Kingdom Now – [Acts 2:29-36] 1 of 2

 

All Scripture quotations are from the 1901 American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

 

Acts 2:29-36
29 Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day.
30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne;
31 he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.
34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

 

This passage of Scripture provides one of the strongest cases for the amillennial view that there is no future 1000 year kingdom on this present earth, and that Jesus is actually reigning in His kingdom now.

 

The key verses are 33-36:

 

33 Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.

 

Jesus is at the right hand of God now, ruling from His throne now.

 

34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.

 

This is in harmony with the first text we looked at in 1 Corinthians 15:

 

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.

 

If you haven’t already done so, please read the commentary on that passage before you read this one, as it provides a good introduction to this one. Here’s the link:

 

 

Christ currently reigns from His throne, in His kingdom, and will continue to do so until all of His enemies have been abolished.

 

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

 

God has made Jesus “both Lord and Christ.” In other words, within the context of this passage, God has made Him King.

 

Everything up to this point has been the introduction to this text. While I think it’s plain enough by itself, it’s important that we go into detail about this in order to provide a solid case for what I’m presenting here. In order to do that, we have to start in the book of John, which will then lead us back into the book of Acts, beginning in the first chapter.

 

Promise of the Holy Spirit

 

John 14:1-3
1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

 

Within the context of chapters 14-17, I believe Jesus is referring to two different “comings” here. In other words, there is a dual reference here. One is to Christ’s Second Coming, but also to His coming by way of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. We’ll see this develop as we go along.

 

John 14:16-18
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you.

 

As Jesus said in verse 3, He will come again, that is, He will come to them in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Again, this does not mean that He also did not have His Second Coming in mind in verses 1-3. But I believe His primary focus is on His return to them via the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

 

John 14:23
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will
keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

 

Those who love Jesus will keep His word, proving themselves to be true believers. To them Jesus will come and make His “abode.” Notice also the reference to the Father. In the context, we see all three members of the Trinity: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

John 14:28
28 Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I.

 

Jesus continues to remind and affirm His coming to His disciples (and to all believers).

 

John 15:26
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me:

 

John 16:5-7
5 But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have spoken these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.

 

We continue to see that the promise of Jesus’ coming is the promise of the Spirit. Again, compare especially with this passage:

 

John 14:16-18
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you desolate: I come unto you.

 

So there is our foundation from the book of John that we will continue to build from. This now takes us back to the book of Acts:

 

Acts 1:3-5,8
3 to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: 4 and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me:  5 for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence……. 8 But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

Where Jesus says, “ye heard from me,” He is referring to all the Scriptures above from the book of John.

 

Discussion About the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

This appears to be a little off-track, and I really don’t want to go here, but I think it’s necessary because of the disagreement there is about what actually took place on the Day of Pentecost, which is what this whole study is leading up to. Therefore, before we go any further, we need to define the “baptism in (or with) the Holy Spirit.”

 

Day of Pentecost:

 

Acts 2:1-4
1 And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

Some believe that this baptism in the Holy Spirit is a secondary experience for believers today, and that it happens either at the point of regeneration (the new birth) or sometime afterwards, and many, may in fact, never experience it. They say that this baptism is something one receives for the purpose of boldness and effectiveness in witnessing. Many also believe that the evidence of receiving this baptism is the speaking of tongues.

 

Acts Account:

 

Jesus did tell His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the “promise of the Father,” and they would be “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” And He did tell that that they would receive power to witness for Him at that time. But was that all this day was about? Was it simply about power to witness boldly and effectively for Him?

 

Yes, and no. By that I mean, yes they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and they did receive power to witness for Christ. But no, that’s not all there was to it.

 

Beginning of the Church:

 

The Day of Pentecost was a major event in the history of mankind that would change the world forever. It was the beginning of the Church. It was on this day that believers received the Holy Spirit. All the verses in the book of John that we read above looked ahead to this day. Before this time, the Holy Spirit had not been given:

 

John 7:38-39
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water.  39 But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.

 

The Spirit had not been given at this point because Jesus had not yet been “glorified.” His glorification was not complete till He had ascended to His Father. The Spirit would not be given until after that:

 

John 16:5-7
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.

 

John 14:28
28 Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father:

 

John 16:28
28 I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father.

 

Jesus made it clear that believers would not receive the Holy Spirit till He had ascended back to the Father, as Luke confirms:

 

Luke 24:48-51
48 Ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high. 50 And he led them out until they were over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.

 

This is the same event that is given by the same author (Luke) in the book of Acts:

 

Acts 1:1-5
1 The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, 2 until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen:  3 to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: 4 and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me:  5 for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence.

 

It’s clear that the Holy Spirit would not be given till Jesus had ascended back to the Father. After that, He would send the Holy Spirit:

 

John 15:26
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me:

 

So what really happened on the Day of Pentecost?

