Was The Church "Born" on The
Day of Pentecost?
Many people believe that the Church, which is Christ's Body,
began on the Day of Pentecost. Many of the books in my library teach this. They
tell us that on the Day of Pentecost both the Jews and the Gentiles became one
body and had fellowship with one another.
So much confusion exists in the Church today simply because
sincere believers are following the traditions of men rather than the Word of
God. Therefore, they have no explanation to those who believe in and practice
signs, miracles, and gifts as recorded in the early part of the book of Acts.
Only as we realize that the experiences recorded during this period were
exclusively for the nation of Israel (for the Jews require a sign I Cor. 1:22),
can we explain why the Church which is His body does not believe in or practice
these same manifestations in this dispensation of the grace of God.
For this reason, I am giving you fifteen reasons why the
Church which is His body could not have started on the Day of Pentecost.
There was a church already in existence at Pentecost.
The Bible does not say the church began at Pentecost. At Pentecost, believers
were "added to the church" (Acts 2:47). So it must have already been
in existence before, or how could they have been "added?" There was
a church before this (Mart. 18:15-17). This was a Jewish church.
At Pentecost they were baptized with the Holy Spirit for
power (Luke 24:49). Christ was the Baptizer (Mart. 3:11; Acts 1:5). It is the
Holy Spirit who baptizes us into Christ (I Cor. 12:13). In Acts 2, Christ was
the Baptizer; and in I Cor. 12:13, where we are "baptized into
Christ," the Holy Spirit is the Baptizer. Whether you use the word with
or "by," it is still the Holy Spirit who does the baptizing. Not in
Acts 2, but in I Cor. 12:13 we find we are baptized into the
"Church" where Jew and Gentile are one.
Everything that happened at Pentecost was in direct
fulfillment of prophecy. Peter quotes Joel and David in Acts 2 and in Acts
3:24. But Paul says that the truth about the Body of Christ or the
Church, was a mystery not in prophecy (Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:24-26). Isn't it
very difficult to believe every prophet of old predicted that which had been
hidden from ages and generations and hid in. God from the beginning of the
world? (Eph. 3:9).
At Pentecost believers were to be baptized in water for
"remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). This is what Peter taught. But in
the Church, which is His body, Paul tells us we are freely given Christís
righteousness for the remission of sins (Rom. 3:24-26). Peter's message in
Acts 2 was different from that later revealed to Paul (I Cor. 1:17).
In Acts Peter preached to Israel (Acts 2:22,36; Acts
3:12-26). Israel had not been set aside as yet. But in order for the Jews and
Gentiles to be reconciled in one Body, the Church, Israel had to be first cast
away. Before the message of reconciliation went to the Gentiles, Israel had
to be cast away (Rom. 11:15,32; Eph. 2:16).
At Pentecost, Peter preached to Jews only (Acts
2:22,36). He did not go to a Gentile till Acts 10, and then he had to have a
special revelation from God or he would not have gone. Also the others would
not preach to the Gentiles (Acts 11:19). If the church began at Pentecost and
Jews and Gentiles were made one there, why did they not preach to the
Gentiles in Acts 11? The Church, which is His body, is a joint body of Jews
and Gentiles; but at Pentecost there is no mention of Gentiles.
Not only was Israel not cast away at Pentecost but we
find the first real offer of the kingdom to Israel here. It was because of the
rejection of the King and the kingdom that a new dispensation under Paul was
revealed. The kingdom was not offered in the gospels as many teach because
Christ had to suffer before it could be offered. The O.T. prophets testified
to this fact (I Peter 1:10,11). Christ also said this in Luke 17:24,25 and
Luke 24:25,26. The kingdom was not "offered" in the Gospels; it was
said to be "at hand" (Mart. 3:2; and Mart. 4:17). Before this it
does not say that it was offered, in the sense that it could be set up before
the death of Christ. Before His death, it could not have been set up - he had
to suffer first, and then enter into His glory.
