth on the false so-called "Christian festivals" and
are given the light of truth on the Feasts of the Lord, and you
REJECT that light and truth, will not practice that truth, then
you have fallen from grace, and cannot be saved, until you REPENT
of rejecting truth and light and are willing to LIVE the truth and
the light - Keith Hunt)


PENTECOST AND THE CHURCH

     The later church celebrated Pentecost on the fiftieth day
after Easter. Since Easter always occurred on Sunday, Pentecost
was always on Sunday as well. During the period between Easter
and Pentecost, prayers were said standing rather than kneeling,
and catechumens (people who were receiving instruction in
Christianity) were baptized, but the Christians did not fast
because Pentecost was a joyful occasion. Because the ascension
had occurred shortly before Pentecost, many people thought Christ
would return near the time of Pentecost. Later, Pentecost was
observed as a commemoration of the giving of the Holy Spirit
(Lohse, p.827). The Roman Catholic church and churches that
follow a liturgical calendar celebrate Pentecost for two days.

(Now we are into how the "popular" Christianity of the world
observes Pentecost. Yes, they connect it with Easter Sunday,
still observing it on a Sunday, which is correct as far as a
Sunday goes. Sometimes God's Passover and the way to correctly
count to Pentecost, falls on the "Easter" Sunday, hence in some
years God's true Church observes Pentecost Sunday on exactly the
same Sunday as all the churches of Mother Rome observe it - Keith
Hunt)

 
THEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE

     Some scholars have observed parallels between Jesus'
reception of the Spirit at His baptism and the gift of the Spirit
to Jesus' followers at Pentecost (Lincoln, p.903; Longenecker, p.
269). The Spirit descended on Jesus while He was praying and was
accompanied by visible and audible phenomena. The disciples were
gathered in an upper room, probably praying (see Acts 1:14) when
they received the Spirit, and there was something like the sound
of a rushing wind and the sight of tongues of fire (Acts 2:2-3).
Jesus received power for ministry with the coming of the Spirit
(Luke 3:22; see also Acts 10:38), and Jesus' disciples received
power for a universal witness when they received the Spirit (Acts
1:8).
     Longenecker believes that the gift of the Spirit on the Day
of Pentecost is not only parallel to Jesus' baptism experience
but also demonstrates both continuity and contrast with the law.
He says, "The Spirit's coming is in continuity with God's
purposes in giving the law and ... the Spirit's coming signals
the essential difference between the Jewish faith and commitment
to Jesus, for whereas the former is Torah centered and Torah
directed, the latter is Christ centered and Spirit directed - all
of which sounds very much like Paul" (p.269). Though it is true
that the church's life and mission were Christ centered and
Spirit directed, it is unlikely that Luke's intention was to
contrast the gift of the Spirit with the giving of the law. It
was Paul, not Luke, who elaborated the differences between law
and grace. Lohse is right when he concludes that "there is no
evidence that this equation is made in NT days; the idea that the
Christian Pentecost is a festival of the new revelation of God
has no foundation" (p.826).


(I agree, "there is no evidence that this equation is made in NT
days" - do not ADD to the Word and do not TAKE-AWAY from the Word
- so it is written and so people should be careful to obey -
Keith Hunt)


     It is almost universally agreed that the church was born on
the Day of Pentecost. As the birthday of the church, Pentecost
marks the end of the dispensation of the law and the beginning of
the dispensation of grace (the church age). 

(This is all mumbo-jumbo talk as from this study which is by one
of the fundamental guys of Protestantism. The dispensation of
"grace" has been from the beginning. Everyone from from faithful
Abel to those saints alive when Jesus comes in glory, will be in
the first resurrection, because they will have been saved by
grace. Being saved by grace has forever been the ONLY way to be
saved. You need to understand the truth on being saved by grace,
and not be confused by the "dispensational" teachings of the
folly of the fundamentalists. No other study is as important for
YOU than my study called "Saved by Grace" - make sure you study
it and understand the truth of being saved by grace - Keith Hunt)


     The 3000 who believed and were baptized were added to the
first disciples of Jesus (Acts 2:41). As a new and Spirit-filled
community, the church was energized for the universal
proclamation of the gospel, a message of grace and an entirely
new way of approaching God. Instead of law, people could now come
to God through faith in the crucified, resurrected, and ascended
Christ. The church age, which began at Pentecost, will continue
until Christ returns for His own.

