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Book of Acts Chapter 2, Part 1 - Christogenea Internet Radio 05-03-2013
There is something which I forestalled discussing in the opening segments of this series, and that is an exposition of the ancient manuscripts which attest to the antiquity and the content of the Book of Acts. For the translations found in the Christogenea New Testament, only manuscripts which are dated to the 6th century and earlier were even considered in the reading. Of these, there are eleven ancient papyri, and 6 of these (those listed below in bold type) are dated by archaeologists to the 3rd century AD. [The manuscript numbers employed here are those of the Gregory-Aland system employed in the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.]
P8, P29, P33, P38, P45, P48, P50, P53, P56, P57, and P91.
Many of the papyri represent only fragments containing portions of the text of Acts. While the uncials were produced with more durable material, many of them are also incomplete or even represent mere fragments. For examples among the papyri, P8 contains all or part of about 28 verses from Acts chapters 4, 5 and 6. P29 contains parts of 3 verses from Acts chapter 26. P45, which dates to the 3rd century, contains larger portions of 13 different chapters of Acts, from chapters 4 through 17, as well as large portions of each of the Gospels. P45 is part of a collection of manuscripts called the Chester Beatty Papyri. A companion manuscript, P46, contains large portions of nine of Paul's epistles, and it is esteemed to date to about 200 AD.
Those of the Great Uncials which date to the 6th century and earlier and which attest to the Book of Acts are also numerous. These are the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), and Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D), 048, 057, 066, 076, 077, 0165, 0166, 0175, 0189, 0236, and 0244. Of these, the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), and possibly 057 all date to the 4th century, and 0189 is dated to the 2nd or 3rd. Most of the others employed here date to the 5th century.
Of the Great Uncials, some contain complete copies of Acts, including the 4th century Codices Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B). The Codices Ephraemi Syri (C) and Bezae (D) are each missing some portions of several chapters. Most of the others contain only fragments. For example, the 3rd century uncial 0189 contains only verses 3 through 21 of Acts chapter 5. Yet all of these fragmentary manuscripts are important, because they are a good indication of the consistency of those manuscripts which we do have and which have been passed down to us in a relatively complete form over the centuries.
II 1 And on the fulfillment of the fiftieth day they were all together in the same place.
The Codex Sinaiticus (א) omits the word for “all”; The Majority Text has “they were all together with one accord in the same place”; the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), and Ephraemi Syri (C). Here, and throughout the Book of Acts, the word-for-word reading of the Codex Bezae is drastically different in many places, however we shall only make a note of those places where the actual meaning is changed significantly. As an example, the Codex Bezae reads this verse “And it came to pass in those days of the fulfillment of the fiftieth day all of them being in the same place”, and the sentence would not end but would rather be joined to verse 2. This verse is exemplary of how the form of the language in the Bezae is quite different from the other manuscripts, but the meaning is still similar, and that is often the case where it varies.
The fulfillment of the fiftieth day, which is the literal meaning of the Greek word, signifies the arrival of the day; the Greeks didn’t necessarily see the fulfillment of a day as its end, but as its occurrence. The clause may have read “the arrival of the day of Pentecost”, which is the feast of weeks described at Leviticus 23:16 and Deuteronomy 16:9-10, and which is called the fiftieth or Pentecost in the Septuagint, for instance at 2 Maccabees 12:32. Either name for this feast, Hebrew or Greek, comes from the reckoning of it's date. Here it is from Deuteronomy chapter 16: “9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. 10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:”
At 2 Maccabees 12:30-33 we see the name defined: “30 But when the Judaeams that dwelt there had testified that the Scythopolitans dealt lovingly with them, and entreated them kindly in the time of their adversity; 31 They gave them thanks, desiring them to be friendly still unto them: and so they came to Jerusalem, the feast of the weeks approaching. 32 And after the feast, called Pentecost, they went forth against Gorgias the governor of Idumea, 33 Who came out with three thousand men of foot and four hundred horsemen.”
