The Acts of the Apostles - Chapter 2

Ezekiel 20:33‑38; Joel 1‑3  •  27 min. read  •  grade level: 6
I think it of moment to notice here verse 1, because there is a general current idea that only the -twelve were present, that there were a hundred and twenty, and not the apostles only. " They were all with one accord in one place."
There is no clue to that, that I know of. Very likely that may have been in Galilee, where the Lord had appointed others to meet Him, but there is no statement about it.
The hundred and twenty would comprise the whole assembly?
Not all who were converted, but those who were at Jerusalem.
Would it include the women?
Probably. Yes. In chapter 1:14 it says, " with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
But in verse 16 Peter addresses them " men and brethren"?
Yes, but it is clear that the Holy Ghost was poured out on women: " I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy," " and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit;" and Philip had four daughters who prophesied.
" By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body," how are we to understand that in connection with this?
They were baptized into one body then and there, only it was not fully developed until the Gentiles came in. The Spirit coining. down upon them then did baptize them into one body, but the term " baptism" is never applied to this, except at Pentecost, in scripture, that I know of; though all come into that one body. In chapter 1 the Lord says, " Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
But the Corinthians came in afterward?
Yes, and they are spoken of as " sealed" and " anointed." In John 1:3333And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:33) " the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost," it is the second part of the work of Christ. The first part was the taking "away the sin of the world" as the " Lamb of God;" the second, baptizing with the Holy Ghost.
What would that mean, " fell upon them as upon us at the beginning"?
That is not called baptism; but it is just the same thing in effect; the disciples were formed into unity by the coming down of the Holy Ghost upon them; it was a special case with the Gentiles to show that they were all one. The body was not in its developed condition before the Gentiles were brought in.
What was their condition before the Holy Ghost fell upon them?
They had intelligence of course but no power, like the disciples before Pentecost, as we were saying.
Would it be the condition of infancy in Hebrews 5?
That was the Jewish state before Christ's death and resurrection.
Would you not say that every believer is baptized with the Holy Ghost?
No. When brought into liberty, he is sealed and anointed, and comes into the general baptism; he comes into the same place then. I know how people speak, and God does not make a man an offender for a word; but you get the case of Cornelius clear enough, when God was saying, I will have the Gentiles in spite of you.
What would you call the action of the Holy Ghost in giving a believer his place in the body of Christ?
No action. He is sealed when he receives the Holy Ghost, it is not another Holy Ghost, and so he becomes a member of that body.
But in 1 Cor. 12, he speaks of Gentiles having been baptized into that one body?
Yes; it is merely the use of a word. The practical idea is simple. I do not find it applied to an individual; it is the same Holy Ghost and the individual receives it; if a Gentile came, he received the Holy Ghost, and was formed into the same unity, that is the important point, the thing to be thoroughly seen and believed, that we do receive the Holy Ghost, and so get into this unity. When a man receives the Holy Ghost he is a member of the body of Christ, only the difference between this, and sealing, and anointing, is important in this, that there are individual relationships as well as unity, because in receiving the Holy Ghost, he becomes a conscious son of the Father • I say conscious son, and he knows that he is in Christ, and Christ in him, by the Holy Ghost dwelling in him; there are many individual things you must not lose sight of.
Would the individual things you refer to be expressed in 1 Cor. 12?
No; that is a different thing. But there is " the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us;" and again, 44 at that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you;" that is all individual.
How are we to understand in Acts 19, " Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed"? They were only John's disciples.
Were they not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Well, I suppose Paul saw something in them that made him ask the question. But they were not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as risen.
What is the difference between anointing and sealing?
None. It is by the Spirit, and the Spirit is the earnest, but anointing is the general term; it is a figure; the leper was washed with water, sprinkled with blood, and anointed with oil: and when God anoints a man, He puts His seal upon him, and gives him the earnest of the inheritance and all other things.
Would you expect that to follow immediately on conversion?
Yes, when one heard a clear gospel preached. But I could not expect anything; that is a matter of God's condescending wisdom in particular cases, or He might see a person who wanted breaking down first, or a thousand things.
There seems to be an interval in the case of the Samaritans in Acts 8?
Yes, and so there was here too in chapter 2. I think it is gracious of the Lord to make all these things so distinct. I know what pious books say, that I receive the Holy Ghost when I am converted; it is all false, I receive the Holy Ghost after I am converted.
But the Holy Ghost works before?
