When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared amonth them and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? (Acts 2: 1f)
Pentecost is also the Greek name for Jewish Feast of Weeks, falling on the 50th day of Passover. (Which typifies salvation) It was during the Feast of Weeks that the first fruits of the grain harvest were presented (see Deuteronomy 16:9). New Testament references to Pentecost refer to the Jewish feast and not the Christian feast, which gradually developed during and after the Apostolic period.
After Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ was crucified in fulfillment of many of the Old Testament prophetic scriptures, the Saviour arose from the dead and was seen alive again. He walked among His disciples both in Jerusalem and in Galilee. One the day He ascended into heaven, his disciples watched as He ascended into heaven, and a cloud receive Him out of their sight. Then they returned to Jerusalem to wait for the "promise of the Father," and the Lord commanded them to do. While praying together in an upper room, the Holy Spirit came upon them in a manifestation "as tongues of fire," bestowing His power upon them to be God's witnesses unto the ends of the earth. (Joel 2:38)
Pentecost is the New Testament Greek term for "50." It speaks of 50 days of harvest which follow the offering of the barley sheaf at Passover. Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2. It speaks of that 50 day time period following the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshua haMashicch/Jesus Christ. Pentecost is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking areas, in commemoration of those who are baptized, being baptized into Christ.
The sound of Pentecost is:
The author of the book of Acts terms it a "treatise." (1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy Ghost," and The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date, but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of Certain Apostles."
As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke, the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears till Paul�s return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a great portion of that history from personal observation. For what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul�s second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent history we have no certain information.
The design of Luke�s Gospel was to give an exhibition of the character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the gospel when preached among all nations, �beginning at Jerusalem.� The opening sentences of the Acts are just an expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel. In this book we have just a continuation of the history of the church after Christ�s ascension. Luke here carries on the history in the same spirit in which he had commenced it. It is only a book of beginnings, a history of the founding of churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian society in the different places visited by the apostles. It records a cycle of �representative events.�
All through the narrative we see the ever-present, all-controlling power of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all and in all in spreading abroad his truth among men by his Spirit and through the instrumentality of his apostles. The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the second year of Paul�s first imprisonment at Rome. It could not therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some think, 66.
The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to which Luke accompanied Paul.
The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, �Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.� After referring to what had been recorded in a �former treatise� of the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, the author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances connected with that event, and then records the leading facts with reference to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over the world during a period of about thirty years. The record begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and ends with Paul�s first imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents of the book may be divided into these three parts:
(1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the Christian church. This section has been entitled �From Jerusalem to Antioch.� It contains the history of the planting and extension of the church among the Jews by the ministry of Peter. (2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul�s missionary journeys, giving the history of the extension and planting of the church among the Gentiles. (3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to this. Chaps. 13-28 have been entitled �From Antioch to Rome.�
In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of the writing by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be accounted for by the fact that the writer confined himself to a history of the planting of the church, and not to that of its training or edification. The relation, however, between this history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e., brings to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the genuineness and authenticity of both. �No ancient work affords so many tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics, and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman.�
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