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Luke Acts Joel 2,28-32 - When the Day of Pentecost came

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COURSE: The New Testament and its Modern Interpreters # 5100/3 (7155)

INSTRUCTOR’S NAME: Janet Silman

STUDENT'S NAME: Ferdinand Funk

DATE: June 1st, 1998

WHEN THE DAY OF PENTECOST CAME…Appendix A

The death of Jesus did not bring the movement that he started to an end. Not long after Jesus’ crucifixion, his followers proclaimed that God had raised him from the dead. They appeared in Jerusalem and called upon their fellow Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  A new stage of development in God’s purpose with his people Israel had begun. This, they maintained, was predicted by the prophets in the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures.  What the apocalyptic writers had proclaimed had become a reality. The Christian Church emerged from the crowds of new converts to the faith in Jesus. For a time, the church existed as a sect within Judaism. The church began to spread into the Gentile world when the day of Pentecost came.[1]

 
Date

In order to understand Luke’s[2] interest in the activity of the Spirit of God in the time following the death and resurrection of Jesus it is helpful to know the approximate date when Luke-Acts was written. “Unfortunately our knowledge of the earliest phase of Christianity is severely limited.  This is due to a lack of sufficient source material. The only historical narrative about the first twenty years or so of the primitive Christian church is found in the first twelve chapters of the book of Acts. This book, however, was not written by the mother church of Jerusalem nor by a member of that community.  Neither was it written during the earliest years of the church's development.”[3]

The German Theologian Adolf Harnack[4] has suggested several possible dates. At first he concluded that the most convincing arguments for the composition of Acts suggested a date at the beginning of the seventh decade. Later, professor Harnack suggested the date 62 CE, i.e. towards the end of the second year after St Paul's arrival in Rome. Numerous others authors place the writing of Luke-Acts somewhere between 70 CE and 100 CE.

Purpose of Luke’s writings

The Book of Acts is the second volume of a two-volume work by the same author: Luke. It presents a history of the Christian Church from the beginning until the arrival of Paul in Rome. After several accounts have been recorded by eyewitnesses, the author sets out "to write an orderly account" of the events concerning Jesus (Luke 1:3).

The writer of Luke-Acts gives considerable attention to God’s work of salvation throughout History. As a theologian Luke puts the events surrounding Jesus’ life and the post-resurrection community in the light of God’s grand scheme of salvation for humanity. Ernst Haenchen, in Apostelgeschichte[5] suggests that Luke concerned himself with two theological questions: the imminent end, and the mission to the Gentiles. According to Haenchen, the ealy Christians were convinced that they were in the midst of a decisive time in history. John the Baptist had been the Elijah, and Jesus himself was the promised Messiah. His resurrection and ascension preceeded his imminent return and the resurrection of the dead. In the brief intermission until the Parusia the disciples must take the Good News to all corners of the world. 

“The author of Luke-Acts divided the history of salvation  into three main epochs.”[6] The first was the time of the Law and the Prophets, which came to an end with John the Baptist. The prophesies of the Old Testament set the stage for God’s redemptive work. For generations God’s people had awaited the promised Messiah, who would restore the Kingdom of Israel. The Prophets had kept Israel’s hopes alive. For example, the prophet Joel 2:28-32 writes,

  28 `And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30  I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32  And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

In the eyes of the writer of Acts the day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of this prophesy. The record of events in Acts 2 leaves no doubt that the Spirit of God was poured out on all flesh as Joel had foretold.

The second period was the lifetime of Jesus, when he worked through the power of the Spirit.[7] In Luke 3 the writer continues to set the stage for the Pentecost experience. In a time where the Romans and their own religious leaders oppressed the people of Israel[8], they longed to see the Salvation of the Lord. A number of messianic pretenders and insurrectionist leaders during this time were influencial in keeping messianic hopes alive. Luke reports, for instance, that the crowd followed John, the Baptist, and were baptised by him in the River Jordan upon hearing his message of repentance.

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. 16 John answered them, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:15-16).

Luke portrays the “rushing of the violent wind” at Pentecost as the fulfillment of the John’s prophesy. In his mind the same “creative breath of God” that was present in Creation is at work in the equipping of the apostles.

Luke pursues the connection of Jesus to the Holy Spirit even further,

21 When all the people were being baptized (by John), Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Luke 3:21-22).

Luke reports that the temptation of Jesus, prompted by the Holy Spirit’s leading into the wilderness, follows immediately after the annointing. Upon returning to his home town,  Jesus began his ministry with the words from the Prophet Isaiah (61:1-3).

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21  and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:18).

Certainly, those who had followed Jesus during his life would recognize what Luke was referring to. They had seen the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. They had heard his opening speech in the synagogue. They had seen how he had healed the sick and cast out demons. But, they had also been disappointed when they laid him in the tomb. They had been puzzled by stories of his resurrection that were told to them by the women. Without question they had their doubts about the messiaship of Jesus. If the early Church was to survive and strive it had to be able to make sense of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus within God’s scheme of salvation (Heilsgeschichte).

In the time between Easter and Pentecost, after the Ascension, the disciples stayed in Jerusalem, as the Lord had commanded them.

Their lives on hold, they did the only thing that was left for them to do. They prayed for comfort. Then it happened! The third period in God’s History of Salvation was the time when the activity of the Spirit worked through the Christian Church community and its leaders.

The day of Pentecost fell on the fiftieth day after Passover, at the end of the harvesting season, when all the wheat and barley had been cut and gathered. The Jewish day of Pentecost marked the end of the wheat harvest. The Law prescribed that everyone must present a cereal offering of new grain to the Lord. Thousands of god-fearing Jews who lived in the diaspora come to Jerusalem at this time of year to fulfill their religious obligations at the Temple. So, we have a whole list of people from different Cities and Territories and Islands, who came to Jerusalem for the Pentecost celebrations.

The impression that the writer of Acts wants to leave on his readers is that this massive seasonal migration to Jerusalem from all corners of the world was the opportunity that God used to implement His plan of salvation. As the pilgrims returned to their respective homes, they would tell of the great acts of God in the lives of the Apostles.

We notice a similar theme already earlier in the story of Jesus’ Birth in the Gospel of Luke. God takes advantage of the political maneuvers set in motion by the decree of Caesar Augustus and the census under Quirinius (Luke 2:1-2), to bring His Son into the world.[9]

Again at Pentecost, God is at work through the traditions and religious celebrations of the Jewish people. In the words of the writer of Acts (6:7) the word of God spread. The number of disciples increased rapidly... Luke attempts to give an answer to the “amazed and perplexed” crowd that asked, “What is the meaning of all this?” He offers enough clues to build a convincing argument that God’s work of salvation is entering a new phase with the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:1-12

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

 
The Jewish Day of Pentecost

“In ancient Israel, the great annual feasts were the three feasts of pilgrimage (bag), i.e. the feasts of Unleavened Bread, or Weeks and of Tents, and the feast of the Passover, which was eventually combined with the feast of Unleavened Bread.”[10]