2 And suddenly there came from the heaven a noise just as a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues like as fire being divided and set upon each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues just as the Spirit gave them to utter.
From the Septuagint, Proverbs 1:23: “Behold, I will bring forth to you the utterance of my breath, and I will instruct you in my speech.”
The word for speak here is λαλέω (2980) and utter is ἀποφθέγγομαι (669). Where λαλέω is a common word, ἀποφθέγγομαι is not: Thayer has it “to speak out, speak forth, pronounce...” and explains that the pointed sayings of wise men and philosophers were by the Greeks called ἀποφθέγματα, the noun form of the same word.
The Gospel is the Word, the catalyst for the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy found at Ezekiel chapter 37: “1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” This passage in Ezekiel is also reminiscent of Genesis 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Where it says in Ezekiel “breathe upon these slain, that they may live”, the children of Israel, the nation being the wife of Yahweh their God, were under the penalty of death under the law ever since they were found in adultery and put out of the house of the Husband. This breath of the Spirit of God is a product of His mercy upon them, that He chose to die instead on their behalf in order to release them from that penalty. In Adam we all experience death, and in Christ we all have life. This is the story of the Gospel of Christ, and its fulfillment begins here at the first Pentecost, where the deposit of the Spirit and the gift of tongues is granted that the apostles may spread the Gospel to the dispersed of the children of Israel.
Speaking to the “drunkards of Ephraim”, meaning the disobedient people of the tribes of Israel in the Assyrian deportations, Yahweh connects the speaking in another language to the spread of the Gospel, and directly to Christ, where He says in Isaiah chapter 28: “9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. [Paul later paraphrases this in 2 Corinthians chapter 14, in reference to the apostolic gift of tongues.] 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. [This rest is the rest of Yahweh which Paul discusses in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, which Israel still has not entered into for lack of obedience.] 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. 14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Therefore the speaking in tongues, and that rest which Yahweh offers to Israel in exchange for their obedience, and the acceptance of the Gospel of Christ, all of these things are related here. The speaking in tongues is prophesied that the Gospel may be brought to the dispersed of Israel.
Paul paraphrases Isaiah 28:11 in reference to Israel, at 1 Corinthians 14:21 where he says “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.” Paul cites this passage to demonstrate the reason why the gift of tongues was dispensed by the Holy Spirit at that time. Now that time has passed, and once the apostles had spread the Gospel and Israel, or at least sufficient portions of Israel, had received it, the gift of tongues was no longer necessary.
Therefore also, the gift of speaking in tongues was not to bring the gospel to every other nation so that every person in every other nation could somehow be converted and saved. Rather, it was expressly so that the children of Israel, “this people” as it says in Isaiah, “this people” which were scattered by Yahweh among the other Genesis 10 nations, could hear the Gospel and return to Him. This is also evident in Isaiah chapter 66: “18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. 19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off [all of these are among the other Adamic Genesis 10 nations], that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the [Nations]. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren [the children of Israel] for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations [not “all the other nations”, but all Israel out of all nations] upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.” Those clean vessels can only be Adamic Israelite bodies. None of this could ever be interpreted to include the non-Adamic races.
There is another analogy from Scripture which may be pointed out here which is valid, and that is of the symbol of the tongues of fire. For from this time, the apostles were to bear the Gospel to Israel. At Isaiah 30:27 Yahweh states: “Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire”. As Christ says, at Matthew 10:34: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” That sword, as we learn in Revelation chapter 19 and elsewhere, proceeds from His mouth. Therefore here in Acts we have the deposit of the Spirit of God represented by tongues of fire.
5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Judaeans, devout men from every nation under the heaven.
