Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 17
ACTS CHAPTERS 1 & 2
Now as we start another lesson, we will be starting with Acts 2:8 We left off with the day of Pentecost, and Jews had come to Jerusalem from all over the the known world to celebrate this Jewish feast day. Remember there were seven of these feast days that the Jews celebrated. We were discussing in our last lesson how these thousands of Jews could understand the disciples in their own languages and dialect. So not only did these disciples speak in different languages, they brought it down to dialect of individual areas. And this is only to point out that God is so miraculous in everything that He does. This isn’t something to be taken lightly. But these twelve men were given that ability of languages where all could understand them regardless where they were from or what languages they spoke. And as we discussed, these twelve men are not highly educated and yet they are speaking all the languages and dialects so these people could understand every word that they were saying.
“And how hear we every man in our own tongue (language), wherein we were born?” The names of the nations from which they came are listed in verse 9. Although these are Gentile nations, these are Jews that have come from these nations.
“Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.” These are Jews who had been living in these various nations. This is the power that Jesus had promised to come upon them back there in Acts 1:8.
“And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, `What meaneth this?'” What’s going on? Can’t you imagine? And how the crowd became alive at something so supernatural. But You’ve always got your scoffers, it’s no different today. They will just grab at straws, and foolish notions to try to make a point. “Others mocking said, `These men are full of new wine.'” How ridiculous! Alcohol can make a man make a fool of himself. But I’ve never seen it elevate man to a higher level of intelligence.
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:” Remember he is talking to Jews with maybe an occasional proselyte.
“For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” That was another thing that made it ridiculous, it was too early in the day for anyone to be that far along. Verse 16, Here’s where we are going to get real picky.
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;”
Stop and analyze what is `this’ and what is `that?‘ Well, the `this’ he is talking about is this manifestation now of the coming down of the Holy Spirit in a role that is completely different than that He had ever played before. Now the Spirit has always been. You go back to the creation, what moved upon the face of the deep? The Spirit did. David prayed, “Take not your Spirit from me.” So the Spirit has been evident. Although the Orthodox Jews don’t like to recognize the Holy Spirit as a Person of the Godhead. But yet the Scripture does. Let’s go back to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, because I want you to see that this is all back in the Old Testament. And remember this is prophecy, and also remember that all prophecy is directed primarily to the Nation of Israel. There is no prophecy directed to the Church. Even today, as we see the increase of earthquakes, and the world getting ready for a one-world government, world economy, and world religion, it is still not the wheels of prophecy turning yet; it’s simply getting it ready for when they do. So Joel is writing to the Nation of Israel, and Peter has just told them that this is what Joel is talking about. Now let’s read on:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”
(-) This was fulfilled at Christ’s First Advent. But when we start to read verse 30, 31, and 32, keep in mind that didn’t happen at Pentecost, and it still hasn’t happened. But it will:
“And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
Now had Peter had the foreknowledge that Jesus had, do you know what he would have done? He would have done like Jesus did in Luke Chapter 4, when He read from Isaiah Chapter 61, when He stopped in the middle of the verse. He sat down and said, “Today this has been fulfilled before your eyes” because Jesus knew that the rest of that verse in Isaiah wouldn’t take place until another 2000 years. But Peter doesn’t know this. Peter is still on Covenant ground as I have shown so often, and he claims the Covenant promises that God made to Abraham. So Peter can’t put a break here between verses 29 and 30, because he doesn’t know. So Peter quotes the whole passage as if it’s all going to take place one thing after the other because that’s what the Old Testament showed. None of the prophets knew about this 1900 + years span called the Church Age, and neither did Peter. All they knew about was that Christ would come, He would be rejected, He would ascend back to glory, and then would come the time of vexation, and wrath of God, the Tribulation. And then yet would set their King on the Holy Hill of Zion, the Kingdom. So you can see there was no hint of the Church Age in that program. The Scriptures in the Old Testament are full of prophecies of His first coming, and the last half of the prophecies are still waiting. Now back to Acts again. Peter continues right on with prophecy, because he thinks it will happen next.
“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:” See that’s the Tribulation. Now in verse 21:
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of The Lord shall be saved.”
