We too must commit ourselves to glorifying God above everything else, personally and corporately. Second, the church's governing principle must be loyalty to Christ. Again, the leaders of the early church modeled this for us. They put Christ's interests before their own, and they were single-minded in their living. This is the evidence of their being filled with the Spirit. Their primary commitment was to letting His life work in and through them, and to carrying out His work, not their own.
How loyal are we to Christ individually and corporately? John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" John We must be single-minded and radical in our commitment to please the Lord cf. Third, the church's power must be the Holy Spirit. The many references to prayer in Acts show us how conscious the early Christians were of their dependence on God's power. They did not go out in self-confidence, but in God-confidence. They called on Him to reveal Christ's life in and through them They called on Him to direct Christ's works in and through them ; We must not only be obedient and yielded to the Holy Spirit but also dependent on Him, because He is our power individually and corporately John First, what is your motivation as a Christian?
Why do you do what you do?
What motivated the Spirit-filled believers in Acts was the desire that God should get the glory above everything else. Who do you want to get the credit for what you do? Former President Ronald Reagan reportedly had a sign on his desk in the White House that said, "There is no limit to what you can accomplish, if you don't care who gets the credit. Second, what is your method as a Christian? How do you do what you do?
Third, what is your emphasis as a Christian? What do you do? In Acts, the leaders of the church gave priority to what is most important to God, not to what was most important to themselves personally. Furthermore, they emphasized the essentials, not the incidentals. Let us not get so fascinated with the incidentals, such as how God manifested His power healings, speaking in tongues, etc.
One essential is that He is powerful enough to do anything to accomplish His purposes. Many Christians are very reluctant to believe that God can do whatever needs to be done. Let us give ourselves to the task before us wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. In Matthew , Jesus said: "All authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth.
This first major section of Acts contains the record of the founding of the church on the day of Pentecost, and its expansion in the city of Jerusalem. In his account of the founding of the Christian church, Luke gave background information that ties Jesus' giving of the Great Commission to the day of Pentecost. He showed how Jesus enabled His disciples to obey His command to evangelize the nations.
Luke wrote these introductory statements to connect the Book of Acts with his Gospel. In this second book, he wrote what Jesus continued doing to build His church through Spirit-indwelt Christians cf. John This has been the unnecessary conclusion of some scholars. Some interpreters have suggested that Theophilus was not an actual person and that Luke was writing to all lovers of God whom he personified by using this name cf. Luke All things considered, it seems more likely that Theophilus was a real person. There is no reason he could not have been. Such is the implication of the address, and Theophilus was a fairly common Greek proper name.
Luke wanted his readers to be careful to note that the remarkable supernatural events he was to unfold were ultimately the work of Jesus Christ. They were not just those of His enthusiastic followers. Deeds first; then words. The same order is found in Luke contrast Acts The 'doing' comes first, for Christianity is primarily life. The teaching follows afterwards, for 'the life is the light of men. The orders that He had given His apostles were that they should remain temporarily in Jerusalem ; Luke Then they should go out into the whole world to herald the good news of salvation ; Luke ; Matt.
Apostles are by definition "sent ones. Their calling was unique; these men laid the foundation of the church Eph.
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All Christians are "apostles," in the sense that Christ has sent all of us who are believers on this mission. Yet the 12 apostles and Paul were a unique group with special powers the Lord did not give to the rest. It refers to proof by incontrovertible evidence as contrasted with the proof claimed by a witness. Luke asserted that Jesus Christ's resurrection was beyond dispute. As 40 days of temptation in the wilderness preceded Jesus' earthly ministry Luke , so He introduced His present ministry with a day period of preparation. Jesus' baptism with the Spirit occurred before his day test, whereas the reverse order of events appears here in Acts.
God had instructed Moses for 40 days on Mt. Sinai in preparation for Israel's mission in the world. Now Jesus instructed the Apostles for 40 days in preparation for the church's mission in the world. The forty days, therefore, is a vital vehicle for conveying Luke's theology of continuity …" . The term "kingdom" occurs only eight times in Acts, but 39 times in Luke, and 18 times in the New Testament epistles. The "kingdom of God," of which Jesus taught His disciples between His resurrection and ascension, probably refers to God's rule in its largest sense, including His rule over the church, and His messianic kingdom.
Dispensationalists believe that Jesus Christ will rule on the earth as Messiah in the future. Progressive dispensationalists, along with covenant premillennialists, amillennialists, and postmillennialists, believe that the messianic kingdom began during Jesus' first advent ministry and that the church is the present form of the messianic kingdom on earth. Normative dispensationalists i. They believe that the messianic kingdom is an earthly kingdom and that it will begin when Jesus Christ returns to reign personally on the earth.
I believe there is better scriptural support for the normative view. Since I will be referring to these various groups of Bible interpreters throughout these notes, let me digress briefly and take a few paragraphs to define them. This is how "Israel" is used in the Old Testament. They speak of the church as "the new Israel. Among dispensationalists, there are those who believe that God will fulfill His promises concerning the reign of Christ as Messiah after Jesus returns to the earth at His Second Coming. These are "normative" or "traditional" dispensationalists. Sometimes this group is further divided into "classical" dispensationalists who represent the earlier forms of dispensational teaching and "revised" dispensationalists who represent later refinements in dispensational teaching.
