ACTS CHAPTER TWO
I) [Acts 2:1-15]:
(Acts 2:1 NKJV) '''When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
(Acts 2:2 NKJV) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
(Acts 2:3 NKJV) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
(Acts 2:4 NKJV) And they [the disciples] were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
(Acts 2:5 NKJV) And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
(Acts 2:6 NKJV) And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
(Acts 2:7 NKJV) Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
(Acts 2:8 NKJV) And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
[Notice that tongues speaking here is limited to one's native born language]
(Acts 2:9 NKJV) Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
(Acts 2:10 NKJV) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
(Acts 2:11 NKJV) Cretans and Arabs - we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."
(Acts 2:12 NKJV) So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
(Acts 2:13 NKJV) [But] others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."
(Acts 2:14 NKJV) 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
(Acts 2:15 NKJV) For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day." '''
A) [SUMMARY IN CAPS]:
(Acts 2:1 NKJV) '''When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Acts 2:2 NKJV) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:3 NKJV) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. (Acts 2:4 NKJV) And they [the disciples] were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2:5 NKJV) And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. (Acts 2:6 NKJV) And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:7 NKJV) Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? (Acts 2:8 NKJV) And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? [Notice that tongues speaking here is limited to one's native born language] (Acts 2:9 NKJV) Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (Acts 2:10 NKJV) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, (Acts 2:11 NKJV) Cretans and Arabs - we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:12 NKJV) So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?" (Acts 2:13 NKJV) [But] others mocking said, "They are full of new wine." (Acts 2:14 NKJV) 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 (Acts 2:15 NKJV) For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day." ''' =
II) [Acts 2:16-21]:
(Acts 2:16 NKJV) "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
(Acts 2:17 NKJV) 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
(Acts 2:18 NKJV) And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
(Acts 2:19 NKJV) I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
(Acts 2:20 NKJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
(Acts 2:21 NKJV) And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.' "
****** EXCERPTS FROM JOEL CHAPTER 2 ******
........................OR GO TO ACTS 2:16-21
[SUMMARY IN CAPS]
(Joel 2:1 NKJV) " 'Blow the trumpet in Zion [Israel], And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand: (Joel 2:2 NKJV) A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations." =
The phrase rendered "The day of the Lord" in Joel 2:1 in the NKJV refers to that period of time beginning with the rapture of the church, (1 Thes 4:13-18; 2 Thes 2:1-12; Jn 14:1-4); then the 7 year Tribulation, (Isa 2:12, 19; 13:9-11, 13; 26:20-21; 34:1-2, 8; Ezek 30:2-3; Joel 1:15; 2:1-3; 2:30-32; 3:12-16, 18; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad vs. 15-17; Zeph 1:14-15, 17; Zech 12:2,9,10; 14:1-5, 8-9, 20; Mal 4:1-3; 1 Thes 5:2-3; 2 Pet 3:8, 10; Mt 24:1-28; Rev 6:1-19:10) and then the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring in His Millennial Kingdom, (Rev 19:11-20:4; Mt 24:29-25:46), and finally the Great White Throne Judgment and eternity future with a new heaven and a new earth, (Rev 20:7-22:21). Verse 1 portrays an unprecedented worldwide happening - a day of darkness and gloom, with clouds and thick darkness. An unprecedented mass of people, evidently will come to do battle, evidently focused upon Israel, for the trumpets warning of this come from Zion, i.e., Israel; and the LORD's Holy Mountain - Jerusalem, (Joel 2:1-2).
[SUMMARY IN CAPS]:
(Joel 2:1 NKJV) '''Blow the trumpet in Zion [Israel], And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand: (Joel 2:2 NKJV) A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations. (Joel 2:3 NKJV) A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:4 NKJV) Their appearance is like the appearance of horses; And like swift steeds, so they run. (Joel 2:5 NKJV) With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array. (Joel 2:6 NKJV) Before them the people writhe in pain; All faces are drained of color. (Joel 2:7 NKJV) They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks. (Joel 2:8 NKJV) They do not push one another; Every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, They are not cut down. (Joel 2:9 NKJV) They run to and fro in the city, They run on the wall; They climb into the houses, They enter at the windows like a thief. (Joel 2:10 NKJV) The earth quakes before them, The heavens tremble; The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars diminish their brightness. (Joel 2:11 NKJV) The Lord gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? (Joel 2:12 NKJV) "Now, therefore," says the Lord, "Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." (Joel 2:13 NKJV) So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. (Joel 2:14 NKJV) Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him - A grain offering and a drink offering For the Lord your God? (Joel 2:15 NKJV) Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; (Joel 2:16 NKJV) Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. (Joel 2:17 NKJV) Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, "Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God' " (Joel 2:18 NKJV) Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, And pity His people. (Joel 2:19 NKJV) The Lord will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. (Joel 2:20 NKJV) But I will remove far from you the northern army, And will drive him away into a barren and desolate land, With his face toward the eastern sea And his back toward the western sea; His stench will come up, And his foul odor will rise, Because he has done monstrous things." (Joel 2:21 NKJV) Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the Lord has done marvelous things! (Joel 2:22 NKJV) Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing up, And the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and the vine yield their strength. (Joel 2:23 NKJV) Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you? The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. (Joel 2:24 NKJV) The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. (Joel 2:25 NKJV) So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:26 NKJV) You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. (Joel 2:27 NKJV) 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." '''=
[SUMMARY IN CAPS]:
(Joel 2:28 NKJV) '''And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh [i.e., all mankind]; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:29 NKJV) And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:30 NKJV) And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. (Joel 2:31 NKJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. (Joel 2:32 NKJV) 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.' " =
Joel 2:3-17 describe the future horrors of the Tribulation period before Jesus Christ appears at His Second Coming. And verses 18-27 then describe our Lord's Second Coming and His setting up of His Kingdom on earth.
This brings us to the part of Joel chapter two, (vv. 28-32), which the Apostle Peter quoted in Acts 2:17-21: (Joel 2:28 NKJV) "And it [The commencement of the Kingdom of God with the LORD ruling, (Joel 2:18-27)] shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh [i.e., all mankind]; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
The word rendered "it" in the phrase "And it shall come to pass afterward" in Joel 2:28 in the NKJV refers to the LORD's Kingdom rule which will commence on the earth after the Tribulation period and our Lord's Second Coming. These latter two events were depicted in Joel 2:3-17 as having to occur before the commencement of the Kingdom on earth. And the phrase "come to pass afterward" in Joel 2:28 tells us that the worldwide outpouring of the Spirit of the LORD upon "all flesh," i.e., all mankind, will occur after that. Hence none of these events had occurred in Peter's time - neither the Tribulation, nor the Second Coming, nor the Kingdom rule, nor the outpouring of the Spirit upon all mankind. Note relative to the outpouring of the Spirit of the LORD upon all mankind, the prophet Joel indicated that the sons and daughters, in the sense of the sons and daughters of Israel, will prophesy, i.e., accurately predict future events. And Joel goes on to write that the old men of Israel will dream dreams in the sense of messages from the LORD. And the young men of Israel will see visions in the sense of messages from the LORD. Furthermore, all the men and women servants - of the Israelites will also receive this outpouring of the Spirit of the LORD - emphasizing the universal outpouring of the Spirit - upon all mankind, (Joel 2:28-29).
Furthermore, verses 30 and 31 add more unique events that will occur before the Tribulation period and hence have not occurred in history yet - especially not in Peter's time: (Joel 2:30 NKJV) "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. (Joel 2:31 NKJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord." All of this which is just preceding when our Lord comes in glory in His Second Coming in the clouds of heaven, (cf. Dan 7:13-14; Mt 24:30-31), has not occurred yet, (Joel 2:30-31).
Finally, the Tribulation period is portrayed as a dangerous, life threatening time when many will physically die. Verse 32 indicated, "And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved [in the sense of being delivered from early physical death, i.e., they will survive - albeit all who survive to move on into the Kingdom will be believers]. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, As the Lord has said, Among the remnant [i.e., among the population of those who are believers] whom the Lord calls [will physically survive to live on into the Kingdom of God on earth." Hence the remnant of individuals throughout the world whom the LORD called - those believers who will be delivered from of loss of physical life - to move on into residency in the Kingdom of God on earth in their mortal bodies.
****** END OF EXCERPTS FROM JOEL CHAPTER 2 ******
A) [SUMMARY IN CAPS]:
(Acts 2:16 NKJV) "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (Acts 2:17 NKJV) 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. (Acts 2:18 NKJV) And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:19 NKJV) I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. (Acts 2:20 NKJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. (Acts 2:21 NKJV) And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.' " =
In verse 16, Peter refers to Joel chapter 2 in order to explain the cause of the events in his time in Jerusalem when believers were speaking in tongues: "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel," and then Peter goes on to quote Joel 2:28-32. Since the events which occurred in Jerusalem in Peter's time do not match up precisely with the events in Joel chapter 2; and since Peter stated, "This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel" and not 'this is what is being fulfilled as spoken of through the prophet Joel;' then the word "this" in Acts 2:16 can and does refer to the Holy Spirit's enablement of the supernatural occurrence of the disciples' "declaring the wonders of God in tongues" (i.e., the native born languages of Jews who came from foreign countries, (Acts 2:11-12). Peter again repeats what he was referring to later on in verse 33 which corroborates the point that it is the enablement of the Holy Spirit Whom Peter is referring to, not the precise fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel which will also be due to the enablement of the Holy Spirit.
1) [Compare Acts 2:33]:
(Acts 2:33 NKJV) "[Peter said that Jesus was, (v. 32)] Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise [to the apostles] of the Holy Spirit, [cf. Acts 1:4-8] He poured out this which you now see and hear."
2) [Compare Acts 1:4-8]:
(Acts 1:4 NKJV) "And [the apostles, (v. 2)] 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;
(Acts 1:5 NKJV) for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'
(Acts 1:6 NKJV) Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, 'LORD, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'
(Acts 1:7 NKJV) And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
(Acts 1:8 NKJV) 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.' "
Note that the passage in Joel chapter 2 to which Peter refers in Acts chapter 2 is a part of a chapter which begins with the description of that part of the Day of the LORD which contains the horrors of God's judgment upon the world at the end of the age that we are in. These events have not yet occurred because the end of the age has not yet occurred.
B) [SUMMARY IN CAPS]:
(Acts 2:16 NKJV) "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (Acts 2:17 NKJV) 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. (Acts 2:18 NKJV) And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:19 NKJV) I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. (Acts 2:20 NKJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. (Acts 2:21 NKJV) And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.' "
The events as described by the prophet Joel having not happened yet, raises the question about Peter's statement: "This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel." Since Joel 2:28-32 cannot be a fulfillment in every detail of what was going on that day of Pentecost when Peter preached his message, then one must rule out a prophecy fulfillment in detail, and review the contexts of both passages to determine the points of identity that Peter is referring to. The main point of identity between Joel's prophecy and the events surrounding Peter's sermon is the working of God the Holy Spirit in a number of individuals to effect some kind of supernatural characteristic. In Acts chapter 2, Peter is referring to the Holy Spirit's working in the believers' the gift of speaking "in other tongues [i.e., unknown but supernaturally learned national languages] as the Spirit enabled them." So Peter says to the "utterly amazed" bewildered crowd, (Joel 2:32).
It is God the Holy Spirit Who will be acting in the future time of the Day of the Lord and Who acted at the time in the past on that day of Pentecost 2000 years ago. The point of identity that Peter is making is that just as God the Holy Spirit will work in all men beginning at the time of the millennial rule of our Lord, so the disciples were expressing the working in them of God the Holy Spirit when they "began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."
So the prophecy of Joel which Peter mentions in Acts 2:17 has yet to be literally fulfilled, but the Agent behind the events is One and the Same God the Holy Spirit. That's what Peter was referring to in a point of comparison of fulfillment. Verse 33 summarizes what Peter was referring to when he quoted the passage in Joel:
a) [Compare Acts 2:33]:
(Acts 2:33 NKJV) "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."
Notice that all that is required is to be saved from physical destruction during those last terrible days is to call on the name of the Lord, i.e., trust in the name of the Lord to deliver you.
IV) [Acts 2:22-35]:
(Acts 2:22 NKJV) "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?
(Acts 2:23 NKJV) Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
(Acts 2:24 NKJV) whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
(Acts 2:25 NKJV) 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.
(Acts 2:26 NKJV) Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
(Acts 2:27 NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
(Acts 2:28 NKJV) You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.
(Acts 2:29 NKJV) 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.
(Acts 2:30 NKJV) 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,
(Acts 2:31 NKJV) he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
(Acts 2:32 NKJV) This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
(Acts 2:33 NKJV) 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.
(Acts 2:34 NKJV) For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand,
(Acts 2:35 NKJV) Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
Notice that Peter's sermon is totally focused on Who Jesus Christ is and that fact He was raised to life; and is both Lord and Christ the Messiah of all Israel:
V) [Acts 2:36-37]:
(v. 36) "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
[So convincing and convicting fellow Jews that 'Jesus, Whom you crucified, [is] both Lord and Christ.' was Peter's message - not in view was Peter's exhorting to behave better or feel remorse or commit to a holy lifestyle]
(v. 37) Now when they [Jews, (vv. 22, 29)] heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, [Jews, (vv. 22, 29)] what shall we do?'
['They were pierced to the heart', i.e., they felt remorse = the other kind of repentance = "metamelomai" which led them to the first kind of repentance: a change from not believing to faith alone in Christ/Messiah alone unto eternal life, (cf., 2 Cor 7:10). Notice Peter in the next verse tells his Jewish brothers to do the first kind of 'Repent' = "metanoEsate" = change your mind from unbelief to belief in Christ as their Lord and Christ, i.e., Messiah/Savior]:
VI) [Acts 2:37-39]:
(v. 37) "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'
(v. 38) Peter replied, 'Repent [plural] (and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, [singular = after being forgiven and Holy Spirit received],) for the forgiveness of your sins [plural]. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [plural].'
(v. 39) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles]--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
A) BROTHERS = JEWISH BROTHERS ARE BEING ADDRESSED WITH A VIEW TO SALVATION WHICH IS EXTENDED TO GENTILES
1) SOME MAINTAIN THAT THE JEWS WERE ALREADY SAVED CHRISTIAN 'BROTHERS' & WERE NOW ADDRESSING THEIR COMPLICITY AS A NATION IN CRUCIFYING OUR LORD
It is maintained by some that verse 37 indicates that the Jews had already come to saving faith because of the phrase 'what shall we do' which they declare indicates that they have reacted with remorse in realizing their guilt in crucifying their Messiah and have already accepted by faith the message of Peter: that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah Whom they crucified. Furthermore there is the insistence that the word "brothers" spoken in verse 37 corroborates this concept by signifying Christian "brothers" rather than Jewish 'brothers'. So by this reasoning some conclude that the phrase, 'Brothers what shall we do?' in verse 37 indicates that the Jews were already saved "Christian brothers" and now wanted to address their guilt of supporting the crucifixion of Christ through confession and repentance/change of lifestyle and as Peter commanded, water baptism. The view is that if national Israel does not repent of complicity at Calvary then God will judge her severely. Since national Israel did not repent, it is maintained that the destruction of Jerusalem and further scattering of Israel in AD 70 was the result. So if the command to repent is to be an act of a repentant believer then the water baptism must therefore be to receive forgiveness of sins relative to national Israel's complicity at Calvary; and not an action to be saved unto eternal life.
2) BUT 'FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS' PLURAL IS IN VIEW NOT FORGIVENESS OF THE ONE SIN OF CRUCIFYING /REJECTING CHRIST
However, "forgiveness of your sins" plural is in view - not forgiveness of the one sin of crucifying/rejecting Christ.
3) BUT THE RECEPTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT COME AS A RESULT OF REPENTANT BEHAVIOR AND/OR WATER BAPTISM
Furthermore, the reception of the Holy Spirit as a result of demonstrating repentant behavior/intention is not supported anywhere else in Scripture. One received the Holy Spirit as a result of being a believer in Christ as Savior either at the moment of repentance/believing in the gospel, (Eph 1:13-14; cf. Acts 10:43-48) which is the norm or in the transition book of Acts period shortly thereafter for those who were believers who were still alive as Old Testament believers before our Lord ascended and sent the Holy Spirit, (Acts 19:1-6) to indwell all believers into the Church, the body of Christ.
4) BUT NOT ALL ARE STIPULATED AS HAVING BELIEVED IN CHRIST AS MESSIAH/SAVIOR
Notice that the question 'Brothers, what shall we do' cannot be dogmatically viewed as being asked by 100% of the thousands who were present at Peter's sermon which then signfied that all 100% then believed in Christ as Messiah unto forgiveness of sins. Many in Peter's audience may not have thought to ask this at the time - hence many may not have believed before Peter spoke verse 38. Furthermore, since Peter was not privy to the thoughts of everyone and wouldn't have known who believed and who did not, he rightfully answered the question for all to hear as rendered in verses 38-39 - a statement of what everyone must do to have forgiveness their [plural] sins unto eternal life. Hence, by the time we get to Peter's statement as reported in verse 37 &/or 38, forgiveness of sins unto eternal life is still yet to be received along with the "the gift of the Holy Spirit." These two results are therefore portrayed, as imminent for those [plural] who repent/believe.
5) BUT "BROTHERS" REFERS TO "MEN OF ISRAEL" NOT CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
Furthermore, the term "brothers" must refer to Jewish brothers, especially since verse 22 calls them "men of Israel" and since the term is applied to them in verse 29 before forgiveness of sins is in view. The context in verse 29 has not changed from verse 22 where they are being addressed as "men of Israel" and not as Christians. Peter's sermon to them is steeped in Old Testament references as if his audience being Jewish would understand:
a) [Acts 2:22, 25-29]:
(v. 22) "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
(v. 25) David said about him: 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
(v. 26) Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,
(v. 27) because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
(v. 28) You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, [Ref. Ps 16:8-11].' "
(v. 29) "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day."
6) BUT ONE WOULD NOT EXPECT THAT THE INSTANT ONE BECOMES A BORN AGAIN BELIEVER THAT ONE WOULD START ADDRESSING OTHERS AS BROTHERS IN CHRIST
Having just become a born again believer in verse 37, one would hardly expect the individual to immediately address Peter and fellow believers with him as 'brothers' meaning brothers in Christ until they came to that understanding through further instruction in the doctrines of the faith.
7) BUT JEWS AND GENTILES ARE BOTH INCLUDED IN THE PROMISE OF FORGIVENESS OF SINS AT THE END OF THIS PASSAGE, THUS A SPECIAL FORGIVENESS RELATIVE TO CALVARY FOR ISRAEL IS RULED OUT
Finally verse 39 settles the matter as it indicates that the promise of forgiveness unto eternal life applies to both Jew to whom Peter is addressing as "brothers" and Gentiles to whom verse 39 refers to as "for all who are far off [=Gentiles]", (cf. Eph 2:13, 17, 19), upon a moment of repentance/belief in Jesus "as both Lord and Christ." So a special forgiveness for Israel relative to their involvement in the crucifixion of Christ is not in view:
a) [Compare Acts 2:39]:
"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles] - for all whom the Lord our God will call."
8) BUT THE PURPOSE OF PETER'S MESSAGE IS CLEARLY BELIEVING FOR SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE FOR JEW AND GENTILE
a) [Compare Acts 2:39, 44, 47b]:
(v. 39) "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles] - for all whom the Lord our God will call."
[Notice that the promise of salvation unto eternal life is for the "men of Israel", (v. 22) and their "children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles]", (cp. Eph 2:13, 17, 19]
(v. 44) "All the believers were together and had everything in common."
[Notice that all who have repented, (v. 38), are described as "believers", so repent = believe]
(v. 47b) "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
[And all who have repented/believed are described as being saved - unto eternal life. So those who accepted Peter's command to repent were called believers such that they were described as being saved unto eternal life.]
b) [Compare Acts 10:43]:
"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."
VI cont.) [Acts 2:37-39 cont.]:
(v. 37) "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'
(v. 38) Peter replied, 'Repent [plural] (and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, [singular = after being forgiven and Holy Spirit received],) for the forgiveness of your sins [plural]. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [plural].'
(v. 39) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles]--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
B) REPENT = METANOEO MEANS TO CHANGE THE MIND - THE CONTEXT STIPULATING WHAT ONE CHANGES ONES MIND FROM AND TO
Repent = "metanoeo" comes from the combination of the Greek words meta meaning 'after', implying change and the Greek word noeo meaning the mind, the understanding = literally, 'after thought', i.e., rethinking, thus a change of mind. The implication here is that when you have an 'after thought' you have a change of mind. The sphere of this word is therefore limited to within the mind. Other kinds and spheres of activity are not in view.
[Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W.E. Vine, Revell Publishing, Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1981, pp. 279-280), states]:
"metanoeo... lit. to perceive afterwards (meta, after, implying change, noeo, to perceive; [comes from the Greek noun] nous, the mind, the seat of moral reflection), in contrast to pronoeo, to perceive beforehand, hence signifies to change one's mind or purpose..."
C) REPENT = METANOEO IN GOD'S WORD IS A CHANGE FROM DISBELIEF TO BELIEF IN WHAT IS TAUGHT FROM GOD'S WORD
The words "repentance" and "repent" in God's Word are translated from the Greek words "metanoia", (noun); "metanoeO", (verb) respectively which refer to a turn about, a deliberate change of mind resulting in a change of direction in thought. When one believes a fact relative to God's revealed Word, one turns from doubt or unbelief to faith in that revealed truth.
1) [Compare 2 Tim 2:24-25]:
(v. 24) "And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
(v. 25) Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance [metanoian] leading them to a knowledge of the truth."
Notice that Paul indicates that a servant of the Lord, more specifically a pastor/teacher, (v. 2:2), is to gently instruct in the Word of God, (v. 4:2), those who oppose him in the hope that God will grant them repentance, i.e., a change of mind which leads to a knowledge, i.e., an acceptance, belief in the truths of God's Word which were being taught. So repentance = metanoian here is not a feeling of regret, or an action of some kind, but simply a change of mind from opposing, i.e., rejecting or disbelieving truths from God's Word to a knowledge and acceptance of them, i.e., belief in them. From disbelief to belief.
[J. . Dwight Pentecost states, ('Things Which Become SOUND DOCTRINE, Fleming H. Revell Co., Westwood, N.J., 1965, pp. 62-63)]:
"Now, in laying down the qualifications for the servant of the Lord, the Apostle emphasizes that the Lord's servant must have the ability to teach. That, of course, which he teaches - according to II Timothy 4:2 - is the Word of God. As the servant of God teaches the Word of God, the truth of the Word of God will be brought home by the Spirit to the mind of the hearer, and the hearer will change his mind because of the truth that has been presented. This change of mind, in respect to a revealed truth from the Word of God, is called in II Timothy 2:25 'repentance.' "
D) REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS IS A TURNING - A CHANGE OF MIND FROM NOT BELIEVING TO BELIEVING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE
In order to repent, i.e., turn to Christ alone for forgiveness of sins which means that you believe that He alone can and will forgive you, you must turn from your rejection of Him - from the belief that your sins are something you yourself can and will deal with in your own way and not God's way. So instead of rejecting faith alone in Christ alone you turn to faith placed in Him alone as Savior - that is God's way of dealing with your sins. That is what the Bible defines as 'repentance for the forgiveness of sins':
1) JOHN THE BAPTIST (AND OUR LORD AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS MINISTRY) SPOKE ONLY TO ISRAEL TO REPENT/BELIEVE IN THE COMING MESSIAH IN ORDER TO ENTER THE ETERNAL KINGDOM. WHEN ALL ISRAEL BELIEVES THE ETERNAL KINGDOM IS TO BEGIN. LATER JESUS EXPANDED HIS MINISTRY TO THE GENTILES
a) [Compare Acts 19:4]:
"Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe 'in the One coming after him, that is, Jesus.' "
"repentance" = "metanoias" = a change of the mind from not believing to believing "in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus."
Since John's baptism was a baptism that signified an individual's repentance,
and since the message of John to people was to repent/believe in Jesus Christ as Messiah/Savior thereupon he was water baptized,
then repentance here = "metanoias" = believing in the One coming after Him, Jesus Christ as Messiah/Savior.
John the Baptist "prepare[d] the way for the Lord [making] straight paths for Him", (Mt 3:3; Isa 40:3) by declaring "the Kingdom of God is near", (Mt 3:2), i.e., that the Messiah is coming now to bring His Kingdom into the world when all of Israel believes in Him. John further declared Who Jesus is:"Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world", (Jn 1:29), i.e., as testified to in Old Testament Scripture, (Isa 53:4-5); declaring "one must believe in Jesus", (Acts 19:4), being that Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, i.e., "Repent [= believe in Christ as Messiah].. for the forgiveness of sins", (Acts 19:4; Mk 1:4) to gain entrance into this eternal Kingdom. Then John commanded those who believed in Jesus to demonstrate this change to faith in Him by a "baptism of repentance [/belief in Jesus] for the forgiveness of sins", (Acts 19:4; Mk 1:4).
Notice that baptism and washings in general were perceived by Israelites as symbolic immersions and washings and not acts which provided actual results of what they represented. This would be consistent with what the Old Testament Scripture teaches, 
So when an Israelite underwent John's or Jesus' baptism of repentance/belief in Jesus, what was in view was immersion into water as a symbol of ones actual identification with Israel's Messiah and His eternal kingdom when he believed in Jesus.
b) [Compare Jn 1:29-31]:
(v. 29) '''The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(v. 30) This is the one I meant when I said, 'A Man Who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.' "
(v. 31) I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water
[=a baptism of repentance meaning to believe in Christ as Messiah for the forgiveness of sins, (Mk 1:4; Acts 19:4)]
was that he might be revealed to Israel" '''
[=so that all Israelites might believe in Him unto the kingdom of heaven; and when all Israel believes, the Kingdom would , (Mt 1:4; Zech 12:1-13:4)].
c) [Compare Mk 1:4]:
"And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins."
