LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

ACTS 2 AND THE DAY OF PENTECOST: A BRIEF STUDY IN PNEUMOTOLOGY, HISTORY AND EMPOWERMENT

A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. ADEYEMI IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE NBST 522 LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY BY JOEL ALAN DORMAN

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA OCTOBER 11, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ......................................................................................................................................1 Pneumatology through the Old and New Testaments......................................................................1 Emphasis in the Old Testament ...........................................................................................2 Emphasis in the New Testament before Pentecost ..............................................................4 History of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks .....................................................................................5 Institution, Purpose and Time of the Year ...........................................................................5 At the time of Christ ............................................................................................................6 Analysis of Acts Chapter 2 ..............................................................................................................6 Verses 1-4 ............................................................................................................................7 Verses 5-13 ........................................................................................................................10 Other Views of the Beginning of the Church ................................................................................14 The Confession of Peter .....................................................................................................14 The Resurrection ................................................................................................................15 The Acts 2 Day of Pentecost and the 21st Century Church: Some Final Thoughts .......................15 Bibliography ..................................................................................................................................17

i.

1 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.1 This passage has been the source of excited study and heated debate since (in all likelihood) the day it was penned. Entire denominations have been built around one idea found in this one passage and certainly modern Christian do not deny this significant occurrence in history. The focal point of this entire debate is an enigmatic member of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. This event recorded in Acts chapter two was the Holy Spirit’s arrival to earth to live in hearts of humans who accept Jesus Christ. The Counselor, as Jesus called Him, “whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”2 Jesus also prophesied about the Day of Pentecost event when He told the Apostles “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”.3 Was this, however, an event that had no precedent? Did the Old Testament Scriptures have any foreshadowing of this event? The goal of this research, then, is to present a basic understanding of pneumatology through the Old and New Testaments, provide a framework for understanding the Jewish perspective on Pentecost Day and analyze the text of Acts 2:1-13. The concluding remarks attempt to evaluate the impact the Day of Pentecost should have on the church of the 21st century. Pneumatology through the Old and New Testaments The mysterious third member of the Trinity is so fascinating because there is often not anthropomorphic terminology used to describe Him. The Father is described as having, for instance, “mighty hands” which move and act like human hands (e.g. Exod. 6:1, Deut. 5:15, Neh.

Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2002), Acts 2:1-4. 2 John 14:26, NIV. 3 Acts 1:8a.

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2 1:10, and Ps. 118:16). Literally, God the Father does not have hands (at least not in the way human beings have them) but these anthropomorphisms help humans relate to something which is entirely different. Jesus is called the “image of the invisible God”4 Being human, physically speaking, gives humanity a way to know Jesus and by extension to see God the Father (John 14:5-11). The Holy Spirit does not have the same advantage. This is not to say the Holy Spirit is entirely unimaginable, just more difficult to explain in terms of common reference. Zuck appears to be correct, “the Holy Spirit is seen as the member of the Trinity present in the world.”5 When any study of the Holy Spirit is made, it is important to keep the frame of reference within the character and nature of God Himself: as the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit cannot be interpreted based on philosophical or mystic understanding but an actualization of the record found in Scripture.6 Before a study of Acts chapter two makes complete sense, an overview of the Holy Spirit’s work before, during, and after that day on Pentecost is in order. Emphasis in the Old Testament In the Hebrew Scriptures the same word is used for “wind, breath, or spirit” as is used in reference to the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God as the Hebrew Scriptures use. This word is rûach ( ). Breath or wind creates movement in the air which reminds a reader of the primary

function of the Holy Spirit.7 See table 1 for a few references to the Holy Spirit (Spirit of God) in the Old Testament. This list is merely representative and is, by no means, intended to be
Colossians 1:15a, NIV. Roy B. Zuck, A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996), 256. 6 Hans Hübner, "The Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture." Ecumenical Review 41, no. 3 (July 1989): 324-338. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 23, 2009). 7 Leland Ryken, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman et al., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000, c1998), 391.
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3 exhaustive. Some of these quotations demonstrate direct reference while some demonstrate implied reference. Genesis 1:2b Exodus 31:2-3 “…the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts”. “When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him and he uttered his oracle…” “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war.” “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD— and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. “ Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound—May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place!” “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” “ So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

