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THE BIRTH OF THE TRUE CHURCH

by Dr. Fred Wittman

Acts 1:1-5; 2:1-18

1Oh Theh-hfeelohs! Actually I myself made the first account concerning all~ things which /Jesus began both to do and to teach 2until which day He was taken up after He through 0Holy Spirit commanded for Himself the apostles whom He elected for Himself. 3To whom also, after the act of Him suffering, He presented[to stand alongside] Himself absolutely living by means of many demonstrative[convincing] proofs by repeatedly making appearance of Himself to them through forty days and saying the~ things concerning the Kingdom of The God. 4And while convening them together with Himself, He charged them, Do not part yourselves away from Jerusalem&! but[on the contrary] abide in anticipation for the promise by the Father! which you& heard from Me 5because, on the one hand John baptized in water, but on the other hand you& yourselves shall be baptized by means of 0Holy Spirit after these^ not many days. . . . 1And in the process of the day of [Festival of 50; Lev. 23:15,16]/Pentecost being completely fulfilled, they all were unanimously at the same~ |place|. 2And suddenly out of /Heaven, noise even as bringing a violently-forceful blowing[breathing] came to pass and it filled the whole house fully where they were continually sitting[for ten days]. 3And tongues as if of fire appeared to them dividing themselves into parts and distributing themselves, and it[a part] sat down upon each one of them. 4And they all individually were filled with 0Holy Spirit. And they began to speak with other[different kind of] languages, according as The Spirit kept giving to them to utter forth under influence. 5Now Jews, reverent men from all nations of the ones under /Heaven, were customarily taking up residence in Jerusalem. 6Now when this sound came to pass, the multitude came together and commingled in confusion because each one heard them speaking in his own[private] /dialect. 7Then they all were amazed in themselves and they kept marvelling, saying to one another, Lo! all these who are speaking are Galilaeans, are they not? 8And how are we each one hearing in our /own[private] dialect in which we were begotten? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the ones residing at /Mehsoh-pohtah-méeah, both at Judea and Kahp-pahdoh-kéeah, at Póhn-tohs and /Asia, 10both at Frugéeah and at Pahmfooléeah, at Egypt and at the parts of /Libya throughout Kuráynay[N. Africa] and the temporarily residing Romans, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians! We are hearing them speaking the magnificent~ things of The God in the languages belonging to us. 12Now they were all amazed and they were continuing at wit’s end, another[same kind] saying to [the face of] another[same kind], What ever could this~ possibly determinedly will to be? 13But others[different kind] were ridiculing and saying, ‘‘They are ones having been saturated with newly fermenting wine.’’ 14But after Peter was standing with the& eleven, he lifted up his voice and uttered forth under influence to them, O men, Jews and all the+ ones individually customarily residing in Jerusalem, this is to be known to you&! And you& yourselves are to give ear to my /declarations[spoken words]! 15For these are not intoxicated as you & yourselves assume, for it is 0third hour[9:00 A.M.] of the day. 16On the contrary, this~ is what was being spoken through the prophet, Joel[2:28-32]. 17And it shall be in the last days, The God says, I shall pour out [away]from My /Spirit upon all flesh. And your & /sons and your& /daughters shall prophesy and your& /young men shall behold extraordinary sights and your& elders shall be dreaming dreams. 18And indeed I shall pour out [away]from My /Spirit upon My /bondslaves and upon My /maiden bondslaves in those /days and they shall prophesy”(Acts 2:1-18 APT).

Introduction:

    After His Resurrection, Jesus confined His appearances to a select group of followers in preparation for establishing His Church. He first appeared, at the Garden tomb to an individual woman, Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20:1,11-18) before His ascension into Heaven to perform His High Priestly ministry (Heb. 9:11-28). Then upon returning to Earth He appeared to three woman together on their way to Jerusalem to report to the disciples that Jesus was raised up from dead ones (Mt. 28:5-9). These women were Mary, the mother of James and Yōsáys, Sahlōmay, the wife of Zebedee[Zehbehdaíohs], and Yōh-ahnnah, and other women with them (Mk. 15:40 cf. 16:1; Mt. 27:56; Lk. 24:10); after that to Peter or Kayfáhs (Lk. 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5); then on the way to Emmahoús to a husband and wife, Kleh-óh-pahs and Mary (Lk. 24:13,18-33 cf. Jn. 19:25; Mt. 27:56); besides that to the eleven together with others (Lk. 24:33-36) and later to more than five hundred brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:5,6 A Precise Translation). He also met with the eleven disciples on an appointed mountain in Galilee where He completed giving to them the great commission (Mt. 28:16-20). Finally He gave some final instructions to the apostles after convening them on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:4-8). Then He ascended into Heaven to sit on His throne at the right of His Father (Acts 1:9,11). In obedience to His command, to wait in anticipation for the fulfillment of the promise of being baptized by The Holy Spirit, the disciples remained with a crowd of about one hundred twenty men and women (Acts 1:12-15).