 

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell within believers in Christ, for until that time, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. Furthermore, it was at that time that the Church became the Church. This was accomplished through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was at that time that believers were baptized into the body of Christ, the Church:

 

1 Corinthians 12:12-13
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.

 

At Pentecost, believers were made one together in Christ. At that time believers were baptized into Christ’s body (Eph 1:22-23; 5:23; Col 1:18, 24). We became the Church on that day.

 

They received power to witness because they now had the Holy Spirit indwelling them. The filling of the Spirit they experienced, meant that they were under the control of the Spirit. They had fully yielded themselves to God as they awaited the “promise of the Father.” Thus on this historical day, believers received the Holy Spirit to dwell within them, they were baptized into the Church by the Spirit, and they were filled by the Spirit. The Tongues of foreign languages was given as an outward sign that all of this was taking place.

 

This power to witness for Christ is more than simply speaking with boldness, but it’s also the power to live for Christ. A changed life is a testimony to the world that we have the truth, and that it’s because of Christ that we’re changed.

 

Thus on Pentecost, believers received the Holy Spirit, enabling them to both speak for Christ and to live for Christ. Both our words and the life we live serve as our witness to the world.

 

Therefore, Pentecost was not just about receiving power to witness. It was about the receiving and indwelling of the Holy Spirit within believers, and being baptized into the Church, which enables us to witness for Christ through our life and through our words.

 

Pentecost was the beginning of the Church. Since the early days of the Church, whenever anyone receives Christ, they receive the Holy Spirit, and are baptized into the body of Christ, which is the Church. We’ll talk more about this later.

 

What about John 20:22?

 

John 20:21-22
21 Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:

 

With the understanding that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, this verse does cause some confusion. However, we know for certain that Jesus does not contradict Himself, nor does the Word of God contradict itself. We’ve seen throughout this study that Jesus made it clear that He would not send the Holy Spirit until after He had ascended back to the Father. Again:

 

John 16:7
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.

 

So if Jesus did not send the Holy Spirit from the Father till He had gone back into Heaven, what happened on this day with His disciples? Since Jesus spent so much time between chapters 14-16 making it clear the Holy Spirit would not be given till after His ascension, we can know for sure that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit on this occasion. To conclude that they did, one would have to disregard everything Jesus said about this previously.

 

We can’t say for sure what Jesus was doing here, but it seems reasonable that what He did was symbolic, or a visual display of this important event that was still yet to come. Perhaps it was meant to serve as a reminder to His disciples of what their focus should be after His glorification was complete. Doing this perhaps suggested that the sending of the Holy Spirit was as good as done, a confirmation, perhaps. Whatever the purpose, it does appear to be symbolic in nature.

 

Notice that the text only reveals that Jesus had spoken the words, “receive the Holy Spirit.” It doesn’t say that they actually did receive the Holy Spirit at that time. In fact, there isn’t any indication at all that they did. All indications are, that everything continued as normal.

 

As important as the receiving of the Holy Spirit is in the history of the Church, it seems reasonable that there would have been some sort of outward evidence to suggest that a great change had taken place in their lives, such as we see at Pentecost. The evidence of such a change is lacking.

 

In fact, Thomas wasn’t even among them at  this time, which adds further support that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit at that time. One (or I) cannot imagine that on such an important day as this, that Jesus would have given them the Holy Spirit without Thomas there too.

 

All evidence suggests that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit on this day, but was symbolic of this important event that was to take place not long afterwards. Thus, there’s no reason to allow this verse to cause problems or confusion for us. God’s Word is consistent if we allow it to be.

 

What happened in Acts 8, 10 and 19?

 

We may as well go the whole distance with this, and give an explanation of these three chapters. Otherwise, questions will still linger in the minds of some, and distract from what all of this is leading up to.

 

The events in these three chapters have caused confusion for many. But the confusion is done away once you understand that the book of Acts is a about a time of transition. It’s a transition from the Old Covenant to the New. Under the New Covenant, all believers are made one in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. Together we belong to the body of Christ. Together we form the Church.

 

Thus, when reading Acts, one must also keep in mind the wall that existed at that time between the Jews and the Gentiles. This is about breaking down that wall. This is about coming together as one in Christ. The Jews needed to recognize that God accepts all who come to Him via faith in His Son, and that they were to accept believing Gentiles as brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

The Book of Acts is not primarily a book on doctrine, but a book of history. It goes into detail about how the Church was established. It’s not intended to be an instruction manual regarding the baptism in the Spirit and tongues. Rather its purpose (in major part) was to show how the walls between Jews and Gentiles have broken down, and that the gospel of Christ has gone out to the entire world.

 

Furthermore, there was still a transition taking place between the message of John the Baptist and the message of Christ. John’s message was preparatory for the message of Christ. Thus it’s important that we see how this transition was completed.   

 

With that bit of background, we can now provide an explanation for the above chapters. So not to get too much off track, I don’t want to take a lot of time going into this, but merely give you a brief explanation of what was taking place in these events. The verse by verse examination of these chapters will have to wait till I do my commentary on Acts (in God’s own timing).