Notice that John's baptism was a baptism that represented having been forgiven of one's sins.
d) [Compare Mt 4:12, 17]:
(v. 12) "When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee."
(v. 17) "From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
Notice that our Lord continued John's message of repent/believing in the One coming after him, that is Jesus for His Kingdom is near = at hand ready to begin.
e) [Compare Acts 13:23-24]:
(v. 23) "[Peter said] 'From this man's [David's, (v. 22)] descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised.
(v. 24) Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel."
Notice that John's preaching was directed to Israel - a preaching of corporate repentance of national Israel and individual water baptism. John the Baptist preached this as did our Lord Who continued this after John's death.
f) [Compare Mt 3:1-8]:
(v. 1) '''In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea
(v. 2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
["near" = "eggiken gar " = lit., 'has drawn near'
" eggiken" = to cause to approach, to be near, to be at hand
"gar" = a causal particle 'for' which introduces a reason, (which is that the Kingdom of God is potentially at hand), for the thing previously said, (which is that Israel must therefore repent in order to bring it in) = 'Israel repent, trust in the coming Messiah and all that the Scriptures relate about Him, for then the Kingdom of God will be caused to approach and enter into history, (i.e., a corporate trusting in Him by national Israel will result in eternal life in the Kingdom and that Kingdom will then commence on earth when the entire Israel nation accepts Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior).'. However the Jews did not receive Him at the time, (Jn 1:11) - so the Kingdom did not commence]
(v. 3) This is he [John] who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' ", (Ref., Isa 40:3)
(v. 4) John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.
(v. 5) People [from Israel, (Jn 1:31)] went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.
(v. 6) Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
[Once an Israelite trusted in Christ as Messiah/Savior unto the kingdom of heaven which was declared as near in conjunction with the Messiah's arrival as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world, (Jn 1:29), that Israelite believer thereupon confessed his sins, (Pr 28:13; 1 Jn 1:9), and was water baptized by John in the Jordan River. This water baptism was declared as a baptism of repentance, symbolic of changing ones mind from not believing to faith alone in Christ alone as Messiah/Savior, (Acts 19:4). This baptism was symbolic of the Israelite believer's identification of national Israel with our Lord and His Kingdom which was to be ushered in had all Israel accepted Him as Messiah, hence John's statement, 'The Kingdom of God is near']
(v. 7) But when he [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
[Evidently, before the Kingdom of God was to be at hand there would be a coming wrath of God on the earth]
(v. 8) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
Notice that producing fruit and repentance are two different things. One repents, i.e., believes in the Messiah Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins so as to gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven and after that one is to produce fruit, i.e., godly behavior.
So the command is to produce fruit, i.e., change the behavior in keeping with the change of mind = repentance from unbelief to belief. If repentance were the same as producing fruit then this verse would make no sense: "produce fruit in keeping with producing fruit???
So John's message (and our Lord's message at first) of repentance was limited to the people of Israel and it was related to the coming of their Messiah Jesus Christ in Whom John exhorted Israel to repent/believe Him as "The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world" unto the forgiveness of sins. Upon the nation Israel accepting her Messiah/Savior, the Kingdom would commence on earth. But Israel inevitably rejected and crucified Him:
g) [Compare Jn 1:10-11]:
(v. 10) "He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.
(v. 11) He came to that which was His own [Israel], but his own did not receive Him."
So the ushering in of the Kingdom of God was postponed as prophesied in Scripture until after the Church was fully formed, the seven yearTribulation commences and at the end our Lord comes again in His Second Coming, (Zech 12:1-13:4).
Nevertheless, the offer remains open throughout this Church Age, but Israel will not accept her Messiah until the appointed time:
h) [Compare Acts 3:17-21]:
(v. 17) "Now, brothers, [= fellow Israelites] I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.
(v. 18) But this is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer.
(v. 19) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord"
[Notice that Peter is offering to Israel and all mankind the opportunity to repent [change one's mind from turning away from to] turn to God, i.e., turn to faith in His Christ, (v. 18), so that one's sins may be wiped out, i.e., forgiven, (Acts 2:38), and in God's appointed time, (when all Israel believes, ref. Zech 12:1-13:4), God will send the Christ]:
(v. 20) and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus.
(v. 21) He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through His holy prophets."
So our Lord will come to commence His Kingdom rule at the moment of His Second Coming when all Israel will recognize her Messiah as a result of God's enablement and Israel's subsequent response of faith:
i) [Compare Zech 12:1-13:4]:
(v. 1) "This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares:
(v. 2) 'I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.
(v. 3) On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.
[Notice that this has not happened in history yet - nor any of the events as described in the foregoing verses. But it is prophesied as occuring at the end of the Tribulation period when the age of the Mosaic Law will commence again  and end when our Lord comes in His Second Coming which will begin His Kingdom rule]:
(v. 4) On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,' declares the LORD. 'I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations.
(v. 5) Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, 'The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.'
(v. 6) On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
(v. 7) The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah.
(v. 8) On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.
(v. 9) On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.
(v. 10) And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
[Notice that all Israel will have the spirit of grace and supplication poured out on them by God and as a result of God's enablement all Israel will finally recognize and believe in her Savior Whom they pierced and this is That Day of the Lords Second Coming]:
(v. 11) On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
(v. 12) The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives,
(v. 13) the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives,
(v. 14) and all the rest of the clans and their wives.
(v. 13:1) On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
(v. 13:2) On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.
(v. 13:3) And if anyone still prophesies, his father and mother, to whom he was born, will say to him, 'You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD"s name.' When he prophesies, his own parents will stab him.
(v. 13:4) On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his prophetic vision. He will not put on a prophet's garment of hair in order to deceive.
(v. 13:5) He will say, 'I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.'
(v. 13:6) If someone asks him, 'What are these wounds on your body?' he will answer, 'The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.'"
VI cont.) [Acts 2:37-39 cont.]:
(v. 37) "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'
(v. 38) Peter replied, 'Repent [plural] (and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, ) [singular = after being forgiven and Holy Spirit received]), for the forgiveness of your sins [plural]. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [plural].'
(v. 39) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles]--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
D cont.) REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS IS A TURNING - A CHANGE OF MIND FROM NOT BELIEVING TO BELIEVING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE, cont.
2) PETER SPOKE TO ISRAELITES IN ACTS CHAPTER 2.
NOW INCLUDED WERE GENTILES
HE TOLD THEM ALL TO REPENT/BELIEVE IN THE MESSIAH WHOM THE JEWS CRUCIFIED IN ORDER TO RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
THIS IS NOW POINTING TO THE CHURCH
And now the Apostle Peter, (referring to Acts chapter 2), in addressing the people of Israel en masse, speaks directly to their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, (Acts 2:23, 36), their Lord and their Messiah, (v. 36). But he included Gentiles in his message, (v. 39), which now points to the Church and not Israel. Upon repenting/believing one was not only forgiven of one's sins, but one also received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Many of the Jews acknowledged the validity of Peter's references from Old Testament Scripture being fulfilled in Jesus Christ - their Lord and Messiah, (v. 36), i.e., they believed in Him and were thus added to the growing number of the Church, (41, 47b). These references established Christ's diety, (Ps 110:1 quoted by Peter in vv. 34-35) and the truth of His resurrection from the dead, (Ps 16:8-11 quoted by Peter in vv 25-28), which proved His Diety and Messiahship to them. Thus a large number of them responded by faith in Christ as Messiah and Savior which they understood provided for them eternal life in the kingdom:
a) [Compare Acts 2:38-39, 41, 44, 47b]:
(v. 2:38) "Peter replied, 'Repent [plural] (and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, [singular = after being forgiven and Holy Spirit received],) for the forgiveness of your sins [plural]. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [plural].'
(v. 2:39) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [=Gentiles]--for all whom the Lord our God will call.' "
(v. 2:41) "So then, those who had received his [Peter's] word [i.e., believed in Christ as Messiah/Savior, see v. 44 below, cf. John 1:12]were baptized; and there were added [to the number of those being saved unto eternal life] that day about three thousand souls."
(v. 2:44) "And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common"
(v. 2:47b) "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
E) REPENT IN ACTS 2:38 = BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS BOTH LORD AND CHRIST FOR FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND LET EACH ONE BE BAPTIZED TO DEMONSTRATE THIS SYMBOLICALLY
Peter exhorts his audience of fellow Jews, (v. 14, 22, 29, 36, 37), to repent = "metanoEsate" = 2nd person plural aorist imperative = a command to change their minds from not believing to believing in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Christ in order to receive forgiveness of their sins [plural] and the gift of the Holy Spirit [plural]. And Peter says, 'let each one of you be water baptized' [singular] which would follow this reception of forgiveness and reception of the Holy Spirit and be a symbolic representation of that event.
Note that Peter's audience was indeed largely Jewish and would have understood that water baptism was symbolic of something for the washings and baptisms in the Old Testament Scriptures were largely ceremonial, i.e., symbolic. Just as the Jews viewed John's water baptism as symbolic of their faith in the coming Messiah and His Kingdom as part of national Israel, in the same way, the water baptism commanded by Peter would be viewed as symbolic of their faith in the Messiah Who had come - but this time the message of the Kingdom was not in view, the message of the Church was.
The word which is translated "Repent", ("metanoesate"), is plural and therefore goes with the plural phrase
"eis .aphesin ......ton hamartion hymon
"for forgiveness the sins ............your [plural]
Then the phrase which is translated 'let each one of you be baptized', inserted in the middle would follow this repentance in time being in the singular:
"Baptistheto .ekastos .....umon"
"Be baptized each one ...of you" =
"ekastos ...umon" =
"each one of you" =
"ekastos" = nom. singular masc. adj. = "each one"
So the phrase "Baptistheto ekastos umon" = "let each one of you commence to be baptized" stands out as a singular one. It is a parenthetical statement, (hence we have shown it within parentheses) - an action which is to be taken after the fact of receiving forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit.
Just as a union leader might say to a meeting of union members over the contract proposal worked out with their employer, 'All of you vote to ratify the new contract proposal and let each one put on the "I voted for the contract pin" and you will all have a new contract and go back to work; that putting on the pin did not help to ratify the new work contract;
so "Repent and [let each one of you commence to] be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins [plural]. And you [plural] will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" does not signify that being baptized is required to accomplish the end of forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit.
Finally, upon finishing his exposition on Who Jesus Christ is, the Jews immediately responded with a feeling of remorse, the other kind of repentance, whereupon Peter commanded them to 'repent' ("metanoEsate") = change their minds about Who it is that they crucified and repent = believe that He is their 'Lord and Christ' unto the 'forgiveness of sins' and the reception of the 'gift of the Holy Spirit.'
1) [Compare Acts 10:43]:
"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."
Notice that everyone who simply believes in Jesus Christ receives forgiveness of sins. No water baptism, not repentant behavior, simply a moment of faith alone in Christ alone.
[Compare what Dr. Stanley D. Toussaint states in the Bible Knowledge Commentary, (New Testament edition, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck editors, Victor Books, U.S.A., 1988, p.359)]:
"...The clause 'and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ' [is] parenthetical [= a digression from the subject of the verse which is salvation]....
(a) The verb [be baptized] makes a distinction between singular and plural verbs and nouns. The verb "repent" is plural and so is the pronoun "your" in the clause "so that your sins may be forgiven" (lit., "unto the remission of your sins," "eis aphesin ton hamartion hymon"). Therefore the verb "repent" must go with the purpose of forgiveness of sins. On the other hand the imperative "be baptized" is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence.
(b) This concept fits with Peter's proclamation in Acts 10:43 in which the same expression "sins may be forgiven" ("aphesin hamartion") occurs. There it is granted on the basis of faith alone.
(c) In Luke 24:47 and Acts 5:31 the same writer, Luke, indicates that repentance [i.e., faith] results in remission of sins.........
....The problem with [the adverse] interpretation [that water baptism contributes towards remission of sins] is that elsewhere in Scripture forgiveness of sins is based on faith alone (John 3:16, 36; Rom. 4:1-17; 11:6; Gal. 3:8-9; Eph. 2:8-9; etc.). Furthermore Peter, the same speaker, later promised forgiveness of sins on the basis of faith alone (Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18)."
1) [Compare Acts 3:17-21]:
(v. 17) "Now, brothers, [Peter is referring to fellow Jews] I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your le aders.
(v. 18) But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Christ would suffer.
(v. 19) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."
"Repent" = "metanoEsate" = change your mind about Jesus Christ being the Messiah/Savior, i.e., trust in His name, (Acts 10:43), "so that your sins may be wiped out." Notice that Paul is now offering to Israel and all mankind the opportunity to repent [change one's mind from turning away from to] turn to God, i.e., turn to faith in His Christ, (v. 18), so that one's sins may be wiped out, i.e., forgiven, (Acts 2:38), and in God's appointed time, (when all Israel believes, ref. Zech 12:1-13:4), God will send the Christ]:
(v. 20) and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus.
(v. 21) He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through His holy prophets."
So our Lord will come to commence His Kingdom rule at the moment of His Second Coming when all Israel will recognize her Messiah as a result of God's enablement and Israel's subsequent response of faith:
Notice that water baptism is not included here indicating that it is not essential in order to have 'your sins wiped out'
This corporate repentance and individual water baptism is nothing new, for John the Baptist preached this as did our Lord Who came after John:
2) [Compare Acts 13:23-24]:
(v. 23) " 'From the offspring of this man [David, (v. 22)] according to promise God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,
(v. 24) after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel."
This corporate repentance of the nation Israel resulting in trusting in the coming Messiah Jesus Christ as Savior would then bring in the Kingdom had all Israel accepted her Messiah before He was crucified, (cp Mt 3:1-3, 11).
So the word which is translated "repent" in Acts 3:19 and Acts 2:38 = "metanoesate", the imperative form of the Greek verb "metanoeo", and the noun which is translated "repentance" = "metanoian" in Mt 3:11, are derived from the Greek word "metanoias". Both words mean a turn about, a deliberate change of mind resulting in a change of direction in thought, literally, to perceive afterwards.
Scripture teaches that this kind of repentance is to turn to God relative to dealing with ones sins such that one now seeks for God to remedy the situation through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone instead of whatever other way one was dealing with them.
Furthermore, compare Acts 2:44 which indicates that the key point of Acts 2:38 is believing in the gospel of salvation and not confession of the guilt of crucifying our Lord:
3) [Acts 2:44]:
(v. 44) "And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common"
Bob Wilkin states, (Cassette #510 entitled 'The Unhindered Gospel' by the Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx.):
"When you come... to verse 44 it says, 'Now all those who believed were together." [mentioning belief and not confession] It doesn't say, 'Now all those who turned from their sins...' It says all those who believed. So... [in ] Acts 2:38... [the] reference to 'repent' means change your mind about Christ, and that's a synonym for faith - that's a synonym for believing Him..."
Peter's command to repent follows his sermon to the Jews on Who Jesus Christ is and that the Jews crucified Him in their unbelief. It does not have a change of behavior or a feeling of remorse in view but a change of belief in Who He is. Men should behave better no matter Who the Messiah is.
Finally, upon finishing his exposition on Who Jesus Christ is, the Jews immediately responded with a feeling of remorse, the other kind of repentance, whereupon Peter commanded them to 'repent' ("metanoEsate") = change their minds about Who it is that they crucified and repent = believe that He is their 'Lord and Christ' unto the 'forgiveness of sins' and the reception of the 'gift of the Holy Spirit.'
F) REPENT FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS AND THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN ACTS 2:38 APPLIES TO JEW AND GENTILE - THE WHOLE WORLD
And after all of this we have forgiveness of sins via repent/believing in Jesus not only for the Jew but also for the Gentile, i.e., the whole world:
1) [Acts 2:39]:
"The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off [i.e., Gentiles, i.e. all mankind]--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
a) [Compare Eph 2:13, 17, 19]:
(v. 13) "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
(v. 17) He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near."
(v. 19) Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household."
RETURN TO STUDY ON CHRISTIAN WATER BAPTISM 
RETURN TO FORGIVENESS STUDY
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Include here, excerpts from Acts chapter one relative to the disciples at the Ascension of the LORD still having a frame of reference of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.
1) [Compare Lk 22:28-30]:
(Lk 22:30 NKJV) "But you [the twelve disciples] are those who have continued with Me in My trials.
(Lk 22:29 NKJV) And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,
(Lk 22:30 NKJV) that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
When Peter answered the question posed by the Jews in Acts 2:37, "What shall we do?" His answer was "Repent and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit," (Acts 2:38). As with all passages in Scripture, especially ones which are crucial to the understanding of the gospel, such as the cause and effect statement of Acts 2:38; one must examine them in accordance with the normative rules of language, context and logic in order to establish their meaning . The crux of the matter in Acts 2:38 is to determine the answer to the following question which best fits the context: Since A (repent) and B (be baptized) are stipulated as actions which are to be performed resulting in B (forgiveness) and C (the Holy Spirit); is A and/or B essential to obtain the results C and D?
An example of a statement which is linguistically parallel in construction to Acts 2:38 indicates that A and B are not always essential; and are dependent upon the rules of language, context and logic: A rancher in Wyoming was having trouble with a bear who was killing his cattle. So he declared, "I am going to kill that bear that has been killing my cattle and put his head as a trophy on my wall; and that will settle the problem of losing my cattle, and costing me profit!" Note that the first stipulation of killing the bear would be sufficient, hence solely essential, to solve both problems of losing cattle and profit. The second stipulation, (the trophy), which would necessarily follow killing the bear, would not logically be required to solve the problems which were already solved by killing the bear. Hence the trophy was not essential, but a public and symbolic identification with what had already been done to solve his problems. So Peter's answer in Acts 2:38 as it is composed in Greek and correctly rendered in English may or may not demand that both stipulations, (repent and be baptized), be essential to the stated results of forgiveness and receiving the Holy Spirit, depending upon an objective investigation via the normative rules of language, context and logic of the ongoing context of the Book of Acts and corroborating passages.
Since it is evident that Peter, as a disciple of Jesus and most likely of John the Baptist before Him, (Jn 1:35-42), was carrying forth the message of Jesus and John the Baptist; then Peter's statement of the gospel in Acts 2:38 must agree with their message relative to forgiveness of sins - with the addition of the reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit promised by the LORD after His ascension as foretold by John the Baptist, (Lk 3:16; Acts 1:4-5). Hence when an individual believed in the message of Jesus and John the Baptist - "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand," (Mt 3:2; 4:7); i.e., he expressed a moment of faith alone in the Messiah / Savior alone, it resulted in forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in the Kingdom of God; whereupon each believer was water baptized to symbolize his identification with that result
Whereupon if all Israel would repent, the LORD would commence His eternal Kingdom... And so it was to be with the message of Peter:
1) [Compare Acts 3:13-21]:
(Acts 3:13 NKJV) [Peter preached to the Jews] '''The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, Whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
(Acts 3:14 NKJV) But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
(Acts 3:15 NKJV) and killed the Prince of life, Whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.
(Acts 3:16 NKJV) And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
(Acts 3:17 NKJV) Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
(Acts 3:18 NKJV) But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
(Acts 3:19 NKJV) Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
(Acts 3:20 NKJV) And that He may send Jesus Christ, Who was preached to you before,
(Acts 3:21 NKJV) Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
(Acts 3:22 NKJV) For Moses truly said to the fathers, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.
(Acts 3:23 NKJV) And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.
(Acts 3:24 NKJV) Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, hae also foretold these days.
(Acts 3:25 NKJV) You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'
(Acts 3:26 NKJV) To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities." '''
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3:13. Peter continually bore witness to Jesus. Here he identified Jesus as the One glorified by the God the Bible describes as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of their fathers (Exodus 3:6, 15). This God had exalted His Son Jesus on high.
The word "Son" here is not the ordinary word but one that may mean "child" or "servant." Another word is used when the Bible talks about the divine sonship of Jesus. Here Peter probably had in mind the identification of Jesus with the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52:13. The servant of the Lord is the one who does the Lord's work. This healing was thus the result of the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that spoke of the sufferings of Jesus on the sinner's behalf when He bore his griefs (literally, his "sicknesses") and carried away his sorrows (literally, his "pains") as in Isaiah 53:4.
Again Peter reminded the people that they were the ones who were responsible for arresting Jesus and denying Him before Pilate, even when Pilate had decided to release Him.
3:14. The One they denied was the Holy and Just (righteous) One. Again, this was a reference to the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53:11. (Compare Zechariah 9:9.) These two terms would have been recognized by those who listened as prevalent messianic titles. This is reinforced further in Acts 7:52 which says, "Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become" (NASB). (See also 1 John 2:1.) As in his Gospel, Luke placed full responsibility for the death of the Messiah on the Jews, not on Pilate who sought to have Jesus released (Luke 23:4, 14-16, 20-25). But the people had turned from Jesus so completely that they asked for a murderer to be released to them instead.
The murderer was, of course, Barabbas, whom the Bible also describes as one who caused a certain sedition (political upheaval and riot) in Jerusalem (Luke 23:19, 25). Jesus not only died in his place, but also in the place of every individual.
3:15. Because of the determination of the Jerusalem Jews to have Jesus crucified, they became guilty of killing the "Prince of life." What a contrast! They gave death to the One who gave them life. "Prince" (Greek, archegon) is a word that usually means originator, author, or founder. In Hebrews 2:10 it is translated "captain." In Hebrews 12:2 it is translated "author." It speaks of the part Jesus had in creation. As John 1:3 says of Jesus, the living, active Word, "All things were made through Him, and apart from Him was not anything made that was made" (literal translation). In other words, the preincarnate Jesus was the living Word who spoke the worlds into existence, and through Him God breathed life into the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7). They had killed this Jesus, the very source of both physical and spiritual life, but God had raised Him from the dead. Peter and John were witnesses to this.
3:16. Notice the repetition of the Name in this verse. "And his name, through faith (on the grounds of faith, on the basis of faith) in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know." And the faith that is by (through) Him (Jesus) had given him this freedom from bodily defect "in the presence of you all."
The Name, of course, refers to the character and nature of Jesus as the Healer, the great Physician. The healing came on the ground of faith in Jesus for who He is. But it was not their faith as such that brought the healing. It was the Name, that is, the fact that Jesus is true to His name, His nature, His character. He is the Healer. Faith had a great part, of course, but it was the faith that came through Jesus. The faith Jesus himself had imparted (not only to Peter and John, but also to the man) gave complete freedom from defect to this lame man before their very eyes. ("Perfect soundness" reflects the terminology used in the Law for the freedom from defect necessary for animals used in Jewish sacrifices.) Jesus had healed the lame when He was on earth. He was still healing them through His disciples.
3:17. Peter added that he knew it was because of ignorance they and their rulers killed Jesus. (Paul later confessed that he persecuted the Church because of ignorance and unbelief [1 Timothy 1:13].) Peter's words imply they did not really know Jesus to be Messiah, nor did they know He is God's own Son. This ignorance did not lessen their guilt, yet even in the Old Testament there was always forgiveness for sins done in ignorance. On the cross Jesus cried out, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Thankfully, the Bible says, "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew" (Romans 11:2).
3:18. The sufferings and death of Jesus were also the fulfillment of prophecies God had revealed by the mouth of all His prophets, that is, by the body of prophets as a whole. Their message, taken as a whole, had for a focal point the death of the Messiah, the Christ. Even so, this did not lessen the guilt of the people of Jerusalem. God has never accepted ignorance as an excuse for sin. Sin always brings guilt.
3:19. As on the Day of Pentecost, Peter then called on the people to repent, to change their minds and attitudes about Jesus. Let them be converted (turn to God) he said, so that their sins (including the sin of rejecting and killing Jesus) might be blotted out (wiped away, obliterated) when (literally, in order that) times (seasons, occasions) of refreshing from the presence (face) of the Lord might come.
This can be taken as a general principle. Whenever a person changes his mind and attitude and turns to God, his sins will be obliterated, and he can have seasons of refreshing from the throne of God.
Too many put all their emphasis on the warnings of perilous times to come and on the statement that there will be a falling away (2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). These things will come. The falling away, of course, may mean spiritual falling away, though the Greek word ordinarily means revolt or revolution and war. Though the warnings are necessary, the Christian does not need to make them the focus of his attention. Repentance (a real change of mind and attitude) and a turning to God will still bring seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
3:20. To those who repent, God will send the appointed-for-you Messiah Jesus. Christians must keep their eyes on Jesus as the One who is to come. But it does not mean they have to wait until Jesus comes back before they can enjoy God-sent times of refreshing. It is clear in the Greek that they can have them now and continue to do so until the time Jesus comes again.
3:21. These times of refreshing can come even though Jesus is not personally present. The heavens must receive Him until the times of restoration (reestablishment) of all things which were spoken by God through the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning of the age (or from of old). "Since the world began" is a paraphrase which could mean "from eternity" or "from the beginning of time." The sense is "all the prophets ever since there ever were prophets."
The times of reestablishment refer to the coming age. Then God will restore and renew the Kingdom, and Jesus will reign personally on the earth. The restoration includes a further outpouring of the Spirit. But care must be taken as to the interpretation of this. Only those things which God has spoken by the prophets will be restored.
The prophets also show the Kingdom must be brought in through judgment. Daniel 2:35, 44, 45 shows the Babylon image (representing the entire world system) must be destroyed. Even the good in the present system must be ground to powder and blown away in order to make room for the better things of the Kingdom.