Pentecost meaning “the fiftieth day” or Harvest Feast or Feast of Weeks lasted for only one day. Seven weeks plus one day were counted from the sixteenth of Nisan. The fiftieth day was the day of Pentecost which fell on the sixth of Sivan - about the end of May (Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:15-22; Nu. 28). The Pentecost was the Jewish harvest-home, and everyone was encouraged to rejoice before Yahweh. Families, servants, the Levite within their gates, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow were all exhorted to bring a free-will offering to Yahweh their God in the place chosen by God for his name, namely the Tempel in Jerusalem (Dt. 16:10,11). At this celebration the presentation of the two loaves, made from the first fruits of the wheat harvest were of great importance. A peace offering of  two lambs was offered before Yahweh, and presented to the priests. The leavened loaves were not offered on the altar. The other sacrifices were, a burnt offering of a young bullock, two rams and seven lambs, with a meat and a drink offering, and a kid for a sin offering (Lev. 23:18,19). The ceremony marked the conclusion of the dedication of the harvest to God as its giver. The religious season began with the offering of the wave-sheaf at the Passover. Pentecost also became associated with the giving of the law at Sinai on the fiftieth day after the deliverance from Egypt (Cp. Ex. 12 and 19). In the exodus the people were offered to God as being first fruits; at Sinai their consecration to Him as a nation was completed.” [11] 

The Passover was the principal feast in the Jewish year in New Testament times. The Passover (pesah), from the root word psh (to limp, to hobble, to jump) possibly had its origin in the last plage of Egypt, in which Yahweh “jumped over” the and left out the houses where the Passover was being observed.[12] The Pentateuch connects the feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex 2,3: 15; 34: 18; Dt 16: 3), or the Passover (Dt 16:1 and 6), or both the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:23-27 and 39 [Yahwistic tradition]; Ex 12: 12-I3 and I7 [Priestly tradition]), with the Exodus from Egypt.  The rites for both feasts are incorporated into the story of the Exodus 12, possibly to help in setting Israel free, and to commemorate the mighty acts of God.[13]

The second great Jewish feast is called the Harvest feast (qasir) (Ex 23:16), more specifically, the feast of the wheat harvest (Ex 34: 22). It was a very significant periods in the agricultural calendar of Palestine (Gn 30:14; Judg  15:1; 1 Sam 6:13; I2:17). In Ex 34:22 its also refered to as the feast of Weeks; (the hag of the shabu'oth, i.e. the ‘pilgrimage’ of the ‘weeks’). The feast was celebrated seven weeks after the first cereals had been cut.[14]  

Like the Passover, the feast of Weeks was eventually related to the history of salvation, but this connection was made at a far later date. The first time the connection is mentioned is in the Book of Jubilees, which puts all the Old Testament covenants (from Noah to Sinai) on the day of the feast of Weeks.  The Qumran sect, which called itself the community of the New Covenant, celebrated the renewal of the Covenant on the feast of Weeks, and this was the most important feast in its calendar.

As we have seen then, the Christian Feast of Pentecost originally had a totally different meaning. Luke made use of the Old Testament salvation History and incorporated the concept of God’s Holy Spirit as the agent of God’s continuing work of salvation that now includes Gentiles as well as Jews. “Philip Loyd suggests that God chose Pentecost for the gift of the Spirit ‘to show that, just as the offering of the loaf at Pentecost completed the Passover sheaf offering, so the work of the Resurrection was completed when the disciples by the descent of the Holy Ghost, were made members of the Lord's Risen Body.’ This could well have been one of the reasons for the divine choice of the fiftieth day after Passover for the bestowal of the Spirit.”[15] This feast of joy and celebration for God’s gracious provision in the harvest became for Luke a very appropriate occasion for the festival of shared-joy for the gift of the Spirit.

God-Fearing Jews From Every Nation Under Heaven

A further point that does not go by without notice is the crowd of God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. Though not the most important of the Jewish feasts, Pentecost was the one which drew the largest number of pilgrims from abroad. The day of Pentecost provided a divine opportunity for a maximum number of Jews from all parts of the world to be made aware of the Spirit's coming, and Luke shows himself well aware of this in the detailed list he gives of those who were present at the Feast in the year of the crucifixion.[16] On this day representatives of every nation had witnessed the creation of the Fellowship of the Spirit, and they had seen and heard the salvation of the Lord first hand.

 

The Jews who were resident in Jerusalem on this occasion were to a large extent pilgrims from various lands of the dispersion who had come to the holy city to celebrate the festival of Pentecost. The words “devout men” denotes both Jews and proselytes, who had come to take part in the celebrations at the holy city.[17]

Many of the visitors were astonished as they heard the loud praises of God uttered by the disciples in inspired language (this, rather than the noise of a rushing wind, is what is meant by the "sound" of v. 6),17 because they recognized the indigenous languages and dialects of their native lands.  The visitors from the lands to the east knew Aramaic, and those from the lands to the west knew Greek, but neither Aramaic nor Greek was a strange tongue to the disciples.  The Galilaean accent was easily recognized, as Peter knew to his cost on an earlier occasion; I 11 but these Galilaeans appeared for the moment to share among them a command of most of the tongues spoken throughout the known world.

The people who heard the sounds on this occasion, however, were not Gentiles but Jews and proselytes; the evangelization of Gentiles was a revolutionary development, recorded with a fanfare of trumpets, at a later stage in the narrative of Acts. 22 Yet those "devout"23 visitors are apparently considered by Luke to be representatives of the various lands from which they had come, and of the local dialects of those lands.

9-11 There follows an impressive roll call of the nations so represented.  Such geographical lists appear elsewhere in ancient literature, notably in the Rudiments of Paulus Alexandrinus, a fourth-century astrological treatise, where the nations of the world are apportioned among the twelve signs of the zodiac.24 But the resemblance between the list of nations in Paulus and the much earlier list here presented by Luke has been exaggerated.  Luke's list is relevant to its context and has some features of special interest.15

Parthia, Media,26 Elam (Elymais), and Mesopotamia Jay east of the Euphrates; the Jews in those parts spoke Aramaic.  These were the lands of the earliest dispersion, to which exiles from the ten northern tribes of Israel had been deported by the Assyrians in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. They did not !ose their identity as completely as has been traditionally supposed.

The reference to "Judaea" has frequently been regarded as a scribal error, partly for grammatical reasonS30 and partly because it is unlikely that special mention would be made of Judaeans as residing in Jerusatem.31 Many emendations have been suggested, but in view of the vastly preponderant textual evidence for "Judaea" it is best to agree with B. M. Metzger that "probably the least unsatisfactory solution to an admittedly difficult problem is to accept the reading attested by the overwhelming weight of witnesses."32 If "Judaea" could be understood here in its widest possible sense, it might denote the extent of the land from the Egyptian frontier to the Euphrates, controlled directly or indirectly by the Judaean kings David and Solomon.  This would explain the absence of Syria from the list. 13

As for those living in Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, there is ample evidence of the large Jewish comi-nunities in those areas of Asia Minor.  The central chapters of Acts ( 1 3-20) afford abundant proof of this; Philo declares that "the Jews are exceedingly numerous in each city of Asia and Syria.”56

