BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 7, Day 2: Acts 2:1-21

Summary of passage:  On the day of Pentecost after Jesus’s death, the Holy Spirit came upon God’s people and enabled them.  All the Jews who were there for Pentecost heard and understood one another in their own language.  Some accused them of being drunk but Peter told them they are prophesying due to the Holy Spirit being poured on them.  He quotes Joel.

Questions:

3)  Those who believed in Jesus received the Holy Spirit to dwell within them after his death, beginning at Pentecost and thereafter.  The Holy Spirit will guide the people and teach them and serve as a reminder of Jesus.  The people all believed in Jesus.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Believers today receive the Holy Spirit when they accept Jesus as their Savior and those who accept Jesus in the future will receive the Spirit as well.  Like Jesus promised, the Spirit guides me and protects me and reminds me I am His.  I believe the Spirit guides me to do His work and not my work.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Family members.  I will speak of this bible study and see where it goes from there.  I will ask, “Did you know the book of Revelation is all about Jesus?”

Conclusions:  The answer to “Who are God’s people?” is those who believe in Jesus.  Here we see God’s gift to believers–the Holy Spirit–until the Second Coming when He will be our gift.  Ambivalent on the value of this lesson since it is a part of the study of Acts and am excited to hear the lecture and read the notes and hear the connection with Revelation.

End Notes:  Pentecost is held 50 days after Passover (pente means 50), which celebrated the first fruits of the wheat harvest.  Here, it is 10 days after Jesus ascended into heaven and commanded his followers to wait for the Holy Spirit.  This was a long time to wait and be patient in the aftermath of Jesus’s death.

The gathering together was important as they waited in prayer, obedience, and emptiness in their need for Him.

In Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the word for Spirit is the same root word as wind.  This harkens us back to the beginning of time with God breathing life into His creation.  Amazing, isn’t it?

Fire is a purifier and the idea of “rested” or “sat” is permanent in the original Greek.  “Each of them”.  The Spirit is for individuals–Gentiles as well as Jews.  First time we see this in the Bible.

Many of these people were the same who had just demanded Christ die on the cross.  Hard to think about but amazing in God’s love for us.

There are 120 people gathered here (Acts 1:15)–probably in a temple, a place big enough to hold so many.  A crowd must have heard them and gathered.  The crowd is the one full of doubters and accusing them of being drunk.  Galileans were known for harsh speech and difficult to understand–uncouth if you will.  This amazes the crowd that such uncultured men could speak so eloquently.

Tower of Babel anyone?  This is deliberate (as all things God does in the Bible).  God separated with speech and language and now He brings together.  Awesome!

The crowd overhears the men speaking in diverse languages.  When Peter speaks to the crowd, it is in Greek, the language they all know.  Many argue and interpret this passage with regards to the gift of tongues which I will not go into since it has nothing to do with our Revelation study.

Remember God’s idea of time is not ours.  We are in the “last days” but how long the “last days” will last to us humans we do not know.

The pouring out of the Spirit begins the “last days” after Jesus ascends into heaven.  The wonders in heaven and signs on earth has yet to happen.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  This is from God. We are decades away from Paul and the Gentiles being invited formally into God’s kingdom; here Peter says it will happen.  Everyone is eligible.  God is so amazing that it’s hard to understand those who see the Bible as a mere coincidence with history.

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Notes on the Seven Churches

Seven is the number of completion and perfection in the Bible.  Paul wrote to 7 churches (map HERE) as well (Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Phillipi, and Thessalonica).  Jesus also gives 7 Kingdom Parables in Matthew 13.  Some scholars connect the 7 letters of Revelation to the 7 Parables.  Here is a great and short comparison HERE.  Also, note only the 4th letter (letter to Thyatira) features a woman.  As does Jesus’ fourth Kingdom Parable of the woman and the leaven.  Jesus was speaking to the church as a whole by choosing 7 to address, which includes believers today as well.

Jesus lays out the spiritual problems he saw in the churches of the first century in chapters 2 and 3.  The people were being buried in the problems and worries of the day and desperately needed to see the end–the salvation they were longing for.  In chapters 4 & 5, we’ll see the answer–Jesus, the Lamb of God, judgment, and New Heavens and New Earth.  This is the rest of the story of Revelation.

Some commentators say the order of the churches is significant as well and speaks to general historical periods of the church.  Below are two I found I thought were interesting:

From The Revelation Record by Henry M. Morris:

Church Period in Church History Dates

Ephesus:  Apostolic Age Before A.D. 100

Smyrna:  Age of Persecution A.D. 100 to 313

Pergamos:  Imperial Church Age 313 to 590

Thyatira:  Age of Papacy 590 to 1517

Sardis:  Reformation Age 1517 to 1730

Philadelphia:  Missionary Age 1730 to 1900

Laodicea:  Age of Apostasy 1900 to ?

From The Seven Epistles of Christ by Taylor Bunch

Ephesian: “The universal church of the days of the apostles, or the first century of Christianity.”

Smyrna: Second and third centuries, “the age of martyrdom, when pagan Roman emperors attempted to destroy Christianity with the violence of the sword.”

Pergamite: Covering 250 years (from Emperor Constantine to Emperor Justinian the Great) “the church was exalted to royal power and kingly authority through a union, or marriage, with the state.”

Thyatiran: 538 to 1520, the corrupt, political church of the Middle Ages.

Sardian: 1520 to the mid 1700’s (“but doubtless embraces the entire history of Protestantism to the end of the gospel dispensation”); the church of the Reformation, and a partial work.

Philadelphian: From the mid 1700’s to the present; the church of 18th and 19th century revivals, worldwide missions movements, and renewed expectation of Jesus’ return.

Laodicean: Middle 1800’s to the end of the Christian dispensation, “a sad comment on modern Christendom.”

Commentators stress these are not rigid periods of time and say the last 4 will persist to the End Times.

Remember this is just an interpretation.  These letters were written to the first century Christians and none of this historical time had even happened yet, so literalists don’t put any credence into these timeframes.  I just find it fascinating so thought I’d share.  God in His infinite wisdom does have a plan and I’m sure the order is meaningful.

I love the comparison with the 7 Kingdoms.  The more I study the Bible, the more I see how only God could be the One, True God and how I see the intricacies and connections of the Bible with open eyes.  God is awe!