The Codex Sinaiticus (א) wants “Judaeans”, as do certain manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate. The word is present in all other extant Greek witnesses of the passage. That the term Judaeans is used both in an ethnographic and in a religious sense here is qualified by the text itself at verse 11, where it refers to “both Judaeans and converts”. However since we must read Judaeans as an ethnographic and a religious designation, it may be asserted that ἔθνος is being used geographically, a use which is not found in the New Testament. And that is not necessarily the case, as the writer may very well intend to describe Judaeans living among every other nation under heaven, nations being people-groups and not geographical entities. Examining those nations as they are listed in the passage to follow, we once again see that the reference to “every nation under heaven” refers only to the White nations of the oikoumene. Other passages of scripture referring to “every nation” or “all nations” cannot be taken out of the context of this Biblical use of the phrase. Those who would insist that it is a reference to nations of non-Adamic aliens are abusing the language and ignoring the context of the Bible.
6 Then with the occurrence of this sound [the sound of the violent rushing wind described in verse 2] the multitude gathered and was confused, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were astonished and wondered saying “Behold, are not all of these who are speaking Galilaians?
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) have “they were all astonished”. The Majority Text has “saying to one another”. The narrative implies that Galilaians could be readily distinguished from Judaeans such as those in Jerusalem.
8 Then how do we each hear in our own language, with which we were raised? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those dwelling in Mesopotamia, and Judaea and Kappadokia, Pontos and Asia, 10 and Phrugia and Pamphulia, Egypt and the regions of Libua throughout Kurene, and the Romans who were sojourning – 11 both Judaeans and converts – Kretans and Arabs, we hear their speaking in our own tongues the magnificent things of Yahweh.”
Here we have Judaeans, men who were ostensibly of the Israelite stock of Judaea which practised the religion of those in Jerusalem, but who had for one reason or another been raised in different places throughout the region. There was a Hellenistic dispersion of Judaeans which was certainly distinct from the much earlier captivities and dispersions of Israel and Judah. This later dispersion of Judaeans were people who had traveled throughout the Greco-Roman oikoumene for personal reasons, be they economic or otherwise. A good example are Priscilla and Aquila, who had been living in Rome until the edict of Claudius (Acts 18:2), or even Paul of Tarsus himself, who was born and raised in the city Tarsus in Kilikia and who retained ties there in his adulthood (Acts 9:30, 22:3). There was also a remnant people of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities who had never departed Mesopotamia or the area around Babylon, and who maintained the Hebrew religious practices to one degree or another. The apocryphal story of Tobit is a good example of one such family of people. Some of those people may be here as well.
These Judaeans were in Jerusalem on account of the feast of Pentecost, one of the three annual feasts upon which all of the ancient Israelites were required to appear before Yahweh in the temple, the other two being Passover and Tabernacles. So these are Judaeans who were raised among the Parthians, Judaeans who were raised among the Medes, Judaeans who were raised among the Persians and so on, but they were all Judaeans except for their converts – who were ostensibly all men of those same Genesis 10 Adamic nations, and who may of course have been converted pagan Israelites of the earlier dispersions of Israel.
Deuteronomy 16: “16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty.”
Here it is fully evident that “speaking in tongues” means the ability to speak in comprehensible, known languages. Here in Acts it is described that this ability is granted by God to the apostles, and as a gift from God it represents the ability to speak in a tongue which the speaker was not familiar with beforetime, or was not normally expected to be familiar with. Speaking in tongues is certainly not the babble that so many fools suppose, for which there is no support in the Bible. Paul discusses this gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, where he concludes in verse 9: “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” Here the men hearing the apostles recognized the tongues, which were their own native languages, and they easily understood what was being spoken. By that they were edified and they accepted the Gospel – which was the very reason for the dispensation of the gift of speaking in tongues!
Paul continues his discussion of the gift of speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, and he tells us why the gift was dispensed, and also gives us a sound reason to reject the superstitions of modern Pentecostalism, in verses 21 through 23: “21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” The modern Pentecostals are indeed mad, and the gift of tongues no longer necessary since it was a matter of prophecy that it would be endowed by Yahweh God only so that the dispersed of Israel may receive the Gospel.
