Notes and References

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Acts of the Apostles

A Bible Study

Acts Chapter 2

Acts 2:1-41

First I want to recap a bit and remind everyone about the perspective of this study here in the early part of Acts. I am trying to come from the view point of the early believers. The 'mystery', that Gentiles would be saved by faith alone, was not yet revealed. So no Gentiles were saved yet. There is no "Body of Christ" yet. There are no "Christians" yet. These are terms the Apostle Paul and the Gentile believers used and will come on the scene 10 + years later.

Church (Greek word έκκλησία ekklesia) in these early years are meetings or assemblies in synagogues and the temple, not churches as we know it. There is a big difference between a Proselyte and Gentile. Proselytes were converts from Gentile religions who bound themselves to all of the Mosaic Laws, were circumcised, and were considered Jewish by religion, not by birth.

In order to study these early believers, we have to have an understanding of what they believed, not what we believe now or understand as salvation and grace. I am trying not to look through the lens of our knowledge and somehow miraculously impart it to these believing Jews. We have the gift of 20/20 hindsight. They only had the Old Testament and the Apostles revealing to them the Messiah, who was their Savior King coming to set up and restore the Kingdom of Israel and rule from His throne in Jerusalem. The early believers were all Jews, still keeping all of the laws of Moses and fully participating in all of the Jewish feasts and temple worship, which would also include sacrifice.

2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

They (the Jewish followers of Christ) were all together "in one place". This tells me after 3 1/2 years of His earthly ministry and all of the miracles He performed, there were only 120 in that upper room who still believed Jesus was the Christ. As a pastor, you should never be discouraged. People will do what they do.

Pentecost is a Jewish feast that is celebrated 49 days or seven full weeks after Passover on the 50th day and in this instance, 10 days after the ascension of Jesus. First, the words in this verse that I want to key in on are 'fully come'. As I was reading other versions of this scripture, I noticed that the word fully was only in the KJV and New KJV, the others just say come.

συμπληροω sumpleroo (soom-play-ro-o)

Here is a Greek word that you might recognize part of the word 'sump' and know that it has to do with submerged or full. The literal meaning from Thayer's Greek Lexicon of this word is to fill completely or swamp, as a boat or ship, or regarding time, to be fulfilled.

This is important because we know later from verse 15 it was the third hour of the day when the apostles were speaking to the crowd who had heard the noise and formed outside of the building. We want to know what time it was when this happened and this will help us to understand what Luke was saying when he said, "συμπληροω sumpleroo (soom-play-ro-o) - fully come"

A day in Jewish time starts at sunset or evening, when the stars can be seen, and ends at the next sunset or evening. The days and times had been counted like this since creation. Our time as we know it today is a technological time based upon a clock. There is no reference in the heavens or stars as to know that it is midnight, in order to start counting a new day.

Gen 1:5 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. KJV

The hour of the day is exactly that. The daylight was divided into 12 equal parts so an hour is not 60 minutes, as in our time but 1/12th part of the daylight of that day.

Let's do some math say today in my region sunrise (twilight) is 5:17 am and sunset (twilight) is 8:58 pm we will round it to 15.5 hours. Take 15.5 divide that by 12 and you get 1.29 hours = a Jewish day hour. Take 1.29 Jewish day hours x 60 minutes and a Jewish day hour in our time would be 77.5 minutes. Take 77.5 x 3 to get the third hour of the day = 3 hours 52 minutes of our time. Add 3:52 + 5:17 (sunrise) = 9:09 am. So the third hour of the day is about 9 am today. It varies by the seasons and the length of days. The 9th hour or the hour of prayer would be 77.5 x 9 = 11 hours 37 minutes. 11:37 + 5.17 = 16:54 or 4:54 pm in my region.

This will help give you an understanding of the times referenced throughout the scriptures. I mainly wanted to know what fully came meant and this little math project shows more than half of the day of Pentecost had already passed when the Holy Spirit filled the people in the upper room.

I inserted (Jews) in the scriptures for reference and to remind us as to who Peter was talking to and about. We cannot forget this perspective.

2:2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Let's stop here for a second - when it was noised abroad - this verse is a little hard to understand in the KJV and I think the NIV gives it a better understanding.

Acts 2:6 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. NIV

Verses 6 forward, the words 'language' and 'tongue' is interchanged here and are the Greek word διαληκτος dialektos or dialect. In verses 3 and 4 tongues are the Greek word γλωσσα meaning literal tongue as a body part or organ of speech.