Yes, of course, but my building a house, and my going to live in it when it is built, are two different things.
What is the " unction" in John's First Epistle?
The Holy Ghost, always. It is an allusion to the anointing with oil, after sprinkling with the blood. It is said of Christ, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, but Christ is never said to have been baptized with the Holy Ghost; you get " him hath God the Father sealed." Only remember, He was sealed and anointed in witness of His own perfectness, while we are sealed and anointed in virtue of Christ's work.
But the holy anointing oil was not to come on man's flesh?
Just so; and so Christ takes us out of flesh in that sense.
But before God does not anointing exist in every case whether known or not?
No, certainly not. These in Acts 19 were not anointed. I know no reason why there should be any delay. It was the regular thing when a man was sprinkled with blood, then he was anointed with oil.
There are many Christians who do not know what the anointing is?
The question is, Can they really cry " Abba, Father?"
Is that the criterion of having the Holy Ghost? Certainly; "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts."
Does not that imply receiving the Holy Ghost as soon as we are sons?
Naturally it does... If I find a person in liberty with God, he will say " Father," and also if truly at liberty he will say, I am God's son. People may sometimes say " Father" through a measure of training and habit, but such will be afraid to say, if they have not the Holy Ghost, that they are God's sons. I mean even when they may use the name Father.
But there is such a thing as judicial blindness?
O yes, as chastisement there is. But, otherwise, when sealed, the consciousness of relationship will be there. That is a very distinct and definite thing. Just as a child may be forgetful and naughty, but still it lives in the consciousness of its being a child. It may have conscience deadened and hardened, but it is never out of the consciousness of the relationship after all. So when a person has the Holy Ghost, that gives him the consciousness of being a son.
Did the Prophet Joel think of the body of Christ? is it not merely a promise to the Jewish remnant?
That is what it really is, but it is promised to all flesh. It has its place so far here as well. But it is not true of us as its full final accomplishment. But we have the firstfruits of the Spirit.
But will it not be true of them that they will be baptized into one body?
No. But God was here going on in a way with Israel for a time.
But the full prophecy was not fulfilled here? No. In Joel it says "afterward" God will do it, but here it says, " in the last days."
How can we divide it?
We have it divided for us here; only Peter changes the language.
Is there anything to be learned from the quotation?
If you look at Joel it is clearly this, "And it shall come to pass afterward"-after God has restored Israel, and set them in blessing in their land, and they own Messiah, then they get the Spirit; but they are not connected with Christ in heaven then, because Christ is down here on the earth with them. The Lord will do great things for them; He will restore them in blessing, He will be jealous for His land, and will pity His people, so that they shall never be ashamed; they shall know that God is Jehovah, &c., " and afterward I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." Now here Peter changes the word " afterward" and puts in " the last days," and so takes in a distinct testimony.
Then would you say that those in the last days who receive the Spirit will receive Him, and the Holy Ghost dwell in them?
Poured out upon them is all that is said, but they have Christ present with them.
What part was fulfilled at Pentecost?
Just the fact of pouring out.
He does not say it was fulfilled, but " this is that which was spoken"?
Peter stops in the middle of verse 32 of Joel. What he really gives you is the fact that the Spirit was poured out.
Is there anything in the leaving out of the " of "?
No. But you get it used of the, Holy Ghost in scripture, as in " because he bath given us of his Spirit." It is important to see that the Spirit is personally present on earth; that is another truth.
What of " I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath"?
That is warning.
Then the restoration in the land will take place before the outpouring of the Spirit?
Yes, but they are distinct parts of the prophecy altogether; and they are separated on purpose in the way that Peter is speaking. Verse 30 of Joel begins distinct testimony; he states a complete restoration of Israel to blessing; then He will pour out of His Spirit; and then in verse 30, before those days come, He will send signs and wonders; you get upon this little remnant of Israel, the Holy Ghost poured out, with the warning of signs and wonders before the terrible day comes. But Israel reject this, as they did all the rest, and then Paul comes out with the Son in heaven; and the ground of bringing that out is Stephen's murder.
Will the remnant get this pouring out of the Spirit before the Lord comes?
No. Joel says ' afterward.' I believe there will be a working of the Spirit, as by Elias, and so on; but they will not get this pouring out. You get the restoration of Israel to full blessing, then the Spirit. But then Joel says before the coming of the terrible clay of the Lord-the wonders.
