THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH

Leslie M. John

 

In Acts 1:4 we read that the disciples of Jesus were commanded not to depart from Jerusalem but wait for the Promise of the Father (Luke 24:49)

“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” 

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them”. (Acts 2:2-3)

After the ascension of Jesus they returned unto Jerusalem and they went up into upper room and they all continued in prayer with one accord.  As we see in Acts Chapter 1:13 the disciples of Jesus, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brethren were in upper room and continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.  

Acts 1:13  “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.” 

The narration continues to verse 15 which says that in those days Peter stood up in the midst of all of them who were one hundred and twenty in number and spoke to them.

In Acts Chapter 2 we see that the day of Pentecost had finally come and they were all with one accord in one place. The sequence of the important three feasts was the Passover, the first-fruits and the Pentecost. Detailed description of all the feasts is listed in Leviticus Chapter 23.  On the day of Passover Jesus was crucified; on the day of first-fruits Jesus rose from the dead and on the day of Pentecost the Church was born. Jesus is called the first-fruits as we read in

1 Corinthians 15:23 “But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming”. 

After Jesus rose from the dead he said to His disciples to wait at Jerusalem to receive the power. Jesus said to them they will be His witnesses after they receive the promise of the Father and that power was the Holy Spirit. The promise of the Father that is the Holy Spirit came upon all the one hundred and twenty people including the disciples of Jesus and the mother of Jesus. It was fiftieth day after the Passover feast. 

It was on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came from heaven upon all those who were in upper room where the Church came into existence.  We are not asked to wait to receive the Holy Spirit, but He takes residence in every believer at the time of accepting Jesus as Savior.

There came from heaven, not from anywhere else, a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. The sound was from heaven and it was like a rushing mighty wind. It was not wind but it was like a rushing wind and when that sound came from heaven it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Then there appeared unto them cloven tongues like of fire, not fire, but it was like fire and it sat upon each of them.

There was no exclusion, but all of them had the cloven tongues like fire, not exactly fire, upon them. “Cloven” is past participle of “cleave”. That means everyone in the upper room saw the split or divided tongues like that of fire that came upon and sitting upon each of them. 

When they were waiting in the upper room as Jesus commanded them to do, suddenly there came a sound from heaven like that of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them split tongues like as of fire, not exactly fire, and it sat upon each one of them.  

The promise of the Father was that they will not be left like orphans but the Comforter that is The Holy Spirit will be with them always. When they received the Holy Spirit they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. They spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

They spoke different languages. Their speaking was not the utterance from the choices that the individuals could make, but it was as the Spirit gave them the utterance.  John said:

“John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not”. John 1:26

Mar 1:8   “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”

In Acts Chapter 2 what we see is that disciples were gathered in obedience to the commandment of Jesus.  The occasion was the day of the birth of the Church; that is fiftieth day after the Passover feast and it was during the feast days in Jerusalem. The utterances were the languages of the earth which every one of them understood. It was the time of three important feasts.

Firstly, it was of Passover, secondly it was of first-fruits, and thirdly it was of Pentecost. There were Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven in Jerusalem. When they all in Jerusalem heard the sound of the noise that came down from heaven like that of a mighty wind they were all surprised.  There was no mighty wind but they heard the sound of the mighty wind that came down from heaven. There was multitude of people in Jerusalem. 

There were 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. The text in Acts 2:5-13 does not show that these all men were circumcised Proselytes. 

They all understood the languages that they spoke to one another and they marveled to see the signs and wonders of God. They were all amazed and some mocked saying that they were drunk, but Peter lifted up His voice and said to them that they were not drunk. Peter said that as spoken by the Prophet Joel they all spoke in languages which were understood by all of them. (Acts 2:1-20)