Message NotesIntro: As we continue to consider the events that take place after the Lord?s resurrection we come to one particular event that takes place 10 days after His ascension that is fraught with significance ? it is what we know as the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:1 ? When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
a). Whole denominations have been built around the events of this day, and within Christendom generally there is much confusion surrounding it.
b). Because of its tremendous significance in helping us piece together the transition of God?s dealing with Israel to God?s dealing with His Church, it is worthy of our study.
c). There are two main facets to this ? one involves a re-offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens to Israel, by the Church. And the other is the work of the Holy Spirit in the antitype of that seen in Genesis Chapter 24.
d). And we will begin today with the re-offer of the Kingdom that was accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles, and an immersion and filling with the Spirit that is unique to this period of time.
e). And so to begin -
1). Pentecost = Greek word ? pentekoste = fiftieth
a). And is a Jewish festival that takes place 50 days after Passover and was one of the three Jewish festivals that all Jewish males were expected to attend during the year - Ex 23:17 "Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
i/ The other two being Passover and Tabernacles.
b). It was also know as the Feast of Weeks ? because it occurs seven weeks after Passover ? the Feast of Harvest ? and the Day of First Fruits (Not to be confused with the Feast of Firstfruits).
i/ Le 23:16 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. 17 'You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD.
c). In the year of the Lord?s death and resurrection the festival took place ten days after the Lord?s ascension
d). And as we know was the day when the promise of the Father was sent.
e). This particular Pentecost, following the Lord?s ascension, as recorded in the Book of Acts and is, as we have said, foundational to our understanding of the transition that takes place from the Gospels into the Epistles, revealing to us the progression of God?s plans and purposes.
2). In order to understand this event, let?s begin in the first chapter of the Book of Acts - Ac 1:1 ? The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 ? Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
a). Let?s observe some things from this scripture.
b). We will see the connection here between - all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up,- and His commandment for the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. These are both parts of the same whole.
c). All that Jesus began to do and to teach had one focus ? the offer of the Kingdom of the Heavens and was obviously for one group of people ? Israel ? the physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, to whom the promise of the Kingdom, earthly and heavenly, had been made - Mt 15:24 But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
d). And this would be a self evident truth in respect of the Lord?s pre and post resurrection ministry.
e). To talk to the disciples about the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, could only have been to have spoken to them about the outworking of God?s eternal plans and purposes, with particular respect, given the Lord?s clearly stated mandate, to the nation of Israel.
f). In confirmation of this we see the disciples? question to the Lord as a result of His promising their baptism, their immersion, in the Holy Spirit - they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
g). And to be honest this is the only logical question to ask as the pouring out of the Spirit as Christ had promised is, in the OT, inextricably linked to the restoration of Israel and the establishment of the Theocratic Kingdom.
h). Note these scriptures - Isa 32:15 Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. 16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. 17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. 18 My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, 19 Though hail comes down on the forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation. 20 Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey.
i/ We can clearly see I hope the pouring out of the Spirit and the restoration of Israel within the Theocracy as being synonymous events.
i). Again - Eze 39:28 'then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. 29 'And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord GOD."
j). And of course the very scripture Peter references on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit begins to be poured out - Joe 2:27 Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. 28 ? "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 30 "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. 32 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the LORD has said, Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.
k). All of these scriptures are of course Messianic in their scope and all pertain solely to the nation of Israel, and God?s purpose for that nation.
l). Contrary to much popular teaching in Christendom today these scriptures, especially the one from Joel, have no fulfillment for Christians at all.
3). Then notice the Lord?s answer to the disciples? question - "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
a). I?m sure you will notice that He doesn?t tell them this is the wrong question to ask, He basically tells them that the point in time when the kingdom is restored to Israel is not to be their focus. What is about to take place is within the Lord?s omnipotent power, and within His omniscient plans and purposes - Ro 11:33 ? Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?" 35 "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?" 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
b). What the disciples were to know is that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and that their focus was to be on being witnesses to Him in Jerusalem, all of Judea and to Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
c). In other words they were to do what the Lord had commissioned them to do and leave the results of their ministry, which He had placed in His own authority, up to the Lord. A good principle for us to adopt.
d). What we must begin to see is that the disciples commissioning is inextricably linked to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is inextricably linked to the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel ? which had to be conditioned on their national repentance. This was true before Calvary and remains true after Calvary, even to today.
e). The message the disciples were to bring was first to be spoken in Jerusalem, to a Jewish audience with the real expectation that the nation would come to repentance ? all Judea ? once this happened, Christ would return, the Kingdom would be restored and Israel would then take this same message to the Gentiles nations ? to Samaria and to the ends of the earth - Isa 43:9 Let all the nations be gathered together, And let the people be assembled. Who among them can declare this, And show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; Or let them hear and say, "It is truth." 10 "You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.
f). We know of course that this did not happen, nor could it have happened, but what we are seeing, nevertheless, is a bona fide re-offer of the Kingdom to Israel conditioned on their national repentance. An offer made by those now in possession of the Kingdom ? the Church ? the one new man in Christ Jesus.
g). Please note what Peter says on Pentecost - Ac 2:14 ? But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
i/ This IS what was spoken by the prophet Joel ? not like what was spoken ? this IS what was spoken.
ii/ And as we have already seen that spoken by the prophet Joel, quoted by Peter, is exclusively portends the restoration of Israel within the theocratic Kingdom.
iii/ But remember, for this prophecy to be fulfilled, Israel would have to repent.
iv/ What we actually see here in Acts Chapter 2 is the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy ? a fulfillment that is now held in abeyance awaiting Israel?s repentance at the conclusion of the Tribulation. At that time Joel?s prophecy will be completely fulfilled within the scope of the Millennial Kingdom. In complete accord with the promise made to Abraham - Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
4). So is there somewhere else in scripture we can go outside of Acts that would point us to this re-offer of the kingdom to Israel?