No one knows when that will be. But the important thing is that believers do not have to wait for the Kingdom to come before they experience God's blessings and power. The Holy Spirit even now brings believers an earnest, a first installment of things to come.
3:22. Peter next referred to Moses and quoted from Deuteronomy 18:18, 19 where God promised to raise up a prophet like Moses. The people must listen to (and therefore obey) this Prophet. In fact, they must give heed to everything He says, whatever it might be. Moses did not know what this coming Prophet would say, but he was sure He would speak for God, and the people could have full confidence in Him and His words. (See also Leviticus 26:12; Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 7:37.) This was the promise the people had in mind also when they asked John the Baptist if he were "that prophet" (John 1:21, 25). Now Peter was speaking of a specific Prophet foretold by Moses. Peter said Jesus was the complete and final fulfillment of God's promise of the Prophet like Moses. In what sense was Jesus like Moses? God used Moses to bring in the old covenant; Jesus brought in the new covenant. Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt and brought them to Sinai where God brought them to himself, that is, into a covenant relation with himself. (See Exodus 19:4, 5.) Moses also gave Israel the command to sacrifice the Passover lamb; Jesus is the Lamb of God, our Passover. Moses was used by God to perform great miracles and signs; Jesus performed many miracles and signs, but most were signs of love rather than of judgment. Moses instituted the Day of Atonement where the blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat (the solid gold cover of the ark of the covenant); Jesus is the believer's "propitiation," literally, his "mercy seat" (Romans 3:25). By His blood He entered into heaven's Holy Place once for all, and by His blood He obtained eternal redemption for believers (Hebrews 9:12).
3:23. Moses warned the people they would be cut off if they did not receive and obey this Prophet. Thus, though God is good, there is a penalty for those who do not repent. Peter emphasized the meaning of Moses' warning. They would be destroyed from among the people. That is, God would not destroy His people Israel as a whole, but individuals could lose out.
3:24. Samuel was the next great prophet after Moses (1 Samuel 3:20). From that time on, all the prophets foretold of "these days," that is, the days of God's work through Christ. Since those who were listening to Peter's sermon were mainly Jews, his argument in these verses (22-26) appealed to those with whom the Jews would be most familiar and accept. In verses 22 and 23 the appeal is to Moses. Longenecker states that the implied emphasis of Peter's argument was twofold: "(1) True belief in Moses will lead to a belief in Jesus, and (2) belief in Jesus places one in true continuity with Moses" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Acts, p. 298). In verse 24 the continuity with their Jewish heritage is described in terms of the prophet Samuel who anointed David, the man chosen by God to establish an everlasting kingdom, as the ruler over His people (1 Samuel 13:14; 16:13). Through Jesus, the son of David, all prophecy either has been or will yet be fulfilled. Some may not have given specific prophecies, but all gave prophecies which led up to or prepared for "these days."
3:25. Peter next reminded these residents of Jerusalem and Judea that they were the literal descendants of the prophets, heirs also of the Abrahamic covenant with its promise that in Abraham's seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). This promise is actually repeated five times in Genesis. Some modern versions of the Bible translate Genesis 22:18 (et al.) as follows: "In your seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves." However, the Greek rendering of this same passage in verse 25 is "... all the kindreds of the earth (will) be blessed." The verb for "be blessed" is a future tense, passive voice form, eneulogethesontai; if the verb was to have been translated "bless themselves," the future middle form could have been selected, eneulogesontai. Although the original Hebrew could be rendered either way, the Septuagint version and Luke (inspired of God) used the passive form which maintains the prophetic nature of the Genesis passage.
Galatians 3:14, 16 also shows that believers become heirs of this promise through faith in Jesus, for Jesus is the one "Seed" through whom the promise comes. Thus, by faith all can become children of Abraham, heirs of the same promise.
3:26. The blessing promised to all the families of the earth came first to the people of Israel. What a privilege! Yet this was not favoritism on God's part. It was their opportunity to receive the blessing by repenting and by turning from their "iniquities" (their sins, their evil or malicious acts).
Actually, someone had to be the first to carry the message of the gospel. (Compare Romans 1:16; 2:9, 10; 3:1, 2 which emphasize that the gospel came to the Jew first, and the responsibility to do God's work and to spread the gospel was put on them first.) Paul always went to the Jew first because they had the Scriptures and the background and knew about the Promise. But they could not carry the message and the blessing to others without first repenting and experiencing the blessing for themselves. God had prepared the Jews for this. The first evangelists (spreaders of the good news) were all Jews.
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[copy this to acts3.htm]
3:13-15 Peter attributed the power for healing to Jesus, here described as God's Servant... This term recalls the title 'Servant of Yahweh' in Isaiah 42:1; 49:-7; 52:13; 53:11. Interestingly forms of the verb handed... over (paradidOmi) are used twice in Isaiah 53:12 in the Septuagint. This lowly Servant (cf. Phil 2:6-8) was exalted (glorified; cf John 12:23; 17:1; Acts 2:33; Phil 2:9; Heb 1:3-4, 8) by the God of the Jews' ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. Gen 32:9; Ex 3:6, 16; Mt 22:32; Mk 12:26; Lk 20:37; Ac 7:32). Peter emphasized with sledgehammer effect three contradictions in the people's conduct (3:13-15). First, he said the Jews demanded Christ's death when Pilate... had decided to let him go. Second, the Jews disowned the Holy and Righteous One and demanded the release of a murderer. Third, Israel killed the Athor of life but God raised Him from the dead. Peter's titles of Christ are interesting: 'His [God's] Servant Jesus,' 'The Holy and Righteous One' (cf. Heb 7:26), and 'the Author of Life,' .... In the third title the irony is strong: they killed the Author of life but He was raised to life from the dead! ....
3:16 The crippled man's healing came because of his faith in the name of Jesus. Faith was also evident in many of those whom Jesus healed (e.g., Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 17:19). In Bible times a person's name represented him and his characteristics. In Acts, Luke spoke of 'the name' (of jesus) at least 33 times...
3:17-18 Peter's exhortation begins here. The people with their leaders (cf. Lk 23:13) had acted in ignorance (cf. Acts 17:30; Eph 4:18; 1 Pet 1:14) in the sense that they did not recognize who Jesus really is. So God gave them further opportunity to repent. Though they crucified Him in ignorance, the suffering of Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecies (cf Acts 17:3; 26:23).
3:19-21 Peter's exhortation, as in his Pentecost sermon (2:38), was to repent. Was Peter saying here that if Israel repented, God's kingdom would have come to earth? This must be answered in the affirmative for several reasons: (1) The word restore (3:21) is related to the word 'restore' in 1:6.
a) [Compare Acts 1:6]:
"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, sayin, 'LORD, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'
In 3:21 it is in its noun form (apokatasaseOs), and in 1:6 it is a verb (apokathistaneis). Both occurrences anticipate the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (cf. Mt 17:11; Mk 9:12). (2) The concept of restoration parallels regeneration when it is used of the kingdom (cf. Isa 65:17; 66:22; Mt 19:28; Ro 8:20-22). (3) The purpose clauses are different in Acts 3:19 and 20. In verse 19 a 'so that' translates 'pros to' (some mss have 'eis to') with the infinitive. This points to a near purpose. The two occurrences of 'that' in verses 19b and 20 are translations of a different construction ('hopOs' with subjunctive verbs), and refer to more remote purposes. Thus repentance would result in forgiveness of sins, the near purpose (v. 19a). Then if Israel as a whole would repent, a second more remote goal, the coming of the kingdom (times of refreshing at the second coming of Christ) would be fufilled. (4) The sending of the Christ, that is, Messiah (v. 20) meant the coming of the kingdom. (5) The Old Testament 'foretold these days' (v. 24; cf. v. 21). The Old Testament prophets did not predict the church; to them it was a mystery (Rom 16:25; Eph 3:1-6). But the prophets often spoke of the messianic golden age, that is, the Millennium.
This offer of salvation and of the Millennium pointed both to God's graciousness and to Israel's unbelief. On the one hand God was giving the Jews and opportunity to repent after the sign of Christ's resurrection. They had refused the 'pre-Cross' Jesus; now they were being offered a post-Resurrection Messiah. On the other hand Peter's words underscore Israel's rejection. They had refused to believe (cf. Lk 16:31). In a real sense this message confirmed Israel's unbelief.
Some Bible scholars oppose the view that the kingdom was offered by Peter. They do so on the basis of several objections: (1) Since God knew Israel would reject the offer, it was not a legitimate offer. But it was as genuine as the presentation of the gospel to any nonelect person. (2) This puts kingdom truth in the Church Age. However, church truth is found before the church began at Pentecost (cf Mt 16:18; 18:17; Jn 10:16; 14:20). (3) This view leads to ultradispensationalism. But this is not a necessary consequence if this offer is seen as a transition within the Church Age. Acts must be seen as a hinge book, a transition work bridging the work of Christ on earth with His work through the church on earth.
In conclusion, Acts 3:17-21 shows that Israel's repentancw was to have had two purposes: (1) for individual Israelites there was forgiveness of sins, and (2) for Israel as a nation her Messiah would return to reign.
3:22-23 Here Jesus is ortrayed as the 'New Testament Moses' in fulfillment of Dt 18:15-19 (cf. John 6:14). Christ will come not only with deliverance as Moses did, but He will also judge as Moses did (cf. Lev 23:29 with Dt 18:19; also cf Num 14:26-35).
3:24-25 Peter's mention of Samuel as the next prophet after Moses (cf 13:20) clearly implies that Joshua did not fulfill Dt 18:15.
All the prophets (cf Acts 3:18, 21) in one way or another wrote about these days, that is, the Messianic Age. The Jews were heirs of the prophets of the Abrahamic Covenant given to Abraham (Gen 12:2-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-8; 22:18) and confirmed to the Jews' fathers (e.g., Isaac [Gen26:41]). The Jews then could be blessed if they, like Abraham, believed (cf. Ro 3:28-29; 4:3; Gal 3:6-7). In fact all peoples would be blessed through Abraham (cf. Gen 12:3; Ro 4:12, 16; Gal 3:29; Eph 3:6).
3:26 Jesus, God's Servant (cf. v. 13; 4:27, 30), was sent ... first to you, that is, to the Jews. This chronological pattern was followed throughout the Gospels and Acts (cf., e.g., Mt 10:5; Acts 13:46; Ro 1:16). The reason for this is that the establishing of the kingdom depended and still depends on Israel's response (cf. Mt 23:39; Ro 11:26).
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Peter's sermon in Solomon's Colonnade is in many ways similar to his sermon at Pentecost (2:14-41). Structurally, both move from proclamation to a call for repentance. The Pentecost sermon, however, is finished and polished, whereas this one is comparatively roughthewn. Thematically, both focus on the denial and vindication of Jesus of Nazareth. But the Colonnade sermon expresses more of a remnant theology than the one at Pentecost. It shows a more generous attitude toward Israel, coupled with a greater stress on the nation's responsibility for the Messiah's death than does the Pentecost sermon; and it makes explicit the necessity of receiving God's grace by faith. Christologically, Peter's sermon here (like his defense in 4:8-12) incorporates a number of archaic and primitive titles used of Jesus within early Jewish Christianity.
It seems strange, at first glance, that in his narrative Luke would place two such similar sermons of Peter so close together. But his putting the Pentecost sermon in the introductory section of Acts was evidently meant to be a kind of paradigm of early apostolic preaching - a paradigm Luke seems to have polished for greater literary effectiveness. As for the Colonnade sermon, Luke seems to have included it as an example of how the early congregation in Jerusalem proclaimed the message of Jesus to the people of Israel as a whole. Moreover, the material containing both the story of the miracle and Peter's sermon probably came to Luke as something of a self-contained unit, which he evidently was willing, for the most part. to leave in the form he found it.
11 We are not given many of the 'stage directions' for Peter's Colonnade sermon. What we are told, however, is significant: (1) the healed cripple 'held on to' (kratountos) Peter and John so as not to let them get away (krateO is also used to desccribe a police arrest, ... (2) 'the people' came running to them in Solomon's Colonnade; and (3) they were 'astonished' at what had happened. Solomon's Colonnade was a covered portico that ran the entire length of the eastern portion of the outer court of the temple precincts, along and just inside the eastern wall of the temple (cf. 5:12; Jn 10:23).
12-16 The proclamation section of the sermon is an exposition on 'the name of Jesus' (twice repeated in v. 16). Structurally and syntactically, v. 16 is the most difficult verse in the chapter, probably because Luke chose to do less editorial polishing here since he saw that it contained the statement of Peter's theme
The sermon begins by denying that it was through the apostles' 'own power or godliness' tht the cripple was healed. Rather, 'the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob' brought about the healing that glorified Jesus. Just as Peter earlier spoke of God such wonders as occurred in the apostles' ministries. And just as Jesus' miracles were done by God to accredit Him before the people (cf. Again 2:22), so here he attributes solely to God such wonders as occurred in the apostles him before the people (cf. again 2:22), so miracles continued to be done through the apostles in order for God to glorify Jesus.
The sermon focuses on God's Servant, Jesus, Whom Israel disowned and killed but God raised from the dead. It is through His name and the faith that comes through Him that the healing of the crippled beggar occurred. In spekaing of Jesus, Peter uses a number of primitive and archaic christological titles. Their concentration in these few verses has rightly been considered highly significant by many.
The sermon begins and ends by ascribing to Jesus the title 'God's Servant' (ho pais autou, vv. 13, 26), which echoes the Servant theme of Isaiah 42-53 - cf '[he] has glorfied His Servant Jesus' (v. 13) with 'my servant... will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted' (Isa 52:13) - and the theme of Moses as prophet (Dt 18:15, 18). It includes the titles 'the Holy One' (ho hagios, v. 14) and 'the Righteous One' (ho dikaios, v. 14), the ascription 'the author of life' (ho archEgos tEs zOEs, v. 15), and a reference to Jesus as 'a prophet like me [Moses]' (ho prophEtEs hOs eme, vv. 22-23). And it stresses 'the name of Jesus' as the powerful agent in the miracle - a significant fact since 'the Name' (to onoma) was a pious Jewish surrogate for God and connoted His divine presence and power.
17-18 What strikes the reader immediately in the call-to-repentance section of Peter's sermon is its attitude toward Israel, which in its hopeful outlook is unmatched in the rest of the NT (except for certain features in Paul's discussion of Ro 9-11). In v. 12 Peter addresses his audience as 'Men of Israel' and in v. 13 spoke of God as 'the God of our [hEmOn] fathers.' And though he had emphasized Israel's part in crucifying Jesus (vv 13-15), he now magnanimously says that they had acted 'in ignorance' and, somewhat surprisingly, includes their leaders in this. Then he migigates their guilt still further by saying that God Himself had willed it in order to fulfill the words of the prophets.
19-21 Even more positively, Peter goes on to say that if his hearers repent, their repentance will have a part in ushering in the great events of the end time (cf. the idea of purpose expressed in the conjunction hopOs, 'that,' which starts v. 20). Evidently Luke wants us to understand Peter's call to repentance here as being set within the context of a remnant theology and as being quite unlike Stephen's attitude (cf. ch. 7). Not only so , but he also wants us to view the earliest proclamation of the gospel in the Jewish world as a kind of intramural effort, with a self-conscious, righteous remnant issuing prophetic denunciations of Israel's part in the crucifixion of their Messiah and appealing to the people to turn to God in repentance for the remission of their sins.
The call to repentance itself is tersely stated. Then it is elaborated in words unique in the NT and reflective of Jewish remnant theology. 'Repent, then, and turn to God,' says Peters, 'so that your sins may be wiped out' - and, further, so that there may be brought about the promised 'times of refreshing' and that with the coming of God's appointed Messiah (ton prokecheirismenon Christon, lit., 'the foreordained Christ'), he may 'restore everything.' The expression 'times of refreshing' (kairoi anapsyxeOs, v. 20) and 'to restore everythign' (chrinoi apokataskaseOs pantOn, v. 21) are without parallel in the NT, though the verb apokathistEmiI ('restore'), the verbal form of apokatastasis ('restoration'), is often used in the LXX of the eschatological restoration of Israel (cf. Jer 15:19; 16:15; 24:6; 50:19 [27:19 LXX]; Ezek 16:55; Hos 11:11).
Verses 20b and 21 present problems of interpretation because of their chronological ambiguity - viz., 'that times of refreshing may come from the LORD and that he may send the Christ, Who has been appointed for you - even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through His holy prophets.' Robinson has suggested that here we probably have 'the most primitive Christology of all'... He says this because he takes the expression 'the foreordained Christ' as an affirmation that messiahship was for Jesus a matter for the future. As Robinson views it... Jesus was considered by the earliest believers to be 'Messiah-designate' awaiting the future coming of the Son of Man (another than Jesus), who would then appoint Jesus to be Messiah in fact. Therefore, Robinson believes that in 3:19-21 we have an outcropping of that earliest stratum of christological speculation, which must have quickly faded away and which was later replaced by the Christology of Acts 2 and the remainder of Acts 3 and by the attribution of present messiahship to Jesus found throughout the rest of the NT. In fact, Robinson insists, Jesus was first considered only as Messiah-designate in the earliest congregation at Jerusalem, though later he was elevated in the thought of Christians to the actual rank of Messiah. Robinson's view, however, entails two exegetical difficulties. First, he imposes on vv. 20b-21 a rigid chronological structure unwarranted by the text itself. That Jesus is identified as 'the foreordained Christ [Messiah]' - 'the Christ Who has been appointed for you' (NIV) - is clear. But the question as to when that messianic ordination was revealed or is to be revealed is not anywhere as clear as Robinson assumes. One could just as well read v. 20 as 'that he may send the foreordained Christ again' (understanding the Gr. palin, 'again,' to be in mind) as 'that he may send the foreordained and future Christ' ...
Second, Robinson's interpretation makes Luke appear incredibly naive in placing two such distinct and differing Christologies ... side by side; for in v. 18, which immediately precedes this passage, the Messiah of God (ton Christon autou, 'his Christ') is identified as being the one Who suffered. Yet Robinson would have us believe that in vv. 19-21 Luke also inserts an affirmation that messiahship is only to be looked for in the future. To argue that Luke included vv. 19-21 only to refute it by the preface of v. 18 ... is absurd. Luke could better have refuted the supposedly earlier Christology of vv. 19-21, should that have been his desire, simply by omitting it. And to say that Luke did not recognize the discrepancey, as Robinson things more likely, is to make him astonishingly obtuse. What has happened is that Robinson, having detached vv. 19-21 from the context and played on the looseness of expression that results when they are read out of context, takes the liberty of imposing temporal structures on the passage at the point where it is ambiguous when detached from its context. But Luke intended for it to be read in context. And when read in context, the passage sets up no contradi ctory messianology - though, admittedly, it may not be as chronologically precise as one might wish.
22-26 No group within Israel that considered itself to be God's righteous remnant in the inauguration of the final eschatological days could expect to win a hearing among Jews without attempting to define its position vis-a-vis Israel's great leaders of the past - particularly Abraham, Moses, and David. And that is exactly what Luke shows Peter doing as he concludes his call for repentance.
In vv. 22-23 Peter does this with respect to Moses by quoting Dt 18:15, 18-19 ('The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me... '). This was a widely accepted messianic proof text of the time, one that emphasized the command to 'listen to him' by the addition of the phrase 'in everything he tells you.' Peter's arguement here, though not stated, is implicitly two fold: (1) true belief in Moses will lead to a belief in Jesus, and (2) belief in Jesus places one in true continuity with Moses.
In v. 24 Peter does this with respect to David by alluding to Samuel and all the prophets who followed him and by insisting that they doo 'foretold these days.' Now it is certainly difficult to find any prophecy of Samuel that could be applied to Jesus as explicitly as the words of Moses just quoted. But Samuel was the prophet who anointed David to be king and spoke of the establishment of his kingdom (cf. 1 Sam 16:13; see also 13:14; 15:28; 28:17). Furthermore, Nathan's prophecy regarding the establishment of David's seed ('offspring,' NIV) as recorded in 2 Sam 7:12-16 was accepted in certain quarters within Late Judaism as having messianic relevance (cf. 4QFlor) and taken by Christians as having been most completely fulfilled in Jesus (cf. 13:22-23, 34; Heb 1:5).
In v. 25 Peter goes on to identify commitment to Jesus as Messiah with the promise God made to Abraham, quoting Genesis 22:18 and 26:4 in reference to the descendants of Abraham. And on the basis of the Hebrew exegetical principle gezErah sA wah (i.e., verbal analogy: where the same words are applied to two separate cases it follows that the same considerations apply to both), Peter proclaims that the promise to Abraham also has its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.
Peter's call to repentance in this sermon is an expression of the remnant theology of the earliest Christian believers at Jerusalem. He addresses his hearers as 'heirs of the prophets and of the covenant.' He uses both a pesher approach (a 'this is that' application) and midrashic exegesis (e.g., gezErah sAwah) in his treatment of Scripture. And he concludes with an offer of blessing extended first to individuals of the nation Israel: 'When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways' (v. 26). In the Greek, hymin prOton ('first to you') comes first in the sentence and so occupies the emphatic position. Many have thoght that this stress upon Israel 'first' is merely a Pauline import by the hand of Luke (cf. 13:46; Ro 1:16; 2:9-10). But to assume this entails failure to see the remnant context of the sermon and the remnant perspective expressed throughout it. Luke, however, wants his readers to appreciate something of how the earliest Christian preaching began with a Jewish milieu. From this he will go on to tell how this preaching developed through the various representative sermons that he later includes.
ck footnots pp. 299-300
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3:13?16 glorified His Servant Jesus: Peter?s reference to ?His Servant? comes from Is. 52:13, a messianic psalm. Jesus can be considered the Servant of God because He gave His life as a guilt offering for the sins of all humanity. The Father raised Jesus from the dead as confirmation that His sacrifice was accepted. Peter pointed to the healing of the beggar as a sign of the glorification of Christ. The people had handed Jesus over to Pilate to be crucified. Yet God had raised the crucified Jesus from the dead. It was in the name of this very same Jesus that the crippled man was healed.
persevere (Gk. proskartereO, proskarterEsis) (2:42, 46; Rom. 12:12; 13:6) Strong?s #4342; 4343: The NT makes it clear that faith alone can save. But it makes it equally clear that perseverance in doing good works is the greatest indication that an individual's faith is genuine (James 2:14-26). Indeed, perseverance springs from a faithful trust that God has been steadfast toward His people. Through persevering in God's work, Christians prove their deep appreciation for God's saving grace (1 Cor. 15:57, 58). As a result of perseverance, the Christian can expect not only to enhance the strength of the church, but also to build up strength of character (Rom. 5:3, 4). In short, Christians can expect to become closer to God. They learn that they can persevere primarily because God is intimately related to them (Rom. 8:25-27) and especially because they have the assurance of a final reward in heaven (1 John 5:13).
3:17, 18 you did ... God foretold: Throughout Peter's sermon in ch. 2, he balances the human responsibility of the Jews and Romans with the eternal plan of God.
3:19 The word translated refreshing refers to restoration of strength and nourishment. Strength is restored when hope is restored. Peter challenged the people to repent and be converted, to change their thinking about Jesus as their Messiah and to serve Him.
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12-16. why marvel at this?--For miracles are marvels only in relation to the limited powers of man.
as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk--Neither the might nor the merit of the cure are due to us, mere agents of Him whom we preach.
13. The God of Abraham, &c.--(See on JF & B for Ac 2:22; JF & B for Ac 2:36)
hath glorified his Son Jesus--rather, "his Servant Jesus," as the same word is rendered in Mat 12:18 , but in that high sense in which Isaiah applies it always to Messiah ( Isa 42:1 49:6 52:13 53:11 ). When "Son" is intended a different word is used..
whom ye delivered up, &c.--With what heroic courage does Peter here charge his auditors with the heaviest of all conceivable crimes, and with what terrific strength of language are these charges clothed!
15. killed the Prince of life--Glorious paradox, but how piercing to the conscience of the auditors.
16. his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, &c.--With what skill does the apostle use the miracle both to glorify his ascended Lord and bring the guilt of His blood more resistlessly home to his audience!
17-21. And now, brethren--Our preacher, like his Master, "will not break the bruised reed." His heaviest charges are prompted by love, which now hastens to assuage the wounds it was necessary to inflict.
through ignorance ye did it--(See marginal references, Luk 23:34 Act 13:27 26:9 ).
18. that Christ--The best manuscripts read, "that His Christ."
should suffer--The doctrine of a SUFFERING MESSIAH was totally at variance with the current views of the Jewish Church, and hard to digest even by the Twelve, up to the day of their Lord's resurrection. Our preacher himself revolted at it, and protested against it, when first nakedly announced, for which he received a terrible rebuke. Here he affirms it to be the fundamental truth of ancient prophecy realized unwittingly by the Jews themselves, yet by a glorious divine ordination. How great a change had the Pentecostal illumination wrought upon his views!
19. when the times of refreshing shall come--rather, "in order that the times of refreshing may come"; that long period of repose, prosperity and joy, which all the prophets hold forth to the distracted Church and this miserable world, as eventually to come, and which is here, as in all the prophets, made to turn upon the national conversion of Israel.
20. he shall send Jesus Christ--The true reading is, "He shall send your predestinated (or foreordained) Messiah, Jesus."
21. until the times--embracing the whole period between the ascension and the second advent of Christ.
restitution of all things--comprehending, probably, the rectification of all the disorders of the fall.