Numbers 24:2-3

Judges 3:10 1 Samuel 10:6

Job 33:4 Psalm 51:11 Isaiah 11:2-3

Isaiah 44:3

Ezekiel 3:12

Joel 2:28a Zechariah 4:6

Table 1. Old Testament References to the Holy Spirit

From the preceding representative list, one can quickly see the Holy Spirit is very active from the point of creation through the entire Old Testament narrative. His work is revealed more fully, however, in the pages of the New Testament.

4 Emphasis in the New Testament before Pentecost It is the New Testament where the Holy Spirit receives direct emphasis and explanation. The essence of the new covenant began with Jesus Christ, sent by the Father, and carried on by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:3-4).8 The New Testament (Greek) word translated as “spirit” is pneuma (πνε µα) which means “a movement of air”.9 It does not necessarily mean “wind” as the Hebrew word does but the echoes of the Old Testament meaning remind nevertheless.10 Table 2 lists some of the representative New Testament references to the Holy Spirit (before Acts 2). Matthew 1:18 “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” “ David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’” “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” “ for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” “I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 3:11

Matthew 28:19 Mark 3:29 Mark 12:36

Luke 1:35

Luke 12:12 John 1:33

John 20:22

Table 2. New Testament References to the Holy Spirit Zuck, A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, 257. James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order., electronic ed. (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996), G4151. 10 Ryken, 391.
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5 All the meanings and nuances of the words in both Old and New Testaments demonstrate the “life energies whose sources cannot readily be observed but whose effects are transparent and sometimes even violent.”11 History of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks Acts 2:1 begins “When the day of Pentecost came…”. This immediate presents a question in the reader’s mind: “what is the ‘day of Pentecost’?” The day of Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks was celebrated on the fiftieth day following the Sabbath of the Passover.12 It is called “Pentecost” because the word for “Pentecost” (πεντηκοστή “pentekoste”) means “fiftieth” in Greek.13 The following is a brief historical outline of this festival. Institution, Purpose and Time of the Year The Lord commanded Israel: “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.”14 In Deuteronomy, the instruction is repeated with more detail, “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.”15 As such, God Himself instituted this festival as a way for Israel “recognize the Lord as the source of all life and bounty and to present the first of the wheat…to the Great King.”16 This festival, then, was one of great joy and merriment celebrated in the spring.

Ibid. Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997). 13 John B. Polhill, ed., vol. 26, Acts, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 97. 14 Exodus 34:22, NIV. Additional information about the requirements for the Feast of Weeks can be found in Leviticus 23:15-21. 15 Deuteronomy 16:9-10, NIV. 16 Roy B. Zuck, A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996), 46.
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6 At the Time of Christ At the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Pentecost would have attracted a large congregation of visitors to Jerusalem from distant territories due, in large part, to the dispersion of the Jewish people.17 By Scriptural regulation, Pentecost was only required to have a single day’s duration, but these foreign Jews stretched the celebration out to two days. Due to the closeness of Passover, some of the Jewish pilgrims would have stayed in Jerusalem from Passover through Pentecost.18 This regularly occurring annual festival, coupled with the dispersion of the Lord’s chosen people was used, in the providence of the Lord, to provide the vast audience to which Peter was able to speak in the later sections of Acts chapter two. Analysis of Acts Chapter 2 There is much information packed into the first thirteen verses of chapter two of Acts. Some scholars hold that the events recorded in chapter two did not happen at all but instead was intended to be a theological construct created by Luke to exhibit the universality of the Gospel and the empowering of the Holy Spirit.19 It is the belief of the majority of conservative scholars that these events recorded, in fact, did occur and are a matter of historical truth. The overview below, in light of the author’s shared belief that the text is historically accurate, is meant to assist the reader in putting together the puzzle pieces of culture, text, and event which happened on this special Day of Pentecost. This special day begins the emphasis, as Hüber describes of the entire book of Acts, of a “spirit-endowed church”.20

