The Coming of the Holy Spirit Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The Savior, crucified on Friday, was in the tomb on the Passover Sabbath and rose on Sunday, the day from where the count began. The Sunday following would be the eighth day and the fiftieth day would fall on Sunday, the first day of the eighth week. Hence, the ancient church observed Pentecost on the first day of the week. Almost all Bible scholars agree that Pentecost came on Sunday. Pentecost was the feast of the grain harvest (see Exod 23:16; 34:22, 23), and was also agreed on by the Jews to be the anniversary of the giving of the law.
were all with one accord in one place.
By “all” is probably meant not only the apostles, but also the one hundred and twenty mentioned in Acts 1:15—“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,).”
The word translated “with one accord” is the Greek word homothymadon, meaning like-mindedness; this shows the unity of purpose among these early disciples. This phrase signifies that all their minds, love, desires, and wishes were concentrated in one object; every man having the same purpose in view; and, having but one desire, they had but one prayer to God and every heart expressed it. There was no one who was not interested—no one unconcerned—no one lukewarm; all were sincere, and the Spirit of God came down to meet their united faith and prayer. It is probable they had continued together until this time, and given themselves entirely to the business of devotion. When any assembly of God's people meets in the same spirit they may expect every blessing they need.
When we read here that they were “with one accord,” we might remember, that while their Master was with them, there was often strife among them over which of them should be the greatest; but now all the strife has ended, and we hear nothing else about it. They had received enough of the Holy Ghost already, when Christ breathed on them, to rectify the past mistakes upon which those contests were based, and now their association was rooted in holy love. Lately, they had prayed more together than usual—“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:14; KJV)—and this made them love one another more. He prepared them for the gift of the Holy Ghost by his grace, since that blessed person does not come where there is noise and commotion, but moves upon the face of the still waters of love, not the raging waves of emotion out-of-control. Would we have the Spirit poured out upon us from on high? Then let us all be of one accord, and, though there is a variety of opinions and interests, as no doubt there was among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; because, where brethren dwell together in unity, that is where the Lord bestows his blessing.
They were at this time “In one place.” Where this was is not known, and commentators have been divided in their speculation about it. Some have supposed it was in the upper room mentioned in Acts 1:13—“And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.” Others say that it was a room in the temple, which is what seems to be intimated in Acts 2.46—“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.” Still, others say that it was in a synagogue; and some others that it was in the courts of the temple. Finally, in Acts 2.2 it simply calls the place “the house.” There is no way to tell where in Jerusalem this happened, but it was at Jerusalem, because it was the place which God chose, to put his name, and the prophecy was that the word of the Lord would go from Jerusalem to all nations (see Isa. 2:3). It was now the place of the general rendezvous of all devout Jews, and where God had promised to meet them and bless them. Although Jerusalem had done the greatest dishonor imaginable to Christ, God did this honor to Jerusalem, to teach His remnant everywhere that He still loved them.
As for when this took place, many been alleged that it took place on the first day of the week, that is, on the Christian Sabbath. But there is a difficulty in making this assumption. There was probably a difference of opinion among the Jews themselves on this subject. The law said that they should count seven Sabbaths, that is, seven weeks, "from the morrow after the Sabbath” (see Leviticus 23:15). The Pharisees believed this Sabbath to be the second day of the Passover, on whatever day of the week it occurred, which was kept as a holy assembly and might be called a Sabbath. But the Caraite Jews, or those who insisted on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, maintained that by the Sabbath here was meant the usual Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Consequently, with them, the day of Pentecost always occurred on the first day of the week; and if the apostles held the same view, the day was fully come on what is now the Christian Sabbath. But if the views of the Pharisees were followed, and the Lord Jesus had kept the Passover with them on Thursday, as many have supposed, then the day of Pentecost would have occurred on the Jewish Sabbath, that is, on Saturday. It is impossible to determine the day of the event with absolute certainty; but, it is really not that important, after all.
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.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
The Book of Acts has been called “the book of the Holy Spirit.” Luke placed more emphasis on the Holy Spirit than the other three gospel writers. The manner in which the Holy Ghost came upon them is worthy of mention since it was unique. We often read in the Old Testament of God coming down in a cloud; like He did when he took possession of the tabernacle for the first time, and afterward of the temple, which suggests the darkness of that dispensation. And Christ went up to heaven in a cloud, which brings to mind how much we are kept in the dark concerning the heavenly world. But the Holy Ghost did not descend in a cloud; because he had come to dispel and scatter the clouds that overspread men’s minds, and to bring light into the world.
The coming of the Holy Spirit of God with power was accompanied by two manifestations. The first was the sound of a “rushing mighty wind,” and the second was “cloven tongues like as of fire” (v. 3). The wind is symbolic of the Spirit of God. In Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel prophesies that the wind would blow upon the dead bones in the valley of his vision. He was actually prophesying the coming of the Spirit of God upon Israel. Here that same wind is used to symbolize the Spirit’s presence.
The “wind” and “fire” are both familiar signs of the presence of God, and they provided a visual depiction of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of filling and equipping each believer for a special role in Christ’s ministry.
“And suddenly.” It burst upon them unexpectedly and all of a sudden. Though they were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, nevertheless it is not likely that they expected it in this manner. It came sooner than they expected and probably startled even those that were now together waiting.
Since this was an important event and one on which the welfare of the church depended, it was appropriate that the gift of the Holy Spirit would come to pass in some striking and observable manner, in order to convince them that the promise was fulfilled, and to impress others with the greatness and importance of the event.
“There came a sound.” The word translated “sound” is applied to any loud noise or explosion. For example, in Hebrews 12:19, it is "The sound of a trumpet.” The day of the founding of the church was to be a day of signs and wonders, and since the shedding forth of the Spirit was essential to the church it was fitting that it was made perceptible to all.
“From heaven.” The sound seemed to rush down from the sky. It would, therefore, attract their attention because of the direction from which it came, as much as its suddenness and violence. The wind commonly blows horizontally, but this one appeared to come from above; and this is all that is meant by the expression, "from heaven."
John, in his vision of heaven, said he heard thunder, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder” (Rev 6:1; KJV). God is said to “bring the winds out of his treasuries” (Ps. 135:7), and “to gather them in his hands” (Prov. 30:4). From him this sound came; some claim it was a clap of thunder and others that it was like the voice of one crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”