The Book of Acts Part 5

The Book of Acts (Chapter 2:14-35) (Part 5)

The Holy Spirit had fallen upon 120 believers in the upper room of a house in the city of Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus’ followers had been waiting on Him to baptise them with the Holy Spirit and with power for witnessing as He had promised He would do for them. (Acts 1:8) (Luke 24:49) When the Spirit of God was poured out the 120 gathered in that upper room heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind and the whole house where they were sitting was filled with the glory of the Shekinah as the Holy Spirit came to rest on them individually with blazing tongues of fire appearing above their heads. They were no longer sitting!!!

Filled with light and power!

The LORD had suddenly come to His Temple (the Body of the Messiah) and filled them up to the brim with His light and power. So powerful was this event that the 120 were almost staggering around as the power of God rested on each one of them. They were all filled as individuals and corporately as a group. After this they began to speak in languages supernaturally imparted by the Holy Spirit, languages that they had not learnt. All of these things happening together drew a very large crowd of Jewish people; many of them I dare say were religious leaders.

The Mighty works of God

At the sound of the mighty rushing wind devout Jews from all over the city of Jerusalem had rushed down to where the 120 had been staying. Word undoubtedly spread quickly that something was happening of a supernatural nature. When the huge crowd of Jews had gathered around the 120 they heard the 120 speaking in their own languages the mighty works of God. Yet it was not these events that caused 3.000 hearers to be saved. It was a Gospel sermon preached by Peter in a common language that brought about their salvation. Peter was preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and using Eschatology as part of His address to the crowds. The first and foremost thing he did was to preach the Word of God in a common language that they could all understand. He used the prophecy of Joel as a springboard to introduce the hearers to the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter used the Bible and the Holy Spirit empowered his words. This is how faith comes! (Romans 10:17)

Pulling no punches!

The central theme of Peter’s address was the Death, the resurrection and the absolute Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact Peter’s whole sermon was the Bible from the beginning to the end. He was not trying to prove that the Bible was the Word of God but preaching it as the very Spirit-breathed Word of God without embellishment and because it was the Word of God the blessed Holy Spirit was able to do His convicting and converting work that day. Peter’s sermon was not a ‘seeker sensitive’ or ‘purpose driven’ one at all! He spoke the Word of God directly to the heart and the conscious of his hearers. He hit them hard! Pulled no punches and saw the blessed Holy Spirit go to work saving and sanctifying souls! That day the devil and his minions from hell were “shaking in their boots!” Now let’s look at what he preached.

(Vs. 14-16)  “But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

The first thing Peter did was to draw their attention to the Word of God. The Greek text is very interesting and is rendered as Peter saying; “This is like that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel.” What happened on the Day of Pentecost was a harbinger of what would happen again at the end of the age. The context of Peter’s sermon had an eschatological application as well for the future. What Peter said applied to his hearers then but also had a future application and fulfilment for the faithful Church in the very last days just prior to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Day of Pentecost was “the former rain” of the Spirit and it was a foreshadowing of “the latter rain: of the Spirit to come at the end of this present age. These first Century Christians were Jewish and the last century Christians will be Jewish. In the first century the Jewish believers in Jesus would be the catalyst for bringing, unsaved Gentiles who get saved, into the blessings of the New Covenant. At the end of the age the Jewish believers in Jesus will also be the catalyst for bringing, unsaved Gentiles who get saved, into the blessings of the New Covenant.

Tragically today the Church has lost sights of its Jewish roots. After all the New Covenant cut in Jesus blood was made with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah and not with the Church. (Jeremiah 31:31) Those into replacement theology do not understand spiritually the true nature of a covenant ratified in blood and what that means for those entering into such a scared and binding agreement. Believing Gentiles are grafted back into the Olive Tree which is the commonwealth of Israel. However, what happened on the Day of Pentecost was a partial fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy as it would be completely fulfilled at the end of this present age. Why can we say this? Well the text speaks for itself.

(Vs.17-18) ‘”And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;” And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.”

            The Last Days began at Pentecost in the general sense. (Hebrews 1:2) However, the last Days are also used in the specific sense to refer to those days just prior to the return of the Lord Jesus. (1Timothy 4:1) On the Day of Pentecost onwards the Gospel of the Kingdom would ultimately go into all of the nations of the world and that the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom would be the last great sign that would occur just before the end comes. (Matthew 24:14) Just before the Lord Jesus comes back God will give people one last chance to repent as He did in the days of Noah before the flood came. The door into the Ark of Salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ who is “the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.” He is “the door” through which men and women must pass if they are to enter into the safety of the sheep-fold of God to be saved from the coming wrath!

