1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
was fully come (v.1) = lit. “was being fulfilled”
all (v.1) — Those from Acts 1:13-15.
place (v.1) — probably the upper room from Acts 1:13. Some think they were in the temple, but this is surmise.
wind (v.2) = blowing, breath, blast. It doesn’t say wind came from heaven, but a sound like wind. Wind is a type of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8; Ezekiel 37:9, 14). The sound, but probably no air motion, filled the house.
tongues (v.3) — not of fire, but resembling fire. Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16 and John 1:33. Matthew 3:11 looks forward to Pentecost, but the fire is still-future judgment.
other tongues (v.4) = other known languages, not their own. The hearers recognized their own languages.
This was a special gift for a special purpose on a special occasion. The apostles could not thereafter speak to everyone in his or her own language at will (Acts 14:11-14).
utterance (v.4) = a clear, loud voice with no hesitation or uncertainty.
Why tongues? The apostles were to be witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).
The Greek word Pentecost means fiftieth, having reference to the fact that the feast then celebrated was kept on the fiftieth day after the offering of the barley sheaf on the day following the Passover Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16). The name was in common use among the Hellenistic Jews and is found in some of the apocryphal books of the Old Testament (Tobit; 2 Maccabees). The festival was the second of the three great Jewish feasts, occurring between the Passover and the feast of Tabernacles. In the Old Testament it bears the name “feast of weeks” (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10), “the feast of harvest” (Exodus 23:16), and “the day of the firstfruits” (Numbers 28:26).
It marked the close of the wheat or grain harvest (Exodus 34:22), not that of the entire harvest of all the produce of the land which was commemorated later by the feast of Tabernacles or ingathering. It was regarded emphatically, therefore, as the “feast of the firstfruits.” In order to emphasize this feature of it, the special offering appointed consisted, apart from the other sacrifices, of two wave loaves made from the newly gathered wheat “for firstfruits unto the Lord” (Leviticus 23:17).
Another characteristic of the feast was gratitude for deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Deuteronomy 16:12), while it was specially appointed also that no servile work was to be done (Leviticus 23:21). As time went on, the Jews came to associate it with a further commemoration, that of the giving of the Law at Sinai on the fiftieth day, as they reckoned, after the exodus from Egypt. In the days of the apostles it was the most numerously attended of all the Jewish feasts, since the dangers of travel, especially by sea, during the early spring and late autumn, prevented many from coming to either the Passover or the feast of Tabernacles. — The Acts of the Apostles, by Thomas Walker, pages 25-26.
We should notice, also the perfect agreement here of type with anti-type. Our Savior, as the Lamb of God, died on the cross, and so fulfilled the meaning of the Paschal feast (Leviticus 23:5). On the morrow after the Paschal Sabbath, i.e., on Easter Sunday, He arose again, in exact conformity with the type, as the “sheaf of the firstfruits” (Leviticus 23:10; 1 Corinthians 15:20). On the fiftieth day after the presentation of that resurrection sheaf the firstfruits of the harvest were gathered in upon the day of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-17). — The Acts of the Apostles, by Thomas Walker, pages 26-27.
What took place on that memorable day and what was accomplished? First of all the promise of the Father as well as the Son was accomplished. It is familiar to every reader of the New Testament that John the Baptist had witnessed concerning Him who was to baptize them with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3). The Lord also had spoken repeatedly to His disciples about the gift of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 11 we read His words: “If therefore ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much rather shall the Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” This promise related to the future. In John 7:37-39 we read: “In the last, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any one thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed on Him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” The promised Spirit could therefore not come, the promise could not be fulfilled till the great work of redemption on the cross had been accomplished and the Lord Jesus Christ had risen from the dead and taken His place in glory. In the subsequent promises in this Gospel, the Lord always spoke of the coming of the Comforter in connection with His own departure. He promised that the other Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, was to be in them; but none of these promises could be fulfilled before He Himself had been glorified. We have already seen how He, before His departure to be with the Father, had told them to tarry in Jerusalem, to await the promise of the Father, and how He had reminded them that: “John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized of the Holy Spirit after not many days.” On the day of Pentecost all these blessed promises were once and for all fulfilled. — The Acts of the Apostles, by Arno C. Gaebelein, pages 28-29.
There is no Scriptural basis whatever for the premise that the Body of Christ began, historically with the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. There is, however, much Scriptural evidence to the contrary.
- The record of Pentecost says nothing whatever about the Body of Christ; we do not read of this until we come to the epistles of Paul.
- Pentecost was a Jewish feast day, not related in any way to the Body of Christ.
- Only Jews were recognized in Peter’s Pentecostal address (See Acts 2:5, 14, 22, 36) while the Body of Christ is “one new man” composed of both Jews and Gentiles reconciled to God in one body, and is the result of the breaking down of the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby (Ephesians 2:14-16).
- The Jew, like the Gentile, had to be alienated from God before both Jews and Gentiles could be reconciled to God in one body. This is why Israel had to be cast away nationally before God could offer reconciliation to the world and form the Body of Christ. For God hath concluded them ALL in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon ALL (Romans 11:32). And [He] came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that WERE nigh (Ephesians 2:17). This is why Romans 11:15 speaks of “the casting away of them” (Israel) in connection with “the reconciling of the world.” God’s dealings with Israel at Pentecost prove that He had not yet concluded them in unbelief or cast they away at that time.
- The kingdom was not even offered to Israel until Pentecost; how could the Body have begun then? (See Acts 2:30-39; 3:19-21). It was when Israel refused this offer that the nation was set aside and the Body formed.
- At the feast of Pentecost there were two loaves (Leviticus 23:17) representing, doubtless, Israel and Judah, which two houses, though brought together in the kingdom, will still maintain their identity. but the Body of Christ is one loaf, with believing Jews and Gentiles losing their identity in Christ. For we being many are ONE BREAD, and ONE BODY; for we are all partakers of that ONE BREAD (1 Corinthians 10:17, see Galatians 3:27-28).
- At Pentecost the disciples were baptized with, or in, the Spirit for power (Acts 1:8). This is quite different from baptism by the Spirit into Christ and His Body.
- At Pentecost the Lord Jesus was the Baptizer, baptizing His people with, or in, the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:7-8). Today the Holy Spirit is the Baptizer, baptizing believers into Christ and His Body (Galatians 3:27-28; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
- At Pentecost only Jews were baptized with, or in, the Holy Spirit. How, then, could this have been the baptism by which “one Spirit” baptizes believers “into one body, whether they be Jews or Gentiles”? (1 Corinthians 12:13). — Acts Dispensationally Considered, by C.R. Stam, pages 68-70).
With Israel’s full rejection of Messiah this order passed away. Paul now exhorts us: “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). This is something to be attained by faith. Let the honest believer ask himself whether he has ever been filled with the Spirit — fully under His control. Ah, we may have felt His power and experienced His help at times; we may have received His guidance and light, and enjoyed His liberty, but who of us can honestly say that he has ever been filled with the Spirit any more than he can say that he has been “filled with the fruits of righteousness” (Philippians 1:11) or “filled with the knowledge of His will” (Colossians 1:9) or “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
Certainly Paul did not — could not — say of the Corinthians or the Galatians or the Philippians or the Colossians that they were all filled with the Spirit. The record proves that they were not, else why the exhortations and rebukes in his letters to them?
The filling with the Spirit, like the other “fillings” referred to above, is now an objective set before us by grace, and as we seek, by faith, to realize this objective rich, deep blessings and real spiritual victories are already ours, to say nothing of the rewards to come. — Acts Dispensationally Considered, by C.R. Stam, page 74.