(The true saints of God from the time of Abel, have served and
worshipped and have come to God, in the exact same way as we
today. They looked FORWARD to the sacrifice of Christ for their
sins; we look BACK to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
Salvation from the beginning has ALWAYS been the SAME for ANYONE!
Being saved by grace through Christ has forever been the ONLY way 
to be saved - Keith Hunt)


     In his polemic against the Colossian heresy, Paul exhorts
the Colossians not to be intimidated by those attempting to
impose dietary restrictions or the observance of Jewish holy days
on believers. He says that these are "a mere shadow of what is to
come; but the substance belongs to Christ" (Colossians 2:16-17).

(Once more a HUGE fundamental FOLLY interpretation of Colossians
2:16-17. I give you the truth of the matter on this section of
Scripture in a study on this Website - Keith Hunt)


     Paul uses the same Greek word for "festival" as the
Septuagint uses for "convocation" in Leviticus 23:1-4. Though
Paul does not identify a particular feast, some believe that his
statement is justification for interpreting the Jewish feasts
typologically. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, with the ritual
of the two loaves of bread for a wave offering, is considered
typical of the union of Jews and Gentiles into one body
(Ephesians 2:14-16). Since the loaves are made with leaven, the
type fits the antitype precisely because Jews and Gentiles are
contaminated with sin. According to Leviticus 23:19, the sin
offering makes the loaves acceptable, just as Christ's death
makes atonement for both Jews and Gentiles (Moorehead, p.221).

(The two loaves can also represent the TWO Testaments - the Old
and the New. They could also represent the saints before Christ
and the saints after Christ. Typology can have more than one
strata of meaning, as shown in the many studies under "Typology
of the Feasts" - Keith Hunt)


RELATION TO JOEL 2

     When Peter cited Joel 2:28-32 on the Day of Pentecost, was
he signifying that Joel's prophecy was fulfilled on that day? No.
On the contrary, we conclude that these Acts 2 quotations did not
intend to communicate a then fulfillment of Old Testament
prophecies. Rather, the passage speaks of a still-future time.

     In the course of the amazing events that transpired, the
apostles were asked to give an account of what was taking place.
The question posed by the mockers was whether the disciples were
"full of sweet wine" (Acts 2:13). Peter answered this question by
declaring that "these men are not drunk, as you suppose ...but
this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel" (Acts
2:15-16). What does Joel describe in Joel 2:28-32? He describes
the activity of God's Spirit at work in events surrounding a
future second coming of Christ. Thus, Peter's point is that of
similarity between what the Holy Spirit will do in the future
with the nation of Israel and what He was doing almost 2000 years
ago. This falls short of fulfillment at any point. The Spirit's
activity in Joel cannot be separated from events that will
transpire during the Tribulation; therefore, it could not have
been fulfilled in Acts 2 unless the Tribulation had taken place
at that time, which it had not. As noted in verse 16, the unique
statement of Peter ("this is what") is the language of
comparison, not fulfillment.


Not Fulfilled in Acts 2

     Several observations confirm that the events described in
Joel 2:28-32, even though mentioned by Peter in Acts 2, were not
fulfilled at the founding of the church. First, when comparing
the Joel and Acts texts, one immediately sees that Joel begins by
saying, "It will come about after this" (Joel 2:28). Israel will
experience the spiritual blessings noted in 2:28-29 after it
experiences the material blessings described in 2:21-27. On the
other hand, Peter begins with these words: "And it shall be in
the last days..." (Acts 2:17). The context of the Joel passage is
that of the Tribulation, which explains why Peter calls it "the
last days." The phrase "last days" is always a description in the
Old Testament for events taking place either during the
Tribulation or in conjunction with the second coming (see
Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20; 30:24; 48:47
Ezekiel 38:16; Daniel 2:28; 10:14; Micah 4:1). Both passages link
the following events to the last days.