Those visitors who came from Egypt and "the districts of Libya around Cyrene" belonged to another very populous sector of the Jewish dispersion.  Jews had lived continuously in Egypt since the early years of the sixth century B.C., and were always receiving fresh accessions, especially after Alexander's conquest of Egypt and the founding of Alexandria in 33 1 B.c. According to Philo, himself an Alexandrian Jew, two out of the five wards which made up the city of Alexandria were Jewish in population;36 he estimated that in A.D. 38 there were about a million Jews in Egypt37 (if his total be divided by ten, it might be nearer the mark).  Jews of Cyrenaica are mentioned elsewhere in Acts (6:9; 1 1:20; 13: 1), and Simon of Cyrene figures in the passion narrative (Mark 15:21 par.  Luke 23:26).  Ptolemy I of Egypt (323-283 B.C.) is said to have settled a number ofjews in Cyrenaica to ensure its loyalty.38

The "visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes" form the only contingent from the European mainland included in Luke's list.  Visitors from Greece may have been present as well, but they are not specifically mentioned.39 Luke is interested in Rome because it is the goal toward which his narrative is moving.  It is at least a possibility that the Roman church, whose origins are so obscure, may go back to some of those "visitors from Rome" who heard the gospel in Jerusalem that day and carried it home when they returned.  "By the autumn following the Crucifixion it is quite as possible that Jesus was honoured in the Jewish community at Rome as that He was at Damascus.  "411

There was a Jewish colony in Rome in the second century B.C., and it was augmented by the Jews who were brought there from Judaea to grace Pompey's triumph in 61 B.(-. and were later set free.  By the beginning of the Christian era, it is estimated, there were between 40,000 and 60,000 Jews resident in Rome.41 Our knowledge of them is derived not only from contemporary literary sources but also from the study of six Jewish catacombs.42 No Jewish synagogue from the imperial period has yet been excavated in Rome, but the names of eleven are known from inscriptions.43 It was probably the spread of Christian teaching in some of these synagogues that led to the rioting Of A.D. 49, the occasion of "Claudius's edict that all Jews should leave Rome" (18:2).44

Nowhere was Jewish proselytizing activity carried on more energetically than in Rome, and it is not surprising that the Roman contingent included proselytes as well as Jews by birth.4@ A proselyte was a Gentile by birth who was converted to Judaism.  Such a person undertook to keep the Jewish law in its entirety and was admitted to membership of the chosen people by a threefold rite: (1) circumcision (for male proselytes), (II) a purificatory self-baptism in the presence of witnesses,46 and (3) the offering of a sacrifice (while the Jerusalem temple stood).47 Because of the circumcision requirement, full proselytization seems to have been more common among women than among men.  Many men were content with that looser attachment to Judaism conventionally indicated by the term "Godfearers.”

The catalogue is concluded with the reference to CretanS49 and Arabs.  The "Arabs" probably lived in the Nabataean kingdom, east of Syria and Judaea, which stretched from the Red Sea to the Euphrates, with its capital at Petra.  It was at this time at the height of its power under Aretas IV (9 B.C.-A.D. 40).50 This monarch's relations with Judaea may be illustrated

PREGEANT

3.    The Story of the Christian "Way" in Acts

a. T:1-26

Referring to the "first book," Acts 1: 1-4 points the reader back to Luke 24, to Jesus' resurrection appearances, his ascension, and his command to wait in Jerusalem.  The passage also expands upon the account in Luke, for Acts 1:48 makes clear that the awaited ',power from on high" _(Luke 2 :@9) is precisely the baptism of the Hol Spirit of which John the BaDtist si)oke (Luke i: i 6).

  Since Jesus has now been raised from the dead, the apostles expect him to proceed immediately with the restoration of Israel as they originally understood it. 

- 257

The scene closes with the words of two heavenly figures, words that point to

Jesus ' eventual return and the completion of God's redemptive activity.

On that note of hope, the narrator proceeds - to the story of the reconstitution of the Twelve, symbo

tWplyg,trib@@,,of Israel, through the replacement of Judas.  The reader understands that the worldwide mission is about to begin.

b. 2:1-9:43

Then it happens!  On the Jewish feast of Pentecost, Jesus' followers receive the-Holy Spirit and be2in to sdeak in other laPglj4g@§, -.I3). There are in

the narrator notes, "devout Jews from every nation

                 f6-r s@ale                                                                           under heaven,"

                 who are bewildered: the speakers are Gal lean

                                                                                       s                  ,.communicating

                 with people from all over the world. The reader, remembering that the apos-

tolic nu'ssio ai" stined for "the ends of the earth," will see here a dramatic

demonstration of the power of this mission to unite all humankind.

Peter seizes the moment, addressing the crowd with an interpretation of what is happ@ning.  The passage from Joel reflects the widespr.@,ad,notion that the Spirit ha 4_tqp_g since departed from Israel but would return just pri r to the

end of the age.  The eople, Peter de lar                 ienced the Spi it's

'L@e reader will understand that Peter is offering the "second chance" to the Jewish people implied in the Gospel.  When the narrator recounts the mass baptism

                     

The reference to, ignorance will r@a-0 the reader of Jesus, statement from the cro-s-s.-(Luk-e 23:,34) and will help illumine the n - otion - of the "second chance

When confronted by the authorities, Peter and John boldly declare, "we cannot keep from speaking of what we have seen and heard" (4:20).  Hardly recognizable as the faint-hearted followers depicted in the Gospel, these two now appear to the reader as sterling models of persons who in fact fulfill the role of witnesses. 

273

Paul appears in Acts as completely at one with the Jerusalem leadership, and it is Peter who makes the initial breakthrough in converting Gentiles and who, along with James, is most vocal in defending the gentile mission

Yet another theory is that the author wrote specifically in order to combat some form of Gnosticism that was gaining ground in Christian communities

274      

refutation of docetic Christology

All these readings of Luke-Acts assume that the author was trying to deal with some specific problem, whether in the church or between the church and the empire.  Another way of understanding Luke-Acts is to see it as an evangelistic document, e.g., as written to convert people in the Greco-Roman world to Christianity or as instruction for new converts.

Whether Jew or Gentile, the author seems to have been writing in order to declare an understanding of the Christian message to Christians and/or potential Christians and thus to engender and enhance faith.  Along the way, of course, this author undoubtedly sought to clear up numerous misconceptions" held by people and groups within the churches.

LUKE-Ac-rs - 275

5-    Theological Questions

a.  History and Eschatology

Hans Conzelmann's The Theology of St. Luke, originally published in German in 1953, was a major force in developing the methodology of redaction criticism.  It also put forth an understanding of the purpose and theological perspective of Luke-Acts that has provided a point of reference for much subsequent scholarship.

According to Conzelmann, Luke-Acts was a response to a crisis of faith within the churc . Near t ,le en o t le rst century, Christians were becoming disillusioned and disheartened because Christ's expected return in glory had not taken place.  The author's solution to this problem was to offer a revised eschatology.  According to this scheme, the end of history should not be expected in the near future.  For the present age was but part of a three-period scheme of salvation history, a history of God's actions in behalf of human salvation.