22-26. a prophet . . . like unto me--particularly in intimacy of communication with God ( Num 12:6-8 ), and as the mediatorial Head of a new order of things ( Hbr 3:2-6 ). Peter takes it for granted that, in the light of all he had just said, it would be seen at once that One only had any claim to be that Prophet.
him shall ye hear in all things, &c.--This part of the prediction is emphatically added, in order to shut up the audience to the obedience of faith, on pain of being finally "cut off" from the congregation of the righteous ( Psa 1:1 ).
24. foretold of these days--of Messiah; all pointing to "the time of reformation" ( Hbr 9:10 ), though with more or less distinctness.
25. Ye are the children . . . of the covenant--and so the natural heirs of its promises.
in thy seed, &c.--(See on JF & B for Ga 3:8, &c.).
26. God, having raised up--not from the dead, but having provided, prepared, and given.
his Son Jesus--"His Servant Jesus" (see on JF & B for Ac 3:13).
sent him to bless you--literally, "sent Him blessing you," as if laden with blessing.
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities--that is, "Hitherto we have all been looking too much for a Messiah who should shed outward blessings upon the nation generally, and through it upon the world. But we have learned other things, and now announce to you that the great blessing with which Messiah has come laden is the turning away of every one of you from his iniquities." With what divine skill does the apostle, founding on resistless facts, here drive home to the conscience of his auditors their guilt in crucifying the Lord of Glory; then soothe their awakened minds by assurances of forgiveness on turning to the Lord, and a glorious future as soon as this shall come to pass, to terminate with the Personal Return of Christ from the heavens whither He has ascended; ending all with warnings, from their own Scriptures, to submit to Him if they would not perish, and calls to receive from Him the blessings of salvation.
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2) [Compare Acts 2:39]:
(Acts 2:39 NKJV ) "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off [i.e., Gentiles], as many as the Lord our God will call."
Notice that the message in Acts 2:38 is not limited to Jews, but included Gentiles, i.e., all mankind. Although John the Baptist limited his ministry - which was short lived - to Israel, he did not indicate that he excluded Gentiles. Although our LORD began sending His disciples to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel," He expanded His ministry, instructing His disciples to carry His message to Gentiles, (Mt 10:5-18; Lk 7:1-10).
3) [Compare Acts 2:44]:
(Acts 2:44 NJKV) "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common."
Notice that this statement which follows shortly after 2:38 omits reference to water baptism when defining those individuals who received forgiveness of sins, corroborating that forgiveness of sins unto eternal life is by repentance unto faith alone in Christ alone.
4) [Compare Acts 3:19]:
(Acts 3:19 NKJV) "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that the times of refressing may come from the presence of the LORD."
Notice that repentance alone is stipulated in order to result in the forgiveness of sins, indicating that water baptism is not essential relative to that result.
5) [Compare Acts 5:30-31]:
(Acts 5:30 NKJV) [Peter said, v. 29)] "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus Whom you [Jewish rulers, (vv. 22-28)] murdered by hanging on a tree.
(Acts 5:31 NKJV) Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
(Acts 5:32 NKJV) And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him."
Notice that Peter declared that repentance was given to Israel in the sense of all Israelites being given the opportunity to repent / believe unto forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in the eternal Kingdom of God. Furthermore, Peter adds that the Holy Spirit was also given to them who obeyed God in the sense of repenting unto faith in His Son unto eternal life. Any reference to water baptism is not in view relative to the result of forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
6) [Compare Acts 10:43-47]:
(Acts 10:43 NKJV) "[Peter, continuing to preach the gospel primarily to a group of Gentiles] 'To Him all the prophets witness that, through His [Jesus', (v. 10:36-42) name, whoever believes in Him [i.e., Jews and Gentiles - all mankind] will receive remission of sins.'
(Acts 10:44 NKJV) While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
(Acts 10:45 NKJV) And those of the circumcision [Jews] who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
[Notice that this occurred when they believed - both Jews and Gentiles - before they were water baptized]
(Acts 10:46 NKJV) For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
(Acts 10:47 NKJV) 'Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' "
Acts 3:19 and 10:43-47 indicate that a moment of faith alone in Christ alone resulted in remission of sins and the reception of the Holy Spirit - Jews, Samaritans and all Gentiles.
Notice that Jews and Gentiles in this timeframe, i.e., after the LORD's Ascension, received the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as forgiveness of sins unto eternal life when they believed, i.e., when they repented in the sense of changing their minds from not believing to believing in Christ providing forgiveness of sins through His atoning sacrifice. Hence the result of forgiveness of sins unto eternal life came when they believed, and not when they were water baptized.
6) [Compare Acts 13:36-39]:
(Acts 13:36 NKJV) "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
(Acts 13:37 NKJV) but He Whom God raised up saw no corruption.
(Acts 13:38 NKJV) "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man [Jesus Christ, (v. 23)] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
(Acts 13:39 NKJV) and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses."
Notice that being justified, i.e., being declared righteous unto forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in the Kingdom of God is the result of a moment of faith alone in Christ alone.
7) [Compare Acts 26:17-18]:
(Acts 26:17 NKJV) " 'I will deliver you [Paul, (v. 14)] from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you,
(Acts 26:18 NKJV) to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me [Jesus Christ, (v. 15)].' "
Notice that forgiveness of sins is via a moment of faith alone in Christ alone.
RELATIVE TO WHETHER OR NOT THE GENERATION OF JEWS WHO WERE GUILTY OF CRUCIFYING CHRIST NEEDED TO REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED BECAUSE OF THEIR GUILT IN CRUCIFYING CHRIST
Relative to whether or not Jews were required to repent and be water baptized to atone for their guilt in crucifying Christ, as some contend: many Jews were neither present in the Jerusalem area at the time leading up to and including Christ's crucifixion - having been dispersed to foreign countries. Nor can it be definitively determined that all Jews in that timeframe determined in their own minds that Jesus should have been crucified as some contend; or even knew of that happening.
RELATIVE TO WHETHER OR NOT ACTS 2:38 CONVEYS A UNIQUE WATER BAPTISM
So the water baptisms of John, Jesus and Peter are the same baptism: a ritual symbol of ones reception by faith alone of remission of sins unto eternal life in the Kingdom of God as a result of a moment of faith alone in Christ's atoning sacrifice for their sins. Water baptism is never portrayed in Scripture as providing a result, such as eternal life, or receiving the Holy Spirit. It is always portrayed as a ritual which symbolized that which had already come to pass: forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, Peter's command in Acts 2:38 cannot be limited to the generation of Jews whose timeframe included the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; for Gentiles were included by virtue of the next verse.
The grammatical construction of verse 38: plural command (singular parenthetical command) and plural results of Acts 2:38 certainly lends support to the end that it is solely by faith alone in Christ alone which leads to the reception of forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in all ages; as well as the reception of the Holy Spirit in the period when our LORD, after His Ascension, made that reception available, (ref. Acts 1:1-5; cf Lk 3:16).
Note that the only exception relative to the reception of the Holy Spirit at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone was dealt with in Acts 19:1-7 with individuals who had already become believers through the ministry of John the Baptist before Christ ascended. This was when the gift of the Holy Spirit was not yet available. Hence they received the Holy Spirit via Paul choosing to lay hands upon them.
IT IS NOT CONCLUSIVE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THESE EARLY DAYS AFTER CHRIST ASCENDED WERE THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH
Finally, the reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the moment of faith alone in Christ alone in this transitional period cannot be dogmatically maintained as the beginning of the church age, as some maintain. For Peter continued to proclaim the message of Jesus and John the Baptist before Him of "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand" largely to Jews with a view to the imminent commencement of the eternal Kingdom of God should all Israel repent and believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, (cf Acts 3:13-21).
For the Holy Spirit had been given to individuals in a number of ways throughout history. And in this transition period, the Holy Spirit was evidently used to provide direction to believers in proclaiming the gospel to others. The Book of Acts portrays the Jewish individuals who became believers carrying on their Jewish traditions with the addition of their faith in Christ, their Messiah, even in the Temple, even continuing to follow the Mosaic Law. There was no clear evidence that they considered themselves set apart from other Jews who did not believe in Christ as their Messiah. Peter himself was not given instruction in the doctrines of the church age until Paul was first instructed. He was evidently following the ministry of John the Baptist and our LORD. On the other hand, those who were given the gift of the Holy Spirit in the timeframe of our LORD's Humanity would have to be eventually identified as part of the body of Christ, His church at some time. The precise moment when that occurred is neither specified in Scripture, nor of such importance that it needs to be determined in order to discern what else Scripture is teaching.
This is not to say that this sets any kind of precedent; for the Book of Acts is a transitional account of the timeframe from the days of the end of the period of Jews under the Law of Moses when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead through the days leading up to and into the early period of the church - of the body of Christ. Hence certain events were unique - for that time only.
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2:1. On the 50th day after the waving of the sheaf of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:15), the Jews waved two loaves for firstfruits (Leviticus 23:17). Thus this feast of harvest was called Weeks (because of the "week" of weeks between) or Pentecost ("fiftieth"). Pentecost was now being completed or fulfilled, a word indicating that the period of waiting was coming to an end, and Old Testament prophecies were about to be fulfilled. The Sadducees who controlled the temple took the "sabbath" of Leviticus 23:15 to be the weekly Sabbath after Passover. This made Pentecost occur on a Sunday.
The 120 were still in one accord in one place. The Bible does not name the place, but most believe it was the Upper Room. Others, in view of Peter's statement that it was the third hour of the day (9 a.m.), believe they were in the temple, probably in the Court of the Women. Believers were habitually in the temple at the hours of prayer. One of the roofed colonnades on the edge of the court would have provided a good place for them to gather. (The temple is called a "house" in 7:47.) This would help explain the crowd that gathered after the Spirit was outpoured. (Others believe the Upper Room was open to the street, or that the 120 left the Upper Room.)
2:2, 3. Suddenly a sound came from heaven like that of a violent rushing wind or tornado. But it was the sound that filled the house and overwhelmed them, not an actual wind.
The sound of wind would remind them of Old Testament divine manifestations (Exodus 14:21; Job 38:1; 40:6). Thus, the sound of the wind indicated God was about to manifest himself by His Spirit in a special way.
Just as suddenly, cloven tongues looking like flames of fire appeared. "Cloven" means "distributed." What looked like a mass of flames appeared and then broke up, and a single tongue of flame settled on the head of each person. Fire and light are common symbols of the divine presence (as in Exodus 3:2; 19:18).
The fire here signified God's acceptance of the Church body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21, 22). It also indicated the acceptance of individual believers as being temples of the Spirit.
Notice also that these signs preceded the filling with the Holy Spirit. They were not part of it, nor were they repeated on other occasions when the Spirit was outpoured.
2:4. Now that God had acknowledged the Church as the new temple, the next thing was to pour out the Holy Spirit on the members of the Body.
In 1:5 Jesus said, "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." Here, Luke wrote that the 120 were "filled with the Holy Ghost," in fulfillment of Jesus' promise. In 11:16 Peter connected the outpouring of the Spirit in Caesarea to Jesus' promise that He would baptize in the Spirit. Actually, the Bible uses a variety of terms. It was also a pouring out of the Spirit as Joel prophesied, a receiving and an active taking of the Spirit as a gift (2:38), a falling upon (8:16; 10:44; 11:15), a pouring out of the gift (10:45), and a coming upon (19:6).
As soon as they were filled, the 120 began to speak with other tongues (languages). This speaking came as the Spirit proceeded to give them utterance (to speak out). They spoke, but the words did not come from their mind or thinking. Through the Spirit they spoke out boldly. This is the one sign of the baptism in the Spirit that was repeated (10:44-47; 19:1-7).
2:5. "Dwelling" usually implies permanent residence. Many Jews from the dispersion had settled in Jerusalem. But on the Feast of Pentecost many Jews from all over the known world would be there. Actually, more would be present than at Passover, since travel on the Mediterranean was safer at this season.
2:6. As the sound of the 120 speaking in tongues became heard, a crowd came from all directions. All were confounded for each kept hearing them speak in his own language. "Own" is emphatic, meaning his own language he used as a child. Tongue means a distinct language. They were not speaking merely in a variety of Galilean or Aramaic dialects but in a variety of different languages.
2:7. The result was total amazement. The listeners were astonished. They were filled with awestruck wonder, for they recognized, perhaps by their clothing, that the 120 were Galileans. They could not understand how this was happening.
2:8. Some suppose the 120 were all really speaking the same language and by a miracle of hearing the multitude were made to hear it in their mother tongue. But verses 6 and 7 are too specific for that. Each man heard them speak in his own dialect without any Galilean accent. There would have been no surprise if the 120 had spoken in Aramaic or Greek.
Others suppose the 120 really spoke in tongues but no one understood them. They propose that the Spirit interpreted unknown tongues in the ears of the hearers into their own language. But verses 6 and 7 rule that out too. The 120 spoke in real languages which were actually understood by a variety of people from a variety of places. This gave witness to the universality of the Gift and to the universality and unity of the Church.
2:9. The places named were in all directions, but they also follow a general order (with exceptions), beginning in the northeast. Parthia was east of the Roman Empire, between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, in the southern part of Persia. Mesopotamia was the ancient Babylonia, mostly outside the Roman Empire. Babylon had a large Jewish population in New Testament times and later became a center for orthodox Judaism (1 Peter 5:13). There is evidence that the listeners included members of all 12 tribes. (Some of the northern 10 tribes settled in Media and later joined the synagogues. Compare James 1:1; see also Acts 26:7.)
Judea is mentioned because Jews there still spoke Hebrew and would have been amazed at the lack of a Galilean accent. It is also possible that Luke included all of Syria with Judea, in fact, all the territory of David and Solomon from the Euphrates river to the River of Egypt (Genesis 15:18). Cappadocia was a large Roman province in northern Asia Minor on the Black Sea. Asia was the Roman province comprising the western third of Asia Minor.
2:10. Phrygia was an ethnic district, part of which was in the province of Asia and part in Galatia. Pamphylia was a Roman province on the south coast of Asia Minor. Egypt to the south had a large Jewish population. The Jewish philosopher Philo said in a.d. 38 that about a million Jews lived there, many in Alexandria. Cyrene was a district west of Egypt on the Mediterranean coast. Others present in Jerusalem were strangers (sojourners, temporary residents) in Jerusalem, citizens of Rome, including Jews and proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism). Full proselytes took circumcision, a self-baptism, and offered a sacrifice to declare their purpose to keep the Jewish law and live as Jews.
2:11. Still others were from the island of Crete and from Arabia, the district east and southeast of Palestine. All these kept hearing in their own languages the wonderful works (the mighty, magnificent, sublime deeds) of God. This may have been in the form of ejaculations of praise to God. No discourse or preaching is implied. There is no record here or elsewhere, however, of the gift of tongues being used as a means of preaching the gospel.
2:12. Instead, the hearers were amazed (astounded) and in doubt (perplexed). "What meaneth this?" is literally, "What will this be?" It expresses their total confusion as well as their extreme amazement. They understood the meaning of the words, but not the purpose.
2:13. Others apparently did not understand any of the languages, and because they could not understand the meaning they jumped to the conclusion that it had no meaning. Therefore, they proceeded to mock, saying the people were "full of new wine" (sweet wine). "New wine" here is the Greek gleukous from which we get our word glucose, a name for grape sugar. It is not the ordinary word for new wine and probably represents an intoxicating wine made from a very sweet grape which would have a higher alcoholic content. It would be some time before the grape harvest began in August and real new wine or grape juice would again be available.
Some drinkers do become noisy and this may be what the mockers were thinking of, but one must not suppose there was any sign of the kind of frenzy that marked heathen drunken debauchery. The chief emotion of the 120 was still joy. They had been thanking and praising God in their own language (Luke 24:53), and now the Holy Spirit had given them new languages to praise God. Their hearts were still going out to God in praise, even though they did not understand what they were saying.
2:14. When Peter and the 11 other apostles (including Matthias) stood, the whole crowd gave their attention to Peter (the 120 probably stopped speaking in other tongues). Still anointed by the Spirit, he raised his voice and proceeded to "utter forth" (apephthenxato) or speak out to them. The word used for this speaking is from the same verb used of the utterance in tongues in 2:4. It suggests that Peter spoke in his own language (Aramaic) as the Spirit gave utterance. In other words, what follows is not a sermon in the ordinary sense of the word. Certainly, Peter did not sit down and figure out three points. It seems likely this was a spontaneous manifestation of the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10; 14:3).
Peter's address was directed to the Jewish men and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This was a polite way to begin and followed their custom, but it does not rule out the women.
2:15. Apparently, as the 120 were speaking in tongues, the mocking increased until most were mocking. Even some of those who understood the languages may have joined them. Peter drew no attention to the fact that some did understand. He answered only those who mocked. The 120 were not drunk as the crowd supposed. Actually, even the sweet wine was not very strong. In those days they had no way of distilling alcohol or fortifying drinks. Their strongest drinks were wine and beer, and they made it a practice to dilute wine with several parts of water. It would have taken a great deal to make them drunk that early in the morning. Also, they would not be drinking in a public place at that hour. Thus, the mockers were shown to be absurd.
2:16. Peter declared that what they had seen and heard was a fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32. The context in Joel goes on to deal with the coming judgment at the end of the age. But Joel, like the other Old Testament prophets, did not see the timespan between the first and second comings of Christ. Even Peter himself did not understand how long it would be. He did see, however, that the Messianic Age was coming and that the present fulfillment of Joel's prophecy would continue until then.
2:17. Peter made one apparent change in the prophecy. Under the inspiration of the Spirit he specified what the word "afterward" in Joel's prophecy means: the outpouring is "in the last days." Thus he recognized that the last days began with the ascension of Jesus (3:19-21). This evidences that the Holy Spirit recognizes the entire Church Age as the "last days."
The first part of the quotation from Joel had an obvious application to the 120. The many languages highlight God's purpose to pour out His Spirit on all flesh. In the Hebrew "all flesh" usually means "all mankind," as in Genesis 6:12.
The emphasis (verses 17, 18) is on the pouring out of the Spirit so those filled would prophesy. In the Bible, to prophesy means to speak for God as His spokesman or "mouth." (Compare Exodus 4:15, 16; 7:2.) It does not necessarily mean to foretell the future.
"All flesh" is then broken down to sons and daughters. Concerning this outpouring of the Spirit there would be no distinction with regard to sex. This is another indication that all 120 were baptized in the Spirit, including the women.
Young men would see visions and old men dream dreams. No division with respect to age would exist. Nor does there seem to be any real distinction here between dreams and visions. The Bible often uses the words interchangeably. Here, at least, they are parallel. (See 10:17; 16:9, 10; and 18:9 for examples of visions.)
2:18. Even upon male and female slaves God would pour out His Spirit. Thus, the Spirit would pay no attention to social distinctions. Though there were probably no slaves among the 120, the Roman Empire had many areas where slaves comprised as high as 80 percent of the population. Fulfillment would come. The gospel has often reached the lower levels of society first.
2:19. Many interpret verses 18 and 19 symbolically. Others suppose they were somehow fulfilled during the 3 hours of darkness while Jesus hung on the cross. It seems rather that the mention of the signs indicates the outpouring and the prophesying would continue until these signs come at the end of the age. Peter also meant that these signs can just as confidently be expected.
The gift of the Spirit can also be seen as the firstfruits of the age to come (Romans 8:23). The unregenerate human heart and mind has no conception of what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God "hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10). The believers' future inheritance is no mystery, for they have already experienced it, at least in a measure. As Hebrews 6:4, 5 points out, all who have tasted (really experienced) the heavenly gift and are made partakers of the Holy Spirit have already experienced the good word (promise) of God and the mighty powers (miracles) of the age to come.
Some also see in the fire and smoke a reference to the signs of God's presence at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16-18; 20:18), and view Pentecost as the giving of a new law or the renewing of the new covenant. However, as Hebrews 9:15-18, 26, 28 indicates, the death of Christ inaugurated the new covenant, and there was no need for anything further.
2:20. The signs here also include blood and refer to the increasing bloodshed, wars, and smoke from wars that will cover the sun and make the moon appear red. These things will happen before "that great and notable (manifest) day of the Lord" comes. They are part of the present age.
The Day of the Lord in the Old Testament, in some contexts, spoke of God's judgment on Israel and Judah and of their being sent into exile to rid them of their idolatry. It also spoke of the judgment on nations God brought in due time, such as Assyria and Babylon. In other contexts the Day of the Lord spoke of end-time judgments on the nations of the world which the Book of Revelation places in the tribulation period. It also includes the restoration of Israel to the Promised Land and a spiritual restoration, as well as the establishment of the messianic kingdom.
2:21. This verse gives the purpose of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Through its empowering, the convicting work of the Spirit will be done in the world, not just in the end of the age but throughout the entire age right down to the great Day of the Lord. All during this period, whoever calls (for help for his need, that is, for salvation) on the name of the Lord will be saved. The Greek is strong, "all whoever." No matter what happens in the world or what forces oppose the Church, the door of salvation will remain open. Based upon this, believers can expect many to respond and be saved. There was a tremendous response in the First Century as the gospel was spread to all parts of the known world of that day. There have been periods of great revival from time to time since then. Now, as the end of the age approaches, even greater revival is evident in all parts of the world.
2:22. The main body of Peter's message centers around Jesus, not the Holy Spirit. The outpouring on the Day of Pentecost was intended to bear powerful witness to Jesus (Acts 1:8; John 15:26; 16:14).
Peter first drew attention to the fact that the inhabitants of Jerusalem knew the "man" of Nazareth, Jesus. (Nazareth in Hebrew is derived from the word branch, Hebrew netser, used in Isaiah 11:1 of the greater Son of David, the Messiah. Nazarene, Hebrew netseri, can mean either "the man of Nazareth" or "the man of the branch," and thus identifies Jesus as the Messiah. Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12 and other passages use related words to describe the Messiah as the righteous Branch, the new shoot that will arise from the stump of what was left of David's line and bring in the coming Kingdom.)
Peter's audience knew how God had approved Jesus for their benefit by miracles (mighty works, mighty manifestations of power), wonders, and signs. These are the three words used in the Bible for supernatural works. They refer to the variety of miracles Jesus did, and Peter had in mind especially the miracles Jesus did in the temple at the feast times when many in this crowd had undoubtedly been present (John 2:23; 4:45; 11:47).
2:23. Peter next declared that the Jews in Jerusalem, by wicked hands (the hands of lawless men, men outside the Jewish law, that is, the Roman soldiers), crucified and slew (nailed up and slew) this Jesus. The Jerusalem Jews were responsible. But Peter also made it clear that Jesus was delivered up (given over) to them by the determinate counsel (the designated will) and foreknowledge of God. (Compare Luke 24:26, 27, 46.) If they had understood the prophets they would have known Messiah had to suffer. Peter did not intend, however, to lessen their guilt by saying this. Note that the Bible never puts this kind of responsibility on the Jews in general.
2:24. Peter quickly added that this Jesus is the One whom God raised up. The Resurrection took away the stigma of the cross, which was the Roman method of hanging criminals whom they considered enemies of society. It is hard for us to realize today how much shame there was in being crucified. As Hebrews 12:2 brings out, Jesus, as the Author (leader) and Finisher (perfecter) of our faith, for "the joy that was set before him, endured the cross," caring nothing for the shame, and He is now seated "at the right hand of the throne of God."
By the Resurrection also, God released Jesus from the pains (pangs) of death because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. Pangs, "pains," here usually means "birth pangs," so that the "death" here is perceived as labor. Just as labor pains are relieved by the birth of a child, so the Resurrection brought an end to the pangs of death.
Why was it not possible for Jesus to be held by death? Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), some say the reason death could not hold Him was because He had no sin of His own for death to claim Him. Hebrews 9:14 points out that Jesus, through His own eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God. He was in all points tempted (and tested) just as believers are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). As the Lamb of God He was undefiled, without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19; 2:22-24). Because He was righteous He was able to bear away our sins without being defiled himself (Romans 5:18; Hebrews 7:26). In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says God made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin. But this does not mean He was made sinful or made a sinner. In fact, the Old Testament word for sin means both sin or a sin offering, depending on the context. The context in 2 Corinthians 5 is of reconciliation accomplished because He died for all and thus became a sin offering, literally, "instead of us." But He remained always the spotless Lamb of God.
2:25. Peter's reason for the fact that death could not hold Jesus, however, is that His resurrection was necessary in order to fulfill the prophetic Word of God. Under the inspiration of the Spirit Peter said David was speaking of Jesus in Psalm 16:8-11. Jewish tradition of the time also applied this to the Messiah. David foresaw the Lord before his face (present with him) and at his right hand to help, so that he would not be moved (so he would be established).
2:26. God's presence caused David's heart to rejoice and his tongue to express gladness. His flesh also made God-given hope his rest, his tabernacle, his place of encampment.
2:27. The central point of David's prophecy is the promise that God would not leave (abandon) His soul in hell (Greek, hades, the place of the afterlife, a translation of the Hebrew word she?ôl), and that He would not permit His Holy One to see corruption (putrefaction). Some contend that the Old Testament does not reflect a belief in a resurrection of the dead. This passage from Psalm 16 seems to indicate otherwise as do the following: Daniel 12:2"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt"; Job 19:25-27"I know that my Redeemer lives... Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God" (NASB); Psalm 17:15"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." (See also Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; Psalms 49:15; 73:24; and Isaiah 26:19 for passages that may point to an Old Testament teaching on resurrection.) Everywhere else in the New Testament Hades refers to the place of punishment during the intermediate state between death and the final (Great White Throne) judgment. It, along with death, will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). That is, it will be fused with the lake of fire so that the lake of fire will then be the only place of death and punishment. According to some scholars, the view that Hades was a place of punishment developed during the period between the Testaments. Until then the term Hades simply referred to the grave or to the underworld abode of the dead. This understanding, they say, is reflected in the Septuagint where hades is used to translate the Hebrew term she?ôl. If this is the case, Sheol is the place everyone went after they died. However, others hold that in the Old Testament she?ôl referred to the place where the wicked were punished after death. In this verse, the quotation taken from Psalm 16 does not seem to convey either theological conclusion; it simply says Death could not hold the Messiah.