In the very last days God’s Spirit will be poured out again and multitudes will be saved but the number of those saved will be a remnant, the majority of mankind will not be saved and ultimately a third of mankind will perish in the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 9:18) If you are reading this and you are not yet saved and born again by the Holy Spirit then you need to repent and believe before it is too late. (See the Way of Salvation on the cover page of this website)

In the first century Church spiritual gifts were in abundance and in the last century Church there will be in abundance again. This text does not make a distinction between men and women. Both believing men and women would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to prophesy and to exercise Spiritual gifts. God is not against women preaching but has an order for them in ministry. This is a separate subject. Prophecy is speaking forth the Word of God, a gift greatly coveted in Israel and one that the Bible encourages believers to seek (Numbers 11:29) (1 Corinthians 14:1) If all prophesy then others will be blessed and give praise to God. (1 Corinthians 14:3) Also through the gift of Prophecy the unsaved and those who do not understand the gifts of the Spirit will be convicted, having the secrets of their heart exposed  and causing them to fall on their faces to worship God and to declare that He is among those prophesying. (1 Corinthians 14:23-25) In these days of spiritual deception this gift is greatly needed in the Body of the Messiah.

Furthermore, prophecy of scripture is like a light shining in a dark place. (2 Peter 1:19) Without a basic understanding of Bible Prophecy all will be darkness and confusion when things get dark, and they are getting darker in the world. Today we have the completed Canon of scripture and there is no more scripture to be written but a deeper understanding of what is already in the Bible. All prophecy and revelation must always be tested by the Word of God. (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Also, if someone has a personal word of prophecy then they had better be 100% right. The true prophets that predicted things in the name of the LORD were always 100% accurate. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) Prophecy will be a conspicuous feature within the Last Days Body of the Messiah. Having said this, most of what is called ‘personal prophecy’ today is nothing more than fortune telling in Christian wrapping. If you are going to give a personal prophecy or prediction then you are responsible to the LORD and to that person for the outcome in their life or given circumstances.

Visions and dreams will also be a conspicuous feature in the Last Days Body of the Messiah (the faithful Church) Once again all dreams, visions, revelations, doctrine and teaching must be weighed in the light of scripture. Also when a prophet prophecies in the assembly of believers the other prophets need to weigh carefully what is being said. (1 Corinthians 14:32) In these instances the spiritual gifts of wisdom, discernment and Knowledge will also come into play to discern the motives in the heart of one prophesying. Having said this dreams and visions are also needed to give wisdom and insight to the Body of the Messiah especially when seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It also needs to be said that if a fellowship or a leadership is not being obedient to the guidance God has already given in His Word then that fellowship or leadership can expect no further guidance from God. Today all over the Muslim world where people cannot get access to Bibles and Christianity is outlawed the spirit of the Lord Jesus is appearing to them in visions and dreams and revealing Himself to them personally. As a result those Muslims are being saved by the Lord Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit’s power Jesus is showing Himself to them as He did to the disciples on the road to Damascus. Joel’s prophecy is being fulfilled but is yet to have its ultimate fulfilment.

Notice that God calls those moving in the power of Spiritual gifts “bondslaves.” They are willingly and voluntarily under the absolute authority of the LORD. They walk moment by moment under the control of the Holy Spirit and are walking in all the will of God as revealed in scripture. (Ephesians 5:18) They are willing slaves to their master the Lord Jesus Christ. Their whole lives are a free will offering to the LORD. They are not their own but realise that they have been purchased at a price and belong body, soul and spirit to the one who has purchased them. God will only entrust the spirit of prophecy to one who is controlled by the Spirit and grounded in solid and sound Biblical truth and doctrine. In these last days false prophets are an infestation within the Body of the Messiah. For many it could be said; “Nothing in the heart, nothing in the head!” Today false dreams and visions are rampant in the professing Christian Church. Many churches border on lunacy! (I have seen the videos) Some when they come into their church leave their minds in the carpark! By enlarge the spirit of the Bereans is missing in many churches today. (Acts 17:11) Let’s move on.

(Vs.19-21)  “And I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. ‘The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

On the Day of Pentecost there was no blood and fire and vapours of smoke, neither were the constellations darkened or the moon turning to blood at that time. In the light of other scriptures these signs in the heavens appear right at the end of this age just before the Lord Jesus comes back. (Matthew 24:29-31) (Isaiah 13:9-13) (Isaiah 24:23) (Isaiah 34:1-2) Just prior to these events occurring God will be giving men and women on the earth once last chance to be saved. At that time whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved! Today the Gospel of the Kingdom is going forth intro all nations through the medium of TV and the internet. Today God is calling on men and women to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus for Salvation from sin and the wrath to come, to turn from a Jesus hating, Jesus rejecting way of life to a Jesus loving, Jesus accepting way of life.