The Lord delivers the people and then the Holy Ghost comes down, so that they are saved already before the Holy Ghost comes down, and then they shall never be ashamed.
Would the end of verse 29 be how- much of the-prophecy was fulfilled?
But must not those words of Joel be the unity-of the body?
Why "must?" I have nothing to do with the unity of the body here; other teaching makes us know about that, but not this passage.
Why will not this outpouring make the Jews one when it comes? Will it not b3 a necessary consequence, because Christ will have left heaven then?
But can you make things necessary with God?
You cannot unite with a Head in heaven, when He is here on earth. Why is God to do in on( dispensation the same that He does in another? Christ's place now is ascended up on high to receive gifts for men.... and now the Holy Ghost (-rives gifts, but gifts have nothing to do with the nature of the unity of the church. There is a prophet now, and so there was in the Old Testament, but they are different; you are assuming that God is pledged to act in the same way always.
Will the Jews have these apostles and prophets?
No, I do not say that You get Christ's ascension in Psa. 68, and His sitting at the right hand of God in Psa. 110 But what comes out between that and His return, on being united to Him in heaven, is not presented then at all. He gives gifts for the rebellious also, that is Jews in Psa. 68, but the apostle does not quote that, but says " received gifts in man." But in the future day the Lord will be among them then as Messiah, and it is not the same order of things. Christ received the Holy Ghost again for communicating these gifts.
Does not the fact of Paul's ministry coming out, bring in a different character of action?
Yes, but it is Stephen's death which is the turning point.
Would you be good enough to divide Joel for us?
In Joel 2:1717Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? (Joel 2:17), they are to weep between the porch and the altar; in verse 18, the Lord is jealous for His land and pities His people, He sends them corn, and removes the northern army, and does 'Treat things for the land.
Is the northern army Gog?
I suppose so, but the Lord comes in with many blessings; and in verse 27, "ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel." There you get Israel completely restored, and that is one division. Then in verse 28, He goes outside Israel.
Is that after the last week in Daniel?
Of course it is. He goes outside Israel and pours His Spirit upon all flesh, and " on my servants and handmaids, in those days will I pour out my Spirit," that finishes verse 29. Then there is another testimony, "and I will show 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." The day of the Lord is on the northern army; the " day" is the judgment of the Lord. Verses 28, 29 are together; but verses 30, 31 are distinct from them, and refer to what takes place before.
In the Acts of the Apostles we have the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh but a preliminary testing of the Jews. In chapter 2. Peter says, " Save yourselves from this untoward generation."
But in Joel, Israel is in full blessing before the Spirit is poured out on all flesh?
Exactly; he says " afterward," after Israel is completely established in blessing. We have it now before, and here in Acts the Jews had it as preliminary. And Peter does not say that it was the fulfillment of Joel.
Would you say the Lord was present then when the Spirit was poured out on all flesh, in Joel?
Joel calls on the Jews to repent, and as soon as they do that, there is this northern army which is oppressing them and cutting them off, put down by Jehovah, while the Jews weep between the porch and altar. Then He gives them complete blessing, so that they shall never be ashamed, and they are established forever and ever, and then He gives them the Spirit.
Does the Lord come personally to do all that? Surely; how is the day of the Lord to come without the Lord?
Do verses 31, 32 then go back?
Yes, it says so, you get "afterward" in verse 28, and " before" in verse 31.
Then the whole of the chapter has yet to be fulfilled in detail?
Yes, it certainly has.
Why the weeping between the porch and the altar?
Humanly, it looked as if there would be destruction there, because this terrible enemy had come up.
Then verses 28, 29 are suitable to a remnant that received Christ as Messiah?
They are suitable to " all flesh."
But when the Lord comes back there will be only Judah and Benjamin in the land?
Well, but there is often a process going on, though you may not see every detail clear, I mean as regards Israel. You get Judah and the children of Israel their companions, and then the forming the whole house of Israel. What the Lord will do will be a long process, as I believe.
I get this, that the Jews are cut off in the land, but the ten tribes are cut off outside of it. In Ezek. 20 you have the restoration of the ten tribes.
I thought they came back after the beginning of Zech. 14, and so were not in the land when the Lord came down?
Very likely. When Gog comes up for the last time (he besieges Jerusalem twice in Isaiah), that is, this northern army of Joel. The Lord has already destroyed the beast, and then the Lord sets up His throne. Gog finds Him there.
