Bringing Tongues Of Fire From The Sparks Of Faith…
ACTS 1 – PART 1
By Rev. G. E. Newmyer
INTRODUCTION TO LESSON 17 – THE BOOK OF ACTS
This book has little to do with the “ways” of the Apostles, it does cover their Acts. Why? The major change between the days before Pentecost, to the days after show us the importance of being Born Again. The Day of Pentecost opened the ability for man to become the Image of God, the ability to have a nature like Jesus, the Christ Character based in Christ. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, it came in with a Rushing Mighty Wind, it will go out in the twinkling of a eye.
This book also clears up misconceptions, were these men so holy they not only walked on water, but created it as well? No, it’s a point we will see in the Book of Acts, they were just like us, they made mistakes; however, their papers were not taken, they were not stoned by the elders, neither did Jesus cast them away. This Lesson will also dispel any misconceptions we may have regarding water baptism, as it firms up our knowledge on the Doctrine Of Baptisms.
The Church was established on the Rock; the Rock was not on the Church, thus this Book will look at the establishment. It will show how the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, and how the disciples fought against those gates invading the Body.
Today the word Church has come to mean a building, or a group of people who hold like doctrines, but the definition goes much further. The Church is the Bride preparing Herself, as She is being prepared. The Body will be broken, the Church will not. Our goal is to be partakers in the First Resurrection, our Faith is reaching the goal.
The Book of Acts was written by the Gentile Luke to Theophilus, thus it relates to Luke’s account as a teaching guide. Luke’s account begins with “All Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1-3), thus this document shows what the disciples were able to learn by the Holy Ghost after Pentecost. Luke does not record how the Gospel spread to the east and south of Palestine, or why there were already Believers in Damascus before Paul arrived, thus he is not attempting to cover every aspect of early church history. Mainly he shows how the Church began with converting the Jew first, then the Gentile.
This lesson will also be the place of division in reference to the Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit, which will be completed in the Lesson on the Holy Spirit. The title Holy Ghost only appears in the New Testament some 89 times, with 41 of those in Acts, thus Acts is a Holy Ghost book : let us begin.
LESSON 17 – PRELUDE
We begin this lesson by looking at Communion, the disciples were trained for this period of time, although they had problems, they did have a solid foundation. The Night in which Jesus was betrayed became a point for all of them, a division of Seasons was before them. They knew the Passover meal, with what it entailed; therefore, we want to view Communion and Passover so we can have the same foundation.
A COMMUNION – PASSOVER STUDY
Communion and Passover have some profound connections, yet we know there are differences as well. Jesus told us to take Communion as a “remembrance”, thus it’s more of a time of reflection on what Jesus has done, compared to what we have done, as we allow the Spirit to examine us. Communion is more of a Belief builder, than a faith builder, since it’s based on Remembering. Before Jesus said, “This is My Blood of the New Covenant”, He handed us the Bread saying, “This is My Body”. Paul says we are the Bread, thus unlike Passover the first order of business for Communion is to determine our position and duties in the Body. We can’t forget the Body of Jesus was on the Cross for us, when we imputed the flesh dead, we received the Body of Jesus. The foundation of the Body is Mercy, it’s the only place where the good and bad fish share the same net, or where the Tares and Wheat are found. This is evident through the Letters Paul sent to the Romans and Corinthians, both groups were of the Body, but needed to be firmly corrected. However, there are no bad fish or Tares in the Church (Kingdom of God).
The Body does have several very important elements, Mercy of course being chief. Before the Cross the disciples operated in Mercy, not Grace. When we partake of the Bread we have to question ourselves: Have we been functioning in Mercy? Or have we harmed others in the Body? Paul called it Discerning the Body.
Although we consider Communion an Ordinance rather than a Commandment, we do find Jesus saying, “Take”, which would indicate a Commandment. However, over the years it has been determined to be an Ordinance since Paul said there were times or conditions where one shouldn’t take Communion (unworthy state).
The order of presentation of the Bread and Cup is not by chance, the Body came first, thus the Rock was being established before the Church came into being. Jesus said upon this Rock (present tense) I will build (future tense) My Church. Paul said we are the Rock, as well as the Bread thus the Body is the building place Jesus uses for the construction of the Church. There are churches many in the Body, but there is only one Church on the Body.
Jesus didn’t dip the Bread in the Wine, yet they are connected in the Service, but separated by purpose. Since we are the Bread it stands we are to consider our ways, something the workers of iniquity fail to do. It has nothing to do with whether it’s right or wrong to dip the bread into the wine, only a reflection on how Jesus did it.
Next is the Cup, but is the Cup the importance? Or what it contains? What it contains, it was just a cup, like all of us, what it contained made it special. Jesus said the New Covenant was in His Blood, so what is the Body? The preparation place, the wilderness, the place between places, where the Bride makes Herself ready. There is no “Body of Christ” in heaven, the Transformation being complete means the Church changes to the Bride of Christ, as New Jerusalem.
We found in both Matthew and Mark how the “sons of men” have their sins forgiven, but it’s the sons of God who have the ability to call out ABBA Father. The Unity of the Body is paramount, these disciples knew Jesus was fully able to keep the Kingdom of God pure and perfect. If they had problems between members, they sought the solution, even if they had to part company for a period of time.
There is prayer in Communion, but it doesn’t mean Communion is all prayer is, rather we have added “elements”. We know the elements are for Remembrance, we also know when Jesus handed the disciples the bread, He didn’t rip off His arm, and say, “Here this is My Body”, nor did He cut Himself, or drip His Blood in the Cup. If it was remotely the case, we would have see it in the Gospel. The Spiritual Blood of Jesus is a result of His Father, it can’t be seen since it’s spiritual in nature, thus God is Spirit. The Blood He lost at the Cross was real, but no one was there gathering it in some cup. The Blood and Water at the Cross was based on His position as the Son of man, the Resurrection Declared Him the Son of God (Rom 1:3-4), thus the Blood of Jesus has two places of importance, earth and heaven, connecting Mercy (Water) and Grace (Blood). John tells us Jesus came by both Water and Blood, not Water alone, or Blood alone, it takes Both.
The Supernatural is still natural, but Super. The disciples before the Cross engaged in the supernatural, but they were not privy to the Spiritual until Pentecost. Some of us look for the supernatural to happen, but in truth the signs follow those who Believe. We have to stop walking backward, rather we should know if we are a Believer the Signs will follow.
The First Passover was taken in Egypt, it protected the children from death, it was perhaps the greatest of the signs. The one sign displaying the Power of God should have been enough to grant them belief in the wilderness. In our case the Bread is a place for us to reflect on the death of Jesus, as it relates to us personally.
The Cup is truly individual in nature, we reflect on the Blood, the New Covenant, the seal of the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection, as well as asking ourselves if we have grieved the Holy Spirit. In the case of Moses it was Death Passing Over while they were in Egypt, the Death of Jesus on the Cross is our place of death as well, but it’s also the place where the devil becomes ineffective (Heb 2:14).
Passover was a sign of God’s protection and separation; not only did God keep death from striking the Hebrews, but He also caused death to make a distinction between the first and second born of Egypt. The complexity alone shows the Power of God in deliverance. The first born son could be the son of the first born, who was the son of the second born, who was the son of the first born, who was the son of the third born, all alive and walking around at the same time. The “angel of death” didn’t go about saying, “Okay first off are you a Hebrew? No, okay are you the first born? No, can you prove it?”, nor did he go to the Hebrews and say, “You an Egyptian? No, you look like one”. This was a night of division and separation beyond the intellect of man, a time when there would be a release from Egypt for the people of God. Therefore, there was a death before the release, just as the Death of Jesus became the place of our release.
The first Passover was a faith issue, since it involved something about to happen, but each one after the first was not of faith, since it involved something of the past. The first Communion was a faith issue since it pointed to what was to happen. Our Communion is not of faith, since it’s based in a Remembrance of something of the past. Jesus told us in Mark, again in John the importance of Belief, coupled with our Baptism (being in the Body); therefore, Communion is an extension of our baptism based on building our belief. It’s the time to remember all Jesus did to secure us in our kingdom of heaven (Bread) position as an assurance of our continual belief in the Blood (Kingdom of God).
The children in Egypt were only to believe for the hour, we believe to be free of the hour. For the Jew Passover is a day, for us Jesus is our Passover. Communion is personal in nature, it not only covers the promises Jesus made to the Body, but it’s time to reflect on all those words the Lord has given us personally, it’s to renew our belief in Him, to set ourselves in order so we can be used of the Lord.
Communion is not a time to read the Bible, it’s a time to reflect on the Word of God in us. However, just as the water of our baptism didn’t save us, Communion isn’t going to save us. It’s powerful, it’s a place to reflect, but taking Communion will not take the place of the Holy Spirit. On the other side of the coin the “Unworthy” condition Paul refers to is when we don’t think Communion means a thing, we treat it as some rite, or a place to hold a backbiting contest. Communion can become a religious tradition, thus traditions are things we do, Doctrines are things we teach. We can have a sound Doctrine, or a weak Doctrine, or even a false Doctrine, just as we can have Traditions of men, or Traditions of God. Jesus never condemned the Traditions of God, only those of men. Is there a tradition of God? Yes, Communion is one, the shadow of Communion is Passover, which was also a tradition, but like any tradition it had two sides. The Jews were told to take Passover once a year, we are told we can take Communion at anytime. We are priests unto the Lord, part of our priestly duty is partaking of Communion to remember the Sacrifice; as priests we engage in giving service to the Sacrifice, as priests we can give and take Communion.
Both Communion and Passover had interwoven links, there are things done; such as taking the Bread and Wine. However, Passover never examined the person’s soul or heart, the person could retain hate, bitterness or strife, yet partake of Passover and enjoy it. Communion is a different story, like a sacrifice cut open, we lay ourselves before the Lord allowing the examination by the Spirit to take place.
Passover had its prayers, the Jew has all the prayers written down for them. Jesus prayed for us as well. In John we saw His prayer, but He didn’t tell us to “pray in this manner”, rather we are told what He prayed. The prayer of Jesus was connected, yet separated from the meal, His prayer confirmed the change from Passover to Communion. Therefore, we find prayer and meal interrelate, but are separate as well. The Communion service is not for us to examine God, but for us to be examined by the Spirit of Christ in us. Prayer is a form of request, Communion a form of examination.
The word Doctrine links the Teacher to the teaching, thus the teacher’s integrity is identified by their Doctrine. A Teacher builds, yet reproofs, but reproof doesn’t mean condemn, rather reproof must have a Godly intent, seek a Godly goal, use a Godly means to reach the result, while entailing some Manifestation of the Spirit, making the person a better Christian. Reproofing is a from of Correction, yet correction is unto perfection, or to stand us Up Right Again. Instruction is guidance, all of these factors come by Hearing, thus faith comes by hearing, the element the children in the wilderness lacked. Of course one can reject the reproof, by entering self-justification, or attack the reproof.
The Passover date is an important day for us, it was the very day Jesus went to the Cross, saying, “Father forgive them”. Not one Passover lamb ever said, “ba, ba, you are forgiven”. The Cross became the difference between death and life, but it came as death to bring life. All the elements of Passover were completed in Jesus, thus He becomes our Passover.
The Passover really begins on the Tenth day of the month, not the 14th (Ex 12:3-13). Our prior studies have given us the Scriptural evidence showing Jesus was three days and nights in the earth, then raised on the third day. The 10th of Abib was the time when the Lamb had to be seen by the people and accepted. When Jesus was anointed in Bethany, it was a Friday, He rode into Jerusalem on a Saturday, a weekly sabbath according to the commandment. He taught on Sunday in the temple after He cleaned it out the second time, thus dividing Seasons. He was accepted by the people on Monday, examined by the religious rulers, betrayed on Tuesday, went to the Cross on Wednesday, in the midst of the week as Daniel points out on the Passover. Jesus also said He would be raised on the third day, how does it fit with the three days and nights? Perfect, He went into the grave at night, making it the first night as the Feast of Unleavened Bread being the High Sabbath as the first day, that night the second night, Friday the weekly preparation day the second day, that night the third night. The weekly sabbath according to the Fifth Commandment the third day, thus He went into the grave at the beginning of sabbath, was raised on a sabbath, making Him our Sabbath. The Passover is the Preparation day for the feast day, thus the Passover is followed by the High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which was always on the 15th day of the month of Abib. Mark shows the women at the Cross on the Passover, but Luke says they fixed spices, which involves cooking, a labor, which could not be done on the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the weekly sabbath. Luke then shows the women made the spices on the Preparation day for the weekly sabbath, which is always a Friday, then rested on the sabbath “according to the Commandment” which is always Saturday. Accordingly if the day before the Preparation Day was a Thursday, yet a High Sabbath, as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, making the prior day the Passover.
We find the High Sabbaths were on a date, regardless of the day, but the sabbath according to the Commandment is always on Saturday, regardless of the date. Jesus said He would be three days and nights in the earth, yet raised on the Third Day, thus His words were prophetic in nature, it had to be three Days, not one day over, or short, or in part. If Friday was the day of the Cross, that night would be the first night, Saturday the first day, yet we know He was discovered raised on a Sunday, which means if we hold to the Friday thought we must be saying Jesus was in error for predicting the time, which makes Jesus a false prophet, something not followed. The time keeping element is important, the Jews, unlike other nations have Sabbath days, thus for them there is no “part of a day, makes a whole day”. If it were the case then one could begin their sabbath in the morning, cease at noon claiming they kept the sabbath. The Jew keeps a total day, four watches in the day, four in the night, their day is from sunset to sunset. The traditions of men can be dangerous positions to take, although one could suggest Friday was a day, Saturday another and Sunday the third, we find Jesus was not in the tomb on Sunday morning before the sun came up. Therefore, we can’t count Sunday as one of the days, but we do count it as the Day of Discovery. In order for Jesus to be raised on the third day, yet not be in the grave on Sunday means He was raised on Saturday. In Mark 15:42 the phrase “day before the sabbath” could refer to the weekly sabbath or High Sabbath, since the High Sabbaths had preparation days as well. The clue to Mark 15:42 is found in the wording “it was”, pointing to the Passover, meaning the Passover is the Preparation day mentioned, making the High Sabbath as the sabbath of topic. All this is clearer when we read in Mark 15:40-41 how the women were standing near, not in their homes making spices. Yet, in Luke they are found on the Preparation day making spices (Luke 23:56), thus separating Preparation days. Jesus was placed in the grave as the sun was setting, making it the beginning of the High Sabbath, the women saw the place, then returned home. They prepared the spices on the Preparation day, then rested on the sabbath according to the Commandment. They would not have the time to prepare anything on the Passover, since the High Sabbath begins at sunset. It only leaves Friday to prepare the spices, then resting on Saturday, with the discovery of the empty tomb on Sunday morning, the First day of the week.
The Passover in the time of Jesus had four cups, but when Moses took Passover we don’t see any mention of “cups”, just the lamb, the blood on the door, and the herbs. The blood was a Token or Sign on the Door, as death passed based on the Blood, not the lamb or the herbs. Yet, Jesus is our Passover Lamb, the very Lamb of God sacrificed from the foundation of the world. However, where did the Blood come from? The lamb, thus the death of the lamb produced the Blood. Therefore, we take Bread, the “staff of life”, then the Wine representing the Blood, yet both the Bread and Wine are Tokens, they are not the actual flesh and blood of Jesus. We take them internally, why not just rub them on? Because they are not flesh based, they have to enter past the flesh in order to reach the source. Passover was an external awareness, our Communion is internal, the place where the Word in us is dividing and separating. We have passed from death to life, thus we are a type of Passover through Jesus our Great and Eternal Passover (I Cor 5:7). Our Passover purges out the old leaven, bringing the Blood of Christ into our hearts (I Cor 5:8-9 & Jn 6:43-51).
The verb “pass over” is not a common Hebrew verb, it’s not the common Hebrew verbs A-Bhar or Ga-Bhar, the word in the Hebrew is Pasah, from which the noun Pesah comes; these words have no connection in any other Hebrew words, but they do resemble the Egyptian word Pesh, which means To Spread Wings Over. Passover and Communion are two completely different words, the word Communion was not used by Jesus, rather Paul was the first to use it in First Corinthians 10:16, then later in Second Corinthians 6:14 and 13:14. The Greek word is translated as Fellowship in Acts 2:42, First Corinthians 1:9, Second Corinthians 8:4, Galatians 2:9, Ephesians 3:9, Philippians 1:5, 2:1, and 3:10, First John 1:3, 1:6 and 1:7. It’s translated as Contribution in Romans 15:26, as Distribution in Second Corinthians 9:13, as Communication in Philemon 6, as Communicate in Hebrews 13:16. The Greek word is Koinonia meaning To participate, or communicate in a face to face manner with nothing hidden; it demonstrates a very close relationship with many like interests and concerns between parties. The Old Law was a barrier, the New removes barriers. Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us the Word in us will Merismos to make us open and naked before God, no masks, religious facades, hidden agendas. There are those who want God to do something for them, so they put on their masks of Holiness and Righteousness to play the part thinking God will perform for them. Communion is the mask removal place, the place where we open before God.
After the Passover in Egypt, the children began their march to freedom, a Process. When the people faced the Red Sea Moses said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Ex 14:13). The Red Sea was the point of separation between Egypt and the Wilderness. Pharaoh and his band couldn’t cross the Sea, a sign of the wilderness being a place only for the children of God. The children were not “baptized” as we know it, but they did grant us a shadow, as Paul says they were baptized unto Moses, meaning they identified with God through Moses (I Cor 10:2). However, in our case we have the Law of God directly implanted in us by the New Birth.
To the Jew the head must be covered as part of the Minhag Israel, Torah Hi, or “the customs of Israel are law”; which produced the saying, Minhag Oker Din, or A custom can abolish a law. This misconception of altering God’s commandments can enter our thinking. If we allow the Traditions of man to replace the Commandments of Christ we will enter areas where we make the Word to no effect in our lives. An example is the concept of the bread and wine becoming the actual body and blood of Jesus in the person. The elements are Tokens, just as the first Passover shows, they were not the actual Flesh and Blood of the Angel of death. The misconception would make one think the elements produce the New Man, rather than the Seed of God granted by the Holy Ghost being the New Man.
The Jew knows the most important element to their diet is Bread, the most important Bread is unleavened. After washing their hands they touch the Bread and say, Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shaun b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu al netialt yadaim or “Blessed are Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to lift up our hands”. This saying is another example of the Trinity being displayed in the Shadow, as the Lord (Jehovah), God (Elohiym) and King of the Universe (The Son). However, in the phrase we also see how they confused the “lifting of hands” with the “washing of hands”. To them it’s when they lift their hands to dry them, to us it’s the lifting our hands in praise. Paul said, “I will therefore for men to pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, for women to adorn themselves in modest apparel…” (I Tim 2:8-9). What does modest apparel have to do with lifting holy hands? We assume this means a manner of dress, but were the men naked? Of course not, it refers to appearance, yet appearance connects to covering, the covering to the Unction over the Body. Anyone can be dressed in modest apparel, yet be nasty, unforgiving, doubting, or unbelieving. The modest apparel doesn’t make them holy, the Spirit of Christ in them does.
If we can discern how important the Passover is to the Jew, we can understand how important Communion is to the Christian. There are Three primary Festivals for the Jew, yet Passover is most important, it’s more important than Yom Kippur, which celebrates God’s future Pardoning of sins, more important than Rosh Hashanah, which commemorates the creation of the world as the Jewish New Year when the devil will be bound to during their Time of Comfort. The Jew knows without partaking of Passover, they cannot enter the Feast Of Unleavened Bread. All this shows our Communion is to remember we are the Bread from heaven; we have the Pardon of sins now; we are being prepared by the Blood of Jesus to gain entry through the Door at the sound of the last trump.
The term “The Faith” refers to the Faith of Jesus, a proven, secure, Faith granting us a Path so we can Follow Him. The prerequisite is to deny the self, and pick up our cross, acts of death, so we can gain the New. The New Man being spiritual in nature is bringing to pass the promise of “that Born of the Spirit is Spirit”. The falling away from The Faith is not a falling from faith, but removing the Faith of Jesus from the equation. Man will focus on his measure of faith being sufficient, bringing about the Lucifer complex. Man will assume he can make it to heaven on his own, he will be the witness without the Witness. Communion is the place to Remember it was Jesus, not our greatness making it possible.
We can view the Passover as it was conducted in the time of the earthly ministry of Jesus, not as it’s conducted today. The people singled out a lamb for each House, yet they could have many families in the House. The Lamb of God was first given to the House of Judah, which we are, then when the House of David is opened they will have their Season (Acts 1:6-8, Rev 3:7, Zech 13:6-9, Isa 11:11-16 & Isa 2:1). From the anointing in Bethany to the ride into Jerusalem, the many teachings in the Temple, plus the cleaning of the Temple all became presentation for the people to accept the Lamb of God, as the religious leaders examined the Lamb. The religious rulers found the Lamb of God worthy to be killed, then made sure it was. The requirement was complete, our Passover passed the test.
The Passover lamb must win the affection of the entire household, especially the children; it is the Father’s will for us to accept Jesus (Jn 6:36-40). Jesus brought us into the House of the Father, we were cleaned by inward residence of the Holy Spirit (Mark 11:17 & Jn 2:16). Jesus loved the Little Children, but He didn’t fleece them (Matt 18:2-6). It’s not the will of the Father for one Little One to be destroyed or hindered (Matt 18:14). John the Baptist saw Jesus as the Lamb of God to save the world; the New Testament refers to Jesus as the Lamb more than thirty times. Since John saw Jesus as the Savior, it became the purpose of the Cross and Resurrection.
The Meal Jesus kept held Five elements, all pointing to the Newness for the Body in Mercy and Grace. The first element is the dish of Bitter Herbs; to the Jew this shows the hardships of Egypt, but to us it’s a warning referring to, “Looking Diligently lest any man fail of (fall from) the Grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Heb 12:15). This not only means we can become defiled, but shows our defiled condition and bitterness defiles others as well, thus we continue to believe, indicating why we don’t have the bitter herbs in our service.
We know the wording Jesus used is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and First Corinthians, but in First Corinthians Paul adds to the wording. Paul tells us Jesus said, “take eat, this is My Body broken for you” (I Cor 11:24). Matthew, Mark or Luke don’t show the phrase, so is Paul wrong? No, he tells us this is something he received from the Lord (I Cor 11:23), as it related to the division he found among the Corinthians (I Cor 11:18). Accordingly we must ask, When was His Body broken? The Bible says not one bone of the Passover Lamb was broken, yet we know His flesh was ripped, but was it Broken? The Greek word for Broken means “to remove the sprout”, or “remove the failing leaf”, or “to break off”, as one would break off a branch. Jesus said the Father will purge the unfruitful branch, to bring more fruit, but the word Paul used means to break off, not purge. Paul’s warning to the Corinthians regarding Communion pointed to the night Jesus was betrayed. Why use the betrayal? Why not use the victory? The Body is broken there will be two pieces, one is taken, the other is not; many are called, but few are chosen, because the few deeply desire to join the Body to the Blood. Paul is making a request to the carnal thinking, divided people in Corinth to come to the Table of the Lord to be made whole. They were “worthy” since they were in need, being “unworthy” is thinking they were not in need.
This first dish of the Passover is a symbol of the Body of Christ, as the place where we examine ourselves by submitting to the examination of the Word in us. The Word in us examines us like a doctor looking for the hindering element; in our case the Word is searching out “leaven” to bring it to our attention. Unleavened Bread is called Matzo, it’s baked quickly at a high temperature to keep leaven from forming. Prior to cooking they would poke holes through the flat bread, then make stripes across it several times to quicken the baking. The Bread itself is representative of the Body of Christ before and after the Cross. The Body is always representative of the Mercy, connecting it to “Father forgive them”, a call each believer must hold toward others. We know Jesus did break the Bread, but Paul is the only one to tell us why. The Passover table during the earthly ministry had three pieces of Matzo, they were contained in a three part Matzo Napkin. The first piece is called Abraham, it was taken out, blessed and put back in the Napkin. Then the second piece is called Isaac, it was taken out, blessed and put back in the Napkin. Then the third piece is called Jacob, it was taken out, blessed and put back. Then it’s taken out again, only this time it’s called Israel, blessed and put back. Then the second piece is taken out again, it’s the one broken. We can see the promised son, but even the Jew has no idea why they break the Isaac bread. Paul told us we Remember, but he also showed us why. Our continual belief calls for an action, a nature and way of life to Believe Jesus is raised from the dead. Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians was more of a warning as he said, “I praise you not” (I Cor 11:17).
The Jews were never allowed to eat blood, cooked or not, they were not allowed to cook the meat of the kid in the milk of the mother, since the milk contained some of the elements of the blood. From the premise came their tradition wherein they wouldn’t eat or drink milk products with meat, thinking perhaps the milk product, such as cheese, may have been made from the milk of the mother. This type of tradition comes about from a fear of violating the Law, the same mindset overcame the Pharisees; rather than look for things they could do on the sabbath to help others, they went about telling everyone what they couldn’t do on the sabbath. Jesus was just the opposite, He went about doing Good, knowing a Law from God was to do Good.
The dietary requirements in the Law had nothing to do with the food product, rather God told Jeremiah the purpose of the Law was to bring the people to a point of obedience. The Law of Moses held two incentives, do not, be cursed, or do and be blessed, neither pertained to being a blessing. The natural mind operates from the self-nature, the Law of Moses was designed for those still bound to the fallen nature. It became a method where one could use mind power to control the flesh, but it was not designed to rid one of the corrupt flesh. Laws are designed for a purpose, but limited in scope. We wouldn’t think of charging someone who committed murder with the law on shoplifting. The proper law must be applied, in our case we must apply the Law of the Spirit, since we are Born Again to be Spiritual. The Law of the Spirit is based on advancement from natural to spiritual, from Life to Life More Abundantly. Is it limited? Yes, we bless and curse not, we forgive, rather than seek Justice or Validation.
God instilled in the Jew the importance of Blood, but He had to do it based on their fearful mindset; meaning it was “forbidden”, thus the respect was fear based. We can think of the disciples sitting there at the table then Jesus hands them the Cup saying, “This is My Blood”. The disciples knew the wine was a symbol of the blood of the lamb placed on the door, but Jesus is telling them it’s a symbol of His Blood. How could they partake? The “mere appearance” would be a violation under the Law of Moses. Had Jesus gone mad? No, He was merely showing them how all of man’s history pointed to the Cross, the time of the great separation unto a New Beginning to be a New Creation.
Adam didn’t eat meat, Noah was told by God he could, the Egyptians didn’t eat red meat, yet the children were raised under the Egyptian authority. When they entered the Wilderness they were told they could eat some red meat, an advancement from where they were. Today we think they were restricted, but not so. The Passover for Moses was an opening into a new adventure, one where changes would take place. No Hebrew prior to the time had a Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the Manna, or many other things. God does His best work in the wilderness, yet we know the children who failed to believe were destroyed in the wilderness (Jude 5). We face our wilderness experiences, but we do so by belief, knowing God is doing a good work in us.
The Passover for Moses was reflective as well, what were they leaving behind? The bondage and forced labor were easy to leave behind, but what about the other matters? Were they willing to leave all behind? We must ask ourselves the same question. We wanted to leave many things behind, but there were some things of the world we liked, are we willing to leave them as well? Or will we make up some excuse to retain them? Maybe paint them a nice color, then call them holy? Our decision to submit to the method God has prepared for us entails leaving many things behind, even things we liked.
Although Moses didn’t hold the “cup”, the blood was evident on the Door. Over the years other cups were added, until they reached the number four. The Jew still can’t figure out why they have four cups, especially when the blood was only placed on three areas of the door. The Door is representative of the Door we enter by the Spirit (Rev 4:1-2), it’s also representative of “the time of doors” (plural – Matt 24:33). They took Hyssop as a brush, and first touched the lintel (top horizontal aspect of the doorframe), then each side post, but they never placed the blood on the door itself, or the bottom of the entrance. It was one doorway, one blood, yet in three places, all of which show Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam, boreh pri ha-gafen, or “Blessed are Thou, O Lord (top piece) our God (side post), King of the universe (other side post), who creates the fruit of the vine (the blood)”. The Trinity was represented in the first Passover, although Moses didn’t know it. The Cross was also represented as Jesus metaphorically was the Door, the two side posts show the arms of Jesus to the side.
The first cup represented the separation, or deliverance from Egypt, the cup was first represented by the blood on the lintel and side posts. The second cup would represent the wilderness, as God was fully able to separate and deliver His people. The third cup is the Elijah Cup, the cup of total deliverance, the same Cup Jesus took claiming it as His. The Fourth Cup contains the Wrath of God, the Cup Jesus took in the garden. The Fourth Cup is the one we are spared, it’s seen in the Book of Revelation as the Great Winepress (Rev 14:20 et al).
The Cross with a cross piece is represented in the Moses Passover, as seen in the figure of the blood on the upper and side posts. From the Cross to the grave, to the Resurrection, three areas depicting the Trinity, as the Cross and Grave within the meaning of “unleavened bread”, we as the Body are the unleavened Bread of Christ. If anyone brings the leaven into this Bread, they have violated the terms of the Covenant.
From the Body to the Blood, since the New Covenant is in the Blood, it also stands Grace produces the Spirit, producing the Spiritual Nature meaning Grace is Blood related. When we partake of the Blood, we are telling Jesus we submit to the New Covenant, we will allow the New Man to divide, expose, separate and guide us into the perfection of Christ. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 says, “When you vow a vow unto God, defer not to pay it, for He has no pleasure in fools; pay what you have vowed, better is it for you should not vow, then you should vow and not pay”. Some of us are more concerned about our vows to man, than our Vows to God. When we accept the New Covenant, we also accept the terms of the Covenant. The one who presents the Covenant has the right to change it, the one who accepts it doesn’t. We cannot change the Covenant, neither can we presume things have changed. The call is still to preach the truth in Love, but it was never to “ignore the obvious”.
Communion is the time for us to reflect on our deliverance, as well as why we were delivered. The Blood grants us a position with the New Man to proclaim, I am crucified with (means or method) with Christ: Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the Faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20). It’s only through the Cup we can understand, Greater is He in me, than he in the world (I Jn 4:1-6). To become a member of the Dead in Christ, we must be Crucified with Christ. We are told to pick up our cross, which means we accept the responsibility of death by imputing the old nature dead.
Luke tells us we were given another Cup first, could Jesus have given us two cups? (Luke 22:17-20). This other Cup is the Cup of Separation, the children gave us a shadow of this cup when they crossed the Sea. In Luke the disciples took the cup of separation as a symbol of crossing over the water to enter the kingdom of heaven. When do we take it? When we are water baptized, thus it’s not at issue in the Communion service for us, it’s a matter settled as our Token when we become members of the Body.
To the Jew the Passover is also a symbol of Redemption, not the redemption itself, yet there are callings to enter therein:
1) All the congregation must keep the Passover to be a member of the congregation (Ex 12:47); for us as members of the Body we take Communion to recall how we became members of the Body (I Cor 10:17 & 11:28-30).
2) No stranger can eat of the Passover: in our case it’s the stranger who attempts to gain entry some other way; thus the stranger is outside of the Covenant (Ex 12:43-45 & Jn 10:5); yet Jesus tells the Remnant, “when I was a stranger..” (Matt 25:35-44); thereby showing they kept Him out until they look upon Him they have pierced; therefore, if the Remnant are blinded to the Gospel, it’s God who has blinded them for a purpose (Rom 11:7 & 11:25).
3) They must eat the Passover in one house (Ex 12:46): we can’t eat the Passover in the House of David, nor can we eat part in the House of God then part in the house of Baal (I Cor 10:14-22).
4) They must consume the Entire Passover, not just a piece here or there, or simply the pieces fitting their theology (Ex 34:25); we must receive it all, rather than making the Word bow to us, we bow to the Word (II Tim 3:15-17).
5) They must put away all leaven from their tables: in our case it’s put away the leaven of the flesh by bringing it to the Table of the Lord as we confess it (Ex 13:6-7, I Cor 10:20-22 & I Cor 5:6-8); knowledge without the Spirit turns to leaven as it puffs up the heart of man, it doesn’t exalt the Lord (I Cor 4:6, 4:18-19 & 8:1).