In contrast to "normative" traditional dispensationalists, there are "progressive" dispensationalists. They believed that God has already begun to fulfill His promises concerning the reign of Christ as Messiah from heaven as the Head of the Church, and that He will fulfill the promises concerning Christ's earthly reign after He returns at His Second Coming. These can be divided into "amillennialists" who believe that the Messianic reign of Christ will not be on the earth but is Christ's present reign from heaven , "postmillennialists" who believe that the present age will improve, this will culminate in Messianic kingdom conditions on earth, and then Christ will return to the earth , and " historic covenant premillennialists" who believe that Christ will return to earth and then set up an earthly kingdom, but presently the church is the new Israel.
Sometimes the phrase "kingdom of God" refers to God's heavenly rule over humans throughout history. Both are biblical uses of the term "kingdom of God. However, God postponed that kingdom because Israel rejected her King v. There may be some significance in the fact that God renewed the broken Mosaic Covenant with Moses on Mt. Sinai in 40 days Exod. It must have been difficult for these disciples to wait for God to do what He had promised, as all Christians find it to be.
Jesus viewed the Spirit as a significant gift of God's grace to His people cf. He is not just a means to an end but a major part of the blessings of salvation. Thus in the two-fold emphasis on the Exalted Lord and the Divine Spirit we have the most marked feature of the book, namely, the predominance of the Divine element over the human in Church life and work.
Jesus now announced that this baptism would take place in just a few days v. It took place 10 days after His ascension ch. As the Holy Spirit had baptized Jesus and had thereby empowered Him for service, so His successors also needed such a power-producing baptism. He writes in order to provide his readers with an orderly account of the rise and progress of Christianity.
The first Christian historian found himself accordingly obliged to be the first Christian apologist. Of three main types of Christian apologetic in the second century Luke provided first-century prototypes: apologetic in relation to pagan religion Christianity is true; paganism is false ; apologetic in relation to Judaism Christianity represents the fulfillment of true Judaism ; apologetic in relation to the political authorities Christianity is innocent of any offense against Roman law.
The command to witness The key to the apostles' successful fulfillment of Jesus' commission was their baptism with, and consequent indwelling by, the Holy Spirit. Without this divine enablement, they would only have been able to follow Jesus' example, but with it, Jesus could literally continue to do His work and teach His words through them. Consequently their preparation for the baptism of the Spirit was very important. Luke recorded it to highlight its foundational significance. It was natural, therefore, that the disciples would ask if that kingdom was about to begin, in view of Jesus' promise that the Spirit would baptize them in a few days.
In the Septuagint, the term "restoration" Gr. Clearly the messianic kingdom is in view here, not the church. The term Israel is used twenty times and ekklesia church nineteen times, yet the two groups are always kept distinct. Fruchtenbaum listed 73 occurrences of "Israel" in the New Testament.
Amillennialists do not believe that God will restore an earthly kingdom to Israel as Israel , but that He will restore a spiritual kingdom to the church, which they believe has replaced physical Israel as "spiritual Israel" or "the new Israel.
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Rather, it is a period in which a new form of theocratic administration is inaugurated. In this way Jesus not only answered the disciples' question concerning the timing of the future Davidic kingdom, but He also made a clear distinction between it and the intervening present form of the theocratic administration. Jesus' disciples were not to know yet when the messianic kingdom would begin. God would reveal the "times" Gr. Amillennialists take this reference to the times and epochs to be general—the apostles would not know how things would happen before they happened—not to the events preceding the earthly messianic kingdom.
There is the current period of refreshing, which is correlated to Jesus' reign in heaven and in which a person shares, if he or she repents. Then at the end of this period Jesus will come to bring the restoration of those things promised by the Old Testament. The 'times of restoration of all that God spoke' through the prophets include the restoration of the reign to Israel through its messianic King.
Moreover, the disciples would receive divine enablement for their worldwide mission cf. As God's Spirit had empowered both the Israelites—and Jesus—as they executed their purposes, so God's Spirit would empower the disciples as they executed their purpose. The power promised was not to enable the apostles to live godly lives, though the Holy Spirit does enable believers to do that. This power is given through the Spirit, and conversely the Spirit in Acts may be defined as the divine agency that gives this power.
Is the clause "You shall be" a prediction or a command? Grammatically it could be either. The apostles clearly felt compelled to preach cf. However, if it was a command, it could have been stated more forcefully. Therefore both verbs "you shall be" and "you shall receive" are probably predictions, and statements of fact, rather than commands. Whatever else they might become, everything was to be subordinate to the idea of personal testimony. It was to call attention to what they knew of Him and to deliver His message to mankind.
This special class of people, namely, disciples who are also witnesses, is therefore very prominent in this book. Page after page is occupied by their testimony, and the key to this feature is found in the words of Peter: 'We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard' This verse contains an inspired outline of the Book of Acts. Note that it refers to a person Jesus Christ , a power the Holy Spirit , and a program ever expanding worldwide witness. Luke proceeded to record that the fulfillment of this prediction would continue until the gospel and the church had reached Rome.
