Acts + Letters Lesson 2 Day 2

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Acts 2:1-13


Feast of Pentecost

Pentecost – The fiftieth day (seven weeks) after the Passover Sabbath (Leviticus 23:16)

This harvest season includes two events – the Feast of Weeks and the Day of Firstfruits. They are annual Jewish festivals to celebrate the first buds of the wheat harvest. This was one of three major feast-times that Jewish men were required by law to go to Jerusalem. (Leviticus 23)

It was the best-attended of the great feasts because traveling conditions were at their best. There was never a more cosmopolitan gathering in Jerusalem than this one. (Hughes) via (Enduring Word)

On the Old Testament Day of Pentecost Israel received the Law; on the New Testament Day of Pentecost the Church received the Spirit of Grace in fullness. (Enduring Word)

Holy Spirit’s Arrival

1. Here’s what happened when the Holy Spirit baptised them.

Sound from heaven

  • Sound from the heaven realm like a gale force wind – The Aramaic can also be translated “like the roar of a groaning spirit.” (footnote on Acts 2:2 in TPT)

…in both the Hebrew and Greek languages, the word for spirit (as in Holy Spirit) is the same word for breath or wind (this also happens to be true in Latin).

The sound of this fast, mighty wind would make any of these men and women who knew the Hebrew Scriptures think of the presence of the Holy Spirit. (Guzik)

  • The overpowering sound filled the whole house. They couldn’t feel this wind on their faces or see their clothing move. They only heard it with their ears.

Tongues of fire

  • Tongues that looked like flames divided up and sat on each head like living sacrifices.

It probably should be connected with John the Baptist’s prophecy that Jesus would baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11).

The idea behind the picture of fire is usually purification, as a refiner uses fire to make pure gold; or fire can burn away what is temporary, leaving only what will last. This is an excellent illustration of the principle that the filling of the Holy Spirit is not just for abstract power, but for purity. (Guzik)

Different languages

  • As the Spirit enabled each one, they began to speak in languages they did not learn or understand.
  • People out in the streets also heard the sounds and their words declaring the mighty works of God.

I have questions about how this unfolded. Did those in the upper room do down into the streets or when people heard the wind and the large number of people speaking in tongues, did they gather around and listen from the street below the windows? Here is one theory:

Not many homes of that day could hold 120 people. It is far more likely that this upper room was part of the temple courts, which was a huge structure, with porches and colonnades and rooms. The crowd came from people milling about the temple courts. (Guzik)

2. They were being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promise was fulfilled. The manifestation of the torn veil and the opportunity to become a walking tabernacle of the presence God came to pass.

They all spoke in different tongues, yet there was a unity among the believers. “Ever since the early church fathers, commentators have seen the blessing of Pentecost as a deliberate and dramatic reversal of the curse of Babel.” (Stott)

3. Personal experience

I have experienced that unity. The first time was during the Jesus People Movement of the late 1960s. Our youth group exploded in a matter of weeks. Young people often came to our house to fellowship, sing and pray.

That unity accompanies the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit among zealous seekers of God.

4. “each one was hearing them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6c ESV)

Apparently, “people from Galilee (Galileans) were known to be uncultured and poor speakers. This was all the more reason to be impressed with their ability to speak eloquently in other languages. “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.” (Longenecker) via Enduring Word

This miraculous phenomena attracted and held the attention of the crowd who soon heard Peter’s anointed sermon.

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MY answers to BSF Bible Study questions Acts and Letters of the Apostles Lesson 2 Day 2