6) They must offer the Blood of the sacrifice without leaven (Ex 34:25); we can’t partake of the Cup of the Lord until we judge ourselves to the Body of the Lord, then we present ourselves a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2, I Cor 11:27, 10:17 & 30-32).
7) They must not break any bones of the Passover Lamb (Ex 12:46); the Bone contains the Marrow, the place where the Blood is produced: the Bones keep the unity of the Body, thus no Bone was broken at the Cross (Heb 4:12 & Jn 19:33-34) – After Jesus gave His life, the Spear pierced His Side, the Spear is a foreign object in the hands of a heathen, yet all things are created by Jesus, thus the Spear opened the Heart of Jesus and both Water and Blood came forth (I Jn 5:7-8). The Water is the Mercy of the Father, the Blood the Grace of the Son, one must receive and act upon Both or they have not received the Father and Son (I Jn 2:22).
8) They must sacrifice the Passover only at the place appointed by God (Deut 16:5-6); in our case the place is in our hearts and souls, where the tabernacle of God resides; it’s a matter of submission and obedience, the removal of hindrances and the cleaning away of the pride of life (self-confidence – I Pet 1:9, James 1:21, Eph 4:23-24, 4:27-32, 5:9-10 & 5:17-26).
9) All males of the congregation must appear before the Lord at Passover time (Ex 23:17 & 34:23) – this is not against females, rather it displays positions, the Bread points to us as sons of men, the Blood as sons of God; we come boldly (by the faith of Jesus – Eph 3:12) to the throne of Grace (position) to obtain Mercy (condition based on the will of the Father) to find Grace (ability to apply Mercy – Heb 4:16).
These nine areas are all representative of the nine areas of the Manifestation of the Spirit (I Cor 12:7-11), as well as the nine areas of the Fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23); therefore, they must relate to us in some manner. If our souls are formed of the Spirit to be Spiritual, then we are being prepared to fit the Resurrected Body Jesus has for us. Can someone have the Spirit, yet not be spiritual? Yes, the Corinthians proved it. Communion is the place where we put away the natural, to engage in the spiritual.
1) the Love of God provided the Passover and we keep Him in our heart, producing Greater is He in me:
2) the Joy of the Lord is found in the Strength of the Lord and no stranger can invade our Joy:
3) our Peace is found in the Tabernacle of God within our hearts:
4) our longsuffering makes it through the Day:
5) our Gentleness is found in the removal of the leaven at the table of the Lord:
6) our Goodness is found in the Blood of Jesus:
7) our Faith is hidden in the Marrow of the Lamb’s Bones, the hiding place of Grace:
8) our Meekness allows us to face Jesus:
9) our Temperance of the brethren displays our love for the Lord and His people.
There is also the Ma’ot Chittim which is a collection of money taken to buy matzos, wine, or food for the poor, the practice was around during the earthly ministry of Jesus, explaining why the disciples thought Judas went out to buy something for the poor (Jn 13:26-29).
The dishes used cannot be the same as those used during the rest of the year, many Jews use Crystal, without knowing it they still hold a special place at the Passover table for the Bride of Christ, metaphorically seen as Crystal (Rev 21:9-11).
We viewed the Napkin prior with its three compartments, and how the pieces of bread are removed, blessed and replaced. Adding, all three are blessed with the promise to Abraham, or Chag ha-matzot ha-zeh, zman cherutenu, giving thanks to God for choosing His people Israel. The third piece changing from Jacob to Israel also points to the Remnant, the time when the Night comes as God puts His hand a second time to recover the Remnant (Isa 11:11-14). It’s when Isaac is broken the mystery is seen by us. We know Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, but Isaac never had his name changed, really there was no reason to take the piece named Isaac a second time. Unless, it wasn’t Isaac, but Jesus. Ahh, the mystery, the shadow shows the Body of Jesus will be broken as one breaks one part from another, but at a time yet future, thus showing where Paul gained the information from the Lord.
The Matzo Bread itself comes in various types, the one used on Passover must be Kosher. Regular Matzo is called Sh’mura Mishaat K’tsira; however the Jews have a Special Matzo called Matza Sh’mura Mishaat T’china or The Guarded Matzo, it’s so special it’s guarded against any and all defilement from the time the seed is planted until the bread itself is baked. This is reflective of Jesus, He was watched over as the Word, thus in the Beginning was the Word, then the Word took on flesh for us. Jesus as the Bishop (helps) and Shepherd (governments) of our soul watching over us by the Spirit.
In order to insure the protection against leaven, the bread is pierced and stripped, it can take no longer than seven minutes from the time the first trace of water touches the flour until it’s completely cooked; or the dough must be tossed out. The Jew assumes the holes and stripes promote the cooking; however, we know by the stripes of Jesus we were healed (I Pet 2:20-25 & Jn 10:1). On the first night of Passover the bread is broken into pieces about the size of an olive, the Jew doesn’t know why, but we see the Mount Of Olives where Jesus taught us the Least Commandments of Mercy; Least doesn’t mean inferior, rather they are the least we can do. The Special Matzo is a shadow of our justification, as we are protected from the time the Seed of God is planted in us until the time we are Glorified.
The meal Jesus held is like the one today, it had five items, which are termed the: Betsa, Zero’a, Maror, Charoset, and Karpas.
1) The Betsa is an egg which is hard-boiled, then roasted in an oven to commemorate the offering of the pilgrims who went to the temple in Jerusalem for the holiday, in our case it’s reflective of being Born Again, with the promise of everything produces after it’s own kind. It’s clear this was not a part of the Moses Passover, since there was no temple then.
2) The Zero’a is a roasted bone with “a little meat” on it, to symbolize the Passover Lamb, it becomes the remembrance of those things done for Israel, just as the Bread and Cup for us is in Remembrance of what Jesus did for us, rather than reenacting the event.
3) The Maror is the bitter vegetable dish. Among the Ashkenazim Jewish people it’s usually a fresh sliced horseradish, but any bitter radish is acceptable: for us it’s reflecting the bitterness of falling from Grace, for the Jew it’s the bitterness of Egypt. This would be the herb dish Moses had.
4) The Charoset is a thick paste made of grated apples, ground-up almonds, walnuts or other nuts, honey for sweetening with a little wine, for the Jew it represents the mortar in Egypt, but for us it’s the Seed of God, the Honey of Prophecy, the almond pointing to the Resurrection, the paste representing how Jesus clings to us by the Spirit.
5) The Karpas is any green vegetable which is blessed with Boreh Pri Ha-adama (Mishna, Pesachiim 10:3), this dish is designed to “excite the children” just as knowing our New Man is the Seal securing us in Grace (Eph 4:24).
The hard-boiled egg among the Ashkenazim is placed in salt water, to represent the people passing the Red Sea; however, the children passed on dry land. The thinking of the Ashkenazim for adding the salt water was to represent the endurance of the Jewish people. The hard-boiled egg is the only item which gets tougher the longer it’s in hot water, but in our case it shows the softer we get by the washing of the Water by the Word.
The publican and the Pharisee were both at the altar in the temple, the publican judged himself to himself by seeking Mercy, the Pharisee judged himself to another then exalted himself. We compare ourselves to Christ as we pray for God to keep us on the Path of the Faith of Jesus. We also pray for any self-deception to be exposed in us along with any self nature, pride, ego or hindering attitude. We are ready to join with the New Man as we allow the Washing of the Water by the Word to clean us. This is working out our own salvation by fear and trembling.
The Wine used in not a pure wine, rather it’s mixed with water, thus without knowing the Jew holds up Jesus, who came not by Water alone but both by Water and Blood. This helps explain Paul’s teaching to Timothy, “drink no longer water (mercy alone), but use a little wine (mixed with water, only place the Greek word appears) for you stomach’s (gullet, or place where words are formed, only place where the Greek word is used) sake and your often infirmities (weaknesses of the flesh – I Tim 5:23); with this verse we find, “lay hands suddenly on no man” making sense (I Tim 5:22 & 5:24). Mercy alone isn’t enough, we need both Mercy and Grace to know the heart of God. Merely having the knowledge of God isn’t enough, we need the Wisdom of God to deal with events and people. We obtain knowledge in our Study Hall experiences, Wisdom in the wilderness of God, discernment in the Cave.
John doesn’t record the Communion, he does however record the teachings in reference to the Communion (Jn 13:31-17:26). We know they sang, but what songs did they sing and why? There were Five songs for Passover, each representative of Grace and our walk with the Lord.
1) As the deer pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after Thee, O God (Ps 42:1) – This is denying the self as we secure ourselves in the Mercy of God.
2) How amiable are Your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yea, even faints for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry for the living God (Ps 84:1-2); there was only one Tabernacle, thus this points to us as the Tabernacles of God.
3) I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within Your gates O Jerusalem (Ps 122:1-2) – no one goes down to Jerusalem, regardless of where they are, they always “go up” to Jerusalem, thus pointing to New Jerusalem, the place where we will be lifted in a twinkling of an eye.
4) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Ps 133:1) – this is the unity of the Faith and Spirit; we join to the Faith of Jesus by the Spirit, thus unity is found in Christ, not in natural religious facades, or winds of doctrine.
5) Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord. The Lord who made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion (Ps 134:1-3); we worship by Spirit and Truth in the Spirit of Truth, no one calls Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost (I Cor 12:3), in order to be a true Servant one must be Born Again.
The Jews say thanks for their meal after they eat, which is, Birkat ha-Mazon, or “when you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord for the good land which He has given you”. This is an after the fact thanks, we thank the Lord before, during and after. There is much for us at the Lord’s table, it’s the place of Remembering all the Lord has done for us. It’s far better to discern, and learn, then stumble and fall.
BOOK OF ACTS
At the Cross and prior to the Resurrection the disciples thought Jesus was dead, it was over, the work, the promises, all gone, as Jesus hung on the Cross. Then came the Resurrection; Jesus was with them again, but then they would hear of the Ascension, again they felt Jesus would leave them, only this time Jesus would make sure they had Another Comforter. Another Comforter is the New Man, the Greater He, we of the New Testament are the only ones who have the opportunity to enter the completed prophecy of “let us make man in Our image”. The title Holy Ghost was not seen in the Old Testament, yet He was there behind the scenes. The Spirit of the Lord would fall on people so they could do extraordinary exploits, but none of them were Born Again, or of the Body, none of them had the Authority of Jesus. Noah didn’t have Grace, but God saw Grace in the saving of Noah, yet we know the word “Grace” as it’s used in the Old Testament is far different from it’s use in New. However, so is the word Circumcision, Tithes and Law, they are separated from the New Testament concepts by definition. The New Testament is not a copy of the Old, nor is it an extension of the Old, it’s New, as in never before.
If we need a reason to be thankful we can begin with knowing the Spirit of Truth granted us in the New Birth, something not granted to David, Moses, or Abraham. The New Covenant is based in the Blood of Jesus, meaning it was not granted to Jacob, neither was Elijah Born Again, Elisha didn’t have the Spirit of Truth, even someone like John the Baptist who was called “great” by Jesus wasn’t Born Again. It was John who asked to be Baptized in the Holy Ghost; but it was not time, yet we are Born Again. The Book of Acts begins by showing us the differences between having the Spirit of Truth, and not. Decisions made by people with the Spirit of Truth, and decisions made without the Spirit are far different, yet both groups can pray or have Scripture to support them. Discernment is void without the Spirit, yet very evident with the Spirit.
The Book of Acts was written by Luke (the physician and scribe), to Theophilus (a teacher), as a supplement to Luke’s Account of the Gospel (Acts 1:1 & Luke 1:1-3). Luke expanded to the Teacher all Jesus “began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). A clue to Theophilus being a teacher is how Luke points to the Teaching of Jesus, adding there are no records showing Theophilus was a governor, or government official, yet Luke has an obvious respect for the man, as a scribe would a teacher.
The Book of the Acts of the Apostles begins with the Ascension of Jesus, ends with the prophecy of Paul changing the course of the Gospel. The Church began on Pentecost, but the Rock began earlier. The Rock is the Place of Mercy, the Church the Place of Grace, yet in order to find Grace, one must Obtain Mercy (Heb 4:16). A balanced, or equal Christian is one who has obtained Mercy, in order to find Grace.
The Book of Acts pertains to the Acts, not the Ways of the Apostles, if one wants to know the Ways, they have to read the letters. This Book shows how the disciples didn’t change their mode of thinking, rather their source of thinking was changed by the New Birth. It will also show how the Gospel focused on the Jew first, just as Jesus commanded, showing there were Two Gospels, one to the Jew, and one to the Gentile; however, there came a time for change, one where the focus moved to the Gentile, thus a prophecy went forth changing the casting of the Net to the Sea as the primary concern. This in no way means the Jew was left out, only how the primary focus changed, what was first became last, but what was last became first.
The Book of Acts gives us a progression, it also shows these men and women of God were nonetheless men and women whom God touched. They made mistakes from time to time, just like the rest of us, but their Love for God endured. The Book of Acts shows how Jesus builds the Church from the Rock, with the tool of construction being the Holy Spirit.
If one was to look at the history of the Body, even some of the weird things going on today, they might conclude the gates of hell have prevailed, they have, but not against the Church. We can’t forget Jesus never said the gates would not invade the Rock, rather He warned us of the false christs and wolves who come in sheep’s clothing. The Church is still intact, still pure, still going on as intended, but the Rock (Body) is also going on as intended as well, it will be broken, but the Church will not. Over the years the misnomer of the “Church” became inclusive joining the Body and Church as one entity, but Jesus said He would build the Church on the Rock. He also divided His Body from the Blood, Jesus never dipped the Bread into the Blood, or mixed the Blood into the Bread, they were separated, yet one cannot touch the Blood without first becoming the Bread, neither can they be established in the Church unless they are first of the Body, we will see a situation facing Peter which seems so completely out order, but he will react based on something he knows Jesus is doing.
Some contend the Church began on Pentecost, thus the Gospel accounts are really Old Testament. It’s true the Church began on Pentecost, but the earthly ministry began the Rock upon which the Church was built. John the Baptist was not Old Testament, neither was he New. He was not enjoined to the Ministry of Jesus, but Jesus said the Law and Prophets were until John, thus when John appeared a time of separation also began. The Body or Rock is the place between places, the Street leaving one area behind as it reaches to another. The New Testament is in the Blood of Jesus, but the Bread is the Rock, thus the Rock began the second Jesus began His ministry. Therefore, the Gospel times are not Old Testament, but neither are they New, it’s the Preparation of Mercy as a foundation to have the Fullness of Grace.
Anyone who has entered the Bread (Body or Rock) are covered by the Anointing on the Body of Christ, or the Unction over the Body. However, it’s not the only anointing; there are other areas of the Anointing, the Doma (gift) for the office is one, it’s purposed for the edifying of the saints and the work of the ministry, this anointing is not designed to save us, it’s designed to assist leadership. There is an anointing of Mercy, which heals the sick, casts out devils, bringing us Forgiveness as a way of life. There is an anointing in Grace which is purposed for the saving of our souls found in the New Man. There is the anointing of the Holy Ghost in order for us to deal with the masses, which will be evident in Acts. We need them all, one is no greater than the other, they are purposed to reach the intended result. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has Anointed Me” (Luke 4:18). The same premise we find for those in the Body; when we came to the Cross we were Anointed by the Father, which enabled Him to forgive us for Christ’s (The Anointed One) sake. If we have the Spirit then there are facts and truths associated with the premise. The Spirit is upon us because we are Anointed, if we are Anointed the Yoke is broken. However, as a person believes, so they are. Belief grants us knowledge from which our belief and faith operate, our struggles are often not issues of faith, since faith is future tense, rather our battles are in the area of Belief. Do we believe what Jesus said? Do we really? Most of us are working to firm up our faith, but faith without the knowledge based on our belief soon fades in the face of adversity. There will come a time where we are going to have to believe what we say we believe.
The earthly ministry was based on Mercy, Belief and Faith, the people believed Jesus was able, which gave them the faith to reach to the result. Often Jesus asked, “do you believe I can do this?”, being foundational to whether their faith could reach to the result. The entire account of John points to Belief, yet we are saved by Grace through Faith, not of our own. Faith, Hope and Love are pillars, but their foundation is Belief. Remove Belief and Faith begins to tilt, Hope slips from it’s mooring and Love fades into panic. Belief is a present tense confidence, but faith reaches to a hope, whether the hope is years away, or seconds. Therefore, we find Belief is based in information or events in the past accepted as truth, while faith reaches forward to a hope. The premise of Now is where belief and faith meet, we will find times when the Spirit filled disciples questioned things; on at least one occasion entered panic. The evidence shows just how longsuffering the Lord is with us, we are not cast away because we made a mistake, the Book of Acts will make it abundantly clear. Mistakes happen, but if we fail to learn from them we have allowed opportunity to pass. God presents us with opportunities, yet we must cease the moment.
The Book of Acts is also a Book of Revival, it’s both a guide to purposed revival, as well as actual revival. It shows revival of the masses, and revival for individuals. It’s important to keep in mind how Jesus didn’t do any Acts after the Resurrection, His time for Acts finished, thus the time for the Greater Acts to be performed by the Body began. We all want to experience the Acts and the Ways of the Lord, but we tend to use formulas, or attempt to follow the experiences of others. The Book of Acts shows us the advantage of having personal experiences by the Spirit of Christ.
Formulas can be taken from Godly principles, but they add many things to the principle making it so restrictive it becomes a carnal endeavor to reach a spiritual goal, making the endeavor a form of self-righteousness. Formulas tend to give us the result before we begin, thus our eyes and minds are set on obtaining a set result with all the steps accounted for before we begin. Leaving no room for faith, nor does it allow God to operate. We have principles, God has the means, trust in Him, not the formula. There is a vast difference between putting our trust in God, and expecting God to perform to our expectations. These people didn’t have a formula, rather we will find many things were New. It makes sense, since they had the New Man to guide them. It’s also important to keep in mind how they didn’t change their mode of thinking, rather they had a change in their source of thinking. They had the Mind of Christ, something not privy to man before the Spirit was given. They no longer thought as mere men, but they had a source of thinking bringing them a knowledge far above mortal man. There will be an evidence of a massive change in behavior and thinking regarding the disciples within the first chapters of Acts. Their experience grants us food for our belief, there will be a change in us as well.
Before we can project the realness of Jesus, He must be real in us. It was once said, Jesus never jumped up and down, ran around or shouted, but those who touched Him did. The Book of Acts is a jumping up and down, running around Holy Ghost experience by showing us God is the source of the Power from on High.
The Book of Acts displays a change taking place, a change moving these people of God from a carnal minded, to spiritual minded, the same change is in hand for today. It didn’t pass away, it was purposed to get better. “Well, I tell you what, it don’t look better”. What it looks like really doesn’t matter, what we hold by belief and faith does. The event never tells us a thing, the purpose of the event does.
ACTS – CHAPTER 1:
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3).
The writer of Acts is Luke, thus Acts connects to Luke’s account. Luke is the only Gentile writer in the Bible; however, it doesn’t mean Luke is the only one who wrote all Jesus did, rather the Book of Acts tells us the result of the discipleship training coupled with the Power from on High. Luke also has another distinction, he was an associate with Paul, but we never see where he was ordained as a deacon, bishop, or elder, nor into any government position. So what? It shows we don’t need a title to be an effective member of the Body. God picked this man to tell us many things, one is how the offices of helps differ from the offices of government. Without mentioning Philip we would never know what an Evangelist does, true Timothy was told to do the work of one, but Philip was the only person called one. Luke also shows how Elders assist in decisions, they don’t make them (Acts 15), as well as how important it is for Helps and the Offices to be in unity. All these matters are found in Acts, a very important document.
The wording Infallible Proofs means Defining a fact, thus it doesn’t mean Jesus did healings after the Resurrection, rather it means He taught. The disciples didn’t see Jesus during the three days and nights, neither did they see Him during the seven days He was before the Father; adding the three, seven, with the forty we come up with fifty days. It’s fifty days from Passover to Pentecost, or forty-nine days from the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Day to Pentecost. The time from the Feast Day to Pentecost gives us seven-sevens, completing Daniel’s seven, except for the Hour, even the Hour is accounted for; half in the Day, half in the Night. Since all the days from the Cross to the Ascension are accounted for, we can put away any thought of Jesus going to some other land to ordain another set of apostles. To begin with, it would mean He didn’t build the Church on the Rock. When Jesus said, “upon this Rock” it was present tense phrase pointing to the people there as disciples. Then He said “I will build” which is a future tense phrase: therefore, if Jesus went to some other land, or appointed other apostles, why did He begin the Church in Jerusalem with the same disciples He said were the Rock? The Church began in an upper room with people no different than us. The real difference between what these people were, and what they became on Pentecost will be the Spirit, thus the permission to receive the Spirit was granted with Jesus was Glorified by the Resurrection (Jn 7:39). The first chapter in Acts will show us how leaders operate without the Holy Ghost, and how they operate with the Holy Ghost.
The wording Taken Up is the compound Greek Word AnaLampano meaning Received Up; therefore, after Jesus gave the Sacrifice in heaven He returned to teach about the Kingdom of God preparing the disciples to receive the Gift. We also find the Holy Ghost gave Commandments to the disciples, but the Holy Ghost was not given until after Jesus Ascended. How can this be? The definitive language shows Jesus was teaching, not giving Commandments, the Commandments would come after the disciples were Born Again, meaning they could understand the Commandments. One of the functions of an Apostle is to give us Commandment, Paul did, John did, as did Peter. However, from Mark 9:32 we know the disciples lacked understanding of the Cross and Resurrection, thus they lacked a foundation to speak regarding spiritual matters. After Pentecost it changed, Peter spoke regarding spiritual matters within minutes of receiving the Spirit.
The word Passion in verse 3 means To suffer for someone, thus showing the Sacrifice on earth and in heaven was for us. The premise draws us to the addition of the Former Treatise; Luke’s Account gave us the goal, all Jesus did leading up to the Goal, now Luke writes about the result of the Goal. This is an addition to the Gospel, but rather than be the Gospel, it shows how the Gospel became a living element in the lives of the men, women and children who received Jesus. The Gospel must be connected to the Holy Ghost to be effective, thus during the forty days Jesus taught, neither He or the disciples do any healings, preaching to the masses, or miracles.
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:4-6).
Here we find the Commandments concerning the Kingdom of God to be given by the Holy Ghost, yet the Holy Ghost did not come until “after” Jesus was “taken up”. These verses also separate the baptism of John from the water baptism we do in the Name of Jesus. John’s was in water, saying the people should believe, our water baptism is based on the people believing. John’s was in his name, the one we do in the Name of Jesus. However, Jesus is still the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost and fire. The Cross, Resurrection and Ascension all opened the Day for us, bringing the Greater Light with the Power to carry out the authority.
This is still before Pentecost, the question of Restoration refers to the Time of Comfort. This also shows the Command to Tarry is just as important as the Command to Go. They were told to Wait (Tarry), the word shows waiting for a Specific thing, not waiting in general. Which makes us wonder about verse 15, wherein Peter made a decision regarding business matters. Still a learning for us, still something to open the difference between the giving of the Ingress Aires until one has the Spirit. It’s clear in verse 4 they were to Wait for the Promise, not do anything else. They were to be of One Mind centered on One Goal, to obtain One thing. The premise was to engage in the Ingress Aries to remit all sins done unto them so they could “receive ye the Holy Ghost”, yet natural thinking will determine the evidence needed to show they had forgiven, when it wasn’t necessary.
We know after the Resurrection, Jesus commanded them to go to Galilee, yet they remained in Jerusalem. The reasoning of the natural mind is either to reach beyond the command, or attempt to avoid it. The evidence will show us, no one can be a Servant of the Lord, or call Him Master without the Spirit in them; Paul said no one can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost. They will do all sorts of things, but without the Spirit they will not Serve as a faithful servant.
The time to Tarry came after “Go ye”, thus we find the Authority came placing them in the Name of Jesus, but Authority without Power is absent ability. They had the Authority, but were told to wait for the Power before they did anything. Jesus never said, “Tarry, and fill the position of Judas”, thus Jesus didn’t honor their prayers regarding filling the position. We will be given a lesson how carnal thinking attempts to reach a result, but lacks God.
This connects Acts to John, the Comforter would come bringing Another Comforter, Jesus didn’t deceive them. He was serious, He expected them to be just as serious about receiving. When the Lord tells us to “tarry”, He has a purpose. Waiting isn’t easy, the flesh hates to wait, Patience is dirty word for the flesh, but a blessing for the soul. There are times to Wait, Wait, Wait on the Lord, He will tell us what to do and where to go in His timing.
The time element is important as well, although we will see the time was not Many Days, but within hours, they were nonetheless to act as if it would be Many Days. This is a time when their belief would connect with their faith. Their belief would be centered in the promise of Another Comforter, their faith would reach to receiving the Spirit.
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:7-8).
Here is something not to do, and something to do. This doesn’t say we shouldn’t have knowledge of the Restoration of Israel, rather we’re not to run around the world attempting to make it come to pass, nor are we to seek signs of the Restoration, or procreate prophecy concerning the Restoration. Believing in the Prophecy, and attempting to make it come to pass are different. Believing God is able to bring the prophecy to pass is faith, attempting to make it come to pass is unbelief in God’s ability. The word Time means A time of opportunity, the word Again means again, thus the Restoration was promised, these disciples knew Jesus wasn’t done with the Restoration. The signs Jesus talked about were yet to happen, but where was the Peace? Where was the Mountain of the Lord? Why wasn’t it sitting on the mountains of the World? Their knowledge of the Old Testament knew the Restoration of Israel was written about, but at this time they were still carnal, unable to understand spiritual matters. One thing is important in their thinking, they knew the Restoration of Israel was Mercy based, not Grace based. They felt it was Now, they were willing for it to take place. They also knew the term “few” means few, their question pertained to the Church leaving then, for the Restoration of Israel to begin. They thought they were ready to Ascend with Jesus at the moment, but there remained much more for them to do. The question shows how the natural mind of man views time, the disciples felt it was time to begin and end the Church by making the enemies of Jesus His footstool. Not so, there was the completeness of the Day, the morning was breaking, but it didn’t mean the Sun was sitting.
They were to be Witnesses, but wait, weren’t these the same people ordained to cast out devils? Heal and preach? Didn’t they sit with Jesus at the table? Did they not see the Resurrected Jesus? Sounds like they were already witnesses, not so, they lacked the true first hand knowledge of what was going on, not their opinion, or what they thought happened. What did they need? A New Heart, a new center of life, a new view of things from the viewpoint of God, something only the Spirit of Truth could grant.
Where were they to Witness? Jesus said Both in Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria, then the uttermost part of the earth. Both? There is more than one place here. One of the “both” was Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, all of which will be complete by the time we get to Acts chapter 9. The other “Both” was the “uttermost part of the earth”, thus one Both was Jew, the other Gentile. This shows a progression of advancement, Philip will put his hand on the door to the Gentile, Peter will begin to open it, then the Holy Ghost will bust it wide open by sending Paul through it. However, it must have a Beginning, they must advance from the Beginning, while not forgetting the beginning. Of course some of us are still in our upper room enjoying the moment, but missing the excitement (Acts 2:14).
The word World refers to a Age, the word Earth has two meanings, first is the physical land, which is the case here. In Revelation 13 we find a Beast of the Earth, one who remains earthly, as the son of perdition, but it doesn’t mean the Earth is evil, it means the son of perdition refuses to move on to become heavenly, rather they remain Earthly by seeking earthly things as they become the he in the world.
The “uttermost” to these people was something beyond their reasoning, they had Scripture showing God picked Israel out of all the families of the earth, so why change now? They also had the prior word, “Go not the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not” (Matt 10:5), now it’s the Proceeding Word, it was time for Progression, a time to widen the family borders. Nonetheless, the first place of concern was still the Jew, as such there had to be a witness of proof. What could it be? These Jews had to be Christian, yet still able to converse with Jews. They would keep the Law for the Jews sake, not for their sake, or to gain favor from God, or the Law. Paul said he was a Jew to the Jews, and a Gentile to the Gentiles, but he was both Jew and Gentile, he never said he would be a sinner to the sinners.
It becomes clear there is a division, the Restoration of Israel is the Night, the time when the Father makes the enemies of Jesus His footstool. However, before the time, there is the Day, the time of Salvation when we are made Witnesses for Jesus. Before we can be a Witness we must have the Gift by the Holy Ghost, we must be able to project the same character and nature of the one we are Witnessing for. Prior to Pentecost Peter will make a decision, but it’s not based on being a Witness; however, later he will proclaim to be a Witness (v. 2:32 & 3:15).
The prophet Isaiah laid out the plan to recover the Remnant, the method is far different from the method God has given us to enter the Kingdom (Isa 54:4-17 & Isa 55:1-4). The Lord will call Israel through Jerusalem as a “woman forsaken”. For a small moment He has forsaken her, but then He will have Mercy as in the days of Noah (Isa 54:6-9). However, there will also be those who gather, but not by God, yet in the end they shall fall (Isa 54:15). On the other hand, we are to seek the Living Water, and “hearken diligently” unto God. Faith calls for us to “diligently seek Him”; rather than diligently seek the Law of Moses, or seek our own self desires (Isa 55:1-3 & Heb 11:6).
The language in verse 8 is, “but you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you”. The TR reads, “but you will receive Power, coming the Holy Ghost upon you”, putting the two together we find the Power is one thing, the Holy Ghost another, thus the Holy Ghost will bring the Power, then the Holy Ghost will empower them to deal with the masses. We know the initial effort is the Baptism with the Holy Ghost to receive the Gift of Grace, which Gift is the Holy Spirit. The “Power” is the ability, the Greek word is Dunamis, thus the premise is adding to the Authority they were already granted. Jesus gave them Authority when He said, “In My Name”, but they didn’t have the Power to carry out the Authority. Attempting to carry out the Authority without the Power leaves us using natural means to obtain a spiritual result, producing failure. The proof is of course the first Board Meeting, where they had Scripture and prayed, but ended tossing dice in order to make a decision. All this shows the Power is the New Man, thus the Holy Ghost brings the Gift, often termed the “the Gift of the Holy Ghost”. What does this meeting actually tell us about Power? They had the authority, but without the Power they lacked guidance. We can have Authority, yet sit around doing what we think is the good and right thing at the moment, but we would be using natural reasoning; we must Tarry for the Power. This is vital area, we have to see the Holy Ghost is not “the Spirit in you”, rather the Holy Ghost will come upon you. Doesn’t the Holy Ghost fill us? Yes, but for specifics as we will see as we move along. The process is not the Power, then the Holy Ghost, rather the Holy Ghost will come upon them granting them Power in the New Birth, then the Holy Ghost will empower, or fill them to preach and deal with the masses. Also this verse shows the Holy Ghost was not given until Jesus was Glorified, then Ascended on High.
In verse 7 the “power” in the phrase, “which the Father has put in His own power” is the Greek Exousia meaning Authority, thus another division. In the Night they will have a “little strength”, but here we find those of the Day have Power from on High.
Some of us wait for the Holy Ghost, when He comes, we stop receiving, yet it’s the time to Receive the more, not a time to stop. Since Luke wrote this, we may be able to find another supportive link in his account of the Gospel. John the Baptist was conceived like any human, but he would be “filled with the Holy Ghost” for the specifics of his ministry, but he never raised the dead, or laid hands on the sick (Luke 1:15). In John’s case he had to be filled with the Holy Ghost in order to perform the Sacrificial washing of Jesus, and to proclaim the “Lamb of God”. However, Mary was told something different, “the Holy Ghost shall come upon you, as the Power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also the holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). It doesn’t say Mary was Born Again, rather we find a preview, something these people in the upper room could hold to in reference to their belief. Mary was in the upper room as well, surely she was also waiting for the Holy Ghost to fall, granting her the New Birth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9).
