Acts 2:12-36

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 22 , 1997


Before ascending to heaven, Jesus had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them to empower them to be His witnesses.

On the day of Pentecost, a sound of a rushing mighty wind filled the place, tongues of fire divided themselves on the heads of the disciples, and they began to praise God with foreign tongues, declaring the mighty works of God.

:12-13 The response to the Holy Spirit

:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Or, "full of sweet wine". Wine that hadn't aged too much, was very sweet to the taste, yet was also very intoxicating.


The Spirit and wine.

This isn't the only time in Scripture that the filling of the Holy Spirit is put side by side with being drunk with wine.

Eph 5:18-20 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; {19} Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; {20} Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Apparently, the filling of the Holy Spirit and being drunk are similar in a couple of ways.

Both tend to change your personality in some way.

Both tend to give a feeling of happiness, singing songs, etc.

It has been said that alcohol and drugs are Satan's counterfeits of the Holy Spirit.

A counterfeit looks like the real thing, and sometimes can get you some of the same results, until you get caught.

Don't allow yourself to get ripped off by Satan's cheep imitations, when you can have the real thing.


In "Point Man", Steve Farrar tells about a photographer for a national magazine who was assigned to take pictures of a great forest fire. He was advised that a small plane would be waiting to fly him over the fire.

The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure enough, a small Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment and shouted, "Let's go!" The tense man sitting in the pilot's seat swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though flying erratically.

"Fly over the north side of the fire," said the photographer, "and make several low-level passes." "Why?" asked the nervous pilot. "Because I'm going to take pictures!" yelled the photographer. "I'm a photographer, and photographers take pictures."

After a long pause, the "pilot" replied: "You mean, you're not my instructor?"

Sometimes it's kind of important to make sure you get in the right plane with a "real" pilot.

Don't settle for quick substitutes.

:14-21 Peter explains

:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

It would be about nine o'clock in the morning.

Apparently the orthodox Jews had a custom of not eating or drinking before 10:00, the time when the morning prayers were finished.

Peter is simply trying to say, "Hey guys, it's pretty unlikely that this many people would be drunk on a feast day like Pentecost at nine o'clock in the morning!

:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel

Peter is going to explain to the people the phenomena with Scripture.


Practice is governed by Scripture.

The things that go on in church should have Scriptural explanations behind them.

But for some people, they end up basing their church behavior upon experiences, and not upon God's Word.

Example -

The truth and Mormonism.

The Mormon church will send it's representatives to your door, and ask you to believe them based on an experience, upon a "burning of the bosom" you're supposed to get from reading the Book of Mormon.

God wants you to judge the truth of what they say not based upon some experience, but based upon God's Word.

:17 I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh

Peter is now going to quote an entire paragraph, Joel 2:28-32.

:17 your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

visions dreams - technically, visions are what you see when you're awake, dreams are what you see when you're asleep.

:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

day of the Lord - generally refers to the time just prior to when Jesus comes back, as the events in the book of Revelation, chapters 6-19.

Some see the "day of the Lord" actually beginning at Pentecost, and finishing up when Jesus comes back.

Even though Peter is applying this prophecy to the day of Pentecost, he can't be implying that this is a complete fulfillment, since the sun isn't being darkened, and the moon isn't turning to blood.

In the book of Revelation, we see the rest of the prophecy happening:

Re 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.


Salvation by faith.

This is all it takes to be saved, to call on the Lord and ask for His help.

Do you realize that you need God's help?

All God wants is for you to ask.

:22-36 Peter Preaches Jesus

:22 a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs

approved of God - better, "proved to be of God"

Jesus was proved to be of God by the miracles, wonders, and signs He did.

:22 which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

The subject of Jesus wasn't something these people were unfamiliar with.

They had seen His miracles.

:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God

determinate counsel - NAS - "predetermined plan"

So many of the ancient prophecies pointed to the fact that the Messiah would die for us. Eight hundred years earlier, Isaiah had written:

Isa 53:5-7 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

As tragic as the cross was, it was God's plan all along.

God saw that our sin was causing separation between us and Him.

God knew that the only way to remedy the situation was to have the sin dealt with and paid for.

And the payment for sin is death.

With one death, the death of God's only begotten Son, the death of God the Son, the debt we owed was paid for.

:23 ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

We have an interesting mix of God's "predetermined plan" and yet humans being responsible for taking the initiative to do these things.

Even though it was God's plan for Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins, the way it was done showed just how wicked our human hearts were.

This wasn't a sacrifice performed in a pure, holy way.

Jesus was taken by wicked men, beaten, mocked, and crucified in a totally humiliating way between two thieves.


My sin put Him on the cross.

Just because we think about God's love and how God has taken care of our salvation, we shouldn't forget that it was our sin that put Him on the cross.

Yet even then, it wasn't nails that held Him to the cross, it was love. Love for us.

:24 it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

It was not possible for death to hold power over Jesus.

Why? Because the Scriptures said that He had to be raised from the dead.

:25 For David speaketh concerning him

Peter is now going to quote David's writings as the reason why death could not hold power over Jesus.