2:28. "The ways of life" is best understood in terms of Proverbs 15:24 where the Hebrew reads: "The way of life is to the place above for the wise (the godly), that he may avoid Sheol beneath." For Christ they would speak of His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father. There, the Father's countenance would be turned toward Him and make Him full of joy. (Compare Hebrews 12:2.)
2:29. Peter declared it was proper for him to say boldly (freely and openly) of the patriarch (chief father, ancestral ruler) David that the psalm could not possibly apply to him. He not only died and was buried, his tomb was still there in Jerusalem. Obviously David's flesh did see corruption. But Jesus' did not. This clearly implies Jesus' tomb was empty. There have been several suggestions concerning the precise location of David's tomb. Some place it in the town of Bethlehem, the place of David's birth. Others believe it was somewhere in the vicinity of Gethsemane. More likely the tomb was actually near Siloam. This conclusion is based upon a statement made in Nehemiah 3:16 concerning the work which was done in repairing the walls of Jerusalem: "After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk... made repairs as far as a point opposite the tombs of David, and as far as the artificial pool and the house of the mighty men" (NASB). The artificial pool referred to in this verse is apparently the pool of Siloam which served as a major source of water for the city of Jerusalem. The Jewish historian Josephus reports that during the siege of Jerusalem (ca. 135 b.c.). John Hyrcanus, the high priest during the period of the Maccabees, robbed the tomb of David. About 100 years later King Herod made a similar attempt but was thwarted, supposedly through God's intervention (see Wars of the Jews 1.2.5; Antiquities 8.8.4; 16.7.1; cf. Bruce, New International Commentary, Acts, p. 66).
2:30. Because David was a prophet (a speaker for God), and because he knew God had sworn an oath that of the fruit of his loins One would sit on his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of Christ (the Messiah, God's Anointed One). The reference here is to the Davidic covenant. In it God promised David there would always be a man from his seed for the throne. This was first given with respect to Solomon (2 Samuel 7:11-16). But it recognized that if David's descendants sinned they would have to be punished. God, however, would never turn His back on David's line and substitute another as He had done in the case of King Saul (Psalms 89:3, 4; 132:11, 12). Because the kings of David's line did not follow the Lord, God finally had to bring an end to their kingdom and send the people to Babylon. His purpose was to rid Israel of idolatry. But the promise to David still stood. There would yet be One to sit on David's throne and make it eternal.
2:31. Peter did not give any details of Christ's descent into Hades. The notion that Jesus spent the 3 days following His crucifixion leading the righteous dead out of paradise and snatching the keys of Hades and Death from Satan is not supported by the Scriptures. Speculation about this goes beyond what the Scripture teaches. Instead, Peter declared that what David foresaw in the psalm was the resurrection of Christ (literally, the Christ, that is, the Messiah, God's Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King). In other words, Peter declared Jesus to be the messianic King. Because God raised Him up, He was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
2:32. Again Peter emphasized that God is the One who raised up Jesus from the dead. He and all of the 120 who were gathered in the Upper Room were witnesses to His resurrection. First Corinthians 15:6 states that having appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve, Jesus also was seen by more than 500 men and women. It is reasonable to surmise that some or all of those now gathered for prayer were among the 500 who had seen the resurrected Christ. This was important. The elders of the Sanhedrin knew the tomb of Jesus was empty, and the soldiers who were set to watch it told them of the angel who rolled back the stone. But they spread the story that the disciples came by night and stole the body while the guard slept. Peter made no reference to this story, but the crowd had undoubtedly heard it. Actually, it was ridiculous to believe that a Roman guard or even temple guards would sleep on duty and that the Roman seal could have been broken by disciples who had fled when Jesus was arrested. Now the people were faced, not by a few fearful disciples, but by 120 who were firsthand witnesses to the fact of Christ's resurrection, and who were filled with power through the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
2:33. Christ's resurrection, however, was only part of a process whereby God, by His right hand of power, raised Jesus to an exalted position of power and authority at His right hand. (Both by and at His right hand are indicated in the Greek.) This is also the place of triumph and victory. By paying the full price, Jesus won the battle against sin and death. He remains at God's right hand. (See Mark 16:9; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20, 21; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22.) In Christ, believers also are seated "in heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:6). Because this is their position in Christ, they do not need their own works of righteousness to claim His promise. There can be no higher position than they already have in Christ. Next Peter used Christ's exalted position to explain what had just occurred. Now at the Father's right hand, He had received from the Father the Promise of the Spirit and poured out the Spirit, as the crowd had seen and heard as the 120 spoke in other tongues. The outpouring of the Spirit was evidence that Jesus was actually exalted at the Father's right hand. Before His death Jesus told the Twelve that it was necessary for Him to go away in order for the Comforter to come (John 16:7). Though the baptism in the Spirit is the Promise of the Father, Jesus is the One who pours it forth. God is the Giver; Jesus, the Baptizer. There is clear distinction between the Persons of the Trinity here.
2:34, 35. That none of this could apply to David is further evidenced by another quotation from Scripture. David did not ascend into the heavens as Jesus did, but he prophesied that exaltation of Jesus in Psalm 110:1. Again, David could not be speaking of himself for he said, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Making enemies a footstool signified complete and final defeat, a total triumph over them. (See Joshua 10:24 where Joshua had his generals put their feet on the necks of the conquered kings.) Jesus also referred to Psalm 110:1 in Luke 20:41-44 where He recognized that David called his greater Son "Lord." (See also Matthew 22:42-45; Mark 12:36, 37.) The resurrection and ascension of Jesus are inseparably linked. Though they were separated by 40 days, they are both important elements of the redemption act. (Hebrews 9:12, 24 also emphasizes that Christ's entrance into heaven was necessary for the completion of the believer's redemption.) Jesus was not simply raised from the dead, He was raised to the right hand of the Father where He is now exalted. In John 17:5 Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify Him with His own self, with the glory which He had before the world was brought into being. This was accomplished when Jesus rose and ascended to the place of authority in heaven which is His by right of His eternal sonship.
2:36. The conclusion Peter drew is that all the house of Israel needed to know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom they (the Jerusalem residents) crucified, both Lord and Christ (Messiah, God's anointed Prophet, Priest, and King). In fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, Jesus is the Lord on whom all must call for salvation. Paul also recognized that God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every other name (Philippians 2:9). The Name in the Old Testament Hebrew always means the name of God. (The Hebrew has other ways of referring to the name of a human being without using the word the, so whenever the Hebrew uses the with the word name it refers to the name of God.) The Name stands for the authority, person, and especially the character of God in His righteousness, holiness, faithfulness, goodness, love, and power. Lord was used in the New Testament for the name of God. Mercy, grace, and love are part of the holiness, the holy Name by which Jesus is recognized as "Lord," the full revelation of God to man.
2:37. The response to this manifestation of the gift of prophecy was immediate. The listeners were pierced to the heart. No longer were they saying, "What does this mean?" Peter's words from the Holy Spirit stung their consciences. They cried out to him and to the other apostles (who were evidently still standing with him), "Brothers, what shall we do?" They did not feel completely cut off, however. Peter had called them brothers, and they responded by calling the apostles brothers. Their sin in rejecting and crucifying Christ was great, but their very cry shows they believed there was hope.
2:38. Peter answered by calling them to repent, that is, to change their minds and fundamental attitudes by accepting the change required. This would produce a renewing of their minds as well as a change in attitude toward sin and self. The repentant ones could show that change of mind and heart by being baptized in the name of Jesus. A survey of New Testament passages discussing water baptism for believers reveals it is described in various ways. In verse 38 the phrase "in the name of Jesus Christ" employs the preposition epi with the dative case. Matthew 28:19 reads "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" and uses the preposition eis ("in, into") along with the Trinitarian confession. Acts 8:16 and 19:5 use the phrase "in (eis) the name of the Lord Jesus" while 10:48 shows "in (en) the name of the Lord" (KJV) or "in the name of Jesus Christ" (NIV), depending on the Greek manuscripts being followed. (Modern versions translate the Greek differently either in an attempt to clarify what is meant or because the manuscripts which serve as a basis for the translation show numerous variants at these passages.) The various Greek prepositions which are used do not greatly change the meaning of the phrase "in the name of Jesus." It may be understood to mean upon the authority of Jesus. (For similar uses of this phrase in Luke's writings see Luke 9:49; 10:17; Acts 3:6, 16; 4:7; 9:27.) This baptism would also be for (eis) the forgiveness of sins. Eis here means "because of" or "with a view toward" just as it does in Matthew 3:11 where John baptized "because of" repentance. John baptized no one to produce repentance. Rather, he demanded works demonstrating true repentance.
2:39. Peter identified the gift with the Promise (1:4). This promise, or "gift of the Holy Ghost," was not limited to the 120. It would continue to be available, not only to the 3,000 who responded, but to their children (including all their descendants), and to all who were far away, even to as many as the Lord should call to himself. In verse 38 Peter said that in order to receive the Promise of the Father a person must "repent, and be baptized... in the name of Jesus Christ." The "calling" here may refer to Joel 2:32, but it cannot be limited to the Jews. In Isaiah 57:19 God speaks peace to the one far off. Ephesians 2:17 applies this to the Gentiles. Acts 1:8 speaks of the uttermost part of the earth. It is clear that the promise of the Spirit is for the Gentiles also.
2:40. Luke did not record the rest of Peter's witness and exhortation. But in this exhortation Peter was evidently exercising another of the gifts of the Spirit. (Romans 12:8 lists exhortation as a distinct gift of the Holy Spirit, though 1 Corinthians 14:3 includes it as part of the gift of prophecy. The Bible does not draw hard and fast lines between gifts.) Thus, Peter became the instrument or agent through whom the Holy Spirit carried out the work foretold by Jesus in John 16:8, for there was indeed conviction with respect to sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. The essence of Peter's exhortation was that they should save themselves (the Greek is better translated "be saved") from this "untoward" (perverse, crooked) generation. That is, they should turn away from the perversity and corruptness of those around them who were rejecting the truth about Jesus. (Compare Luke 9:41; 11:29; 17:25. In these passages Jesus is disturbed by the unbelief, perversity, and evil of that generation, and He knew He must endure many things from them and be rejected by them.)
2:41. Those who received (welcomed) Peter's message then testified to their faith by being baptized in water. The Bible shows baptism was an important element in the conversion experiences of the Early Church. Though Luke did not mention it, it seems certain all the 3,000 who were added to the Church received the Promise of the Father, as Peter had said they would.
2:42. By the Spirit they also were baptized into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). God never saves a person and then lets him wander off by himself. Thus, the 3,000 did not scatter but remained together, continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine (teaching) and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and prayers. A further evidence of their faith was this persistent desire for teaching. Their acceptance of Christ and the gift of the Spirit opened up to them a whole new understanding of God's plan and purpose. With joy, they became hungry to learn more. This shows also that the apostles were obeying Jesus and teaching (making disciples) as He had commanded them (Matthew 28:19). It also shows that discipleship includes this kind of eager desire to learn more of Jesus and God's Word. Fellowship was experienced in the teaching. It was more than just getting together. It was partnership in the ministry of the Church, sharing the message and the work. As in 1 John 1:3, the Word, as witnessed by the teaching of the apostles, brought this fellowship, one that was also with the Father and with the Son. Some take the breaking of bread to be the Lord's Supper, but it also included table fellowship. They could not observe the Lord's Supper in the temple, so this was done in homes, at first in connection with a meal (since Jesus instituted it at the close of the Passover meal). Their prayers also included daily gathering in the temple at the hours of prayer, which they still continued, plus prayer meetings in the homes.
2:43. The continuing witness of the apostles to the resurrection of Jesus brought a reverential fear on every soul (every person) who heard. Their "fear" included a sense of awe in the presence of the supernatural. The word "soul" is used here in the Old Testament sense where it often means "person" (Genesis 46:26). This reverential fear was further enhanced by the many wonders and signs done by the apostles, that is, done by God through the apostles. (The Greek dia here is used of secondary agency; hence, God really did the work.) The apostles were God's instruments, His agents. As Paul indicated in 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul planted, and Apollos watered, but all the while Paul was planting and Apollos was watering, God was giving the increase. Later God gave miracles through many others, including ordinary disciples who had no office. But here God was using the apostles to train all the believers so they could all do a work of ministry or service. (See Ephesians 4:8, 11-16 where those taken captive by Christ were given to the Church to train the saints to do the work of ministry.) The apostles were the primary witnesses to the teaching of Jesus, which they had received from Him personally. They had the background of His commission and His encouragement to their faith. These miracles were not for, display, but rather were to confirm the Word, the teaching, as Jesus promised (Mark 16:20). The miracles also helped to establish the faith of the new believers.
2:44, 45. The believers remained together and had things common; that is, they shared with one another what they had. From time to time many sold pieces of land they owned and personal property as well. The money was distributed (by the apostles) to those who had need. The words "as every man had need" is a key statement. They did not sell property until there was a need. This was not communism in the modern sense. Neither was it communal living. It was just Christian sharing. They all realized the importance of becoming established in the apostles' teaching (which today is the written New Testament). Some of those from outside Jerusalem soon ran out of money, so those who were able simply sold what they could to make it possible for these Christians to remain nearby. Later Peter made it clear that no one was under any compulsion to sell anything or give anything (5:4). But the fellowship, joy, love, and the example and teachings of Jesus made it easy for the believers to share what they had.
2:46. The picture then is of a loving body of believers meeting daily in the temple with one accord, one mind, one purpose, and sharing table fellowship in their homes. ("From house to house" means by households.) Each home became a center of Christian fellowship and worship. Mark's mother's home was one such center. Probably the home of Mary and Martha in Bethany was another. Jerusalem was not able to hold such a multitude, and many certainly stayed in surrounding villages. The table fellowship was very important. They took their food with rejoicing (delight and great joy) and with simplicity of heart. There was no jealousy, no criticism.
2:47. The joy in the hearts of believers kept them praising God. Their praise found expression also in psalms (the word includes musical accompaniment especially on stringed instruments), hymns, and spiritual songs coming from their hearts (Colossians 3:16). The result was that they found favor with the whole of the people of Jerusalem. At this point there was no opposition, no persecution. The common people who had not yet accept ed Christ saw the believers' worship, their good works, and their joy, and were attracted by what they saw. Thus the Lord kept adding (together, to the Church) day by day those who were being saved. Certainly, the Church accepted the new believers joyfully into their fellowship and brought them under the teaching of the apostles. The phrase "were being saved" does not suggest that salvation is a progressive experience. Rather, the Greek is a simple statement that every day some were being saved and the saved ones were added to the Church. Notice too that no high pressure methods were used to persuade others to come and join. The people saw the joy and the power, and they opened their hearts to the truth about Jesus.
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1 Luke describes the miracle of the coming of the Holy Spirit, with its accompanying signs, in four short verses, remarkable for their nuances. The miracle occurred on the festival known in Late Judaism as Pentecost (hE pentEkostE, 'fiftieth'), which, according to Lev 23:15-16..... was to be celebrated on the 'day after the seventh Sabbath' and hence on the fiftieth day after Passover. It was originally the festival of the firstfruits of the grain harvest... and it was called the Feast of Weeks because it came after a period of seven weeks of harvesting that began with the offering of the first barley sheaf during the Passover celebration and ended with the wheat harvest. By the time of the first Christian century, however, it was considered the anniversary of the giving of the law at Mount Sinai... and as a time for the annual renewal of the Mosaic covenant.... and it was therefore looked upon as one of the three great pilgrim festivals of Judaism (along with Passover preceding it and Tabernacles some four months later).
Now no one who had been a companion of the apostle Paul (or, for that matter, even a distant admirer, should Lukan authorship of Acts be denied) could have failed to have been impressed by the fact that it was on the Jewish festival of Pentecost that the the Spirit came so dramatically upon the early believers in Jerusalem. It is this significance that Luke emphasizes as he begins his Pentecost narrative; viz., that whereas Pentecost was for Judaism the day of the giving of the Law, for Christians it is the day of the coming of the Holy Spirit. So for Luke the coming of the Spirit upon the early Christians at Pentecost is not only a parallel to the Spirit's coming upon Jesus at His baptism, it is also both in continuity with and in contrast to the LAW. To be sure, Lue does not draw out from this a portrayal of Jesus as either the giver of a new Torah or Himself the embodiment of such a Torah (though if Matthew or John had written Acts, they might have done something like that). Rather, by paralleling Jesus' baptism with the experience of Jesus' early followers at Pentecost, Luke is showing that the mission of the Christian church, as was the ministry of Jesus, is dependent upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. 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.
As to just where the believers were when they experienced the coming of the Spirit, Luke is somewhat vague. His emphasis is on the "When" and not at all on the "where" of the event. So all he tells us is that "they were all together in one place," which he refers to in the following verse as "the house" (ton oikon).
Many have taken this to be a reference to the Jerusalem temple becase (1) oikos was at times used to refer to the temple .... (2) Luke's gospel closes with the statement that Jesus' disciples 'stayed continually at the temple, praising God' (Lk 24:53); and (3) in the temple precincts they would have had the best opportunity of addressing a large crowd. Yet apart from this doubtful instance in Acts 2 and his report of Stephen's speech (ch 7), Luke elsewhere always refers to the temple by to hieron .... and where oikos is occasionally used by others of the Jerusalem temple, it is always in a contex tthat leaves no doubt of what is meant. Furthermore, the articular intensive pronoun to auto ('in one place,' NIV) is best interpreted as referring to its antecedent in 1:12-26, 'the upper room' (to hyperOon). Therefore it is likely that Luke meant us to picture that same upper room as the setting for the mracle of the Spirit's coming and the place from where the disciples first went out to proclaim the gospel.
2 There is, of course, nothing necessarily sensory about the Holy Spirit. Yet God in His providence often accompanies His Spirit's working by visible and audible signs - particularly at certain crises in redemptive history. This He does assure His people of his presence, and usually within the appreciation - though not always the expectation - His own. In vv. 2-4 three signs of the Spirit's coming are reported to have appeared, each of them - wind, fire, inspired speech - being considered in Jewish tradition as a sign of God's presence.
Wind as a sign of God's Spirit is rooted linguistically in the fact that both the Hebrew word ruah and the Greek word pneuma mean either wind or spirit, depending on the context, and this allows a rather free association of the two ideas (cf. John 3:8). Ezekiel had prophesied of the wind as the breath of God blowing over the dry bones in the valley of his vision and filling them with new life (Ezek 37:9-14), and it was this wind of God's Spirit that Judaism looked forward to as ushering in the final Messianic Age. Thus Luke tells us that as a sign of the Spirit's coming upon the early followers of Jesus, there was 'a sound like the blowing of a violent wind.' Just why he emphasized the 'sound' (Echos) of the blowing of the 'wind' (pneoE) is difficult to say. Perhaps it was because he wanted to retain the parallel with the Pentecost tradition of the giving of the Law. In certain sectors of Judaism the events connected with the giving of the Law. In certain secotrs of Judaism the events connected with the giving of tghe Law were couched in terms of God's having caused a 'sound' to arise on Mount Sinai. This 'sound' then changed into a 'fire,' which all could perceive as a 'language' .... But whatever his exact reationale, Luke's main point is that this 'sound like the blowing of a violent wind' that 'came from heaven' and 'filled the whole house' symbolized to all present - in a manner well within their appreciation - the presence of God's Spirit among them in a way more intimate, personal, and powerful than they had ever before experienced.
3 Fire as a symbol of the divine presence was well known among first-century Jews (cf. the burning bush ... , the pillar of fire that guided Israel by night through the wilderness... , the consuming fire on Mt Sinai, and the fire hat hovered over the wilderness tabernacle.. Also ...... John the Baptist is reported as having explicitly linked the coming of the Spirit with fire ..... The 'tongues of fire'... here are probably not to be equated with the 'other tongues'.... of v. 4, but should be taken as visible representation s, given in the context of teh appreciation of those there gathered, of the overshadowing presence of the Spirit of God.
Also significant is Luke's statement that those tokens of the Spirit's presence 'separated and came to rest on each of them.' This seems to suggest taht, though under the old covenant the divine presence rested on Israel as a corporate entity and upon many of its leaders for special purposes, under the new covenant, as established by Jesus and inainaugurated at Pentecost, the Spirit now rsts upon each believer individually. In other words, though the corporate and invidivual aspects of redemption cannot actually be separated, the emphasis in the proclamation of redemption from Pentecost onward is on the personal relationship of God to the believer through the Spirit, with all corporate relationships resulting from this.
4. In OT times prophetic utternances were regularly associated with the Spirit's coming upon particular persons for special purposes, (Num 11:26-29; 1 Sam 10:6-12).... In Judaism, however, the belief arose that with the passing of the last of the writing prophets in the early postexilic [after Babylonian captivity] period the spirit of prophecy had ceased in Israel. Since then, therefore, God spoke to His peopld only through the Torah as interpreted by the teachers .... But Judaism also expected that with the coming of the Messianic Age there would b a special outpouring of God's Spirit, in fulfillment of Ez 37, and that prophecy would once again flourish. And this is exactly what Luke portrays as having taken place at Pentecost among the followers of Jesus: 'All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.'
The 'tongues' here are often identified with ecstatic utterances of the sort Paul discussed in 1 Cor 12-14. This identification is made largely because (1) in both instances (1 Cor 12-14; Acts 2) the expression 'other tongues' .... is used and (2) because the verb translated 'enabled' or 'gave utterance'... is frequently used in other Greek literature in connection with ecstatics, whether of the givers of oracles..... or of the interpreters of oracles ... But the words spoken at Pentecost under the Spirit's direction were immediately recognized by those who heard them a as being languages then current, while at Corinth no one could understand what was said till someone present received a gift of interpretation. And the verb apophthengomai used by Luke in Acts ..... appears in contexts that stress clarity of speech and understanding; here in 2:4; in 2:14 of Peter's address to the crowd at Pentecost; and in 26:25 of Paul's defense before Agrippa II, where it is explicitly contrasted with mainomai, which speaks of babblings stemming from madness over which the speaker has no control. Therefore, the tongues in 2:4 are best understood as 'languages' and should be tekan in accord with Philo's reference to understandable language as one of the three signs of God's presence in the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai....
The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was of utmost significance both theologicallyand practically for the early church. As for the question, 'Was Pentecost the birthday of the Christian church? A great deal depends upon what one means by the term 'church.' Amid a variety of usages, teh word appears in the NT for both 'the body of Christ' (meaning the redeemed of all ages) and 'an instrument of service' (distinguishable from the nation Israel) used by God for His redemptive purposes. Of the first, the church as the body of Christ, it can hardly be said that it had its beinnning only at Pentecost. What can be said, however, and what Luke seems to be stressing in reporting that the tongues of fire spearated and came to rest on each believer individually, is (10 that the relationship of the Spirit to the members of the body o fChrist became much more intomate andpersonal at Pentecost, in fulfillment of Jesus' promise (later recoreded in Jn 14:17) that the Spirit who 'lives with you'...... 'will be in you' (.....and (2) that at Pentecost a new model of divine redemption was established as characteristic for life in the new covenant - one that, while incorporating both individual and corporate redemption, begins with the former in order to include the latter.
With regard to the church as an instrument of service, called by God to take up the mission formerly entrusted to Israel, Luke is certainly presenting the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost as the church's birthday. So he parallels the Spirit's coming on Jesus at His baptism with the Spirit's coming at Pentecost on the earliest followers, for neither Jesus' ministry nor the mission of the early ehurch would have been possible apart from the Spirit's empowering. So also Luke emphasizes Jesus' explicit command to the disciples to stay in Jerusalem till they were empowered from on high by the Spirit....
5 Certain 'God-fearing Jews' who were residing in Jerusalem from many parts of the Diaspora, together with a number of Jews and proselytes who had returned to Jerusalem as pilgrims for the Pentecost festival, were 'in bewilderment,' 'utterly amazed,' and 'perplexed' by the miraculous coming of the Spirit (vv. 6-7, 12). Others, however, mocked (v. 13).
Aleph omits the word 'Jews' ... which some have considered to be a serious omission, particularly because of the importance of this MS as external evidence in establishing the text. But the word Luke uses for 'God-fearing' ... is used in the NT only of Jews ....... It never connotes elsewhere in the NT a Gentile convert to Judaism..... a near convert or so-called Proselyte of the Gate .... , or a devout Gentile (which is often implied by phoboumenos, 'fearer,' or eusebEs, 'godly'). It is thererfore hightly unlikely that even if Ioudaioi were omitted from the text, that would be bround for arguing that in v. 5 Luke had Gentiles in view. Furthermore, contrary to many who have assumed that the Jews mentioned here were pilgrims to Jerusalem coming for the Pentecost festival, it is more probable that they were residents of Jerusalem who had returned from Diaspora lands ('from every nation under heaven') at some earlier time to settle down in the homeland. That is how Luke uses katoikountes ('staying') here, a participial form of katoikeO, which he uses elsewhere in Acts ...... in contrast to the verb epidEmeO used participially in v. 10, in the sense of 'being a stranger or visitor in town.'