The wording Taken Up used here comes from a different Greek word than the wording used in verse 2. In verse 2 the Greek word is AnaLambano, here it’s Epairo, they are compound words, Epairo means a Direction or Sail Away; whereas AnaLambano means To offer up, but why two different Greek words? The first shows the Sacrifice, the second is where we find the Cloud, thus Paul says we meet the Dead in Christ in the Clouds (plural), not Cloud. This one Cloud is before the joining of any of those who died after Pentecost, thus this is the Cloud of Witnesses noted in Hebrews chapter 11. This cloud consists of those who were taken captive by Jesus, they are joined under the altar of God by those who died after Pentecost, making Clouds, thus it’s the Clouds returning with Jesus. Here the metaphor Cloud is singular, showing one group, not plural as Paul shows, thus the writer didn’t make a mistake, it’s true, there is a place for us, there is a Lifting of the Dead in Christ from the earth. Jesus hasn’t left us, nor has He forsaken us. It’s also true, we will Sail away as we go through the Door to meet the Dead in Christ under the Altar, then we will meet Jesus in the Air. It’s really simple, after Pentecost when Stephen, James and many others died either by natural causes, or at the hands of another, the other Cloud was formed, giving us Clouds. The one seen here contains the Captive taken captive, when Jesus returns it will be Clouds as New Jerusalem.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:10-11).
In verse 10 we have another phrase, “Went up”, which is the Greek word Poreuomai meaning To transport oneself from one place to another. This explains Shall return, Jesus wasn’t taken up by the Spirit, rather the Spirit had not been given at this time. This is another important area, an issue we can’t overlook. The Sacrifice brought the promise of the Spirit (v. 1:2), the Cloud of Witnesses promises us how we will Sail Away some day soon, here we find the Transporting, or promise of the Translation. Without the Spirit we will not be Translated, the promise of the Spirit is how we will taken to meet the dead in Christ in the Clouds before the Door is closed. This area informed the disciples of the division Jesus just commented on, they could not Ascend without being Born Again, they had to Tarry to receive the Power from on High.
We often see pictures where these two men are depicted ascending with Jesus, but the verse says Jesus went out of their sight, while the two remained with the disciples. These ministering angels in White are symbols of the promise regarding each of us being in White, they remained with those who were purposed to walk with Jesus in White. The verse doesn’t say the disciples will See Him return, only when He returns it will be in like manner. When Jesus ascended the Holy Ghost was yet given, thus when Jesus returns neither the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost will not be on the earth. However, we also see as He left, so shall He return, how did He leave? With a cloud of witnesses, how shall He return? With His Bride descending as New Jerusalem as those who were made Witnesses by being Born Again.
The two men simply ask, “Why are you standing here, why don’t you do what He said?”. Jesus didn’t tell them to gaze into heaven, He told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with Power from on High. The Power was coming to a specific place, they had to be in the place to receive. It’s important to know the Command was to Tarry, it wasn’t appoint someone to take the place of Judas. The experience of Peter and the other disciples having to cast lots is not a manner in which the Spirit operates, it’s a manner in which one operates if they don’t have the Spirit.
Just after the Resurrection Jesus told them “Go to Galilee” now it’s “Go to Jerusalem”, yet they are gazing around wondering what to do. When Jesus tells us to do something we have to be quick, yet the evidence shows obedience without the Spirit is not obedience at all. These men are told they needed the Power from on High, but didn’t they have Power? They healed the sick, cast out devils and preached. They had the Power of Mercy, they were not Born Again, they still didn’t understand spiritual matters, they also lacked the foundation to speak of the Resurrection of Jesus. Mercy takes supernatural power in the Name of Jesus, Grace spiritual power in the Name of Jesus; Mercy makes us sons of men, Grace sons of God. The supernatural Power of Mercy is great, we need it, but we also need to be Born Again to be Equal. They also needed to complete the requirement of the Ingress Aires by remitting sins done unto them.
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey (Acts 1:12).
This doesn’t mean Jesus ascended on the sabbath day according to the commandment, rather it means the High Sabbath of Pentecost was at hand, they were a Sabbath’s day (7 ½ furlongs, or 1,440 yards) walk away from Jerusalem. This also shows it was the morning of Pentecost, or it would not be a Sabbath’s day journey, meaning they didn’t wait for days, it’ was no more then a few hours. Pentecost was to remember “the day the tabernacle was reared up and the Cloud covered the tabernacle, namely the Tent Of The Testimony” (Numb 9:15). The difference between the Temple and Tabernacle will be explored in great detail in the Book of Hebrews, but for here, we recall how the Cloud covered the Tabernacle during the Day, the Fire came at night. We are of the Day, not the Night, thus the Baptism with Fire keeps us from the Night, securing us in the Day. As long as the Cloud abode with the children they rested in their tents. When the Cloud Tarried the children kept the Charge of the Lord, as they journeyed not, thus when Jesus went up in the Cloud it was sign the Tabernacles of God would soon follow the Cloud (Numb 9:18-19).
The Promise was at hand, the time for the Door and Day was now very close. Jesus repaired the Street, man could now have Peace with God. After the two men pointed them in the right direction, Great Joy came as they worshipped the Lord unto Jerusalem (Luke 24:52). This again shows they could worship without the Spirit, but it was still based in their own opinions and emotions. The true worshippers of God worship in Spirit and Truth, by the Spirit of Truth
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts 1:13-14).
The time element is not ten days from the Ascension to Pentecost, rather at the most it’s less than a day. Jesus was in the grave for three days, before the Father for seven, with the disciples forty days, it took a Sabbath’s day journey (under five hours) to get to the Upper Room. Showing we don’t have to tarry forever, we don’t have to cry, beat our chest, yell, or be full of sorrow to obtain, we need Great Joy with the expectation of receiving as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Jesus is still the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, we baptize others in Water, but no man can Baptize others with the Holy Ghost. We present others to Jesus by the laying on of hands, but it’s different than giving them the Spirit. There are three methods in which one obtains the Spirit, first is Asking, anyone who is honest in their approach to the Lord will receive the Spirit. Next falls within the doctrine of the laying on of hands, the premise of laying hands on another as presentation. Lastly is the manner in which Cornelius received, Peter didn’t lay hands on him, rather Cornelius heard, then he believed in what he heard.
In verse 13 we find the word Both, but does it mean only Peter and James were apostles? Hardly the word Both brings in the other people as well, we find the apostles, were among the 120 souls; including the disciples of John, thus John’s disciples did become included.
The word for Prayer means Supplication as a Request for God to Supply. The One Accord means one purpose, one goal, with one means to reach the goal. This One Accord had to be something leading up to the Holy Ghost, so what was it? Ahh, the Ingress Aires, their One Accord was making the decision to forgive all, the Romans, the religious leaders, even Judas, they were putting an action to their decision. What clues do find in these first verses to indicate that? Peter’s motivation to replace Judas (Acts 1:16-19) indicating how Peter is more concerned about how those on the outside think, yet by the act of forgiving we can see how the motivation was to let others know they had forgiven Judas. The evidence would be replacing the man; however, they made several mistakes. First they sought to replace the man, rather than find someone to fill the position. They were told to Tarry, not fill the position. Next they were motivated by what people think, rather than what God knows.
Later in Acts when Peter and John are put in prison the disciples again entered one accord in prayer. Their prayer was not laced with threatening words, they didn’t seek some punishment on the people, they didn’t seek to replace the positions of Peter or John, they sought more power to produce more signs and wonders (Acts 4:30). If we want to be in One Accord a good place to start is moving into the purpose of the Ingress Aires.
Once they began to pray, they also turned the keys. They knew Jesus said they had the keys to the kingdom, they also knew the keys related to Mercy, as Mercy related to forgiving. They didn’t have to worry if the devil would counterfeit the experience, the Lord promised them “receive ye the Holy Ghost”, they knew the Lord is faithful.
This short time is interesting, since Jesus just ascended, they were alone, but they knew the keys were in their hands. We must keep in mind the Spirit was not yet given, but Jesus had just left, thus they were not praying by the Holy Ghost, they were praying based on the breath of Jesus to receive the Holy Ghost, a specific of importance.
The Spirit came at the Request of Jesus, but by the Father, delivered by the Holy Ghost based on the Sacrifice, but granted by the Ascension, but why the Order? Mercy unto Grace, Jesus is Grace, the Father Mercy, but they couldn’t have Grace until Mercy was established. The confusion came later, did the Father send the Holy Ghost at the request of Jesus? Or did Jesus send the Holy Ghost? However, the real question is Do you have the Gift of the Holy Ghost? Nonetheless the answer is found when we know the Holy Ghost testifies of Jesus, yet He gives us the Witness, thus Jesus wouldn’t send the Spirit on His behalf, but the Father would, yet it’s Jesus Who baptizes us with the Holy Ghost giving us One God All in All, Father, Word (Son) and Holy Ghost working in Unity. Jesus testified of the Father, the Comforter brings us Another Comforter so we can be Witnesses for Jesus. The Holy Ghost is part of the Record, the New Man (Spirit) is part of the Witness (I Jn 5:7-8).
In Romans Paul says the Spirit bears witness to our Spirit saying we are children of God (Rom 8:16), but why not say the Holy Ghost? In First Corinthians Paul defines it for us, the spirit of man knows the things of man, but is completely ignorant regarding the things of the Spirit of God, it takes the Spirit of God to show us the things of God (I Cor 2:11). The Holy Ghost is part of the Record, God is Spirit, thus Paul speaks of the entire Record as the Spirit of God. The same premise is found when he speaks of us being baptized into the Body by One Spirit. This is clearer when Paul said, the spirit of the world is opposed to the “Spirit which is of God”, thus we are not of the spirit of the world, or the he of the world, but we have the Greater He which is the Spirit which is of God. In Romans and Corinthians we find the “Spirit of God” is the entire Record, showing the Father, Son and Holy Ghost bear witness to the Spirit which is of God in us saying we are children of God. The same Spirit who raised Jesus is raising us. Here in Acts we are talking about the arrival of the Holy Ghost bringing the Gift of the Spirit to grant the Witness of the Water, Blood and Spirit, thus making them Witnesses of Jesus. The disciples had mercy before Pentecost, it was the platform for the earthly ministry. No one said, “have Grace on me”, but they did say, “have mercy on me”. Grace was not available until the Gift was given by the Holy Ghost.
After Pentecost the word Witness or Witnesses is used often by the disciples, but we find 12 different Greek words used for the word Witness in one form or another. The Greek Amarturos means Without a witness it’s used in Acts 14:17, but there it shows God did leave Witness of Himself in the acts of nature. The Greek Diamarturomai means To witness, or To bear witness, it’s used in Acts 20:23. The Greek Katamartureo means To witness or testify against someone, as the Law testifying against the Pharisees. The Greek Martureo means To witness in favor of someone or something, while bearing testimony in the absolute sense. The Greek Marturia means A witness with certification as in Acts 22:18. The Greek Marturion means the proof of the Witness, as in James 5:3. The Greek Marturomai means To witness for oneself as in Acts 20:26 and 26:22. The Greek Martus refers to the One who is a Witness. The Greek Summartureo means Together to witness, or two or more joining to be a Witness. The Greek Sumepimatureo means Two to bear witness, showing the Instrument or means to prove the Witness. The Greek Pseudomartus means A false witness. The Greek Psudeoartueo means One who bears false witness. The Greek Pseudomarturia means The false witness. Generally speaking a Witness is referred to as a Martyr, which means One who submits to death rather than renounce his religion, but the action only proves the heart. In the Christian sense it refers to, “loved not their souls unto the death”, which points to Deny the self. The word Martyr holds the thought of one dying, suffering or giving up everything in order to hold unto what they know to be True, while administering Mercy to their attackers, as did Stephen. It doesn’t mean we can’t be a witness unless someone cuts off our head, it means our heart is so set on holding the Faith we won’t give it up for anything else. This can only be done when the Spirit brings the confidence of God to our hearts coupled to the Faith to know in Whom we Trust is the One True Living God. Do other religions hold a like premise? Yes, some hold if they die in some holy war, they will go to heaven, but in so doing they lack Mercy for their attackers, or they become the attackers, making the act self-righteousness. What about us? We do so to please God by faith while holding Mercy, much different.
Many will die for what they think to be true, few, if any will die for a lie. We find the followers of Whackos dying for something they think to be true, yet we know their thinking is corrupt, or fable based. Does it mean they are Martyrs? No, they are dying to reach some supposed self-based goal, we die because we have reached the goal. This is very important, whackos use the time when the Christians were martyred as some basis for taking ones own life. The early Christians died at the hands of others, while holding the Faith through Mercy. They refused to denounce Jesus, they didn’t kill others in the process, or take their own lives.
Prior some of the brothers of Jesus doubted, now all of them are in the Upper Room. History, and the Book of Acts show the Upper Room was in a house belonging to Mark’s mother (v. 12:12). Also from history we find the Upper Room was just a short distance from the house of Caiphas the high priest. All Caiphas had to do was walk around one building and he too could have received the Spirit of Truth. It’s funny how some will allow one small obstacle to stand in their way of their salvation. In reference we find the Scriptures showing the women and men were together, this would be a change from the “days of the Temple”, where the women were separated. Paul used this premise to chasten the Corinthians, showing how their carnal minded thinking was producing division, rather than Unity (I Cor 11:1-7 & 14:34).
Peter being Peter waited for a short period of time, then decided Somebody must do something, and he did. Today we would see this as the Lord telling us He has a ministry for us, yet we are to wait and learn. However, we decide it’s up to us to make a “step of faith”, off we go marching to the music of presumption. When Jesus said “tarry” our step of faith then becomes to tarry, faith still comes by hearing, the hearing by the Rhema. There was a sound reason to Tarry, they needed the Power from on high to define the Authority. They had the granted Authority recorded in Mark and Matthew, they were told to teach, baptize and teach, they also knew the signs would follow those who believed. However, they needed the Spirit in order to discern and operate in a Godly manner. The Power entailed the New Man, the mind of Christ, the Spirit, the ability to do the things of Grace by Grace.
What about this appointment by Peter? Was it in order? After all we will find the Apostles appointing the Seven, so what’s the big deal about what Peter is doing? Many things, first he may have Authority, but no apostle, prophet, evangelists, teach, pastor, bishop, deacon or elder was ever granted the authority or power to appoint anyone to a five-fold Doma Office position. Leaders can appoint Bishops and Deacons in Helps, and Elders, but only Jesus gives the “gifts” (Doma) of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Pastor. Later in Acts 13:1 we find the Holy Ghost appointing Apostles, thus man may confirm the appointment, but man doesn’t make the appointment to the Doma Office.
Later we will find the Apostles appointing deacons, then Paul will tell Titus to appoint Elders, but no where do we find any of the apostles appointing the Office positions, except for right here in Acts chapter one before the Holy Ghost came with the Gift. What about ministries ordaining people to the Doma Office positions? Ministries lay hands on people to “confirm” what the Holy Ghost has already appointed (Acts 13:1-3). It may not seem like a big difference, but it is. No ministry has the authority to appoint people to the Doma Office positions, they confirm, they do not appoint. The Authority and Power for the task is still for Jesus to do through the Holy Ghost, He still gives “gifts” (Doma). For any human to appoint a Doma Office position would be usurping the authority of the Lord. Leaders hear, then confirm, but they don’t make independent decisions regarding the Offices of the Lord. Usurping Authority is using the authority of another, when we take it upon ourselves to appoint people into the Offices, we are usurping the authority of the Lord, not real smart. We are filled with the Holy Ghost, but it doesn’t mean we are the Holy Ghost. We like the things, the nice pews, stained windows, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, with all the trimmings; none of it means a thing without the Holy Ghost being present. Decisions made outside of the Anointing are carnal, natural and no different than the appointments by the world.
Here Peter simply wanted to bring things back the way the were, giving the people a sign forgiveness had taken place, but his methods were out of order. Peter knew the people understood who and what Judas was, the people had to be shown how Judas didn’t stop a thing, rather they continued business, but the method Peter used was out of order. This isn’t to belittle Peter, it merely shows we can have Authority, but we must have the Power from on high before we act. We can also have Power, but rather than submit to the Authority of Jesus, we can run back and use the authority of the world. Doing the right thing at the wrong time is still wrong, doing the wrong thing at the right time is also wrong. They will have all the particulars, Scripture and Prayer, but they lack two things making it Godly, Authority to do what they were doing, or the Power to do it. This area is our Lesson, not our excuse, surely not the way we are suppose to conduct “business”.
On the other hand we find the others continuing in prayer, they had the past from which to draw from. When Solomon finished the temple they brought the ark of the covenant with the holy vessels of the Lord (II Chron 5:1-5); however when the priests brought the ark of the covenant to the Most Holy Place and opened it, they found nothing save the two tablets (II Chron 5:7-10). The ark represented the covenant made with the children of Israel, the only item left was the basis for the Law, the manna was gone, the vessel holding the manna was gone, the Rod of Aaron which held the signs of life was also gone, only the two stones reflecting the heart of man were left. In our case, we are the Ark, the Law of the Spirit is written on our hearts, the Tree of Life with healing in its leaves comes in the New Birth, the Bread from heaven (Bread of Life) is our heart healing our souls, with the Mercy Seat over us to protect us along the path as Mercy and Grace watch over us. In Solomon’s day when the priests and singers were arrayed in White Linen, having all their instruments of praise, the 120 priests sounded the Trumpet, this is a type and shadow of the events in the Upper Room (II Chron 5:12 & Rev 1:6). The 120 souls in the upper room became kings and priests, the Trumpet sounded, God was among His people.
The Sound of the Trumpet in Solomon’s day proclaimed the Mercy of the Lord, like the priests in Solomon’s day the people in the Upper Room were praising and giving thanks to the Lord, believing they received. They praised the Lord saying “He is Good; for His Mercy endures forever” (II Chron 5:13). They put their minds on the Mercy of the Father, as they remitted sins down unto them. The type and shadow shows the house was filled with a Cloud, even the House of the Lord (II Chron 5:13). The Glory was so great the priests could not minister by reason of the Cloud; for the Glory of the Lord had filled the house of God (II Chron 5:14). However, before granting of the Gift we find Peter would preach his first and only carnal sermon. They were told to Wait, but Peter being Peter made a decision to hold a board meeting. They had the Ingress Aires and Authority, but their authority never granted them permission to appoint apostles. This one experience in Acts shows us having a Living Soul isn’t enough, ye must be Born Again.
We know about the three trumps, and how the first trump announced how the Lord wanted to be among His people. When the Rushing Mighty Wind comes, the Trump will be real, the Lord will be among His people. We have Jesus in us, as long as there is one person on this earth with Jesus in them, it is yet Day showing Christ on the earth in those who are Born Again. Some expect Jesus to come and make it all right, but we have Jesus in us, making us Perfect.
Demonic Control begins by controlling the pulpit; one shouldn’t allow devils to speak from the pulpit, but neither should they hinder the Truth. Peter is making a self-determination regarding what he assumes the Scriptures say, or better he is engaged in “private interpretation”. Will he learn from this experience? Yes, First Peter proves it. The experience was Precious, we can’t look at Peter’s natural mistakes, thinking, “wow what a jerk”. No, we’ve all done the same, we presume in the moment of panic, or assumed in the moment of pride what we’re doing is proper, yet we lacked the authority to do it. All of us make mistakes, the Lord uses mistakes to train us, the Pharisees use them to accuse us. Peter is not some “strange fellow”, or a whacko, he is just like anyone else who wants to do good, but lacks the Spirit. After Peter receives the Spirit and Power, he will change completely. Does it mean he won’t make mistakes? Hardly, It means he will always benefit from the mistakes made. Intent is always the determining factor, what was our intent?
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 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 was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known 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 (Acts 1:15-19).
The Holy Ghost didn’t come the second they arrived, nor was the Spirit waiting for them, thus Peter assumed they needed to conduct business. In the midst of the praying Peter stands up, but Jesus didn’t tell them to fill the position of Judas, He told them to tarry. Peter used Scripture, he even used more than one, all of which pointed to this folly as the first carnal board meeting. This lesson is not written for their sakes, but for ours. The History of the Body shows many times when someone felt Somebody must do something, as they hold a carnal meeting with the result of placing more carnal rules and regulations on people, or making appointments based on the reasoning of man. After Pentecost the apostles will meet, but they will be seeking the Holy Ghost through the New Man to set people free, not bind them to rules and regulations (vs. 15:10 & 15:20-21).
Peter describes Judas, as well as what happened when Judas reached the end of his rope, thus among Peter’s concerns is having the full complement of twelve. He as a Jew knew the Quorum didn’t require twelve to be a Quorum, but Jesus appointed twelve, now they were eleven. Peter also felt the people needed a sign showing how they forgave Judas, after all isn’t the purpose of the Breath of Jesus to forgive? How would it look if they preached Jesus, yet didn’t have the evidence of forgiving Judas? The Judas mentioned in verse 23 is not Judas Iscariot, since he was dead by this time. Neither is he Jude the brother of James, this Judas is known as Judas Barsabas or Judas (Joseph) the Son of Sabas, there is no mention of him being with the disciples, but the effort was to replace Judas, thus we will find Barsabas was a disciple of John the Baptist ministry.
However, when the Holy Ghost delivered the Gift none of the dwellers of Jerusalem asked, “what about Judas?”, they wanted to know, “how is it, all of us hear these wonderful things of God in our own language?”. They didn’t care about Judas, they were moved by “The things of God”.
Peter quotes something said by the Holy Ghost through another person, but the key shows it wasn’t “by the mouth of Peter”, but by “the mouth of David”. Here Peter is giving his interpretation of what the Holy Ghost was saying, in a few moments he will give a Holy Ghost interpretation of what the Holy Ghost said through Joel. Two completely different things, within minutes, the difference? The Power from on High.
Peter’s comments place Judas in the same category as Korah, showing the rebellion within the ranks, but Moses didn’t attempt to fill the slot of Korah (Numb 16:31-32). Although Judas was “numbered” among them, he was the only one among them called a “devil” by Jesus. All this concern produced a reasoning, isn’t it strange how Jesus never voiced the concerns troubling Peter. Peter’s imagination is out of the gate and running strong, rather than being concerned about bringing the people to Jesus, he is concerned about what the people will think of him, or the other disciples. He is in his Somebody do something mode of thinking.
After all this reasoning they decide it’s a good idea to pray, but they should have stayed with the prayer of forgiving. Peter is still looking to walk on the water to prove his faith. When Peter walked on the water the command from Jesus was “I will meet you on the other side”, it was not, “when thou reach half way I want someone to walk on the water”. Peter was again at his half way mark, he decided someone had to repair the damage Judas caused, but the concern was in the hand of God, not the hands of Peter.
The old man will run all over the place looking for confirmation, the Spirit knows God’s voice. Peter needed some support for his argument, so he used Scripture: however, he will also leaves off the intent of the Scripture. Well, they did pray you know. Yes, and they ended casting lots. All this shows how it doesn’t take long for us to fall into a “somebody, do something” thinking, missing the joy of Tarrying. Any decision in leadership must be Holy Ghost backed, then Spirit confirmed. This experience was to replace a man, not fill an office, thus they went back to the time when John started his ministry, but John was not a part of the ministry of Jesus, he had his own ministry
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take (Acts 1:20).
We also see how the business meeting didn’t stop the Holy Ghost, but it was only when they were in the one accord did the Holy Ghost bring the gift.
This sounds good, after all Jesus confronted the devil with “It is written”; however, this is from Psalm 69, it says nothing about filling the position, rather it tells us to leave it alone, God will handle it. Their table (iniquity) is a snare before them, their eyes will be darkened, their loins will shake continually, let their habitation remain desolate, and Let None Dwell In Their Tents (Ps 69:21-25). Clearly this is a They, not a him, it also says to let the position to “remain desolate”, it doesn’t say to “fill it”. There are bad fish, but the good fish don’t swim with them, or hunt them, the good fish preach the truth in love.
The phrase, “and his bishopric let another take” was added by Peter from Psalm 109:8, but it also says let his children be few, and his wife a widow, yet Judas was not married, thus this speaks of the position of the son of perdition, not the man himself. Those who commit iniquity will have their names blotted out of the Book of the Living, but as for us, we will praise the Name Of God with a song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving. This shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock; the humble shall see this and be glad; and your heart shall live to seek God (Ps 69:27-32). Continuing in prayer was their answer, love for one another was the course, it was not finding a replacement for Judas. God will save Zion, and build Judah, those who Love the Lord will dwell therein (Ps 69:35-36).
This is “Scripture”, it’s written, yet any of us could take these same verses and say, “Well Peter the Apostle did it, so are we, it’s Scripture”, yet we would be making the same mistake Peter and the others did. The Scripture reproves such acts, it’s doesn’t condone them.
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 (Acts 1:21-22).
Jesus just told them, “You shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses” (v. 1:8). When Peter was holding a meeting, had the Power fallen? No, did they have the Spirit? No, so they weren’t Witnesses, their mistake proves the very premise, we need the Holy Ghost and Spirit before moving off and giving birth to Ishmaels in leadership.
Jesus never said, “one from the baptism of John”, or “you must fill the position of Judas”; They were to Tarry and complete the Ingress Aires, but don’t ever confuse the remitting of someone’s sins against us, as having granted them forgiveness from heaven, neither assume our act of forgiving them is the same thing as their sins being remitted by Jesus. The Ingress Aires grants us Mercy to forgive others for the sins done unto us, thus our forgiving them doesn’t mean their sins are forgiven by the Father, it still takes each of them coming to the Father following the same procedure as we did.
Peter lays out some requirements, “beginning from the baptism of John”, who began with the baptism of John? There were only two disciples from John’s baptism who joined Jesus (Jn 1:35). One was named Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother (Jn 1:40). The other is not named, but this explains how Peter felt the position had to be filled by someone who had the same background as Judas. How close did he come? First there were only two disciples who left John’s ministry to join Jesus, so Peter picks two people. One named Judas (this is not Judas the brother of James, this Judas was surnamed Barsabas), the other was named Matthias (vs. 1:23 & 15:22).
Before we leave this area we must view some notes in the phrase “from the baptism of John” identifying where Judas Iscariot came from. The effectiveness of John’s baptism ended at the Cross (Acts 19:2-6), but the actual deed stopped when John was cast into prison. There is no evidence in the Gospel of anyone being baptized in water under the Baptism of John after John was cast into prison; however, here in Acts we will find there were many Gentiles baptized under John’s baptism, who had to be baptized again. Why? John was not a member of the Body of Christ, his baptism never granted anyone entrance into the Body. The word “From” in the phrase “from John’s” is the Greek Apo meaning Proceeding of one object from another, A separation form a thing or person, such as the phrase “out of the water”, it means the place from which one is derived, it used in Acts 2:5 in reference to the men from other countries, the word shows the replacement had to be one from the active ministry of John, which ministry ceased being active when Jesus came out of the wilderness (Mark 1:14). Nathanael (Bar-tholomew) couldn’t fit since he didn’t come out of the ministry of John, rather Philip found him under a tree, yet neither of them came from John’s ministry (Jn 1:43-45). James, John, Peter, Jude and the others were all accounted for by the seashore, they were never identified with John’s baptism; leaving Joseph Barsabas, surnamed Justus or Judas (a different person than Judas not Iscariot, or Judas Iscariot). The real Scriptural evidence shows there were only “two” disciples of John who joined Jesus (Jn 1:35), one is Andrew, the other unnamed, thus Peter picked two. The actions in this out of order meeting do give us some information regarding Judas, but it still doesn’t justify it being out of order.
And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen; That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place (Acts 1:23-25).
This goes right back to “If it be You, Lord bid me to come”, but whether it’s “bid me to come”, or “which one Lord?”, it was still tempting the Lord. Since God picked neither, one could assume the clues were there, let it alone, forget it, get back to Tarrying. The Lord couldn’t submit to their desires, they were out of order. Verse 24 gives us the content of their prayer, “Thou Lord which knows the hearts of all men, show whether of these two you have chosen”. The prayer didn’t come close to “should we be doing this Lord?”. They made their decision, the position was going to be filled, if the Lord didn’t tell them, they would find a way. Verse 25 shows how they made their decision, they had no answer to their prayer, but they didn’t care someone was going to be appointed.
The notion seemed right, fill the slot, there were twelve tribes, they should have twelve apostles, after all Jesus did appoint twelve to begin with. Jesus appointed the twelve, the twelve didn’t appoint anyone, including the 70. Jesus said He lost none except for the son of perdition, thus the slot was to remain vacant. The historical obscurity of Matthias is so vague it is only speculation, at best. There was a Matthias noted by John Chyrsostom, but it’s even more vague. The Matthias, Chyrsostom mentions never did an act as an Apostle, nor carry any attributes of an Apostle, he did preach, but so did many others. The point being, the natural mind of man will always figure someway to do something, then claim “it’s of God”, when in truth it is not of God. Did they hear from God? Not even a small still voice. They were attempting to interpret the Bible, rather than obeying the Rhema.
The Bible will define itself, as it will define many things, but can the Bible interpret itself? Can it tell us what it meant by saying this or that? No, the words are there, it takes the Holy Ghost to interpret the words. Making the Bible interpret itself produces fables, or out of order events. We also find Justus (Judas) Barsabas is later seen with Silas, both are noted as prophets, not apostles (v. 15:32).
Clearly the Spirit had not been given as yet, the Ingress Aries had, but it’s the permission to receive the Holy Ghost. We will see the Holy Ghost was not given at the time of this meeting, thus the gift of the Spirit was not given either. If we know something is not right, yet we lack the Wisdom or Power to do anything, we are observers, not doers. This is our lesson, either hear from God, or do nothing.
And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles (Acts 1:26).
They had scripture, they prayed, but they had to cast lots, they didn’t hear one word, Why? The command was to Wait, not vote, or do anything else but Wait. When we don’t hear from God, we should reach back to the last thing God told us, was it Wait? Was it Read your Bible? Was it pray? What was it? We will find God was waiting for us to do the last thing He told us; while we are running all over attempting to avoid it. “Well God knows my heart”, no kidding, but He desires to save your soul. The prayer made the same conclusion, the Lord knows the hearts, indicating they didn’t, but they placed a person in the position anyway. God allowed this act to take place to give us the stark differences between leaders without the Spirit, and leaders with the Spirit. This is the one and only time these leaders vote, from their Pentecost experience they found to “hear what the Spirit says”.
We also have to see the real lesson, which is the use of Power outside of the Authority. Did Peter and the others have Authority to appoint? No, they were told to make disciples, not Apostles. They were granted Authority by Jesus, but Power is the ability to carry out the Authority with Guidance within the framework of the Authority given. No one is given “blanket authority” by Jesus, authority has specifics for the time (Matt 10:5-15 & Eph 4:11-12). They stretched the authority granted them into assumed power, we all have to be careful not to cross the line in the matters of Power and Authority. If called to be a Prophet, be one, but don’t engage in Balaam thinking assuming one can extend to the authority of the office of Prophet into being a Teacher, unless of course one is called to be a teacher, apostle, and prophet as was Paul.
In Verse 26 we find something strange, or it might be; Matthias didn’t become number “thirteen” or “twelve”, he was numbered “with the eleven”. No where in the Book of Acts do we see this man again; however, in Acts 13:2 we do see the Holy Ghost saying, “Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them”. Instead of one or the other, the Holy Ghost took both. Prayer was also conducted, as well as fasting, thus we find the mistake of this meeting didn’t stop the Holy Ghost from bringing the Spirit.
Clearly Acts 13:2 shows no vote was taken, the Gift was granted by the Holy Ghost on behalf of Jesus. Okay, why numbered with the “eleven”? Jesus wouldn’t allow this innocent man to be placed in a position reserved for the “workers of iniquity”. The office of Judas never reached Pentecost, it never saw the Resurrection, it was never part of the glorious birth of the Church. Judas was a piece of the Rock, but he was independent, without the Spirit, void of the Ingress Aries. Jude tells us, “these are they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19). The word “sensual” only appears twice, once in Jude and once in James relating to the wisdom of the world (earthly, sensual and devilish – James 3:15). Will Jesus leave the “Judas types”? No, they “separate themselves”, much different. The word Separate is the Greek Apodiorizo, it’s a compound word meaning To disjoint, as in breaking a branch off a tree, or a piece off a body. Paul said the Body of Jesus will be broken, but he never said Jesus will break it. The sons of perdition cause the breaking, Jesus is the victim. The phrase ”having not the Spirit” in Jude 19 means unable to hold to the Spirit, showing they associate with the he in the world.