From the heart of the empire, God would pump the gospel out to every other remote part of the world. Starting from Jerusalem, the gospel message radiated farther and farther, as ripples do when a stone lands in a placid pool of water. Rome was over 1, miles from Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the most wicked city on earth, in that it was there that Jesus Christ's enemies crucified Him.
Nevertheless there, too, God manifested His grace first. The linking of "Judea and Samaria" preserves an ethnic distinction, while at the same time describing one geographic area. The phrase "to the remotest part of the earth" is literally "to the end of the earth. Jesus was evidently alluding to Isaiah's predictions that God would extend salvation to all people, Gentiles as well as Jews.
Acts 1— Acts 13— This pericope vv. Luke used several typical features of a Jewish farewell scene in This reference supports the credibility of their witness. In previous post-resurrection appearances Jesus had vanished from the disciples' sight instantly Luke , but now He gradually departed from them.
The "cloud" seems clearly to be a reference to the shekinah , a visible symbol of the glorious presence of God cf. This connoted God's approval of Jesus and Jesus' entrance into the glorious presence of God. Luke used this dramatic Greek word 12 times. It only appears two other times in the New Testament. Luke emphasized that Jesus was now in heaven. From there He would continue His ministry on earth through His apostles and other witnesses.
The two "men" were angelic messengers who looked like men cf. Some commentators have suggested that the "two men" may have been Enoch and Elijah, or Moses and Elijah, but this seems unlikely. Probably Luke would have named them if they had been such famous individuals. Besides, the similarity between Luke's description of these two angels and the ones that appeared at Jesus' tomb Luke suggests that they were simply angels. The 11 disciples were literally "men of Galilee" v.
Judas Iscariot was the only one of the Twelve who originated from Judea. This conclusion assumes the traditional interpretation that "Iscariot" translates the Hebrew 'ish qeriyot , "a man of Kerioth," Kerioth being Kerioth-Hezron, which was 12 miles south of Hebron. Jesus ascended in a cloud personally, bodily, visibly, and gloriously, and He will return the same way Dan. Jesus' own descriptions of His return to the earth appear in Matthew ; ; Mark ; ; and Luke This was no repetition of the Transfiguration Luke Each time, apparently, they had no reason to suppose that he would not reappear shortly, and until this time he had not disappointed them.
What filled these disciples with great joy Luke was probably the hope that they would see Jesus again soon. Without this hope His departure would have made them very sad. The joyful prospect of the Lord's return should have the same effect on us. John Maile summarized the significance of the ascension narratives in Luke-Acts as follows. First, he stated, "The ascension is the confirmation of the exaltation of Christ and his present Lordship.
Thus for Luke, as Barrett says, 'the end of the story of Jesus is the Church, and the story of Jesus is the beginning of the Church'. Peter perceived the importance of asking God to identify Judas' successor in view of the ministry that Jesus had said the Twelve would have in the future. He led the disciples in obtaining the Lord Jesus' guidance in this important matter cf.
From his viewpoint, the Lord could have returned very soon to restore the kingdom to Israel v.
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They are on the eve of the great illumination promised by Jesus before His death. The Spirit of Truth is about to come and lead them into all Christian truth. The short trip from where Jesus ascended on Mt. Olivet to "the upper room" was only "a Sabbath day's journey away" about 2, cubits, two-thirds of a mile, or one kilometer; cf.
Different Greek words describe the places. It may have been the place where He had appeared to them following His resurrection Luke , 36; John , 26 , but this too is unclear. The definite article "the" with "upper room" in the Greek text to hyperoon , and the emphatic position of this phrase, may suggest that Luke meant to identify a special upper room that the reader would have known about from a previous reference to it.
One writer suggested that this upper room, as well as the ones mentioned in , 39, and , may have been part of a synagogue. Proseuche sometimes has the wider meaning of worship, and it may mean that here. Luke stressed their unity "all with one mind" , a mark of the early Christians that Luke noted frequently in Acts.
The disciples were "one" in their purpose to carry out the will of their Lord. Divine promises should stimulate prayer, not lead to abandonment of it. The disciples needed the self-examination that comes through prayer and supplication, that they might be ready for the tremendous event which was about to take place …" . The women referred to were apparently the same ones who accompanied the disciples from Galilee to Jerusalem Luke ; cf.
Luke's interest in women, which is so evident in his Gospel, continues in Acts. This is, by the way, the last reference to "Mary the mother of Jesus" in the Bible. Jesus' half-brothers John ; Mark , among those "devoting themselves to prayer," apparently had become believers following His death and resurrection cf. He was the representative disciple, as well as the leading apostle. The group of that Peter addressed on this occasion cf.
Nonetheless this was a tiny group from which the church grew. God can take a small number of people, multiply them, and eventually fill the earth with their witness. Here "brethren" is literally "men, brothers" andres, adelphoi. This same salutation occurs elsewhere in Acts always in formal addresses to Jews cf. Notice the high regard with which Peter viewed the Old Testament.
