Biblical Commentary        
Acts
2:1-36
Pentecostalism has come to distinguish a religious system that emphasizes the actions and
preaching on the Day of Pentecost as they see it – but do they see it correctly?
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one
place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it
filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues
like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and
began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 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. {was...: Gr. voice was made
confounded: or, troubled in mind} 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. 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. 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: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
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: 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 that 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. 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:
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: 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. 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. {let me:
or, I may} 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; 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 that same Jesus, whom ye have
crucified, both Lord and Christ. 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. 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. Then they that gladly received his word were
baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
(Acts 2:1-41 KJV)


Verse 1) The Day of Pentecost in type and antetype was the day celebrating the firstfruits of the
harvest, either of the field or of the Gospel.


Jesus had told the apostles to “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the
Father, which you heard of me…” (Acts 1:4). It was the day of Pentecost when that promise of
the Holy Spirit would be the apostles.


The apostles were gathered together in one place on the Day of Pentecost. The “they” of verse
one must agree with its antecedent. The antecedent of “they” is “the eleven apostles” of Acts 1:
26. They had chosen Matthias by lot to take Judas’ place.


Unfortunately, some people mistakenly think that they the “they” refers back to verse 14 and 15
to the one hundred-twenty. However, by looking at the passage – the antecedent of “they” is the
apostles. Remember your English grammar.


Verse 2) Now comes the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit for the apostles. It sounds
like a big wind, and they see what appears like cloven tongues of five. The cloven (divided)
“tongues of fire” sit on each of the apostles and they are filled with the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of
Jesus’ promise. As a result of their baptism of the Holy Spirit, the apostles speak in other
languages, or tongues. These languages are defined in verses 7-11. Tongues are languages,
and languages are tongues. They are languages known by the people who heard them. They
were their own native languages.


Some have tried to make tongues,  “ecstatic utterances,” but the context does not support this –
neither does the entomology. Other explanations making this same miraculous language
unknown to mankind are equally at variance with the natural course and interpretation of the
passage. Ecstatic utterances are phenomena occurring in Islam, Mormonism, ancient Greek
idolatry, etc. Christianity is not a mysterious religion of feelings, but a rational religion of facts. It
is not based upon, nor practiced by the unintelligible, but the intelligent and rational.


Verses 3-13) Within the walls of Jerusalem, there were devout Jews from every nation under
the heavens. When they heard what happened, they located the apostles and crowded around
to see the event. They were confused  and amazed at what they heard; because they heard the
apostle speak in their native tongues, or languages. They asked each other if the apostles
were Galileans, and why Galileans were able to speak in their native language. There were at
least seventeen nationalities that were represented – Parthians, Medes, Elamites,
Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Pontans, Asians, Phyrgians, Pamphylians,
Egyptians, Libyans about Crete, Romans, Cretians, and Arabians, both Jews and proselytes.
Everyone heard the apostles speak of the wonderful works of God in their own language. They
didn’t know what to think. They wondered at such a sight and sound.


Verse 13) Others made fun of the apostles saying they were drunk on fresh pressed wine –
new wine – grape juice – an impossibility.


Verse 14) Thus, Peter standing up with the other apostles (the eleven) spoke to answer their
curiosity and to answer their mocking: the apostles were not drunken on new wine (grape
juice), after all it is only nine o’clock (the third hour) in the morning.


Verses 15-28) The events of the Day of Pentecost were the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:
28-32.


“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. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of
smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and
the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the
name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,
as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” (Joel 2:28-32 KJV)
The variances between this reading and Peter’s quote are due to the differences between the
Hebrew text and the Septuagint.


“Afterward,” or “the last days,” refer to the Christian Era, or the Christian Dispensation, or the
Christian Age, which began (at least in many senses) on the Day of Pentecost. The apostles,
as well as the one-hundred-twenty, were in seclusion until this time. But now, the apostles
being endued with this power from on high would proclaim the gospel to the world, facing
persecution and prosecution, violence and indifference everywhere, every place and from
seemingly everyone. Yet, they would not flinch as they boldly proclaimed the word of God.
“The last days” in scripture do not refer to the final few days before Jesus comes as many in
the 20th and 21st centuries have presumed. It is a reference to the last means God is using to
reach out to sinful man – the Christian or Present Dispensation. In former times – the
Patriarchal and Prophetic Eras or Dispensations – sins were pushed back by the sacrifices
offered (Hebrews 10:1-3); but, in the Christian Dispensation the sacrifice of Jesus ended all
sacrifice (Hebrews 8-10). Premillennialists have distorted the words of scripture for their own
profit.