The first period was the time of the "law and the prophets," which lasted through the ministry of John the Baptist.  The second was the "middle of fime"-the time of Jesus, in which Satan was absent and salvation was fully present.  The third was the time of the church and its mission to the world.  This was the period in which the original readers of Luke-Acts lived; the author's message to these people was that rather than expecting deliverance in the near future they should order their daily lives in accordance with Christian teaching.  That is why Jesus tells his disciples to take up his cross "daily" (Luke 9:23): the author presents a call to discipleship for the "long haul," a message for a church that must learn to settle down and live in the world.

challenges

.  William C. Robinson,

recent interpreters have doubted that the writer of

276 - THE GOSPELS AND ACTS

Luke-Acts really intended the complex historical periodization-which even breaks Jesus' life down into three phases-that Conzelmann imagined.  For them, it is more accurate simply to speak of the author's interest in the theme of promise and fulfillment.

, it seems clear that Luke-Acts contains both an element of "realized" eschatology and a strong emphasis upon a final consummation;

b. Jews and Judaism

Many scholars, including Conzelmann, have found a harsh anti-Judaic strain in Luke-Acts.  In seeking to make Jesus and his later followers look innocent before the Romans, it is argued, the author put all the blame for the deaths of these martyrs on the Jews.  Along similar lines, a typical understanding of the gentile mission is that it arises specifically out of the Jews' refusal of the message.  That is to say, the church preaches to the Gentiles because the Jews refuse to hear it.

Luke-Acts certainly attributes guilt to the Jews, but it also stresses that many Jews embraced the Christian proclamation

.  Many scholars see the church as a kind of "new Is-

rael," a replacement for "old" Israel.  Jacob Jervell, however, has made a good

8

case for a very different understanding.  Given the extreme emphasis upon the loyalty of Jesus and his followers to Jewish institutions and given the early emphasis upon the gentile mission, it makes sense to see the church more as a "purified" Israel, in which Gentiles are included, than a new institution. 

277

c. Chtistology

One of the more interesting features of the theology of Luke-Acts is the apparent absence of any notion of the saving significance of Jesus' death.  There is, for example, no Lukan parallel to the description of the meaning of Jesus' death in terms of "ransom" in Mark (10:45) and Matthew (20:28).  Jesus' death and resurrection are central to Christian preaching in Acts, as is an emphasis upon forgiveness of sins; yet there is no causal connection between the two.  The missionaries preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name, but they never state that it is won by his death.  One must therefore ask what precise role Jesus' death and resurrection play in the theology of Luke-Acts.

d "The Way"'

However one understands the relationship between Jesus' death and human salvation, it is clear that the concept of "way" is central to the author's theology.  This becomes evident when one notices the role of movement in Luke-Acts.  The central section in the Gospel describes Jesus' journey to Jerusalem, while the latter part of Acts traces Paul's journey to Rome, via Jerusalem.  In Acts, of course, the narrator speaks of Christianity itself as "the Way." And in a broad sense the whole story of God's dealings with Israel is the recitation of God's movement through history. 

.  Just as the lives of Peter and Paul parallel the life of Jesus, so

9.    Tannehill, Narrative Unity, 286-89.

278 - THE GOSPELS AND ACTS

Luke-Acts calls the Christian to follow in the footsteps of all these who have followed God's way.  This means participating in the mission of proclaiming forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name, and it means "following" Jesus precisely through the daily acceptance of one's own cross.

e. The Rule of God and the Hope of Israel

There are, finally, some remaining questions about the precise nature of God's Rule in Luke-Acts.  We noted a strong sociopolitical element in the poems in Luke I, not only an emphasis upon vindication of the poor but a specific recognition of the hope for the restoration of Israel.  The "material" aspect of salvation appears prominently also in Jesus' teachings and deeds and in the life of the church in Acts.  One may ask, however, what becomes of Israel's hope of restoration.

One way to answer this question is to interpret the specifically political component as a false understanding.  In this view, the disciples' misunderstanding of Jesus flows from their "nationalistic" view of God's promise to Abraham.  Luke 24:2i and Acts i:6-7 thus appear as reflections of this false view, which Jesus corrects: salvation means life in God's heavenly Rule.

LUKE-ACTS       279

 

6.         Deconstructing Luke-Acts on Poverty and Riches

William A.    Beardslee has applied a deconstructionist approach to the theme

of poverty     and riches in Luke-Acts.  When one reads this work as a whole,

Beardslee notes, one finds a rather moderate stance on the question.  Although the earliest Christian community is depicted as eliminating poverty altogether

280 - THE GOSPELS AND ACTS

through the communal ownership of all goods, it is clear that the narrator does not expect the later churches to imitate this practice in a literal way.  The ideal of this earliest community serves rather as an inspiration to a generalized concern for the poor that is to be expressed largely through almsgiving.

FF BRUCE

The "place" where the disciples were on this occasion, the "house" of verse 2, is not more precisely specified; it may have been the upper room of 1: 13, but there is no means of knowing.

2 OnthemomingofthedayofPentecost,then,theplacewherethe disciples were sitting together was suddenly filled with what seemed like a great gale of wind from heaven.6 It is perhaps pointless to ask explicit questions about this wind, for there is no likelihood of their being satisfactorily answered.  Was it only the disciples who heard it, or was it audible to others'?  There is no way ofknowing.  What is certain is that the wind was held to symbolize the Spirit of God.  When Ezekiel, by divine command, prophesied to the wind and called it to blow on the dead bodies in the valley of his vision, it was the breath of God that breathed into them and filled them with new life (Ezek. 37:9-14).  And, probably with an allusion to Ezekiel's vision, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes@ so it is with every one who is bom of the Spirit" (John 3:8).  Whatever else may be said about the disciples' experience, this at least is clear: the Spirit of God came on them in power.

3 John the Baptist had foretold how the Coming One would carry out a baptism with wind and fire (Luke 3:16-17).  In the disciples' Pentecostal experience, then, fire had a part to play as well as wind: the manifestation of the Spirit's advent was visible as well as audible.  What appeared to be tongues of fire were seen, one of which lighted on each of them.  Again, it is difficult to translate this experience into terms which will convey its true significance.  As in the burning bush, fire denotes the divine presence (Ex. 3:2-5).  Perhaps no one has expressed the spiritual meaning of the "pure celestial fire" which came down at Pentecost so well as Charles Wesley in his hymn "O Thou Who Camest from Above."7

50

5 1

(b) The abiliy to communicate the Gospel

As it stands, Peter's speech contains "the whole of Christian theology in a nutshell'I.3 Luke obviously wished his readers to understand that it was the quintessence of Christianity that Peter, acting as spokesman for the Twelve, was able to impart.  But he was not merely given the words to speak but the ability to speak them with converting power; "some three thousand were added to their number that day".

As we were led to expect, it is not only witness to Christ that the Spirit makes possible but effective witness.

(c) The new community

The allegiance of the disciples to Jesus during His ministry had, of course, marked them off from those who did not follow Him; but, at Pentecost, they became aware of a new factor which differentiated them from others.  They were no longer simply a community of those who had followed Jesus but a community of those who were possessed by His Spirit.  There was no desire on their part to deny their experience of His Spirit to others; on the contrary, they wished all to share it.  But it is clearly assumed that others can only share it as mem-

The Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles

bers of the Spirit-filled community.  Hence the call to repent and be baptized in the name ofjesus the Messiah (implying inter alia faith in Jesus as Messiah) means that those who respond to it will not only find forgiveness of sins but will, as members of the new community, possess the Spirit.

