© 2004 Tony Garland
The Promise of The Father
The Day of Pentecost
Waiting for a Promise
Wait in Jerusalem for "the Promise of My Father" (Luke 24:49).
What about the Kingdom?
Expectations of a promised Kingdom, based on OT promises, were to be temporarily "put on hold." A new dispensation, the unrevealed and unexpected Church Age, would come first (Acts 1:4-8).
Power to Witness
Jesus associates the empowerment of the Spirit with the Great Commission: global evangelization (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). World-wide evangelism was not an emphasis prior to Pentecost.
(This power to evangelize is not dependent upon a manifestation of tongues. Historic evangelists such as John Wesley, George Whitfield, and Billy Graham are not known to have spoken in tongues.)
Waiting for What?
Unlike modern-day tarrying meetings, the recipients of the Holy Spirit had little idea what to expect. How would they know when the Spirit had come?
The Day of Pentecost
There is no Scriptural evidence that tongues were ever used as a means to present the gospel message in a foreign language.
Peter preached the gospel in his native tongue on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39).
Philip preached the gospel in his native tongue to the Samaritans. It was the evangelized who seem to have spoken in tongues (Acts 8:5-15).
Peter preaches the gospel to the Gentiles in a native tongue. It was the evangelized who spoke in tongues (Acts 10:34-43).
Paul explained salvation to John's disciples in his native tongue. It was the evangelized who spoke in tongues (Acts 19:2-5).
For the Disciples
The uncoached, unexpected, pouring forth of unlearned foreign languages was one of several evidences to show the disciples that the "Promise of the Father" had arrived. This is how Peter interpreted the experience (Acts 2:33, 39).
For the Jews of the Dispersion
Tongues indicated to the Jews of the diaspora that a miraculous event of God was underway. They were amazed and perplexed saying... "Whatever could this mean?" (Acts 2:5-12)
For the Jews of Jerusalem
It appears that Hebrew was not among the languages spoken spontaneously by the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. This explains why, "others, "the "Men of Judea and all who dwelt in Jerusalem" mocked (Acts 2:13-15). Tongues were a "sign for unbelieving Jews" that they and their nation were under God's judgment (1Cor. 14:22). The Holy One of Israel was now beginning to speak in Gentile tongues!
(Tongues are frequently associated with judgment: Gen. 11:7-9; Deu. 28:49-50; Isa. 28:11; Jer. 5:15; Eze. 3:5-6.)
For the Samaritans
The rival Samaritans were dependent upon the laying on of Jewish hands to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17). "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).
For the Gentiles (and Jews)
Unlike the Samaritans, the Gentiles were not dependent upon Jewish hands for the Holy Spirit. God interrupted Peter's gospel presentation and poured out His Spirit on the Gentiles which astonished the Jews (Acts 10:44-46). This showed the Gentiles that they were not second-class citizens in the Church while showing the Jews that God had fully accepted the Gentiles apart from explicit Jewish authority (Acts 11:15-18).
The Day of Pentecost
"We maist constantly believe, that God preserved, instructed, multiplied, decored, and from death called to life, his Kirk [Church] in all ages fra [from] Adam till the cumming of Christ Jesus in the flesh." -- The First Scottish Confession of 1560
"Definition: The church is the community of all true believers for all time." -- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 853.
Jesus said, "I will build (future tense) My church" (Mat. 16:18). Jesus identified the key new ministry of the Spirit which began at Pentecost as baptism with [en] the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).
Peter identified Pentecost as "the beginning.". He identifies the new ministry which began then as baptism with [en] the Holy Spirit and associates it with salvation (Acts 11:15-18).
Paul says that the church is built upon the foundation which includes the apostles (Eph. 2:20) and joins Jews and Gentiles as "one new man" (Eph. 2:15). A foundation is only laid once and there are no Old Testament apostles. He describes this new body as a mystery which was not revealed in other ages (Eph. 3:5).
Context as an Anchor to
Ignoring the contextual anchors associated with the Promise of the Father has led to great confusion about what is taking place. "A text without a context is a pretext."
A New Ministry - Unknown in the Old
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled, indwelt, and baptized with † the Holy Spirit. Filling and indwelling occurred in the Old Testament, but not Spirit-baptism.
† En can be translated as in, with, or by.
Spiritual Entity - The Church
Both Jesus and Peter emphasized Spirit-baptism as being the most important element of Pentecost associated with the Promise of the Father. Peter explained:
The promise is associated with salvation (Acts 2:38).
The promise is for all who believe (Acts 2:39).
Paul writes that Spirit-baptism joins all believers to the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:13).
The Spirit Has Already Come
The Holy Spirit came within the historical context of Pentecost. He came to form a new spiritual entity--the Church. We do not need to ask or tarry for Him today. Our job as believers today is to yield and be filled, not to seek a "second work."
Spirit Baptism is Salvation
It is impossible to be saved and not be baptized with the Spirit. It is the defining event which joins every believer to the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:13). As God breathed into dust to animate the first Adam (Gen. 2:7) so the Spirit animates the body of Christ, the last Adam (1Cor. 15:44).
Tongues were Spontaneous Known
When the Holy Spirit came, those who were waiting had no idea what to expect. When they unexpectedly and spontaneously spoke, it was in known human languages. Coaching people to utter ecstatic speech is a practice foreign to Scripture.