The ten tribes never get back except as a remnant. The moment the Lord has destroyed the beast, He takes His throne, and the whole thing is settled.
Does Peter's preaching in Acts 2 imply that, if the Jews had repented, the whole of Joel's prophecy as to the Spirit would have been fulfilled 9
Well, in a certain sense, yes, and the Lord would have come. The more you see, the more you will see, that the Lord's dealings until Christ comes are provisional.
But many are looking now for the latter rain of the Spirit?
Well, then, they are looking in vain; but it is in a great measure ignorance.
There are two kinds of gifts entirely distinct; I said so thirty years ago to Irving. Those in 1 Corinthians xii. are gifts of power, so much so that often when there was positive power nobody was to use it; it was all under the rule and authority of Christ's order in the house. And so there, therefore, I get no promise of the continuance of gifts; but when I come to Eph. 4, I get no gifts that are signs at all; but, after the foundation of apostles and prophets, I get evangelists, pastors and teachers, those which the Lord uses to build up His church, "until we all come." I get Christ caring for His own body to build it up, and also the positive declaration of their going on to the end; they are "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." You have the caring for the church, and continuance.
What is " whether there be prophecies, they shall fail," &c.?
It means that there is no promise there of their continuance. Corinthians is merely power and the Holy- Ghost.
It is not a statement that these should pass away?
No, but there is no promise of their continuance though it may foreshadow their passing away. It is power, and then the Holy Ghost distributing to, every man severally as He will, but it is a perfect state of things; the gifts are in a certain sense meant to fail, and so their continuance is not the subject at all; but I do get the assurance of their continuance when I come to edification. The word of God never contemplates the continuance of the church, but it contemplates Christ coming. People say, How could God set up a thing and not provide for its continuance beyond thirty years? Of course He did not. He taught the saints to look constantly for the Lord as a present thing.
What is the difference between the talents in the Gospels, and the gifts spoken of in the Epistles?
I believe the talents are the gifts, the things that Christ gave when He went away. The lord left the talents with his own servants and not with anybody else.
Is it not important to see here that we get the Holy Ghost connected with a glorified Christ?
Yes, here and everywhere. And that is what I was noticing that Christ received the Holy Ghost afresh for us; " therefore, 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."
Until the death of Stephen you get more of signs, and as in 1 Cor. 12, and the other gifts come afterward?
Yes, but you find signs too afterward... You see, until a man had gone to heaven, the complete thought of God is not brought out. We see God come down to the earth, and man gone up to heaven into the glory of God. As regards the cross, the immense thing is, not merely my sins are put away, that of course must be, but I get all the purposes of God founded upon it. I have man in absolute wickedness against God in the cross, then Man in His absolute goodness on the cross, and perfect obedience to God; " but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, so I do"-absolutely obedient, and absolutely loving the Father, both; and then, too, at the cross, all the power of Satan is brought out as governing this world; while on God's side, I have His righteousness against sin in the cup Christ had to drink, and God's perfect love to the sinner also. I have every form of good and evil in man, and in Satan, and what God is in righteousness and love, brought out in the cross, and all settled-settled forever, and the consequence is, man goes into the glory of God. And then many other consequences come flowing out.
.... The entire question is settled, and it is no longer man upon his responsibility-like Adam who had to be tested-but man already tested takes his place in the glory of God, and the Holy Ghost comes down to reveal all this.
Did you say Christ received the Holy Ghost afresh after His resurrection?
No; but in ascension. He is exalted first. This same Jesus is made Lord and Christ, the One whom they had crucified. It is that that reaches. their hearts in the preaching-Him in that position, you do not get Jesus preached as Son of God, but the rejected Man is made Lord and Christ.
Is there any thought of the oneness of the believer there with the risen Christ?
No. It is perfectly true, but it is not brought out here. Peter is dealing with the Jews, and saying, You rejected Christ and God received Him.
Would you say that so far as the testimony went before Paul's conversion, it was an earthly thing?
Well, not quite; because you get in this chapter, " save yourselves from this untoward generation;" that did not refer to the ancient promises to Israel, though it was on earth in a certain sense. Still Christ had gone up as forerunner.
Is there any intentional difference in the form of the words here, ἐπὶ τῷ:," in the name of Jesus," (ver. 38) and εἰς τὸ in Matt. 28:1919Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)?
No, not that I know of: ἐπί is more the character, εἰς the effect.