I. Following His Resurrection The Lord Jesus Christ Revealed Himself and Related His Plan of Action and Purpose to an Exclusive Group of Disciples.

1. Jesus performed a proof ministry that He indeed was alive, resurrected out of dead ones (Acts 1:1-3).

1Oh Theh-hfeelohs! Actually I myself made the first account concerning all~ things which /Jesus began both to do and to teach 2until which day He was taken up after He through 0Holy Spirit commanded for Himself the apostles whom He elected for Himself. 3To whom also, after the act of Him suffering, He presented [to stand alongside] Himself absolutely living by means of many demonstrative[convincing] proofs by repeatedly making appearance of Himself to them through forty days and saying the~ things concerning the Kingdom of The God’’ (Acts 1:1-3 APT).

A. This proof ministry was confined:

(1) To four women, Peter, a special couple, and His eleven apostles (1:3b cf. Jn. 20:19-24 cf. Mk. 16:14);

(2) To 40 days (1:3b);

(3) In addition to these, to about five hundred brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:5,6).

B. These appearances confirmed His resurrection-ascension and the faith of the observers of The Resurrected Christ;

C. He communicated Truth concerning The Kingdom of The God and their responsibility (Acts 1:7,8).

‘‘7But on the other hand He said to[the face of] them, It is not yours& to know[from experience] the periods of time or the appointed seasons, which The Father placed in His own[private] /authority. 8But [on the contrary] you& shall receive miraculous power, after The Holy Spirit alights upon you& and you& shall be judicial witnesses with reference to Me both in Jerusalem and in all /Judea and in Samaria and as far as 0last |part| of the Earth’’ (Acts 1:7,8 APT).

2. He prescribed a plan of action and expressed His purpose for the eleven apostles (Acts 1:4-8):

‘‘4And while convening them together with Himself, He charged them, Do not part yourselves away from Jerusalem&! but[on the contrary] abide in anticipation for the promise from[objective genitive] the Father! which you& heard[Jn. 16:7] from Me 5because, on the one hand John baptized in water, but on the other hand you& yourselves shall be baptized by means of 0Holy Spirit after these^ not many days. 6Therefore on the one hand when the+ ones came together, they were repeatedly questioning Him, saying, O Lord, are You$ in this period of /time completely restoring the Kingdom with reference[dative of reference] to /Israel to its former state? 7But on the other hand He said to[the face of] them, It is not yours& to know[from experience] the periods of time or the appointed seasons, which The Father placed in His own[private] /authority. 8But[on the contrary] you& shall receive miraculous power, after The Holy Spirit alights upon you& and you& shall be judicial witnesses with reference to Me both in Jerusalem and in all /Judea and in Samaria and as far as 0last |part| of the Earth’’ (Acts 1:4-8 APT).

That plan included five things.

A. Don’t leave Jerusalem until The Holy Spirit is sent! (1:4a);

B. Wait for the promise concerning The Holy Spirit to be fulfilled! (1:4b-e);

C. Receive the baptism of The Holy Spirit! (1:4e);

D. When empowered, be judicial witnesses concerning Me! (1:8);

E. After witnessing to Jerusalem, depart to all Judea and Samaria and to all the Earth witnessing as you journey (1:8b).

II. Following His Ascension The God dealt with an expanding group of disciples.

1. The disciples waiting in prayer, according to the command by Jesus, initially persisted in the upper room in Jerusalem where the eleven were residing during Festival-time (Acts 1:14) until Peter interrupted them. First the eleven plus women plus Jesus’ mother and brothers (Mk. 6:3) were gathered together. Then their number increased to about one hundred twenty (1:15).

‘‘14These+ all were remaining  in constant readiness unanimously in / prayer and in /supplication together  with 0women and  Mary[Mahreah] the mother of Jesus and together with the brothers of His. 15And in those /days, when Peter stood up in midst of the disciples (and a crowd of names inclusively [lit.: upon the same |place|]altogether were about an hundred twenty), . . .’’ (Acts 1:14,15 APT).