This meeting to fill the slot of Judas is out of order, but it doesn’t mean the men were working at iniquity. They were working at ignorance, they lacked guidance, they were still unable to understand spiritual matters at the time. When Peter walked on the water it seemed like the right thing to do at the time as well. When he said, “Be it far from you Lord”, it seemed like the perfect thing to say at the time. This meeting merely shows us the signs of carnal leadership when it comes to business matters. Take heed, Tarry until we hear from the Holy Ghost, or do nothing. The real evidence of their lack of Godly guidance is not found in Matthias whom they did pick, but in Joseph (Justus) Barsabas whom they didn’t pick. Later in Acts 15:22 we find the letter of Doctrine was written by the Apostles, but it was delivered by Judas Barsabas and Silas, both Prophets (Acts 15:32). Barnabas is the uncle to John Mark, not to be confused with Barsabas, they are two different people. Barsabas is the prophet, Barnabas the apostle, yet we see even in the out of order meeting God was still working, they didn’t pick Barsabas, later God would pick the man to be a prophet (Acts 15:22 & 15:32).
This first experience shows us we can have the Ingress Aires, yet not have the spiritual ability to perform leadership duties. The one mistake becomes obvious, as their attempt to replace the man, rather than fill the Office. We don’t attempt to make another Peter, or Paul, we seek to hear who the Holy Ghost wants in the Office.
There are various areas of authority, and different areas of anointing, we can’t take one and make it apply in a place it was not intended. We can have the granted authority to lay hands on the sick, to preach the Good News, but it doesn’t mean we have the authority as a leader, nor does it mean we have the Power to lead. We can give a word, but it doesn’t mean we’re a Prophet. Authority gives us the right, it doesn’t give us the ability, or guidance. We must be anointed by Holy Ghost on behalf of Jesus with the Doma (gift) of the Office, as well as be confirmed by leaders to be in an office. There is an Unction over the entire Body for the specifics of the Body, there is the anointing in the New Man for the specifics of the New Man. The New Man will not appoint to the Offices, he knows better. Peter was making a mistake many of us make, he heard, “Feed My Sheep”, then felt it was exactly what he was doing, but he forgot to, “tarry”, he also forgot what Tarry means. Peter was never told, “Make My shepherds”. Peter was a shepherd, but shepherds feed sheep, they don’t make other shepherds.
Peter still had the urge to control, it was Peter who called this meeting, not Jesus. Of course none of them had the Power from on High, they were left with a dilemma, who to pick? Oh well, let’s vote, or better, let’s toss lots for it. Peter was called, but he needed Another Comforter to guide him. Some of us hear, “You’re called”, then presume it means, “You’re chosen and anointed”. There must be a training into the position, or we will miss the joy of the position. Is all of this Peter’s fault? No, there were 120 people in the room, eleven of them were discipled leaders, yet not one said, “wait, didn’t the Lord say tarry?”. All eleven were of one mind, but it was the wrong mind. When we find ourselves in a meeting where there is no specific, affirmed answer to prayer, it’s time to call a halt to the proceedings, end the meeting, and get back to the last thing the Lord told us to do.
ACTS – CHAPTER 2:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place (Acts 2:1).
The phrases Fully Come and One Accord don’t mean the people were of One Accord with each other, it means they were in One Accord with God. They were being obedient to the command, remitting the sins done unto them. One Accord depends on what the group is in One Accord with. Here it was the Ingress Aires, prior the eleven were in One Accord when they picked the replacement for Judas, but they were nonetheless out of order. Later another group will be in one accord when they kill Stephen, thus it’s not simply being in “one accord”, but why we are in one accord.
Although the board meeting was not according to the Lord’s Will, although they appointed someone without hearing from the Lord, although they were doing something they weren’t told to do, the Lord still turned it around for Good, the Holy Ghost brought the Power from on High. At times we forget two premises, God gives us things because He loves us. At times He gives us things as a test, but what He promised to give us, He does. Here the out of order Board Meeting, didn’t stop the Holy Ghost, even Peter spoke in unknown tongues.
There is a carnal endeavor we must all be aware of, there are some who put on the mask of holiness and righteousness to get God to do something for them. God will still do it, but Why? Were the quail a gift? Yes, were the quail a blessing? Yes, but the purpose was to expose the greed in the children. The Word in us makes us open before God, we don’t hide things from God, we don’t try to trick Him with masks of religion. Be honest, be alert, be ready to discern. This doesn’t give us an excuse, but it does show how Jesus looks at our intents. Peter and the rest felt they were doing the right thing, they were correcting the error, but if they knew what they were doing was wrong, the ending would have been much different, thus is of ignorance.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2).
A Rushing Mighty Wind didn’t come, rather it was a Sound as like unto a rushing mighty wind. The Sound came to those who had ears to hear, like a Trumpet calling out “God among His people”. The word Rushing is the Greek Enegko meaning to Bring Forth, or Enduring, thus the Sound is still with us until He who now lets takes us out of here. The Word Mighty means Violence, as in the Violent shall take it by force, incorporating Rushing and Mighty. The same two Greek words were used when Jesus said the Kingdom suffered violence (self-righteousness), but now the Violent (Enegko) shall take it by force. The Kingdom did suffer Violence by the self-righteous attempting to get in, but it changed on Pentecost, as those who obtained the Outside source on the inside were able to enter.
These are also clues to what is happening, when Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about being Born Again He said, “Marvel not that I said unto you, Ye must be Born Again. The Wind blows where it listens (to take delight in or wills), and you hear the Sound thereof (like a mighty rushing wind), but can not tell from where it came (Power from on high), and neither where it goes (uttermost parts of the earth), so is every one born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8). Adding John 7:39 we find this is the time when the Holy Ghost brings the Gift of the Spirit. To Peter this meant more, for he heard Jesus tell him, “Verily, verily I say unto you, when you were young, you grid yourself, and walked where you would; but when you shall be old (wiser, endued with power from on high), you shall stretch forth you hands, and Another (Another Comforter) shall grid you (guide and instruct), and carry you where you would not (uttermost parts of the earth – Jn 21:18). The soul of Peter would be spiritual by the Spirit bringing to pass that Born of the Spirit is Spirit. It was true, all Jesus promised them was true, it was happening.
Ezekiel was taken by the Spirit, as he heard a voice saying, “Blessed be the Glory of the Lord from His place” (Ezek 3:12). This doesn’t say Blessed be the Lord, rather it’s Blessed be the Glory of the Lord from a place. The Blessing came to make the Church the Glory of the Lord. Paul tells us the Glory is within (Rom 8:18), it’s a matter of waiting for it to manifest. We need not run around looking for the Glory, it’s within.
The word Wind means Respiration or Breathe Hard, drawing the purpose of the Ingress Aires to this experience; we don’t stop half way, then claim we finished the race. Jesus breathes on us when we receive the Cross, but the command is still, “receive ye the Holy Ghost”, we must continue on to become Born Again (Blade), then continue growing until we finish the race.
Isaiah said, “we are all as unclean things, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa 64:6). The Kingdom came, instead of our iniquities taking us like a wind, the Wind took our iniquities away by bringing us the Righteousness of God. We are Born Again of incorruptible Seed, the New Man is Created (or formed same Greek word) after God’s Holiness and Righteousness, it’s not a recreation, but New making us New Creations in Christ.
Jesus was going to build on the Rock, at the moment the Rock consisted of 120 souls, all wanting to be saved. When the Spirit came, Rebellion was broken, the old man was a thing of the past, behold All Things became New. This was a change so great, so powerful, it changed the position and condition of these people for all time. Whenever any of us receive the Spirit, the same is true. We are changed, it may not immediately appear so on the outside, but surely it is happening on the inside. There is always some evidence of the change taking place, for some it’s a physical healing, others a joy, others it may be tears, others something else, but there is some evidence showing God has begun a Good work in us. Here we find the evidence was speaking in unknown tongues, with joy, but the speaking itself was still the Evidence. In First Corinthians Paul will warn us about hindering others from speaking in unknown tongues (I Cor 14:37-39). We may not, we may not like it, but we better never stop others from doing it.
This is the Birth of the Church, accordingly the Birth would call for a celebration, what is a birthday without a party? The Holy Ghost was given, the purpose was now in hand, God was surely among His people.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them (Acts 2:3).
The word Cloven means A separation to make a difference, or a Divider, this is not “fire” as a camp fire, but a symbol showing the type of baptism produced. This also gives us another clue, the Baptism with Fire was “obvious”, thus this is the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. The symbol doesn’t mean they all had little fires on their heads, it means the baptism was all inclusive, just as John the Baptist said it would be.
This was one great event, the Holy Ghost did bring the Gift, God Himself was accepting these people into the Church. The Enduring Power of God came to sustain them, they received the Might (Strength) of God, they received the New Nature of Christ, they were Separated to make a Difference, the Fire of God came to receive them. The phrase “filled with the Holy Ghost” could also read, “Filled by the Holy Ghost”, both would be correct, the Holy Ghost filled them to deal with the masses, the Holy Ghost also gave them the Seed of God. The Power came to join to the Authority, now they could call Jesus “Lord” lawfully. Peter will later identify the event as being baptized with the Holy Ghost to receive the Gift of the Spirit (Acts 11:15-18). Jesus promised to Baptize them with the Holy Ghost and Fire, the Fire burns away the Old to make room for the New, the Fire consumes the waste, while leaving the good (burning bush experience), to introduce the New Law by a New Heart. However, it begins when the Holy Ghost fills us with Power granting us the Seed of God, until then there is no Fire.
Elijah saw the Fire of God fall on the prepared Sacrifice consuming the entire sacrifice, wood, stones, dust and water (I Kings 18:38). The stones represented the Twelve Tribes (I Kings 18:31). The Wood represents the worldly order and desires, the Water is not Living Water but Bitter Water. Elijah had the people pour four barrels of water, each had a symbol, the number Four represents the world, the number Three represents God’s representation to man by the Trinity. The Barrels were not consumed, rather they held the bitter water, Jesus cleans the vessels, then fills them with Mercy (Water) and Grace (Blood to bring Living Water). The Fire of God takes away the Bitterness, bringing the unspeakable Joy unto the saving of the soul. These two acts of the Wind and Fire are the promise of the Seed of God, unto the New Birth. They gained a New source of thinking and wisdom. They were able to speak in New tongues, and Unknown tongues, would anyone notice?
Wisdom is not intellect, it’s the manner in which one handles situations, events and people. This is much different from the wisdom God gave Solomon, in Solomon’s case he was able to impart wisdom in matters regarding the people, but not in his own life. Here we find a complete change in source, from the old man to the New. Simply changing ones mode of thinking into intellect of religion isn’t the same as being changed into a new nature. The Holy Ghost is not the Gift, rather the Gift comes by Him, showing the Comforter brought Another Comforter. They were Born Again from Power on High, not the power on the earth (Jn 1:12-13). The motivation was their willingness to be in one accord to forgive all, producing God’s favor. Although the replacement of Judas wrong, they did know to pray in regard to remitting sins done unto them. Praying by the Ingress Aires was their part, granting the Power was Jesus’ part, the evidence shows all was in Order the second the Holy Ghost came with the Gift.
As part of this experience, they were filled with the Holy Ghost, but they spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance, another sign of how the Holy Ghost gave them the Gift of the Spirit, thus they spoke by the Spirit in them. It was the Other Comforter as the Spirit which is of God doing the speaking in unknown tongues, a sign of heaven being Loosed in them. This sign, plus prophecy are the two obvious signs we see regarding the Baptism by the Holy Ghost, even the carnal Corinthians with the Spirit had the signs (I Cor 14:1-40).
Paul told the carnal Corinthians “wherefore I give you to understand, no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no man can say Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (I Cor 12:3). These people were not afraid of their unknown speech blaspheming God, or calling Jesus accursed. This was the first time any human spoke in unknown tongues, yet not one of them said, “What if we say something evil?”. Unbelief was their problem, not now; they gained confidence in the sign. Paul’s comments give us two sides, if we are speaking by the Spirit in us it’s Good, whether in unknown tongues, prophecy, or ministry by the manifestation; however, no one can call Jesus Lord legally without first having the Holy Ghost. If Jesus is The Christ, then He is Lord; like the disciples before this event, it would be unlawful to call Jesus either Christ of the Cross, or Lord without the Spirit being delivered by the Holy Ghost. One could call Him “Son of David”, or “Son of man”, but there was a specific reason why the disciples were told not allowed to speak of Jesus being “the Christ of the Cross and Resurrection” until they were Born Again. They lacked spiritual Standing to make such a statement, to them spiritual matters were still foolishness. Praise the Lord for the New Birth.
That Born of the Spirit will be Spirit, thus the New Man is not all God is, but he is all God forming our souls into a spiritual entity. The Holy Ghost brought the Seed, the Holy Ghost is not the Seed, when we are filled with the Holy Ghost it’s for a function to deal with the masses, thus we can be filled with more than one filling of the Holy Ghost, but we only get one New Birth.
The Greek word for tongues is Glossa, which means a language not acquired; there are New Tongues and Unknown (Other) Tongues, the Fire brought New Tongues, but the New Birth brought Unknown Tongues from a source no man can acquire on his own; both the New and Unknown Tongues are products of God. The New Tongue is centered in Mercy and Love, the Unknown are words from a heavenly source projected through a believer by the Spirit in them into the natural realm. Prophecy as a manifestation centers on edification, exhortation and comfort, it’s not the same as being a Prophet. The Prophet delivers doctrine, they don’t make it, they also give direction to the Body. Whether it’s New Tongues, Unknown Tongues, or Prophecy it’s still God based (I Cor 14:21). The unknown tongues are from the Spirit, since this Spirit is of God, it also means God is doing the speaking (I Cor 14:21), yet by prophecy other people outside of the confines can understand.
Of course one can run all over the place attempting to disprove the experience, of course all they prove is they lack the Spirit, or at the very least they lack the mind of a Believer. We can tell this experience was not something done before, neither was it speaking in known languages, since some thought the disciples were drunk (Acts 2:13). The New Birth brought Unknown Tongues, which is a language unknown to our natural understanding or ability, which is much different from a foreign earthly language. Paul said only the Spirit knows the language spoken, no man does (I Cor 14:2). This sign was the evidence for them to know something beyond the ability of mankind happened; none of them ran out of the house screaming, “yeah you’re right it’s wine”, nor did they say, “this is special for us, you can’t have it”.
The experience by the Gift of the Holy Ghost also brought New Tongues full of Grace and Truth, with the Groanings not uttered, since the Groanings are not uttered, they are not spoken, but they are travailing unto the Birth, all signs of the Power coupled with the Authority. All these are products of heaven, not of the earth. Now wait, there were some who heard and understood the language. Correct, the Holy Ghost also gave the Interpretation, they knew God was among these disciples of a truth.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).
The Holy Ghost didn’t miss a one, not one of them said, “wait brother, I didn’t get it”. We don’t see the Holy Ghost speaking through them saying “well boys let’s hold a meeting”, or “it’s time to get your theology corrected”, rather it was a sign showing them the Power had come, Jesus didn’t leave them; He didn’t get to heaven, and say “well you know, now that I think about it, these people really don’t need the Spirit”, nor did He say, “Well, look at Peter and the boys, I told them to tarry, and there they are holding a meeting, I give up”. Jesus knows all things, before they became things, all things are of God, they are worked into the Report for our benefit.
Unknown tongues were connected to the New Birth, yet Paul tells us Tongues are a negative sign, but it’s only negative to the unlearned in spiritual matters, or to the unbeliever, it doesn’t mean the unlearned or the unbeliever speak, it means they will attack the experience because they lack understanding (I Cor 14:21-23). There are warnings by Paul in reference to unknown tongues, we are never “forbid” anyone from the experience (I Cor 14:39), in the gathering we need someone to interpret; he also said these were Commandments of the Lord (I Cor 14:37). As an Apostle it was part of his position, as we saw the Holy Ghost gave Commandments to the Apostles, they gave them to us. When we find ourselves forbidding someone from speaking in unknown tongues our source is not God. Paul also said the spirit of the world is opposed to the things of the Spirit which is of God, when we oppose the things of the Spirit which is of God we are doing so by the spirit of the world. The Spirit which is of God is the one doing the speaking in a language not understood by earthly people ( I Cor 14:2). The problem in Corinth was unique to them, so much so the leadership hindered the congregation to the point the congregation could not pray or prophesy, meaning they were not allowed to use spiritual attributes, or they would shame the leadership (I Cor 11:2-16).
One can speak from the anointing of the Office, or from the Unction on the Body, it doesn’t mean they have the Spirit. One can have the Spirit, but it doesn’t mean they are Spiritual, this is a Process. We can call Jesus Savior when we are delivered from the world, but it doesn’t mean we can call Him “Lord”. We must have the Seed of God by the Holy Ghost in order to call Him “Lord”. How can anyone call Jesus Lord if they can’t hear Him, or understand spiritual matters? The children in the wilderness were saved by God, but they didn’t know His Ways.
Paul also wrote, “In the Law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; yet for all that will they not hear Me, saith the Lord” (I Cor 14:21). Ahh, some are offended because they really don’t want to hear what God has to say. Others are offended because they demand control, others are offended because they simply don’t understand, or they are among the unlearned. The verse clearly shows it’s God doing the speaking through the person, thus Seed of God is still based in God. This is evident when we know prophecy comes from God through the New Man through the soul, out of the mouth, but unknown tongues is the New Man through our mouths, bypassing the soul. However, there is an order for when we gather together, “except he interpret, so the church may receive edifying” (I Cor 14:5). If there is no interpreter, “let him keep silence in the church; let him speak to himself, and to God” (I Cor 14:28). Clearly it’s between the Spirit and God with the Believer in the middle. It also shows if there is an interpretation the church is edified; in any case Paul didn’t say “I forbid you to speak in tongues if there is no interpreter”, rather it was go ahead and speak, but to God and yourself, not to the congregation. “Well I know Paul said tongues builds the self”, no he didn’t, he said Tongues without the interpretation “edifies himself”, which simply means the person is being edified in order to accomplish a Godly feat they were unable to do in the natural (I Cor 14:3). If we sit by ourselves and read our Bible, are we not edified? If we pray by ourselves and God touches us, are we not edified? Being edified by the Spirit of God is not a sin, surely it’s no reason to reject the premise of God speaking through us. The interpretation within the gathering is by the Spirit, but here on Pentecost we find another example, those who heard were not Born Again, thus the Holy Ghost brought the Interpretation as a sign for those who were called, thus the interpretation did come forth.
Paul tells the carnal Corinthians how no man understands what is said, this is a speaking in a mystery, yet the Spirit knows, simply because the Spirit is doing the talking. If no man knows, then some earthly language may come close, yet is still not the same. In essence we find Another Comforter talking to the Comforter in a language they both understand, but no man does. Therefore, the only one who can interpret is the Spirit, or in some cases the Holy Ghost as we find on Pentecost. What we find is the Spirit in us hears the Spirit speak in another language, since it’s really One Spirit, the Spirit in us gives us the interpretation. On the Day of Pentecost we find the Holy Ghost giving the interpretation to some, but not to others. Indicating what was going on, if the speaking was languages, then all would have known what was said, but it’s not the case. We find some gained the interpretation, some did not, for those who did not it was a bunch of gibberish, indicating those who did gain the interpretation were not condemning the experience, they truly wanted to know what God was doing.
We don’t initiate Unknown Tongues, God speaks through us, thus it takes God to interpret His language, but why would God speak the wonderful things of God through us? It almost sounds self based, but it’s not. The New Man knows his God, the Seed of God is the Spirit of Truth in us, thus the Spirit speaks to the Creator on our behalf. When the sign happens the person knows the Spirit of Truth is them, thus they can confess Jesus has entered their flesh (I Jn 4:1-4). Another sign shows the person now has Power from on high, they can now apply the authority in a lawful manner. Therefore we find the New Man speaking to “ABBA Father” in a Spiritual language; it’s the beginning of the soul learning to become Spirit in nature.
This doesn’t remove our souls from prayer, since we pray in the understanding as well. The New Man uses the language of angels to express the Greatness of God which can’t be expressed in any earthly human language, thus the language will edify the New Man, which in turn will edify us. This in no way can be confused with “self-edification”, thus self-edification would be the soul speaking great and wonderful things of the self to exercise the old man, completely different from the Edification Paul notes.
The Seed of God given to Peter wouldn’t help Paul, nor would the one given to Paul designed to help us, nor mine, you, or yours, me. Our souls are all different, yet it’s the same Spirit, go figure? The same Spirit means the same nature, same source, same functions, same goal, but the Spirit knows all things of the individual, the hurts, pains, deep things, as well as knowing all the things of God; thus the New Man knows what it will take to get us through this, meaning the Purpose of the New Man is to save our souls.
No man understands, because through the Spirit we speak mysteries, thus we have our earthly language of Understanding, but through the New Man we have Unknown Tongues speaking mysteries (I Cor 14:2). There is a vast difference between the Interpretation and the Translation, one can run all over the world to find a Translation, yet miss the Interpretation by a million miles. The Interpretation tells us what the Author had in mind when the words were spoken. Something evident here, the tongue was spoken the interpretation was “the wonderful works of God”.
It’s by the New Man we can complete the will of the Lord (Eph 5:17). Does this mean we’re Saved? Yes and No, we are saved from the world, but we have hardly reached the end of our salvation. This experience means we have the Spirit, God is speaking through us, but God is still able to speak through a donkey if need be, yet the donkey can’t call Jesus Lord. The Corinthians were carnal, unable to understand spiritual matters, yet they had the Spirit, many of them spoke in unknown tongues. Signs are for the earth, Wonders from heaven produce them (v. 2:19). Signs are Acts, Wonders are Ways, we need both the Acts and Ways, yet we never judge the Acts, we judge the fruits (Ways), thus speaking in unknown tongues is an Act, not a Way. The Beginning of the effort in the spiritual realm comes when we have the Sign, but the Wonder continues to work. Paul told us the only way we can mortify the deeds of the body is by the Spirit (Rom 8:13). The only way we can be sons of God is to be led by the Spirit, we can’t be led by the Spirit if we’re not spiritual (Rom 8:14). We are the Firstfruits of the Spirit, the Birth Process requires groanings not uttered, thus the Groanings are internal (Rom 8:21 & 8:26). The event or circumstance is merely a process bringing forth the Wood, Stones and Bitter Water so we can say unto those hindering elements, Be Gone. Then we add our faith in the Spirit’s ability to remove them.
Was this sign for the disciples alone? If they were in the Upper Room did anyone else hear them? Were they speaking so loudly it appeared as if they were all speaking as drunken people? Did it sound like a party? Did it sound like a bunch of people having a good time? Yes, they were having a good time in Jesus, thus Jesus does have good times with us.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language (Acts 2:5-6).
Those who heard and received the interpretation were only the Devout, not all who were in the area, thus some received the Interpretation, some didn’t. If the disciples were speaking in some earthly language, then all would have engaged in the “translation”; therefore, we find the disciples were speaking sounds, but only those who received the interpretation knew the interpretation. The word Devout means these who received the interpretation were worshiping members of the Jewish religion, whether they were Jews proper or proselytes (converts to Judaism), they were nonetheless Jews. Therefore, two words will separate the groups, Devout and Confounded, yet none were Gentile. Acts 2:5 indicates these were Jews from all nations who came to the area. It would be nice if one disciple spoke a certain language and the person heard it in their native tongue, but hardly a miracle. However, if the disciples were speaking an unintelligible language, yet people from many nations all heard them in their own native language, we have a miracle. There is the manifestation of Knowledge giving one instant knowledge of some earthly language, but this language didn’t come from the earth, it came to the earth. This language is the tongues of angels (I Cor 13:1-3), a language for those who are purposed as the angels (spiritual messengers) of God.
The word Confounded introduces the Tower of Babel, thus this is a reverse of the Tower experience, showing why God confounded the language to begin with; however, don’t confuse this experience as the disciples speaking some Adam language, no, they are speaking with the tongues of angels, as the “angels of God” sent to those who shall be heirs of salvation, thus those receiving the interpretation are those who shall be heirs.
The wording “Was Noised” in verse 6 is one Greek word revealing much. The Greek word is Gimomai meaning To be made or created from nothing (Jn 1:3, 1:10 & Heb 11:3). It also means To come to pass, showing the Day of Pentecost was fully come when this event took place, it doesn’t mean when this event took place the experience ceased, if it was the case how do we explain Paul being able to speak in unknown tongues? Paul didn’t come on the scene until many years later, thus this wasn’t a one time experience just for these people. What kind of God would give us this wonderful experience, then say, “Well, I just wanted you to know what you can’t have”?
Some of the Devout knew what this meant, God had brought the Second Feast Time in the Time (Passover), Time (Pentecost) and Half a Time (Trumpets). The feast day was a type and shadow, the acts done here are the figure of the type and shadow coming to pass. We move from our Passover (Cross and Resurrection), to our Pentecost (Power of the Resurrection), knowing the First Trump (God wanting to be with His people) is complete, looking for the half of the Time (Last Trump), when we are Translated by the Spirit to meet Jesus in the air.
And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 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 (Acts 2:7-11).
They looked upon these people wondering why they weren’t speaking their Galilaen language, what strange language were they speaking, and why were these hearers all receiving in their language? Signs get the attention of those who are called of God, they draw anger from those who are not called. Peter will address them all as men of Judea and from Jerusalem, thus at this time the Gospel was still centered in calling the Jews. The context of Tongues is always the wonderful works of God, any other form is not of God. The test is not what translation one forms, but the interpretation of the tongue. Translation tells us nothing, many languages are about the earth, since this event happened nearly two thousand years ago it won’t be past the devil to counterfeit the language, but he will never reproduce it.
Ignoring this event, or excusing it is not wise, these people didn’t have the Spirit before Pentecost, but they had the faith to enter in, what then could be our excuse? Paul even noted there are all sorts of languages of the earth, simply because one finds a counterfeit doesn’t mean they found the interpretation. The devil attempts to counterfeit by using earthly methods to fake a heavenly event. Those who seek the translation lack spiritual understanding, their endeavors become our sign of their lack of spiritual ability, but on the same note we find those with the experience being more convinced what they received is truly of God.
In verse 4 we find the differences in the Greek, the word Tongues is the Greek Glossa, which refers to the speaking, but the hearing in verse 6 shows the word “Language” is the Greek Dialeto or Dialect, thus the speaking was one thing, the hearing another, showing Interpretation, not translation. Did faith come? Yes, those who heard by the Rhema received. The only method of Interpretation is by the Spirit or the Holy Ghost, thus this shows the speaking came by the Spirit as the sounds, but the interpretation was on the other end as the Holy Ghost opening the language in the ears of the hearer, but it doesn’t mean the hearer was Born Again, thus this opens an area showing the hearer can gain the interpretation as a sign to draw them in, but the unbeliever will mock the experience, yet remember God will not be mocked. This also shows how one can hear by the Rhema, yet not have the Rhema in them. There minds are pointed to God, thus they are touched by the Rhema, allowing them to receive. They heard because they had willing souls wanting to believe, thus the Holy Ghost was able to allow them to hear into the Spiritual. One thing is clear, those who heard, did not speak. Before Pentecost none of these people spoke with unknown tongues.
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine (Acts 2:12-13).
Prior they were confounded, now amazement enters, next comes doubt and bewilderment. The word Amazed in verse 7 is the Greek Existemi meaning To be transported beyond oneself with astonishment. This indicates how they heard one thing, but the same sound became a language in their mind, how could this be? What was this? These people sound like drunks, but the sounds are coming into our minds as our languages? Would a drunk speak of the great works of God? What is this? They received the interpretation, but they lacked the ability to connect awareness to the experience. The doubt comes when the natural mind can’t put the pieces together, here we find the strange speaking was one thing, the interpretation another, the souls of these people are saying “What? Who? Where? How?”.
The third group of mockers indicates not all received the interpretation, although all in the Upper Room received the Spirit. This group becomes the proof of the interpretation, if the language spoken was an earthly language, surely some of this third group would have understood, indicating the language is heavenly in nature. Since there are these who didn’t receive the interpretation it divides the experience; one group was filled with the Spirit as they spoke, the second group received the interpretation, the third group from within the second group heard the sounds as a bunch of drunk Jews. The key to this is how the third group didn’t attribute the speaking to any earthly language, rather it sounded as if the speakers were all muttering as drunks.
It’s important to make the divisions, unknown tongues is always the New Man inside speaking through us to God regarding the wonderful things of God known to the New Man, as the New Man stands on our behalf. We never speak to one another in “unknown tongues”, we never control the source, only the sound. We allow the sound to come forth, but we don’t create the source. Prophecy on the other hand is God speaking to man, Peter is our best example of this. Peter, like the others spoke in unknown tongues, but then he will not only Prophesy, but will be enlightened by the Holy Ghost to interpret the prophecy of Joel. Clearly a dramatic change within seconds, Peter went from “I tell you what I think”, to “thus says the Lord”.
We can see three groups with two gaining, but the third falling into their natural reasonings. We find those doing the speaking, those who received the interpretation, and those who felt the entire matter was foolishness. This same three groups are found whenever the Spirit begins to move. There are always those used of the Spirit, then those who receive, then there are those who count the entire matter foolishness. The latter group are the Mockers, who tend to lose what little they think they have.
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: (Acts 2:14).
Three important points are made here, Peter didn’t address any Gentiles, thus showing these were all Jews, as those scattered among the Gentiles as well as those from Jerusalem. Next Peter stood With the eleven, the word With is inclusive, not exclusive, thus God viewed the Eleven, showing He didn’t observe the appointment made in chapter one. God doesn’t recognize carnal appointments, He only recognizes His appointments. Jesus gave gifts unto men, men don’t give the gifts. The third point is the unity of the Apostles, for the first time they stood together, the Day of Pentecost was fully come; Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity (Ps 133:1).
Peter didn’t say, “see we have filled the position of Judas, we forgave Judas as our Lord commanded”. No, the purpose was to cast the net, not promote the self. Peter’s change had come, the power to remove Simon Barjona to bring about Peter a piece of the Rock was evident. He would stretch forth his hands and Another Comforter would guide him. Peter’s concern changed from “have pity on Your self Lord” to a Compassion for the people. The only difference between in Peter was being Born Again, the Spirit had entered giving them Power from on High.
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day (Acts 2:15).
The Holy Ghost was ready, all He needed was for the disciples to be of One Accord looking for the promise, now He will dispel the doubt. The entire purpose of the ministry is to edify the Body of Christ into the Unity of the Faith of Jesus, by the Unity of the Spirit (Eph 4:12). None of us are going to be perfect without Him who brings perfection, none of us are going to reach the Faith of Jesus without ears to hear what the Spirit has to say. The New Man is Forming our souls into the Image of God’s Son, thus it’s a process. We do look about and say, “perfect? No way, no how, I must do something, let me see, I will act religious, that will do it”. Wrong, the Perfection is in the New Man, it is a matter of doing something, but the doing is not acting like, but submitting to as we allow the New Man to form us into spiritual people; the real classroom was now open.
The time was the Third Hour, since it was morning it points to 9:00 AM, thus it was far too early in the morning for man’s wine to produce this event. This is still Pentecost, thus they saw Jesus Ascend at the “morning” or “the breaking of Day”, Peter would later say, “we have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well, yet take heed, as unto a light shinning in a dark place, unto the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (II Pet 1:19). This was in reference to the Holy Ghost bringing the Seed unto the New Birth as the “Breaking of Day”. Jesus Ascended as the “Day Star”, they walked to the upper room, they had their board meeting, they were in one accord, then the Holy Ghost came, all this came about before 9:00 AM. They didn’t wait days, weeks or even hours. For some reason we think we have to pray for days to receive, yet the Bible shows Cornelius received while Peter was still talking.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (Acts 2:16-17).
Peter points to the event of speaking in unknown tongues, equating the experience with the out pouring of the Spirit. This is still within the confines of Acts 1:6-8, first Jerusalem, but Peter is looking forward to the “uttermost” part by showing Salvation had come, it would be open to all, but it had a Beginning. The hint to this was “God so loved the world”, rather than “God so loved Israel”.
Peter interprets the prophecy of Joel, proving the event was the pouring out of the Spirit, thus something happened to bring these 120 people to cause the Spirit in them to pour out of them; God was doing something New. It may not seem important to some, but it’s very important. Peter shows the speaking was the Spirit which is of God in them pouring out a language, it wasn’t them, but God speaking through them by the Spirit. The same Peter who at one time was a “look at me” type person is now saying, “it isn’t us, it’s God”.