6 What drew the crowd and caused its bewilderment? Commentators differ as to whether it was the sound of the wind or the disciples' speaking in various languages. But if we break the sentence with some kind of punctuation after to plEthos ('a crowd') rather than (as is usually done) after synechythE ('bewilderment'), we have two coordinate sentences with two separate yet complementary ideas: 'When they heard this sound, a crowd came together. And they were bewildered because each one heard them speking in his own language.' On this reading, tEs phOnEs tautEs ('this sound') refers back to Echos ('sound') of v. 2 and conjures up a picture of people rushing to the source of the noise to see what is going on. When they get there, they become bewildered on hearing Galileans speaking in their own native languages. The verb for 'hear' (Ekouon) isin the imperfect tense, suggesting that their hearing took place over a period of time - perhaps first in the upper room itself, then in adjacent lanes and courtyards, and finally in the temple precincts.
7-8 Galileans had difficulty pronouncing gutturals and had the habit of swallowing syllables when speaking; so they were looked down upon by the people of Jerusalem as being provincial ... Therefore, since the disciples who were speaking were Galileans, it bewildered those who heard because the disciples could not by themselves have learned so many different languages.
9-11 Why these fifteen countries and no others are named here and hy they are cited in this order are questions without ready solutions. In recent decades it has frequently been argued that Luke was probably drawing on some ancient astrological treatise that correlated the then-known nations of the world with the twelve signs of the zodiac, such as the fourth-century A.D. Egyptian Paulus Alexandrinus included in his Rudiments of Astrology. This, however, requires pruning Luke's list of fifteen down to twelve (deleting 'Judea' as the fifth in the listing and 'Cretans and Arabs' at the end, though all three are well attested in the MSS), stressing a few exact parallels, and making adjustments in order. Moreover, such astrological and historical listings of nations were common in the ancient world, and Luke may only be using a current literary convention to illustrate his more prosaic statement of v. 5: 'from every nation under heaven.' As was probably customary, the list inclkudes both ancient kingdoms and current political entities, moving generally from east to west and in its middle section naming first the northern and then the southern lands.
The appearance of 'Judea' in the listing is, admittedly, strange because (1) it hardly ranks being sandwiched between Mesopotamia to the east and Cappadocia to the north; (2) as an adjective used as a noun, it is 'corrupt' without an article when used substantively; and (3) it involves the curious anomaly of inhabitants of Judea being amazed to hear the apostles speak in their own language. Suggested solutions to this problem have been legion. Perhaps the most cogent one involves viewing 'Judea' here in a wider prophetic sense, wherein the refernce is to 'the land of the Jews' that was held to stretch from the Euphrates to the Egyptian border. This would explain its sequence in the list, the omission of Syria from the list, and would allow for a variety of dialects different from the one that was native to Jerusalem. The inclusion of 'Cretans and Arabs' probably refers to sea-faring peoples and to Nabatean Arabs, whose kingdom traditionally extended from the Euphrates to the Red Sea.
Each area and country named had a considerable Jewish population within its borders ...... Some of these had returned to Jerusalem to take up residence there.... One group, however, is singled out as being religious pilgrims to the city ..... (cf. the participle hoi epidEmountes, 'visitors,' of v. 10). They are identified as being Jews and proselytes to Judaism from Rome. Undoubtedly there were other festival pilgrims in the crowd (just as there must have been other Diaspora Jews in attendance who were residents of Jerusalem), but Luke's interest in Acts is in the gospel reaching out even to Rome, the capital of the empire. So he singles out this pilgrim contingent for special mention. It may be that some of these 'visitors' from Rome returned there and formed the nucleus of the church in that city. Ambrosiaster, a fourth-century Latin father, speaks of the church at Rome as having been founded 'according to the Jewish rite, without seeing any sign of mighty words or any of the apostles'.
12-13 The miraculous is not self-authenticating, nor does it inevitably and uniformly convince. There must also be the preparation of the heart and the proclamation of the message if miracles are to accomplish their full purpose. This was true even for the miracle of the Spirit's coming at Pentecost. The Greek of v. 12 indicates that 'all' of the 'God-fearing Jews' (v. 5), whose attention had been arrested by the signts at Pentecost and whose own religious heritage gave them at least some appreciation of them, were amazed and asked, 'What does this mean?' Others, however, being spiritually insensitive only mocked, attributing such phenomena to drunkenness. All this prepares the reader for Peter's sermon, which is the initial proclamation of the gospel message to a prepared people.
14-41 Peter's sermon at Pentecost consists of (1) an apologia for the occurrence of the the phenomena (vv 14-21), (2) a kerygma ('proclamation') of the apostolic message in its most elemental form (vv. 22-36), and (3) a call to repentance with a promise of blessing (vv. 37-41). The sermon is headed by a brief introductory statement and followed by two summary sentences dealing with Peter's further preaching and the people's response. It was probably delivered in the outer court of the temple. And whild the verb apophthengomai ('addressed') in v. 14 is the same as in v. 4, we should understand that Peter undoubtedly spoke in the local vernacular (whether some form of Aram. or koine Gr.) and not in a foreign language, for apophthengomai relates more to the inspired nature of the message than its mode.
14 The apologia section of Peter's sermon is addressed to the 'fellow Jews' and 'all... who are in Jerusalem.' Later in the kerygma section (vv. 22-36) these two groups are combined under the captions 'Men of Israel' (v. 22) and 'Brothers' (v. 29), for it is natural for them to be classed together. But here Peter apparently wanted to include particularly those who had been most bewildered by the multiplicity of the languages spoken. While undoubtedly many of the native-born Jews were awed by this, it was probably the Diaspora contingent there present that most appreciated the incongruity of the situation and called for an explanation.
15 Peter begins negatively by arguing that the apostles could not be drunk, for it was only 'nine in the morning' ('the third hour of the day,' lit. Gr.). Unfortunately, this argument was more telling in antiquity than today.
16-21 Positively, Peter explains the phenomena taking place among the early Christians at Pentecost as being the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-32.... His use of the Joel passage is in line with what since the discovery of the DSS we have learned to call a 'pesher'... Heb for "interpretation" It lays all emphasis on fulfillment without attempting to exegete the details of the biblical prpheecy it 'interprets.' So Peter introduces the passage with the typically pesher introductory formula 'this is that'... The note of fulfillment is heightened by the alternation of the MT's and the LXX's simple 'afterwards' to 'in the last days, (v. 17) and by interrupting the quotation to highlight the restoration of prophecy by inserting the words 'and they will prophesy' (v. 18). The solemnity and importance of the words are emphasized by the addition of 'God says' (v. 18) at the beginning of the quotation.
The way Peter uses Joel 2:28-32 is of great significance (1) for an appreciation of early Christian exegetical practices and doctrinal commitments and (2) as a pattern for our own treatment of the OT. For Peter, we should note, what Joel said is what God says. And while what God says may have been somewhat enigmatic when first uttered, when seen from the perspective of eschatological fulfillment a great deal of what was unclear is clarified. Thus Peter can proclaim from the perspective of teh Messiah's resurrection and living presence with his people (1) that 'this' that he and the infant church were experiencing in the outpouring of God's Spirit 'is that' prophesied by Joel, (2) that these are 'the last days' of God's redemptive program, and (3) that the validation of all this is the fact of the return of prophesying. In other words, he is proclaiming that this is the time for the fulfillment of prophecy and that these are the long-awaited 'last days' of the divine redemptive program; and he is also suggesting by his inclusion of the prophet's call for response that through the apostles' proclamation there will go out from Jerusalem a prophetic message of salvation and a call for repentance.
Debates arise between proponents of 'realized eschatology' and 'inaugurated eschatology,' on the one hand, and between amillennialists .... and premillennialists... , on the other hand, about how Peter and the earliest followers of Jesus understood the more spectacular physical signs of Joel's prophecy (i.e., 'blood and fire andbillows of smoke,' 'the sun willl be turned to darkness and themoon to blood'). Realized eschatologists and amillennialists usually take Peter's inclusion of such physical imagery in a spiritual way, finding in what happened at Pentecost the spiritual fulfillment of Joel's prophecy - a fulfillment not necessarily tied to any natural phenomena. This, they suggest, offers an interpretative key to the understanding of similar portrayals of natural phenomena and apocalyptic imagery in the OT. Moreover, some realized eschatologists and amillennialists, desiring to retain more that just the symbolic, suggest that these signs should be understood as having actually taken place in the natural world 'during the early afternoon of the day of our LORD's crucifixion,' when 'the sun turned into darnkess' and 'the paschall full moon,.... appeared blood-red in the sky in consequence of that preternatural go go come on idiot gloom'....
On the other hand, certain features in Peter's sermon show his reason for his emphatic citation of Joel's prophecy. These features are Peter's introductory formula 'this is that,' his alteration of 'afterward' (Joel 2:28) to 'in the last days,' his addition of 'God says' at the beginning of the quotation, and his interruption of the quotation to insert 'and they will prophesy.' He quotes the entire prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 because of its traditional messianic significance and because its final sentence ('And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved') leads logically to the kerygma [apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ, vv. 22-36)] section of his sermon. But Peter might not have known what to make of the more physical and spectacular elements of Joel's prophecy, though he probably expected them in some way to follow in the very near future. (Certainly he could not have foreseen a delay of many centuries before their fullfillment.) So his emphasis was on the inauguration of the Messianic Age ('the last days') - an emphasis we should see as being essential to his preaching and beyond which we are not compelled to go.
God has inaugurated, Peter proclaims, the long-awaited 'last days' here and now, and we know this because of the reinstitution of prophecy. Other signs, to be sure, were part of Joel's vision, but Peter does not stress them. His emphasis is entirely on prophecy as the sign of the inauguration of the last days. Even though he might have had his own personal expectations, Peter leaves all else for God to work out in the Messianic Age that had been inaugurated.
In his Apostolic Preaching, Dodd identifies six themes that appear repeatedly in Peter's sermons in Acts 2-4:
1. 'The age of fulfillment has dawned.'
2. 'This has taken place through the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, of which a brief account is given, with proof from the Scriptures.'
3. 'By virtue of the resurrection, Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God, as Messianic head of the new Israel.'
4. 'The Holy Spirit in the Church is the sign of Christ's present power and glory.'
5. 'The Messianic Age will shortly reach its consummation in the return of Christ.'
6. 'The kerygma always closes with an appeal for repentance, the offer of forgiveness and of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of 'salvation,' that is, of 'the life of the Age to Come,' to those who enter the elect community' (pp. 21-24).
With the exception of the return of Christ (which appears in these early sermons only at 3:20-21), all these themes come to the fore in Peter's Pentecost sermon: the note of fulfillment explicitly in the apologia section and inferrentially throughout; the appeal for repentance and the promise of blessing at the close of the sermon; and the remaining themes in what we have designated the kerygma section proper, which focuses upon Jesus of Nazareth as mankind's LORD and Israel's promised Messiah.
Despite its denial by certain scholars, it yet remains true to say that Peter's sermons of Acts 2-4 'represent the kerygma of the Church at Jerusalem at an early period'.... They are not verbatim reports, and hardly anyone has so taken them. But though they have been styled and shaped by Luke in accordance with his own purposes, they are not simpoly reproductions of his own theology or that of his spiritual mentor, Paul. They rather exhibit Semitic features and primitive characteristics that show that they come from a period earlier than the writing of Acts and stem from the earlier Christian congregation at Jerusalem. Moreover, though many have thought otherwise, the early church was interested in the life and character of Jesus - not for mere biographical reasons, but to fill out the content of its preaching - since the focus of the apostolic proclamation was on Jesus of Nazareth, mankind's LORD andIsrael's Messiah... Thus Peter in his Pentecost sermon includes a brief sketch of the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The early preaching of the church regarding Jesus was characterized by (1) being principally functional in nature rather than philosophical and (2) stresing ultimate causality more than secondary causes or means. Indeed, one cannot speak of what has happened redemptively without dealing with questions of 'who' and 'how' - questions that are bound to arise in thinking about the 'that' of divine redemption. Indispensable therefore, to all purposive thinking, susch as in Peter's preaching or later on in Paul's, are nuances relating to ontology (the nature of being) and speculation about why and how things happened. Yet in presenting the earliest preaching of the apostles at Jerusalem, it is significant that Luke did not attempt to put such nuances into their mouths. Instead, he presents Peter as proclaiming our LORD as 'Jesus of Nazareth,' 'a man accredited,' 'handed over,' put 'to death,' raised 'from the dead,' Peter also proclaimed God as the true author of Jesus' miracles, the ultimate agent in Jesus' death, and the only cause for Jesus' resurrection There is, to be sure, some allusion to means in the statement 'and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross' (v. 23b). And terhthere there may be some ontological insight into Who Jesus actually was in the statement 'because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him' (v. 24b). Indeed, vv. 25-35 explain this 'impossibility' not only in terms of what Scripture has foretold, but also in terms of Who this Holy One was. Yet the emphasis in Peter's preaching of Jesus - as also in his concluding declaration (v. 36) and his call to repentance (v. 38) - is strongly functional, apart from any definite philosophical speculation and with only a minimal attention to the way in which God's purpose in Christ was carried out.
22 Peter begins the kerygma or proclamation section of his sermon with an inclusive form of address: "Men of Israel," which he parallels with the synonymous voctive 'Brothers' (v. 29)..... His topic concerns 'Jesus of Nazareth' - a common title used of Jesus throughout Luke's writings..... and one by which early Christians themselves were at times called (cf. 24:5).
The ministry of Jesus is characterized by 'miracles, wonders and signts' that God did among the people through Jesus. The compound expression 'wonders and signs' that God did among the people through Jesus. The compound expression 'wonders and signs'.... appears quite often in various Greek writers, in the LXX, and the NT itself..... but the threefold 'miracles, wonders and signs' is rare....
The Greek word 'NazOraios' rendered 'of Nazareth' means an inhabitant of Nazareth. The names 'Nazareth' and 'Nazoraean,'.... There is no difference in intent between 'apo Nazareth,' and 'ton NazOraion'.
23 The death of Jesus is presented as resulting from the interplay of divine necessity and human freedom. Nowhere in the NT is the paradox of a Christian understanding of history put more sharply than in this earliest proclamation of the death of Jesus the Messiah: God's purpose and foreknowledge stand as the necessary factors behind whatever happens; yet whatever happens occurs through the instrumentality of wicked men expressing their own human freedom. It is a paradox without ready solution. To deny it, however, is to go counter to the plain teaching of Scripture in both the OT and NT and to ignore the testimony of personal experience. 'With the help of wicked men' points to the Roman authorities in Palestine, who carried out what had been instigated by the Jewish authorities. Gentiles are frequently referred to in Jewish literature as 'wicked'.... and 'lawless'.... either because of their actual sins or simply because they did not possess the Mosaic Law.
24 Here the resurrection of Jesus is attributed directly to God, apart from any action of men or even Jesus Himself - just as elsewhere in the NT it is so attributed in quotations from early Christian hymns and catechisms. The imagery is of 'death pangs' and their awful clutches.... from which God is 'freeing' Jesus 'because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.'
25-35 Here Peter quotes from Psalm 16:8-11 (LXX) and Psalm 110:1 in support of what he has just said about Jesus in v. 24. The quotations are brought together according to the second of the midrashic exegetical rules (middot) attributed by antiquity to Rabbi Hillel ... where the same words appear in two separate passages, the same considerations apply to both). Both quotations have 'at my right hand' and thus are deliberately treated together (cf. v. 33). In addition, both quotations are used in pesher fashion..... for it is a pesher understanding that evokes the introductory statement 'David said about him' and that applies the quotations wholly to Jesus.
During the period of Late Judaism, both Psalm 16 and Psalm 110 were considered by Jewish interpreters to be somewhat enigmatic. Therefore they were variously understood. There was no problem with the confidence expressed in Psalm 16:8-9, 11. It was appropriate for the psalmist to whom God's love had been pledged and who had experienced God's covenant-keeping lovingkindness... (The word in v. 27 for 'Holy One,' hosios, usually translates the Heb word hAsid in the LXX, which is related to hesed, the word for 'pledged love,' 'faithfulness to the covenant,' and 'lovingkindness'..... But how could the psalmist have expected God to keep him from the grave and from undergoing decay, as in v. 10? And Psalm 110 was even more difficult, for who is this 'my LORD' to Whom 'the LORD' has said, 'Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet' (v. 34)? Some early rabbis linked the psalm with Abraham, others with David, and some even with Hezekiah; but there is no clearly attested messianic understanding of Psalm 110 in rabbinic literature until about A.D. 260....
Nevertheless, Jesus is reported in all three synoptic Gospels as having interpreted Psalm 110:1 as a messianic passage and as applying it to Himself (Mark 12:35-37). And it was probably Jesus' own treatment of Psalm 110:1 that (1) furnished the exegetical key for the early church's understanding of their risen LORD, (2) served as the pattern for their interpretation of similar enigmatic OT passages .... and (3) anchored all other passages as could be brought together on a 'verbal analogy' basis (e.g., the catena of passages in Heb 1:5-13).
Therefore working from Psalm 110:1 as an accepted messianic passage and viewing Psalm 16:8-11 as having a similar reference on the basis of the hermeneutical rule of gezEah sawah (verbal analogy), Peter proclaims that Psalm 16:10 ('You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay') refers to Israel's promised Messiah and no other. It is an argument based on the exegetical precedent set by Jesus, inspired by the church's postresurrection perspective, and worked out along the lines of commonly accepted midrashic principles of the day. Furthermore, Peter insists, David could not have been speaking about himself, for he did indeed die, was buried, and suffered decay - as the presence of his tomb in the city eloquently testifies (v. 29). Nor did he ascend to heaven. Therefore, David must have been prophesying about the resurrection of the Messiah in Psalm 16:10 and about his exaltation in Psalm 110:1. And with God's raising of Jesus from the dead, these formerly enigmatic passages are clarified and the pouring out of the Spirit explained.
36 With the proclamation of Jesus as LORD and Messiah, Peter reaches the climax and conclusion of his sermon. The initial 'therefore' shows that God's resurrection and exaltation of Jesus accredits him as mankind's LORD and Israel's Messiah. And Peter calls upon 'all Israel' (lit., 'all the house [oikos] of Israel') to know with certainty that 'God has made this Jesus, Whom you crucified, both LORD and Christ.'
In certain quarters it has become commonplace to assert that the church did not proclaim Jesus as LORD and Christ till after the Resurrection - or, as many prefer to express it, till after the rise of 'the Easter faith.' The implication is that only later were such names as 'LORD' and 'Christ' attached to Jesus' memory since He Himself did not think along these lines. And this verse is often cited in support of that view. But it is more in line with the evidence to say that Jesus was acknowledged and proclaimed LORD andChrist not just after His resurrection but because of His resurrection. In Jewish thought, no one has a right to the title Messiah till He has accomplished the work of the Messiah - in fact, in all of life accomplishment must precede acclamation. During his earthly ministry, as that ministry is portrayed in all the Godspels, Jesus was distinctly reluctant to accept titular acclaim, probably because his understanding of messiahship had to to with suffering and because his concept of lordship had to do with vindication and exaltation by God. But now that Jesus has accomplshed His messianic mission in life and death and has been raised by God and exalted 'at his right hand,' the titles LORD and Christ are legitimately His. This theme of function and accomplishment as the basis for titular acclaim is a recurring note in the christological statements elsewhere in the NT (cf. Rom 1:4; Phil 2:9-11; Heb 2:14; 1 John 5:6).
The verb epoiEsen, translated 'made,' has sometimes been taken as implying an adoptionist Christology, as though Jesus became ontologically what he was not before. But in functional contexts, epoiEsen has the sense of 'appointed' .... and it is in just such a context that Peter uses it here. He is proclaiming not an adoptionist Christology but a functional one with ontological overtones - viz., that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is God's open avowal that the messianic work has been accomplished and that Jesus now has the full right to assume the messianic title; that the exaltation of Jesus is the proclamation of his lordship, which God calls all to acknowledge.
In the twelve instances in Acts where the word 'Christ' appears singly ...... and where 'Christ' is in apposition to 'Jesus' but still 'used' singly), it is used as a title - usually articular in form (except here and at 3:20) - but not as a name. And in every instance where it appears as a title, it is in an address to a Jewish audience (only 8:5 and 26:23 are possible exceptions, though both the Samaritans and Agrippa II possessed something of a Jewish background and understanding). Even where the combination 'Jesus Christ' or 'Christ Jesus' appears, the original appellative idea is still reflected in the usage. Apparently, therefore, the messiahship of Jesus was the distinctive feature of the church's witness within Jewish circles, signifying, as it does, his fulfillment of Israel's hopes and his culmination of God's redemptive purposes.
The title 'LORD' was also proclaimed christologically in Jewish circles, with evident intent to apply to Jesus all that was said of God in the OT.... But 'LORD' came to have particular relevance to the church's witness to Gentiles just as 'Messiah' was more relevant to the Jewish world. So in Acts Luke reports the proclamation of Jesus 'the Christ' before Jewish audiences both in Palestine and among the Diaspora, whereas Paul in his letters to Gentile churches generally uses Christ as a proper name and proclaims Christ Jesus 'the LORD.'
Peter's preaching had been effective. The people were 'cut to the heart' at the awful realization that in crucifying their long-awaited Messiah they had rejected their only hope of salvation. So with deep anguish they cried out, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'
Luke uses the verb katanyssomai ('cut to the heart') to describe their feelings. The word may have been drawn from Psalm 109:16. It connotes a sharp pain associated with anziety and remorse. In 1:20 Luke used Psalm 109:8 (108:8 LXX) not only to describe wicked men who oppose God's servant but also to describe the wicked man, Judas Iscariot. Now Luke apparently reaches back to that samepsalm (v. 16) to pick up the vivid phrase for those who stand with God's servant in opposing wicked men: 'those who have been cut to the heart' ... - or those who are 'the humble of heart' because they realize their need and are open to God's working (in contrast to those Luke describes by the verb diapriO ['to be cut to the heart' in the sense of being 'furious'] in Acts 5:33; 7:54). In fact, the way the men address the apostles, 'Brothers' (lit., 'men, brothers'), shows that their hearts had already been won over.
Codex D and some of its Western associates omit 'others' (loipous) in 'the other apostles,' thus distinguishing Peter from the apostles. But Luke's stress is on the supremacy of the apostles in the church, not on the supremacy of Peter. While in both his Gospel and his Acts he portrays Peter as taking leadership among the apostles, nowhere does Luke suggest anything more than that Peter was the natural leader and spokesman of the Twelve.
38 Peter's answer to the people's anguished cry presents interpreters with a set of complex theological problems that are often looked upon only as grist for differing theological mills. But Peter's words came to his hearers as the best news they had ever heard - far better, indeed, than they deserved or could have hoped for. So today these words remain the best of good news and should be read as the proclamation of that news and not as just a set of theological problems.
Peter calls on his hearers to 'repent' (metanoEsate). This word implies a complete change of heart and the confession of sin. With this he couples the call to 'be baptized' (baptishEtO), thus linking both repentance and baptism with the forgiveness of sins. So far this sounds familar, for John the Baptist proclaimed a 'baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins' (Mk 1:4); and Jesus made repentance central in his preaching (cf. Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15) and also baptized (cf. John 3:22, 26, 4:1-2). Judaism also had repentance at the core of its message and emphasized baptism (at least for proselytes). But while there is much that appears traditional in Peter's exhortation, there is also much that is new and distinctive - particularly in three ways.
In the first place, Peter calls on 'every one' of his audience to repent and be baptized. Jews thought corporately and generally viewed the rite of baptism as appropriate only for proselytes (though some sects within Judaism baptized Jews). But like John the Baptist (cf. Mt 3:9-10) - and probably Jesus, though in distinction to Judaism generally - Peter called for an individual response on the part of his hearers. So he set aside family and corporate relationships as having any final saving significance and stressed the response of the person himself - not, however, denying the necessity and value of corporate relationships, but placing them in a 'new covenant' perspective.
Second, Peter identifies the repentance and baptism he is speaking of as being specifically Christian in that it is done 'in the name of Jesus Christ' ... The expression was probably not at this time a liturgical formula; and it appears in Acts with the prepositions epi ('on') as here, though there are variations in the textual tradition, en ('in,' 10:48) and eis ('into,' 8:16; 19:5). What it means, it seems, is that a person in repenting and being baptized calls upon the name of Jesus (cf. 22:16) and thereby avows his or her intention to be committed to and identified with Jesus [relative to forgiveness of sins].
A third feature in Peter's preaching at this point is the relation of the gift of the Holy Spirit to repentance and baptism. 'The gift of the Holy Spirit' is another way of describing what the disciples had experienced in 'the coming of the Holy Spirit,' which Jesus called 'the baptism of the Holy Spirit' (cf. 1:4-5, 8). All three expressions are connected with God's promise to His people and are used interchangeabley in Acts 1 and 2.
We need, however, to distinguish between 'the gift' of the Holy Spirit and what Paul called 'the gifts' (ta pneumatika, .... ) of that self-same Spirit. 'The gift' is the Spirit Himself given to minister the saving benefits of Christ's redemption to the believer, while 'the gifts' are those spiritual abilities the Spirit gives variously to believers 'for the common good' and sovereignly, 'just as he determines' (1 Cor 12:7, 11). Peter's promise of the 'gift of the Holy Spirit' is a logical outcome of repentance and baptism. This primary gift includes a variety of spiritual gifts for the advancement of the gospel and the welfare of God's people. But first of all, it has to do with what God's Spirit does for every Christian in applying and working out the benefits of Christ's redemptive work.
