A warning here first – some may dispute the idea of this passage being the “first” as a way of detracting from the truths revealed here. Others might object to the term “spirit-filled” for one reason or another, including the fact that this term occurs nowhere in scripture. Do not be sidelined by petty quibbling. This passage I’m referring to is when Peter stood up with the eleven after holy spirit descended upon them. The place is not given but it is evident they were in the Temple in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The Hebrew Pentecost comes fifty days after Passover. Jesus died on the day the Passover lamb was to be killed. God raised him from the dead three days later. Peter stood up and spoke. I contend he was indeed speaking by the spirit. However you see or define it, can you honestly deny the words he spoke were absolutely from God? For the sake of argument, all I ask is you read the record for yourself and consider my thoughts.
Just after the apostles learned Jesus was risen from the dead, Peter was here…
John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
It was here where Jesus instructed them to receive holy spirit.
John 20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit!
My interlinear bible render the words “breathed on them” as “he breathed in”. One teacher said this was instruction as to how to receive holy spirit. I have found no reason to dispute this. Note here, all of the versions I’ve seen add the article “the” and capitalize Holy and Spirit. Only the obscure “Darby version” semi-correctly puts this article “the” in italics indicating this word was added by the translators. What is the big deal here?
This topic – holy spirit vs The Holy Spirit – is one requiring a great deal of study to better understand it. The short version is those who’ve worked to bring us the Holy Bible, in particular the New Testament, have almost to the man been indoctrinated by centuries of Catholic teaching at the root. This is not meant to indict Catholics especially but one must recognize their influence on the doctrines we hold so close today. Some, such as those dealing with paying for sins, have been refuted by reformers, while others are still closely held by Protestant denominations. The confusion and outright wrong teaching about matters of holy spirit is a central cause of division among Christians today, though most fail to recognize, much less understand it. As an in-depth look at this is a topic for another day, let’s move on.
For now, I’ll ask you to simply accept the fact that there is a difference between the gift of holy spirit and “The Holy Spirit” who is God, the Giver of holy spirit. In the Greet Texts we have available today, The Holy Spirit is designated not by one article “the” (τό or sometimes τοῦ in the Greek , among other inflections) but two articles as in The (τοῦ) Holy The (τοῦ) Spirit. The King James and other translators generally ignored these things, adding the article and capitalizing the words Holy and Spirit when it suited them. In doing so they inserted the doctrines and traditions of men for God’s Word. I’ll try to sort this out as best I can but do keep in mind, I’m a layman and not a biblical scholar nor a linguist.
So, the day Jesus was raised from the dead, Peter and company were in hiding “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). A few weeks later, Peter boldly stands and addresses a massive crowd. What happened? What changed?
Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Notice verse 4: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. According to my interlinear version published by Zondervan, “the Holy Ghost” is, pnuema hagion in the Greek or “holy spirit” with no articles. Meanwhile “the Spirit” is “ho pneuma”. With this in mind a more accurate rendering would be…
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with holy spirit (i.e. the gift), and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit (i.e. the Giver who is God) gave them utterance.
The next ten verses mostly detail what the audience thought of all this. These men, Galilean commoners, were speaking to them in their own language the “wonderful works of God”. What was going on? Peter, newly filled with holy spirit stood up as, once again, God gave him utterance – this time most likely in Hebrew or Aramaic.
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, 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:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Nothing about this newfound phenomena was known or understood at the time. In I Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul lists the nine manifestations of the spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Now, I admit, I’m reaching here but I’d say Peter’s speech would fall along the lines of prophecy. Prophecy can be foretelling (telling of future events) or forthtelling (telling it like it is). Then again, I don’t see a great need to try to define his words specifically. No matter what, no doubt we can all agree Peter spoke these words by the Spirit or as God gave him utterance. This last is important because of what he said. None of this was conjecture or Peter’s opinion. It was, every word, absolute truth and that is the point of this post and the post that will follow.
For now, I urge you to simply read Peter’s words. Feel free to read this passage in the King James Version here or any version you feel comfortable with such as the New American Standard or the World English Bible version or any other. (Shoot, read the NIV for all I care.) Your goal should be to understand the gist of what was said. There is a lot packed into these 36 verses. In my next post, I’ll highlight some of those things I feel are important and why.
Today, my goal was to emphasize the fact that this apostle, Peter, indeed spoke those words God gave him and this message is indisputably directly from our Heavenly Father. It is also worth noting some of the plain doctrines spoken on that day. Many of today’s theologians seem to go to great lengths to twist and turn the scriptures to wring out those things they dare not admit are, at best, sitting on the thinnest of ice. Why? Because doing so would cause their entire theological house of cards to come tumbling down.