Doubts have been expressed, especially in the light of Acts I:5, whether the demand for water-baptism was made as early as the Day of Pentecost and whether water-baptism was even a primitive Christian rite. 1 Even where these doubts have not been held, it has been questioned whether baptism was, as early as this, in (or into) His Name .21t seems not unreasonable to suppose that the Church adapted john's baptism as soon as it became aware of itself as the Church.  If Luke is right in saying that the Church did become conscious of itself at Pentecost, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that baptism was made the gateway into membership of the Spirit-filled community right at the beginning, at least for those who had not previously undergonejohn's baptism.  The baptismal formula, "in the name of Jesus the Messiah", certainly suggests a very early date.  Its use must ante-date that of the triune-Name, which was employed by Paul and, probably, by others before him.

One could have wished, of course, that it had been made clear at what precise moment the gift of the Spirit was to be imparted.  It is significant, however, that no reference is made to the laying-on of hands in this first account of the gift of the Spirit to new converts.

(d) The dawn of the New Age

The gift of the Spirit meant that the New Age, foretold by Joel (2: 28 ff.) whose prophecy is quoted, and previously longed for by Moses (Num. II:29), had dawned.

Peter's phrase, "in the last days", suggests that he saw in the outpouring of the Spirit the decisive eschatological event.

I Cf.  F. J. Foakes-jackson and K. Lake, "The Development of Thought on the Spirit, The Church and Baptism", BC, Vol. 1, PP. 337 ff.; but cf.  W. F. Flemington, op. cit., PP. 43 ff.

2 Cf.  R. Bultmann, OP- cit-, PP- 39 f

72

The Promise Fu@lled

Luke did not see it in this light, as H. Conzelmann has shown' -the German original of his The Theology of Saint Luke bears the significant title, Die Mitte der Zeit, "The Middle of Time".  It is a tribute to Luke's trustworthiness as a historian that he resisted the temptation of ascribing to Peter the wording of the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Scriptures), "after these things", which to a Hellenist, or certainly to a Hellenist unfamiliar with the Jewish Scriptures, would have a less "final" ring.

When Joel predicted that the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh", it was Israel, presumably, he had in mind.  Peter himself, at Pentecost, no doubt took "all flesh" to refer to Israel, but even so early he can scarcely have excluded the possibility that Gentiles, by becoming proselytes to Judaism first, could gain a place in the eschatological community.  Luke, for his part, almost certainly understood "all flesh" to mean "all mankind" and saw in those on whom the Spirit first came the first-fruits of the world-wide harvest.

With the coming of the Spirit, then, the New Age had dawned.  In the words of J. E. Fison, the Spirit is c'no longer the aristocratic preserve of the few, but the democratic or, perhaps we should say, the vocational privilege and responsibility of every member of the body of Christ, without distinction of sex or class or age, as even joel's prophecy announced, and without distinction of race, as the sequel in the rest of Acts makes abundantly plain'l.2

(B@ The earliest days of the Fellowship (Acts 2: 42 1.)

The six verses, 2:42-47, which give an account of the earliest days of the Fellowship of the Spirit, make almost @T'ical rea6:ing; L'hey e @s a Yi@x @n L'ht-m -VvWir-'h Can 'h-arayy ID,missed.  It has been said that the description of these days is ideal rather than historical, a picture of what the Church was meant to be rather than of what it had been.3Need this view

H.   Conzelmann, op. cit., pp. 95 ff.

J.     E. Fison, The Blessing of the Holy Spirit, p. II 7.

Cf. F. J. Foakes-jackson, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 2o f.

73

Subsequent Bestowals of the Spirit

If, then, we accept the readiness to be baptized, rather than baptism itself, as one of the preconditions for the receipt of the Spirit, it becomes clear that there is no inconsistency in Acts when the Spirit is mentioned as being received either before or after baptism.

Two questions, however, clamour for an answer.  First, if the preconditions for the gift of the Spirit were (i) repentance, (ii) fait h in Jesus, and (iii) only the willingness to be baptized, why did baptism need to be mentioned at all?  Second, why is it that while in Acts 2: 38 repentance, faith in Jesus and the gift of the Spirit are all mentioned, this is by no means always the case in the narratives which describe subsequent conversions?

The significance of baptism

Tle first question may be answered by drawing attention to the fact that baptism involved the public acknowledgment that Jesus was Messiah.  Alec Gilmore has reminded us, in his discussion of proselyte baptism, which had, no doubt, some influence upon Christian baptismal practice, that "instruction and examination were both part of the baptismal act, which must be performed in the presence of witnesses".' It was certainly no private baptism that John the Baptist administered!  And F. F. Bruce has pointed out that according to Acts 2 2: i 6 "the person baptized called at his baptism on the name ofjesus ... probably by way of confessing faith in Him". 2 If, then, baptism provided "proof "-so far as "proof " in such matters can be given-to the applicant himself, to the Church and to its opponents, that the convert's faith in Jesus was genuine, so did the readiness to be baptized.  It is here that we are to find the significance of the third precondition for the gift of the Spirit.

Jesus Himself had warned, in the parable of the sower, that there would be some who would receive the Word with joy

when they heard it, but they would have no root; they would be believers for a while, but in time of testing they would desert (e.g. Luke 8: I3).  The interpretation of this parable may not go back to Jesus Himself but we may safely say that it contains His intention, if not His words.  The prophetic truth of His saying no doubt helped to convince the Church that those who desired to become members of it should submit

to    a period of probation before being baptized;' but there is

no   evidence that in its earliest days an interval of time had

to    elapse between conversion and baptism (cf.  Acts 2:4I,

8:    I 2, 38, i 6: 33).  Nonetheless, from the very beginning the

demand for baptism was a "time of testing" for every convert.  Was his faith strong enough publicly to acknowledge it and thus run the risk of causing division within the home and incurring the active displeasure of the religious and civic authorities?

(c) The "complex of associated ideas"

We turn now to our second question: "Why is it that, while in Acts 2: 38 repentance, faith in Jesus, baptism and the gift of the Spirit are all mentioned, this is by no means always the case in other narratives which describe subsequent conversions?"

If we held with G. W. H. Lampe that "Luke has an insufficient appreciation of the Spirit as the inner principle of the ordinary believer's life in Christ to make him interested in whether or not the average convert partakes of it", 2 we could understand his failure to refer to the Spirit on every occasion.  But, as we have seen, Luke believed the Spirit to be the very bond uniting every believer to Christ (PP. 42, 45 f ) -

We could explain why baptism is not always mentioned if we accepted that, where the Spirit could be presumed to have been already given, baptism was not required; a possibility suggested in the case of Apollos (Acts I8:24 ff.) by Kirsopp

AV  - Parthian (1)

1) Parthia meaning "a pledge", was the region stretching along

  the southern flank of the mountains which separated the great

  Persian desert from the desert of Kharesm. It lay south of

  Hyrcania east of Media and north of Sagartia. The ancient

  Parthians are called a "Scythic" race, and probably belonged

  to the great Turanian family. After being subjected in

  succession to the Persians and the Seleucidae they revolted in

  B.C. 256, and under Araces succeeded in establishing their

  independence. Parthia, in the mind of the writer of Acts,

  would designate this empire, which extended from India to the

  Tigris and from the Chorasmian desert to the shores of the

  Southern Ocean; hence the prominent position of the name

  Parthians in the list of those present at Pentecost. Parthia

  was a power almost rivalling Rome -- the only existing power

  which had tried its strength against Rome and had not been

  worsted in the encounter. The Parthian dominion lasted for

  nearly five centuries, commencing in the third century before

  and terminating in the third century A.D. The Parthians spoke

  the Persian language.