He believed David's words came from the Holy Spirit 2 Tim. Peter interpreted David's words about false companions and wicked men who opposed God's servants as applying to Judas. Peter said this Scripture "had" Gr. This helps us understand for whom he wrote this book. Judas purchased the "Field of Blood" indirectly by returning the money he received for betraying Jesus to the priests who used it to buy the field Matt.
Perhaps the name "field of blood" was the nickname the residents of Jerusalem gave it since "blood money" had purchased it. This account of Judas' death differs from Matthew's, who wrote that Judas hanged himself Matt. Undoubtedly both accounts were true. Perhaps Judas hanged himself and in the process also fell lit. Perhaps the rope or branch with which he hanged himself broke.
Or perhaps when others cut his corpse down it fell and broke open, as Luke described. The traditional location of Hakeldama is southeast of Jerusalem, near where the Hinnom and Kidron Valleys meet. This description of Judas' death stressed the awfulness of that apostle's situation. It was Judas' defection which led to his horrible death, and not just his death, that led to the need for a successor.
Matthias succeeded Judas because Judas had been unfaithful, not just because he had died. Thus this text provides no support for the view that Christ intended one apostle to succeed another when the preceding one died. We have no record that when the apostle James died anyone succeeded him. Luke's quotations from the Old Testament are all from Greek translations of it. John ; ; Rom.
Peter did not appeal to Psalm to justify replacing Judas with another apostle, however. He used the quotation from Psalm to do that. It is another verse that Peter applied to Jesus' case, since it described something analogous to Jesus' experience. He used what David had written about someone who opposed the L ORD 's king—and was replaced—to support the idea that someone should replace Judas in his office as one of the Twelve. Evidently he remembered Jesus' promise that the 12 disciples would sit on 12 thrones in the messianic kingdom, judging the 12 tribes of Israel Matt.
To be as qualified for this ministry as the other 11 disciples, the twelfth had to have met the conditions Peter specified. Rather they have been taught and trained by Jesus for their work. They shared Jesus' life and work during his mission. In the process they were tested and discovered their own defects. That discovery may also be part of their preparation. The witness of the Galileans does not arise from casual observation.
They speak out of a life and mission shared with Jesus, after being taught and tested. From this group the replacement for Judas is chosen. Deut ; 2 Sam ; Ps ; Acts Having been a witness to Jesus Christ's resurrection was especially important. The apostles prepared themselves, so that if Jesus Christ had returned very soon and set up His kingdom on the earth—they would have been ready.
Often, in biblical history, God replaced someone who proved unworthy with a more faithful steward e. These two verses provide the basis for distinguishing a technical use of "apostle" from the general meaning of the word. By definition, an "apostle" from apo stello , "to send away" is anyone sent out as a messenger.
Translators have frequently rendered this word "messenger" in the English Bible. Barnabas, Paul's fellow workers, James, and Epaphroditus—were apostles in this sense Acts , 14; 2 Cor. Every Christian should function as an apostle , since Christ has given us the Great Commission. Nevertheless, the Twelve were apostles in a special sense. They not only went out with a message, but they went out having been personally discipled by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.
They were the official apostles , the apostles who occupied the apostolic office v. As we shall see, Paul was also an official apostle , even though he had not been personally discipled by Jesus as the Twelve had been. This address of Peter vv. About one third of the content of Acts is speeches. Stenographic reports they are not, and probably few ever so considered them.
But recognition of the kind of writing that produces speeches compatible with the narrative in which they are found should not be interpreted as inaccurate reporting or a lack of traditional source material. After all, a single author is responsible for the literary form of the whole. Josephus "recorded" many speeches in his histories, but he clearly put them in his own words. One example is Herod the Great's speech to the Jews encouraging them to defend themselves against the attacking Arabians. The same speech appears in both the Antiquities of the Jews and The Wars of the Jews , but the content is somewhat different.
They acknowledged that only God knows people's hearts 1 Sam. They wanted God to identify the man after His own heart, as He had done with David. Next they cast "lots," probably by drawing one of two designated stones out of a container, or by throwing down specially marked objects cf. The ancient Greeks often used pebbles in voting, black for condemning and white for acquitting.
Judas' "own place" was a place different from that of the Eleven, namely: perdition hell. Matthias received no further mention in the New Testament. Legend has it that he died as a martyr in Ethiopia. Judas's successor must also be appointed by the same Lord who appointed the Eleven. This instance of casting lots to determine God's will is the last one the New Testament writers recorded.
This was not a vote. Christians do not need to cast lots to determine God's will, since now the indwelling Holy Spirit provides that guidance. He does so objectively through Scripture, and subjectively by impressing His will on yielded believers in response to prayer. Was Peter correct in leading the believers to recognize a twelfth apostle, or did God intend Paul to be the replacement? Several commentators believed that Paul was God's intended replacement. However, Paul had not been with Jesus during His earthly ministry.
Luke, Paul's friend, spoke of the Twelve without equivocation as an official group Acts ; Furthermore the distinctly Jewish nature of the future ministry of the Twelve Matt. His ministry was primarily to the Gentiles Gal. Paul never claimed to be one of the Twelve, though he did contend that his official apostleship had come to him as a direct commission from the Lord. However, it came from the risen Lord, and he considered himself abnormally born as an apostle 1 Cor. Finally, there is no hint in Scripture that the decision made on this occasion was a mistake. Acts 1 brings all four records together and mentions each of them.
