Acts 2:1-13 The New Covenant Comes Into Place
You may want to read our Scripture references as a group before following through with the study. Doing that will give you a general overview of what our study is about. In this study we simply want to look at the supernatural event that took place at Pentecost. In our next study we will look at Peter's powerful new covenant message.
Vs1: Pentecost has come - They were all together in one place.
... All the followers of Jesus would be in the temple area for this day. The new covenant must begin at the temple. Listen carefully to this prophecy and you will see Pentecost, and the promise that Peter refers to later in his message of Pentecost:
"'So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun, for He will come like a rushing stream which the wind of the Lord drives. A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob," declares the Lord. 'As for Me, this is My covenant with them,' says the Lord: 'My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring,' says the Lord, 'from now and forever.'" (Isaiah 59:19-21)
Every word in this prophecy is significant. Follow carefully:
"So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun." (This is a synopsis of the new covenant. The name of the Lord has filled the earth. Christianity has filled the earth like a vine. It is the largest religion by far of any religion on this planet. And it continues to flow forth as a stream into the nations.)
"...for He will come like a rushing stream which the wind of the Lord drives." This is a description of Pentecost. It was written 750 years before Christ. Note the wordage; "rushing stream," and "wind of the Lord."
Also note who it is that is coming like a rushing stream. "He will come." This speaks of the Messiah. It is His Spirit that fills the band of disciples on the day of Pentecost. Paul later writes, "Because you are sons, God has sent for the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (Gal4:6)
Pentecost was 'born again' day. The term 'born again,' or 'gennao anothen' literally means, 'born from above.' When the Spirit of Messiah entered into the hearts of His believers, they instantly became new creations. Pentecost set forth the new people of God. The Spirit would never leave them. The Spirit of Christ would abide forever in them and with them forever.
"A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob..." Zion was a special name for the city of David, and in particular for the temple Mount. The Spirit of the Redeemer rushed to the temple mount.
"...this is My covenant with them ... My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring's offspring ... from now and forever."
This is the covenant promise given to Messiah, or, the promise the Father made to the Son. And this is the promise Peter later quotes when he speaks from the prophets. Jesus Himself said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." (John 7:38,39)
Jesus had to be glorified. That is exactly what the day of Pentecost was about. The new covenant is about the glory of Jesus Christ. And Pentecost is the day that Jesus took His seat. (We will cover that in the next study.)
Vs2: "...it filled the whole house where they were sitting." The disciples were somewhere in the temple area. As I said in an earlier study, the temple was simply called 'the house.' To the Jews, when you said 'the House' no further identification was needed. It meant the temple.
Notice is was 'the whole house' that was filled with the sound from heaven. This is not something done in a corner. Just as the giving of the Law of Moses carried its manifestations, even so did the new covenant.
Vs3: "...there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them."
The tongues of fire actually divided itself and came to rest on each of the one hundred twenty. It began as a 'fire like' appearance and then came to rest equally on each. What did all this mean?
In the Bible fire has various meanings but the one meaning, one which speaks of judgment, but the meaning most common to the Jewish people had to do with God Himself. It signified that God Himself was resting upon these disciples. The writer later said, "For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb12:29)
Then we can draw attention to the burning bush that spoke of holy ground, and to the Mountain of God where the peoples were warned not to come near, because the Mountain was filled with holiness. There are many parallels to be found.
Another factor to take into consideration is that the tongues of fire rested on all the believers. This meant that each of them became an anointed spokesmen for God. The Spirit of Messiah rested upon them, and had entered into them. They were now His mouth piece.
And finally --- Under the new covenant the term ' to prophesy' carries a different meaning than it did in the older covenant. In the former covenant the prophets spoke towards the cross. In the new covenant we speak from the cross. This is why the one definition we have for prophecy in the New Testament, connects it directly with Jesus Christ.
When John wanted to worship the angel, this is what he hears; "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev19:20 - We can develop this further if there is an interest.)
Vs4: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other [languages] as the Spirit was giving them utterance."
I use the term language for the Greek word 'glossa' simply means a language. The disciples were not speaking gibberish, or in languages unknown to the peoples. While the languages were not necessarily known to the the believers themselves, the Spirit was enabling them to speak in the tongues of all the nations that were represented. (By the way, every time we see an incident of this nature in the Acts, it is always with a group, and it is never expected, and it is always a sovereign act of God.)
Vss5,6: "Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation from under heaven ....each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language"
Living in Jerusalem spoke of the diaspora (Jews gathered from the nations) who had been in Jerusalem since before Passover. Notice that these are devout men. This term is used with regard to those who were deeply devoted to God and the to covenant of Israel.
I also want to mention that the diaspora did not normally speak Hebrew or Aramaic. They spoke the native language of their sojournings, but they would also have had a rudimentary understanding of Greek. The Jews from the various lands were also known as Hellenistic Jews. In many cases the Hellenistic Jews were even more devoted than the native Hebrews. (But the native Hebrews did not always care for the Hellenistic Jews. The Church began largely from the Hellenist. More on this later.)
Vss7,8: "...amazed ... astonished ... 'Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?'" (Then the nations are named.)
This is an interesting area. How did they know all the speakers were Galilean? It is because the Galileans spoke with an accent that distinguished them from the Judeans. Judas Iscariot was the only disciple who was Judean. The rest were all Galileans. But the Galileans had another trait. They were fiercely independent. They didn't always agree with the edicts of the temple priesthood. Even the synagogues in northern Israel had traditions that were separate from the Judean synagogues.
An interesting prophecy that we can consider at some point has to do with the term, 'Galilee of the Gentiles.'
Vss12,13: "...they all continued in amazement ... 'What does this mean?' But others were mocking, saying to one another, 'They are full of sweet wine.'"
It is here that we first see the dividing line in Israel. If you recall, the old prophet Simeon said that the child Jesus was appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed. (Cf. Luke 2:34-35)
The day of Pentecost will conclude with many thousands of the Jews receiving Jesus as Messiah of Israel. Many of these peoples will carry their new faith and their new hearts back to the lands where they live. But the mockers were also present at Pentecost. They, too, will have much to say as we will see in the continuation of these studies.
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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