2. Peter impatiently proposed replacing Judas (1:16-22).

A. He interrupted prayer to do it (1:14,15 see immediately above).

B. He interfered with Christ’s lordship and right to choose the apostle to replace Judas, by doing so, he replaced The Christ’s Kingdom rule with democracy.

C. He invalidated God’s will, ‘‘Which of these two?’’ when it was another, vis. Saul of Tahrsóhs who was ordained (elected) by The Lord Jesus Christ to be the twelfth apostle. The one the eleven chose was never again heard of in Scripture (Acts 1:24 cf. 9:15; Rom.1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1&2 Tim. & Tit. 1:1).

‘‘And they prayed and said, You$ O Lord, O Heart-Knower of all[genitive: includes people and things], authorize[manifest] out of these /two! which one+ You$ would elect for Yourself 25to receive the allotted portion of this /service[of deacon, tending to needs] and apostleship, out of which Judas transgressed[went aside], in result to journey unto his /own[private] /place. . . . Then The Lord said to[to the face] him, Be journeying! because this one+ is My vessel of election for Me in order to bear My /name in the presence of 0nations[Gentiles] and 0kings and 0sons of Israel’’ (Acts 1:24; 9:15 APT).

3. On the Day of Pentecost, Sunday 6, Nisan (May 24), A.D. 33, the imposing power of The Holy Spirit revolutionized the disciples:

A. They were baptized, empowered, and filled by The Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5,8; 2:1-4);

‘‘5because, on the one hand John baptized in water, but on the other hand you& yourselves shall be baptized by means of 0Holy Spirit after these^ not many days. . . . 8But[on the contrary] you& shall receive miraculous power, after The Holy Spirit alights upon you& and you& shall be judicial witnesses . . . 1And in the process of the day of [Festival of 50; Lev. 23:15,16]/Pentecost being completely fulfilled, they all+ were unanimously at the same~ |place|. 2And suddenly out of /Heaven, a noise even as bringing a violently-forceful blowing[breathing] came to pass and it filled the whole house fully where they were continually sitting[for 10 days]. 3And tongues as if of fire appeared to them dividing themselves into parts and distributing themselves, and it[a part] sat down upon each one+ of them. 4And they all individually were filled with 0Holy Spirit. And they began to speak with other[different kind of] languages[tongues,. Is. 28:11], according as The Spirit kept giving to them to utter forth under influence’’ (Acts 2:1-4 APT).

B. Then The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in other known languages (Acts 2:4-13).

‘‘4And they all individually were filled with 0Holy Spirit. And they began to speak with other[different kind of] languages[tongues,. Is. 28:11], according as The Spirit kept giving to them to utter forth under influence. . . . 5Now Jews, reverent men from all nations of the ones under /Heaven, were customarily taking up residence in Jerusalem. 6Now when this sound came to pass, the multitude came together and commingled in confusion because each one heard them speaking in his own[private] /dialect. 7Then they all were amazed in themselves and they kept marvelling, saying to one another, Lo! all these who are speaking are Galileans, are they not? 8And how are we each one hearing in our /own[private] dialect in which we were begotten? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the ones residing at /Mehsoh-pohtah-méeah, both at Judea and Kahp-pahdoh-kéeah, at Póhn-tohs and /Asia, 10both at Frugéeah and at Pahmfooléeah, at Egypt and at the parts of /Libya throughout Kuráynay[N. Africa] and the temporarily residing Romans, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians! We are hearing them speaking the magnificent~ things of The God in the languages belonging to us. 12Now they were all amazed and they were continuing at wit’s end, another[same kind] saying to[the face of] another[same kind], What ever could this~ possibly determinedly will to be? 13But others[different kind] were ridiculing and saying, ‘‘They are ones having been saturated with newly fermenting wine’’ (Acts 2:4-13 APT)

    4. Peter imposingly preached and interpreted the phenomenon:

A. Peter preached using the prophecy of Joel (2:14-16);

‘‘14But after Peter was standing with the& eleven, he lifted up his voice and uttered forth under influence to them, O men, Jews and all the+ ones individually residing in Jerusalem, this is to be known to you&! And you& yourselves are to give ear to my /declarations[spoken words]! 15For these+ are not intoxicated as you& yourselves assume, for it  is 0third hour[9:00 A.M.] of the day. 16On the contrary, this~ is what was being spoken through the prophet, Joel[Yōáyl 2:28-32]’’ (Acts 2:15,16 APT).