Schaff and Schaff, s.v. “pentecost”. Ibid. 19 John William Drane, Introducing the New Testament, Completely rev. and updated. (Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000), 254. 20 Hans Hübner, "The Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture." Ecumenical Review 41, no. 3 (July 1989): 324-338. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 23, 2009).
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7 Verses 1-4 The first four verses of this chapter demonstrate the applied power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. These disciples were the first recipients of the Holy Spirit. The action was entirely on the part of God. This theophany, as it is depicted in this account, further demonstrates the reality of this event as a movement from, through, by, and for the Lord Almighty as manifested in the Holy Spirit.21 Verse 1: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. When this day occurred, there were around 120 disciples of Jesus gathered together to celebrate this Festival of Weeks when the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob once again created a bookmark in time. Forevermore, the New Testament in general and the church in specific could forever be measured by two times: before Pentecost and after Pentecost. Verse 2: Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. Verse two writes of a “sound like the blowing of a violent wind” which Luke identified as being “from heaven”. This was not an earthly breeze gently cooling them off in the morning hours. This freight train’s worth of sound and force “filled the whole house where they were sitting”. This “house” in which they were sitting might have been in the Temple itself although it is unlikely that Luke would have referred to the Temple as a house. It is generally accepted that the disciples were meeting the same upstairs room as mentioned in verses twelve through fifteen of chapter one. Regardless, this room must have been close to the Temple due to the events recorded in verses five through thirteen.22 Recall that the New Testament word for

Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000). 22 John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-1985), 2:357.

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8 “spirit” (as in Holy Spirit) is an echo the Old Testament word which means “wind” or the literal meaning of the New Testament word: “a movement of air”.23 Verse 3: They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. The description of the presence of the Holy Spirit as being “tongues” is such an exciting foreshadowing of the fact that the Gospel was about to be proclaimed to all people of all nations.24 Luke also chose a significant expression by describing the Holy Spirit as coming in fire. In several passages, God “reveals Himself in flames” (e.g. Gen. 15:17; Ex. 3:2-6; 13:21-22; 19:18; 40:38).25 It is significant to note, lest it be misunderstood: Luke is describing that it “seemed” like fire; it was not a literal fire. Again, the Holy Spirit is moving Luke to use human terms to describe an event without a common frame of reference while at the same time keeping past precedent in the text. This is an example of a theophany: “an appearance or manifestation of God”.26 Verse 4: All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Verse four says the disciples of the Lord “were filled with the Holy Spirit.” The filling of the Holy Spirit is different from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter’s own words when he was explaining the Holy Spirit’s baptism of the Gentiles in Acts 11 verify, “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.”27 Jesus’ own words, echoed by Peter in the aforementioned passage, stated “John baptized with water, but in a few days you

