Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 17
ACTS CHAPTERS 1 & 2
It thrills our heart to know that folks are learning, and so many are writing and calling and telling us that for the first they are beginning to see the difference between God dealing with Israel and the Church. Now Acts Chapter 1, where the disciples had seen The Lord ascend out of their midst from the Mount of Olives. The disciples return to Jerusalem and are meeting in an upper room. It must have been a rather large facility, because we have at least 120 people meeting here. They were instructed by The Lord to wait, before the Holy Spirit would come down on these believers. Now verse 15:
“And in those days (in that ten day period) Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty),”
Is this all the believers that remained after three years of Jesus’ preaching and teaching? I personally think so. We know there were women also, but of the men there were 120. I hope I’m wrong, but it appears in the Jerusalem area these were the sum total of His fruit. Now Peter realizes that since Jesus had left them with the idea that the Kingdom was at hand (He hasn’t told them that it’s going to postponed for some 1900 + years) and since the Kingdom is going to be ruled by Christ with the Twelve ruling the Twelve tribes of Israel, then they need twelve men rather than eleven. So Peter sees the need to fill that other slot, so they will be ready for the return of Christ when He sets up His Kingdom.
“Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he (Judas) was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.”
Remember he had been with them the full three years. He was also their treasurer. He held the money bag. He indeed had a part in the ministry, but we also know that he never had a spiritual part of it, because Jesus said Himself that Judas was a devil from the beginning. So he had completely fooled the other eleven men, but he never fooled Jesus. Jesus knew everything about him and what he would eventually do. That is why David, by inspiration, prophesied it. A lot of people will say Judas never had a chance. God had already created him to be the betrayer. No Judas wasn’t put in that situation. Judas had a choice just like you and I have a choice. But God in His foreknowledge knew what Judas would do when he was given the opportunity. So prophecy foretold it. And when prophecy foretells something it has to happen, otherwise the Book becomes a lie. But never take away Judas’ free will.
“Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity (remember he took his thirty pieces of silver back to the priests at the Temple and threw them at their feet because of his own guilt. And the priests, knowing that it was blood money, couldn’t put it into the treasury, so they took the money and bought the potters field. And that is why this verse gives Judas the credit for purchasing the field); and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”
Before Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden, who actually entered into him? Satan did. So I would like to think that what happened here, as Judas comes back and tries to get out of the whole situation, that as Satan leaves him, he literally just catapults the body of Judas. Now there is a lot more here than meets the eye. Because one point of Scripture says Judas was hung. Scripture doesn’t lie so how are you going to reconcile the two? You’ve got to put all these things together. I think as a result of this catapulting action of Satan himself as he leaves Judas’ body, it caused Judas to be flung onto a low tree branch or fence post. So he ends up in both descriptive categories. Now verse 19:
“And it was know unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, `The field of blood.'” Because it had been purchased with blood money. Then Luke as he writes goes back to Psalms.
“For it is written in the book of Psalms, `Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick (his office as one of the twelve) let another take.’ Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that The Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.”
I’m sure most of you have heard teaching that Peter was being presumptuous here, and that he should have waited for the Apostle Paul seven years later to fill this twelfth slot. How can good solid Bible teachers make a statement like that? Look at the qualifications. It had to be someone who had been a follower of Christ from John the Baptist through His ascension. Paul wouldn’t have fit. Paul was an opposer of Christ at that time. And so evidently there were only two men that fit those qualifications out of the 120 men gathered there – Barsabas and Matthias. I don’t know how they drew lots (probably with a long and short stick). In the Old Testament God would use two stones called the Urim and Thummim for the priest arrive at certain decisions. They were evidently two little gem stones that went into a pouch behind the ephod, and when a decision of yes or no was needed the priest would use these two stones. Scripture doesn’t tell us how they were used, but we know they were used in some decision making. In choosing Matthias, I don’t think they took a vote of the 120 men, but they get God’s decision by choosing between these two men.
“And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias (some people say this doesn’t really tell us that Matthias was God’s choice. Well what are you going to do with the last part of the verse? It says clearly); and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” God made that choice and no one else.
In Chapter 2, it’s the day of Pentecost. We find this in Leviticus Chapter 23. Pentecost is not a Church day, but a Jewish feast day. It’s one of the seven feasts of Jehovah listed in Leviticus Chapter 23. And it was to be 50 days after the Passover. It started way back here in Sinai. In verse 5 we have the Passover and in verse 6 the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In verses 9-14 we have the Feast of First Fruits and in verse 15 we have the next feast.
“And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:”
That’s 49 days but then they were to go to the next day to make 50. The word Pentecost arrives from that. Pente means 50. This was the 50th day after Passover and it became one of the feast days that was practiced throughout Israel’s history. Now back to Acts Chapter 2. Christ has just been crucified at the time of Passover. They were waiting that 50 days till Pentecost. Remember, Jews would come to Jerusalem from the whole then-known world (predominantly Roman Empire) for these seven Jewish feast days. The Temple in Jerusalem is still operating. No one has told these Jewish believers to cast aside Temple worship, these feast days or the Law. See how clearly the Scripture points it out.
“AND when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all (these 120 men plus the women) with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” On a windy day you can’t see the wind but you hear it and see the results. And in order for them to see something, verse 3 states:
“And there appeared unto them cloven (separated) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” Now it doesn’t say it was fire, but it was like as of fire. It didn’t burn them.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues (the Greek word for tongues doesn’t mean jibberish, but language), as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Ever since the Tower of Babel there have been all kinds of dialects and languages. These Jews didn’t all speak Hebrew. They had been living in Gentile nations and had picked up that language.
“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews (notice we are not dealing with Gentiles), devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
All these nations had Jewish communities in them. The other important word in this verse is `devout.’ What kind of Jews would spend the money and take the time to come back to Jerusalem for a feast day? Only the devout ones. And that’s why they were here. There were thousands of them. Now verse 6:
“Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded (amazed), because every man (regardless where he was from) heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, `Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?'”
The disciples were from that part of Israel. Northern Israel was more rural than the southern part, and not as highly educated. They were mostly farmers, shepherds, fishermen and carpenters. Evidently these 12 men showed they were not from that cultured area of Jerusalem. And the crowd could tell it. They knew these men couldn’t be smart enough to speak all the languages.