The Holy Spirit's descent on the day of Pentecost inaugurated a new dispensation in God's administration of the human race. Many non-dispensationalists, as well as most dispensationalists except ultradispensationalists , view the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as the beginning of the church. Although Jesus' witnesses face other conflicts, the central conflict of the plot, repeatedly emphasized and still present in the last major scene of Acts, is a conflict within Judaism provoked by Jewish Christian preachers including Paul.
Acts — traces the development of this conflict in Jerusalem. Luke had introduced the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry with His baptism with the Spirit Luke He now paralleled that with the beginning of Jesus' heavenly ministry with the Spirit baptism of His disciples Acts The same Spirit who indwelt and empowered Jesus during His earthly ministry would now indwell and empower His believing disciples. John the Baptist had predicted this Pentecost baptism with the Spirit Matt. Jesus had already done the baptizing, and now the Spirit "came upon" the disciples.
They celebrated it at the end of seven weeks i. God received a new crop of believers , Christians, on this particular day of Pentecost. The Jews also celebrated Pentecost as the anniversary of the giving of the Mosaic Law cf. Paul regarded the Spirit's indwelling presence as God's replacement for the external guidance that the Mosaic Law had provided believers under that old covenant Gal. It was one of the feasts at which all the male Jews had to be present at the central sanctuary Exod.
Jews who lived up to 20 miles from Jerusalem were expected to travel to Jerusalem to attend these feasts. Pentecost usually fell in late May or early June.
Traveling conditions that time of year made it possible for Jews who lived farther away to visit Jerusalem, too. These factors account for the large number of Jews present in Jerusalem on this particular day. This feast was the most crowded in Jerusalem, and the most attended by foreigners, of any of the Jewish festivals. And by his stress on Pentecost as the day when the miracle took place, he is also suggesting 1 that the Spirit's coming is in continuity with God's purposes in giving the law and yet 2 that 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.
The antecedent of "they" is apparently the believers Luke mentioned in However, it could refer to the Twelve, since Luke later wrote that the multitude marveled that those who spoke in tongues were "Galileans" v. It is not possible to identify the place lit. Perhaps it was the "upper room" already mentioned , or another house. Clearly the disciples were indoors v. This noise symbolized the coming of the Holy Spirit in power. The same Greek word pneuma means either "wind" or "spirit.
Jesus' earlier breathing on the disciples and giving them the Holy Spirit John may have been only a temporary empowerment with the Spirit along the lines of Old Testament empowerments.
Others believe that Jesus was giving these disciples a symbolic and graphic reminder, an advance example as it were, of the Spirit who would come upon them later. It was a demonstration of what Jesus would do when He returned to the Father, and which He did do on Pentecost. He was not "imparting" the Spirit to them in any sense then. I prefer this second explanation. It did not destroy their home but came within two blocks of it. When she wrote about it to my daughter, she said, 'The first thing we noticed was a sound like a thousand freight trains coming into town.
It was that kind of sound that they heard on the Day of Pentecost. The believers received a visual as well as an audio indication that the promised Holy Spirit of God had come. Evidently, at first the apparent fire came in one piece, and then separated into individual flames, which always resemble tongues of fire. Each one of these "flames" abode settled on a different believer present.
God could hardly have depicted the distribution of His Spirit to every individual believer more clearly. The Spirit had in the past abode on the whole nation of Israel corporately, symbolized by the pillar of fire. Now He abode on each believer, as He had on Jesus.
This fire was obviously not normal fire because it did not burn up what it touched cf. Probably the Jews present connected the "tongues," by which the believers spoke miraculously, with the "tongues of fire. Joel ; Mal. Some believe it was a complete fulfillment of those prophecies and that we should expect no further subsequent fulfillment. This seems doubtful, since these prophecies occur in contexts involving the experiences of all Israel.
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Others believe that what happened on the day of Pentecost was an initial, partial, or similar fulfillment, and that complete fulfillment is still future. Some who hold this second view believe that the prophecy about the baptism with the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on Pentecost, but that the prophecy about baptism with fire was not fulfilled at that time, and will be fulfilled in the Tribulation. Others who hold this second view believe that both baptisms occurred on Pentecost, and both will occur again in the future and will involve Israel.
A third view is that what happened on Pentecost was not what the Old Testament predicted at all, since those predictions have Israel in view. I view what happened on Pentecost as a foreview of what will happen for Israel in the future. What we have in this verse is a gracious baptizing —that involved the Holy Spirit and the presence and power of God—symbolized by fire. Both occurred on this occasion, though Luke only mentioned filling specifically. We know that Spirit baptism also took place, because Jesus predicted it would take place "not many days from now" before His ascension Moreover, Peter spoke of it as having taken place on Pentecost a short time later Filling with the Spirit was a phenomenon believers experienced at various times in the Old Testament economy Exod.