Now let’s jump to Romans 10. We have the same language here but the casual reader will never see the difference. But I want you to. What is the difference? Peter says it one way and Paul says it another. Peter had just got through quoting Joel who said whosoever shall call upon the name of The Lord shall be delivered (saved) and that is under the Old Testament economy. That would be when The King and Kingdom would come on the scene. We have looked at those verses so many times. For example Zechariah 8:23. But before Gentiles could be saved under that economy, all the Jews had to become believers and priests in the Kingdom. And Peter knows this and is trying to convince the Jews here at Jerusalem of their need. Look what Paul says in Romans:
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of The Lord shall be saved.” This isn’t going to be done through Israel. This is where we are today. Back to verse 8. I’m putting this in reverse purposely.
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth The Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” See that is the heart of our Salvation message, but in order to trigger it, what are we to do? Call upon Him!
I have always used the analogy (and I like to use simple ones that anybody can understand) that if you have a swimming pool full of kids on a hot summer afternoon and they are screaming and yelling and having a good time, the ordinary person would never hear a weak swimmer call for help. But that lifeguard has a trained ear. And when that lifeguard hears that feeble call he springs into action, because he can hear a cry for help. It’s the same way with God. When God hears that sinner crying out for help, for Salvation, what does He do? He springs into action and immediately He’s there to save. But I feel that the person still has to come to the place of realizing they are in need. And when they cry out, God responds. And that is the whole concept here in Romans 10, that we are to believe that Christ died and rose from the dead, but God expects us to cry out on that basis for His saving Grace.
So Paul is writing under the Age of Grace, and that is where we are tonight. The vilest of sinners can call out for Salvation and it’s his if he believes. But back here in Joel that isn’t the case. Christ hadn’t died yet, the offer of Salvation hadn’t been turned over to the whole world, It’s still confined to Israel under the Law. The wording is the same but they are under two completely difference circumstances. One is under Grace, and the other is under the Kingdom economy. So be careful and don’t gloss that over. Now back to Acts Chapter 2 once again. We have Peter with this great crowd of Jews from every end of the then-known world congregated for this feast of Pentecost.
Ye men of Israel,…”
And all you pagan Gentiles? No! Who’s He talking to? Jews, and Jews only. Now Jew only is not original with me. We’ve looked at it before, but we need to look at it again. Go to Chapter 11, verse 19. The setting here is much later, but Luke the writer refers back to Acts 7 when Stephen was stoned and that event was seven years after Pentecost.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word (The Old Testament)to none but unto the Jews only.”
See how plain that is? The Book says it, not me. So it was Jew only, because God had not given them instructions to go to the Gentiles. He is still dealing with His Covenant people as late as Acts Chapter 7. So certainly in Acts 2 the same thing applies. He is still dealing only with the Nation of Israel and that is why Peter addresses it as such.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs (and that is why we covered them as we came through the Four Gospels. And John tells us the purpose of those signs and miracles in John 20:30-31 was to show that He was The Christ the promised Messiah, and Peter is rehearsing that here with these Jews) which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”
“Him (speaking of Jesus), being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”
What’s another word for slain? Murdered. Killed. How would you like to have your pastor stand up behind the pulpit Sunday after Sunday pointing his finger at the congregation and saying, “You killed the Son of God.” We don’t hear that, and we are not supposed to, but Israel deserved it because they had killed their Messiah. And Peter makes it so plain: You killed Him. But back up a few words in this verse and there are two tremendous words that I’m afraid the average Bible students don’t see. There is so much in this Book to learn. In fact, the average Christian is so ignorant of this Book. But when I use the word `ignorant’ that doesn’t mean they are short on brain power.
Hey, I’m average in brain power, but are a lot of things that I’m completely ignorant of. And most Church members know just a little bit of the stuff that they have scratched off the surface. And so consequently, with so little Biblical knowledge they can come into the work-a-day world and they can embrace secular humanism and they don’t know what they are doing. And so people ask me why I do what I do. I don’t take any compensation, and I don’t want any. If I can just get people to wake up and realize that there is so much in this Book to learn that will help us as a nation in day-to-day living and in experience. In good citizenship. We can see what’s taking place in our young people tonight. They have no sense of right and wrong. Why? They don’t know what this Book says! All you have to do is look at our beloved nation tonight and see murder and crime running rampant, and that’s not the way it was meant. If people would only realize the Godliness of our founding fathers. And how they all quoted this Book.