In trying to deal with the various elements in this passage, some interpreters have stressed the command to be baptized so as to link the forgiveness of sins exclusively with baptism. But it runs contrary to all biblical religion to assume that outward rites have any value apart from true repentance and an inward change. The Jewish mind, indeed, could not divorce inward spirituality from its outward expression (though those of Gr. orientation often have done this). Wherever the gospel was proclaimed in a Jewish milieu, the rite of baptism was taken for granted as being inevitably involved (cf. 2:41; 8:12, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 18:8; 19:5; also Heb 10:22; 1 Pet 3:18-21). But Peter's sermon in Solomon's Colonnade (cf. 3:12-26) stresses only repentance and turning to God 'so that your sins may be wiped out' (v. 19) and makes no mention of baptism. This shows that for Luke at least, and probably also for Peter, while baptism with water was the expected symbol for conversion, it was not an indispensable criterion for salvation.
A few commentators have set Peter's words in v. 38 in opposition to those of John the Baptist in Mark 1:8 .... and those of Jesus in Acts 1:5, where the baptism of the Holy Spirit is distinguished from John's baptism and appears to supercede it. But neither the Baptist's prophecy nor Jesus's promise necessaril implies that the baptism of the Spirit would set aside water baptism. Certainly the early church did not take it that way. They continued to practice water baptism as the external symbol by which hose who believed the gospel, repented of their sins, and acknowledged Jesus as their LORDpublicly bore witness to their new life, which had been received through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In line, then, with the Baptist's prophecy and Jesus' promise, baptism with the Holy Spirit is distinguished from baptism with water. But baptism with the Holy Spirit did not replace baptism with water; rather, the latter was given a richer significance because of the saving work of Christ and the coming of the Spirit.
A more difficult problem arises when we try to correlate Peter's words here with the accounts of the Spirit's baptism in 8:15-17 (at Samaria), 10:44-46 (in the house of Cornelius), and 19:6 (at Ephesus). In v. 38 the baptism of the Spirit is the logical outcome of repentance and water baptism; but in 8:15-17; 10:44-46; and 19:6 it appears to be temporally separated from conversion and water baptism - either following them (as at Samaria and Ephesus) or preceding them (as with Cornelius). Catholic sacramentalists take this as abiblical basis for separating baptism and confirmation; and Charismatics of various kinds see it as justification for a doctrine of the baptism of the Spirit as a second work of grace after conversion. But lest too much be made of this difference theologically, we ought first to attempt to understand the historical situation of vv. 37-41 and to explain matters more circumstantially. Assuming for the moment that Luke shared Paul's view of the indissoluble connection between conversion, water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (cf. Ro 8:9; 1 Cor 6:11), the following question may be asked: What if the Pentecost experience, particularly in regard to the sequence and temporal relations of conversion, water baptism, and Holy Spirit baptism, had been fully present in each of these latter three instances?
Take the Samaritans (8:4-8, 14-17), for example, who were converted through the instrumentality of Philip, one of the Hellenists expelled from Jerusalem at that time of Stephen's martyrdom. Samaritans martyrdom. Samaritans had always been considered second-class citizens of Palestine by the Jerusalem Jews who kept them at arm's length. What if it had been the apostles residing at Jerusalem who had been the missioners to Samaria? Probably they would have been rebuffed, just as they were earlier when the Samaritans associated them with the city of Jerusalem (cf. Lk 9:51-56). But God providentially used Philip to bring them the gospel - Philip, who had also (though for different reasons) been rebuffed at Jerusalem. The Samaritans received him and believed his message. But what if the Spirit had come upon them at their baptism by Philip? Undoubedly what feelings some of the Christians at Jerusalem ahd against Philip and the Hellenists would have rubbed off on the Samaritan belieers and they would have been doubly under suspicion. But God providentially withheld the gift of the Holy Spirit till Peter and John laid their hands on the Samaritans - Peter and John, two leading Jerusalem apostles who at that time would have been accepted by the new converts of Samaria. So in this first advance of the gospel outside Jerusalem, God worked in ways conducive both to the reception of the Good News in Samaria and the acceptance of these new converts at Jerusalem - ways that promoted both the outreach of the gospel and the unity of the church.
Or take the conversion of Cornelius (10:34-48). What if, in Peter's ministry to this Gentile, the order of events Peter had set down after his sermon at Pentecost had occurred (2:38) - viz., repentance, baptism, forgiveness of sins, reception of the gift of the Holy Spirit? Some at Jerusalem might have accused Peter of manipulating the occasion for his own ends (as his lengthy defense before the Jerusalem congregation in 11:1-18 takes pains to deny). But God in His providence gave the gift of His Spirit, coupled wit such signs as would convince both Peter and his possible critics at Jerusalem, even before Cornelius's baptism, so that all would attribute his conversion entirely to God rather than let their prejudices make Cornelius a second-class Christian.
As for the incident recorded in 19:1-4, this, along with the other two passages just mentioned, will be dealt with in loc. But enough has been said here to suggest that we should understand Peter's preaching at Pentecost as being theologically normative for the relation in Acts between conversion, water baptism, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the situations having to do with the Samaritan converts, Cornelius, and the twelve whom Paul met at Ephesus (which is something of a case all to itself) to be more historically conditioned and circumstantially understood.
39 The 'promise' of which Peter speaks includes both the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Both are logically and indissolubly united in applying Christ's redemptive work to the believer, and they were only spearated chronologically, it seems, for what could be called circumstantial reasons. The promise, Peter declares, is not only for his immediate hearers ('for you') but also for succeeding generations ('for your children') and for all in distant places ('for all who are far off'). It is a promise, Peter concludes, that is sure; for it has been given by God and rests upon the prophetic word of Joel 2:32: 'And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.'
Some prefer to see in the expression 'for all who are far off'.. a temporal reference to future Jewish geneartions .... paralleling the phrase 'for your children' ... But makran ('far off') is not used temporally in the LXX or anywhere else in the NT, and therefore it is probably better interpreted more spatially than temporally.
A spatial interpretation, however, raises the question of whether makran ('far off') refers exclusively to Diaspora Jews or also includes Gentiles. That two OT remnant passages are alluded to here (Isa 57:19) ['Peace, peace, to those far and near'] and Joel 2:32) has led some commentators to assume that makran refers to Diaspora Jews. On the other hand, the use of Luke's report of Paul's defense in Jerusalem (22:21; cf Eph 2:13) has led other commentators to argue that makran ('far off') refers also to Gentiles.
Probably this is one of those situations where a narrator like Luke has read into what the speaker said more than was originally there and so implied that the speaker spoke better than he knew. It seems difficult to believe that Peter himself thought beyond the perspective of Jewish remnant theology. Just as he could hardly have visualized anything beyond the next generation, so he could hardly have conceived of anything spatially beond God's call to a scattered but repentant Jewish remnant. But Luke's desire is to show how an originally Jewish godpel penetrated the Gentile world so extensively that it came to enter 'without hindrance' (cf. 28:31) into the capital of the Roman Empire. Very likely, therefore, in recounting Peter's words here in Acts, Luke meant them to be read as having Gentiles in mind, whatever one might argue Peter was thinking of at the time. So we may conclude that he used makran in the same sense as in 22:21.
40-41 Two summary statements conclude Luke's report of Peter's Pentecost sermon. The first has to do with Peter's further words; the second indicates the extent of the people's response.
The earnestness of Peter's words is connoted by the prepositions in the verbs diamartyromai ('warned') and parakeleO ('pleaded'), which tend to strengthen the usual verbs for 'witness' (martyreO) and 'call' (kaleO). And his characterization of this age as a 'corrupt generation' is paralleled by Jesus' words (cf. Matt 16:4; 17:17) and by those of Paul (cf. Phil 2:15). What we have here is the vision of an evangelist - a vision that is all to often lost as the gospel is acclimated to the world and the world to the church.
The Jews generally looked upon baptism as arite only for Gentile converts (i.e., proselytes), not for one born a Jew. It symbolized the break with one's Gentile past and the washing away of all defilement. So when Jews acccepted baptism in the name of Jesus on hearing Peter's message, it was traumatic and significant for them in a way we in our mildly christianized culture have difficulty understanding. But as a result of Peter's preaching, 'about' 3,000 took the revolutionary step of baptism. And thus, Luke tells us, the congregation of believers in Jesus came into being at Jerusalem - a congregation made up of the original 120 (1:15) and progressively augmented (as the imperfect form of the verb prostithEmi ['added to'] seems to suggest) by about 3,000 others.
THE CHRISTIAN MISSION TO THE JEWISH WORLD (2:42-12:24)
Luke gives us the theme of Acts in Jesus' words: 'You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth' (1:8). Behind them stands Dt 19:15, with its requirement that every matter be established by two or three witnesses.... In his Gospel Luke has frequently highlighted such matters as (1) the witness of the Scriptures coupled with the ministry of Jesus and the witness of the Spirit, (2) the pairings of the disciples in their journeys on behalf of Jesus (cf. 10:1), and (3) the two angels at the tomb (cf. 24:4, whereas Mt 28:2-5 and Mark 16:5 have only one). In his organization of the common tradition, he set up a number of parallels between our LORD's ministry in Galilee (4:14-9:50) and his ministry in the regions of Perea and Judea (9:51-19:27). So in Acts Luke continues his pairings of apostolic men in their ministries (e.g., Peter and John in 3:1, 3-4, 11; 4:13, 19; 8:14; Barnabas and Saul in 11:25-26; 12:25; 13:2; Paul and Barnabas in 13:43, 46, 50; 15:2, 12, 22, 35; Judas and Silas in 15:32; Barnabas and Mark in 15:39; Paul and Silas in 15:40; 16:19, 25; 17:4, 10; and Silas and Timothy in 17:14-15; 18:5). Luke also sets up a number of parallels between the ministry of Peter in the first half of his work and the ministry of Paul in the last half; both heal a lame man (3:2-8; 14:8-10); both do miracles at some distance (5:15; 19:12); both exorcise evil spirits (5:16; 16:18); both defeat sorcerers (8:18-24; 13:6-11); both raise the dead (9:36-43; 20:9-12); both defend themselves against Jewish authorities (4:8-12; 5:27-32; 22:3-21; 23:1-6; 28:25-28); both receive heavenly visions (10:9-16; 16:9); both receive heavenly visions (10:9-16); both are involved in bestowing the Holy Spirit on new converts (8:14-17; 19:1-7); and both are miraculously released from prison (5:19; 12:7-11; 16:25-27). More importantly, both proclaim the same message and even use to some extent the same set of proof texts (e.g., Ps 16:10; cf. 2:27; 13:35).
It is, then, from Jesus' declaration about the apostles' witness (1:8) that Luke derives the framework for his narrative of Acts. First he portrays the mission of the Jerusalem apostles and their colleagues within the Jewish world; next he portrays the mission of the Jerusalem apostles and their colleagues within the Jewish world; next he portrays the mission of Paul and his companions within the Gentile world. Luke presents this material in six blocks or panels - three of them are given to the mission to the Jews, three to the mission to the Gentiles.
PANEL 1 - THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM (2:42-6:7)
Acts 2:42-6:7 describes the earliest days of the church at Jerusalem and covers the first three to five years of the new messianic movement (i.e., from A.D. to the mid-thirties). Luke deals with the events of this period by means of a thesis paragraph.
42 Luke begins to describe the early church by telling us that the believers in it were distinguished by their devotion to the apostles' teaching to fellowship with one another, to 'breaking of bread,' and 'to prayer.' The verb translated 'devoted' (proskartereO) is a common one that connotes a steadfaxt and singleminded fidelity to a certain course of action. Luke uses it elsewhere in Acts to characterize the devotion of the 120 in the upper room to prayer (1:14) and the apostles' resolve in the matter of the Hellenistic widows to center their attention on prayer and the ministry of the word (6:4).
'The apostles' teaching' refers to a body of material considered authoritative because it was the message about Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed by accredited apostles. It undoubtedly included a compilation of the words of Jesus (cf. 20:35), some account of his earthly ministry, passion, and resurrection (cf 2:22-24), and a declaration of what all this meant for man's redemption (cf. 1 Cor 15:3-5) - all of which was thought of in terms of a Christian 'tradition' (paradosis) that could be passed on to others (cf 1 Cor 11:2; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Thes 2:15; 3:6; James 3:1), and the frequent linking of prophets and teachers in the NT (cf Acts 13:1; 1 Cor 12:28; 14:6; Eph 4:11), suggest that - while not necessarily antithetical - the creative role of prophecy in the early church was balanced by the conserving role of teaching. Undoubtedly the early congregation at Jerusalem, amid differences of perspective and along with a lively eschatological expectation, had a general 'sense of center' providedd by the historical and doctrinal teaching of the apostles. And this, Luke tells us, was preeminently the raison d'etre ('reason for being') and the focus of the early Christian community.
The definite article (tE) in 'the fellowship' 9tE koinOnia) implies that there was something distinctive in the gatherings of the early believers. With the influx of three thousand on the Day of Pentecost and with daily increases to their number after that (cf. 2:47), they must have had some externally recognizable identity. Perhaps in those early days others thought of them as a 'Synagogue of Nazrenes' (cf. Tertullus's accusation in 24:5, which links them to 'the Nazarene sect') and gave them a place among other such groups within the mosaic of Judaism. But the Christian community was not just a sect of Judaism, even though they continued to observe Jewish rites and customs and had no intention of breaking with the nation or its institutions. They held to the centrality of Jesus of Nazareth in the redemptive program of God and in their worship. Their proclamation of Jesus as Israe's promised Messiah and mankind's LORD set them apart in Jerusalem as a distinguishable entity.
Just what is meant by 'the breaking of bread' in v. 42 has been vigorously debated. Was it a type of Jewish fellowship meal (like the 'Haburah' meals of the Pharisees), which showed the believers' mutual love and recalled their earlier association with Jesus but was devoid of any paschal significance as Paul later 'illegitimately' saw in it.... Or was it in these early years a paschal commemoration of Christ's death, in line with Paul's later elaboration... Or was it at first an agape feast that emphasized the joy of communion with the risen LORD and of fellowship with one another, which Paul later quite 'legitimately' saw to have also paschal import, in line with the intention of Jesus.... ? The matter is somewhat difficult to determine, for while 2:42 and 20:7 may very well relate to the full Pauline understanding (1 Cor 10:16; 11:24), and while Luke earlier referred to 'the breaking of bread' in that way in his passion narrative (Luke 22:19), elsewhere he uses it for an ordinary meal (cf. Luke 24:30, 35; Acts 20:11; 27:35) and seems to mean just that even in 2:46.
Yet it is difficult to believe that Luke had in mind only an ordinary meal, placeing the expression, as he does, between two such religiously loaded terms as 'the fellowhip' and 'prayer.' Even an ordinary meal among Jews, of course, would have had something of a sacred flavor. In a Christian setting, where hearts were warmed by devotion, it would have been an occasion for joy, love, and praise connected inevitably with Jesus. Probably 'the breaking' should also be understood as subtly connoting the passion of Christ - though, of course, there may very well have been a deepening of understanding with regard to Christ's passion as the church's theology came more and more into focus, in accord with Paul's later elaboration of it.
References to 'prayer' are frequent both in the summary statements and the narrative of Acts.... Just as Luke as set up in Luke-Acts the parallelism between theSpirit's work in relation to Jesus and the Spirit's work in the church, so he also sets up the parallelism between prayer in the life of Jesus and prayer in the life of the church. His use here of both the definite article and the plural in 'the prayers' (tais proseuchais) suggest formal prayers, probably both Jewish and Christian. The earliest believers not only viewed the old forms as filled with new content, but also in their enthusiasm they fashioned new vehicles for their parise. In addition, it is not difficult to envision the earliest believers using extemporaneous prayers built on past models - such as Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Zechariah's Song of Praise (Luke 1:67-79)....
43 Furthermore, Luke tells us that a lingering sense of awe rested on many who did not take their stand with the Christians and that miraculous things were done by the apostles. 'Everyone' .. in contradistinction to 'all the beleivers' of v. 44, refers hyperbolically to nonbelievers in Jerusalem who knew of the events of Pentecost and were observing the life of the early congregaton in the months that followed. In the expression 'wonders and miraculous signs .....Luke picks up the phraseology of Joel's prophecy (cf. 2:19) and of Peter's characterization of Jesus' ministry (cf. 2:22). Luke probably used it to suggest that the miracles the apostles did should be taken as evidences of the presence of God with His people, just as throughout the ministry of Jesus the miracles he did show that God was with him. The use of the verb ginomai ('to be') in the imperfect tense denotes that the awe 'was' and the miracles 'were' no momentary phenomena but continued to happen during those early days.
44-45 Within the Christian congregation at Jerusalem, the believers' sense of spiritual unity expressed itself in communal living and sharing with the needy members of their group. While Acts impllies that overt persecution of Christians came somewhat later, in certain instances economic and social sanctions were undoubtedly imposed on the early believers. So the communal life described in vv. 44-45 should be understood, at least in part, as a response to these pressures. Such treatment of minority groups is not uncommon, as both ancient and contemporary history show. In addition, the analogies that exist betwen the early Jewish Christians and the Qumran covenanters suggest that the Jewish Christians in stressing the primacy of spiritual community reflected a practice common to various Jewish sects (of which Qumran is a prominent example) of holding possessions in community. The repeated use of the imperfect tense in these two verses (five times) shows that this ws their established practice, which involved both what we would call their real estate ('possessions,' ktEmata) and their personal possessions ('goods,' hyparxeis).
46 Here Luke shows that the early Jerusalem believers expressed their faith through daily adherence to teh accustomed forms of their Jewish heritage. They not only ate together in their omes in a spirit of gladness and sincerity but also found a large measure of favor among the people. 'Every day' ... applies to the whole sentence (which NIV breaks into two sentences) as far as the words 'all the people' in the middle of v. 47 and ties together a number of comlementary ideas.
The favorite meeting place of the early believers was in the temple (cf. Lk 24:53), at the eastern edge of the outer court called Solomon's Colonnade (cf. 3:11; 5:12). There, in typically Semitic fashion, they carried on their discussions and offered praise to God. As Jews who were Christians and also Christians who were Jews, they not only considered Jerusalem to be their city but continued to regard the temple as their sanctuary and the LAW as their law. Evidently they thought of themselves as the faithful remnant within Israel for whose sake all the institutions and customs of the nation existed. As such, their recocused eschatological hopes (cf. Mal 3:1) and all their desires to influence their own people were associated with the city of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem temple, and the Mosaic Law. For both tehological and practical reasons, therefore, as well as becase of the inevitable tug of the traditional, the early Christians in Jerusalem sought to retain their hold on the religious forms they had inherited and to express their new faith through the categories of the old.
But while they met formally for discussion and worship in the temple precincts, they took their meals in their own homes (kat' oikon, lit., 'by households'). The noun trophE ('food,' 'nourishment') in the phrase 'they were sharing in the food' (metelambanon tropEs; NIV, 'ate together') implies a substantial meal (cf. 9:19; 27:33-34), which it is said they ate with gladness and sincerity of heart.
47a In Luke's writings, 'the people' (ho laos) usually refers to Israel as the elect nation to whom the message of redemption is initially directed and for whom (together with the Gentiles) it is ultimately intended (e.g., 3:9; 4:10; 5:13). Later in the narrative of Acts, the attitude of 'the people' becomes more and more antagonistic to the Christian gospel and its missioners. But in this first panel we have a response of the people that is largely favorable toward the early Christians and their manner of life. This cannot be said for the attitude of the Sadducees as depicted in 4:1ff and 5:17ff. (Later in the commentary, reasons will be given for the change of attitude on the part of the people that begins with Acts' second panel and worsens as the narrative develops.) What can be said here is that Luke shows, both in his emphasis on the early Christians' meeting in the temple courts and on the favor accorded them by the people, that early Christianity is the fulfillment of all that is truly Jewish and that it directed its mission first to the Jewish world. Luke continues to stress these themes throughout his second volume.
47b Luke's thesis paragraph on the state of the early church at Jerusalem concludes with the triumphant note that 'the LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved' - a note that runs througout this first panel but is not confined to it. It is the LORD Himself Who adds to His church, and thus the title ho kyrios ('the LORD') appears first in the sentence not only for grammatical reasons but also for emphasis. The force of the present participle tous sOzomenous ('those who were being saved') is iterative, suggesting that they were added as they were being saved. For a discussion of the expression 'to their number' (epito auto)....
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3 THE INCEPTION OF THE CHURCH
a THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
2:1 The day of Pentecost was an annual feast that followed the Feast of Firstfruits by a week of weeks (i.e., seven weeks, or 49 days) and therefore also was called the Feast of Weeks (cf. Lev 23:15-22). The name "Pentecost," of Greek derivation, means 50 because it was the 50th day after the Firstfruits feast (Lev 23:16).
Where the followers of Christ were gathered at this time is not definitely known. Luke simply wrote, They were all together in one place. Perhaps they were in the temple precincts. However, the place is called a 'house' (Acts 2:2), an unlikely designation for the temple, though it may be referred to as a house (cf. 7:47). If they wre not assembled at the temple, they must have been near it (cf. 2:6).
2:2-3 The references to 'wind' and 'fire' are significant. The word for 'Spirit' (pneuma) is related to pnoe, the word translated 'wind' here. It also means breath. Both nouns - 'spirit' and 'wind' or 'breath' - are from the verb pneO, 'to blow, to breathe.' The sound like the blowing of a violent wind.. from heaven points to the power of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of His coming.
The tongues of fire portray the presence of God. Several times in the Old Testament God displayed Himself in the form of flames ....
No believer there was exempt from this experience, for the flames separated and came to rest on each of them.
2:4 The filling with the Holy Spirit is separate from the baptism of the Spirit. The Spirit's baptism occurs once for each believer at the moment of salvation (cf. 11:15-16; Ro 6:3; 1 Cor 12:13; Col 2:12), but the Spirit's filling may occur not only at salvation but also on a number of occasions after salvation (Acts 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9, 52).
An evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was other tongues (heterais glOssais; cf 11:15-16). These were undoubtedly spoken living languages; the word used in 2:6, 8 is dialektO, which means 'language' and not ecstatic utterance. This gives insight into what is meant by 'tongues' in chapters 2; 10; 19; and in 1 Cor 12-14.
This event marked the beginning of the church. Up to this point the church was anticipated (Mt 16:18). The church is constituted a body by means of Spirit baptism (1 Cor 12:13). The first occurrence of the baptisme of the Spirit therefore must indicate the inauguration of the church. Of course Acts 2:1-4 does not state that Spirit baptism took place at Pentecost. The church, therefore, came into existence then.
2:5-13. Jews of the 'diaspora' (didpersion; cf James 1:1; 1 Pet 1:1) were ... in Jerusalem for the feast. Perhaps they wre bilingual, speaking both Greek and their native languages. They were dumbfounded to hear Jews from Galilee speaking the languages of peoples surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
It is a question whether only the Twelve spoke in tongues or all 120. Several factors support the idea of only the Twelve being involved in this phenomenon: (1) They are referred to as Galileans (Acts 2:7; cf. 1:11-13). (2) Peter stood up with 'the Eleven' (2:14). (3) The nearest antecedent of 'they' in verse 1 is the 'apostles' in 1:26. However, a problem with this view is that the number of languages listed in 2:9-11 is more than 12. But one apostle could have spoken more than one language, in sequence. Still it is possible that all 120 spoke in tongues.Since themajority of them were from Galilee they coud have been called Galileans. The references to the Twelve would have indicated they were the leaders of the 120.
The topic the people discussed in all these languages was the wonders of God. It seems they were praising God. Their message was not one of repentance; it was not the gospel.
Unable to explain this miracle away, the Jewish unbelievers were puzzled, and some resorted to scoffing and asserted, They have had too much wine. The word 'wine' (gleukous) means new sweet wine.
B. THE DISCOURSE OF PETER (2:14-40)
This sermon has basically one theme: Jesus is the Messiah and LORD (v. 36)....
2:14-15. Peter began with a rebuttal of their accusation of drunkenness. It was only 9 in the morning (lit., 'the third hour of the day;' days began at 6 AM), far too early for a group of revelers to be inebriated!
2:16-21. Instead of being drunk the believers were experiencing what was described in Joel 2. In Peter's words, This is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel. This clause does not mean, 'This is like that;' it means Pentecost fulfilled what Joel had described. However, the prophecies of Joel quoted in Acts 2:19-20 were not fulfilled. The implication is that the remainder would be fulfilled if Israel would repent. This aspect of contingency is discussed more fully in the comments on 3:19-23.
2:22. Jesus' miracles, Peter said, were God's way of verifying Jesus' claims to you, the Jews (cf. 1 Cor 1:22; 14:22).
2:23. The point of this verse is clear: the Crucifixion was no accident. It was in God's set purpose (boulE, 'plan') and was God's determined will, not merely His inclination. It was a divine necessity (cf. 4:28). When Peter referred to you, he meant Jews; and by wicked men he perhaps meant Gentiles because the word 'wicked' means lawless (anomOn). Both Gentiles and Jews were implicated in Christ's death. Many times the apostles accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus (2:23, 36; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33-34, 37, 17:31; 26:23). Here is another indication that He is the Messiah for it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him (John 20:9).
2:25-35. These verses include four proofs of the LORD's resurrection and Ascension: (a) The prophecy of Psalm 16:8-11 and the presence of David's tomb (Acts 2:25-31), (b) the witnesses of the Resurrection (v. 32), (c) the supernatural events of Pentecost (v. 33), and (d) the Ascension of David's greater Son (Ps 110:1; Acts 2:34-35).
The word translated grave in verses 27 and 31 is hadEs, which means.... the underworld of departed spirits.