Peter said at Pentecost, the last days for Israel had
arrived (Acts 2:16, 17), not the first days or birth of the Church.
Pentecost was one of Israel's annual Jewish feast days
(Lev. 23), which had to do with God's redemptive dealings with His nation,
Israel, in the establishment of the Messianic kingdom. It is plain that
Pentecost had to do with Israel and not the Church, which is His Body.
A part of the feast of Pentecost was the presentation
of the two loaves as described in Lev. 23:17-20. Those who start the church in
Acts 2 say these two loaves represent the Jew and the Gentile in the Church of
this dispensation. This cannot be, since the Church which is His Body was
"hid in God" till Paul. Also the Church is not two loaves but one
The baptism which baptizes us into Christ (His Body,
the Church) happens just once; it is never repeated in the life of the
believer (I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). Through this baptism we are taken out of
Adam and placed into Christ. This happens only once, and gives us security.
You see, this baptism results in the believer in Christ being in Christ
forever and his life is hid with Christ in God. This gives us eternal security
(Rom. 8:1). Now this could never be said about the Holy Spirit baptism that
took place on the Day of Pentecost because that baptism was often repeated
(Acts 1:5,8; Acts 2:4; Acts 11:15-17; Acts 19:6). Peter received this baptism
or filling at least two times after Pentecost (Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31).
The baptism which occurred on the Day of Pentecost was
a definite experience that they knew took place (Luke 24:49). If this baptism
was not a definite experience that they knew took place, how could they have
known when the promise had been fulfilled and when they were to stop their
period of tarrying? When Peter was called upon to defend his ministry to the
uncircumcised household of Cornelius (Acts 11:1-18), he explained that while
he was preaching, the Holy Ghost fell on them a~ on us at the beginning. This
was not only a definite experience for Cornelius' household, it was something
Peter saw and heard (Acts 11:15-17). Now the baptism found in I Cor. 12:13,
where we are baptized into His Body, is not an experience. In fad, many who
are saved do not even know it happened the moment they were saved. They were
taken out of Adam and baptized into Christ. They don't know this until someone
tells them or they read it in Scripture. Many things happen to us at the
moment of salvation, such as redemption, sanctification, justification and
others. And not one of these is an experience. So we see, the baptism at
Pentecost and the baptism in I Cor. 12:13 are two different baptisms.
The economy of the Day of Pentecost is entirely
different from that of today. In Acts 2:44,45 they "had all things
common." In Acts 4:34,35, they sold their possessions and "laid them
down at the apostles' feet." This was because those who believed in Acts
2 and in Acts 4 fully expected to go right into the kingdom. It did not happen
because Israel as a nation rejected this offer; they were set aside, and the
age of grace was ushered in. Today Paul tell us, "If any provide not for
his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith,
and is worse than an infidel" (I Tim. 5:8).
Peter on the Day of Pentecost condemned Israel for
crucifying Christ (Acts 2:22,23), and he also demanded repentance and water
baptism for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:36-38). This is not how we
preach or present the message of the cross today. Paul proclaimed the
crucifixion of Christ as good news (I Cor. 1:18), and he also gloried in the
cross (Gal. 6:14). Paul was the first to preach that Christ was set forth to
be a propitiation through faith in His shed blood (Rom. 3:25,26).
The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost in fulfillment of
prophecy given to Israel. He came to enlighten them and enable or empower them to be able to live out the kingdom rules - not to start the Church,
which is His Body. This was a repetition of an O.T. promise (Acts 1:4; Luke
24:49; Ezek. 11:19-20; Ezek. 36:25-29; Isa. 32:15; Joel 2:28-32). Again, how
could Pentecost be the beginning of the Church, which is His Body, for it was
not in prophecy (Col 1:26 Rom 16:25; Eph. 3:9).
For additional copies please Contact
Lehighton Bible Church
Lehighton, PA 18235