« הקודםהמשך »
of Egypt. It was to celebrate the coinplete gathering-in of the harvest, and was fixed to take place seven weeks after the day when the first fruit of the harvest was reaped. For this reason it was called the feast of weeks; and as the first-fruits of the harvest were gathered and offered to God on the day after the feast of the Passover, that day added to the forty-nine which composed the seven weeks made this festival to be just fifty days after the Passover; for which reason it was called Pentecost, from a Greek word which signifies the fiftieth. (Exod. xxxiv. 22. Lev. xxiii. 10, &c. Deut. xvi. 9, 10.) It happened also that it was on the fiftieth day after the establishment of the first Passover in Egypt, that God gave the ten commandments by a voice from heaven upon Mount Sinai. (Exod. xix. 11.)
When the period for this great festival was arrived, the body of the christian disciples in Jerusalem were again assembled by agreement for united worship. While they were thus engaged, all at once a violent noise was heard from heaven, like the rushing sound of strong wind, which was heard in every part of the house in which they had met. Then something which had the appearance of fames of fire divided in the middle, as flames are seen ascending as they burn, settled upon their heads, one on each. Together with this sound and this sign, the Holy Spirit of God came into each with power; and the first effect which He produced was to make the disciples able to speak in various languages which were foreign to them, and which they had never learnt: this power they began immediately to exercise under the influence of the Holy Ghost.
As it was the feast of the Pentecost, there were at that time at Jerusalem a great number of Jews, whose proper and ordinary residence was in all the various countries of the world, but who from a feeling of devotion and religious obedience had come up to keep the feast. The sound of this powerful voice in the house where the christian disciples were assembled was so great, that it was heard at a distance; and numbers of these Jews coming to the spot to enquire the cause, found the disciples proclaiming the praises of God in different languages, so that each of these foreign Jews heard them speak in the language of his native country. Every body was exceedingly astonished
and alarmed at this wonderful prodigy; and enquired one of another how this could be. The disciples whom they heard speak seemed to be all from the province of Galilee; how then did it happen that, in whatever country each person of the crowd might have been born, he heard some one of the disciples speaking in the language of that country? This was the more remarkable, from the great variety of the places to which various people in the crowd belonged. Some were from countries that lay far to the northeast of Jerusalem, such as Parthia, Media, Elam or Persia, and Mesopotamia. Besides the native Jews of Judea, there were those who had come from that tract of country to the north-west, including Cappadocia, Pontus, Phrygia, Pamphylia, and the country called Asia Minor. Then there were those which came from the south and the African countries, Egypt, Libya, and Cyrene; and then the visitors from Rome, both those that were born Jews, and those who, being Gentiles, had joined the Jewish religion, who were called proselytes. This list of nations, from which some persons were now present at Jerusalem includes nearly the whole of the then known and civilized world ; and people from the island of Crete, being Greeks, and some from the Arabian tribes, complete the circle.
Each of these heard in his own language the praises of God, which were proclaimed by the disciples. Astonishment and uncertainty made the people ask each other, what was the meaning of such a wonder; whilst there were some present who tauntingly sneered at the miracle, and said that the speakers had been drinking plenty of sweet wine, which was a more intoxicating kind than others. Upon this Peter stepped forward, the other eleven apostles being around him; he raised his voice and addressed the multitude, both nativeborn Jews, and those who happened to be in Jerusalem. He bid them pay earnest attention to what he was about to say, and not suppose that those who had been speaking in so many languages which they had never learned, were under the influence of wine, as had been suggested. Considered even as men of respectable character, this could not be the case, for it was yet but nine o'clock in the morning; and who that had respect for religion, or for decency, could have drunk to excess before that hour? No—this was the fulfilment of the prophecy delivered by Joel (chap. ii. 28-32), who had declared, that in the latter days God would pour out a portion of his Spirit upon all kinds of people ; so that the sons and daughters of Israel should speak by inspiration, that their young men should see visions in the day, and that their old men should dream dreams in the night; and that this promised gift should include even servants, male and female.
Having quoted that part of the prophecy (ver. 28, 29) which was fulfilled at that very time, the Apostle went on with the following verses (30, 31), in which the prophet declares, that the Lord would shew wonderful sights in the heavens, and signs upon the earth-a time of blood and fire, and cloudy
darkness—that the sun should be turned into darkness, and the moon should be turned into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord come ;signs which yet remain to be fulfilled : and then he comes to the concluding application of the prophecy (verse 32), which declares that a whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.”
