Continuing on from part (b) of this Part V, where we established that the prophesy of Joel for the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit in the “last days” was affirmed by Peter on the day of Pentecost to be what the people were seeing and hearing in about 30-31 AD, then we must know that the prophesy has already happened, and is already fulfilled.
This prophesy has to be viewed in our rear view mirrors. Problems have come about, however, because the futurist perspective removes the prophesies of the last days from their proper time and place in the 1st century AD during the last days of the old Mosaic covenant and project them out into our generation or our future. This false teaching causes the NT scriptures to be misapplied, and misappropriated.
“…that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2:28-29, KJV)
The prophesy is somewhat hyperbolic when stating “all flesh”, as some of the people did not receive the gifts of prophesy or visions. However, the mass broadcast of the words of the Holy Spirit in that generation is so different from the rest of prophetic history that we have to note the distinctions. God was not limiting the selection of His messengers to preach the gospel of Christ to just one man, or one group of men. This was not a case of sending Isaiah to prophesy against the king of Babylon, or sending Jonah to prophesy against the people of Nineveh.
The change that was coming upon them in that generation to bring in the everlasting kingdom of Christ, and to move beyond the fleshly temple laws of the old Mosaic covenant needed speedy messengers to go throughout all of the known world of the old Roman empire before that temple would fall. The timing was modeled after the OT wandering in the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land of Canaan.
The generation of the 1st century AD saw another 40 year period from the crucifixion of Christ to the fall of that temple in 70 AD, and the new promised land was the perfect, spiritual promised kingdom of God. The good news had to be published abroad, probated, before the new testament of Christ could be fully established, and the old covenant that was ready to vanish away could be completely annulled (Heb. 8:13).
Today, many people are attempting to appropriate the spiritual gifts that were promised to those 1st century believers unto themselves because they have been falsely taught to believe that we are living in the last days. I have had a brother in Christ tell me that as we are living in the last days, and as he was immersed into Christ, he therefore is a prophet of God. I have had a friend tell me that she had a dream in the night that God told her to move to a new city. I could list many such examples that are all caused by the false teaching that we are living in the last days.
The people standing before Peter on the day of Pentecost who repented and accepted the word of the Holy Spirit that Peter spoke were immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins, and then the Apostles laid their hands upon them to impart the gifts of the Holy Spirit that would be needed to prove the message of the gospel was from Christ. How do we know this?
“1And it came to pass, in Apollos’ being in Corinth, Paul having gone through the upper parts, came to Ephesus, and having found certain disciples, 2he said unto them, `The Holy Spirit did ye receive — having believed?’ and they said unto him, `But we did not even hear whether there is any Holy Spirit;’
4And Paul said, `John, indeed, did baptize with a baptism of reformation, saying to the people that in him who is coming after him they should believe — that is, in the Christ – Jesus;’ 5and they, having heard, were baptized — to the name of the Lord Jesus, 6and Paul having laid on them [his] hands, the Holy Spirit came upon them, they were speaking also with tongues, and prophesying,” (Acts 19:1 – 6, YLT)
Paul laid his hands upon them after they had been baptized. They did not receive the Holy Spirit until after they were baptized, which means that the gift of the Holy Spirit came through the hands of the chosen Apostles or their chosen disciples (Timothy). It was not an automatic result of being baptized.
See Acts 8:14-17 where Peter was sent to Samaria to lay hands upon those who had already been baptized into Christ, but had not yet been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. See also the following verses in Acts 8:18-23 where Peter refused the gift to Simon the magician because of the evil of his heart.
And, as God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) then He does not treat anyone any differently from another. Therefore, if one of them had to be immersed anew into Christ, then so did they all. He applies the same requirement to everyone. Therefore, on the day of Pentecost, those that repented were immersed into water, including the Apostles. The only difference was the order.
The Holy Spirit fell upon the Apostles first, just as it had upon the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:21ff).
“44While Peter is yet speaking these sayings, the Holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word, 45and those of the circumcision believing were astonished — as many as came with Peter — because also upon the nations the gift of the Holy Spirit hath been poured out, 46for they were hearing them speaking with tongues and magnifying God.
47Then answered Peter, `The water is any one able to forbid, that these may not be baptized, who the Holy Spirit did receive — even as also we?’ 48he commanded them also to be baptized in the name of the Lord; then they besought him to remain certain days.” (Acts 10:44-48, YLT)
Just as on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured forth, and then they were immersed in water. The same order of events happened with Paul and Ananias in Acts 9 in Damascus.