3370 Medos {may'-dos}

of foreign origin [compare 4074]; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr m

AV  - Mede (1)

1) Mede or Media meaning "middle land" lay northwest of Persia

  proper, south and south west of the Caspian Sea, east of

  Armenia and Assyria, west and northwest of the great salt

  desert of Iram. Its greatest length was from north to south,

  and in this direction it extended from the 32nd to the 40th

  parallel, a distance of 550 miles. In width it reached from

  about 45 to 53 degrees; but its average breadth was not more

  than 250 to 300 miles. The division of Media commonly

  recognised by the Greeks and Romans was that of Media Magna

  and Media Atropatene. 1. Media Atropatene corresponded nearly

  to the modern Azerbijan, being the tract situated between the

  Caspian and the mountains which run north from Zagros. 2.

  Media Magna lay south and east of Atropatene. It contained a

  great part of Kurdistan and Luristan, with all Ardelan and

  Arak Ajemi. It is indicative of the division that there were

  two Ecbatanas, respectively the capitals of the two districts.

  The Medes were a nation of very high antiquity; we find a

  notice of them in the primitive Babylonian history of Berosus,

  who says that the Medes conquered Babylon at a very remote

  period (cir. B.C. 2458) and that there were eight Median

  monarchs reigning there consecutively, over a space of 224

  years. The deepest obscurity hangs, however over the whole

  history of the Medes from the time of their bearing sway in

  Babylonia, B.C. 2458-2234, to their first appearance in the

  cuneiform inscriptions among the enemies of Assyria, about

  B.C. 880. Near the middle of the seventh century B.C. the

  Median kingdom was consolidated, and became formidable to its

  neighbours; but previous to this time it was not under the

  dominion of a single powerful monarch, but was ruled by a vast

  number of petty chieftains. Cyaxares, the third Median

  monarch, took Nineveh and conquered Assyria, B.C. 625. The

  limits of the Median empire cannot be definitely fixed. From

  the north to the south it was certainly confined between the

  Persian Gulf and the Euphrates on the one side, and the Black

  and Caspian Seas on the other. From east to west it had

  however, a wide expansion, since it reached from the Halys at

  least as far as the Caspian Gates, and possibly farther. It

  was separated from Babylonia either by the Tigris or more

  probably by a line running about halfway between that river and

  the Euphrates. Its greatest length may be reckoned at 1500

  miles from northwest to southeast, and its average breadth at

  400 to 450 miles. Its area would thus be about 600,000 square

  miles, somewhat greater than that of modern Persia. Of all the

  ancien

10  Phrygia <5435>, and Pamphylia <3828>, in Egypt <125>, and in the parts <3313> of Libya <3033> about <2596> Cyrene <2957>, and strangers <1927> of Rome <4516>, Jews <2453> and proselytes <4339>,

11  Cretes <2912> and Arabians <690>, we do hear <191> them speak <2980> in our tongues <1100> the wonderful <3167> works of God <2316>.

    Note: 3167 megaleios {meg-al-i'-os}

from 3173; TDNT - 4:529,573; adj

AV  - great thing (1)

    - wonderful work (1) [2]

1) magnificent, excellent, splendid, wonderful

12  And they were all <3956> amazed <1839>, and were in doubt <1280>, saying <3004> one <243> to another <243>, What <5101> meaneth <1511> this <5124>?

3934 Parthos par'-thos

probably of foreign origin; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr m

AV  - Parthian (1)

1) Parthia meaning "a pledge", was the region stretching along

  the southern flank of the mountains which separated the great

  Persian desert from the desert of Kharesm. It lay south of

  Hyrcania east of Media and north of Sagartia. The ancient

  Parthians are called a "Scythic" race, and probably belonged

  to the great Turanian family. After being subjected in

  succession to the Persians and the Seleucidae they revolted in

  B.C. 256, and under Araces succeeded in establishing their

  independence. Parthia, in the mind of the writer of Acts,

  would designate this empire, which extended from India to the

  Tigris and from the Chorasmian desert to the shores of the

  Southern Ocean; hence the prominent position of the name

  Parthians in the list of those present at Pentecost. Parthia

  was a power almost rivalling Rome -- the only existing power

  which had tried its strength against Rome and had not been

  worsted in the encounter. The Parthian dominion lasted for

  nearly five centuries, commencing in the third century before

  and terminating in the third century A.D. The Parthians spoke

  the Persian language.

3370 Medos may'-dos

of foreign origin [compare 4074]; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr m

AV  - Mede (1)

1) Mede or Media meaning "middle land" lay northwest of Persia

  proper, south and south west of the Caspian Sea, east of

  Armenia and Assyria, west and northwest of the great salt

  desert of Iram. Its greatest length was from north to south,

  and in this direction it extended from the 32nd to the 40th

  parallel, a distance of 550 miles. In width it reached from

  about 45 to 53 degrees; but its average breadth was not more

  than 250 to 300 miles. The division of Media commonly

  recognised by the Greeks and Romans was that of Media Magna

  and Media Atropatene. 1. Media Atropatene corresponded nearly

  to the modern Azerbijan, being the tract situated between the

  Caspian and the mountains which run north from Zagros. 2.

  Media Magna lay south and east of Atropatene. It contained a

  great part of Kurdistan and Luristan, with all Ardelan and

  Arak Ajemi. It is indicative of the division that there were

  two Ecbatanas, respectively the capitals of the two districts.

  The Medes were a nation of very high antiquity; we find a

  notice of them in the primitive Babylonian history of Berosus,

  who says that the Medes conquered Babylon at a very remote

  period (cir. B.C. 2458) and that there were eight Median

  monarchs reigning there consecutively, over a space of 224

  years. The deepest obscurity hangs, however over the whole

  history of the Medes from the time of their bearing sway in

  Babylonia, B.C. 2458-2234, to their first appearance in the

  cuneiform inscriptions among the enemies of Assyria, about

  B.C. 880. Near the middle of the seventh century B.C. the

  Median kingdom was consolidated, and became formidable to its

  neighbours; but previous to this time it was not under the

  dominion of a single powerful monarch, but was ruled by a vast

  number of petty chieftains. Cyaxares, the third Median

  monarch, took Nineveh and conquered Assyria, B.C. 625. The

  limits of the Median empire cannot be definitely fixed. From

  the north to the south it was certainly confined between the

  Persian Gulf and the Euphrates on the one side, and the Black

  and Caspian Seas on the other. From east to west it had

  however, a wide expansion, since it reached from the Halys at

  least as far as the Caspian Gates, and possibly farther. It

  was separated from Babylonia either by the Tigris or more

  probably by a line running about halfway between that river and

  the Euphrates. Its greatest length may be reckoned at 1500

  miles from northwest to southeast, and its average breadth at

  400 to 450 miles. Its area would thus be about 600,000 square

  miles, somewhat greater than that of modern Persia. Of all the

  ancient Oriental monarchies the Median was the shortest in

  duration. It was overthrown by the Persians under Cyrus, B.C.