The Holy Ghost has been active with all flesh (Jew and Gentile) since Pentecost, but it’s only through the pouring out of our Spirit we become a Witness of Jesus. For the Body, or those Born Again we find the constant premise of Prophecy. There is the Office of Prophet, yet all who are Born Again should prophesy. Here Peter is not only quoting the prophecy correctly, he is also interpreting the prophecy as it relates to the experience. Peter makes two statements showing it’s a matter of something being Poured out from the Spirit, rather than the Spirit being poured out. The Spirit in us is the Spirit of Truth, the Greater He, fully able to overcome the he in the world. The he in the world is the old man, who keeps producing Ishmaels while tempting us with fruit from the wrong tree. The old man is the great game player, the masked one, the old nature. The Holy Ghost gave the Gift, the Gift is the New Man, thus the Spirit in us is pouring out the Living Water.
Is Peter teaching? No, is he acting as a pastor? No. First came the Apostle position, then the Prophet, later with Philip the Evangelist, then would come the Teacher and Pastor, thus it’s not an order of positional importance, but an order of establishment. When we place what Peter said next to what Joel said, we could misconstrue what was going on. Without knowing Peter was being used of the Holy Ghost to interpret Joel’s prophecy, we would think Peter was off doing his own thing again. Below we have Joel’s prophecy and Peter’s interpretation, so we can compare seeing how Peter didn’t “quote” Joel:
Joel 2:28-29: 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.
Acts 2:17: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
The term “all flesh” has been misconstrued to mean all people will have the Spirit, but according to the Jews it simply means the Opportunity is granted to Jew and Gentile alike, it’s not saying each and every person will have the Spirit. This prophesy is one of those the Gentiles held to, they knew there would be a time when the Promise would be opened to them. Acts 2:17 also says, “I will pour out of My Spirit”, then Acts 2:18 says “I will pour out in those days of My Spirit”, thus we have two aspects to the Pouring, one from within the person, the latter is the Spirit of God. This connects to Paul’s comments, the spirit of man doesn’t have a clue regarding the things of the Spirit of God, yet the spirit of the world is opposed to the Spirit which is of God. The Spirit of God is poured out on all people as the Report connecting to the Witness, thus the Body is made up of people from many nations.
As we saw in the study of Joel, what Peter says here is not the exactness of Joel, but showing Joel prophesied in part, Peter is bringing the meaning of the prophecy. Peter puts aside the foolish notion of these people being drunk by speaking in a known language, this difference was the evidence, thus the speaking prior was not something these people dreamed up.
Peter then begins with our Season when we find the wording “your sons”, “your daughters”, “your youngmen” and “your old men”, then in verse 18 it changes to “My servants” and “My handmaidens” giving us a clear separation. The first aspect in verse 17 gives us prophecy, visions and dreams, but in verse 18 it’s prophecy alone. Here in verse 17 we find the Son speaking to the Father, but in verse 18 it’s the Father speaking, taking us back to Acts 1:6-8. We recall how the Restoration of Israel is in the Father’s hand, yet the Judgment Cup is in the hand of Jesus. The Father told the Son, “sit on My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Heb 1:13). Our Season is the Greater Light, the Day, the time of Grace through faith unto Salvation, the Night is the Lesser Light for Judgment, don’t mix them up. The First group is the Body, the latter the Remnant, this is seen in the words Servants and Handmaidens, the Servants are the Two Witnesses consisting of the Law of Moses and Prophets, who Prophecy, but the word Handmaidens points to Virgins, which we know as the 144,000, or the Little Flock, or the Remnant, whichever, but they are nonetheless Jews taken from the Tribes, who have a little strength. The Judgment is not based on Grace, but Mercy, thus it’s in the Father’s hand, the vessels of dishonor will manifest in the Night as the Beast of the earth.
The groups in verse 17 don’t mean only sons and only daughters will prophesy, or only men can have visions and dreams, rather it’s broken down into the three groups of Little Children, Young Men and Fathers as Family members, as those who are Born into the Family of God. It’s also obvious females are included in this, yet there is no male or female in Christ. The premise holds growth as a factor, but also we find Prophecy, then Visions, then Dreams. Prophecy gives us direction, or brings doctrine, the Vision gives us the clarity of the direction, dreams show us the warnings along the road. We find the Blades, Full Ear, then the Full Corn in the Ear. It would incorrect to think only sons and daughters could be prophets, or only the young men can have visions. The word Vision is the Greek Horasis meaning Clear sight, thus we have the prophecy in part pointing the direction then the next step is a vision giving Clear sight. The area of Dreams is much different, the phrase reads, “your old men shall dream dreams”; sounds easy enough, but the Greek word for Dreams is only used here in Acts 2:17. Another Greek word for Dream(ers) is used twice, once in Acts 2:17, and once in Jude in the phrase, “these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities” (Jude 8). What? The difference is the additions of the word “filthy”; usually a dream pertains to warning, but adding the word filthy indicates they twist it to insert warnings when there is no cause.
Joel had much to say, but this area is one of special interest; the Lord said through Joel, “And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dwelt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed” (Joel 2:26). We did eat of the Bread of Life, Jesus did dwell among the people of God, although not all the people received Him. The purpose is to Praise the Name of the Lord, John tells us one of our commandments is to Believe in the Name of Jesus (I Jn 3:23). The Name of Jesus has Authority, coupling to the Power and Ways; the Ways tell us all the whys, why did Jesus give us His Name (authority)? Why did Jesus suffer for us? Why did Jesus give the Sacrifice? The Ways tell us who Jesus is, the Acts show what He did, or is doing.
When asked “Who is Jesus” some say “Oh He raised the dead”; no it’s what He did, but Who is He? “Oh He healed the sick”; no it’s what He did, but Who is He? “Oh He preached with authority”, no it’s what He did, but Who is He? “Oh He is the Word made flesh”, no, it’s what He was and became, but Who is He? “Oh He went to the Cross for you and I”, no it’s what He did, but Who is He? “Oh He was raised from the dead and lives forever more”, no, it’s what happened, but Who is He? Unless we can answer the “Who is He?” question we lack the Witness, or the understanding of all the Name of Jesus means. If we Believe in the Name of Jesus we will know Jesus Is Light, Love, Truth, Grace, Hope, Faith, the Word, the Glory, the Godhead Bodily, and many other attributes showing Who He is, but we can gain the Understanding by the Greater He in us we are far better off. From the New Man comes the Image of Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. If we truly Believe in the Name of Jesus we will walk, or at least attempt to walk in the same nature. To Believe means we desire to walk in what we Believe, thus one can believe in the Power, but deny the Mercy and Love. However, if we’re playing mind games, the Power of the Name will work, but our fruit is corrupt, thus Jesus told us to judge the Fruit, not the Acts.
Jesus told Nicodemus in reference to the Son, “He who believes in Him should not perish”, but in reference to the Father He also said, “He who believes on Him is not condemned” (Jn 3:15-18), thus to Believe In Jesus relates to Grace, in the Father to Mercy, but it takes the Holy Ghost to bring the Gift before we can truly Believe, thus the Witness in us is the Water, Blood and Spirit (New Man), One God in One Seed of God, the Newness of the New Covenant is proven by the New Man.
John told us we Heard the Commandment, but we were unable to do it, but now we are Born Again by a Power from On High, we have the Ability is us, we can walk in Love and the Light; he who says he walks in the Light, yet hates (slanders) his brother is in darkness even now. The Ways of a person tell us if they are Born Again, or not.
John also said, “Who is a liar but he who denies Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, who denies the Father and Son” (I Jn 2:22). How does one deny the Son and Father? Is it merely not receiving the Cross? No, it’s when they do receive the Cross, but fail to walk in the Mercy and Grace of God. One can have their sins forgiven, yet hold a Judas nature. Judas proved it, he was told “freely you received, freely give” Give What? What did these people do before the Cross, walk around singing in the wind? They went out and healed the sick, raised the dead, and preached the Kingdom was at hand, all In the Name of Jesus, yet not one of them was Born Again, the Spirit did not come until Pentecost (Jn 7:39). Judas heard Jesus speak of the “workers of Iniquity”, but he felt “no not me”, when Jesus said, “the poor you have with you always”, Judas again set his mind to prove Jesus wrong, thus Judas worked at his iniquity, in the process of his labor he was denying Jesus as the Christ. John’s equation in First John 4:1-4 is Jesus in us as the Greater He, to deny the Son would be to restrict the Greater He by holding to the he of the world; to deny the Father would be to work at not applying the Mercy the Father granted us. Jesus said, “I have many things to tell you” (Jn 16:12); how He is telling them to us? By the New Man, or by prophecy; therefore, the Holy Ghost is giving commandments of Grace through the Apostles.
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:18-21).
These verses show “My servants and My handmaidens” alone, no sons, no daughters, no youngmen, no old men, no visions, and no dreams. This division is so important, without it verse 19 makes no sense whatsoever. The metaphor in verse 19 is the same one Jesus gave in Matthew 24:29, but it’s not the same one John uses in Revelation 6:12. The one in Revelation 6:12 is close, but not close enough. There are other metaphors in the phrases separating them, John shows the Sun in sackclothe, not darkness as in demon possession; whereas, the metaphor used by Jesus, Peter and Joel show a demon darkness, which doesn’t come to pass until the Fifth Angel opens the pit. John shows us something beginning the time, not something ending it. John also points out the sackclothe is like Hair, or a covering, thus repentance will be the call in the Night, not Salvation. The metaphor in Revelation 6:12 shows the “moon became as blood” referring to something to happen, in Acts 2:20 and in Joel 2:31 we read “moon into blood”, but in Matthew it’s “moon shall not give her light”, which isn’t until after the angels are turned loose. All this gives us a separation of Seasons, the Blood, Fire and Vapor of Smoke all point to events. Each is important in and of itself, which came first the Blood or Smoke? First the Blood, then the Fire, then the Smoke, it’s not Smoke alone but the Vapor of Smoke. The word Vapor is the Greek Atmis which was used in James 4:14 showing our time on earth is but a Vapor appearing for a little time, then gone. In the Hebrew the word corresponds to the English word Incense (Lev 16:13), not the Cloud over the Tabernacle, but the incense form the altar. The word Smoke is the Greek Kapnos, it was used in Revelation 8:4 showing the “smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand”. There is also the Smoke from the bottomless pit, but it’s not joined to a Vapor (Rev 9:2). The metaphor is best described in Exodus 19:18 where the Smoke was on Mount Sinai; there was Fire, the Smoke of a Furnace as the whole Mount Quaked Greatly. The Blood is not seen in Exodus, but the fire and Vapor of Smoke are. We have Signs, Wonders in the Blood, the Remnant will see the Fire, Vapor of Smoke, with the Darkness out of the pit, the blood of the saints will stain the moon (Zion), the same mount where Jesus marks the 144,000. The difference? Between Day and Night, it’s still the Day for Salvation, the Night for Judgment.
Calling on the Name of the Lord doesn’t mean bringing a discourse, it means a constant trust in the Lord. This is not yelling, “help Jesus” in the face of adversity, it’s having the Authority of the Lord before adversity comes. Peter just went through the end times in four verses, showing the Holy Ghost opened the last days on Pentecost. How did it begin? With the Holy Ghost bringing the Gift, then signs and wonders following, dividing the believer from the unbeliever.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (Acts 2:22-23).
Peter stood with the Apostles using the words of the Prophets, not the Law, thus the foundation is the Prophets (in the Body) and Apostles, not the Law of Moses. Not only are we seeing the disciples being Born Again, we are seeing the Church being Born. Upon the Rock Jesus was building a great deal in one day. Of course the concern was still pointed to the Jews, it would be some time before the Gentiles would enter in. The disciples were told “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea” (v. 1:8), which is strictly to the Jew, then “in Samaria” which would be the outcast Jew, then “the uttermost part of the earth”, which would include the Gentile. The Progression was there, they had to begin in the Beginning, but they had to be open for the time of change as well.
The context is the “proof”, was Jesus proven? Yes, the signs were there, the Resurrection is proven by the disciples having the Spirit, now the Jews needed to repent, not like John’s baptism, now they had to believe. Since Peter is speaking by the Holy Ghost, we know this isn’t a sermon he had prepared for days, rather it’s the Freedom of the Holy Ghost bringing the things from Peter’s remembrance to clarity for the masses.
Peter shows the foreknowledge of God doesn’t mean God loves or approves of all events, rather it means God knows. Although the Cross was a great work, and well within the foreknowledge of God, it was done with wicked hands. Simply because God has foreknowledge of the event doesn’t mean He approves of it, rather it shows He will use it to benefit His people without changing the will of the wicked ones involved. God saw, God used the opportunity, but God did not manipulate the people into the act of the Cross, God merely used it to benefit His own. Many things happen in the world, and in the Body, God didn’t bring them to pass, He didn’t ordain them, but it doesn’t stop Him from using them to benefit us in the process.
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For 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: (Acts 2:24-25).
David didn’t always exist, nor was he with them now, thus the Lord is the subject, the “He” before Whom He stands is the Father. The foreknowledge of God saw the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, He also saw Jesus standing on the right hand side of Majesty on High. All the events in the world seem to perplex us today, yet God saw them before the foundation of the world, it’s far better to get His view, rather than run around like Chicken Little waiting for the sky to fall.
Verse 23 shows what they did, verse 24 what God did, thus they may have crucified the Lord of Glory, but God raised Him, thus the result tells the story, not the event.
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance (Acts 2:26-28).
This is still referring to Jesus in us as Born Again Believers. It’s through the wonderful Grace centered Spirit of Truth becoming our New heart enabling us the means to rejoice in New Tongues, or the ability to preach by the Holy Ghost. Not forgetting New Tongues are tongues of Mercy motivated by Grace.
The Soul and Flesh are different, the Soul of Jesus went into the lower parts, His Flesh remained in the tomb; although the Body of Jesus was in the tomb, His Soul was doing battle (Ps 22). This is the Word speaking to the Father, showing He has felt all the pain and suffering of a man’s body, He knows the struggles we face, yet He also knows where our victory lays.
The word Tongue in verse 26 is the same word used for Unknown tongues, rather than the word used for Dialect or Language, thus the Tongues came from God, not David. Also we find the Ways of Life, not the Acts unto Life. We find our joy when we find the Ways of Life in Christ (v. 27).
Men and brethren, 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.Therefore 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; (Acts 2:29-30).
The kingship of David is not the issue, his position of prophet opened the Throne for Jesus, thus David being appointed by God from heaven, is a sign of Jesus coming from heaven. The Anointing made David a prophet, it also placed the words into the world to bring Jesus to the throne of David. David was the only king both appointed and anointed of God. Saul came at the suggestion of the people, with the warning from God, but David was God’s choice, thus the Son of David is the product of Prophecy (Mark 12:35-37). Since Jesus is still the King of the Jews, it stands until He dies there can be no other King, yet we know Jesus lives forever more.
The Jews were waiting for the physical son of David as a warrior, rather than the prophetic result declaring Mercy. We tend to make the same error, some wait for the physical return of Jesus, rather than the out pouring of the Spirit to prove Jesus is Real. Simply, some want Jesus to return to bring vengeance to their enemies, thereby showing their hearts are not right before God, it’s best for them if Jesus never returns.
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.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. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:31-36).
The question of whether the Spirit came from the Father and Son, or from the Father at the request of the Son was not an issue, the fact was, the Holy Ghost came with Power bringing the promised Seed, the signs proved it.
This area does not exclude David from being among the captivity taken captive by Jesus, it means David did not Ascend into the Heavens, thus the Scripture is prophetic talking about what was accomplished in Jesus. Peter also makes a distinction between Lord and Christ, as did Paul. The Christ is the Anointing or ability, but Lord is a position and title; therefore, Jesus is Lord over the Anointing, making all mankind subject to the Lord of Glory at some point in time.
Paul told the Romans how Jesus was made the seed of David according to the flesh, but declared the Son of God with Power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the Resurrection from the dead (Rom 1:3-4). Peter is saying the same thing by pointing to the Resurrection; therefore, we must believe God raised Jesus from the Dead. Believing Jesus is the Son of David is okay, but not the issue; believing Jesus is raised by the Power of God is.
Verse 33 explains the process, Jesus Ascended, now is at the Right Hand of God, having received of the Father a Name above all names, the Promise of the Holy Ghost was sent forth, the evidence is what they “see and hear”. They had the evidence to believe, which was the purpose of the signs. The speaking was not to be kept locked up in the upper room, it was to produce a “sign”.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:37-38).
Instead of picking up stones of theological abuse, they knew salvation was the issue. Peter laid out various steps, the first being to Repent, a repentant heart is soft and ready to receive. The wording in verse 38 is very important, the word for Repent is the main verb, which is the Greek word Metanoesate referring to the initial repentance of a sinner unto salvation, this shows the purpose is unto Salvation. The verb translated as Be Baptized is the indirect passive imperative of the Greek Baptizo, the wording “for the remission of sins” can be a misnomer if we don’t take into consideration the verbs with the Greek word Eis which means Unto. We must divide the type of baptisms the Scripture is talking about. This baptism is in connection with two things, the events, and the word Remission, evidenced by the tongues. The word Remission takes us to the time of John’s baptism, not the act, but the man’s preaching. Luke 3:3 tells us John preached the “baptism of repentance for the remission” (Mark 1:4). John did not baptize people unto remission, rather he preached it, but how? “There comes one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost, now they must baptize the people in water, in the Name of Jesus, not the name of John. Since this “baptism” is not defined we have to look at who does what to who and why. Jesus gave them authority to baptize in water, but first came the teaching. What did Peter just do? He taught them about the event they just witnessed, thus we will find the Doctrine of Baptisms in use.
We are commanded to water baptize people, Jesus will baptize with the Holy Ghost and Fire. Could Peter and the others actually baptize 3,000 people in water? Yes, to begin with it’s around 9:30 AM, since the phrase “Name of Jesus” is used, we find another first. This will be the first time people will be water baptized under the Authority Jesus granted to the Body. John’s baptism had ceased, it served it’s purpose; now we know why we read “in the Name of Jesus only”; there were some being baptized in John’s name, some mixing John’s baptism into water baptism for the Body, all of which were not in accordance with the Authority granted by Jesus. It doesn’t refer to semantics, rather it points to authority. The Proceeding word came forth from the day Jesus said, “All power (authority) is given unto Me” the only group with the God given lawful right to baptize people in water are those in the Body of Christ. Paul saw it necessary to re-baptize those baptized in John’s Baptism (Acts 19:2-6). Water baptism is important, it’s a sign, or token for the one identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus by their confession of belief. John’s baptism did not require a belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus, neither did it grant anyone entrance into the Body of Christ.
When we water baptize someone we need two things, the first is water, the second is their confession of belief (Acts 8:36-37). For the candidate they must know the one baptizing them is in the Body of Christ. Mark 16:16 proves it, for those who are baptized and continue to believe the concept of “shall be saved” applies, but one can believe all day long, yet if they are not part of the Body the concept of “shall be saved” does not apply.
If Peter said, “I baptize you in the Name of Jesus”, or if he said “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, what would be the difference? None, it’s the same Authority (Name, not names). The Authority of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost was given to Jesus, thus the Name is the Authority Jesus granted us because He received the Authority of God all in all. Jehovah was a name given the Old Testament people, Jesus a name given New Testament people. It doesn’t mean there is no Father, or Holy Ghost, it means the Authority was granted to Jesus, He then granted it to us in the Body. The Report is still the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, the Witness is still the Water, Blood and Spirit. If we say, “in the Name (Authority) of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” isn’t it the Authority Jesus received? Yes, Jesus is still the Son, but if we say “In the Name of Jesus” it’s still the Authority? Yes, it’s one Authority, not many.
These 3,000 were not in the Body when they heard, they couldn’t be since they were not in the upper room, but all those in the upper room were the total of the Rock at the time. Only the 120 could water baptize anyone, but only Jesus could baptize these people with the Holy Ghost and Fire unto Remission. So, what drew all these people? Water baptism? No, the speaking in unknown tongues, it also means they had to be enjoined into the Body expecting the same experience. They were told to repent, then seek the remission of sins, then be baptized in water, and to submit to the baptism with the Holy Ghost. There was more than water baptism going on; there were 120 who received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the sign of “fire” proved this was the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, it also proved they received the Spirit (Jn 7:39). Now the water baptism aspect to get the 3,000 into the Body; they repented and believed, the water was there, so the requirements were meant. It could easily be accomplished, saying each water baptism took five minutes, we begin with 120 baptizing 120, giving 240, five minutes has passed. It would mean the Body just grew to 240 from 120; let’s say they laid hands on the new 120 and they received the Holy Ghost. Now we have 240 who have the Gift of the Holy Ghost in the Body, they baptize 240, now we have 480, ten minutes have passed. The 480 freely received, and freely give to another 480, giving us 960, fifteen minutes has passed. The 960 follow suit, now 1920 are of the Rock, with twenty minutes passed, then the 1920 do the same, now we have the 3,000 with enough time for communion.
We know they laid hands on them, after all if they were water baptized and didn’t speak in tongues they would be very disappointed. Therefore, we find the very first Holy Ghost meeting includes the first mass baptism. Anyone in the Body has the Authority to water baptize people, we are Commanded to when they confess their belief in Jesus. Well, what if someone lies, or what if they are wicked? Answered for us in Acts 8, as we will see. Was the Commandment completed? Yes, Peter taught, then came the baptism, then more teaching, things were now in Order.
We can get all tied up in the “Name” issue, yet we find some don’t know what the “Name” means. The only ones who can use the Authority are those in the Body, as the seven sons of Sceva found out. The Name issue was also taught to these people by Peter, “Therefore being on the right hand (equal power and authority) of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He has shed forth this, which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). Acts 2:38 is a combination of baptisms, the remission of sin issue is only found in the baptism with the Holy Ghost, one must have the Spirit in them to have the Kingdom of God, in order to be Justified by Christ in them. Acts 2:38 centers on “receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost”, the word Gift is the Greek Dorea, it’s not Charis, how come? Dorea means A free gift with emphasis on its gratuitous character, Dorea connects to Dorean, meaning free, thus Dorea is not the gift, but showing the gift is free, the gift itself is Charis (Grace).
The water baptism issue falls under “the Name of Jesus”, the baptism with the Holy Ghost falls under “the laying on of hands”, both are included in the Doctrine of Baptisms. Simply, the use of “The Name of Jesus” is not verbalization, it’s the granted right for one who is in the Body of Christ to baptize someone into the Body. Water baptism doesn’t save us from the world, it’s a sign showing we are saved from the world by the mercies of God. Water baptism doesn’t believe for us, it’s a sign showing we believe. Water baptism doesn’t grant us the gift, the baptism with the Holy Ghost accomplishes the effort. Water baptism doesn’t grant us the baptism with Fire, only Jesus can baptize us with the Holy Ghost and fire. Water baptism is not the Door to the kingdom, it’s a sign the members of the Body have accepted us, along with our belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Water baptism doesn’t wash away our sins, the water isn’t going to give us Mercy, the water isn’t going to give us the ability to forgive, it’s a Token or Sign showing all these things, but the water itself will not produce them.
From all this we can see how easy it was for 3,000 to be baptized in one day, just as easy as it was for 120 in one minute. In verse 38 we find the division is clearer, first Repent, second be baptized in water by the Authority granted the disciples by Jesus unto the remission of sins, or as we know it as the Name of Jesus toward the remission (Matt 28:18-20), then “receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost” to bring about remission. The Doctrine of Baptisms was being conducted, the foundation was laid, Water baptism, then the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (Acts 2:39-40).
This is still restricted to the Jews in Jerusalem, or the Jews scattered abroad; Peter is yet to find the Promise is shed upon the Gentiles. He was told by Jesus how the message of the Gospel would go to “uttermost part of the earth”, but the time was yet to come. First things first, follow the order of procedure.
The phrase “as many as the Lord our God shall call”, explains the phrase, “whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved”. We didn’t happen to fall into the Promise, we were called, then we answered the call. We tend to think Peter spoke for three minutes, then brought them to the Lord, but Luke shows Peter spoke many other words, not recorded in this written portion of his sermon. Once they said, What shall we do? Peter told them, then continued to teach them, thereby filling the requirement of teach, baptize, and teach the more.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need (Acts 2:41-45).
There are several areas in the Book of Acts showing people believed, verse 43 is just one; however, did you notice anything? There were wonders, there were signs. Wait, where is baptism? We can draw the inference they were baptized, but the emphasis here and in the other verses is always Belief. Water baptism without belief is just a bath, nothing more, nothing less. Traditions of men always have to take something away from the Commandment in order to insert the tradition, making the Word to no effect in our lives (Matt 15:3). If we want to do the Tradition, fine, just remember it’s choking the Word out.
Church history has those who didn’t want to be water baptized until they were near death, their reasoning was to play in the world until the last minute. Sounds double dumb to us, what good would it be if they didn’t believe? If they know to do good, and don’t do it, it’s sin, anything not done in faith is sin. Traditions of men produce fables without one firm verse to back them up. Before we fight to the death for something we think is right, we better make sure it’s Scriptural, rather than traditional Dogma. “Well brother you transgress the traditions of the church fathers”, “perhaps, but you transgress the Commandment by your tradition”. What Commandment? Teach, then baptize when candidate professes their belief. Just because some people in the early days did something doesn’t make it Scriptural, do we find “The Scriptures say”? Or is there no Scripture? To perpetuate the Tradition still makes the Word to no effect in our lives.
When these people Gladly received, they were baptized. There were 120 in the Upper Room, then three thousand came to the Lord in one day, thus this wasn’t quite thirtyfold. Therefore, we tend to presume Numbers show success, if it’s the case, then Jesus failed in the earthly ministry. Jesus began with more than He ended with at the Cross. When Jesus started there was Andrew and Judas, but at the Cross there was only John and Mary. Jesus fed 5,000 and 4,000, yet in the Upper Room there were only 120, thus Numbers are a sign to man, Obedience and Faith are signs to God.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2: 46-47).
Verse 47 is Luke’s introduction to the events, beginning in Chapter 3 Luke begins to show us how they remained steadfastly. This almost sounds Communist in nature, but Commune and Communism are different. In the Commune of the early church there was no person above another; need, not greed, was filled. The leaders were servants, not masters; whereas, Communism places the government as the central concern with the people subject to the leadership.
They continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ Doctrine, they gave and shared, then continued daily in One Accord. Why didn’t they continue in the Doctrine of Christ? The Apostle’s Doctrine relates to the Doctrine of Christ, but the Doctrine of Christ is what we teach, the Apostle’s Doctrine displays the very basic elements of the foundation of the teaching of the Apostles. We can’t suspect they didn’t teach the Doctrine of Christ, when one of them wrote about it in Hebrews.
The center of their activity was Praising God, giving the people favor with the Lord. As a result, the Lord added to the Church, the apostles and disciples began to Witness by the Spirit. It’s always the Lord who calls and justifies, we are merely the voices crying in the wilderness.
They were still Jews, they were still reaching to the Jews, thus they went into the temple to pray. Yet, there would come an event changing the course of events, in verse 47 we find they are staying within their own, they had yet to reach into the Temple confines to bring out the lost. When they did, they will find as some of us have, those in the last move of God, seem to attack those in the present move of God. The Pharisees and such here are only types and shadows of those in the last move of God. For these people the last move was the Law of Moses pointing to the next, but instead of moving to the Next the Jewish religious leaders attacked the New work of God. This shows any of us can be sitting in the last move assuming we are serving God, yet attacking the next move of God. Of course we know the Law and Prophets will continue to become the Two Witnesses in the Night, nonetheless, we still find today some of the leaders in the last move, seem to attack those in the next move.
ACTS – CHAPTER 3:
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms (Acts 3:1-3).
Luke just told us how fear came on every soul based on the wonders and signs done by the Apostles, now he begins to show us the record of those events. Going back to Mark 16:15-18 we can see how they went from being upbraided for their unbelief, to an area where signs and wonders followed those who believe. It has to show us belief is a matter of choice, they held unbelief, Jesus upbraided them, they changed to believing then the signs followed.
Until this time the disciples preached to the common folks, those in the by-ways, they had yet to venture into the confines of the Temple, the place where they had been “praying” but not the place where they had did Acts. This man outside the Temple is like unto the man born blind, this man had a purpose in his affliction. Neither did he sin, nor his parents, but he was there for the power of God to be displayed. We often wonder why children are born into this world with disabilities, Jesus said, it’s to show the works of God (Jn 9:3-4). The two Apostles are walking together, here it would seem as if they violated the commandment “what is it to you, you follow Me”; however, it’s not the case. They didn’t come to the Temple to heal this man, they came to pray. God was moving the ministry forward, showing the progression of any ministry as it begins with training and preparation; then God trains us into the calling, thus God has a Time and a Timing, enjoy the training, learn your lessons well. This also shows during this time the teaching continued, thus they taught, baptized, as they were teaching the spiritual matters of Doctrine of Christ as the basics, but there is more than the six fundamental areas seen in Hebrews 6:1-2, however, we can see the Apostles were delivering commandments, teaching as they learned.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk (Acts 3:4-6).
The man was expecting to receive alms, but nonetheless his heart was ready to receive. Neither Peter or John said they would give the man anything at this point in time, rather Peter merely said, “Look on us”. The written word leaves out emotion, or other traits, but the man heard Peter speak, he had to know Peter was going to give him something. Whatever the something was, he knew it would better his condition. This would seem strange considering Luke just told us, “and, sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (v. 2:45). The context in Acts 2:45 is within the Body, not without, yet we find something interesting in this event. Neither Peter or John were going to give to the Temple, so why carry money? This lame man was a Jew, he knew the words, “rise up and walk” were the same as saying, “your sins are forgiven you”; as a direct product of God’s Mercy (Luke 5:24). When his heart was ready to receive, he received. The apostles spoke the Rhema, thus faith came to the man enabling him to received.
This is also our preview of the Manifestation of the Spirit in the area of “to another faith” (I Cor 12:9). The Manifestation of the Spirit is for those one on one meetings, or for the local congregational setting. Here the Apostles spoke, the man received faith by their words, then he was healed. The Manifestation is when something is imparted to another by the Spirit in us, whether the other is in or out of the Body (I Cor 12:7-11).
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God (Acts 3:7-8).
They extended the right hand of fellowship, taking the man by the right hand; to us this makes little sense, but to a Jew it means much. The right hand to the Jew was a sign of imparting authority, or receiving authority from another. When they took the man by the right hand, they laid hands on him as they imparted authority. Both Peter and John knew the Name of Jesus was the Authority to do Good Works, the Name plus the Power would make this man whole. Both men were sent out by Jesus before the Cross to heal, but this time they gained understanding in what the event entailed (Matt 10:8).
The man first leaped to his feet, then walked, then entered the Temple, perhaps for the first time in his life. This type and shadow shows we first Stand, then Walk by Faith, then we enter the Tabernacle of God. The lame were not allowed in the Temple, rather they were placed outside of the doors. Some of us are seeking a healing, perhaps we should seek to be a healer by the Authority granted us, then we can watch them leap and praise God; thereby bringing our own healing. One mystery of God is to pray for others in the area we seem to lack, which opens the door for the Spirit to work in our lives, freely we give, freely we receive.
It’s true the disciples healed many before the Cross, but if we assume the Apostles were conducting healings and miracles in the Temple just after Pentecost, or before this point, we will miss the importance of this event. They were first in One Accord, then they received the Spirit, they preached to the common Jew, they grew, shared in common, but then came the real test of the ministry. God established them, then He sent them forth by providing them the opportunity to do good works. There are some other factors, before the Cross they operated in the Name of Jesus based on Mercy; they didn’t have the Holy Ghost fill them then, they didn’t have the Spirit manifest. Now things are changing, they have a Mind to fit the calling, understanding what is happening is far different from guessing. It’s also evident they didn’t come to the Temple to pay tithes, which was required under the Law. We recall the widow woman who gave from her need, yet these two are not planning on giving anything. They were New Testament priests, they gave tithes under the New Covenant, thus they gave everything in common unto the Body.
What Peter had, he gave, he was not going about telling everyone about his greatness, his nature had changed, his attitude had changed, his character was in the process of changing. Peter will still make mistakes, but rather than lack the ability to understand his actions, he will be aware as he changes quickly.
