Tom: In this, our Understanding the Scriptures segment, we’re going through the Book of Acts. Dave, currently, as you know, we’re in Acts:2:6: “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?”
Dave, what meaneth this?
Dave: (chuckling) Well, it was an amazing event.
Dave: No question that this was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
Dave: Because the apostles…clearly, they were speaking languages that they didn’t know. I mean, it would be inconceivable that the apostles knew all of these languages, and of course, that was recognized by those who heard them.
So, “The Holy Spirit,” it says, “gave them utterance,” in verse four. Now, it is a bit confusing…I doubt that they were all talking at once. Or maybe, as Tom has suggested, you know, they are counseling individuals here and there. I don’t know. But, I don’t think it was a disorderly occasion.
Dave: But, people were hearing…these men are speaking in many languages that, clearly, they have never learned. And why was that? Well, first of all, they probably all spoke Hebrew. They came to Jerusalem. They were living there. So, this was obviously a sign, a miraculous sign, that got the attention of people. And here they come running. The word spreads. These people are speaking languages which they never knew. This is amazing! And it got the attention, and it gathered a multitude.
Dave: Now, of course, verse 13….
Tom: Well, Dave, before you get to that….
Tom: Back at 11…this is something that just dawned on me. We think they’re speaking in tongues, but we forget the content. It says, “And the wonderful works of God.”
Tom: It wasn’t just another language….
Tom: …but it was God’s Word that was piercing their hearts.
Dave: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. That might be a little problem, and again, I don’t want to get into this in any depth, but…1 Corinthians 14, we talked about the gifts in a previous segment. It says that a person that is speaking in a tongue that he doesn’t even understand…he’s being edified in his heart…he’s speaking to God.
Here, it says they were proclaiming the wonderful works of God. Now, I have been in a few charismatic gatherings where someone supposedly spoke in a tongue, and then the interpretation came. And, Tom, I can’t recall any interpretation that didn’t go something like, “Now my children, hear the Word of the Lord,” or something.
That is not what was being spoken in Acts 2. That is not praising God. It is supposed to be God-ward. So, there are a number of reasons why we ought to have a little caution in this area.
But, I don’t think we should go as far as some of them did in verse 13. 1 Corinthians 14 says, “…Forbid not to speak with tongues,” if it is from God. If it really is God, then you cannot argue against it, whether it’s a healing, a miraculous healing, or speaking in tongues, or prophesying, whatever it is. If this is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, I don’t want to stand in the way of it. The problem is that you would be hard pressed to find what I see on television, for example, or have experienced in some of these meetings…that it would really fit with the Bible.
But now in verse 13, there are some real skeptics, and they mock and they say, “These men are full of new wine.” Well, that’s not going to give you the power to speak languages that you don’t know, obviously. I think these mockers were mocking the content, Tom, that you call our attention to in verse 11. There’s the wonderful works of God.
Dave: These are unbelievers, and just because of what they are saying about the miracles that God has done, probably back to the Old Testament: the Red Sea opening up, and the manna, and so forth. They are mocking because they don’t believe it, and we’ve got a lot of Jews today…we have rabbis today who don’t believe that. We have many seminary professors; we have many pastors, even, in denominational churches, who don’t believe the Bible. They don’t even believe in God, some of them. I think that’s what they were mocking about.
Dave: And then, now Peter takes the floor. And apparently many of them were speaking “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” And now, Peter stands up and he gets the attention of the entire crowd, and there must have been several thousand there. “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. These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this, is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel….”
So, Peter is reasoning with them. It’s not reasonable to think that they’re drunk. It’s not reasonable on what time of day it is, and furthermore, how would they know all of these languages? You don’t get that from being drunk.
And then he explains what it is, and Tom, I confess that I don’t understand this fully.
Dave: He says, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God….”
Well, we stop right there. We talk about being in the last days now. I believe we are in the last days. I think we’re in the last of the last days. But Peter says they were in the last days then. In fact, John, in 1 John 2, I think it’s around verse 18, says, “Beloved, now it is the last time…” or the last days, “and we know that because there are many antichrists,” and so forth. And then he talks about the real antichrist who is to come.
But then he goes on, “The last days…” so these are the last days. Now [when] the Bible uses that term, it doesn’t mean a very brief period of time. It means a time for the culmination. So, we’ve apparently been in the last days ever since Israel rejected their Messiah.
“…The last days saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams….”
And I don’t think Peter is saying this is the full manifestation, or the full fulfillment of that passage, but this is part of it. And this is like what will be seen in the last days. Tom, what are your thoughts on that?
Tom: Dave, I agree with you. I don’t understand this. Certainly, the last days, as you said…the culmination of things, after Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection…but His coming, you know? So, we’re looking forward to His coming. They certainly, even though the apostles knew that they were going to die, but still they spoke about the blessed hope. So, to me, that’s the last times; the last things, keep looking for His blessed appearance, and so on.
Dave: Well, then, we have a problem, because many in the church teach “Well, but these gifts have ceased.” Well, we’re in the last days. Would there be another manifestation just before the return of Christ? It says, “I will show wonders….” Verse 18, “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Now, Tom, clearly, that hasn’t happened. We have people in the church—preterists—who say, “Oh it was all fulfilled in AD 70; everything that Christ said. I don’t believe it, and certainly, we haven’t seen these signs yet. And we’ll have to come back next week and pick up on this.
Tom: Dave, in particular, there have been manifestations. People believe that everything from the Latter Rain movement, Manifest Sons of God…we should talk about that next week.