An individual Christian can now experience it many times. God can fill a person with His Spirit on numerous separate occasions cf. Acts , 31; , 5; ; ; , Furthermore, God has commanded all believers to "be filled with the Spirit" Eph. Luke used "filling" to express the Holy Spirit's presence and enablement. Filling by or with the Spirit results in the Spirit's control influence of the believer Eph.
The Spirit controls a believer to the degree that He fills the believer and vice versa. Believers experience Spirit-control to the extent that they yield to His direction. On the day of Pentecost, the believers assembled were under the Spirit's control because they were in a proper personal relationship of submission to Him cf.
Instead He divides the kingdom to give them two chances to get it right, but they don't learn and so the northern kingdom lasts for years before being carried off. The answer can only be His mercy, and perhaps, just perhaps, He wants us to learn that mankind left to themselves are not good, are not wonderful, are in fact sinful and stupid, and so need a salvation from outside of them.
In 2 Kings I have counted 20 sins listed there that reveal the folly of the kings of that northern kingdom. When you come to the southern kingdom it is marginally better, but not much. Without going into detail you can read the book as far it has got so far elsewhere in this site , the thing that amazed and left me perplexed as I worked through the historical books was why God didn't destroy these people.
Yes, of the 20 kings in the northern kingdom, 11 of them died violent deaths but for 9 of them there is no record of how they died. Yes, He did use other nations to discipline 4 of the kings but so often, it would appear that the Lord simply let this northern kingdom get on without much interference but also often allowed the sinful nature of powerful men to kill other powerful men. Of the twenty kings of the southern kingdom, 3 got away with no rebuke or judgment in any form, 3 were rebuked only, 5 were disciplined by being put under pressure from neighbours, 4 were killed, either assassinated or executed, and 4 were disciplined by being carried off to Babylon; it was a really mixed bunch and that kingdom lasted for years before the Exile.
The Exile!!!! Why did He bring them back after forty years and re-establish Jerusalem? It has got to be His grace and mercy, together with the determination to have a people in existence to create a working environment into which to bring His Son, Jesus Christ. Read the Old Testament and New of course carefully and you will never say nasty things about God. Give mankind free-will and Sin is going to abound. The only way to overcome it is by love and more love, that is there when the individual comes to the end of themselves; that is God's way, winning back the hearts of individuals.
You can't do it as a nation and you can't do it as a community; it has to be one by one being convicted of their sin and shown the wonder of God's love that is there and revealed through the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is seen again and again in incidents in the Old Testament and then it is revealed in its fullness in the New Testament in the coming of Jesus. From Judges to Kings. I am aware that, having just done two very general meditations, coming back into specifics of history again, and specifics of circumstances rather than of people, there is likely to be a measure of repetition as we consider various events from different viewpoints.
Historically we have gone as far as taking the Land and briefly mentioned the subsequent rule of the judges. It is at this point that we pick up the thread or the flow of history as we see it in the Bible. Moving into 1 Samuel , we find the presiding judge is Eli a priest, who is now very old. He sees in the last judge, Samuel, who is also a prophet. Nevertheless, the leadership of Israel is not in a good state: Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD.. Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting..
His sons, however, did not listen to their father's rebuke. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.
The second half of 1 Samuel is taken up with the introduction of David as that man after God's own heart, who is eventually taken into Saul's service, but then is seen as a threat by Saul who at least twice tries to kill him. So has to flee and spends the rest of the book on the run. It is only when, at the end of 1 Samuel, Saul is killed in battle, that David becomes king.
In 2 Samuel we see his rise and his reign. When David dies Solomon, one of his sons, takes over the reign of the country and is promised divine wisdom to rule his country 1 Kings He starts out very well and becomes the richest and most powerful king in the world. Israel prospers. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.
Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. In the next study we will see the divided kingdom. It has been a tumultuous period, this time of the reign of the judges giving way to the reign of the kings. A Divided Kingdom. Our verses above indicate the next serious turning point in the life of the nation of Israel. It will govern what will go on for over years ahead.
Now the Lord had personally appeared to Solomon twice. That was the starting point: responsibility through blessing. Because the Lord cannot just sit back and turn a blind eye to this for it would undermine His authority for ever more , He declares He will take the kingdom from Solomon v. He will do this for David's sake and for the sake of the name of Jerusalem. He was one of Solomon's officials. Now we also read of how the Lord also spoke to Jeroboam through Ahijah the prophet 1 Kings and promised him rule over ten of the twelve tribes v.
He explained in detail that God would do this because of all the idols they were worshipping v. Solomon eventually died and Rehoboam his son succeeded him v. However Jeroboam returns and with the people confront Rehoboam and demand a lighter reign than they had had under Solomon 1 Kings The explanations we are given for this division are, a Solomon's disobedience and b the memory of David.
What is amazing about the Biblical account is the effect David's largely righteous life had on the Lord's feelings. Again and again David is referred to and specifically as a factor in God's responses to various later kings. It really is pure speculation because we are told no more, but one wonders if the Lord allowed or brought about two kingdom to give two different groups the opportunity of getting it right with Him. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.
He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel , who brought you up out of Egypt. And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there. This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.