These last days were symbolized by the miraculous performed by Jesus and his apostles, and
later by the disciples. These wonders are spoken as occurring in “the heaven above, and signs
on the earth below” in flamboyant terms of the sun and moon because it would be such a
tremendous change in the relationship between man and God for “whosoever shall call upon
the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Abraham called upon the name of the Lord by building an altar and sacrificing a lamb

(Genesis  12:8 “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and
pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an
altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.”
)

Now it is through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God that men would call upon the name of God –
a synonym for obedience. [see Romans 10:13-17]


Jesus of Nazareth was “a man approved by God.” A man, yes, but more than a man. Jesus in
his years of ministry had performed a myriad of miracles over nature, illness and the devil to
show God’s approval. But these people assembled on Pentecost knew what Jesus had done
– none of it was done in a dark corner. They had seen the lame walk, the blind see, water
turned into wine, etc. Three times a year they had assembled in Jerusalem from all over the
word. They heard Jesus speak. They saw him cleanse the temple. They saw him perform
miracles. It was not hearsay to them, they were eyewitnesses.


Yet, as God foretold [and this is a key point which premillennialists deny], Jesus was delivered
by these same men to be crucified and slain. These are the men who had cried out, “Crucify
him!” These are the men who had cried for Barabbas rather than the Christ. It was with “with
wicked hand” they had done this. Jesus had done nothing worthy of death, yet they cried for his
blood. He had done nothing wrong. He was tempted in all manner such as we, yet without sin.


(Hebrews 4:15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of
our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  (KJV)


Jesus, however, did not stay in the grave. On the third day, He arose.


(1 Corinthians 15:1-17) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached
unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I
delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day
according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that,
he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto
this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the
apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.  For I am
the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted
the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was
bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I,
but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach,
and so ye believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some
among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the
dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and
your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have
testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise
not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith
is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  (KJV)


David foretold of the resurrection of Jesus in Psalm 16.


[The difference between the New Testament quotation and the Old Testament in the KJV is the
difference between the Septuagint (LXX- Greek Old Testament) and the Hebrew Old
Testament. Peter quotes the Septuagint (LXX).]


(Psalms 16:8-11) I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I
shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall
rest in hope.  For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One
to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at
thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  (KJV)


David is dead and buried. The people who heard Peter knew where David’s sepulcher was, or
where he was buried. Having the Spirit of God in his tongue, being a prophet, David knew that
God had sworn to him that Christ was be risen to sit upon David’s throne.


(Psalms 132:11) The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the
fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.  (KJV)


Thus, David spoke of the resurrection of the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ. He would
not be left in the Hadean world (the Greek says hades – the place of the dead) [this is a
secondary meaning of the word hell, though primarily the place of eternal punishment, it can
also mean the place of the dead].


Jesus told the thief on the cross he would see him in Paradise.


(Luke 23:39-43) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If
thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not
thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we
receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said
unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto
him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.  (KJV)


There is no justification for the concept that Jesus spent three days in eternal torment. The
Scriptures do not teach nor support such a doctrine.


God raised Jesus up from the grave whereof we all are witnesses. This was not done in a dark
corner, but in the bright light. The apostles, those who knew Him best, were witnesses of His
resurrection. They would not be confused, nor mistaken in their recognition. There was no
doubt.


Not only did they witness the resurrected Christ, they also saw Him ascend into heaven.


(Acts 1:9-11) And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up;
and a cloud received him out of their sight. 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.  (KJV)


Having witnessed His ascension, they knew that He now sat by the right hand of God exalted. It
was in fulfillment of His promise to the apostles, that the Holy Spirit whom He received of the
Father, He sent which created the scene which they saw this day.


David also spoke of this. David did not ascend into the heavens, yet listen to his words in the
110th Psalm.


(Psalms 110:1) <<A Psalm of David.>> The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right
hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.  (KJV)


(Acts 2:36) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that
same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  (KJV)


The message is clear who Jesus truly is. They may have crucified Him; but, God has clearly
shown both by prophecy and action that Jesus was both Lord and Christ.


Jesus was given all power and authority. He is Lord of both heaven and earth. He is the One to
whom we must listen. He is the One whom we must obey. He is Lord.


(Matthew 28:18-20) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto
me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end
of the world. Amen.  (KJV)


(John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me.  (KJV)


(John 14:15) If ye love me, keep my commandments.  (KJV)


(Matthew 7:21-23) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will
say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name
have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess
unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  (KJV)


Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah. The Savior of the world. In Him, and in Him
alone, is to be found the way to eternal life.


(Matthew 16:13-18) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his
disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say
that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He
saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art
thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which
is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (KJV)


(1 Corinthians 3:11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus
Christ.  (KJV)


(Luke 19:9-10) And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house,
forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save
that which was lost.  (KJV)


(John 3:14-17) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son
of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (KJV)

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