Peter's point is that since David, the partirarch and prophet was dead and buried, he cound not have been referring to himself in Psalm 16:8-11; hence he was writing about the Christ ('Messiah') and His resurrection. The oath (Ac 2:30) looks back to Ps 132:11 (cf. 2 Sam 7:15-16). God... raised ... Jesus to life, and exalted Him (cf. Acts 3:13; Phil 2:9) to the Father's right hand (cf Acts 5:30-31; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 3:1; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet 3:22). Thus Jesus had the authority to send the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5, 8; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), whose presence was evidenced by what they saw ('tongues of fire,' Acts 2:3) and heard ('violent wind,' v. 2), and the apostles speaking in other languages (vv 4, 6, 8, 11).
Just as David was not speaking of himself in Psalm 16:8-11, so in Psalm 110:1 he was not speaking of himself. David was not resurrected (Acts 2:29, 31) nor did he ascend to heaven (v. 34). The LORD is Yahweh God Who spoke to my (David's) LORD, Who is Christ, God's Son.
On five occasions in Acts some of the apostles said they were witnesses of the resurrected Christ (v. 32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39-41; 13:30-31). They knew whereof they spoke!
2:36 Here is the conclusion of Peter's argument. The noun LORD, referring to Christ, prabably is a reference to Yahweh. The same word kyrios is used of God in verses 21, 34, and 39 (cf. Phil 2:9). This is a strong affirmation of Christ's deity.
2:37 Verses 37-40 contain the application of Peter's sermon. The verb cut (katenygEsan) means 'to strike or prick violently, to stun.' The convicting work of the Spirit (cf John 16:8-11) in their hearts was great.
Their question had a ring of desperation about it (cf. Acts 16:30). If the Jews had crucified their Messaih and He was now exalted, what was left for them to do?
2:38-39. Peter's answer was forthright. First they were to repent. This verb (metanosEate) means 'change your outlook,' or 'have a change of heart; reverse the direction of your life.' This obviously results in a change of conduct, but the emphasis is on the mind or outlook. The emphasis is on the mind or outlook. The Jews had rejected Jesus; now they were to trust in Him. Repentance was repeatedly part of the apostles' message in Acts (v. 38; 3:19, 5:31; 8:22; 11:18:13:24; 17:30; 19:4; 20:21; 26:20).
A problem revolves around the command 'be baptized' and its connection with the remainder of 2:38. There are several views: (1) One is that both repentance and baptism result in remission of sins. In this view, baptism is essential for salvation. The problem with this interpretation is that elsewhere in Scripture forgiveness of sins is based on faith alone (John 3:16, 36; Rom 4:1-17; 11:6; Gal 3:8-9; Eph 2:8-9; etc.). Furthermore Peter, the same speaker, later promised forgiveness of sins on the basis of faith alone (Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18).
(2) A second interpretation translates 2:38, 'Be baptized... on the basis of the remission of your sins.' The preposition used here is eis which, with the accusative case, may mean 'on account of, on the basis of.' It is used in this way in Mt 3:11; 12:41; and Mark 1:4. Though it is possible for this construction to mean 'on the basis,' this is not its normal meaning; eis with the accusative case usually describes purpose or direction.
(3) A third view takes the clause and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ as parenthetical. Several factors support this interpretation: (a) The verb makes a distinction between singular and plural verbs and nouns. The verb 'repent' is plural and so is the pronoun 'your' in the clause so that your sins may be forgiven (lit., 'unto the remission of your sins,' eis aphesin tOn hamartiOn hymOn). [In Nestle and old manuscripts but NOT in Textus Receptus]. Therefore the verb 'repent' must go with the purpose of forgiveness of sins. On the other hand the imperative 'be baptized' is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence, setting it off from the rest of the sentence. (b) This concept fits with Peter's proclamation in Acts 10:43 in which the same expression 'sins may be forgiven' (aphesin hamartiOn) occurs. There it is granted on the basis of faith alone. (c) In Luke 24:47 and Acts 5:31 the same writer, Luke, indicates that repentance results in remission of sins.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is God's promise (cf. 1:5, 8; 2:33) to those who turn to the LORD, including Jews and their descendants and those who are far off, that is, Gentiles (cf. Eph 2:13, 17, 19). Acts 2:38-39 put together the human side of salvation ('repent') and the divine side (call means 'to elect'; cf. Ro 8:28-30).
2:40 Peter's words in this verse look back to verses 23 and 36. Israel was guilty of a horrendous sin; individual Jews could be spared from God's judgment on that generation if they would repent (cf. Mt 21:41-22; 22:7; 22:34-24:2). They would be set apart to Christ and His church if only they would be disassociated from Israel.
C THE DESCRIPTION OF THE FIRST CHURCH (2:41-47)
2:41 Three thousand who believed were baptized, thus displaying their identification with Christ. This group of people immediately joined the fellowship of believers.
2:42 The activity of this early church twofold. The believers first continued steadfastly (proskarterountes, 'persisting in or continuing in'; cf. 1:14; 2:46; 6:4; 8:13; 10:7; Ro 12:12; 13:6; Col 4:2) in the apostles' teaching or doctrine. The second was fellowship, which is defined as the breaking of bread and ... prayer. The omission of 'and' between 'fellowship' and 'to the breaking of bread and to prayer' indicates the last two activities are appositional to fellowship.
Perhaps the breaking of bread included both the LORD's Table and a common meal (cf. Acts 2:46; 20:7; 1 Cor 10:16; 11:23-25; Jude 12).
2:43 Wonders (terata, 'miracles evoking awe') and miraculous signs (sEmeia, 'miracles pointing to a divine truth') authenticated the veracity of the apostles (cf. 2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:3-4). The apostles performed many such 'signs and wonders' (Acts 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 8:6, 13; 14:3; 15:12). Christ too had performed many 'wonders' and 'signs' - and also 'miracles' (dunameis, 'works of power').
2:44-45 The selling of property and the common possession of the proceeds may imply that the early church expected the LORD to return soon and establish His kingdom. This may explain why the practice was not continued. Holding everything in common was not socialism or communism because it was voluntary (cf. 4:32, 34-35; 5:4). Also their goods were not evenly distributed but were given to meet needs as they arose.
2:46-47. The activities described in verses 42-47 would tend to separate the church from traditional Judaism even though every day (cf. v. 47) they continued (proskartEountes; cf. v. 42) to meet together in the temple courts.
One of the subthemes of Acts is joy, because a victorious church is a joyful one. This is seen in verses 46-47 and numerous other times (5:41; 8:8, 39; 11:23; 12:14; 13:48, 52; 14:17; 15:3, 31; 16:34; 21:17). In their fellowship they broke bread in their homes and ate together (cf. 2:42) with joy. (The word praising [ainountes] is used only nine times in the NT, seven of them by Luke: Luke 2:13, 20; 19:37; 24:53; Acts 2:47; 3:8-9; Ro 15:11; Rev 19:5).
With the first of seven summary progress reports (cf. Acts 6:7; 9:31; 12:24; 16:5; 19:20; 28:30-31) Luke brought this section of Acts to a close: each day others were being saved. The church grew rapidly right from the start!
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1-4. when the day of Pentecost was fully come--The fiftieth from the morrow after the first Passover sabbath ( Lev 23:15, 16 ).
with one accord--the solemnity of the day, perhaps, unconsciously raising their expectations.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, &c.--"The whole description is so picturesque and striking that it could only come from an eye-witness" [OLSHAUSEN]. The suddenness, strength, and diffusiveness of the sound strike with deepest awe the whole company, and thus complete their preparation for the heavenly gift. Wind was a familiar emblem of the Spirit ( Eze 37:9 Jhn 3:8 20:22 ). But this was not a rush of actual wind. It was only a sound "as of" it.
3. cloven tongues, like as of fire, &c.--"disparted tongues," that is, tongue-shaped, flame-like appearances, rising from a common center or root, and resting upon each of that large company:--beautiful visible symbol of the burning energy of the Spirit now descending in all His plenitude upon the Church, and about to pour itself through every tongue, and over every tribe of men under heaven!
4. they . . . began to speak with . . . tongues, &c.--real, living languages, as is plain from what follows. The thing uttered, probably the same by all, was "the wonderful works of God," perhaps in the inspired words of the Old Testament evangelical hymns; though it is next to certain that the speakers themselves understood nothing of what they uttered (see on JF & B for 1Co 14:1-25).
5-11. there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation--not, it would seem, permanently settled there (see Act 2:9 ), though the language seems to imply more than a temporary visit to keep this one feast.
9-11. Parthians, &c.--Beginning with the farthest east, the Parthians, the enumeration proceeds farther and farther westward till it comes to Judea; next come the western countries, from Cappadocia to Pamphylia; then the southern, from Egypt to Cyrene; finally, apart from all geographical consideration, Cretes and Arabians are placed together. This enumeration is evidently designed to convey an impression of universality [BAUMGARTEN].
Act 2:14-36 . PETER FOR THE FIRST TIME, PUBLICLY PREACHES CHRIST.
14-21. Peter, standing up with the eleven--in advance, perhaps, of the rest.
15. these are not drunken--meaning, not the Eleven, but the body of the disciples.
but the third hour--nine A.M. (see Ecc 10:16 Isa 5:11 1Th 5:17 ).
17. in the last days--meaning, the days of the Messiah ( Isa 2:2 ); as closing all preparatory arrangements, and constituting the final dispensation of God's kingdom on earth.
pour out of my Spirit--in contrast with the mere drops of all preceding time.
upon all flesh--hitherto confined to the seed of Abraham.
sons . . . daughters . . . young men . . . old men . . . servants . . . handmaidens--without distinction of sex, age, or rank.
see visions . . . dream dreams--This is a mere accommodation to the ways in which the Spirit operated under the ancient economy, when the prediction was delivered; for in the New Testament, visions and dreams are rather the exception than the rule.
19. I will show wonders, &c.--referring to the signs which were to precede the destruction of Jerusalem (see on JF & B for Lu 21:25-28).
21. whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved--This points to the permanent establishment of the economy of salvation, which followed on the breaking up of the Jewish state.
22-28. a man approved of God--rather, "authenticated," "proved," or "demonstrated to be from God."
by miracles . . . which God did by him--This is not a low view of our Lord's miracles, as has been alleged, nor inconsistent with Jhn 2:11 , but is in strict accordance with His progress from humiliation to glory, and with His own words in Jhn 5:19 . This view of Christ is here dwelt on to exhibit to the Jews the whole course of Jesus of Nazareth as the ordinance and doing of the God of Israel [ALFORD].
23. determinate counsel and foreknowledge--God's fixed plan and perfect foresight of all the steps involved in it.
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain--How strikingly is the criminality of Christ's murderers here presented in harmony with the eternal purpose to surrender Him into their hands!
24. was not possible he should be holden of it--Glorious saying! It was indeed impossible that "the Living One" should remain "among the dead" ( Luk 24:5 ); but here, the impossibility seems to refer to the prophetic assurance that He should not see corruption.
27. wilt not leave my soul in hell--in its disembodied state (see on JF & B for Lu 16:23).
neither . . . suffer thine Holy One to see corruption--in the grave.
28. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life--that is, resurrection-life.
thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance--that is, in glory; as is plain from the whole connection and the actual words of the sixteenth Psalm.
29-36. David . . . is . . . dead and buried, &c.--Peter, full of the Holy Ghost, sees in this sixteenth Psalm, one Holy Man, whose life of high devotedness and lofty spirituality is crowned with the assurance, that though He taste of death, He shall rise again without seeing corruption, and be admitted to the bliss of God's immediate presence. Now as this was palpably untrue of David, it could be meant only of One other, even of Him whom David was taught to expect as the final Occupant of the throne of Israel. (Those, therefore, and they are many, who take David himself to be the subject of this Psalm, and the words quoted to refer to Christ only in a more eminent sense, nullify the whole argument of the apostle). The Psalm is then affirmed to have had its only proper fulfilment in JESUS, of whose resurrection and ascension they were witnesses, while the glorious effusion of the Spirit by the hand of the ascended One, setting an infallible seal upon all, was even then witnessed by the thousands who stood listening to Him. A further illustration of Messiah's ascension and session at God's right hand is drawn from Psa 110:1 , in which David cannot be thought to speak of himself, seeing he is still in his grave.
36. Therefore--that is, to sum up all.
let all the house of Israel--for in this first discourse the appeal is formally made to the whole house of Israel, as the then existing Kingdom of God.
know assuredly--by indisputable facts, fulfilled predictions, and the seal of the Holy Ghost set upon all.
that God hath made--for Peter's object was to show them that, instead of interfering with the arrangements of the God of Israel, these events were His own high movements.
this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified--"The sting is at the close" [BENGEL]. To prove to them merely that Jesus was the Messiah might have left them all unchanged in heart. But to convince them that He whom they had crucified had been by the right hand of God exalted, and constituted the "LORD" whom David in spirit adored, to whom every knee shall bow, and the CHRIST of God, was to bring them to "look on Him whom they had pierced and mourn for Him."
37-40. pricked in their hearts--the begun fulfilment of Zec 12:10 , whose full accomplishment is reserved for the day when "all Israel shall be saved" (see on JF & B for Ro 11:26).
what shall we do?--This is that beautiful spirit of genuine compunction and childlike docility, which, discovering its whole past career to have been one frightful mistake, seeks only to be set right for the future, be the change involved and the sacrifices required what they may. So Saul of Tarsus ( Act 9:6 ).
38. Repent--The word denotes change of mind, and here includes the reception of the Gospel as the proper issue of that revolution of mind which they were then undergoing.
39. For the promise--of the Holy Ghost, through the risen Saviour, as the grand blessing of the new covenant.
all afar off--the Gentiles, as in Eph 2:17 ), but "to the Jew first."
40. with many other words did he testify and exhort--Thus we have here but a summary of Peter's discourse; though from the next words it would seem that only the more practical parts, the home appeals, are omitted.
Save yourselves from this untoward generation--as if Peter already foresaw the hopeless impenitence of the nation at large, and would have his hearers hasten in for themselves and secure their own salvation.
Act 2:41-47 . BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
41-47. they that gladly received his word were baptized--"It is difficult to say how three thousand could be baptized in one day, according to the old practice of a complete submersion; and the more as in Jerusalem there was no water at hand except Kidron and a few pools. The difficulty can only be removed by supposing that they already employed sprinkling, or baptized in houses in large vessels. Formal submersion in rivers, or larger quantities of water, probably took place only where the locality conveniently allowed it" [OLSHAUSEN].
the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls--fitting inauguration of the new kingdom, as an economy of the Spirit!
42. continued steadfastly in--"attended constantly upon."
the apostles' doctrine--"teaching"; giving themselves up to the instructions which, in their raw state, would be indispensable to the consolidation of the immense multitude suddenly admitted to visible discipleship.
fellowship--in its largest sense.
breaking of bread--not certainly in the Lord's Supper alone, but rather in frugal repasts taken together, with which the Lord's Supper was probably conjoined until abuses and persecution led to the discontinuance of the common meal.
prayers--probably, stated seasons of it.
43. fear came upon every soul--A deep awe rested upon the whole community.
44. all that believed were together, and had all things common--(See on JF & B for Ac 4:34-37).
46. daily . . . in the temple--observing the hours of Jewish worship.
and breaking bread from house to house--rather, "at home" (Margin), that is, in private, as contrasted with their temple-worship, but in some stated place or places of meeting.
eat their meat with gladness--"exultation."
and singleness of heart.
47. Praising God--"Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works" ( Ecc 9:7 , also see on JF & B for Ac 8:39).
having favour with all the people--commending themselves by their lovely demeanor to the admiration of all who observed them.
And the Lord--that is, JESUS, as the glorified Head and Ruler of the Church.
added--kept adding; that is, to the visible community of believers, though the words "to the Church" are wanting in the most ancient manuscripts.
such as should be saved--rather, "the saved," or "those who were being saved." "The young Church had but few peculiarities in its outward form, or even in its doctrine: the single discriminating principle of its few members was that they all recognized the crucified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. This confession would have been a thing of no importance, if it had only presented itself as a naked declaration, and would never in such a case have been able to form a community that would spread itself over the whole Roman empire. It acquired its value only through the power of the Holy Ghost, passing from the apostles as they preached to the hearers; for He brought the confession from the very hearts of men ( 1Cr 12:3 ), and like a burning flame made their souls glow with love. By the power of this Spirit, therefore, we behold the first Christians not only in a state of active fellowship, but also internally changed: the narrow views of the natural man are broken through; they have their possessions in common, and they regard themselves as one family" [OLSHAUSEN].
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2:1 Pentecost was one of the three major Jewish festivals; the other two are the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. From the Greek word for 'fifty,' Pentecost was so named because it fell on the fiftieth day after the Sabbath of the Passover. Pentecost was also known as 'the Feast of Weeks,' 'the Firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest,' and 'the Day of Firstfruits.' During this harvest celebration, the Jews brought to God the firstfruits of their harvest in thanksgiving, expecting that God would give the rest of the harvest as His blessing. This particular Day of Pentecost was the day of firstfruits of Christ's church, the beginning of the great harvest of souls who would come to know Christ and be joined together through the work of the Holy Spirit. they were all .... in one place: The place may have been part of the temple. It is difficult to imagine how the large crowd mentioned in v. 5 could have observed the activities in the upper room or congregated in the narrow streets outside the house where the disciples were meeting.
2:2 A sound like a rushing mighty wind was needed to attract the multitudes to the small gathering of apostles who were sitting, the normal position for listening to someone speak, rather than standing for prayer.
2:3 there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire: After the great crowd-gathering sound of v. 2 came the visual manifestation of God. Fire often indicated the presence of God. God initially appeared to Moses in a burning bush that was not consumed (see Ex. 3). God guided the children of Israel with a pillar of fire by night (see Ex. 13:21, 22), and He descended before them in fire on Mt. Sinai (see Ex. 19:18). God sent fire to consume Elijah?s offering on Mt. Carmel (see 1 Kin. 18:38, 39), and He used a vision of fire to warn Ezekiel of His coming judgment (see Ezek. 1:26, 27).
2:4 The word translated tongues here is the normal Greek word for known languages. Speaking in 'tongues' or diverse languages underscored the universal outreach of the church. These witnesses were speaking foreign dialects to the people who had gathered for Pentecost from other nations. The Day of Pentecost, as one of the three major Jewish celebrations, was a pilgrimage event. People who lived outside Israel traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival. They came from Arabia, Crete, Asia, and even as far away as Rome. Many of these people stayed in Jerusalem for the entire 50-day celebration. Spirit gave them utterance: Note that the text does not say that the Spirit spoke through the apostles, but that the Spirit gave them the ability to speak in languages that they had not previously known.
2:5-11 men, from every nation under heaven: People from all over the known world were in Jerusalem. Most of them probably knew Greek, but they also spoke the various languages of the Mediterranean world. everyone heard them speak in his own language: The visitors to Jerusalem probably expected the apostles to use Aramaic or Greek, but instead they heard their own dialect. The visitors were astonished because they knew this was most unlikely unless the speakers had come from their land. This was a sign from heaven, a supernatural event. the wonderful works of God: It appears that the 'speaking in tongues' did not consist of proclaiming the gospel. Rather, the apostles were praising God?s mighty works (see 10:46; 1 Cor. 14:16).
The Nations of Pentecost In the first Christian century, Jewish communities were located primarily in the eastern Roman Empire, where Greek was the common language. There were Jewish communities as far west as Italy and as far east as Babylonia. In addition to people from the nations shown here, those present on the Day of Pentecost (2:9-11) included visitors from Mesopotamia and even farther east, from Parthia, Media, and Elam (present-day Iran).
2:12, 13 A contrast is made between two groups of people, the Hellenists and the Hebraists (6:1). Both groups heard the apostles speaking in tongues. Verse 12 speaks of the reaction of the Hellenists, who were from various parts of the world: they understood the dialects in which the apostles spoke and consequently viewed the event as miraculous. On the other hand, those mentioned in v. 13 were Judeans and did not understand the foreign languages the apostles were speaking. They concluded the apostles were drunk and speaking gibberish.
2:14 Peter, the first disciple to recognize the truth about Jesus (see Matt. 16:13?19), was also the first to bear witness of Him. Peter preached his sermon to men of Judea who had judged the whole episode as being the effect of too much wine (vv. 13, 15).
2:16-21 Peter began his sermon by quoting Joel 2:28?32 from the Greek translation of the OT. In that passage, God had promised that there would be a time when all those who followed Him would receive His Spirit, and not just prophets, kings, and priests. Peter pointed out that that time had come to pass. God would speak to and through all those who would come to Him, whether in visions, dreams, or prophecy. This was the beginning of the last days. God?s final act of salvation began with the pouring out of His Spirit. This final act of deliverance will continue to the end of this age.
2:23 being delivered by the determined purpose: Jesus Christ was God's provision for the judgment of sin; yet it was our sinfulness that made His death necessary. In other words, it was both the sinfulness of humanity and God's plan to save humanity that put Jesus to death on the Cross (see Is. 53:10). God exercises sovereign control over all events - even the death of His Son. Yet at the same time, people are still responsible for their own sinful actions.
2:25-36 Joel prophesied that the Spirit would come; Jesus fulfilled that promise when He sent the Spirit (see John 14:16). If Jesus was dead, He could not have sent the Spirit. Therefore, He must be alive. Furthermore, Jesus could not have sent the Spirit unless He had ascended as Lord to heaven. Therefore, Jesus is both our Master and our Savior. let me speak freely: Peter knew (v. 29) that no one could dispute the point he was about to make from Ps. 16:8-11, in which the Messiah is described as not decaying. Because David had been buried and had not come back to life, the psalm had to be speaking about someone else, David's heir. Peter pointed out that this heir is Jesus, who was put to death and resurrected. Not only had Jesus been raised from the dead, He is now at the right hand of God. As further proof of this Peter quoted David again. According to Ps. 110:1, the Messiah would sit at the right hand of God. David had not ascended to the heavens. But the apostles declared themselves to be witnesses of the very ascension spoken of in this psalm, the ascension of Jesus. Based on these points, Peter's conclusion is clear: Jesus, the One who had been crucified, is both Lord and Christ.
foreknowledge (Gk. prognosis) (2:23; 1 Pet. 1:2) Strong's #4268: The Greek term indicates 'knowledge beforehand,' either of things that are seen or things that are intended or arranged. These meanings are illustrated in Acts 26:5; Rom. 11:2; 1 Pet. 1:2, 20; 2 Pet. 3:17. In the present context, the word denotes God's knowledge of His Son's death on the Cross long before the event occurred. This is clearly affirmed by Peter (see 1 Pet. 1:20) and is the implication of Rev. 13:8. Jesus' death for our redemption was not an afterthought; it was part of God's eternal plan.
2:37 Peter's argument was irrefutable. Cut to the heart, the Judeans asked what they should do. This was the point of new birth. The Spirit of God brought conviction to their hearts, the springboard of action.
2:38 Repent: Repentance for the Judeans involved rejecting their former attitudes and opinions concerning who Jesus was. be baptized: When a person recognizes who Jesus Christ really is, the result is the desire to do what He commands. The first action that Jesus requires of a new believer is baptism (see Matt. 28:19, 20), the outward expression of inward faith. The idea of an unbaptized Christian is foreign to the NT (v. 41; 8:12, 36; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15, 33; 18:8). for the remission of sins: Is Peter saying that we must be baptized to receive forgiveness of our sins? Scripture clearly teaches that we are justified by faith alone, not by works (see Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8, 9). The critical word in this phrase is the word for, which may also be translated 'with a view to.' A comparison of Peter's message in 10:34-43 makes it clear that 'remission of sins' comes to 'whoever believes.' Believers are baptized in view of God's work of forgiveness, not in order to receive that forgiveness. God's forgiveness in Christ gives baptism its significance. Baptism is a public declaration that a person's sins have been forgiven because of the finished work of Christ on the Cross. The gift of the Holy Spirit was the promise of Jesus in John 14:16, 17. The Holy Spirit puts us in communion with the Father and the Son. This indwelling of the Spirit is a beautiful promise of the New Covenant (see Jer. 31:33, 34), an indication not only that our sins are forgiven, but also that the Lord has placed His law within us.
2:39 Peter exhorted his listeners to repent. In other words, each person had to make the decision to turn away from his or her sinful habits and turn to God in faith (16:31, 33, 34). Then God would forgive that person's sins and declare them righteous because of Jesus' work on the Cross. to you and to your children: In first-century Israel, a father held tremendous influence in his home. When a father chose to receive Christ and be baptized, his children would follow his lead.
2:40-43 three thousand souls: The response to Peter's sermon was tremendous. Such impressive growth in the number of believers created additional needs and responsibilities. The apostles had the duty of training this large group and bringing them into fellowship with the other believers. This was a four-step process: (1) The new believers were to be trained in the apostles' doctrine. Uniformity of belief concerning the person of Jesus Christ 'based on the eyewitness testimony of His followers' was essential. (2) The new believers were to be trained in the fellowship of the church. The Greek word translated fellowship means sharing in the lives of other believers. (3) The new believers were to be trained in the breaking of bread, probably a reference to the Lord's Supper (see 1 Cor. 11:23, 24). Some believe this is a broader reference to the 'love feast,' a meal of fellowship in the early church. (4) The new believers were to be trained in the discipline of prayer. Corporate prayers were viewed as an essential part of the spiritual growth of the church. Wonders and signs apparently were given by the Lord to the apostles to validate their divinely ordained position and to verify the truthfulness of their witness in the establishment of the early church (see Heb. 2:3, 4).
2:44, 45 The disposal and distribution of possessions in the early church was directed among all, as anyone had need. When a physical or spiritual need became known in the church, action was taken to address it (see 1 John 3:17). The NT believers demonstrated their love for one another by giving self-sacrificially.
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