I am aware these recent meditations tended to be factual and have lacked personal application. If you are looking for personal lessons in these chapters you don't have to look far seeing the life of the once wise Solomon now being driven by sex and the inability to control his emotions or will to resist the alien religions of his eventual wives. Also the example of Rehoboam failing to listen to the wisdom of his elders and going along with the youthful folly of his peers. When we come to observe all the kings of the southern kingdom because the northern kings are best forgotten!!!
David sinned on one occasion apart from the time when the enemy provoked him into unwise action but was generally known as a man who stuck close to the Lord. You and I may stumble on occasion but may we also be those who are known, despite that occasional stumble, to be those all out for God. Into Exile. Jer The cities in the Negev will be shut up, and there will be no one to open them.
All Judah will be carried into exile, carried completely away. Centuries pass, Israel , the northern kingdom, is carried away and still the southern kingdom is a mix of blessing and bane. When Israel is carried away, Ahaz was king in the south, a bad king who refused God's chastening see 2 Chron , He was followed by Hezekiah 2 Chron , essentially a good king though he struggled with pride in his last years.
He was followed by Manasseh who was a seriously bad king restoring idolatry in a big way 2 Chron and was carried to Babylon by God's discipline where, amazingly, he repented and was restored to his land and to kingship 2 Chron Then came Amon who only did bad and was assassinated within two years 2 Chron So much for Judah 's closing history as far as the kings went. Nebuchadnezzar invaded more than once, when he came and took captives to Babylon from Judah :.
Now Jeremiah prophesied from the time of Josiah right through to the end of Jerusalem and the final exile. Many of his prophecies warned of the coming conflict and called Judah to repentance. Probably one of the more significant prophecies comes in Jer 25, delivered probably in BC in the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign and Nebuchadnezzar's first year of rule before he came against Jerusalem for the first time.
While Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem throughout that period, Ezekiel appears to have been carried away to Babylon as we saw above in but doesn't appear to have received his prophetic call until see Ezek ,2 There he brought his words to the exiles in Babylon and presumably those words were carried back to Jerusalem. In chapters 1 to 24 he prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem for the apostasy of the people. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD. In January of the Lord told him that Jerusalem was under siege Ezek ,2.
God's day of judgment was coming but not only on Jerusalem! Eventually he was told that Jerusalem had fallen Ezek In the chapters that follow the prophetic word brought hope and more hope, e. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. Read Lamentations and catch the awfulness of the destroyed Jerusalem. The walls have gone and the temple has gone; it has been burned to the ground and the vast majority of its people carried off to Babylon.
God had restored His people to their land after the most devastating judgment Israel and Jerusalem ever experienced. Out of another Long Silence. Mark And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. I suspect that we are so familiar with the Gospels that we don't see the next big step in the history revealed through the Bible. Israel had been resettled in the Promised Land after the Exile, there are some encouraging and challenging prophetic words we see in some of the minor prophets and then all goes quiet for over four hundred years.
There had been a previous four hundred year silence from heaven in the period when Israel were settled in Egypt and the Lord was waiting for the right time to deal with both Pharaoh and then the Canaanites. Now in this present four hundred year period there are various upheavals in Israel and of course eventually the might of Rome takes over control of the Land, but heaven remains quiet and nothing is added to the Old Testament canon.
We tend not to think about this but it is the equivalent of nothing happening in our own country since say That's a long time back for nothing to happen. Yes, life had gone on in Israel. Rome had exercised control and appointed Herod the Great as king of Judea under Rome. There were clearly spiritual or religious factions and as far as power within Israel itself was concerned it appeared shared between Rome and the priesthood. And so life just carried on with most people, we would assume, oblivious of impending activity by the court of heaven.
He was waiting for the consolation of Israel , and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. But mostly, life just carried on, and then came John the Baptist. Shortly afterwards the same angel from heaven came to a young girl named Mary and told her she would conceive and have a son to be named Jesus, and so it was. And so follows what we call the Nativity with angels turning up for shepherds and wise men from the East turning up with financial resources, and of course Jesus being born somewhere out the back of an inn in Bethlehem.
Strange circumstances that we now almost take for granted courtesy of annual nativity plays. And then silence for approximately thirty years we think and then it all starts happening. Yes, John the Baptist is first on the scene preaching in the wilderness calling people to repentance and then baptizing them in the River Jordan as a sign of being washed clean by God. In modern times he would be reported in Christian magazines and be referred to on Christian TV but then news of him spread by word of mouth. Without doubt these three years of Jesus ministry must have been THE high point of human history with so many people being healed, dead being raised, and miracles being performed; this was truly the reign of God, the kingdom of God breaking loose on the earth.
But here is the challenge as we look across the earth today.
Faith is the only criteria. To do what Jesus did? Three Liftings. We have come to the point in biblical history where Jesus has left heaven, come to earth and is now ministering to the people of Israel, mostly up in Galilee, but sometimes down south in Jerusalem. They see him as a man, a miracle worker, yes; a great teacher, yes; a bringer of a new way, yes, but still a man.
The next major step in this history of the world is about to happen. It will all take place within the space of less than two months but after it has happened, the world will never be the same again. The period and events we are about to observe are most certainly the most important and most significant events in world history, and yet they are ignored or forgotten by so many. Three times in John's Gospel, the apostle John, reflecting back on that wonderful time, remembers some of the words of Jesus that the earlier Gospel writers missed in their concern to get down the basics.