 

Samaritans (Acts 8):

 

As already indicated, there was a lot of animosity between the Jews and the Gentiles, and the Samaritans were a particular brand of Gentile. The Samaritans were a racially mixed people of Jews and foreigners. They also embraced a religion that was a mixture of Judaism and paganism. Thus the Samaritans were greatly looked down upon by the Jews.

 

In Acts 8, we see that Philip went to the city of Samaria to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon hearing this message, many of the Samaritans believed, and were baptized in water. Upon hearing of their conversion, the Jerusalem church sent the Apostles Peter and John. The importance of this is highly significant, for the Apostles were the authority that Jesus set over the Church.

 

The Apostles prayed for them and laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Though it doesn’t say, there is evidence they also spoke in tongues. It was important for the Apostles to be there when they received the Holy Spirit, as it confirmed to them that God had accepted them. With the authority that was given to them as Apostles of Christ, they were able to confirm their inclusion into the body of Christ.

 

This situation here was unique in the history of the Church, and in no way was it meant to serve as instruction to Christians regarding the baptism of the Spirit and tongues. All this took place as it did so that the Apostles and the believing Jews would be able to see that God Himself had broken down the wall that was between them.

 

What we have to understand, is that Pentecost was an event that occurred among the Jews, in Jerusalem. The Lord needed to show them that the message of Christ was global, and that salvation was available to all.

 

Gentiles (Acts 10):

 

What happened here is very similar to what happened in Samaria. There was also a wall between Jews and the rest of the Gentile world. The Jews looked down upon them as well.

 

So we see here in chapter 10 the account of Cornelius, a Centurion, who was also a God-fearing man. Both Cornelius and Peter had received a vision from God to meet, so Peter could deliver the message of Christ to them. This Peter did, who was accompanied by some Jewish brothers.

 

As Peter was preaching, Cornelius and those who were with him, believed the message, and they received the Holy Spirit. They spoke in tongues as an outward sign of this reception.

 

Again, it was important that an Apostle of Christ be present to witness the salvation of the Gentiles. The receiving of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by tongues, was the outward sign that revealed God’s acceptance of them. For Peter himself said:

 

Acts 11:12-17
12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, making no distinction. And these six brethren also accompanied me; and we entered into the man’s house: 13 and he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, Send to Joppa, and fetch Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 who shall speak unto thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved, thou and all thy house.  15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit. 17 If then God gave unto them the like gift as he did also unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I could withstand God?

 

Acts 15:8-9
8 And God, who knoweth the heart, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us; 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.  

 

What we have to understand about this event, is what Peter himself (and the Jewish believers with him) understood. That God made no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles, that the salvation was available to all. The receiving of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by tongues, was the visible sign of this acceptance by God. God Himself removed the wall of separation between the two groups.

 

The Message of John the Baptist (Acts 19):

 

Here’s a situation where Paul met some disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus. Apparently, they had heard the message of John, and knew of John’s baptism, through the preaching of Apollos (Acts 18:24-25).

 

What they believed was not the complete message of Christ. John was the forerunner of Christ, and told the people to believe in the one who was to follow after him. He also preached a baptism of repentance from sin. But at this point, these disciples of John in our text had not heard the complete gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember, this is a period of transition we’re seeing here.

 

This is where Paul comes in. He preaches the gospel of Christ to them, and they believed. Paul laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. They spoke in tongues as evidence of that.

 

It was necessary for everyone to be aware that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the completed version of the message that John the Baptist preached. Even Apollos had to be instructed about that (Acts 18:24-28).

 

Again, it was important that Paul be there as an Apostle to witness this and to confirm all that took place there.

 

Conclusion About Acts 8, 10 and 19

 

It’s necessary that we understand all the transitions that were taking place in the beginning of the Church. If we fail to understand all that was transpiring during that time, and instead see these passages as a pattern for us to follow, then we will come up with the wrong interpretation.

 

If one examines those passages carefully (including chapter 2), all those situations were different, and involved significant transitions, each separate from the others. Thus, there is no pattern there for us to follow as it relates to the baptism of the Spirit and tongues. The pattern is not the same throughout. God moved in each situation as He saw fit. The fact that there is no consistent pattern, strongly suggests that He didn’t want us seeking to duplicate something that was unique in the history of the Church, and never to be seen again.

 

Tongues was given as a sign of being baptized into the Church among all those groups, that we were all becoming one in Him.

 

From that point forward, anyone who believes in Christ: receives the Holy Spirit and is baptized into the body of Christ, which is the Church. There’s no need today for tongues to provide evidence that we have received the baptism in the Spirit. What we see in the book of Acts was a unique time in history, and so it was necessary then that this outward sign be provided as evidence that the Church was being fully established among all people worldwide.

 

I encourage you to read those accounts closely for yourself. Take your time and really consider what is taking place in those situations, and how they relate to each other as a whole.

 

In Part Two, we will go into detail about what occurred on the Day of Pentecost as it relates to the Kingdom of Christ.