The Coming of the Holy Spirit Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
June 10, 2013
Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles
Topic #II: The Church in Jerusalem, Acts 2.1-8.3
Subtopic A: The Church is Born (Acts 2.1-2.41)
Secondary Topic 1: Pentecost (Acts 2.1-2.13)
Lesson II.A.1.a: The Coming of the Holy Spirit
Scripture: Acts 2.1-2.4a
Acts 2.1-2.4a (KJV)
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4a And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
The Holy Spirit did not come because the believers prayed but because the day of Pentecost had come, the day appointed for the “birthday of the church.” He baptized the believers into one body—“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13; KJV)—so that they had a living connection with their sovereign Head who had been exalted in heaven. Luke 2 describes the birth of the Lord’s physical body and Acts 2 the birth of His spiritual body.
The Spirit also filled the believers and empowered them to become His witness. He gave Peter insight into the Word and the ability to show men Christ in the Word. The Spirit used the witness of the church to convict the lost, just as Jesus said He would do— “After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:7-10; KJV).
But the same Holy Spirit assisted the believers in their church fellowship—“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:40-47; KJV).
The original group was outnumbered by the new believers, but there was still harmony in the church family. They worshiped daily and witnessed daily, and “the Lord added to the church daily” (Acts 2.47; KJV). Is your experience with the Lord a daily one?
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come,
Thus far our author has been engaged in preliminary statements, which were necessary to properly introduce his main theme. He has furnished us with a list of the eleven apostles, and the appointment of the twelfth; rehearsed briefly their qualifications as witnesses of the resurrection; informed us that they were in Jerusalem, dwelling in an upper room, but spending most of their time in the temple, and waiting for the promised power to inaugurate on earth the kingdom of Christ. He now proceeds to give an account of the descent of the Holy Spirit, and he begins with the main theme of the narrative—“When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
The words “fully come” could be translated “fulfilled.” When the Day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in one place. Why Luke uses the expression, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come,” is best explained in this way. The day began with sunset, and the first part of it was night, which was not suitable for the purpose of these events. The day was not fully come until daylight.
“Pentecost” took place fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Firstfruits pictures the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is the firstfruits—“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Cor. 15:23; KJV).
FIRSTFRUITS ARE THE FIRSTBORN OF THE FLOCKS AND THE FIRST VEGETABLES AND GRAINS TO BE GATHERED AT HARVEST TIME. THE HEBREW PEOPLE THOUGHT OF THESE AS BELONGING TO GOD IN A SPECIAL SENSE. THEY WERE DEDICATED OR PRESENTED TO GOD ON THE DAY OF THE FIRSTFRUITS, A PART OF THE CELEBRATION OF PENTECOST (SEE NUM. 28:26; 2 CHR. 31:5).
The Passover pictures of the death of Jesus Christ; we learn from 1 Corinthians 5:7: “… For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” Since the Passover has been fulfilled in the death of Christ, and the Feast of Firstfruits has been fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, we believe that the Feast of Pentecost represents something—that is, it is the fulfillment of something. Its fulfillment is the birth of the church, the day the church came into existence.
When the Day of Pentecost “was being fulfilled,” or “was fully come,” means that this was the fulfillment of the meaning and the purpose for which it was given originally. On Pentecost, there was to be a meal offering to the Lord, which was to be presented in two loaves of fine flour baked with leaven (see Lev. 23). This was to depict the beginning and origin of the church. It spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit in the very particular ministry of calling a people out of this world to form the body of Christ, which is the church. Five minutes before the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost there was no church. Five minutes after the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost there was a church. In other words, what Bethlehem was to the birth of Christ, Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost was to the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit became a visible presence. He began to baptize believers, which means that the Holy Spirit identified them with Christ as His body here on this earth. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).
The Holy Spirit began to perform a ministry on the Day of Pentecost. The Day of Pentecost was fulfilled on that day. When the Day of Pentecost “was fully come” does not mean it was 12:00 noon or 7:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon. It means that Pentecost, which Israel had been celebrating for many generations, was fulfilled.
PENTECOST, THAT IS, THE FIFTIETH DAY (FROM A GREEK WORD MEANING FIFTIETH), OR HARVEST FEAST, OR FEAST OF WEEKS, MAY BE REGARDED AS A SUPPLEMENT TO THE PASSOVER. IT LASTED FOR ONLY ONE DAY. FROM THE SIXTEENTH OF NISAN SEVEN WEEKS WERE COUNTED, AND THE NEXT OR FIFTIETH DAY WAS THE DAY OF PENTECOST, WHICH FELL ON THE SIXTH OF SIVAN (ABOUT THE END OF MAY) (SEE EX. 23:16; 34:22; LEV. 23:15-22; NUM. 28). THE PENTECOST WAS THE JEWISH HARVEST-HOME, AND THE PEOPLE WERE URGED TO REJOICE BEFORE JEHOVAH WITH THEIR FAMILIES, THEIR SERVANTS, THE LEVITE WITHIN THEIR GATES, THE STRANGER, THE FATHERLESS AND THE WIDOW, IN THE PLACE CHOSEN BY GOD FOR HIS NAME, AS THEY BROUGHT A FREE-WILL OFFERING OF THEIR HAND TO JEHOVAH THEIR GOD (SEE DEUT. 16:10, 11). THE GREAT FEATURE OF THE CELEBRATION WAS THE PRESENTATION OF THE TWO LOAVES, MADE FROM THE FIRST-FRUITS OF THE WHEAT HARVEST. WITH THE LOAVES TWO LAMBS WERE OFFERED AS A PEACE OFFERING, AND ALL WERE WAVED BEFORE JEHOVAH, AND GIVEN TO THE PRIESTS; THE LOAVES, BEING LEAVENED, COULD NOT BE OFFERED ON THE ALTAR. THE OTHER SACRIFICES WERE A BURNT OFFERING OF A YOUNG BULLOCK, TWO RAMS, AND SEVEN LAMBS, WITH A MEAT AND DRINK OFFERING, AND A KID FOR A SIN OFFERING (SEE LEV. 23:18, 19). UNTIL THE PENTECOSTAL LOAVES WERE OFFERED, THE PRODUCE OF THE HARVEST COULD NOT BE EATEN, NOR COULD ANY OTHER FIRST-FRUITS BE OFFERED. THE WHOLE CEREMONY WAS THE COMPLETION OF THAT DEDICATION OF THE HARVEST TO GOD AS ITS GIVER, AND TO WHOM BOTH THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE WERE HOLY, WHICH WAS BEGUN BY THE OFFERING OF THE WAVE-SHEAF AT THE PASSOVER. THE INTERVAL IS STILL REGARDED AS A RELIGIOUS SEASON. THE PENTECOST IS THE ONLY ONE OF THE THREE GREAT FEASTS WHICH IS NOT MENTIONED AS THE MEMORIAL OF EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS; BUT SUCH SIGNIFICANCE HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE FACT THAT THE LAW WAS GIVEN FROM SINAI ON THE FIFTIETH DAY AFTER THE DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT (SEE EX. 12 AND 19). IN THE EXODUS THE PEOPLE WERE OFFERED TO GOD AS LIVING FIRST-FRUITS; AT SINAI THEIR CONSECRATION TO HIM AS A NATION WAS COMPLETED. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PENTECOST FOR CHRISTIANS IS MADE CLEAR FROM THE EVENTS OF THE DAY RECORDED IN THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, CHAPTER 2. JUST AS THE APPEARANCE OF GOD ON SINAI WAS THE BIRTHDAY OF THE JEWISH NATION, SO WAS THE PENTECOST THE BIRTHDAY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.