Did you notice how well Peter is quoting Scripture?

Did you notice what a command of Scripture Peter has?

You might say to me, "Well, the Holy Ghost is bringing all things to Peter's remembrance!"

But the Holy Ghost can't bring to your remembrance what you've never learned.


Being filled with the Word.

People God use mightily are people filled with the Word.

Billy Graham in his autobiography, "Just as I am", pg.212:

"Early 1954 gave me very little time at home in Montreat. Ruth maintained in her counsel and advice to me that my studies should consist primarily of filling up spiritually; she believed, as I did, that God would give me the message and bring to remembrance in my preaching the things I had studied. This was always the most effective preaching, we had discovered: preaching that came from the overflow of a heart and mind filled not only with the Spirit but with much reading. Hence, I picked each sermon topic carefully, read myself full, wrote myself empty, and read myself full again on the subject."

From time to time I see folks get a taste of what it's like to be used by God.

I'll see someone show up at the Tuesday morning prayer meeting for a few weeks.

I'll see someone start coming on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights to get more Bible Study.

And then they get disappointed when Pastor Chuck hasn't called them on the phone and asked them to take over when he retires.

The people God uses are those committed to daily prayer, daily Bible Study, regular fellowship - it's these ones that God ends up using in a big way.

There are no shortcuts to faithfulness.

:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Peter has quoted another entire section of Scripture, Psalm 16:8-11

Hell - "hades", the place where the dead live.

In the Old Testament times, all of the dead went to "hades" (Greek) or "sheol" (Hebrew).

This was a place thought to be in the center of the earth, with two compartments, a place of torment for the unrighteous, and a place of paradise, called "Abraham's bosom", for the righteous.

Both places were called "hades" or "sheol"

David sounds like he's saying that he knows that God isn't going to leave him in this place of the dead after he dies.

corruption - diaphthora - the decay of the body after death.

David is making it sound as if his body wouldn't experience the decay of death.

:28 thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

This ends the quote from Psalm 16.

Ps 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

Peter could have stopped his quote from Psalm 16 a verse earlier, but he continues on to the end of the passage.

I wonder if it's to further tie in with the events at Pentecost.


Joy comes from God's presence.

David might be ultimately talking about the joy we'll experience when we get to heaven and see Jesus face to face.

But there had been a great deal of joy expressed on Pentecost, so much so that the people thought they were all drunk!

There is a sense when we're filled with the Holy Spirit that we become extremely aware of God's presence in our life, and that ought to fill us with joy!

The Holy Ghost baptizes us with joy, not lemon juice!

:29 David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

There is a place in Jerusalem today that's ornately decorated and called "the tomb of David". Whether or not it really is, in Peter's time, the tomb of David was still there.

Peter's point is this, how could David be speaking of himself as not decaying if he himself has long been dead, and his bones are in a tomb?

:30 Therefore being a prophet

Peter is concluding that David was speaking prophetically.

:30 of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ

Peter is adding another point to his thinking, the fact that God had promised David that the Messiah would be one of his descendants (Ps. 132:11; 2Sam.7:12-14)

:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

This is Peter's conclusion from the Scriptures, that David had been prophesying about the resurrection of the Messiah from the dead.

It was Jesus, not David, whose soul was not left in Hades, and whose flesh did not decay at death.

It seems that when Jesus died, He went to a visit to Hades -

Mt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

But in rising from the dead, He emptied the "paradise" side of Hades, and led them to heaven.

Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

All those who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit that morning were witnesses to the fact that God had raised Jesus from the dead.

:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted

Even though Jesus was raised from the dead, He wasn't around to talk to the people because He had ascended into heaven.

:33 and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost

The things the people had seen were from the Holy Ghost, which Jesus had sent from the Father.

:33 he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

shed forth this - it's the same Greek word that's translated in verses 17&18 as "poured out".

Peter's talking about the Holy Spirit which has been poured out, which they are now seeing and hearing.

:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

Now Peter quotes one more time from David, to give a Scriptural reason why Jesus ascended into heaven.

In doing so, he quotes from one of Jesus' favorite passages (Psa. 110:1; Mat. 22:42-46), a passage known by all as one descriptive of the Messiah.

And now Peter pulls from this same passage to talk about the idea of the Messiah sitting at the right hand of God until the time comes that God brings all of His enemies into submission to Him.

Peter is pointing out that there had to be a time when the Messiah would be sitting in heaven at God's right hand, waiting for the time when the enemies would be conquered.

Jesus had to ascend into heaven.

:35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

thy footstool - literally, "a footstool under your feet"

In the eastern cultures, putting your foot on something was a way of proclaiming your victory over them. (Josh 10:24; Deut. 11:24; Rev 10)

The Messiah would be in heaven until God conquered the enemies of the Messiah.

:36 whom ye have crucified

Boy, he really lays it on heavy!

:36 both Lord and Christ.

I think Peter is referring to Psalm 110:1 when he says "Lord" here.

He's saying that God has identified Jesus as the "Lord" in Psalm 110:1.

And God has also made Jesus to be the Christ, the Messiah, the one anointed to save His people.