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Acts 2

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"Acts 2: 1-18 "

In the beginning of Acts 2, the disciples had returned to Jerusalem from Mt. Olivet. They had seen the ascension of Jesus, but they weren't sad, as some might have expected. Jesus had promised to send a Comforter, and they could hardly wait. They were excited and were gathered in the temple, praising God and waiting. Luke 24: 53 reads that they were "continually in the temple, praising and blessing God." They remembered the words that Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23). The disciples believed this promise, truly sought God, humbled their hearts with united minds and spirit, and waited on the Holy Ghost to fall.

Jesus not only promised to send a Comforter, but power as well. He said in Luke 24:49, "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." The Holy Ghost infilling brings not only comfort and peace, but power also.

On the day of Pentecost, people were gathered in Jerusalem from miles around to celebrate. The feast of Pentecost, first day of the week, was kept in remembrance of the law on Mt. Sinai where the Jewish church got its start. Because of the masses gathered, this was a perfect day for the Holy Ghost to come down. There would be hundreds of witnesses and the word of the gospel and the awesome events could be spread quickly and more easily.

In the Old Testament, when God came down He presented Himself in a cloud. When Jesus ascended back to heaven, He did this in a cloud. But in Acts 2, the Holy Ghost was quite different. "Suddenly there was a sound from heaven like a mighty rushing wind." Being completely unprepared, the disciples were probably startled, but more importantly their undivided attention was gained. The sound not only filled the one room, but the whole house, the streets, and maybe even houses beside them. So, not only was the attention of the disciples gained, but the crowd outside as well. Then "cloven tongues, like as of fire" descended on each of them and they began to speak in tongues.

The Old Testament prophets often had their first mission preceded by signs to prove to the people that they were prophets. The law on Mt. Sinai was given in fire. Ezekiel's mission was confirmed by a vision of "burning coals of fire" (ch 1:1) and Isaiah's by a "coal of fire" touching his lips (ch 6:7). John the Baptist said, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Cloven tongues represented the Holy Ghost and when it came down on them, they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit spoke through them (Acts 2:1-4). This is the initial sign of receiving the Holy Ghost and, as with the prophets, the sign that God resided within them. Jesus himself says that tongues is a sign

that will follow a believer of the Gospel in Mark16:17.

The prophets Joel (Joel 2:28-29) and Isaiah (Isaiah28:11), inspired by God, had foretold the arrival of the Holy Ghost many years earlier. Peter refers to this fact when he references Joel's prophecy in verse 17. He knew the devout Jews gathered there would know of the prophecy, and he wanted there to be no question about what was happening. He wanted them to know assuredly that "this is that". This was not just some freak occurrence or a bunch of over-excited people, this was the Spirit of God being poured out upon humankind just as promised. The outpouring was also foretold by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11.

One reason why God chose other tongues as the initial sign of receiving the Holy Ghost is that speaking in tongues is an immediate, outward evidence. Peter and the six Jewish Christians who went with him to Ceasarea knew that the Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost, not because of their temperance, gentleness, love, or peace, but because they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God (Acts 10:46). Peter specifically pointed to speaking in tongues as the undeniable evidence (Acts 10:46-47).

Another reason why God chose other tongues is that speaking in tongues symbolizes God's complete control of the believer. This may be one of the strongest reasons why He chose this as the initial evidence. James 3 explains that the tongue is capable of defiling the whole body. If so, couldn't the tongue

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