Strong, G4151. Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, A. R. Fausset et al., A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, On Spine: Critical and Explanatory Commentary. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), Act 2:3. 25 Walvoord, Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, 2:357. 26 Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, Map on Lining Papers. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1988), 2050. 27 Acts 11:15, NIV.
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9 will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”28 This baptism to which these passages refer are the events recorded here on the Day of Pentecost. Ultimately, the baptism of the Holy Spirit refers to the point of salvation when the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside the human heart.29 Lea and Black state the following: Luke’s use of the term “baptized with the Holy Spirit” describes the pouring out of the Spirit by God on his people at Pentecost. Paul’s use of the term later in 1 Corinthians 12:13 refers to an experience at conversion by which all believers are transformed by the presence of God and united into the body of Christ.30 The command to “be filled with the Spirit”31 is an echo of this understanding. Believers are able to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” as a method of empowerment for special service. It is, as Zuck writes, a “gift of enablement, either bestowed initially, as in Acts 2:4, or in a later moment of special spiritual direction.”32 Although the phrase is sometimes used to describes someone’s general demeanor in Christ, it is most often associated with the special endowment of bravery to be a witness of Jesus. Therefore, the gift of the Holy Spirit is not merely a fulfillment of a promise but also the method and power source of the church’s mission.33 Indeed, they were filled as they were being empowered and prepared to be vessels through which the Lord would use them to spread the Gospel. Verse four concludes by adding they “began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” These “tongues” were not coming from their lips due to years of training and study, but were supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit. Though one could write at length on the topic of speaking in tongues, it is the researched opinion of this writer that the “tongues” they were speaking were foreign languages (cf. verses four and six).
Acts 1:5, NIV. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, 2:357. 30 Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 2nd ed. (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 291. 31 Ephesians 5:8b, NIV 32 Zuck, A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, 98. 33 John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, 2:357.
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10 Theologians from the Pentecostal school of thought use these verses to validate their beliefs that the filling of the Holy Spirit (again, a command in Ephesians 5:18) is not (necessarily) a salvation act but a charismatic act: an act of empowerment for service of the Lord. Stated succinctly: being “filled with the Holy Spirit” is missiological not sotereological.34 There is a lot ground for agreement with this thought process if the ideology was completed there. These Christians, however, further believe since the filling of the Holy Spirit is missiological, the event which happened on that Day of Pentecost was not a single episode but an ongoing, reproducible occurrence in which believers are “baptized in the Spirit” in the same way for the purpose of special empowerment.35 To this way of thinking “baptism in the Holy Spirit” and “filling of the Holy Spirit” are interchangeable. As previously stated, Scripture does not seem to validate this position. These four, theologically rich verses give the facts of the event of the day when the followers of Jesus Christ became the empowered and ordained church of Jesus Christ. Until this point, “the church” was spoken of as a future establishment (e.g. Matthew 16:18). From this moment in history, that verbal status and the expansion of the Gospel changes dramatically.36 Verses 5-13 Verses five through thirteen (in fact, the rest of the New Testament) deal with the result of this baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit. These verses demonstrate the beginning of the fulfillment of the command of the church’s head, Jesus Christ: “go and make disciples of all nations,

Robert P. Menzies, "Luke's Understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Dialogues with the Reformed Tradition." Journal of Pentecostal Theology 16, no. 2 (April 2008): 86-101. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 25,2009). 35 Ibid. 36 Walvoord, Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, 2:357.

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11 baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything”.37 Verses 5-6:Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. The Jewish people in Jerusalem for the extended Pentecost festival overheard the 120 believers in Christ who had just been empowered and ordained as the church. These people were, according to verse five, from “every nation under heaven”. More information regarding this phrase is presented later in verses nine through eleven. The phrase “God-fearing Jews” (NIV) in verse five can be unintentionally misleading. “God-fearers” is a phrase used for Gentiles who accepted the Law of Moses as a rule of faith but due to their lack of circumcision, were not covenant members of the community of Jewish faith.38 Cornelius (Acts 10:2) is an example of a “God-fearer”. In this phrase in verse five, the usage would better be understood as “pious Jews” since the Greek word used here (ε λαβής – eulabes) is most often translated as “devout”.39 The English Standard Version translates verse five stating, “there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.”40 Whether they heard the sound of the “wind” or just the speaking in other languages is not entirely certain but it seems reasonable that the sound of the church speaking in these languages was the sound which attracted them. Regardless, the text offers explanation as to why this crowd was so interested in the affairs of this group of Jews: “each one heard them speaking in his own language.” Scriptures tells us they “heard this sound” and “came together in bewilderment”.
Matthew 28:19-20a, NIV. Elwell and Beitzel, 960. 39 John B. Polhill, vol. 26, Acts, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1992), 101. 40 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Acts 2:5.
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12 What an interesting scene this must have been: the church, filled with the Holy Spirit, moving into streets praising God in other languages and all the people in Jerusalem around the temple hearing and understanding them in their native language! Verses 7-8: Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? They were in complete shock at what they were hearing. The devout Jews present for Feast of Weeks were astonished not at the content of the message but the method of transmission. They were marveling at the fact that they heard the words in their own native language.41 Some, especially those leaning or in the Pentecostal traditions of Christianity, point out that the emphasis in this verse should be on the fact that they heard their own language. This is to imply that the miracle was not one of speech but one of hearing. In the Pentecostal view, the church was speaking in ecstatic “tongues” and the miracle was that the Holy Spirit translated this “spirit language” into the native language of the hearer. This is emphasized in the words “hears them” found in verse eight and verse eleven.42 This view, however, takes these words out of their context. The text, in reality, states the “foreign” Jews were surprised that Galileans who were, in all realistic probability, fluent in two or perhaps three languages, were able to speak in the languages of nations far away from the rural, uneducated existence of these people.43 Verses 9-11: Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