Peter had something far greater than silver and gold, he possessed the Name of Jesus. He applied the Name (Authority), but did this man believe in the Name? Faith comes by hearing, he heard. We don’t read where the man said, “hey? What you say?”. He heard, faith came, he was healed. We know he was expecting to receive something, but rather than silver and gold he received something more precious than gold. The man accepted the authority when he reached to touch Peter’s hand, then the Power touched him. Whether Peter said “stand up and walk”, knowing the man was healed, not only did the man believe, but Peter believed in the Name of Jesus as well.
We miss some important elements because we fail to see what believing in the Name, or having faith in the Name means. One would think we’re to have faith in God, not the Name, but we must believe the Authority of Jesus is capable. If we don’t believe in the Authority of the Name we will lack the ability. We have to study Authority to know how important it is, yet not mistake it for Power. Authority is the given Right to do something within the limits of the authority granted. Power is the ability to carry out the authority granted. Authority grants confidence in the Power regarding the granted authority. Who will enforce the Authority? When Jesus said, “All power (authority)” was given to Him, it has to register how the Authority was then given jurisdiction. Jesus didn’t say, “do as you will”, rather each area of the Authority granted us has limits regarding the Authority.
In Matthew it was teach, baptize and teach, in Ephesians regarding the offices it was perfect the saints, the work of the ministry, and edifying the Body of Christ. The Authority didn’t allow us to drop the teaching, then baptize, neither did the Office allow us to usurp authority, or fleece the flock of God among us. Like any position one has to know the authority they are granted, the limits if any, what the Power entails, and how it’s to be enforced. Peter knew the authority and power allowed him to do what he did, the results proved the point.
And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering (Acts 3:9-11).
Wonders are not what we do, they come as a result of what is done through us. Signs follow the Believer, as the people Wonder. If we are looking for the supernatural to happen, we are either walking backward, or the signs are not following us. Signs follow as shadows, they just happen, we don’t make them happen, we as Believers don’t look for them, we expect them. The word Amazement means Bewilderment unto Ecstasy, not only were they shocked by the event, but the happiness became contiguous. Being healed and being healed with the added benefit of Joy makes it complete. Once the man Leaped, he couldn’t stop leaping, like a human pogo stick he took off through the Temple. The people saw the man praising God, but is it what the Temple was for? What then could be so wrong about a person praising God? For some it is an offense, we will find to whom the offense came.
In this case the Sign brought the wonder to the people, they wanted to know more about the event. Solomon’s porch is the same place where the Jews challenged Jesus by asking, “How long do You make us to doubt? If You be the Christ, tell us plainly” (Jn 10:24). The Apostles were now being Christ Like, the signs proved it. Instead of Jesus proving it before the Jews, the Holy Spirit proved it through the disciples. This was a Manifestation of the Spirit, one of those one on one encounters where a healing took place (I Cor 12:9). The Greater Work is having the Spirit in us, these same men were sent out before the Cross, they find the Name of Jesus is still Mercy based, although they have Grace, allowing them to understand the spiritual matters as they are taking place.
The word Held in the phrase “held Peter and John” in verse 11 is the Greek Krateo meaning to Hold by the hand, thus this man took Peter and John by the hand, as he began to show them about the Temple. Why would Peter and John allow this? Could this be a test for Peter? Would he take the credit? Or would he know from where the healing came? Is this the battle after the battle? Could very well be.
And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all (Acts 3:12-16).
Some fight day and night to perfect their own holiness or power in order to conduct signs, here Peter shows, it’s not our holiness or our power; it’s a product of something else, something right at our finger tips and in our hearts. Peter spoke by the Name of Jesus, the man gained faith, received, then was made whole. It wasn’t the man’s holiness, Peter’s holiness, or the will power of either man, the Power was now connected to the Name of Jesus. We are told over and again to have Faith in God, why then do we put our faith in the healing? Why not in the Name to bring the Faith to produce the healing?
Peter begins by pointing directly to the same God these Jews knew, then he pointed to the Glorified Jesus, referring to the Resurrection. Peter shows Jesus as The Holy One, not one of the holy ones. Peter then he adds the title Just, thus the Just still live by faith. The Prince of Life shows Jesus is the Beginner of Life, we know Jesus is the Prince of Peace, thus both Life and Peace started with Jesus, which explains why He kept saying “Peace unto you”, with “Peace I give to you”. The event will have reasons to panic, but if we reach for the Peace in us we will be the clam in the storm. If we have the Life, then we also have the Peace. The fruit of Righteousness is sown in Peace, by those who have Peace with God. Peter and John sowed Peace in this man, the evidence was walking, jumping and praising God.
Verse 16 shows it wasn’t By the Name, but Through the Faith in His Name; this is speaking about Authority. This man was not in the Body, Peter saw the manifestation of faith as the man believed what he heard; then the man’s faith reached beyond his present circumstance, as his faith pulled him to the place of hope. The man didn’t put his faith in the men, but in the Name, or the Authority over the men. Some of us think it’s the person using the Name, not so, the Name is where the Authority lays.
The faith the man received came through the Name (Authority), this is seen in the phrase “the Faith is By Him”, meaning the place where it came from, this is the Faith of Jesus meeting the man’s faith. For this reason we find we have faith in Jesus, but we can’t discount the Faith of Jesus. Their words were Rhema based producing faith in the lame man, by faith he received to be made whole. Faith being a now confidence in a future hope, becomes complete when the Hope is manifested. The hope for the faith need not be twenty years away, it can be two seconds away.
And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:17-19).
This sermon is shorter than the one on Pentecost, but the words are much clearer. This becomes an opportunity for the religious rulers to receive their call for repentance. Jesus said their sign would be the Resurrection, thus from this point in time they would be given more than one opportunity to repent and receive; however, history shows they rejected their opportunity and lost, yet it produced our gain. They only lost through unbelief, yet unbelief is still a choice. The phrase, “Through ignorance”, shows the escape God is giving the religious leaders, if through ignorance, it’s forgiven immediately. There is no temptation come upon us where God has not formed some escape, it’s taking the escape to get us out of the temptation, here the escape was Repentance.
The Times Of Refreshing is not the same as the Time of Comfort, rather it points to Revival. The Greek word is Anapsuxis meaning Recovery of breath, or Revival, it points to entering the New Covenant. However, like any Revival there are those who hold to the old, while rejecting the new. The first aspect was repent, then the conversion in order to reach the point of having their sins blotted out, then the Refreshing takes place, not the other way around. We found an aspect of Repentance is the willingness to receive, failure to repent will be the downfall of the religious leaders. For some reason they didn’t think they had to repent, yet they were just told they took a life. Even if Jesus wasn’t the Son of God their actions were wrong, they needed to repent.
The Book of Acts is our Revival Guide, the signs came, the man praised the Lord, the people wondered, then Peter said their sin was one of ignorance, Repentance would open the Door to be Refreshed. However, it had to be received, this shows the Acts were there, the Ways were evident, the evidence was there, the call was there, but Peter, John or anyone else couldn’t believe for them.
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed (Acts 3:20-25).
First Peter says the Father will send Jesus Christ, then he says Jesus won’t come until the Times (plural) of Restitution are complete. This is a different Greek word than the one used for Refreshing, here it’s the Greek Apokatastasis meaning To Restore, this word does reflect to the Restoration of Israel, it only occurs here in Acts 3:21. Clearly Peter knows Jesus will not return until the Restoration is complete, not before, or during. Peter shows the evidence is still written in the words of the prophets, the Jewish religious leaders didn’t have the Book of Revelation to know the events yet to come, thus the words were written from times of Old. This is evident by the many words regarding the end times spoken by the prophets of Old, so why didn’t they repent? The religious conceit of man always assumes they can change prophecy, or point it in a different direction, “that’s not for me, it’s for old so and so”, or “I can change it”, or worse, “I can make it come to pass”. We change positions to either enter in the prophecy, or avoid it, we don’t change the prophecy, or make it come to pass.
John said the test of the Spirit is to have the confidence and evidence to confess Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, but this is not the flesh of Jesus, but Jesus in our flesh as the Greater He (I Jn 4:1-4). Peter is saying the same, the Revival will place Jesus in them by the New Birth, then they will have the Refreshing to avoid the end of the Restitution.
Peter now goes to the Law of Moses, but points to Moses as a prophet talking about a Prophet, rather than the deeds of the Law. The rulers of the Synagogue knew the Deeds, but did they know the words pointing to the end times? To a Jew the prophets are Agenda, but the end times are also written in the Law, thus the Law becomes one of the Two Witnesses, the other Witness would be the Prophets.
Moses was a Law Giver, Jesus the Law Provider; all the prophets spoke of the Last Days, even Samuel, thus Peter knew it was the Last Days, the Last Hour to the Last Seven for all things to be complete, regardless of how many days of man’s time it would take. These people knew what it took to enter and maintain a Covenant, they weren’t ignorant concerning Covenant duties, they knew they had to do something required of them, before God’s part of the Covenant could become effective for them. Peter didn’t say they were the children of Abraham, rather they are children of the Prophets, or products of the words of the prophets toward the last time.
Peter knows the phrase, “in thy seed shall the kindreds of the earth be blessed”; out of Jerusalem the world will be blessed with Peace and Safety, but here he wants to know, is the knowledge coming out of the Temple, or does he hear religious conceit? The temple was made of stone, it was no more than a building, but it housed the representatives of the Law of Moses. They were suppose to give the Knowledge of God, not opinions or religious conceit, thus the kindreds of the world will be blessed, only by the Rock which started in Jerusalem before the Cross, now they have the New Birth granting them greater works.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities (Acts 3:26).
The word Iniquity means a failure to do something we’re suppose to do, or to be unequal, or unjust. Unjust is not the same as not just, the prefix “Un” means to reverse or undo the result, or to remove something, thus in order to be Unjust, one must have the opportunity in hand to be Just. Therefore, Hebrews 10:38-39 speaks of the Just who believe unto the saving of the soul, then those who draw back to perdition as the Unjust. If they draw back, they were in a position to be as Just as the Just. They failed to do what they were required to do. Most, if not all of us have been in a situation where we wanted to do something, but lacked the wherewithal to do, that is not Iniquity, rather Iniquity is when we are granted the ability, but refuse to use it. A sin is a trespass, or a transgression, or the doing of something one is not suppose to do. Both are “acts” to some degree, iniquity takes a work, not a good work, but a work, thus those who do such things are called “workers of iniquity”. A sin is doing something we are not suppose to do, sin takes an act as well. Ignorance is when we do something we are not suppose to do, but really lacked the knowledge to know it was sin, or iniquity. Of course after we know, we can’t use the “ignorant” excuse. Prior Peter said their sin was one of ignorance; however, after the exposure and knowledge was granted the excuse of ignorance passes, now their act of failure becomes iniquity which will lead them to commit sin. How did he know? He did one of ignorance himself when he held the board meeting, yet it didn’t stop him from receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
All this is very interesting, when they were talking to the lame man it was a one on one encounter, thus the New Man was manifesting. Here they are speaking before the masses, thus the Holy Ghost is active.
ACTS – CHAPTER 4:
And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand (Acts 4:1-4).
Whenever anyone preaches the Truth by the Spirit the unbeliever and unlearned will come to hinder the Word. More often than not, they will use some twisted Scripture, or their opinion, but they lack the Word in them. It would appear it wasn’t the healing, but the teaching grieving the priests and Sadducees. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection, angels or spirits, thus Peter and John were exposing the unbelief of the Sadducees. This is an example of holding unbelief as a tenet; we all need to check our theology, or doctrine to determine if we are holding any aspects of unbelief, since unbelief is disobedience.
On the other hand we find the Pharisees did believe in a resurrection, angels and spirits. However, they didn’t believe the disciples were “spiritual”, but they did believe they were demon possessed. On one hand there were the unbelieving Sadducees, but on the other the Pharisees who claimed to believe yet refused to. We also find the unbelieving religious rulers on one side, but on the other the people who were believing. This element added to the offense, now the religious rulers are in the same predicament they faced with Jesus. Instead of One Jesus to contend with, they now face Two.
This is the first time any of the disciples were arrested for preaching, the number of people takes us back to the feeding of the 5,000. During the feeding Jesus said “And this is the Father’s will which has sent Me, all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, every one which sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:39-40). Did they “see” the Son? Yes, Jesus was manifested before them through the Apostles, the Pharisees knew it. Jesus first said Raise It up, then it was Raise him up, two different elements, for two different last days. The first last day is the last day of our Season when the we are Raised up, then comes Judgment at the end of the Night. Peter and John weren’t merely teaching on the Resurrection, but Through Jesus would come the power to enter the First Resurrection, the Resurrection they all knew about, then comes the last resurrection, which turned the Pharisees theologically stand inside out and upside down.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem (Acts 4:5-6).
The same two priests who condemned Jesus are now looking at His Disciples. These two men are now faced with a decision, if God be God then follow Him, if their theology be their god, then follow it right into hell. There is nothing wrong with being in a Denomination, or in an Non-Denomination, it’s when we allow the Denomination or Non-Denomination makes us override the Bible, or when we allow the Denomination to enter us, rather than Jesus we find we are in trouble.
Jesus told Annas and Caiaphas they would have the sign of Jonah, which we know was the Resurrection, but did they? Yes, they knew, they even went so far as to have soldiers placed at the tomb. The evidence was still there, Jesus is raised from the dead. Did they believe? No, the choice of belief is still with the person, their actions alone show how unbelief stops the work of God in the life of the unbeliever.
The noted John here is not John the Apostle, rather this is John from Galilee, with Alexander with him, thus the entire religious community is represented. This would be the next day, since it’s a violation of the Law of Moses to hold a trial at night, but it didn’t seem to hinder them when they brought Jesus before Annas in the night. Here they made the decision to follow the Law, but missed the point of the Law, Love and Mercy.
Pharisees have a tendency to change or at least alter rules to fit their desires, rather than allow the Word to change their desire. The same is true today, if one is bent on doing something, they will search in order to find “justification”, then claim “it’s the will of God”. There are times when we must find the Will of God for “now”, rather than attempt to make God condone to our will. There are two groups in any religious order proclaiming God, thus we find those who desire to do the will of God, yet we also find those who want God to do their will. The self-serving also proclaim adherence to the Scriptures, but only as far as the Scriptures serve their self-interests.
And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? (Acts 4:7).
This would seem strange since they knew both Peter and John preached in the Name of Jesus; however, their question is what religious ruler gave them permission to speak in the Temple. They still considered the Temple their property, they assumed they were being “good stewards”, but they were unjust stewards. Jesus cleaned the Temple twice, each time they asked Him “By what authority do You do this?”. Moses was told to make the Tabernacle in the wilderness according to the pattern in heaven, the pattern in heaven was Jesus. David wanted to build a house for God, yet David wasn’t a priest. Since David’s intent was to give the house to God, we find both the Tabernacle and Temple belong to Jesus, yet the Temple is granted to the hand of man, much like the Body. Jesus was merely cleaning out His own, just as He cleans us by the washing of the Water by the Word, yet it’s still up to us to accept the cleaning. Jesus tells us to take the lambs where they can be fed, as well as present them food to eat. However we can’t force feed anyone: one can die of thirst looking at a glass of water. It’s up to the person to receive, if they maintain their unbelief, they will fail to see the Truth. On the other hand if one receives, they become beneficial to God and others. Approaching the Bible or any teaching looking for fault, or searching to find error produces error in the person’s heart, surely the thing they fear the most will come upon them. The Pharisees were searching for fault, they found none in the disciples, yet presumed they did. There was fault, but it was in the religious leaders, their fault was based on the false concept if they weren’t doing the feeding, the food was no good. The same self-based religious conceit, or the mind of a Pharisee is the same regardless of the time of man, they think they have the only Truth.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole (Acts 4:8-10).
Ask and you shall receive; the Holy Ghost is about to answer their question showing “by what authority”. It’s interesting how the Holy Ghost goes right to the intent, the rulers said it was the teaching, but the Holy Ghost shows it was really the healing bringing the offense. Here Peter is filled with the Holy Ghost, the last time was on Pentecost, both times were to deal with the masses. This shows why the filling takes place, the New Man is internal, but manifests in those one on one situations, here it’s dealing with the masses, granting courage in the time of need.
Answering the words isn’t always answering the question, the Holy Ghost goes to the intent, making all things naked and open. It would have been much better for these religious rulers to examine Why they were offended, it was their own unbelief being exposed. The Pharisees then, as well as the Pharisees today don’t care how many are healed, they want to stop the movement to preserve their own self-serving position. This is another example of those in the last move, coming against the next, yet it always seems to lead to strife, attacking, or forming unbelief in the new move.
The rulers are faced with the evidence again, yet they have no evidence or proof the works are illegal, other than their self-deceived notions based on their own self-conclusions regarding the Law of Moses. If they want to examine the men, they must first look upon the evidence to determine any wrong. If the evidence is evil, the men must be evil, but if the evidence is good, the men must be good. These rulers will not deny Jesus being raised from the dead, they ignore it. If they had any proof of Jesus not being raised from the dead, they would have inserted here. This would have been the place for us to see if there was any evidence whatsoever saying Jesus was not raised by those who would have known, but there is none, rather the sign of the disciples being Born Again is the proof of the Resurrection. The evidence shows they are aware of the Resurrection, another plank to our platform of belief, showing it’s real, anyone beyond this point has no evidence the Resurrection was not real, they may have hypothesis, or an opinion, but no proof. On the other hand we have the Holy Spirit, the basis of proof regarding the Resurrection, thus we could not have the Holy Spirit if it were not for the Resurrection.
The same two priests who were at the Cross are here, they are the same ones who came to Pilate, requesting guards be placed before the sepulcher of Jesus (Matt 27:63-64). These same two priests had the information and knowledge, thus they knew Jesus was raised from the dead, they simply refused to believe it. Having a knowledge of Jesus being raised from the dead, is not the same as believing it. If we believe it, we have the evidence in our hearts by the same Spirit producing peace, rest, love, belief, and confidence in God.
Again Peter shows “you crucified”, but “God raised”, it’s still By Jesus the man was healed, not Peter, or John, or the man. Was Jesus there in person? No, the Authority is the representation of Jesus, the Power is represented by the Holy Spirit as a result of the Gift by the Holy Ghost, the Mercy a representation of the Father, the Witness was active. Perhaps the religious rulers were thinking, “we’ll crucify these men, no wait, look what happened the last time we did it, ahh, we’ll beat them stupid, it will shut them up”. Evil thoughts, produce evil deeds, even if one places the Name of God on the effort. Peter is a changed man, the Power from on High was moving him to the New Nature by leaps and bounds.
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:11-13).
From the Cross to the Resurrection to Salvation, the steps are clear, the evidence is seen, now what will the religious leaders do? The stone they trusted in held up their Temple, which would be destroyed in 70 AD, they trusted in their self-righteousness to save them, they held their positions out as their badges of honor; yet they were lost, headed to hell in a hand basket. There is no other Name, or Way, these religious rulers have their first opportunity to repent in order to be saved. It’s sad, but they felt because they held positions in the Temple they were saved. The name of Moses wasn’t going to save them, the name of David wasn’t going to save them, the name of Elijah wasn’t going to save them, neither was their position going to save them. Jesus doesn’t give up easily, He will call and call, but there comes a time when He calls no more. They had eyes, but refused to see, the words spoken by Peter show it wasn’t the man, or the teaching, the rulers saw the Authority of the Name of Jesus at work, yet they were offended. The same words spoken by Jesus were coming from His two disciples, the disciples are now Witnesses giving the Word of their Testimony, as they loved not their lives unto the death. They weren’t speaking of Jesus, they were speaking as Jesus.
Although Peter and John were not theologians, nor trained in the best schools in the religious circles, they had been with Jesus; Producing the evidence, but the religious leaders failed to see Jesus in the disciples. This is the same as John telling us about testing the spirit; is Jesus in their flesh? If so there will be signs to prove it. Here the religious rulers are using the spirit of error, they were being Anti-Christ toward those who had Christ (I Jn 4:1-4).
The word Unlearned is the Greek Agnoia meaning Not knowing the letters, it’s also noted as Ignorance which leads to mistaken conduct, but the conduct here was evidenced as Good. The word Ignorant is the Greek Idiotes meaning Common or Common man who is uninstructed. Both words show us the rulers were judging based on their theology, but their theology was based in their unbelief.
And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it (Acts 4:14-16).
This man couldn’t be a fake, he was before them day after day, they gave him the garment of identification, thus they had to approve his condition in order for him to beg in front of the Temple. However, he is now no longer lame, could they deny the evidence? The religious rulers entered by the gate Beautiful, they assumed the gate was so named for them, rather than seeing it was based on the works of the Name of Jesus. Day after day they passed this man, yet left him in the same impotent state day after day. They heard the Word, they see the evidence, now they had to make a decision. This is the same thing as the man born blind, they knew the evidence, they simply refused to accept it. We must have evidence, but if we are unreasonable, or demand more evidence than is necessary, we error.
They were called to become parts of the Olive Tree, the Fig Tree would not bear fruit again. Paul remarked on this by showing the branches from the Olive Tree were removed because of unbelief (Rom 11:20).
The method of the Jewish council was always to hear the evidence, then vote on the matter in secret. Jesus said nothing shall be hid, or in secret; therefore, we find another John 7 meeting, one held in secret for the sole purpose of protecting their unbelief.
What changed? The same miracles were done when Jesus walked the earth. The sign for the religious leaders was the prophecy of Jonah, thus their awareness also came after Pentecost. They can’t deny it, yet they will, they will also desire to stop it. The thinking of the religious rulers was, “we are rid of Jesus, this thing will die out”, but it didn’t, it only became stronger. This same evidence should have been a warning to the Crusaders, rather than attempting to kill the Muslims, they should have sought to convert them. The Crusades only added resolve to the Muslims, they didn’t diminish them.
But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ (Acts 4:17-26).
These verses don’t give us the excuse to go about telling governments we refuse to obey their laws, rather the statement is made to religious leaders, ending with “judge you” or “you answer”. Accordingly these leaders were subject to the Law of Moses, thus they knew, “if God has spoken, what can we do but prophesy”. Peter and John were not rebelling against the council, they were using the same Law the council was using, only they were using it righteously. They are two witnesses confirming a Fact, in the mouth of two or more witnesses, let every fact be affirmed. When they sent Jesus to the Cross they couldn’t find two witnesses who agreed, but here they have two who agree on the Resurrection as eyewitnesses.
If the man was below thirty the evidence would be questionable (according to Jewish tradition); if the man was under forty the evidence would take further investigation, but since the man was over forty his healing was more than enough to prove the issue. The disciples were still of one accord, although they were attacked, just as important they knew where to go and Whom to seek. There are two very important distinctions here, they called on Jesus the Lord who is God, then they made the distinction between the Head of the Body (Lord) and the Body (Christ). They were men of authority, but never forgot they were under authority; however, the religious rulers failed to consider themselves under authority. The truth of the Parable of the unjust steward was coming to pass before the eyes of the disciples. The chief priests were more concerned about their theology, than the people: they were focused on protecting their positions, rather than believing God, they were on the very edge of losing what little they did have. God said He would never leave them, nor forsake them; however, in the context it becomes obvious, He will also punish them for all their iniquities (Amos 3:2-3).
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:27-33).
The word Child in the phrase Holy Child is the Greek Pais, it doesn’t point to the age of Jesus, rather it shows the birth of the Church, beginning as the Lord’s holy child. The disciples had the insight, the Church is an “it” to most people, yet the same Church will become the Bride of Christ, as she makes herself ready. They were correct, the Birth of the Church was on Pentecost, making the Church a holy child. The Greek word Pais means In relation to descent, it can refer to a manservant, an attendant or maid doing a service, thus it reflects to the Beginning of service. The Pharisees had the Beginning of the Law of Moses, but here the Holy Ghost shows there is a New Beginning with the Name (authority) of Jesus, coupled with the Power from on High by the Holy Ghost as the Proceeding Word of God.
Their prayer request could center on more having more power to come against the religious rulers, perhaps power to turn them over to the Romans, right? Wrong. The context changes to the Cross, but we also see God allowed Pharaoh to be Pharaoh, Herod to be Herod, Pilate to be Pilate, the chief priests to be the chief priests. God doesn’t force us to change paths, He makes the request for us to change, but change or not, the events still work out for Good to those called according to His purpose and to those who love Him. The religious leaders works were evil, but it didn’t mean God didn’t know their works, nor does it mean God made them to be evil. He did see their efforts before the world began, thus He is able to turn their endeavors around to bring about His purpose. This in no way means those who did the evil were Good, their intent was still evil, rather it means they can go to hell according to their works, yet God can turn the event around for those who Love Him, or for those called according to His Purpose. The prayer proves the intent of the disciples is to do good, although evil was done by the religious rulers, it motivated the prayer. In many cases we find our best prayers come in the face of adversity.
Their prayer was not one of revenge, not one element consisted of what today is termed by some to be “spiritual warfare”, but it was nonetheless spiritual warfare in the true sense. They first discerned the attack was centered on the Body, showing it was the sign, yet they knew the Truth of Signs and Wonders following the Believer was the answer. The threat could only be confronted by having the ability to project Jesus in a greater and more powerful way. They sought more love, more grace and more of the Holy Ghost. Why? So they could go to the masses to show more of the Love, Mercy and Grace of Jesus. Paul’s view of warfare was the same, he asked for the utterance to be given to him to preach boldly to make the mystery of the Gospel known (Eph 6:19). We condemn the words against us by applying Mercy, not by cursing the darkness, or wasting time cursing something already cursed. The result came, the Holy Ghost filled them again, they were ready to deal with the masses. We have one Seed of God, but we gain many Holy Ghost fillings.
Afterward they spoke the Word with boldness, the multitudes believed, as they became of one heart and soul, pointing to Unity. They were already of one mind and one Spirit based on Pentecost, now the Holy Ghost gave them the ability to speak to the masses with a boldness including “stretching forth Thine hand to heal” (v. 4:30). They became more concerned over the things of others, than their own (Ph’l 2:4-5). They knew the Jew was known for their “love for God”. Deuteronomy 11:1-7 spells this out, we find the Jew was to Love the Lord God with all their heart and soul, but the incentive was to remember what God did to Pharaoh, as well as to Egypt. True God delivered the children, but He did it by bringing great chastisement by His mighty hand, He stretched out His arm, and did miracles and acts in the midst of Egypt: here it’s stretching out to Heal, not destroy. This goes right to the time Jesus said the Christian would be known by their love for one another. Ahh, the mystery, no one can teach us how to love, they can define it, they can talk about it, but they can’t teach us how to love. Love under the Old Testament was more of an natural emotion, thus man loves to gain the benefit, some will use faith in the same manner. The Love of the Christian is more of a nature, it’s embedded in them as a result of the nature of Christ in them; it’s a matter of learning to walk in it, rather than seek it.
There are those who think the principle of faith is, “faith pleases me”, but Hebrews says faith must Please God (Heb 11:6). The most interesting aspect of Hebrews 11:6 is how the word “love” isn’t there. One would surely think to please God, one must love God. Ahh, another mystery, if we love God, we have faith in God; if we have faith in God, we love Him, showing the future is in the Hand of God, our trust in God is enforced by our trust and love in Him. Natural independent faith ventures to please the self, it seeks self-pleasure; assuming, “if I’m happy, so is God”; however we find the priests were happy when they beat the Apostles, so was God happy?
Self-faith seeks the self-benefit, it will wear the mask of righteousness to obtain from God, but the second the self-benefit is gone, so is their faith. Hebrews also tells us the Just live by faith, thus Life is a faith issue, but faith without love is worthless (I Cor 13:2). Paul listed several elements pertaining to being a Christian, faith, unknown tongues, prophecy, giving, and service, yet he also said without love as our motivation all those end as “tinkling cymbals of no profit” (I Cor 13:1-3). To remain with our “service” as a means to escape hell is faith motivated coupled with our love for God. When the New Man enters, so does the ability to project the Love, thus our incentive changes from escaping hell, death and the grave, to gaining Love, Faith and Hope knowing Jesus has saved us from the second death.
These simple people had a change take place, not one of will power, nor of simply changing the mode of their thinking to Christian principles, rather their entire beings were changed to bring about a New Mind, a New Attitude, a New Ability, all through the New Man unto a New Nature. They made a decision, their choices matched the decision; however, like all of us, their decision would be tested. All testings of our faith are to keep us from being hypocrites, or from becoming self-deceived into thinking God picked us because of our greatness. The testing of our faith brings us into the Light and clarity of knowing It’s God, and God alone.
The Jew was told to love God, but they couldn’t Show the love of God; however, if we walk in faith, we walk in love by showing our faith and love. This is the offense to the Pharisee, they love religion, they love traditions, they love self-righteousness, they love doing deeds to gain the feeling of being superior, they say they love God, they do to a point, but they were unable to show the Love Of God. It’s one thing to love God, another to show the Love Of God. Jesus said they were of their father the devil, but why? The spirit lusting to envy, thus the old man will love, but only to gain some self-benefit. The old man will love God, if he can gain a self-based prideful benefit, but if there is no self-benefit, the same love turns to the ways of darkness to get what it wants.
Our confessions and choices are tested to determine if our words are backed up by our faith and love in God, or if they are merely words to portray some concept we really don’t believe in. The disciples received Great Power and Great Grace, thus the two must be different, yet related. The word for Power is the Greek Dunamis, which comes for the root Duna meaning To be able. By the use of the word Great the amount of Dunamis is defined, as well as the Source. Dunamis is the same Greek word from which we gain our English word dynamite, thus one stick can make a great noise, but a thousand can move a mountain. The verbs for Dunamis are Dunamai meaning To be able, and Endunamoo meaning To strengthen from an inside source. The nouns are Dunastes meaning One who has authority, and Dunameis meaning The ability to do miracles, which is the noun used in this verse. This shows it’s the source making the difference, yet we know the false prophet will do “miracles”, but don’t think he will heal. The false prophet’s miracles are nonetheless beyond the norm of man, but evil in nature. The false prophet gains his Ability from the authority of the dragon, rather than the Authority of God. The Apostles had the Ability, but the Ability was based in the Holy Ghost, not the spirit of man. The Apostles were granted Dunameis, or the ability to inherit the Strength of Christ to become Witnesses.
The word for Heal is the Greek Iasis which comes from Iaomai, meaning a healing of the body, or mind. Iaomai is the same Greek word used by Peter when he said, “by Whose stripes you were healed” (I Pet 2:24). The Ability came, they could do the things of Christ, by having Christ in them. The “filling” by the Holy Ghost added Power to the Power, but the purpose was to display the healing power of God, not the theological power of the intellect of the disciples.
To counter the attack, the disciples sought to benefit the people by bringing signs and wonders, rather than words of debate. Neither did they desire to force change on the religious rulers, or Rome, they wanted to present Change to those who wanted to Change. They put all their belongings together, but the purpose had to center on their prayer. They set their souls and hearts to promote Jesus, anything else was moot.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feetActs (4:34-37).
When we join the Kingdom we have no lack, since our concept of Need then becomes void of the word greed. Later the church in Jerusalem will suffer hardship in reference to finances, but if we discern Paul’s letters concerning the problem we will find God provided Seed to other Sowers in order for all to be blessings (II Cor 9). Hardship is one area when God gives others opportunity to give, so they can be a blessing. Ahh, another mystery, the Law of Moses gave blessings, but the person was not a Blessing. Under the Law of the Spirit we are blessed, because we are Blessings.
Barnabas is Mark’s uncle, here he gave to the ministry, in truth he planted seed for his ministry which would be great and powerful. Although it doesn’t show it was his intent, the result would be revealed. At the time his intent was to freely give, in the giving God gave unto him a ministry recorded for all time. This is very important, we must know Barnabas gave based on a giving heart, since shortly two others will appear attempting to copy Barnabas through their envy. The two allowed envy and greed to enter, showing envy and greed are sisters, the greed will cause the other two to hold back from God, a lesson we all need to understand. One showing how greed and envy can enter in, even after we receive Jesus. Giving place to the devil comes when we give place to the wiles of the old man, when we put those ways as actions, then we fall into the area where Satan enters to choke the Seed of God out of us. It doesn’t mean Satan kills the Seed of God, rather it means the actions push the Seed of God out, thus it’s not the Seed leaving us, or forsaking us, it’s when we go back to the ways of the world separating ourselves from the Seed. Jude called this “having not the Spirit”, which means not having the ability to hold to the Spirit. However, it involves more than a slip, it means the person works so hard at worldly matters, their mind turns from the Seed of God to the he in the world.