  558, who captured its king Astyages. The treatment of the

  Medes by the victorious Persians was not that of an ordinary

  conquered nation. Medes were appointed to stations of high

  honour and importance under Cyrus and his successors. The two

  nations seem blended into one, and we often find references to

  the kingdom of the "Medes and the Persians". Dan. 5:28,

  6:8,12,15. The references to the Medes in the Scriptures are

  not very numerous, but they are striking. We first hear of the

  "cities of the Medes", in which the captive Israelites were

  placed by "the king of Assyria" on the destruction of Samaria,

  B.C. 721. 2 Ki. 17:6, 18:11. Soon afterward Isaiah prophesies

  the part which the Medes shall take in the destruction of

  Babylon, Isa. 13:17; 21:2; which is again still more

  distinctly declared by Jeremiah, Jer. 51:11,28, who

  sufficiently indicates the independence of Media in his day.

  Jer. 25:25. Daniel relates the fact of the Medo- Persian

  conquest, Dan. 5:28:31, giving an account of the reign of

  Darius the Mede, who appears to have been made a viceroy by

  Cyrus. Dan. 6:1-28. In Ezra we have a mention of Achmetha

  (Eebatana), "the palace in the province of the Medes", where

  the decree of Cyrus was found, Ezra 6:2-5. -- a notice which

  accords with the known facts that the Median capital was the

  seat of government under Cyrus, but a royal residence only,

  and not the seat of government, under Darius Hystaspis.

  Finally, in Esther the high rank of Media under the Persian

  kings, yet at the same time its subordinate position, is

  marked by the frequent combination of the two names in phrases

  of honour, the presidency being in every case assigned to the

  Persians.

1639 Elamites el-am-ee'-tace

of Hebrew origin [5867]; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n m

AV  - Elamites (1) 

1) an Elamite, i.e. an inhabitant of the province of Elymais, a

  region stretching southwards to the Persian Gulf, but

  boundaries of which are variously given, likely descendants of

  Shem (Gen 10:22)

3318 Mesopotamia mes-op-ot-am-ee'-ah

from 3319 and 4215; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Mesopotamia (2)

1) Mesopotamia meaning "between two rivers", is the entire

  country between the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates.

  This is a tract nearly 700 miles long and between 250 and 20

  miles wide, extending in the south east direction from Telek

  and Kurnah. The Arabian geographers term it "the Island", a

  name which is most literally correct, since a few miles only

  intervene between the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates

  at Telek. But the region which bears the name of Mesopotamia,

  par excellence, both in the Scriptures and in classical

  writers, is the northwestern portion of this tract, or

  country, between the great bend in the Euphrates, lat. 35

  degrees to 37 degrees 30 minutes, and the upper Tigris. We

  first hear of Mesopotamia in the Scripture as the country

  where Nahor and his family settled after quitting Ur of the

  Chaldees. Gen 24:10. Here lived Bethuel and Laban; and hither

  Abraham sent his servants to fetch a wife for Isaac. Gen.

  24:38. Hither too, a century later, came Jacob on the same

  errand; and hence he returned with two wives after an absence

  of twenty-one years. After this we have no mention of

  Mesopotamia till the close of the wanderings in the

  wilderness. Dt. 23:4. After half a century later we find, for

  the first and last time, Mesopotamia the seat of a powerful

  monarchy. Jud. 3. Finally, the children of Ammon, having

  provoked a war with David, "sent a thousand talents of silver

  to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out

  of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah". 1 Chr. 19:6. According to

  the Assyrian inscriptions Mesopotamia was inhabited in the

  early times of the empire, B.C. 1200-1100, by a vast number of

  petty tribes, each under its own prince, and all quite

  independent of one another. The Assyrian monarchs contended

  with these chiefs at great advantage, and by the time of Jehu,

  B.C. 880, had fully established their dominion over them. On

  the destruction of the Assyrian empire, Mesopotamia seems to

  have been divided between the Medes and the Babylonians. The

  conquests of Cyrus brought it wholly under the Persian yoke;

  and thus it continued to the time of Alexander. Since 1516 it

  has formed part of the Turkish empire (1884).  It is full of ruins

  and mounds of ancient cities, some of which are now throwing much

  light on the Scripture.

2449 Ioudaia ee-oo-dah'-yah

feminine of 2453 (with 1093 implied); TDNT - omitted,372; n pr loc

AV  - Judaea (42)

    - Jewry (2) [44]

1) Judaea meaning "he shall be praised", was the fourth son of

  Jacob and the fourth of Leah. (B.C. after 1753) Of Judah's

  personal character more traits are preserved than any other of

  the patriarchs, with the exception of Joseph, whose life he in

  conjunction with Reuben saved. During the second visit to

  Egypt for corn it was Judah who undertook to be responsible

  for Benjamin, and when through Joseph's artifice, the brothers

  were brought back to the palace, he is again the leader and

  spokesman of the band. So too it is Judah who sent before

  Jacob to smooth the way for him in the land of Goshen. This

  ascendency over his brethren is reflected in the last words

  addressed to him by his father. The families of Judah occupy a

  position among the tribes similar to that which their

  progenitor had taken among the patriarchs. The numbers of the

  tribe at the census at Sinai were 74,600. On the borders of the

  promised land they were 76,500. The boundaries and contents of

  the territory allotted to Judah are narrated at great length,

  and with greater detail than the others. Jos. 15:20-63. The

  northern boundary, for the most part coincident with the south

  boundary of Benjamin, began at the mouth of the Jordan and

  ended west at Jabneel on the coast of the Mediterranean, four

  miles south of Joppa. On the east the Dead Sea, and on the

  west the Mediterranean, formed the boundaries. The southern

  line is hard to determine, since it is denoted by places,

  many of which have not been identified. It left the Dead Sea

  at its extreme south end, and joined the Mediterranean at the

  Wadi el-Arish. This territory is in average length about 45

  miles, and in average breadth about 50.

2) in a broader sense referring to all Palestine.

2587 Kappadokia kap-pad-ok-ee'-ah

of foreign origin; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Cappadocia (2)

1) Cappadocia meaning "province of good horses", was the largest

  province in ancient Asia Minor. Cappadocia is an elevated

  table-land intersected by mountain chains. It seemed always to

  have been deficient in wood; but was a good grain country, and

  particularly famous for grazing. Its Roman metropolis was

  Caesarea. The native Capadocians seem to have originally

  belonged to the Syrian stock.

4195 Pontos pon'-tos

of Latin origin; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Pontus (2)

1) Pontus meaning "the sea" was a large district in the north of

  Asia Minor extending along the coast of the Pontus Euxinus Sea

  (Pontus), from which circumstance the name was derived. It

  corresponds to the modern "Trebizond". It is mentioned three

  times in the NT, Acts 2:9, 18:2; 1 Pet. 1:1. All these

  passages agree in showing that there were many Jewish

  residents in the district. As to the annals of Pontus, the one

  bright passage of its history is the life of the great

  Mithridates. Under Nero the whole region was made a Roman

  province, bearing the name of Pontus. It was conquered by the

  Turks in A.D. 1461, and is still under their dominion.