(This is true - I fully agree. Joel's prophecy is a time just
before and at the "heavenly signs" which come before the "day of
the Lord, or the day of the wrath of God - see Revelation 6, the
5th and 6th seal - the killing of saints in the Great Tribulation
and the Heavenly Signs just before the day of the wrath of God -
Keith Hunt)


     Second, Peter did not use a normal introductory formula to
say that the Joel passage was fulfilled when he spoke. The normal
"formula" for citing the New Testament fulfillment of an Old
Testament prophecy is exemplified in Matthew 2:15, which says:
"...that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be
fulfilled, saying, 'Out of Egypt did I call My Son.'" We know the
departure from Egypt by Jesus and His family fulfilled an Old
Testament prediction because the text says it was a fulfillment.
There is no such language in Acts 2:16. Peter did not actually
say that any of Joel's prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of
Pentecost.

     Third, the introductory phrase that Peter did use is "this
is what." This is the only time in the entire New Testament that
this is used to introduce an Old Testament quotation by a New
Testament author. Why did Peter, under the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, say "this is what"? Peter uses "this is what"
because he is making an application of similarity between the
working of God's Spirit in the future - as noted in Joel - and
what the Holy Spirit was doing in giving birth to the church. He
is answering the assertion in verse 13 that these men were drunk.
We can paraphrase Peter's response this way: "No, what you are
seeing today is not caused by sweet wine; instead, it is produced
by the Holy Spirit, just as we see Joel describing events that
will also be a product of the Holy Spirit." Arnold Fruchtenbaum
explains it this way:

     However, there was one point of similarity: an outpouring of
     the Holy Spirit resulting in an unusual manifestation. Acts
     2 neither changes or reinterprets Joel 2 nor does it deny
     that Joel 2 will have a literal fulfillment when the Holy
     Spirit will be poured out on the whole nation of Israel. It
     is simply applying it to a New Testament event because of
     one point of similarity. In Joel the Spirit is poured out
     resulting in the unusual manifestation of prophetic dreams
     and visions; in Acts the Spirit is poured out resulting in
     the unusual manifestation of speaking in tongues (p.7).


     Fourth, nothing that Joel prophesied actually took place in
Acts 2. Clearly there were no "wonders in the sky above, and
signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke"
(2:19) at the time of Peter's sermon. Neither did the sun turn to
darkness or the moon into blood (2:20) as Peter spoke. In fact,
"the one thing that happened in Acts 2 (tongues) is not even
mentioned by Joel" (Fruchtenbaum, p.5). Robert Thomas says, "The
phenomena on the Day of Pentecost were in no sense a fulfillment
of Joel's prophecy, a prophecy that pertained to the people of
Israel, not to the church.... It is misleading to call them in
any sense a fulfillment of Joel" (Thomas, p.263).

(What the above men have said about this account in Acts and Joel
2 is very correct. They have this one right - Keith Hunt)


Fulfillment Still Future

     The fact that the events Peter quotes from Joel 2 were not
fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 has great
implications for Bible prophecy. It means that the events of Joel
2 will be fulfilled in conjunction with the Tribulation and the
second coming, as noted by Christ Himself in Matthew 24:29. It
also means that one cannot legitimately argue that the kingdom of
God arrived in Acts 2, whether spiritually or physically. The
promised kingdom is not the church.


W.H. MARTY AND THOMAS ICE
......


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dunn, J.D. "Pentecost." In "The New International Dictionary of
New Testament Theology" Ed. Colin Brown. Grand Rapids
Zondervan,1976.

Feinberg, Charles L "Pentecost." In "Zondervan Pictorial
Encyclopedia of The Bible." Ed. Merrill C.Tenney. Grand Rapids.
Zondervan, 1975.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. "Rabbinic Quotations of the OId Testament
and How It Relates to Joel 2 and Acts 2." Paper presented to the
Pre-Trib Study Group, Dallas,TX. Dec. 2002.

Jacobs, Louis "SHAVUOT." In "Encyclopaedia Judaica." Ed. Geoffrey
Wiyoder. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House,1971.

Lincoln, A.T. "Pentecost." In "Dictionary of the Later New
Testament and Its Developments." Eds. Ralph P Martin and Peter H.
Davids. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997

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


Entered on this Website, Pentecost, May 31st 2009


 
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