12 And they were all astonished and perplexed, one saying to another: “What do you suppose this to be?” 13 But others scoffing said that “they are full of new wine.”
The Greek word γλεῦκος (1098), which appears only here in the New Testament, is “new wine”, where the 9th edition of the Liddell & Scott Greek-English Lexicon also supplies the definitions “sweet new wine” and “2. grape-juice”. Yet in the context here, it is apparent that the term was used to infer that the men were thought to be inebriated. The Greek word οἶνος (3631) is commonly wine and appears often in the New Testament. In the Hebrew language a phrase which is translated as “new wine” is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1QS (1QRule of the Community) Column VI, and again in 1Q28a (or 1QSa, 1QRule of the Congregation) Column II, which states in part: “And [when] they gather [at the tab]le of community [or to drink the n]ew wine, and the table of the community is prepared [and the] new wine [is mixed] for drinking, [no-one should stretch out] his hand to the first-fruit of the bread and of [the new wine] before the priest...” That the wine was mixed for drinking certainly assures that it was indeed wine and not merely grape juice which was being referred to by the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Likewise, the men gathered together who are being described here in Acts had suspected that the apostles were intoxicated by drinking γλεῦκος, or new wine. Herodotus marveled at the Scythians, who did not mix their wine with water before drinking, as was customary among the Greeks. The historian also says of Cleomenes, a king of Sparta, “...his own countrymen declare that his madness proceeded not from any supernatural cause whatever, but only from the habit of drinking wine unmixed with water, which he learnt of the Scyth[ian]s.” (Histories, 6.84, George Rawlinson’s translation.) It may also be conjectured that the term for new wine was used here in Acts only because of the season.
14 Then Petros standing with the eleven raised his voice and spoke out to them: “Men, Judaeans, and all of those dwelling in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and hearken to my words. 15 For they are not intoxicated as you suspect, indeed it is the third hour of the day!
The Codex Bezae (D) has “with the ten ambassadors”, however in the first chapter we have seen the appointment of Matthias to fill out the number of the twelve, and he must be among them at this point. The third hour of the day, which began at sunrise, was between 8 and 9 AM, approximately. Peter asserted that it was too early in the day for any of them to have been drinking.
16 Rather this is that which was spoken through the prophet Ioel: 17 ‘And it shall be in the days future, says Yahweh, I will pour out from My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your youths shall see visions, and your elders shall dream dreams.
Where the King James Version has “the last days”, here we read “the days future”. The Greek word ἔσχατος (Strong's Greek Dictionary # 2078) is literally “I. of Space...the furthest, uttermost, extreme...the last...IV. of Time, last, the end...” (Liddell & Scott), yet here the word is interpreted by a Hebraism, “the future”, for which see Strong’s definition of the Hebrew word אחרית ’achărîyth at his Hebrew Dictionary # 319: “the last or end, hence the future” as the word may well have been rendered at Gen. 49:1, for example. Rather than “in the days future”, the Codex Vaticanus (B) has “after these things”, which both the King James Version and the Septuagint have at Joel 2:28 in the passage which Peter is quoting.
Where we read in verse 17 “your sons and your daughters”, the Codex Bezae (D) has “their sons and their daughters”, where it seems to be apparent that some scribe would negate the promises of the Old Testament concerning the New, as if such a thing were possible, by attempting to distinguish between ancient Israel and the people whom Peter is addressing here. This codex also has “the youths” and “the elders”, rather than “your youths” and “your elders”. Of course, Joel was speaking of Israelites and he wrote intending only Israelites, and here Peter speaks addressing only the descendants of those same people. Separately, the phrase “shall prophesy” in verse 17 may have just as well been rendered “shall interpret prophesy”, the Greek verb bearing either meaning. Continuing Peter's quote from Joel:
18 And then upon My menservants and upon My maidservants in those days I will pour out from My Spirit and they shall prophesy. 19 And I shall make[literally give] wonders in the heaven above, and signs upon the earth below, blood and fire and a vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming great day and appearance of Yahweh. 21 And it shall be that all who shall be called by the Name of Yahweh shall be preserved.’