The great purpose of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the dispensation of the Gospel (which must be completed before that great day of the Lord come), is to lead Christ's people in all its generations, to call upon the name of the Lord, that they may partake of the salvation then to be fully revealed. Peter therefore quoted the passage up to that part, which stated this great practical effect; and having brought it to that point, he stopped without including the close of the sentence which refers the particulars of place connected with the great day of the Lord to the nation to whom he was speaking (Zech. xii. 9–14; xü. 1; xiv. 1-11. Isa. lx. 19-21)—" for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.”
Having pointed out the Scripture upon which he grounded his statement, Peter repeated his call for earnest attention, while he proceeded to explain how God had been pleased to fulfil this prophecy. He appealed to them as having known that Jesus of Nazareth was a man, who had been proved to have come from God by the miracles and extraordinary works and signs which God had performed by him amongst themselves. (John x. 30-38; xiv. 10, 11.)
This Jesus had been betrayed into the hands of the Jews; as had been foreseen indeed and settled in the purpose of God; but not so as to lessen the wickedness of those who delivered him up, or of those who received him and (as far as their will went) put him to death, though it was by the agency of the ungodly Gentiles, whose hands performed the act of crucifying him. God however had brought Jesus to life again ;-He had unfastened the bonds which had come upon him through the agonies of deathsuch bonds indeed were not capable of binding and keeping him. This had been prophetically set forth by David in the 16th Psalm ; in which he speaks in the name of the Messiah, saying, “I have set Jehovah always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth : my flesh also shall rest in hope (or dwell confidently). For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life : in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psa. xvi. 8–11.)
Peter proceeded to shew, that these words could not have referred to the circumstances of David himself: for assuredly David had died, and his body had been buried; the place of his burial was known amongst them at the time the Apostle was speaking. In the passage quoted therefore David was writing, not of himself, but in the character of a prophet. Having received from God the sworn promise that the Messiah, who is to reign as king on his throne, should be raised up in his family according to the flesh (2 Sam. vii. 12, 13. Psa. cxxxii. 11. Isa. ix. 6, 7. Luke i. 32, 33), and looking forward to the fulfilment of that promise, he wrote these words concerning the resurrection of the Messiah; they were a prophecy that Christ's soul should not be left in the place of departed spirits, nor his body ever pass into the state of corruption, which is the certain consequence of death to other men. This prophecy had been now fulfilled in the person of Jesus. God had raised up Jesus from death; to which fact Peter with the other disciples could as eye-witnesses testify. The risen Jesus had been taken up into heaven, where as Messiah
he was placed in the highest honour and power, above that of any other being. There he had received the power of bestowing in all fulness the Holy Ghost, as the promised gift for men ; of which he had now sent down from on high the signs which they saw and heard. Assuredly David himself had not gone up into heaven; and yet he had said in the 110th Psalm (ver. 1), “ Jehovah said unto my Lord and Master, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Now David himself had not, and could not have fulfilled either of these prophecies; but both had been fulfilled by Jesus, who was the son of David according to the flesh, and whom the Jews had crucified. Hence all the family of Israel might be confidently assured that the Jesus, of whom Peter was speaking, is in very deed both the Lord and Master of David, and the promised Messiah or the Christ.
It is important to observe that in the Holy Spirit's explanation by the mouth of Peter of this prophecy, which the same Holy Spirit originally uttered by the mouth of David, the human nature and flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ is called God's Holy One, even where it is spoken of in a distinct manner, so as not to have reference to his soul only. David, speaking in the person of the Messiah, said, that his heart rejoiced, that his tongue gave vent to that rejoicing, and that his “flesh” would rest in hope, because God would not leave his soul in the separated place for departed spirits, nor suffer that which he called God's
to see corruption. Peter, speaking by the Holy Ghost, repeats these very words of David in the course of his explanation ; but makes use of the expression “his flesh did not see corruption,” in the same connection in which David had employed the words “thine Holy One to see corruption." Thiš passage then affords proof that the second Adam, when he took on him the nature of the first, received it as it had been made in the beginning very good, and without the least taint or infection of original sin; for without this, his body could not, with propriety, have been called God's “Holy One.”
The crowd of Jews who heard this address of Peter, felt a painful reproof of conscience within them; and there was a general cry to the Apostles, asking them what was