0773 Asia as-ee'-ah

of uncertain derivation; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Asia (19)

1) Asia meaning "orient". Asia proper or proconsular Asia

  embracing Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia, and Caria, corresponding

  closely to Turkey today.

5435 Phrugia froog-ee'-ah

probably of foreign origin; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Phrygia (3)

1) Phrygia meaning "dry, barren", is a geographical term in the

  NT which is incapable of an exact definition. In fact there was

  no Roman province of Phrygia until considerably after the

  establishment of Christianity in the peninsula of Asia Minor.

  The word was rather ethnological than political, and denoted,

  in a vague manner, the western part of the central region of

  that peninsula. Accordingly, in two of the three places where

  it is used it is mentioned in a manner not intended to be

  precise. Acts 16:6; 18:3. By Phrygia we must understand an

  extensive district in Asia Minor, which contributed portions

  to several Roman provinces, and varying portions at different

  times. All over this district the Jews were numerous. The

  Phrygians were a very ancient people, and were supposed to be

  among the aborigines of Asia Minor. Several bishops from

  Phrygia were present at the Councils of Nice, A.D. 325, and of

  Constantinople, A.D. 381, showing the prevalence of

  Christianity at that time.

3828 Pamphulia pam-fool-ee'-ah

from a compound of 3956 and 4443, every-tribal, i.e.

   heterogeneous (5561 being implied); TDNT - omitted,omitted;

   n pr loc

AV  - Pamphylia (5)

1) Pamphylia meaning "of every tribe" was one of the

  coast-regions in the south of Asia Minor, having Cilicia on

  the east and Lycia on the west. In Paul's time it was not only

  a regular province, but the emperor Claudius had united Lycia

  with it, and probably also a good part of Pisidia. It was in

  Pamphylia that Paul first entered Asia Minor, after preaching

  the gospel in Cyprus. He and Barnabas sailed up the river

  Cestrus to Perga. Acts 13:13. The two missionaries finally

  left Pamphylia by its chief seaport, Attallia. Many years

  afterward Paul sailed near the coast. Acts 27:5.

0125 Aiguptos ah'-ee-goop-tos

of uncertain derivation; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Egypt (24)

1) Egypt meaning "double straits" is a country occupying the

  northeast angle of Africa. It is divided into upper Egypt --

  valley of the Nile, and lower Egypt.

3033 Libue lib-oo'-ay

probably from 3047; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Libya (1)

1) Libya meaning "afflicted or weeping" is a large region of

  northern Africa, bordering Egypt. In that portion of it which

  had Cyrene for its capital and was thence called Libya

  Cyrenaica.

2957 Kurene koo-ray'-nay

of uncertain derivation; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Cyrene (1)

1) Cyrene meaning "supremacy of the bridle" was the principal

  city of that part of northern Africa which was anciently

  called Cyrenaica, lying between Carthage and Egypt, and

  corresponding to the modern Tripoli. Though on the African

  coast, it was a Greek city, and the Jews were settled there in

  large numbers. The Greek colonisation of this part of Africa

  under Battus began as early as 631 B.C. After the death of

  Alexander the Great it became a dependency of Egypt, and a

  Roman province in B.C. 75. Simon who bore our Saviour's cross,

  Mat. 27:32, was a native of Cyrene. Jewish dwellers in

  Cyrenaica were in Jerusalem at Pentecost, Acts 2:10, and gave

  their name to one of the synagogues in Jerusalem. Acts 6:9.

  Christian converts from Cyrene were among those who first

  contributed actively to the formation of the first Gentile

  church at Antioch. Acts 11:20

4516 Rhome hro'-may

from the base of 4517; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr loc

AV  - Rome (8)

1) Rome meaning "strength" was the famous capital of the ancient

  world, situated on the Tiber at a distance of about 15 miles

  from its mouth. The seven hills, Rev. 17:9, which form the

  nucleus of the ancient city stand on the left bank. On the

  opposite side of the river rises the far higher side of the

  Janiculum. Here from very early times was a fortress with a

  suburb beneath it extending to the river. Modern Rome lies to

  the north of the ancient city, covering with its principal

  portion the plain to the north of the seven hills, once known

  as Campus Martius, and on the opposite bank extending over the

  low ground beneath the Vatican to the north of the ancient

  Janiculum. For a more complete description see a Bible

  dictionary.

4339 proselutos pros-ay'-loo-tos

from the alternate of 4334; TDNT - 6:727,943; adj

AV  - proselyte (4)

1) a newcomer; a stranger, alien

2) a proselyte, i.e. one who has come over from a Gentile

  religion to Judaism; The Rabbis distinguished two classes of

  proselytes, proselytes of righteousness, who received

  circumcision and bound themselves to keep the whole of the

  Mosaic law and to comply with all the requirements of Judaism,

  and proselytes of the gate, who dwelt among the Jews, and

  although uncircumcised observed certain specific laws, esp.

  the seven precepts of Noah, i.e. against the seven chief sins,

  idolatry, blasphemy against God, homicide, unchastity, theft

  or plundering, rebellion against rulers and the use of "flesh

  with the blood thereof".

2912 Kres krace

from 2914; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n pr m

AV  - Cretes (1)

    - Cretians (1) [2]

1)      a Cretan, an inhabitant of the island of Crete

0690 Araps ar'-aps

from 688; TDNT - omitted,omitted; n m

AV  - Arabians (1)

1)      an Arabian


----

[1] John H. Hayes, Introduction to the Bible, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, © MCMLXXI) p. 370.

[2] Luke, the writer of the third Gospel, is widely believed to be the writer of the Acts of the Aposles. Henry J. Cadbury, in The Making of Luke-Acts (New York: MacMillan, 1927) pp 113ff suggests that the Hellenistic Greek language (neither classical nor modern) used by Luke is characteristic of both writings.

[3] Hayes, p. 370.

[4] Adolf Harnack, Date of the Acts of the Apostles and the Synoptic Gospel, (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1911) pp. 90-94.

[5] Ernst Haenchen, Apostelgeschichte (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1965) pp 81-88.

[6] Hayes, p. 371.

[7] Ibid.

[8] For an excellent treatment of the social, political and religious background of Palestine in the time of Jesus refer to Josephine Massyngbaerde Ford’s, My Enemy Is My Guest: Jesus and Violence in Luke, (New York: Orbis Books, 1984).

[9] Hayes, p. 371.

[10] Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel:Religious Institutions, Volume 2, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965) p. 484.

[11] Logos Software, Strong’s # 4005: pentekoste {pen-tay-kos-tay'} feminine of 4004 penteconta (penteconta); TDNT - 6:44,826; n f.

[12] de Vaux, p. 488.

[13] Ibid, p. 492.

[14] Ibid, p. 494.

[15] J.H.E. Hull, The Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles, (London: Lutherworth Press, 1967) pp. 50-52.

[16] Ibid, pp. 55f

[17] F.F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts: The International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988) pp. 53f.


----

Appendix A

Acts 2:1-12

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native dialect? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs -- we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" (NIV).

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