Having covered the introduction (1:1-2) and the preparation (1:3-26), we come now to the third section of the book of Acts, a very long portion that goes from 2:1 through 28:31. This section is concerned with propagation. We have seen that the subject of Acts is the propagation of the resurrected Christ in His ascension, by the Spirit, through the disciples, for the producing of the churches—the kingdom of God. The propagation of the resurrected Christ begins in Jerusalem and then spreads to Judea, Samaria, and the entire world. In chapter two we have the beginning of the propagation in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria through the ministry of Peter’s company.
In Acts there are two companies of ministry: Peter’s company and Paul’s company. In chapters two through twelve we see the ministry carried out by Peter and his co-workers. Then in chapters thirteen through twenty-eight we see the ministry carried out by Paul and his co-workers. Both companies carried out the propagation of the resurrected Christ in His ascension.
The first thing that took place in this propagation was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This outpouring was the baptism in the Holy Spirit carried out by the heavenly Head upon His Body.
Concerning this matter of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, there are a number of different teachings. Throughout the centuries, these teachings have caused confusion among Christians. Therefore, regarding the baptism in the Holy Spirit we need to come back to the pure Word, set aside other teachings, and pay attention to the revelation in the holy Word of God.
Acts 2:1 says, “And when the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in the same place.” The word “Pentecost” means fiftieth. It was the fiftieth day from the Lord’s resurrection, seven weeks in between, counting from the second day (the first day of the week—Luke 23:54—24:1) after the Passover on which the Lord was crucified (John 19:14). It was the fulfillment of the feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:10), which was also called the feast of Harvest (Exo. 23:16), counting from the day of offering a sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath (Lev. 23:10-11, 15-16). The offering of a sheaf of the firstfruits was a type of the resurrected Christ offered to God on the day of His resurrection (John 20:17), which was the day after the Sabbath (John 20:1). From that day to the day of Pentecost was exactly fifty days.
The feast of Harvest typifies the enjoyment of the rich produce brought in by the resurrected Christ. This rich produce is the all-inclusive Spirit of the processed Triune God given by Him to His chosen people as the blessing of the gospel (Gal. 3:14) so that they may enjoy the all-inclusive Christ (the very embodiment of the Triune God) as their good land. This signifies that the believers, through receiving the bountiful Spirit on the day of Pentecost, not only have entered into the good land, but also have participated in the bountiful riches of the all-inclusive Christ (Eph. 3:8) in His resurrection and ascension as God’s full allotment in His New Testament economy.
We have seen that Pentecost was the fiftieth day from the Lord’s resurrection. The Lord’s resurrection was three days after His death. However, these were not three full days as we count days. Regarding these three days, a small part of a day was counted as a whole day. This means that the first of the three days, a Friday, was the day on which the Lord Jesus was crucified. The Lord was on the cross from nine o’clock in the morning until three o’clock in the afternoon. Then, in the evening, He was taken down from the cross and buried. According to the Jewish way of reckoning days, the remaining part of that day was counted as a whole day. Hence, the three days were counted from the last part of the first day. Furthermore, according to the Jewish way of counting days, a day began not in the morning but in the evening. For example, Genesis 1:5 says, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
If we count part of a day as a whole day, then from the Friday evening when the Lord Jesus was buried to the morning of His resurrection would be three days. The last part of Friday is one day; the whole of Saturday is the second day; and part of what is today called Sunday is the third day. However, the actual time the Lord was in the tomb may be less than forty hours. In the early part of the third day, perhaps less than forty hours after He died, the Lord Jesus was resurrected.
The day of the Lord’s resurrection, the Lord’s Day, was the first day after the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath, of course, was on Saturday. The Lord was resurrected on the first day of the week, which was the day after the Sabbath. If we count from the second day after the Passover on which the Lord was crucified, Pentecost was the fiftieth day from His resurrection. Therefore, there were seven weeks in between the Lord’s resurrection and Pentecost, which also was on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week.
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