In chapter 3:13, " His Son Jesus" should be " Servant" Jesus, should it not?
Yes, it is a mere mis-translation. It is so again in chapters 3:26, 4:27, 30; in the two last παῖς is rendered " child," but the same word in chapter 4:25 is rendered " thy servant David."
Is there anything special in Peter saying to them, " Repent and be baptized," or is that still to be the preaching?
It is not quite the preaching now, because people so largely profess to believe in Christ already. It is the same gospel though, as to the value of Christ's death and resurrection.
But if you were preaching to Jews, would it not then be correct?
Yes, I suppose so.... I believe it will be carried on in the remnant.
Then how would the apostles preach to Gentiles?
I cannot tell how precisely to Gentiles, because they never went; but there is no different gospel as to the foundation of it, whether to Jews or Gentiles.
But Peter went to Cornelius?
Yes, that is a special case entirely by itself. Could any who were not baptized at all be really happy?
Well, I suppose Christians might rejoice in the Lord who have not been baptized at all. Baptism here is " baptism for the remission," please all recollect that, the only baptism here recognized is for the remission of sins.
Would an assembly be justified in refusing those who confessed Christ, though not baptized?
It would not be in order to receive such; only you never get to the baptism for the remission of sins now, I mean to the ground the apostle takes here.
But how would you meet the case supposed? That depends; we are all in confusion about it, and there is no way out except patience.
But how would you deal with those who have been baptized as children, and do not think it baptism now?
If anyone is anxious to be baptized as an adult, who has already been baptized, he must settle that for himself.
But were not the sins remitted through the bloodshedding of Christ?
Yes; here is the doctrine of the bloodshedding of Christ for the remission of sins, and they were baptized on that ground.
Would it be baptism by the apostles for the remission of sins?
Whoever. baptized: Paul washed away his sins. Is not baptism death?
It is the figure of death, showing how the sins are washed away; still the fact of its being for the remission of sins shows what the administration of it is.
Did Paul preach it at all?
No, I do not get that, he was not sent to baptize, but he did not abrogate it either.
Does the commission in Matthew refer to the church at all?
The doctrine of the church was not brought out at the end of Matthew. There was no command to baptize Jews then.
Is there a single proof of the commission ever being acted upon?
No; but the question is the obligation of the command. The mission of the twelve was to teach all the nations, but in Gal. 2 they gave up this mission to Paul; and I should insist upon it that it never was fulfilled. Even to Peter, the sheet was let down before he went out to preach to Cornelius. But this is only proving what bad people the apostles were; they were to go discipling and baptizing and " teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," that is, the age.
Does not that refer to the seventy weeks?
I have no objection to that. Here I have a positive command to go and do something; I agree with you that it was not carried out, but that does not touch the command itself.
But is it not important to see that the disciples begin anew from the ascension?
Yes. Paul never owns them, nor even Christ after the flesh; and in that sense you must start from the glory.
I suppose Rome has kept to Matt. 28? Yes, and lost plenty else besides.
Baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus, is it not?
Yes, practically.
The kingdom of heaven goes on, I suppose, until the Lord comes after the church is removed.
Well, that is a transitional time.
But will not the testimony then be like it was before the Lord first came?
You cannot have a John Baptist again testifying to the people of a Christ born in Bethlehem; and so coining for their reception. But you may have testifying to His coming in glory.
How does Paul's work stand in relationship to the twelve?
I get Paul supplanting the twelve as to the Gentiles in scripture.
Are the twelve representative of us, or are they the apostles of the kingdom, looking beyond church time altogether?
In Matt. 10 the Lord takes up the ministry in the land of Israel, and that by the twelve.
But does not the latter part of that chapter make a difference?
But Christ tells the disciples, You go and do so and so, and you must not say they are not to do it at all: I do not say that it did not fall through, because it did; but that does not touch the authority of the command. " Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Then the chapter is divided into two distinct parts, after " Behold I send you forth as sheep," turning to a testimony to the Gentiles. Christ has gone then, for the Holy Ghost has come, and it is to be the Spirit of their Father that speaks in them. First, it should be worse for them than for Sodom and Gomorrah through the disciples' then mission; and then He goes on to the time when the Holy Ghost should be there; and He does not think of the church, but says, "you shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come." The division is between verses 16, 17.
When is that testimony (ver. 18) borne?
When they are brought up as prisoners.
Have you not their mission to the Gentiles in Matt. 24?
That is yet to come.