a). Thankfully, ?Yes? - Lu 13:6 ? He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 "Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 "But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 'And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"
b). The certain man would be God.
c). The fig tree is the nation of Israel planted in his vineyard, placed in the world.
d). He came ? God the Son ? ?seeking fruit on it and found none?
e). The three years would point to the Lord?s earthly ministry, where He brought a message of repentance, which if heeded would have produced fruit - Mt 3:8 "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
f). At the conclusion of the Lord?s ministry, the keeper of the vineyard asks that the fig tree not be instantly discarded, but that extra time should be given to it to be dug around and fertilized, to see if it would then produce fruit ? this would be the re-offer of the kingdom ? made by the Church, accompanied by signs wonders and miracles.
g). And as we know of course, no national repentance took place, either on Pentecost or for the next thirty something years thereafter. Israel finally being completely set aside as recorded at the end of the Book of Acts - Ac 28:25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26 "saying, 'Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."' 28 "Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!"
5). We may also be able to go back to a foundational type in the Book of Ruth that would give us another piece of the picture - Ru 1:3 Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband. 6 ? Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread.
a). In the death of Elimelech we can see Christ?s proclamation that the Kingdom of the Heavens would be taken from Israel. Subsequent to this, Ruth and Orpah come on the scene marrying into the Jewish family.
b). The two couples continued together with Naomi, who is a picture of the word of God that came through Israel, for ten years ? a complete period of time ? then Mahlon and Chilion died.
c). Ruth and Orpah of course, a picture of Christians, continuing for a complete period of time in intimate relationship with Mahlon and Chilion, representing Israel, pictures the re-offer of the Kingdom to Israel by the Church.
d). When the end of the complete period of time comes ? the end of the time for digging and fertilizing, as in our parable and seen at the end of the Book of Acts ? pictured for us in the deaths of Mahlon and Chilion ? it is then Ruth and Orpah alone with Naomi who set out for Bethlehem.
e). A journey that begins with enthusiasm for both women, just as the message of the Kingdom was readily received by the Church at the beginning of the this dispensation ? which is later marred, pictured in Orpah?s turning back, through apostasy, rejection and unbelief within the Church as we come to the end of this dispensation.
6). And then to go further back in our foundation we can see the establishment of the Feast of Pentecost where the two loves baked with leaven are waved before the Lord ? symbolizing Israel and the Church, both of whom possess sin natures, who would on the day of Pentecost following the Lord?s ascension stand side by side before the Lord, just as we witnessed in Acts Chapter 2.
a). And as we remember that Pentecost is also known as the day of First Fruits, we can see in the three thousand who come to repentance that day, not only the first fruits of the Church, but also the first fruits of what could have been national repentance.
7). It is the re-offer of the kingdom, and the coexistence in relation to the kingdom of the Church and Israel that we would see delineated in the ministry of the Apostles - Ga 2:9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
a). James, Cephas and John were to go to the circumcised, to Israel ? and this would not be with a message concerning eternal salvation, but with a message concerning repentance for rejecting the message and the messenger during Christ?s earthly ministry ? and Paul and Barnabas would go to the Gentiles ? first with the gospel of grace followed by the gospel of the glories of Christ.
b). And it is for this reason, the re-offer of the Kingdom, that on entering a town Paul, although called as an Apostle to the Gentiles, would go first to the synagogue to reason with the Jews - Ac 17:10 ? Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.
8). And finally let?s look at the message Peter delivered on Pentecost, continuing after his quotation from Joel
a). Remember this message was delivered to a Jewish audience. To those who - Ac 2:5 ??..were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
b). Those Jews who were in Jerusalem to keep the Feast.
c). Most likely many had remained in Jerusalem following Passover so as to keep Pentecost as well.
d). According to the historian Josephus there were approximately 2 million people in Jerusalem this day.
e). Ac 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- 23 "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 "For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.' 29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 ? Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
a). And in this we will recognize a familiar theme ? that written in the Psalms concerning the Christ ? that which is Messianic in its context and Millennial in its scope.
b). But we will also note the addition ? ?this Jesus, whom you crucified?
c). Then we see in verse 37 that this message elicits a response in those who hear ? ?Men and brethren what shall we do??
d). And in complete harmony with everything we have looked at today, and in accord with the Lord?s commission there can be only one response ? , "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
e). This is exactly the same message that was preached before Calvary, only now there is a different messenger, and repentance must include the crucifixion of the Christ
f). Also, accompanying repentance is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the baptism in and filling with the Holy Spirit that Christ had promised, accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles ? especially speaking in tongues.
g). We are not going into detail today, but the word to describe being filled with the Spirit in Acts is an entirely different word than is used to describe the filling of the Spirit in Ephesians ? simply because they are entirely different. We?ll get back to that another time.
9). Now just as there was a terminal point in the offer of the Kingdom made to Israel by Christ, which is recorded in Matthew Chapter 12, but is not finally verbalized until Matthew Chapter 21 so with the re-offer of the Kingdom to Israel by the Church.
a). The incident which really marks the close of the re-offer comes in Acts Chapter 7 ? it being the martyrdom of Stephen - Ac 7:54 ? When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!" 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
b). And then of course the closure of this re-offer is then verbalized by the man present at Stephen?s death, Paul, as we have seen in Acts Chapter 28.
10). And even as this re-offer is being made we see God calling out a people for His name from amongst the Gentiles - Ac 13:42 ? So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
a). As we move inexorably towards the Epistles, where the Church alone is in view.
11). We will continue.