The Book of Acts Study Part 3
Book of Acts Study Part 3
The Day of Pentecost
- Pentecost was a Sunday. Shavuot (Pentecost) was one of the three pilgrimage festivals which was compulsory for Israel to “appear before the Lord” and was determined by counting of 50 days from the day after the weekly Sabbath following the first day of Unleavened Bread. (Deut 16:16) Therefore Shavuot is observed on the first day of the week – Sunday: Leviticus 23:9-21. “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord.”
- Shavuot commemorates the period when God manifested His Presence on Mount Sinai with earthquakes, fire, and smoke, and gave Moses the Law. It is the “Festival of Revelation” and the establishing of the Covenant.
- Shavuot was also the final festival of the wheat harvest when the Priest would wave a sheaf of the “first fruits” from the harvest before the Lord. Other “first fruits” offerings were made at Shavuot. Seven items were commonly brought: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (Deut. 8:8).
- Readings from the Prophets assigned for Shavuot. On this day, as the Pilgrims gathered from around the world, the Priest would read from the Prophets the following passages: Ezekiel 1, 3 and Habakkuk 3
Where would the Disciples have been at the ninth hour?
- Jesus’ Disciples were continually together following Jesus’ departure, but Luke does not specify the location of their gathering. Christian tradition came to identify the location for the disciples’ gathering on the Day of Pentecost as the same place where Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples. These traditions, arise from about the 5th century A .D. However, it is much more likely that they were in the Temple area.
- The Practice of the Disciples throughout this period Luke 24:52-53. “And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God.” Acts 1:14. “All these were continuing with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.” Acts 2:1. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2:46. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the Temple.”
Thousands gathered in the Temple area from just before sunrise for the morning prayers.
- Size of the Temple area. Scholars indicate the vast Temple area was capable of containing some 200,000 people. Further, the colonnades in Solomon’s Porch were a popular meeting place for various groups and religious schools, an area that contained benches in addition to the open spaces. In Acts chapter 3 we see Peter and John entering this area and performing a miracle. Here Peter again addresses the people gathered. “While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? Acts 3:11-12
- The “house” where they were sitting Acts 2:2 – the term “house” is a generic term that can as much refer to the Temple as a home or other building. Ancient Hebrew sources refer The Temple Mount as the “mountain of the house,” a term which is used even today.
- The baptism of the 3,000 could only have taken place at the Temple where there were pools available for the masses of pilgrim’s as they approached the Temple.
The Mighty Rushing Wind
- Ezekiel 1 manifested – the birth of the Church. Ezekiel 1 is primarily a Prophetic picture of the Church, exhibiting the four-fold nature of Christ, empowered and driven by the Holy Spirit who is the fire at the center of all, linked to the head which is Christ. There is no more fitting Scripture to be read at the birth of the Church than this most complete description of the true nature of the Church.
- Ezekiel 47 – the river of life flowing from the Temple. Ezekiel 47 can be seen as a Prophetic picture of the issuance of the Holy Spirit into the world, through the Church. Reaching out to the Nations to bring healing and restoration “And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9).
- Baptized in Wind and Fire. The wind and fire are manifestations of God’s Spirit. the original Hebrew and Greek words for “Spirit” (ruach and pneuma) may be translated as “wind.” There are over 200 instances of the use of these words in Scripture. Gen 1:2, John 3:8, Ezekiel 37:9-14, John 20:22. The Holy Spirit led Israel out of Egypt as a “fiery pillar” Ex 13:21, God manifested Himself in the fire of the burning bush to Moses, Ex 3:2. God is described as a “consuming fire” Heb 12:29
- Taking possession of the “servants” – overwhelmed and changed. Peter declared, “these people are not drunk as you think they are,” the whole group of believers was visibly overcome by the descent of the Spirit as were the Priest in 2 Chron 5 when the Glory Cloud filled the first Temple. There is a clear parallel here. “Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” 2 Chron 5:13-14. The Disciples were not overwhelmed by some unproductive emotional experience, for all in the group are changed, and all become filled with boldness.
- Synchronization with the Holy Spirit – the “Prophets” are Along with the wind and fire, the Holy Spirit brought an unexpected gift. A new Prophetic Speech! The group began Worshipping, Preaching and Prophesying in languages they had never learned. The miracle of Babel (when God confused the languages) Gen 11:9 is reversed in part. Luke says that people from all over the known world heard the believers speaking in their native languages. This miracle is repeated throughout the Book of Acts and is inextricably linked with the Baptism in the Spirit. We see later the true importance of this “gift.” The believers now could pray in complete synchronization with the Holy Spirit without the “filter” of their natural minds.
Peter’s Message – “this is that”
- Following the Holy Spirit’s descent, Peter stood up filled with boldness and addressed the crowd.
- Peter quickly explains the events just witnessed and declares that this is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy regarding the outpouring of the Spirit in Joel 2:28-32. He states, “this is that” – (“what you now see and hear”) Acts 2:16
- Peter makes a clear call for repentance, and for his hearers to accept Jesus as Lord and Messiah
- The preaching obviously went on for some time as Luke writes, “With many other words he warned them and pleaded with them” Acts 2:40
- According to Acts 2:41, about 3,000 people responded to Peter’s call “to repent and be baptized.” – a significant number when we contrast this with the 120 who existed as a group before Pentecost.
- Temple Baptismal Pools. Pools were available for the Pilgrims to wash as they approached the Temple. Obviously, the Disciples utilized these pools to perform the Baptisms.