B. After explaining the phenomenon and relating the prophecy of David concerning the crucifixion and resurrection-ascension of The Christ, he called for a decision (2:38). In response they asked, O men! Brothers! What shall we do?

‘‘Then Peter expressed to[the face of] them, Repent at once! and be baptized each one of you& by[formula use of ] using the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of[cf. 3:19] forgiveness of sins! And you& shall receive the gratuitous gift of The Holy Spirit’’ (Acts 2:38 APT).

III. Following Pentecost The God Dealt with the Regenerated Disciples as a Unit called The Church,’ Which is also referred to as ‘The Christ,’ ‘One Body,’ ‘Christ’s Body,’ and ‘The Body’ (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 9:31; 1 Cor. 12:12,13, 27,28; Col. 1:18).

    At first “The Church” was a term that included all regenerated disciples that were baptized by The Holy Spirit in Jerusalem as a result of the disciples’ judicial witness confined to Jerusalem (Acts 1:4,8).

‘‘47. . . while praising The God and having grace with[to the face of] the whole |body of |people[same race and language]. Then The Lord kept adding to The Church from day to day the+ ones being saved ’’ (Acts 2:47 APT).

‘‘And great fear came to pass upon the whole Church and upon all the+ ones |who| heard these~ things’’ (Acts 5:11 APT).

    Then since the command to journey out to proclaim The Gospel was not obeyed, in late summer A.D. 33, The God sent persecution which came about first in the martyrdom of Stephen and then as the persecution intensified, the diaspora of The Church to the regions of Judea and Samaria resulted. From this dispersion, local churches were established throughout the region of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria as the regenerated disciples were journeying through life and judicially witnessing as they relocated. After Saul of Tahrsóhs was converted, he spent three years in Arabia and returned to Dahmahskóhs where he was forced to flee for his life. He went to Jerusalem where he vigorously proclaimed Christ to the Jews stirring up animosity against the church there. The brethern asked him to depart to Tahrsóhs, the city of his up-bringing. Then the churches in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace (Acts 9:31).

‘‘31So then the churches throughout the whole |region| of Judea and of Galilee and of Samaria were having peace while being edified[built up]. And while journeying[through life] in the fear of The Lord and in the comfort of The Holy Spirit, they were rapidly increasing in number’’ (Acts 9:31 APT).

    As The Gospel was spread to Asia Minor and Europe, local churches were established. ‘The Church’ was used to refer to The Whole Body of regenerated disciples and ‘church’ referred to a local church of regenerated disciples. In late summer-autumn A.D. 56 the apostle Paul wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians and related that The Church, The Christ’s Body composed of many members whom The God placed in The Church were all baptized by means of The Holy Spirit whom he identified as One Spirit. This baptism by The Holy Spirit did not take place until fifty days after The Lord Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection-ascension. It was upon the descent of The Holy Spirit on The Day of Pentecost that The Church had Its beginning. It is known as the birth of The Church because all the members united into One Body at that time were regenerated by the Holy Spirit and Baptized into that One Body at the same time beginning with new absolute life called eternal life.

‘‘12For just as the body is one and is continually having many members but all the members of the one /body, although being many, it is one body, so also |is| The Christ. 13For also by means of One Spirit we ourselves, whether Jews, whether Greeks, whether bondslaves, whether free ones from bondage, all were baptized into One Body. . . . 27Now you& yourselves are Christ’s 0Body and members individually. 28And in fact |ones| whom& The God placed in The Church . . .’’ (1 Cor. 12:12,13,27,28 APT).

‘‘And This+ One is the head of The Body, |namely| The Church, Who is 0Beginning, Firstborn out of 0dead ones, that He Himself become Preeminent One’’ (Col. 1:18 APT).

IV. Observations Concerning The Birth of The Church (Jn. 7:37-39; Mt. 16:18; Acts 1:4):

    There are three passages of Scripture in Which The Lord Jesus indicated that The Church was not yet born and could not have its beginning before Pentecost when The Holy Spirit descended and baptized the disciples of The Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Jesus Announced to His Disciples that He Will (future tense) Build His Church (Mt.16:13-19).

    In His final year of ministry, in Sivan (June), A.D. 32, The Lord Jesus Christ journeyed with His disciples to Kaisáhreiah of Philip where He challenged them as to Whom He is declared to be and whom they say He is. After Peter’s confession, Jesus announced His intention to build His Church using the future tense (Mt. 16:18). This indicated that The True Church belonging to The Lord Jesus Christ did not yet exist in Sivan or June A.D. 32.