Today the offer still stands for whoever would come in repentance and faith to the foot of the cross and there to find and embrace the mercy and forgiveness of God at the feet of the lord Jesus, the one who has shed His blood for their great sins and offences against God. At the very end, after the constellations have been effected, the Lord will send His angels to gather His chosen ones from the four corners of the earth to meet Him in the air at His Coming. (Matthew 24:31) (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) After He has gathered His elect to Himself the bowls of God’s wrath will be poured out without restraint on the inhabitants of the earth as it was in the days of Noah and as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. True believers are not destined to experience the bowls of God’s wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:10) (1 Thessalonians 5:9) Now let’s continue.

(Vs.22)  “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—

Many in that great crowd gathered that day in Jerusalem would well remember the person and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ who walked and ministered among them for three and a half years. Undoubtedly many in crowd had been eyewitnesses to the words and works of the Lord Jesus as He preached God’s Word, drove out demons, healed the sick and raise the dead. Many had seen him tried before Pilate and the Sanhedrin and crucified. Peter was drawing their attention to the Lord Jesus Christ and uplifting Him, not Peter or the other apostles. Peter was most certainly not drawing people to himself as many so called preachers of the Gospel are doing today in the media. He was uplifting the Lord Jesus only before men. The first thing Peter did then was to point his hearers to the Lord Jesus and to His miracles which designated Jesus to be truly sent from God. Now Peter went on to prove to them who Jesus really was and what He has accomplished for them at the cross.

True preachers of the Gospel of the Kingdom will always point people to the Lord Jesus and not to themselves or their ministries. In fact if the blessed Holy Spirit is truly resting on a man or a woman then drawing attention to themselves will not even be on their radar. Their one desire will be to uplift the Lord Jesus and not themselves. Also Peter did not emphasize the miraculo0us works of the Lord Jesus but only mentioned them to point people to the real reason why Jesus came in the first place.

(Vs.23-31)  “…this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. For David says of Him, ‘I saw the Lord always in my presence; For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken. ‘Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; Moreover my flesh also will live in hope; Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. ‘You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’ “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.”

The death of the Lord Jesus was foreknown and planned by God. The whole sacrificial system of Mosaic Judaism had pointed to the coming of the Lord Jesus to be the perfect Passover Lamb who would be the ultimate sacrifice once and for all time for the sins of the people of Israel and for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2) This was God’s pre-ordained plan from all eternity. The Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was slain from all eternity where time as we know it down here on earth does not exist. In eternity the past, the present and the future all run together. The Old Testament saints were not saved by the blood of bulls and goats but by the blood of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

Furthermore, Peter did not pull any punches but aimed the truth at the conscience. He pointed out their betrayal of their own brother and Messiah and that it was because of their sins and offences that He went to the cross. Undoubtedly many religious leaders in that crowd would remember how they conspired and collaborated with the Roman Government to have Jesus killed. Some would not have not liked what they were hearing, however, as we will see when the Holy Spirit went to work many were “cut to the heart” being convicted of their unbelief in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

            Not only did Peter tell them about the death of the Lord Jesus but also about His resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus was an integral part of the Gospel message. Peter clearly told them in no uncertain terms that God raised Jesus to life again and that by His resurrection He had conquered sin and death. The fact is today that Mohammad is dead, Buddha is dead, Confucius is dead, and every other religious ‘guru’ that has ever lived is dead and buried to this day but Jesus is alive and still doing well! The resurrection of the Lord Jesus did not prove He was the Son of God but declared Him to be the Son of God with power!

Paul writes about this in his letter to the Romans concerning the Resurrection of Jesus; “…the gospel of God, which He (God) promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.” If the Lord Jesus had not risen from the dead then those who believe are to be of all men pitied, however, this is not the case! The devil hates the preaching of the resurrection because it constantly reminds him of his own defeat. If he and his minions from hell had known what the Lord Jesus would accomplish at the cross they would never have instigated and inspired wicked men to crucify the Lord of Glory. (1 Corinthians 2:8)

King David prophesied about the death and resurrection of Jesus and also the resurrection of believers. He saw through the revelation given to him by the Holy Spirit that he himself would experience the bodily resurrection from the dead as His Lord would experience it centuries later. While the Old Testament saints saw things concerning the Lord Jesus as it were through a smoky glass or as a shadow not clearly defined, they understood that they were speaking about their Messiah to come and the one who would bring about the resurrection to eternal life. The book of Hebrews tells us about this expectation the saints in the Old Testament had when he writes; “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13)

Peter declared by the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was the one the Old Testament scriptures spoke about. King David knew through the revelation of the Holy Spirit that God would not leave the Lord Jesus in hades but would bring Him up out of that place and all those also who were there with Him including David himself. David also knew that the Lord Jesus would come in the future as one of his decedents to sit on his throne forever.