John B. Polhill, vol. 26, Acts, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1992), 102. 42 Robert P. Menzies, "Luke's Understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Dialogues with the Reformed Tradition." Journal of Pentecostal Theology 16, no. 2 (April 2008): 86-101. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 25,2009). 43 Schaff and Schaff, s.v. “pentecost”.

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13 As the event further unfolds, the nations represented are listed. Although there are some scholars who feel Luke is using some kind of listing of ancient astrology, it is more conceivable that Luke was revisiting the Table of Nations found in Genesis 10. In a temporary reversal of the judgment at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), God’s praises are now understood by a gifting of a bridge of the chasm of language.44 They marvel that the “wonders of God” are proclaimed in their own language. This profound representation of the languages and nations epitomize the Divine design “to convey an impression of universality.”45 Furthermore, this is a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11 “Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people.”46 Verses 12-13: Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” The devout Jews, having witnessed such a remarkable occurrence, begin to talk among themselves. There are two distinct groups. There were those who seem genuinely interested, for no doubt a many number of reasons; however, their hearts were prepared to hear the answer Peter was about to present. There were those, too, who simply dismissed the 120 as being drunk. This was a serious accusation of the Jews to their brothers and sisters since being drunk “was regarded as obnoxious and sinful”.47 What happens next continues the effect of coming of the Holy Spirit. That day, as a result of outpouring of the Holy Spirit, about 3,000 were added to the church. Peter declares this preceding event (verses one through thirteen) as a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy:

Craig S. Keener and InterVarsity Press, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Acts 2:9. 45 Jamieson, Fausset, et al., Acts 2:9. 46 Isaiah 28:11, NIV. 47 Keener and InterVarsity Press, Acts 2:12.

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14 And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;48 Other Views of the Beginning of the Church Although it is the generally accepted view that the Day of Pentecost was the church’s birthday, there are other views. These deserve at least a brief mention. The two that merit any serious discussion are: 1. The church had its birth at the confession of Peter in Matthew 16:18. 2. The church had its birth at the resurrection.49 The Confession of Peter After Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus stated He would build His church on the rock. Some scholars feel the church started here due to Jesus own words regarding building His church. The argument, as it is made, focuses on the fact that Jesus stated He “will build” His church.50 This perspective finds validation of this being the church’s birthday in a comparison with phrases in Matthew 18:17 “…tell it to the church…”. They would feel this means the church was already in existence. The primary rebuttal against this is the very fact that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus did state “I will build” not “I have built” or “I did build”. The future tense of the verb explains this event as a future one; or at the very least, one that is in progress and not completed.51