For John there was more than the basics; there were truths spoken by Jesus that revealed him for who he truly was. I say three times he did this but in fact it was dozens of times in his Gospel but I want to just note three specific words. We have the first of them in our verse above from chapter 3 of John. The first one is, as we indicated above, Jesus being lifted up on the Cross. In John 3 that is paralleled with the snake that Moses lifted up in the desert see Num What an analogy.
We have been bitten by Sin and are consigned to death but if we will accept Jesus' dying on the Cross as for us, we are saved. On the Cross all our sin and guilt and shame were dealt with by Jesus and justice was satisfied as the unique Son of God hung in our place and took that which was due to us, and being God could do it for every single person who would ask for it. It is the only way that justice can be satisfied in respect of every one of us.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going. Where did he go? Which cloud is the doorway to heaven???? And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church. There he will remain until the time comes for him to return again Rev 19 , but NOW he is ruling in the midst of his enemies Psa ,2. He is Lord. On the Cross he took our sins, in the resurrection he gave us confidence and a picture of the power we would receive, and in the ascension he shows us where he now reigns. As we said earlier, the world was never the same again!
The Rule of Jesus. Rev ,5 Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Now of course many of us would prefer to focus on the works of the Spirit as seen, say, in the Acts of the Apostles and that is certainly the starting place.
Yes, there we see on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit being poured out on the believers and them being equipped to be Jesus' witnesses see Acts , , Yes, there we see Peter preaching the first sermon and three thousand being saved Acts , there we see the apostles performing miracles e. Acts and then taking the opportunity to share the Gospel Acts And so it continues. The Holy Spirit moving through the early church with signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the Gospel. Others may wish to observe the roles of the Church and Israel. It is a fact, forgotten by many, that the early church was entirely Jewish in nature with all the apostles being Jews and Jerusalem being the heart of the church.
As the church reached out with the Gospel more and more, it was obvious that it would change its nature with believers coming from the larger population of the world and thus became more Gentile orientated. Indeed Acts shows us quite clearly that it was Jewish hostility that forced the apostle Paul to move on sometimes and thus pushing the Gospel out even further. Some modern historians suggest that Jews continued to be saved in numbers until the seventh century.
And so all Israel will be saved. Time alone will tell. That they as a people still have a part to play in the plans of God seems fairly obvious. Which leaves us coming back to Jesus revealed as:. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. He brings things about by his Spirit working in his followers, he will use Satan and his demons and powers as he sees fit this is too big a subject to cover here, but he does and he will work to manipulate circumstances, yet overall it is a mystery for most of the time.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. Pre-AD1 say Christ sat with his father in heaven, waiting for his day on earth to come. Somewhere about that time, about AD He expressed his father's kingdom in his ministry on earth. Since that time he has been reigning from heaven.
At some point in the future he will return again as a conquering king see Rev 19 and will then preside alongside his Father in eternity over the new heaven and new earth. The End or the Beginning. Rev Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City , the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
What was the function of the Holy Spirit in the creation? How the Holy Spirit influenced man in the past. How the Holy Spirit influenced the Prophets. Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit. Born again or born of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts Who had supernatural gifts? What does it mean to be "In the Spirit"?
Spirit compared to light. The law of the Spirit. Sanctification by the Spirit. The Spiritual man. All who approach God through this crucified, but risen, representative of Adam's disobedient race, are forgiven. Therefore, by a figure, his blood cleanseth from sin. Luke ; ; John ; Acts ; ; ; Rom.
That he is a priest over his own house only, and does not intercede for the world, or for professors who are abandoned to disobedience. That he makes intercession for his erring brethren, if they confess and forsake their sins. Luke ; Eph. That he sent forth apostles to proclaim salvation through him, as the only Name given under heaven whereby men may be saved. Acts ; Matt. That the way to obtain this salvation is to believe the Gospel they preached, and to take on the Name and service of Christ, by being thereupon immersed in water, and continuing patiently in the observance of all things he has commanded, none being recognized as his friends except those who do what he has commanded.
Acts ; ; Mark ; Rom. That God will set up a Kingdom in the earth, which will overthrow all others, and change them into "the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. That for this purpose God will send Jesus Christ personally to the earth at the close of the times of the Gentiles. Acts ; Psa. That the Kingdom which he will establish will be the Kingdom of Israel restored, in the territory it formerly occupied, namely, the land bequeathed for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his Seed the Christ by covenant.
That this restoration of the Kingdom again to Israel will involve the ingathering of God's chosen but scattered nation, the Jews; their reinstatement in the land of their fathers, when it shall have been reclaimed from "the desolation of many generations"; the building again of Jerusalem to become "the throne of the Lord" and the metropolis of the whole earth. That the governing body of the Kingdom so established will be the brethren of Christ, of all generations, developed by resurrection and change, and constituting, with Christ as their head, the collective "Seed of Abraham," in whom all nations will be blessed, and comprising "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets," and all in their age of like faithfulness.
Related Jesus Loves You: Acts 1:1-2 Chronicles 28:21 (Season 2)
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