            Now the word “hades” has its equivalent in the Old Testament called “Sheol” or “the place of departed spirits,” where people went to when they died prior to the coming of Jesus. In Sheol there was a great crevice that separated the righteous from the unrighteous, all waiting for the resurrection of the body, some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation. This is clearly seen in the account of the Rich man and Lazarus. The rich man was very much alive in torment while Lazarus was at rest in the bosom of Abraham, the father of all the faithful. There was a great gulf or chasm that separated them.  The thief at the cross went to paradise to rest in the bosom of Abraham along with the Lord Jesus. At His resurrection Jesus came out of that place and brought all of the Old Testament saints out with Him. The only ones left there were the unbelievers who are still there to this day awaiting sentencing at the Great White throne judgement to come. And so Peter continues…

(Vs. 32)  “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.”

When the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead He was with the disciples including doubting Thomas. After the Lord Jesus had shown Thomas that He was really alive He said to all of His disciples there along with Thomas; “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”  The apostles were witnesses to the life, the death and to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The life, the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was central to everything the apostles believed, preached, taught and wrote. (1 Corinthians 15:3). They were indeed blessed but we who believe and have not been first hand witnesses are more blessed. However, without the revelation from the Holy Spirit that Jesus is all that He claims to be we will never believe for no man can say “Jesus is Lord” but by the Holy Spirit.

The devil will have men say many things about the Lord Jesus and whatever they want to say but the moment  a believer in Jesus declares His Resurrection from the dead the devil has a knee jerk reaction! Hell is shaken! All of us who believe are also witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection even though we did not witness it first-hand. When we speak about the resurrection of Jesus to unbelievers we will get a reaction one way or the other. The reason they react negatively is because they know intuitively that if He is indeed alive then they are accountable to God do something about their relationship to God.

Many will have a human Jesus, a lovable Jesus, a good man, a kind and benevolent man, someone who makes people feel good on the inside and better about themselves, a kind of fatherly indulgent figure who does not really mind how people behave, but they will never have one who is risen and calls upon men and women everywhere to repent or perish and that they must stand before Him on judgement day to give an account of how they have lived their lives here on earth. Someone has said; “the reason that so many are against the Bible is because they know the Bible is against them!” Having said this, the fact remains that the Lord Jesus Christ indeed has risen from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. And so Peter continues…

(Vs. 33-34)  Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”

In the Old Testament in Psalm 133 we read these words of David concerning the anointing of the Holy Spirit; “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes” The anointing oil that was poured out upon the head of Aaron the High Priest and Moses brother represented the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The oil flowed down over his beard and garments even to the edge of his robes but it did not touch his flesh. Aaron the High Priest was a type of the Lord Jesus our Great and perfect High Priest.

The Lord Jesus, who was Himself anointed by the Holy Spirit for His ministry, poured out the same anointing by the Holy Spirit upon His body the faithful Church on the Day of Pentecost. It was not a work of the flesh or human effort but a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. As John the Baptist said of Him that “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!” The 120 received from the Lord Jesus the same the anointing by the Holy Spirit He Himself had received from His Father. Peter told those listening plainly that what they were witnessing was directly orchestrated by the Lord Jesus Himself. As we will see in our next study the same baptism with the Holy Spirit that the 120 received on the Day of Pentecost is still available today for every believer in the Lord Jesus. And so Peter continued…

(Vs.34-36)   “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Through the revelation of the Holy Spirit David saw the Lord Jesus sitting at the right hand of God in heaven and subduing all of His enemies. David called Jesus Lord and understood by the Holy Spirit that Jesus was His Lord even though he had not seen Jesus in the flesh. He heard God speak to His Son in eternity where time as we know it on earth does not exist. He saw his Messiah sitting at the right hand of God after He had ascended back to heaven. Job had the same revelation. He spoke about this when he said; “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, And my advocate (literally my umpire) is on high” (Job16:19) Job had the hope of the resurrection in Jesus hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Like David Job saw the eternal nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. Job declared; “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

Both David and Job had the hope of the resurrection from the dead. They both saw the exultation of Jesus to the highest place in heaven through the revelation given to them by the Holy Spirit. They saw a resurrected man, having defeated all of His enemies, sitting at the right hand of God, a perfect sinless man who had always been with God and was always God and was face to face with God from all eternity and who had become flesh and tabernacled with man for 33 years. This Jesus, Peter said, God Himself has made Lord and Messiah! This same Lord Jesus who had gone to the lowest place was now exulted to the highest place. The results of Peter’s sermon were astonishing to say the least. On that same day 3000 also had the same revelation by the Spirit of God, that David and Job had, The 3,000 who were saved also saw by the revelation of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was their Lord and Messiah. Peter ended his sermon by telling them plainly that they were the ones who had crucified the Lord Jesus. The results were electrifying to say the least and this will be the subject of the next study.

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