Life-Study of Actsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 2:1-13 we have the baptism of the Jewish believers in the Holy Spirit. Then in 2:14-47 we have Peter’s first message to the Jews. In this part of chapter two we see Christ and the church. First, Peter spoke Christ. Then toward the end of the chapter we have a word concerning the church life.
Peter’s first message to the Jews was his first use of the keys to open the door of the kingdom for the Jews. After Peter saw the vision concerning the Lord Jesus being the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16), the Lord said to him, “I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatever you bind on the earth shall be what has been bound in the heavens, and whatever you loose on the earth shall be what has been loosed in the heavens” (v. 19). According to history, the keys have been two. Peter used one key to open the door for the Jewish believers to enter the kingdom on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-42). Later, he used the other key to open the door for the Gentile believers to enter the kingdom in the house of Cornelius (10:34-48). Therefore, on the day of Pentecost, Peter used the first of these two keys.
Acts 2:14 says, “But Peter, standing together with the eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke forth to them: Men, Jews, and all those dwelling in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.” Here the word “eleven” indicates that Matthias, who was chosen in 1:26, was recognized as one among the twelve apostles.
In verse 15 Peter went on to say, “For these men are not drunk as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day.” The third hour of the day was nine o’clock in the morning.
Verses 16 through 18 continue: “But this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: And it shall be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and upon My slaves, both men and women, I will pour out of My Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy.” The last days mentioned in verse 17 denote the closing period of the present age (2 Pet. 3:3; Jude 18), which began from Christ’s first coming (1 Pet. 1:20) and will last until Christ’s second coming (see note 12 in 2 Tim. 3).
The pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh differs from the breathing of the Spirit into the disciples out of the mouth of Christ after His resurrection (John 20:22). The pouring out of God’s Spirit was from the heavens after Christ’s ascension. The former is the essential aspect of the Spirit breathed into the disciples as life for their living; the latter is the economical aspect of the Spirit poured upon them as power for their work. The same Spirit was both within them essentially and upon them economically.
The pouring out of the Spirit after Christ’s ascension was the descension of the resurrected and ascended Christ as the all-inclusive Spirit to carry out His heavenly ministry on earth to build up His church (Matt. 16:18) as His Body (Eph. 1:23) for God’s New Testament economy.
“Upon” in verse 17 is economically different from the essential “in” in John 14:17. “In” is related to the intrinsic essence for life; “upon” is related to the outward element for power.
Acts 2:17 says that the Spirit was to be poured out upon all flesh. The words “all flesh” denote all fallen human beings, without distinction of sex, age, or status.
Verse 17 also speaks of prophecies, visions, and dreams. Prophecies, visions, and dreams are not related to the inner life but to outward things.
We have seen that the economical filling of the Holy Spirit is actually the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This outpouring is different from the breathing of the Holy Spirit. We also need to see that the Holy Spirit poured out on the day of Pentecost is actually the resurrected and ascended Christ Himself.
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