ACTS – CHAPTER 5:
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things (Acts 5:1-11).
Prior we saw how Barnabas gave, here we find the error of copying to gain the same recognition. If Ananias and Sapphira had entered league with Satan, why didn’t Peter just cast the devil out of them? It wasn’t a devil, but a returning to the old nature, thus Satan is opposed to the Spirit which is of God. This takes us back to the many Scriptures showing the difference between demon possession, and those who use the wiles of the devil. If Jesus cast the devil out of all who were possessed of devils, why did He say “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil” (Jn 6:70)? Jesus didn’t say “one of you has a devil”, or “one of you will act like the devil”, rather it was one was a devil, whom we know to be Judas. When Peter made his famous statement, Jesus said right to Peter’s face, “Get you behind Me Satan”, why didn’t Jesus cast the devil out of Peter (Matt 16:23)? When the woman was bound over by the “spirit of infirmity” for eighteen years, why did Jesus heal her (Luke 13:10-17)? Yet, it’s clear Jesus, and the disciples cast devils out of many. Assuming we are dealing with a devil, when it’s the nature of the devil is a matter of discernment by the Spirit; Paul called it discerning spirits. This isn’t to say we don’t cast out devils, on the contrary we do, but there are times when we are dealing with the works of the devil, not demons.
This lesson shows we must hate the works of darkness; if we still love those works, we will use them. Ananias allowed greed and pride to enter him corrupting his giving, causing the Seed of God to be choked out. Ananias did the deed, but his wife was privy to it, yet said nothing. One could say “well it seems to me she merely submitted to her husband, and was punished for it”, but she was also asked to tell the truth and refused to (v. 8). Submitting to her husband is one thing, lying to the Holy Ghost another, if she really submitted to her husband, she would have warned him, if he decided to continue on the wrong path, his blood was on his head, yet she didn’t have to join in his folly to “submit”. Here one could say Ananias and Sapphira had a “lying spirit”, after all doesn’t Peter say “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” (v. 3). The self-nature surfaced, taking over the mind of Ananias, but Ananias gave place to the devil.
It would have been better if it was a demon, especially for Ananias, but we find Ananias took the lust, played with it until he formed a plan, then presumed his actions were hidden from God. Then he lied to God by breaking his Vow to the Holy Ghost. All this explains Ananias wanted to be noted better than Barnabas, yet he didn’t want to give what he vowed he would. He is the one who made the decision, but he used greed based on envy. Now we know why we are told Barnabas gave all, Ananias will “copy” the act, but in so doing he gave place to the spirit lusting to envy. He had the same opportunity to confess his lust, as he did to use it. He could have said no to Satan, but he made the decision to use the power of darkness for his benefit. His lust conceived, becoming sin, his sin brought on his death. Wow, could it happen today? Who knows, but today we are not required to give a Vow to the Holy Ghost regarding our giving, if we do make such a vow, best to keep it. Today we see other elements, being a partner in a ministry is far different from the event we see here. Giving based on the request of a person is also different, the Corinthians gave based on Paul’s request, not the same as we see here. This is also interesting since Peter didn’t say, “lie to me”, it was lying to the Holy Ghost, thus Ananias made an open declaration to the Body then added his Vow to the Holy Ghost.
God didn’t kill Ananias, Ananias produced his own death by lying to the Holy Ghost. The consequences were the result of the deeds of Ananias, not God. Ananias made the vow, it wasn’t God making a vow to him. This came after they were given Great Grace and Great Power. With great power comes great responsibility. Another interesting facet is how Peter said, “to lie to the Holy Ghost” (v.3), then “not lied unto men, but unto God” (v. 4). Before Ananias gave or vowed the things were under his control, he didn’t have to give any of it, or he could have said he would give part (v. 4). When he made his open vow, he had to give as he said. Of course some tell us since this was the very early days, God had to react in order to hold the integrity of the Body. However, the premise is the open Vow to God, not God’s integrity, but the integrity of Ananias. In any case a broken vow to God does cause a death, perhaps not to the person, but in some area they will suffer a death: perhaps to their anointing, position, ministry, family life, or another God related area.
When the children of Israel came out of the wilderness a man by the name of Achan sinned by keeping stolen treasure hidden in his tent (Joshua 7:1-26). In Achan’s case he violated the commandment, in the case of Ananias he violated his Vow to God, yet both men died.
Ananias also had time to repent, but didn’t, thus he heard the words of Peter and said nothing (v. 5). Sapphira also had time to repent, she knew what Ananias did was wrong. This was a reverse of the tree, here Ananias took of the fruit, then gave to his wife and she did eat. The Greek word used for Power in verse 4 means Authority, thus it’s clear the decision was in the hands of Ananias, once the decision was made, it had to be kept. If the devil could lie so easily to Ananias, then it was clear, Ananias lacked the desire to follow the Spirit. We find this in the phrase “gave up the ghost”, this phrase comes from one Greek word Ekpsucho meaning To separate the soul, this is found in the combination of the word Ek (out), and Psucho (soul). This is not Giving up the Spirit, rather it’s a separation of the soul from the flesh, showing Ananias had already choked out the Seed of God, he was now flesh and soul. Ananias used the spirit lusting to envy, after having the power to reject the spirit lusting to envy. It’s the point James made in his letter, we have power over the spirit lusting to envy, thus the Wicked use it, they are not controlled by it.
This is the first indication of trouble in the Body, yet the Church was protected. The next area will be a dispute regarding the tables, then Simon Magus, yet those are areas of the Body, they were to be expected. The gates of hell can’t harm the Church, but they have invaded the Body. The evidence then, as now is how the Body will be broken, but the Church will not.
On the same note, Ananias was a member of the Body, he had to be baptized in order to reach the position to be confronted by the Apostles. This doesn’t mean he was Born Again, but it does show he would fit the area of allowing the deceitfulness of riches to choke out the seed (Mark 4:18-19). The Seed was sown, but Ananias didn’t apply himself to the Covenant promises. Having the Spirit and being Spiritual are different, Paul told the Romans, “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom 8:6), he told the Corinthians they were carnal (I Cor 3:1-3), but he also said the Corinthians had the Spirit (I Cor 3:16). The Corinthians had the foundation, but they were failing to build on it. They remained carnal, the result was their strife, envy and division. Envy is a very dangerous carnal weapon, especially considering the word Envy as it’s used by James means incapable of doing good. For Ananias the Foundation was there, but rather than build on it, he loved the deceitfulness of riches more, ending with devilish thoughts.
Ananias was the first to be questioned, Peter discerned the heart of Ananias by the Spirit, the Logos made the Separation as the Rhema was activated. Peter keeps asking Ananias, Why, did he allow Satan to fill his heart? Not only is it a very good question, but it shows there was time to repent. Sapphira also had an opportunity to repent, but she had joined her soul to the sin. Both Sapphira and her husband Tempted the Holy Ghost, thus Peter makes no distinction between lying to God, or Tempting the Holy Ghost, which would be the beginning of the unpardonable sin.
This also brings another interesting aspect, Why didn’t Peter raise them from the dead? Or why didn’t Peter heal them? Or why didn’t Peter cast Satan out of them? Or why didn’t Peter just kick them out of the Body? Or why didn’t Peter lead them to the saving of the soul? Each of these has an answer, first they allowed Satan to lie to them, then they accepted the lie, bringing an action to the lie. They allowed the action to choke the Seed out of them, then lied concerning their deed. As far as kicking them out of the Body, Peter lacked the authority, they were brought in by God, not Peter. As far as raising them from the dead, Peter knew there are some who should be raised, some who shouldn’t, thus Peter prayed before raising Dorcas (vs. 9:36-43). As far as the other questions, these two people entered the kingdom of heaven, they knew the requirements, then had the power to tread on serpents, which means they had the power to say No, rather than accept the voice of the serpents. They knew what they were doing, thus they had to also pay the consequences, yet they didn’t lie to Peter or the Body, they lied to the Holy Ghost.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:12-16).
It would seem strange, after Ananias and Sapphira there came great healings, but the House was Clean, the Porch was Swept. This gives us a type and shadow of the works of the devil; Ananias is Greek for the Hebrew Hananiah, meaning Jehovah graciously gave, pointing to the Grace of God being given freely, why then didn’t Ananias freely give? His soul was not right, he allowed someone else’s experience to tempt him. However, the experience of the other person was not intended to tempt Ananias, rather every person is drawn away by their own lust. Sapphira is the Greek for the Hebrew Saphir meaning Beautiful, God looked at her as Beautiful, but she made herself ugly by joining with the evil intents of her husband. So did she submit? No, if she submitted it would include giving her husband caution, if he made the choice to go forward with the plan, she would allow it, without joining it. All this shows how they played with greed, allowed it to take root, then used it, allowing their own greed to choke the Seed out of them. Showing how “losing the Spirit” was not the issue, but “giving up the ghost” was.
The disciples reached Christ by having a like Character, clear discernment was evident, it did no one any good to lie, they were all naked and open before God, the Merismos (Division for clarification) had taken effect, the Logos separated, the Rhema acted. Instead of Jews being faced with one Jesus, now they saw many doing the works of Great Grace. The people saw the signs, then believed, as God added to Church. Signs follow the Believer, the Believer doesn’t look for signs. First it was at the hands of the Apostles, then the very shadow of Peter healed many. This also shows the phrase, “God is no Respecter of persons” has nothing to do with “God did it for them, He has to do it for me”. Peter’s shadow healed, but John’s didn’t. God will give Paul special power, but He didn’t give it to John, or Peter. None of the others had their shadow heal, so did God Respect Peter more than the others? No, the phrase means God will not reject anyone based on their heritage, money, background, or religion.
The Power, and Ability were in Peter by the Spirit, his shadow was connecting one on one, it was not some instant magic wand. Peter, as well as the others all made a position change on the Day of Pentecost, but like us, they were all fighting the good fight of faith. We can see the growth in the man, many days prior he wanted to do something for Jesus, but failed. Now he has the Power from on high, it’s also obvious here he is leading the Body, but later in chapter 15 we will find James is his pastor. So, did Peter lose his position? Not at all, it shows they were equal, neither the Body or the Church are established on humans.
Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought (Acts 5:17-21).
Paul was a Pharisee, not a Sadducee, thus the offense to the Sadducees was preaching on the Resurrection. Prior the Sadducees were grieved, now it’s Indignation, the word Indignation comes from the Greek Zelos, which has various meanings, depending on the intent. It can mean a Zeal for God based in God’s will, or a Zeal for God based on our will, or it can mean a Zeal for religion, or a Zeal against God. The word Zeal means Enthusiastic devotion, but it means devotion to most anything. The word Enthusiastic means A motivated interest, or preoccupation with something, the something can be anything. Paul said the Jews had a Zeal for God, but not based in God’s righteousness, rather it was based in their self-righteousness (Rom 10:1-4). It’s the point here, the Zeal was for their theology; drawing another question. From what did they base their Theology? The Old Testament of course, yet they left the interpretation open to the concepts of natural scholars; becoming their mistake, Paul told us the natural mind is incapable of defining or interpreting spiritual matters. The Sadducees felt since the Law of Moses didn’t give defined specifics on spirits, or the resurrection, there wasn’t any. Jesus said God is the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac at the same time. The Sadducees didn’t allow Truth to penetrate their thinking, leaving them with their natural theological opinions.
The Bible contains the Scriptures, Jesus is the Logos, the Bible is the Testimony of the Logos, it is not the Logos of God; therefore, it takes the Logos and Rhema working in us, before we can become a Witness. The Bible contains Truth, it’s a document ordered, and directed by God, telling us about God, but we need the Word of God in us in order for the Bible to become a practical instrument of Salvation. We can make the mistake of making the Bible supercede God, or allow scholars to supercede the Bible. The Bible is holy, it contains the Scriptures, it is our Rule Book, but it does not interpret itself, although it will define itself. The Bible is our instruction manual, but the Spirit is the Instructor. The change in these people of the Body of Christ was by the Spirit of Christ in them, they read the Scriptures all their lives, yet failed to understand them.
God holds His Word above His Name, but the Word is the Logos, the Logos is Jesus. If we assume God holds the Bible above His Authority we are sadly mistaken, the Authority is the very means Peter saw in operation regarding the lame man. If there is no Name greater than the Name of Jesus, surely we can see the Bible is not above Jesus, or the Authority of Jesus. The mistake is elevating the Bible higher than God has, making it an idol. Not real wise. Experience has shown anyone can use the Bible unto Salvation, or they can use it against people, or use to exalt their theology; some translations make the deliberate changes to promote theology, rather than Truth, thus it’s not the Bible alone, but having the Word (Logos) in us making the difference. These disciples had the New Man granted them on Pentecost, it was this Second filling of the Holy Ghost allowing them to deal with the masses in a Godly way.
Paul was Born Again some time later than the events here, yet he was filled with the Holy Ghost when he had to deal with people in the masses, or people who were interfering with the preaching of God to the masses. Up to this time we notice many things, as a pattern begins to develop; although the disciples were placed in prison, Peter would gain a great lesson from the experience. Every time the disciples faced adversity, they prayed, they result was the Lord granted them another miracle; however, after each time there was a deliverance they also faced a test. God doesn’t like hypocrites, when we say something, we will be tested to determine if what we said was of Faith, or a mind game. Anything not done in Faith is sin, yet Faith comes by hearing, the hearing by the Rhema.
James the half-brother of Jesus is being established as the leader in Jerusalem, this is the same James who gave us the Book of James. The trying of our faith brings patience, patience brings a calmness in God during the storms of adversity.
The Common Prison is the prison used by the Romans, thus the Jewish leaders had the authority to have people arrested, but God had another plan in mind. Prior they held them in their own cells, now they are using the civil authorities, the pattern for those run by the spirit of man is also beginning to develop. They attacked the sign, then the Word (Logos), then those preaching the Word (Jesus), but they used the world to carry out their deeds. The Pharisees and Sadducees were using the spirit of man to come against the Spirit which is of God, if they were in the Body, it would be using the spirit of the world against the Spirit which is of God; however, they were not in the Body, thus they were still be guided by the spirit of man. Judas Iscariot was in the Body, or a piece of the Rock, although he was never a part of the Church, defining the Wicked as parts of the Body, but not of the Church. Judas was the first to use the spirit of the world, as he of the world, others follow with the same type of thinking.
Since these people were preaching “The Word”, and doing so “through” Jesus (v. 4:2), anything said against them would be Antichrist in nature. The excuse would be, “well, I’m not sure it was God speaking”, but Jesus said even if we think it was the devil, we still give God praise and glory. We may not like what is said, but if it lines up with Scripture, or speaks about the Goodness of Jesus, we better not attack.
Later Peter will find out, What God has cleaned, let no man call common; here he was held in the Common Place, under the authority of the world, but God is able to deliver His own. Peter is getting a taste of how God can take common things, yet bring life through a miracle. The first thing the angel tells Peter to do is preach “all the words of this life”. The Rhema of Zoe (Life) was to be preached in the Temple, thus God had a reason for the release of Peter. Often we forget God has a purpose for us, we may not like the job we have, we may not like being around the heathen, but God has a purpose. Often we find in order to apply the Wisdom of God in our life, we need the training in how to apply in the lives of others; especially those who have no idea what wisdom they are using. Peter is still in training, the manner in which he deals with the people in the Body, and in the world must be by the Wisdom of God. People watch those who claim God, if they kill, lie, cheat, or twist concepts to their own benefit, it becomes how people see God. Peter is learning how the new nature will operate, it’s a valuable lesson.
This angel assures Peter, he did nothing wrong, rather he was to continue with the preaching. What the religious rulers were doing, would be held against them, yet Peter was not to use the same methods they used. As Peter was teaching, the Jews were holding another secret meeting. Pharisee mentality ignores the preaching being done while seeking to punish the Truth, or destroy it. While the Jews were doing the works of their father the devil, Peter was doing the work of his Father, God; the latter is better. The sign of religious conceit is to ignore the obvious to establish a wanton natural theology.
But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told, Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them (Acts 5:22-33).
The evidence of God’s deliverance was before the Jews, this is another sign for them regarding the Resurrection. As Jesus was locked in the grave, so was Peter locked in prison, but Jesus is still setting the prisoners free as He brings hope where there was no hope. Threats of danger is a common ploy of the Pharisee, being flesh minded, they attack flesh and blood; the weapons of their warfare are carnal, ours are not. Never use the weapons of the attacker, we will only end in frustration, defeating ourselves. We are above the old realm of darkness, yet when we engage them with carnal weapons, we are falling head long into their trap. The Jews knew the disciples were still connected in manner to the Temple, but what they failed to take into consideration was the Temple belonged to the people. Just as they took the Old Testament as being subject to them, they also claimed the House of God was subject to them.
The Jews knew the disciples preached A Doctrine, not many doctrines. The high priests had one doctrine, the Pharisees another, the Sadducees yet another, yet the disciples had The Doctrine of Christ, thus the disciples were united, not divided. Peter answered with the other disciples, but since Peter is noted here, it becomes obvious the lesson is more for Peter’s benefit, but it doesn’t limited to Peter alone. The evidence of the Resurrection wasn’t Jesus appearing before these religious rulers, it was the Holy Ghost. They could see God had gifted these simple people, the healings were evident. However, unbelief will excuse the obvious by denying the Truth (v. 5:32).
We can all benefit from the lessons of God, we need not sit back and wonder who the lesson is for, it’s always for the one who wants to grow in the Lord. Peter knows his words without the Holy Ghost have no effect, but he had a connection to the Comforter by Another Comforter resident in him, he knew, “another shall grid you, and carry you where you would not”; it had come to pass (Jn 21:18).
Light and Truth in a dark place will bring one of two reactions; repentance or attack. The Jews retorted with a soulish attack, thus Peter could run or stand. Prior to Pentecost Peter’s mode of operation was to either cut someone’s head off, or deny the Lord, but this was a different man, much different. When religious minded people come with “the Bible says you must do this or that”, be careful, pray, it may be true, it may be a Pharisee inserting their will into our lives. If true, God will confirm it, if a Pharisee, then remember the words of Peter, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you More than unto God, you judge” (v. 4:19). Peter didn’t reject the words of the religious rulers, rather it was a More Than; which points to the More important word. Peter had commands from God, the religious rulers were to judge, are their words were more important than God’s? What the Pharisees told Peter could not be found in the Scriptures, rather they used traditions. Their tradition said in order for one to talk or teach in the Temple they had to be asked, or they had to ask the religious rulers. Moses said, he wished all the people did prophesy, the religious rulers wanted to control who would speak. This is the same conclusion they used on Jesus, “who gave you permission?”. However, what Peter was doing was also in the Scriptures, God told him to preach, just as God told the Prophets of old to speak. The religious rulers trusted in tradition, Peter simply asked them to Judge between tradition and the voice of the Lord. This of course takes both the inner witness, and the Holy Ghost. This is the area where Jesus told them not to plan out what to say, rather the Holy Ghost will give them the words (Mark 13:11).
Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God (Acts 5:34-39).
This is the same Gamaliel noted by Paul in Acts 22:3 as a teacher of the Jews; whether Paul (then known as Saul) was at this meeting or not is unclear, but it is clear his teacher was. Gamaliel uses two examples, one Theudas who boasted of himself, which neither Jesus or the disciples did. Then one Judas of Galilee who rebelled against the government, which neither Jesus or the disciples did. “Now wait, this seems like Peter is rebelling”. Not so, Peter is merely asking the religious rulers to judge the evidence, is it better to follow dogma, or God? The two examples give us some insight to the unsaved soul; first is the one who boasts in himself, indicating the self nature seeking to take credit. Second is the heart of rebellion, the same heart Korah held in his attempt to attack Moses. Third is the character of the Jews who are attempting to kill the prophets of God. If this is not of God, it will end, if it’s of God leave it alone, but will they leave it alone, or demand the last word? Control always seeks the last word, the Pharisees hear one of their own, yet they rejected the warning, then attacked. The old man looks for some confirmation to carry out his plans, but in the process he rejects Truth.
Gamaliel didn’t use the children in the wilderness, although the same attitude of unbelief was being displayed by the religious rulers. The children saw the signs of God, were delivered from Egypt, sang with Moses, but three days into the wilderness they began to fall into unbelief by murmuring over not having the provision they wanted (Ex 15:1-23). One month into the wilderness they again murmured against Moses by blaming God (Ex 16:1-3). In the third month they were told God wanted to be among His people (Ex 19:1-9); however, they rejected the call, ending with the Law of Moses. The Jews are holding the same Law produced because of the unbelief and rebellion of the children in the wilderness, but holding it against the disciples who offered them freedom through belief. The Law did come from God, but they placed it higher than God, which it was never intended to be.
God did Magnify His Word above His Name (Ps 138:2), but it means Jesus has a Name above all names. Since the Word is Jesus we find we Praise the Word as we put our Trust in God (Ps 56:4). It’s not strange to Praise the Word of God, especially when we find the Word was made flesh for us (Ps 56:10). The Lord Gave His Word, great is the company of those who publish (proclaim) it (Ps 68:11). Anyone can preach the Bible, yet never preach the Word. Paul told us to preach the Word, the Word is Jesus. We hearken unto the Voice of His Word, which is the Rhema bringing life from the Logos (Ps 103:20 & Jn 6:63). The word of the Lord tries us (Ps 105:19), but some believe not (in) His Word (Ps 106:24). God sent His Word (Logos) to heal us (Ps 107:20). Through the trying of our faith we find the Word Deals with us bountifully in order for us to Live by the Word (Ps 119:17). Salvation is presented in the Word (Ps 119:42), but the same Word is settled in heaven (Ps 119:89). God’s Word is Pure (Ps 119:140), God’s Wisdom is also Pure (James 3:17). We Trust in His Name (Ps 33:21), we wait on His Name (Ps 52:9), we are Saved by His Name (Ps 54:1), we Love His Name (Ps 69:36); therefore, Words spoken in His Name must be love based in accordance with the Logos. His Name is Blessed (Ps 113:2), our Help is in the Name of the Lord (Ps 124:8), we Praise the Name of the Lord (Ps 135:1), His Name alone is Excellent (Ps 148:13). When we say, “The Name of Jesus” it goes further than the Authority, it stands for Who Jesus is. Simply because it’s a verse doesn’t mean we quote it by the Rhema, when Paul was still Saul he knew in his heart the Way had to be destroyed, he used verses to support his deeds. The devil used verses against Jesus, thus it’s not the Verse or Verses, but the Intent in which they are used telling us the Fruit (way) of a person.
Peter and the disciples faced the Jews, not the Roman government, thus the statement “We ought to obey God rather than man” pertains to the audience (v. 5:29). We also have the added prior statement of Peter, “Whether it be Right in the Sight of God to hearken unto you More than unto God” (v. 4:19). These high priests were given their positions by the Roman government, yet they had to answer to God as well. Since Peter and the high priests had the “same Boss” Peter merely said, “I will answer to the Boss, not the rookie” (sic). Peter moved from “Hearken” to “Obey”, obedience is the basis for the vow these religious rulers made. The Pharisees were not concerned about the Blood of Jesus being an accusation against them, but wasn’t it the Jews who said “Let His Blood be on us” (Matt 27:25)? Of course they weren’t pleading the Blood, they were attacking it, when they accused the Blood of Jesus they hearts were exposed. Neither can we use Acts 5:29 to attack the civil government; it’s used only when religious leaders demand for us to follow their dogma, while rejecting the Christ nature. The conclusion: “but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply (likewise) you be found even to fight against God” (v. 5:39).
It’s amazing, but nonetheless true, those who attack the moves of God always assume they are doing God a service. The main premise behind any attack is to draw us away from the main subject; what was the subject here? Healing and Salvation, but the Sadducees viewed it as a personal attack against their theology.
And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42).
Although the religious rulers agreed with Gamaliel, they beat the disciples anyway. Simply agreeing with Truth doesn’t mean one receives Truth. The religious rulers felt they had the power and authority to beat the apostles, but they were in error. How could they even think of it? They had the power to discipline, but they didn’t have the authority to touch the anointed of God. The disciples didn’t suffer shame, rather all they did was preach Jesus, Him crucified and raised again. They passed the test, then taught the more In the Temple, and in every house.
ACTS – CHAPTER 6:
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:1-7).
The test regarding the statement, “We ought to obey God, rather than man”, was just around the corner. The Apostles would hear the complaints of man from within their own confines, a decision would have to be made. This decision becomes a first, but it’s also another aspect to the Operations of God. Should they leave the Word of God to serve tables? What is more important? The needs of the Body? Or the Lord? Their decision will answer the question. The question shows they were at least in charge of the tables, a time consuming chore. This also shows the Apostle position was considered by the Apostles to be one of service, but at times we can serve in one area too long, thus robbing others.
These men walked with Jesus now they were overseeing the tables, indicating they took the cup and baptism of service. Today some think being an Apostle means we’re some sort of king over the Kingdom. Yet, every Born Again Believer is a king Within the Kingdom, not over it.
The plan of correction was simple, pick seven men full of the Holy Ghost to take authority over the tables. It doesn’t mean the seven were only to serve the tables, rather they were to take authority over the matter of the business of caring for the needs of the people. Wait, they had to be full of the Holy Ghost and Wisdom to wait on a table? When was the last time you went out to eat, yet had to make sure the one waiting on your table was full of the Holy Ghost? Why should they be? They would represent leadership, they had to be able to deal with people and events by the Wisdom of God. In most cases they were the first ones seen by the public, or questioned regarding the ministry. They had to be apt to teach (disciple) by example, also they had to display the fruit of the calling. It was more than serving soup and crackers, they were the pillar between the people and Christ. Helps are vital to the Service, the deacons, bishops or elders are usually the greeters, they give the visitor the impression of the type of people one finds in the congregation.
The appointment came about regarding the “daily ministration” (v. 6:1), the word Ministration is the Greek Diakonia from which we get the term Deacon; it defines what these Seven men were, thus they were the first Deacons assigned to Helps. If the requirements were full of the Holy Ghost and Wisdom, why doesn’t Paul tell either Timothy or Titus the basic requirements? Paul tells what one would expect after they are in the position, assuring them the position and calling match.
The Apostles had clarity, the Grecians murmured, so why didn’t Peter say, “Thou murmuring people, thou are as the children in the wilderness”? Because the Apostles were now able to discern, they knew something was wrong, thus they needed an answer. Moses had his judges, the Apostles would have their Deacons.
We also have a unique situation, going back to Acts 1 we find a meeting, a vote then the appointment of an apostle. Here we find a meeting, but lo and behold we also find a decision in unity based on the common Authority and Power. No voting, but a decision. The difference? They were now Born Again, of course.
We now have one of two things happening here, either a complete change in how Jesus set up the operations, which would mean Paul had no right to be an Apostle, or we have something God is ordaining in conjunction with the Theocracy of the Body. Let’s go with the latter, since we have proof showing this is Progression in the growth of the Body. This is really the introduction to the positions of Helps; in First Corinthians Paul tells us God has ordained a method of Operation for the local church, within the structure we find Helps and Governments, thus this is the beginning of Helps, a vital part of the entire process of how the Body is to operate.
Paul will tell us he didn’t desire the office of Apostle, but then he turns around telling Timothy, “If one desires the office of bishop” (I Tim 3:1). First it appears as if Paul it telling us one shouldn’t desire the office, then he says one should, what gives? When Paul sends Titus out to ordain elders, he never told him to ordain Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, Prophets or Apostles, there was a division and order. One has to ask, If Jesus gave “gifts” unto men, what are these men doing giving offices to men? Simple, the Governments are positions given by Jesus though the Holy Ghost, but Helps and Elders are appointed by leadership. It doesn’t mean helps are any the less, rather it’s a process or function of order established here in Acts. The Apostles appointed the Helps positions, but they didn’t appoint anyone to the Offices. It also shows no man sets any person in any of the five fold offices, thus when one feels a “calling” in their heart, they tend to look at the so-called qualifications for Helps thinking, “well gee, I don’t fit, must not be a calling”. Not so!! Our Traditions have combined helps and governments into the same order, in so doing we have robbed ourselves. The so-called qualifications are not to obtain the office, they are signs of one being in the right position. The most frustrating feeling is being in a position we are not called to be in, yet rest and peace come when we see the signs of the office forming us into the called position. The person never makes the office, the office forms the person.
We will dig into this more, but here we see the evidence of Helps are not the same as Governments, neither are Helps or Governments the same as “disciple”, all of us are disciples. What about Elders? Does an Elder belong to Helps or Governments? An Elder is one who has the obvious signs of God’s Wisdom in their life, regardless of their age. Their demeanor displays their ability to deal with people and events in a Godly manner, but an Elder suggests, they don’t rule. The concept of a “ruling elder” is another tradition, just as the famed “deacon board”. An elder does “rule”, but not in the sense one would think, the word Paul uses for “rule” means “as an example”, or one who edifies in their word and deed. Elders come from either Helps or Governments, thus Deacons and Bishops are Helps, since they are appointed by Governments, they are not to rule over a Government position. For some reason we take the Helps making them Governments, then wonder why everything seems upside down. For the sake of keeping helps and governments in order we will use the following chart:
Governments: Appointed by Jesus
Including – Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers
Helps: Appointed by leaders
Including – Bishops (oversee Deacons) & Deacons
The Elders… are appointed by leaders, but taken from either helps or governments. Being a Bishop or a Deacon is a calling, the Bishop is the overseer, but they don’t oversee the entire Body, or several bodies, they oversee the deacons in helps.
After the Deacons are appointed, the Apostles are able to pray, study, hear from the Lord as they bring Commandment. So, if the Deacons are not suppose to rule, can they Preach? Yes, preaching is not an office, we will find one can be of Helps, yet called to an Office in Governments, or they can be in either Helps or Governments and be an Elder.
The covering was repaired, before any damage could occur. The concern was “our widows are neglected”, it would have been easy to react to the words, rather than pray for the solution. However, the Apostles did pray, opening an area to become an established position in the Body. When Paul tells us Helps are within the Operations of God it shows how Bishops and Deacons are truly called positions. We know these Deacons were Born Again, but since they would be dealing with the masses, it called for the signs of being filled with the Holy Ghost. The New Man, also known as the Holy Spirit deals with us, as well as in those one on one situations. Later in Acts 13:1-3 we find the Holy Ghost appointing to the Offices on behalf of Jesus, here we have a different situation. The Holy Ghost is not doing the appointing, but the appointee must have the evidence of being able to deal with people by the Wisdom of God. When Paul talks to Timothy about appointments the young pastor Timothy made, there is no mention of hearing the Holy Ghost, simply because the appointments were to helps. Nonetheless, there was a caution, Timothy was not to lay hands suddenly on people to ordain them into office, one has to view the person to make sure they can deal with the appointment. Later Stephen as a Deacon was able to talk to the masses even those outside of the Body, Philip became an Evangelist bringing the converts into the Body.
Verse 7 gives us a separation of time, if we assume Philip or any of the Seven had hands laid on them so they could go out and Evangelize we miss the importance of this act. Philip did become an Evangelist, but here it’s “helps”, not governments, thus Philip is our example of someone in Helps being called into Governments.
A great company of Jewish priests heard and obeyed the Faith, thus the beating in the Temple planted seeds in many of the Jewish priests. Stephen was still a Deacon, he is not called anything else, but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t witness or “preach”. There is no office in either helps or governments called “preacher”, it’s a term pointing to anyone who is a public orator filled with the Holy Ghost for the purpose. The first time we see the word “preacher” is in Ecclesiastes 1:1, the Hebrew word means “a connector of sentences”, or “public speaker”. The first time we find it in the New Testament is in Romans 10:14, the misuse of the verse caused the “office of preacher”. Romans 10:14 simply means one cannot “preach” unless they are sent, so how are they sent? Didn’t Jesus say, “Go ye into all the world”? Yes, preaching the Gospel is not an office, it’s something we all do. Whether one calls it “a witness”, or “testifying” or “preaching” it’s the same, if it’s before more than one person. The Greek words used for Preacher are Korusso and Korux, both refer to a public speaker, but more important they relate to one who speaks from the anointing. It’s what Stephen will do, he will preach, yet he is still a Deacon.