“Now I Myself also say to you$, ‘‘You$ yourself are Peter[little rock, stone] and upon this /rock ledge I will build My /Church. And [Háh-ihdays temporary abode for departed human spirits cf. 11:23]Hell’s 0gates shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18 APT).

2. Jesus exclaimed His Invitation to Drink of The Water of Life speaking of The Holy Spirit Who would descend and abide in humans after Jesus was glorified with The Father seated on The Father’s right.

    On 22 Tishri (October 16), A.D. 32, seven months before His resurrection, The Lord Jesus Christ attended the last half of the Festival of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. On the last Sabbath of the Festival, He stood up in the Temple court and exclaimed His invitation to the people, offering them to drink of the Water of Life.

37Now during the last /great /day[last Sabbath] of the Festival[of Tabernacles cf. v. 2; Deut. 31:10; Lev. 23:34], /Jesus had stood and [He]exclaimed, saying, If (and it may be) any one thirst, he is to come[Isa. 55:1] to[the face of] Me and he is to begin continually [inceptive imperative]drinking! The one continually committing trust unto Me, according as The Scripture said, Out of his [cavity]innermost being rivers of absolute living water shall flow. (But He said this~ concerning The Spirit, Whom the ones persistently committing trust unto Him were about to receive, for 0Holy Spirit was[imperfect tense signifies continual existence, but Holy Spirit already existed yet did not abide in humans, He only came upon and left them until Pentecost] not yet continuously |abiding in humans| because /Jesus was not even yet glorified.)” (Jn. 7:37-39 APT).

    John inserted into his narrative of that occasion, that Jesus spoke concerning The Holy Spirit Who was going to be sent from The Father upon regenerated humans imminently after Jesus was glorified. But The Holy Spirit was not yet continuously abiding in humans because this could not take place until after Jesus was glorified, that is seated on the right of The Father in Heaven. However this prophetic promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when The Holy Spirit descended upon The Lord Jesus Christ’s disciples gathered together in Jerusalem and His True Church was born. This indicated that in Tishri (October) A.D. 32, six months before Jesus was resurrected-ascended, The True Church was not yet born nor had it begun to exist.

3. Jesus Convened His Disciples on The Mount of Olives before Ascending out of their Presence into Heaven to Be Glorified.

    On Thursday, 25 Iyar (May 14), A.D. 33, The Lord Jesus Christ met with His disciples on Mount Olivet and charged them not to depart from Jerusalem but abide in anticipation of The Holy Spirit to light upon and baptize them. Thus The True Church would be born and begin to exist on Earth until the Lord Jesus Christ comes in the air to take Her to Heaven.

“And while convening them together with Himself, He charged[announce alongside] them, Do not part yourselves away from Jerusalem&! but[on the contrary] abide in anticipation for the promise by the Father! which you& heard from Me because, on the one hand John baptized in water, but on the other hand you& yourselves shall be baptized by means of 0Holy Spirit after these^ not many days” (Acts 1:4 APT).

Conclusion:

    There are three passages of Scripture (Jn. 7:37-39; Mt. 16:18; Acts 1:4) that assure us that The True Church belonging to The Lord Jesus Christ did not begin to exist until the Day of Pentecost, Sunday 5 Sivan (May 24), A.D. 33 when The Holy Spirit descended and alighted upon His disciples, baptized, and regenerated them. Therefore those who believe, teach, and hold to the erroneous view that The Church had its beginning before this date do not belong to The Church belonging to The Lord Jesus Christ but to another false church or false religion. The True Church did not nor could She begin in the wilderness nor with John The Baptizer as some teach in our day.

Application:

    When The Church was born, the disciples were baptized by The Holy Spirit and born again (regenerated). Only those who are regenerated belong to The True Church. Have you been believing that The True Church belonging to The Lord Jesus Christ began before Pentecost, Sunday 5 Sivan (May 24), A.D. 33? Stop thinking and believing a lie! The above study of Scripture indicates otherwise. Begin now to explore Scripture and hold to The Truth that Scripture teaches! Have you been regenerated? If not, what is keeping you from totally committing your all to The Lord Jesus Christ in persistent faith NOW? Don’t put off this vitally important matter! Settle it now once for ever!

| |understood   $singular   &plural   /the  0no article  +masculine  ~neuter
[ ]basic meaning  / \ manuscripts divided   ^femine


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Last modified: December 17, 2006