7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

The several dialects heard were probably:

Hebrew - Judaea

Greek - Phrygia, Pamphylia, and Cappadocia and Pontus in Asia

Latin - Rome

Syriac - Mesopotamia, and Cappadocia and Pontus in Asia

Chaldee - Mesopotamia

Arabic - Arabians

Aramaic - Judaea

Persian - Parthians, Medes, and Elamites

Coptic - Egypt

And languages unknown in Libya and Cyrene

12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

New wine here is the Greek Word γληΰκος gleukos meaning sweet wine. See what I mean about Greek words? We recognize glucose as a sugar and would understand it as being sweet.

14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea (Jews), and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem (Jews), be this known unto you (Jews), and hearken to my words:

Who is Peter addressing? Jews. " Ye men of Judaea (Jews), and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem".

15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Even the least of the devout or the most intemperate would not consume alcoholic beverages before this time (the 3rd hour). Most Jews would offer their morning prayers at the temple or synagogue then return home to drink and eat. (from Albert Barnes Notes) Remember Jerusalem is ruled by the Jews under Mosaic Law and such behavior would not be tolerated. Peter is making a valid argument to the audience in Jerusalem that these men most certainly would not be drunk at this time of day.

16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (speaking to Israel)

17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your (Jews) sons and your (Jews) daughters shall prophesy, and your (Jews) young men shall see visions, and your (Jews) old men shall dream dreams:

18And on my (Jews) servants and on my handmaidens (Jews) I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they (Jews) shall prophesy:

Here is another instance of the break in the prophetic timeline. We saw this in the Psalms 2 timeline in the previous study. The break is the Body of Christ, this 1986 years (year 2015-29; 29 AD = the resurrection of Jesus) of Grace. The following verses in Acts 2:19-21 have not come to pass during this time nor have they yet. These will happen after the Body of Christ, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles, is complete (raptured) and then the tribulation or wrath of God is poured out.

Look at the difference here as compared to when Jesus spoke the prophecy in Luke 4:17 reading in Isaiah 61:1, 2. Jesus ended His reading in the middle of verse 2. Everything was fulfilled up to the point where he stopped. He did not speak, "and the day of vengeance of our God". The day of vengeance had not happened at that time and still has yet to happen, (The dispersion or diaspora or scattering of the Jews into all the nations and the dissolution of Israel so that as a nation or country was completely destroyed did occur in AD 70). So when Jesus quit His reading in the middle of the verse abruptly, those He was speaking to knew it and "wondered". Now here Peter does not stop with the part that is unfulfilled in Joel 2:28 but rehearses the entire text.

19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Now let us look at this from the perspective of the Apostles. This verse in Joel 2:28 did not apply to Gentiles (you and I) and Joel was speaking as a prophet only to Israel or Jews.

22Ye men of Israel, (Jews) hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you (Jews) by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you (Jews), as ye (Jews) yourselves also know:

23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye (Jews) have taken, and by wicked hands (Romans) have crucified and slain:

Foreknowledge is Greek word πρόγνωσις prognosis - which means God could determine the outcome based upon a set of facts or circumstances - this is not predestination nor was anyone's sovereign will ever violated or forced in order for the crucifixion to happen. God knew based upon knowledge of man's nature and not by divine intervention.

24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. This was a definative proof in scripture by quoting King David regarding the resurrection of Jesus, that His body would never see or experience corruption, meaning putrefaction or rot.

28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29Men and brethren (Jews), let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we (the twelve apostles) all are witnesses.

33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

36Therefore let all the house of Israel (Jews) know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye (Jews) have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Peter accused all the house of Israel (Jews) of killing their savior! Now let us get one thing straight, I am not accusing the Jews as to solely crucifying Jesus. We read in Psalms 2 it was a collusion of Gentiles and Jews. We know that the Jews delivered Him and the Romans crucified Him

37Now when they (the Jews) heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren (Jews), what shall we do?

38Then Peter said unto them (Jews), Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye (Jews) shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39For the promise is unto you (Jews), and to your (Jews) children, and to all (Jews) that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Another little Greek word study - 'untoward':

σκολιός skolios, we should easily recognize from our present time knowledge of scoliosis or crooked back syndrome. The word here in the Greek is referring to a 'crooked' generation or people of a certain time period.

41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

One thing I want to emphasize here in verse 38 is the way these Jewish believers would be saved.

They had to:

1. Repent

2. Be baptized 'in the name' of Jesus Christ

3. Then the 'gift' and 'promise' of the Holy Ghost would be given.

Later in this study you will see clearly this formula for salvation does not apply to Gentiles in this order and some are never baptized in water. Because salvation is by the faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise forever so that we may have everlasting life.