As this passage in Acts is recorded in most of the ancient manuscripts, with a few exceptions much of this quote from Joel recorded here in Acts chapter 2:17-21 as being given by Peter is nearly identical to the text of the Septuagint found in Joel 2:28-32. There are a few variations, such as the use of the Greek word ἔσχατος and the words “and they shall prophesy” found at the end of verse 18. The Codices Sinaiticus and Bezae want the words rendered “and appearance” in verse 20, where the Codex Vaticanus B and the Majority Text have “before that which is coming, the great day and appearance of Yahweh.”
The King James Version reads the end of verse 21 “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The primary difference that the Christogenea New Testament has with this rendering, that “all who shall be called by the Name of Yahweh shall be preserved”, is in the reading of the Greek verb ἐπικαλέω, found at Strong's Greek Dictionary # 1941. Here we shall give our reasons for this difference.
The form of the verb ἐπικαλέω found at Acts 2:21 is ἐπικαλέσηται. The same form of the verb appears at Joel 2:32 in the Septuagint, where Brenton also rendered the phrase as “whosoever shall call on”, after the manner of the King James Version. Yet ἐπικαλέσηται is a middle voice (also called a medium voice) form of the verb. Voice is the name given to the aspect of verbal forms in a language which indicate the relationship of the verb to its subject. In English, we often use auxiliary words to help indicate this relationship, and do not always change the form of the verb itself. With verbs there are three voices, which are referred to as the active, passive, and middle. In Greek, the form of the verb changes according to the voice being indicated by the writer.
With verbs of the active voice, the subject of the verb produces the action. With verbs of the passive voice, the subject of the verb receives the action. Verbs of the middle voice are found in Greek, but not in English. These verbs indicate that the subject both produces and receives the action.
Therefore the Christogenea New Testament interprets this word in this very manner. We uphold that this middle voice use of the verb is intending to refer to all Israelites: to the people upon whom Yahweh has placed His Name. Those of the children of Israel who accept that fact by accepting His Gospel are already calling themselves by His Name.
Numbers 6: “23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
From Isaiah 43: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.... 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
From Isaiah 45: “3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.”
Isaiah 62: “1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.”
Isaiah 63: “18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. 19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.”
Revelation 3: “12 He who prevails I shall make him a pillar in the temple of My God that he would no longer go outside, and I shall write upon him the Name of My God and the name of the City of My God, of the new Jerusalem which descends from heaven from My God, and My new Name.”
These prophecies are the reason why we interpret Acts 2:21 and Joel 2:32 in this manner. Here is Joel 2:32 from the Septuagint: “And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved [we would translate this Greek also as 'all who shall be called by the Name of Yahweh shall be preserved']: for in mount Sion and in Jerusalem shall the saved one be as the Lord has said, and they that have glad tidings preached to them, whom the Lord has called.” The final clause of Joel 2:32, referring to those “whom the Lord has called”, supports our assertions entirely.
Clifton Emahiser did a paper some years ago, entitled Early Rain vs. Latter Rain. For the basis of that paper Clifton cites James 5:7, where it says: “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Master. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” James is certainly alluding to the text found at Joel 2:23. The Septuagint version of Joel 2:23, a passage which precedes that part of Joel which Peter has quoted here, reads thus: “Rejoice then and be glad, ye children of Sion, in the Lord your God: for he has given you food fully, and he will rain on you the early and the latter rain, as before.”