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel (Acts 6:8-15).
There were two elements bringing Stephen to the point of his confidence: faith and power, neither were of him, but of the Holy Ghost; enabling him to speak to the masses. The evidence shows Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost when he speaks to the Jewish masses. Stephen’s life supports the concept of, “these signs shall follow them who believe” (Mark 16:17). Stephen also proves the signs and wonders wasn’t something only the Apostles had, but something anyone who claims to be a Believing Christian has the capability to do.
First a testing, then the glory, then another testing, then more glory. Stephen was the first of the Seven picked, Philip the second, but this Philip is not Philip the Apostle. We will follow two of the Deacons, one will remain as a Deacon as the first disciple killed. In no way does it mean Stephen was wrong for preaching, it means he was the first disciple killed. Philip will show us how we can hold a position in Helps, yet have Jesus call us to an Office in Governments, in Philip’s case it was being an Evangelist.
After the wonders, there arose certain of the synagogue against Stephen. Jesus said they will cast us “out of their” synagogues, showing the change had taken place, the house was now in “their” hands. Jesus didn’t say, “they will cast you out of My Church”; therefore, this has nothing to do with the Church. Although they came against Stephen, they couldn’t resist his Spirit. This is the conjunction with the Holy Spirit in Stephen coupled with the filling of the Holy Ghost.
After Jesus said, “They shall put you out of the synagogues”, He also said, “yea, the time comes, whosoever kills you will think he does God service” (Jn 16:2). The context is “they think”, pointing to a soul without the Spirit engaging in stinking thinking, a mess in and of itself. Stephen will be the first disciple killed at the hands of the Jews after the Cross. The charge against Stephen was “suborned”, or introduced by prior collusion. They assumed Stephen picked up his course from the Apostles, when in fact, it was God who gave Stephen the Power and Authority.
The same John 7 trial procedure of secret meetings is seen again with the same old traps. They first say Stephen spoke against Moses and God, but later they change it to against the Temple and the Law (vs. 6:11 & 6:13). This issue is very important, it indicates their self-deception equated Moses as the Temple, and God as the Law, they held the Law and Temple above God, which means their temple became an idol.
Stephen will address this issue, showing God has been, yet is now in control. They also entered mentor worship, a violation of the First Commandment by elevating Moses above God, yet God gave them Moses, the Law, and the Temple. We can fall into the trap of worshiping the creation, more than the Creator. When they looked at Stephen they saw the face of an angel, which is a Jewish metaphor showing the face of a messenger from God, yet they denied the very words spoken by this angel of God.
Stephen was not a Teacher, Evangelist, Pastor, Prophet, or Apostle, he was a Deacon, yet he was filled with the Holy Ghost. This shows we need not be in an Office of the five fold ministry to have the Holy Ghost fill us. We recall the reason for the Holy Ghost filling us is to deal with the masses, something ever deacon will do as they greet people.
ACTS – CHAPTER 7:
(1) Then said the high priest, Are these things so? (2) And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, (3) And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. (4) Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. (5) And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. (6) And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. (7) And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place. (8) And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. (9) And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him, (10) And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. (11) Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. (12) But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. (13) And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. (14) Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. (15) So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, (16) And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem. (17) But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, (18) Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. (19) The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live. (20) In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months: (21) And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. (22) And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. (23) And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. (24) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: (25) For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. (26) And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? (27) But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?(28) Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday? (29) Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. (30) And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. (31) When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, (32) Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. (33) Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. (34) I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt. (35) This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. (36) He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. (37) This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. (38) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: (39) To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, (40) Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. (41) And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. (42) Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? (43) Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. (44) Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. (45) Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; (46) Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. (47) But Solomon built him an house. (48) Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,(49) Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (50) Hath not my hand made all these things? (51) Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (52) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: (53) Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. (54) When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. (55) But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, (56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (57) Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, (58) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. (59) And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. (60) And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:1-60).
Stephen was challenged by a member of the Synagogue; he responded to the challenge by words of Grace; however, will he be received by Mercy? Stephen begins by saying, “hearken”, or “have ears to hear”, going back to Peter’s statement, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to Hearken unto you more than unto God” (v. 4:19). All he is asking is for them to “hear” what he has to say, but they decided to attack.
It’s interesting how the disciples didn’t pray before the group, rather they had prayed before facing the groups. It’s certainly not wrong; however, we tend to move into tradition, demanding routine and tradition to be the rule of our hearing, rather than the Rhema. When God is attempting to break us of routine and tradition, He will send someone full of the Holy Ghost; they may not pray before delivering the message, just to expose our traditional thinking; however, this is predicated on the person being full of the Holy Ghost. Many pray before they speak, but how many water the seeds by praying after they speak?
Stephen didn’t begin with Moses, but went back to the time when Abraham was called out of the land of Chaldeans, thus it wasn’t the Law bringing the promise, but faith. Stephen shows Abraham’s father Terah died after they left Haran, yet Genesis 11:32 shows Terah died In Haran (v. 7:4 & Gen 11:32); however, Stephen points out how Terah began with Abram, but stopped short, which caused his death, indicating how the religious leaders stopped short, in dying they were dying. This could be seen as a mistake by Stephen, but we have the added concept of Peter bringing the Interpretation of Joel, thus Stephen was discipling these religious leaders, they may breathe the air, but if they stop short, they are as good as dead. This is seen when we know Terah took Abram from the Ur of Chaldees, but refused to leave Haran (Gen 11:31-32). Since Terah refused to leave Haran, he was accounted among the dead.
From Stephen’s entry into the sermon he begins to show the various hindrances placed before the promise, but how the promise still moved on in God’s timing. This connects to the secret meeting, as Gamaliel said, “if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God” (v. 5:39).
Stephen also shows threescore and fifteen souls entered Egypt, yet Genesis shows threescore and six (Gen 46:26-27 & v. 7:14). Stephen’s context is not an error, but clarity. Joseph and his family were already in Egypt, thus taking the four in his family form the 70, leaves the 66 who came with Jacob into Egypt, but when we add the nine wives of the sons (both wives of Judah and Simeon were dead), we end with 75, just as Stephen reports. Simply, Joseph was in Egypt with his wife Asenath and his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, but Stephen being a New Testament man didn’t exclude the Nine wives. Neither Stephen or the Bible are in error, rather Stephen counted all those who went into Egypt, plus those in Egypt, plus the nine wives. In essence the Holy Ghost displays how the religious rulers may have forgotten about the Wife, but the Holy Ghost didn’t, rather He was helping the Wife prepare herself.
Stephen talks about the Law, as the children in the wilderness were disobedient (unbelieving). Then he looks at the Temple and how God dwells not in temples made with hands. Both of these areas were the basis of the accusation against Stephen, yet he was used by the Rhema of God to show how the Jews were the ones in disbelief, thus they were the ones blaspheming God. Stephen brings the sermon to the point of offense, indicating how the Jews considered their Temple holy, but their hearts were uncircumcised because they resisted the Holy Ghost, thus the blasphemy was not on Stephen’s part, rather it was based in the accusers. With this type of offense, comes one of three reactions: ignore, repent or attack.
The call was for all of Jerusalem to enter the Body, yet reality sees not all did. Did God have a plan for all? Yes, God had predestined for each, but it would take the choice of the person to accept the Plan, before the Witness would complete the Report. In verse 51 Stephen speaks of the stiff-necked and “uncircumcised in heart and ears”, as the unbelieving Jews “resist the Holy Ghost”. However, in verse 55 we find Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost and able to stand in the face of this horrid event, while granting Mercy to his attackers. It seems to be the key to being filled with the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit is Grace based, here Stephen being filled the Holy Ghost was rebuking, but doing so in Mercy.
The Jews were circumcised of the flesh, but they missed the entire purpose for them being Jews, which was to receive the Holy Ghost in order to move from one Law centered in sin and death by the flesh, to another Law granting Life and Liberty by the Spirit. Stephen saw the Glory of God, then he sees Jesus Standing, not sitting on the right of God. How can this be? We know the premise is Jesus sitting on the right hand side of Majesty on High. When Jesus stands Judgment begins, Stephen is looking forward as he sees the heavens, not heaven, Opening for the time of Judgment. At the same time Stephen sees us higher than the heavens when Jesus stands; therefore, this vision is a prophecy showing the Rapture well before the Judgment. As well as showing where we will be at the time of Judgment, above the heavens, but to those Stephen was talking to it meant they were judged, thus the vision stirred their anger, as they came against Stephen. We also see how attacks against the Anointing of God draws the attention of Jesus. The Law of Moses is a judgment item, the Temple is a type of Judgment, the Tabernacle a type of Salvation, thus in the Book of Revelation we find the Judgment of God comes from the Temple, not the Tabernacle.
The Jews attacked the man of God, this would be near the final straw to cause the branches to be cut off. They were of one mind and in one accord, but it was the wrong mind (v. 57). The Covenant depended on the Contract, the Jews were presented the Contract before the Covenant. The Contract in our case is receiving the Body of Jesus with Mercy, the Covenant is found in the Blood. One can violate the Contract, yet not effect the promise, or the Covenant for others. The children in the wilderness were presented the Contract, their breach of the Contract didn’t stop the Covenant, rather it went on to the second group.
Stephen has one recorded sermon, the result was his death, it appears as if no one came to the Lord. Did he fail? not at all. Standing there was one Saul who consented to the death of Stephen (v. 8:1). This same Saul (later to be Paul) heard Stephen say, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (v. 7:60). Stephen was a man full of the Holy Ghost, proven by the Mercy on his lips in his dying breath. Stephen didn’t say, “I come against you in the Name of Jesus”, or “I’m the Anointed of God”, this man of God was filled with the Holy Ghost and Mercy, he was forgiving his attackers while the stones of theological abuse were in the air.
Stephen presented the Truth, backed it up with more Truth, had the reputation of signs and wonders, had the face of an angel, yet was stoned to death. The Mercy pouring from Stephen would plant a seed in Saul, bringing an experience for Saul wherein a great change would take place for Saul, for our benefit. We tend to look at the greatness of a ministry, but forget the ministry started by someone bringing another to the Lord. Stephen “fell asleep”, or joined the Dead in Christ, the verse doesn’t say he fell asleep in Jesus. We know he was full of the Holy Ghost, thus he is among those who wait for their White Robe under the altar of God (v. 22:20, I Cor 15:6 & Rev 6:9-11)
Although he didn’t know it, Stephen’s course was to plant a seed in Saul, the seed would begin to bring torment through conviction to Saul’s heart; the torment would lead to a greater persecution against the Body, yet it would also bring a conviction leading unto repentance at the proper time and place. Stephen’s mission was successful, it did bring about the result the Lord desired. This is a perfect example of God bringing a good result, although the event doesn’t appear Good.
Stephen would be the first disciple killed, but not the first Apostle killed (v. 12:1-2). This helps us understand Romans 10:6-7; which of us can say Who shall ascend into heaven, or Who shall descend into the deep? Here, and later many will be convinced Saul the Christian killer could not be saved, yet he was. David knew his enemies, since he was part of Israel of the flesh, thus anyone who was not, was an enemy. However, in our case, we don’t know who is being prepared by the Holy Ghost to enter the Kingdom, or if one who is in the kingdom appears Wicked today, may walk in the repentance of Light tomorrow; thus we Follow Jesus, not men.
Both Stephen and James were killed by Jews, Stephen by the Jewish religious leaders, James by Herod who was a Jew. The Jews were in the last move of God, this type of attack from those who hold to principalities of the last move still goes on. They don’t push us off the top of the temple, or use stones, but they do use the “temple” of religion, or rocks of theological abuse. In the early days Christians were killed by both the Romans and the Jews, thus many in the early church felt the “Remnant” couldn’t be Jewish. Like one said, “how could God find 144 Jews, much less 144,000”. Of course it was then, this is now, thus the End Times was not for those days, but it is for today.
Jesus said the sign to the Jews would be the Resurrection, as the three days and nights, thus the Book of Acts also shows how the branches were cut off because of their unbelief. It wasn’t their religion, their race, their Temple, or their theology, it was their unbelief causing them to miss the promise (Rom 11:24-25). Romans doesn’t talk about the branches of the fig tree, rather Paul uses the metaphor olive tree, the Olive Tree was a metaphor for the Father’s Mercy in the Body. The only reason a branch is cut-off is because of the unbelief the branch holds. Unbelief comes in many forms, but the source is still the spirit of disobedience.
ACTS – CHAPTER 8:
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison (Acts 8:1-3).
The great persecution against the church in Jerusalem came after the great power and great Grace manifested. With the great power and great Grace the prayer was answered as great signs and wonders followed, which in turn means those run by the spirit of man attacked with a vengeance. If we take our call seriously, we will face persecutions, not to punish us, nor to discourage us, but to build us into Great Faith. We can count our wounds, enter self-pity, or determine the wounds are merely signs of doing what the Lord has called us to. At the same time many disciples scattered, or dispersed to spread the Word further into Judea and Samaria as the Lord commanded. Except for the Apostles who remained in Jerusalem, meaning Jerusalem became the main church for the Body at the time.
As for Saul, he made Havoc (set out to destroy) the Way. Here we have three groups, those who attacked, those who dispersed, and those who stayed. James will write to some of the dispersed calling them “brothers”, thus the letter we are about to view in Acts 15 was sent to the Gentile believers, James was sent to the dispersed Jews.
The word Consenting in verse 1 is the Greek Suneudokeo a compound word meaning Together With (Sun), and To Think Well (Eudokeo), which goes further than merely approving, it shows Saul give his personal approval indicating he was a leader in the persecution against the Way. The people knew Saul “thought well” of their actions, thus he not only agreed with their actions, but gave his full support and approval. This Saul was more than a bystander, he put all this together. Before Saul became Paul we can see he was more of a terrorist against the Way, yet we will find Jesus not only accepted him, but cleaned him in order for the man to be a worthy servant.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city (Acts 8:4-8).
This verse could confuse us, it says “they were scattered abroad”, we could assume they ran in fear, then we read about Philip and the acts he did, then the Apostles came to help him. Hardly sounds like someone who left because of fear, the call expanded to include Judea and Samaria. This simply shows how God always has a plan, regardless of the plans of men. Going back to Acts 1:8 the progression was Jerusalem, all of Judea, and in Samaria, then unto the uttermost part of the earth. Here Philip was making the step into Samaria, then would come “uttermost part of the earth”, which would include Paul.
We know “order” is not always based on importance of position, but in how they were appointed, thus showing man has a tendency to place one office over the other, God does not. The leaders are Governments, within the structure we have equals, not rankings of order. Jesus appointed (ordained) the Apostles before the Cross (Matt 10:1-8, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-16 & 9:1-6), next came the word of the prophets (v. 2:14-22, 5:1-6 & 7:1-52), now the Evangelists as an established Office, then comes the Teachers and Pastors, all five to build the saints. The Offices are not a matter of the Apostle being the CEO, or the Prophet the Vice President, ending with the Pastor as the office manager. Each Office has a function, one no greater than the other. The Apostle begins virgin churches in places where there are none, they also deliver Commandments. The Prophets deliver the Doctrine and give direction for the Body. The teachers teach the Doctrine. The Pastor makes sure the congregation has the information it takes for them to be victors. They all join together to bring the result. We may find some self-appointed subjects claiming offices thinking the positions place them above all others, not so, we will find Peter placing himself under Pastor James, as did Paul. The lust for power will make one seek to be the special of the special, the one with the great revelation the Body isn’t ready for, the one who has the “Spirit of Elijah” thinking they are the Prophet of the prophets. Everyone is drawn away by their own lusts, but the calling has attributes to identify it.
Stephen was not an Evangelist, yet he preached. Philip was the first person called an Evangelist, this Chapter gives us the guidelines concerning the Office. This also shows Philip was appointed by men to helps, yet Jesus gave him the Gift (Doma), thus one can be assigned to both helps and governments. Philip gives us some real insight to God’s Theocracy. God doesn’t put us in an office, then “bind” us there, He teaches, expands, and uses. This Philip was not an Apostle, or a Prophet, yet he has many signs and wonders accredited him. Casting out devils is something all those who enter the Body have the ability to do. Casting out devils is merely a sign of our authority begin greater than the authority of darkness. It’s the old man we have problems with, not devils.
As an Evangelist, Philip did not go to Samaria to begin a new church, he was still connected to the church in Jerusalem, thus he went to bring converts. Stephen was confronted in a dispute, yet Stephen had wonders and miracles attributed to him as well (v. 6:8). This shows Helps has as many signs and wonders as the Offices, thus showing the signs and wonders are not Office related, but Christian related; therefore, Jesus said the sings and wonders follow those who believe, not simply those in offices.
Not only did the people of Samaria hear, but they saw; faith still comes by hearing, and hearing by the Rhema. Paul said, “for our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance” (I Thess 1:5). The Word (Logos) was coupled with the Words (Rhema), but the Scriptures without the Word ends in intellectualism, or legalism. As Peter proved in Acts 2:14-22 the Bible cannot interpret the Bible, nor can the Bible interpret the Logos, the Logos defines the Bible, as the Rhema interprets the Logos; it takes the Rhema to bring Life through the Logos. The Bible without the Logos and Rhema ends being used in a carnal manner producing legalism. The Bible joined to the Logos and Rhema produces Light, Truth, Faith and Hope in the Lord.
The Scriptures are anointed, but it takes an anointing to present them in a Godly manner. Verses 1 and 14 show the disciples went out, but the Apostles remained in Jerusalem, thus this Philip is not Philip the Apostle. The signs followed Philip, but Philip followed the Anointing, he and others are examples of how the entire Body was privy to accomplishing signs and wonders. In this we will also find Faith can come, yet it can be rejected for self-based thinking. Belief in the Signs can happen, yet be twisted in the mind to some self-based attitude. The test came after the people believed, doesn’t it always?
(9)But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: (10) To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. (11) And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. (12) But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (13) Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (14) Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: (15) Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (16) (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) (17) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (18) And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, (19) Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. (20) But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. (21) Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. (22) Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. (23) For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. (24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. (25) And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:9-25).
Simon of Samaria is also known as Simon Magus, who became a figure in history of one who was baptized in water, believed in the signs, but failed to face his own heart. Simon held himself out as some great one, the people said “This man is the great power of God”, they didn’t say he had the power, rather they said he was the power (v. 10). His self-nature was centered in pride, ego, with a desire to have control. Simon is a type and shadow of one who uses mind power through pride, but since he entered the Body by water baptism, he becomes one of the Wicked. He asserted himself as the power, as he used witchcraft to govern the people, then in turn fell into the trap of assuming he was the Power of God, until Philip showed up. It’s important to keep in mind, the disciples had the power of God, but Simon felt he was the power, there is a difference.
Simon gained his fame by using witchcraft, yet the signs he saw at the hands of Philip went far beyond his magic. Simon saw the people believing in the words of Philip, then saw them baptized in water based on their free will, without tricks or manipulation. Simon used magic, tricks and manipulation, whether his heart was right before he was water baptized or not isn’t at issue, he believed the signs, becoming baptized himself. If Philip was so Spiritual, why didn’t he refuse to water baptize Simon? Regardless of the person’s heart, we are commanded to water baptize based on their confession of belief. The baptism with the Holy Ghost to receive the Seed of God is in the hands of Jesus, it is a heart issue. Entrance into the kingdom of heaven is open to anyone, thus it’s based on the Sacrifice given, but entrance into the Kingdom of God is based on the person’s heart. Therefore, we find good and bad fish in the kingdom of heaven, but only saints in the Kingdom of God, thus the two kingdoms relate, but are different.
Simon believed the signs, but his motivation was based on two evil intents. First Simon saw the people, who once followed him, following another. Second Simon believed the power was in the signs, but he failed to see it was the anointing. Simon saw the signs as another means to promote his witchcraft, thus he refused to change from the old to the new, although he made a confession of belief. Simon is our evidence how the act of water baptism alone will not save us, neither will belief in the signs save us. The people were baptized “in the Name of Jesus”, or by the authority given us in the Body by Jesus to Water Baptize. All this is prior to the Apostles arriving to assist Philip.
The baptism in the Name of Jesus separates it from John’s Baptism. One issue is made clear, before one can be baptized in accordance with the “Name of Jesus” two things must in place. The candidate must state they believe in Jesus, whether they believe in the signs alone as Simon did, or really believe isn’t the issue, they have to make a confession, or some sign of their belief. Today we use the “altar call”, it would qualify as a sign or statement of belief. Their water baptism would be their Token to receive, then give the Mercy of God as they make entrance into the Body. The other issue is the one doing the water baptizing must be of the Body. One could have seven million people of some other religion baptize them in the biggest river in the world, yet it wouldn’t mean they were “baptized in the Name of Jesus”. Jesus is the only member of the Godhead who gave anyone permission, authority, or power to water baptize, thus it’s in His Name. “My God how do I know the person who baptized me was of the Body?” The real sign is of course is the candidate, do they know they are in the Body? If so it worked. How does the candidate know? A change, Mercy makes a change in condition and position, the person is moved from the darkness into the light of the kingdom of heaven. “What if they used the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?”. Same Name, did you notice it was the Son who gave us the authority? If it was, isn’t He included in “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”? Of course, we find the Report giving us the Authority, the Father relating to Mercy, the Word (Son) to the Blood, the Holy Ghost relating to the Spirit, all inclusive in the Body of Christ under the Authority of Jesus (I Jn 5:7-8).
Simon was water baptized, he believed, but would he continue to believe? Don’t forget in order for “shall be saved” to fit us, we must continually believe. The Apostles didn’t come down to take Philip’s papers, they were not looking for fault, they came to Serve and Help. Wow, what a turn around, another sign showing how equal the positions are. Philip who was assigned to Helps, then given a Gift from Jesus to Evangelize now sees the Apostles coming to help him. When the leaders found a need, they came to lay hands on the people presenting them to Jesus to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. The Apostles did not baptize the people with the Holy Ghost, they laid hands on them. This also shows the Spirit was not granted in water baptism, thus we have baptisms in the Doctrine of baptisms.
Part of the Milk of the Doctrine of Christ is the doctrine of the laying on of hands, which includes knowing the purposes, areas and causes. Here we find the Apostles refused to present Simon to the Lord, yet Simon was water baptized (vs. 13 & 20). What, didn’t Philip know? Shame on the man, it’s what happens when you let these deacons run things. I know, take Simon and run him backward through the water to erase his baptism. No, stop, we find another point of doctrine. Even in John’s baptism we find it was open to whomsoever desired it, we have no right to refuse anyone water baptism. Water baptism is introduction into the Body, not the Church. Jude told us to pray in the Holy Ghost, but why not the Spirit (Jude20)? The next verses in Jude tell us why, on some in the Net have compassion, since they are the good fish, making a difference. On others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh (Jude 22-23). We don’t look for clean fish, we don’t make the decision which fish can enter the Net. We pray in the Holy Ghost to deal with the masses, but we also look for the Mercy of Jesus, by granting entry to the whosoever (Jude 21). It’s what Philip did, thus he provided Simon the opportunity, nothing more, or less.
If someone is playing mind games, it’s between them and Jesus, but when it comes to “presentation unto the Lord” it’s another story. Paul warns us about whom we lay hands on, he didn’t warn us about who lays hands on us. Presentation is the purpose, we lay hands on candidates for the offices of Bishop, Deacon or Elder, as well presentation to the Lord for the baptism with the Holy Ghost, or any presentation wherein we as priests present the person as a sacrifice (present unto the Lord).
Verse 19 shows what Simon said, verse 20 shows how the Holy Spirit through Peter went to the intent of Simon’s words. Although the presentation was to be baptized by the Holy Ghost, the one on one area falls under the Manifestation of the Spirit, as Peter received a word of knowledge, yet he provided Simon a route of escape. Hearing the words spoken by the person doesn’t tell us the thought, or the intent, the Logos divides the intent and thought, the Rhema by Wisdom tells us what to do. Peter discerned the intent, Simon’s words sounded good, they sounded as if he wanted to serve (v. 19), but his intent was to make money (v. 20). Jesus rebuked those who sold things regarding the sacrifices, especially those who sold the doves in the Temple, here He wasn’t going to allow this potential Dove Seller to misuse the Power of Christ.
One could misconstrue this to mean only an Apostle can lay hands on us, not the case. Rather the context shows the Apostles asked if the people had received the Spirit, thus they knew Philip had the same authority to present the people to Jesus for the Baptism with the Holy Ghost as they did. Why would they ask if they already knew only an Apostle could do it? Clearly they asked because they knew Philip could present the people, but Philip was one man doing the work of many. When help came the first order of business was taken care of, laying hands on the people so they could gain the Spirit.
This is one of the areas giving us Scriptural support for the Doctrine of Baptisms, here we have two different events, the people were water baptized, then they received the Spirit from the Holy Ghost (vs. 12 & 15). This is backed up by the events on the Day of Pentecost, the people were baptized in the Name of Jesus, then had hands laid on them to receive the Gift. The Logos is the Seed planted, or the Gift given by the Holy Ghost. Our water baptism is a Vow (Token) regarding acceptance by the Body, as we vow to give Mercy as we received it. The Baptism with the Holy Ghost is to gain the Spirit as the ability to perform the vow, we need both. Water Baptism places us in the Rock, from there we can be established into the Church by the Spirit. Jesus granted Authority before Pentecost, but said to Tarry until they were endued with Power from on High, thus the Baptism with the Holy Ghost is granting the Power.
Did the Apostles come down to question Philip? No, they came to assist, by placing themselves under his ministry. Why didn’t they come down and say, “Look Philip, we’re the Apostles, we will take over”? Or, “Philip the tables are waiting young man”. Because the people were the concern, here we find one man in Samaria doing the work of many.
Simon saw the Power, he saw how Philip wasn’t the sign producer, but the Power produced the signs, his words show he wanted the power for self-gain. From Simon we obtain the term Simony, meaning anyone who attempts to buy an office, or who uses money as a means to control offices. Some have their hands on the “bag” so they can control the pulpit, some use money to buy their way into a position, whichever, it’s still Simony. Lucre becomes filthy by the intent put behind it; money in and of itself is not evil, rather the love of it becomes the evil. The love of money is seen in how a person uses it, if they use it for power, they love what money will do for them. Balaam felt his office was a means to gain money, Simon wanted to buy the power to have an office. Simon was told to repent and pray; but he asked for prayer. Doesn’t it sound proper? After all we all ask for prayer from others; however, the call was to Repent and pray for himself. Like Saul in the Old Testament Simon didn’t want to repent, rather he attempted to manipulate the Apostle into his evil plan. Simon was still attempting to use witchcraft, by bewitching the Apostle into doing for him, what he should do. Here Peter refused to pray for the man, it takes the Spirit to tell us when, or when not to pray for others. We repent of our sins, no one can repent for us, we pray our prayer of faith, no one else can pray it for us. The sad part is Simon had the “word”, he could have repented while praying for himself, then he may have received the Gift.
History shows Simon was known as the “father of all heretics”, he purchased a slave girl calling her “the mother of all living” while calling himself “the Parakletos“, thus when he was rejected, he took on the deception of him being what he was rejected from.
One of the lessons we gain here is how the New Man brings discernment, without it we may fall into the traps of the Wicked. Simon said one thing, but the intent of his heart was much different. Peter didn’t say, “If your mouth be repaired”, rather it was, “the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (v. 22). There was the possibility of forgiveness if Simon would pray for himself.
The Word in us separates the thought from the intent, the manifestation by the same Word will divide and discern the thought and intent in others, we are not “mind readers”, only discerners. There are times when the words betray the person, making their unbelief apparent, other times when the words sound almost right, but their intent is corrupt. Their words are merely a guise to cover the thought and intent, the Word in us will expose the intent, thus we may find ourselves not answering their question, but answering their intent.
There are some who know God will honor the Bible or Promise, even if the person speaking isn’t walking with God. The last verses in Mark show one who doesn’t believe in order to preach, if the hearer believes, then the signs will follow the hearer who believed. There are some who counterfeit the anointing, they either quote the Bible, or some other person. Someone believes, the signs follow the one who believed, yet the speaker takes the glory. The speaker may even say, “see there are the signs, I’m for real”. Not so, the signs followed those who heard and believed. Peter saw the intent of Simon was to use the Power in a corrupt manner.
Since the baptism with the Holy Ghost is in the hands of Jesus, it also stands the intent of the person is a factor. Since the prayer of faith is said by the sick one, it also stands the healing is based on the sick one being open to hear what the Lord has to say. The “prayer of faith” is always to gain Wisdom in order to deal with the event, or sickness. If we run around wanting someone else to pray, it would be akin to what Simon was doing. Wisdom gained will bring Peace, dealing with the event is far better than attempting make the event please us.
The Bible works, it’s suppose to, but the Law of Moses works to, it’s suppose to. Paul said some preach out of envy and strife, nonetheless Christ was preached, thus if one hearing is seeking Christ, even if the words they hear come from envy and strife, if they are seeking, the Lord will bless those who believe. It’s the Hearing bringing the result, not merely the speaking. Some of us talk, then see an act presuming it was our speaking, but it was the hearing producing faith for the person. Of course James tells us the evil of remaining in envy and strife, but Paul is talking about the person who hears, James the one who speaks. Add those statements to Mark 16:16-18, and we find even one who fails to believe, can be sent, but the signs only follow those who believe. The phrase “shall be saved” only applies to those who continue to believe.
(26) And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. (27) And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, (28) Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. (29) Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (30) And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? (31) And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. (32) The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: (33) In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. (34) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? (35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. (36) And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (37) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. (39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. (40) But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea (Acts 8:26-40).
Philip first went to Samaria, then an angel took him to meet the eunuch of Ethiopia. Philip is the only person in the Bible called an Evangelist (v. 21:8). Timothy is told to do the work of an evangelist (II Tim 4:5), Paul tells us about the office of the Evangelist (Eph 4:11), but the only person named an evangelist is Philip (sounds like a test question). The listing of Apostles being First doesn’t mean they are first in position, since the same Greek word for First is also used for the First Adam (I Cor 12:28 & 15:45), thus the word First means the Apostle position came before the prophet position, the prophet position before the evangelist, the evangelist before the teacher and pastor. All five offices are to be respected, thus the offices are equal in respect given, but each has it’s own purpose.
The progression continues, Peter will see the Holy Ghost fall on a Gentile, but Philip will be the first to water baptize a Gentile. Philip turned the knob on the Door, Peter saw it crack open, Paul was pushed through it by the Holy Ghost; all were involved, thus one person never cracks, turns and opens. Many cult systems begin by one person saying they are the ones who cracked, turned and opened the door. This helps us understand how Jesus works to keep pride from entering, whenever we find one person claiming to crack, turn and open, we know to run away from them as fast as we can.
This also shows Philip was not banished for water baptizing Simon, he did as he was commanded, teach, then baptize. The eunuch as far as we can tell was not granted the Gift, but it was not time either, thus the time for the Gentile to receive the Spirit was future tense, but we do see the process as the eunuch was able to make his Vow of belief to enter the Body.
The eunuch was using the Bible to interpret the Bible, Philip spoke of Logos by the Logos in him, as the Rhema came the eunuch believed in Jesus. Philip preached “the Word”, going further than reading Scriptures. The Word entails all Jesus did, including a belief in the Name of Jesus. The difference between the eunuch and Simon is found in verse 37, which reads, “If you believe with all your heart”, not he Should believe as John’s baptism called for, or to believe in signs, since there wasn’t any, rather it was he believed (past tense). Why didn’t Philip remain and disciple the eunuch? Not his job, he was an evangelist, he didn’t claim to be a teacher. The eunuch had to seek out a teacher, this is different from Paul, who was a teacher, thus Paul at times spent several months in some places discipling.
We are given two men, Simon who believed in the signs, the eunuch who was seeking God who believed without seeing signs. The eunuch said, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God”; whereas, Simon wanted to make gain from the Holy Ghost. Philip went to Caesarea where Paul would later meet with him (v. 21:8). Samaria was the last leg before “uttermost part of the earth”.
If anyone thinks they are called to be an Evangelist, they need only read about Philip; however the prerequisite is first to be called, next to be trained by the Gift of the Office. One must make the division between Philip the Deacon and Philip the Evangelist, or we might think an evangelist waits tables.
By Rev. G. E. Newmyer – s.b.i.les17Rev11/©2003