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What Happened at Pentecost? (Acts 2)

By Justin Johnson

Acts chapter 2 can be a breeding ground of confusion for Bible students who do not rightly divide. When we rightly divide, the supernatural events at Pentecost become a clear fulfillment of God’s prophetic purpose to Israel.

The prophetic foretelling and purpose of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit indicates that what was happening in Acts chapter 2 was not:

  1. A random supernatural response to extreme faith
  2. The beginning of the church – the Body of Christ
  3. Something that can be repeated in this dispensation

The supernatural Pentecostal event was foretold by the prophets and played a crucial role for Israel entering the kingdom.

Peter explains in Acts 2:16 that the Spirit-filled believers were not drunk, but were experiencing the fulfillment of Joel 2:28-30.

“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” – Acts 2:16-17a

This event in the ‘last days’ would occur before God’s people, Israel, would enter into that everlasting kingdom and dominion over the earth.

The New Covenant Empowerment

Without the Lord’s propitiation for their sins it would be impossible for Israel to reap the blessings of the promise and enter the kingdom. Therefore, it was necessary for God to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and Judah (Hebrews 8:7-13).

It was through the blood propitiation of Jesus Christ for the sins of the old covenant that the new covenant was instituted.

“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. “ – Hebrews 9:15

The new covenant promised that Israel would be caused to walk in God’s statutes. Ezekiel describes the spirit-led obedience as being the Lord who would ‘cause you to walk in my statutes’ (Ezekiel 36:27). This spiritual empowerment at Pentecost was a result of the institution of the new covenant with Israel!

This explains why Peter addresses only those ‘men of Israel’ in Acts 2:22. For it was a promise and a covenant made only with Israel and Judah as qualification for the coming kingdom (Mark 1:14).

This group of believers lived in harmony in Acts 2:44-46 as a result of the supernaturally ‘causing’ to walk in the statutes:

“they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common;” – Acts 2:44

“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” – Acts 2:46

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Published: May 1, 2006
Last Modified: March 29, 2016
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