“17And Ananias went away, and did enter into the house, and having put upon him [his] hands, said, `Saul, brother, the Lord hath sent me — Jesus who did appear to thee in the way in which thou wast coming — that thou mayest see again, and mayest be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales, he saw again also presently, and having risen, was baptized,” (Acts 9:17-18, YLT)
Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit first, and then was baptized / immersed. Those three events – the Apostles and disciples on the day of Pentecost, the house of Cornelius, and Paul in Damascus – had the order reversed so that they received the Holy Spirit first and then were immersed into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. All other times immersion came first, and then if they were worthy, the laying on of the Apostles hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The current teaching of Holy Spirit baptism replacing water immersion is false. Further, they were not immersed into the Holy Spirit, but received certain gifts from the Holy Spirit. It is an entirely different process. And, I don’t see any of those chosen Apostles that Jesus sent out in the 1st century AD around today to lay their hands upon anyone.
Just as in the OT, it was God who was doing the work of the miracles, and answering the prayers of the disciples and Apostles (Acts 19:11-12; James 5:13-15). Then, what were the people doing? They were the messengers God had appointed to speak the words given by the Holy Spirit to the people. The miracles were confirming and authenticating the words, the spirit of truth.
The gift of prophesy – speaking the words of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of public prayers – speaking the words of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of tongues, which is the old way of saying foreign languages / dialects – speaking the words of the Holy Spirit.(1) (2) (3)
The gift of interpretation of tongues / foreign languages – speaking the words of the Holy Spirit (3).
The gifts of healing and dealing with serpents, or demons / devils were miracles that confirmed the spoken words. All of these miracles were very public, and quickly retold from first-hand witnesses. That is how the assemblies at Rome heard about Jesus.
As the promise was for that generation, they would die out as the Apostles and disciples died. Paul told them that they would fade away (1 Cor. 13:8-10)
“8The love doth never fail; and whether [there be] prophecies, they shall become useless; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall become useless; 9for in part we know, and in part we prophecy; 10and when that which is perfect may come, then that which [is] in part shall become useless.” (YLT)
The gifts had almost all faded away by the time the book of Acts closes. They are seldom mentioned in the Paul’s later epistles.(4) And, we should wonder why. I will suggest to you that the words of the Holy Spirit were being recorded in the gospels and other letters Paul wrote to the assemblies. The perfect written record that the Holy Spirit has always been maintaining was becoming more prevalent as the letters were passed from assembly to assembly.
So, as the written words of the New Testament became available to the people, and as those words had already been confirmed by the miracles of the Holy Spirit, then the verification process of continued miracles was not required as much. The prophesy of Joel was completely fulfilled by AD 70.
“18for I will not dare to speak anything of the things that Christ did not work through me, to obedience of nations, by word and deed, 19in power of signs and wonders, in power of the Spirit of God; so that I, from Jerusalem, and in a circle as far as Illyricum, have fully preached the good news of the Christ;” (Rom. 15:18-19, YLT, circa AD 57)
“The signs, indeed, of the apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds,” (2 Cor. 12:12, YLT, circa AD 55)
“if also ye remain in the faith, being founded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the good news, which ye heard, which was preached in all the creation that [is] under the heaven, of which I became — I Paul — a ministrant.” (Col. 1:23, YLT, circa AD 61-62)
Past tense… “fully preached,” “were wrought,” and “which ye heard, and was preached…” The work of the miracles was completed, their purpose to have confirmed and authenticated the words of God, the words of His Spirit. As the written record was circulated and read by those who had witnessed those miracles, the confirmation spread and was sealed by the Holy Spirit who moved the men that wrote the books (1 Pet. 1:21). The Holy Spirit was the source of the spoken words, and of the written words which we still have today as witness of the events of the 1st century AD.
Do miracles still happen today? I firmly believe that God still works in our lives through His providence, and His Spirit, and He answers our prayers as He wills it. I have both first and second hand witness of this in my life. But, not on the mass scale of the very public evidences of Joel’s prophesy. God works just as He always did in the OT to answer the prayers of the people, and to call them to Him, and to promote the knowledge of His word.
“The Spirit where he willeth doth blow…” (John 3:8)
“30Many indeed, therefore, other signs also did Jesus before his disciples, that are not written in this book; 31and these have been written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in his name.’” (John 20:30-31, YLT)
1) What is the spiritual gift of interpreting tongues? – https://www.gotquestions.org/gift-interpreting-tongues.html
2) “The gift of tongues was the supernatural ability to speak in a foreign, human language which was previously unknown or unstudied by the speaker. Notice that the gift of tongues is not the ability to speak gibberish — that requires no supernatural ability. “ Source: https://theologue.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/thegiftoftongues-fredzaspel.pdf
3) “If tongues, therefore, require interpretation, then they must be a cognitive language. They must communicate intelligible meanings if an interpretation is necessary for understanding. Thus, whether the words “interpretation” or “interpret” refer to an exposition or a translation, this word group refers to making clear what is said in a known human language. This evidence supports the view that the gift of the “interpretation of tongues” refers to the supernatural ability to translate an unknown human language into the language of those listening” Source: The Gift of Tongues – https://www.nwbcokc.org/aboutus/for-bereans/tongues/
4) When Did the Gift of Tongues Cease – https://www.bereanbiblesociety.org/when-did-the-gift-of-tongues-cease/