Clifton's paper compares the dispensation of the Spirit of God which happened at that first Pentecost to the early rain, and that which we expect at the fulfillment of the age to the latter rain. Here is what Clifton said of the two rains:
“Here the early and latter rain represent firstly the rain of seed time at planting and secondly the rain of ripening before the harvest: the first fell in Judaea about the beginning of our November after the seed was sown; the second toward the end of our April as the ears began filling out in preparation for the full harvest, as their crops developed during the winter and early spring. It is obvious that this passage typifies the beginning of the ekklesia period and extends until the time of Yahshua’s Second Advent, with a long dry season between the two rains. Most good farmers are aware that a moderate dry spell after the seed has been planted can be beneficial, causing the plants to develop a vigorous root system so that when the rains finally come the crop will produce an abundant yield.
“This may be a strange way to look back on the history of the ekklesia, but this is what James and the prophets before him were alluding to. The reader needs to differentiate between the early and latter rain, as each are different in their respective nature. In other words, we are not instructed to reenact the events at the Day of Pentecost as a pattern of our worship. While there were miraculous phenomena at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts (such as speaking in tongues), it was only an earnest (down payment) of the Spirit. At the Day of Pentecost there were gathered many good-fig-Judahites from many lands speaking diverse languages, and a miracle was provided in both the speaking and the hearing for that event to be a success. The present-day Pentecostal and charismatic movements have made a mockery of the original happenings recorded at Acts 2. Nor do the present-day Pentecostals and charismatics allude to Old Testament passages in order to explain why [there was] a Pentecost in the first place. Pentecost in the Old Testament was a feast day mandated for Israelites only, whereas today’s Pentecostals and charismatics invite every unclean race to gather with them.”
So Clifton posited that in this manner the history of the ekklesia of Yahweh parallels the cycle of planting and harvest in the agricultural year, with which we would certainly agree. The dispensation of the Spirit at that first Pentecost was merely a deposit, the early rain poured upon the assembly in order for it to be able to take root and grow. In this same manner it is described by Paul in his epistles to the Corinthians and Ephesians.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22: “21 Now He who is establishing us with you in the Anointed, and anoints us, is Yahweh: 22 who is also confirming us, and is providing the deposits of the Spirit in our hearts.”
2 Corinthians 5:4-5: “4 And indeed we who are being burdened in the tabernacle [meaning these earthly bodies] bemoan, since we wish not to be stripped, but to be clothed in order that the mortal would be consumed by life. 5 Now He who has been cultivating us [the same agrarian language of Joel and James] for this same thing is Yahweh, who has been giving to us the deposits of the Spirit.”
Ephesians 1: “13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth - the good message of your deliverance - in which also having believed, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise, 14 which is a deposit of our inheritance, in regard to redemption of the possession, in praise of His honor.”
The following is from the notes for my presentation on 2 Peter chapter 3, given here in April of 2012: “The word which Paul used to describe that descending of the Spirit at Pentecost was translated as earnestin the King James Version. The word, ἀρραβών, means deposit.It was used by the Greeks of money placed as a deposit for the purchase of something, just as we use the word deposit today.The apostles received a deposit of the Spirit representing the future restoration of man once again reconciled to God, to that condition in which our first parents were created before they fell from grace through sin. Wesley Swift and others referred to that condition as the “shekinah glory”, which is probably not altogether inaccurate, with a literal reading some of Paul's other statements in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Philippians chapter 2 and also in Matthew chapter 13 where Yahshua said of the last days 'Then the righteous shall shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.'”
We see that condition as it is described by the apostles of the men whom they saw at the event called the Transfiguration on the Mount. From Luke 9:28-31: “28 And there came to pass after those words about eight days, taking Petros and Iohannes and Iakobos He went up into the mountain to pray. 29 And it happened upon His praying that the image of His face was different, and His garment gleaming white. 30 And behold, two men were speaking with Him, which were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appearing with effulgence had spoke of His departure which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.” From Luke 6:40: “40 There is no student above the teacher, but all having been restored he shall be as his teacher. ” Therefore all Israel can expect to eventually achieve such a condition, just as the words of Christ which are recorded in John 10:35 tell us: “If He spoke of them as gods to whom the Word of God had come, and the writing is not able to be broken”, then how can we neglect such an expectation?