Joel 2:28-32a, NIV. Elwell and Beitzel, 134. 50 Matthew 16:18, NIV 51 Craig Blomberg, vol. 22, Matthew, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 252.
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15 The Resurrection The argument stated for this would be that the resurrection changed everything and started a new era: the church era.52 Although this is not without merit, it certainly does not have any real Scriptural evidence to support it. Jesus never made a mention of starting “the church” when He walked out of the tomb. Certainly, the empty grave was and is a critically important distinctive in Christian theology, it nonetheless cannot really serve as the marker for the beginning of the church. Since the Scriptural evidence does not truly support either view, it is safe to say the church’s birthday was the Day of Pentecost. It is also important to note that the New Testament itself does not seem overly concerned with trying to identify the birthday of the church. Regardless of the “real” answer the church’s beginning, it truly began its mission when it was baptized and filled the Holy Spirit. It was only after the Day of Pentecost that the Gospel began to go out and the church became Jesus’ “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”53 The Acts 2 Day of Pentecost and the 21st Century Church: Some Final Thoughts After the Day of Pentecost, there was a spiritual high that carried the church into uncharted territories. They preached the gospel boldly and many were added to their number. They shared what they had with each other and took care of each other. They had a power and expectancy in how they acted, lived, and preached. Clearly, this was a supernatural event as there is no other account in the New Testament where such an outpouring took place that resulted in similar events.

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Elwell and Beitzel, 134. Acts 1:8b, NIV.

16 The 21st Century Church in America is in general not living this way. In an effort to become more “attractional”, some parts of the church have traded their distinctiveness. Some, in an effort to draw more people into the doors, have traded issues such as the cross, the blood, sin, accountability, and the reality of hell for a message that says what the world’s “itching ears want to hear.”54 The idea seems to be that if unbelievers manage to slip in without realizing they are with a church, they might be come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. When one compares this to church in Acts, this “growth strategy” is not seen and yet, the Lord “added to their number daily those who were being saved.”55 Paul’s advice to the church at Corinth appears to be the exact opposite (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). The command from the Lord Jesus Christ is so simply and yet so profound, “love one another.”56 The Master goes on to say, “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”57 Before the uniqueness of the Day of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit’s profound movement it is too quickly relegated to a fascinating bit of church history, it must be remembered: the Lord is still building His church. Jesus proclaimed, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”58 The Holy Spirit’s indwelling and empowering of the church on that Pentecost Day may have been a one-time event, but the power of Pentecost still moves through church since the power source is still the “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.”59

54 55

2 Timothy 4:3b, NIV. Acts 2:47b, NIV 56 John 13:34b, NIV. 57 John 13:35, NIV. 58 Matthew 16:18b, NIV. 59 1 Timothy 1:17a, NIV.

17 Bibliography Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, 1984. The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001. Blomberg, Craig. Vol. 22, Matthew. electronic ed. Logos Library System; The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001. Drane, John William. Introducing the New Testament. Completely rev. and updated. Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000. Elwell, Walter A. and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1988. Hübner, Hans. "The Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture." Ecumenical Review 41, no. 3 (July 1989): 324-338. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 23, 2009). Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, David Brown, et al. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, On Spine: Critical and Explanatory Commentary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Keener, Craig S. and InterVarsity Press. The IVP Bible Background Commentary : New Testament. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993. Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament Its Background and Message. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003. Martin, Ralph P. and Peter H. Davids. Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. Menzies, Robert P. "Luke's Understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit: A Pentecostal Dialogues with the Reformed Tradition." Journal of Pentecostal Theology 16, no. 2 (April 2008): 86-101. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 25, 2009). Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002. Polhill, John B., ed. Vol. 26, Acts. The New American Commentary.electronic ed. Logos Library System; Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001. Ryken, Leland, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman, et al. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

18 Schaff, Philip and David Schley Schaff. History of the Christian Church. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997. Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996. Walvoord, John F., Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-1985. Zuck, Roy B. A Biblical Theology of the New Testament. electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996. _____. A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament. electronic ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996.

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