THE THREE THOUSAND OF ACTS 2: WHEN WERE THEY BORN OF WATER AND SPIRIT?

 

 When were the 3,000 of Acts 2 (a) born of water (b) born of the Spirit (c) washed in the blood?

(1) ACTS 2:5. These were Jews, included in the class of men “dwelling in Jerusalem,” and coming from “every nation under heaven” (ACTS 2:9-11); they were devout men (ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς, ANDRES EULABEIS, men who are pious, religiously circumspect [Strong’s].  ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς “could refer to Jewish pilgrims who had come to the Feast… or to the Jews from the Diaspora who had moved to Jerusalem and were now permanent residents” [Rogers & Rogers, 231]). Robertson says “the lists in ACTS 2:9-11 are not linguistic, but geographical and merely illustrate how widespread the Dispersion (Diaspora) of the Jews was as represented on this occasion” (Robertson’s Word Pictures). Quoting one author, he notes four main divisions here: (I) The Eastern or Babylonian, like the Parthians, Medes, Elamites,  and Mesopotamians. (2) The Syrian like Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia. (3) The Egyptian like Egypt, Libya, and Cyrene. (4) The Roman (Ibid.).

(1.a) ACTS 2:6. Their reaction to the good news “which was noised abroad” (literally, “when this sound happened” [Alfred Marshall]) in various tongues was one of confoundedness  (συνεχύθη, SUNECHUTHE, aorist indicative passive, they were perplexed, confounded, confused, astonished, bewildered). Their confoundedness had a reason: Every man among them heard these baptized believers speak in his own language, in the tongue he was born and grew up with (cf. 2:8)!

(1.b) ACTS 2:7. Their other reaction was one of amazement (EXISTANTO, they were amazed, imperfect middle of EXISTĒMI, to stand out of themselves, meaning a wide-open astonishment [Robertson’s Word Pictures]).

(1.c) Their further reaction was one of marvel (ETHAUMAZON, they marveled, imperfect active. The imperfect speaks of an action continuing in the past. The wonder grew and grew! [Robertson’s Word Pictures]).

(1.d) That amazement and marvel showed itself in their statement, “Behold, are not all these Galileans?”

(1.e) “The Galileans spoke a rude Aramaic [MARK 14:70] and probably crude Greek vernacular also. They were not strong on language and yet these are the very people who now show such remarkable linguistic powers” (Robertson’s Word Pictures).

(1.f) ACTS 2:12. While many were indeed amazed and perplexed (DIĒPOROUNTO, they were perplexed, imperfect middle of DIAPOREŌ, to be wholly at a loss, an old verb used only in Luke and Acts. They continued  to be amazed, EXISTANTO,  and puzzled [Robertson’s]), yet there were also mockers among them (2:13).

(1.g) Those who were serious in the business of listening heard the gospel preached in its fullness: Jesus’ authority as attested by God through the miracles which He performed of which many among the Jews too had knowledge (2:22; cf. v. 36), His death at the hands of wicked and lawless men (2:23), His resurrection (2:24), His kingship in the kingdom they had been waiting for (2:25, 30, 34), and His exaltation (2:33-36).

(1.h) They who listened did so intently and realized their sins (2:36-37) and asked for relief for their troubled conscience and for the refreshing of their sinful souls (2:37).

(2) Peter led the opening of the kingdom, using the keys the Lord provided, and prescribed the cure for their sins. See below:

ACTS 2:38  And Peter said unto them, Repent ye (METANOĒSATE. First aorist ingressive active imperative.  Active, since it is the subject, “ye, you” (plural) who would do it. While the aorist pictures the action as a summary occurrence, in the ingressive sense it expresses the beginning of the action (“start doing it”) or the entrance into the state (“get into it”).  Imperative, since it is a command: “Change your mind and your life. Turn right about and do it now. You crucified this Jesus. Now crown him in your hearts as Lord and Christ. This is first” [Robertson’s])

(More can be learned about the aorist by clicking this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aorist_(Ancient_Greek).

and be baptized every one of you (KAI BAPTISTHĒTŌ HEKASTOS HŪMŌN. “And let each one of you be baptized,” “be immersed,” “be dipped”)

in the name of Jesus Christ (EN TŌI ONOMATI IĒSOU CHRISTOU, in accordance with the authority or command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19)

unto (εἰς, EIS, “with a view to” [Alfred Marshall])

the remission (ἄφεσιν, APHESIN, remission). ISBE defines remission as “exemption from the consequences of an offense, forgiveness”;  and adds, “sins are remitted when the offender is treated as though the offense had never been committed.”

of your sins (ἁμαρτιῶν, HAMARTION, from the Greek  noun HAMARTIA, “missing the mark”);

and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (TĒN DŌREAN TOU HAGIOU PNEUMATOS. Scholars believe that this is a case of genitive of identification, so they understand this phrase to mean “the gift which is the Holy Spirit” and ACTS 8:17 is used as proof [see Robertson’s Word Pictures]).

(3) I am inclined to believe that the law of salvation and admission into the kingdom began to be enforced in the time of ACTS 2. MATTHEW 28:18-20, MARK 16:15-16 and LUKE 24:46-47 demand that the world be made disciples of Jesus by the preaching of the gospel of His death, burial and resurrection, and such gospel was preached to many Jews who came from many places, to Jerusalem on Pentecost.

(3.a) The Mark passage demands faith; Acts 2 passage demands repentance; and all three demand that the subjects be baptized. These who obeyed Him underwent a rebirth, both of water and Spirit when they rose from the watery grave of baptism. That happened in ACTS 2.

(3.b) Were their sins washed away? Yes.

(3.c) ACTS 2:47 says those that were being saved were added to the church (KJV passage is used here). The church is the kingdom of God’s dear son (COLOSSIANS 1:13).

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THE 500 DISCIPLES: WHEN WERE THEY BORN OF WATER AND SPIRIT?

 

When were the 500 disciples (a) born of water, (b) born of the Spirit, and (c) washed in the blood?

(1) The only text that mentions the “five hundred brethren” is 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-6.

1 Now I make known (Γνωρίζω, GNORIDZO, present indicative active, to make known, “I draw your attention”)

unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached  unto you (ὃ εὐηγγελισάμην ὑμῖν, HO EUNGGELISAMEN HUMIN, aorist indicative middle, “the gospel that I myself preached to you”; “the gospel that I gospelized unto you” [Robertson’s Word Pictures]; “the good news that I good news-ed to you” [Jim Massey]. The gospel that was preached to the Corinthians included the facts to be believed and the commands to be obeyed),

which also ye received (ὃ καὶ παρελάβετε, HO KAI PARELABETE, aorist indicative active, “[the gospel] which you did receive also”),

wherein also ye stand (ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἑστήκατε, EN HO KAI ESTEKATE, perfect active indicative, “in [which gospel] you stand.” The perfect tense pictures the abiding results of their standing in the gospel after having received it),

2 by which also ye are saved (δι᾿ οὗ καὶ σώζεσθε, DI HOU KAI SODZESTHE, to save, to rescue, present indicative passive, the present tense portraying the continuing action of the saving and rescuing being performed on the believers. The theological passive structure portrays God as the one doing the saving and rescuing),

if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you (εἰ κατέχετε, EI KATECHETE, present indicative active, to hold down, to hold fast; indicative with εἰ is a first class conditional clause assuming that the condition is real [Rogers & Rogers, 384]. Saving and rescuing from every day sins continues as long as they hold on to the Word that has been preached to them),

except (ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ, EKTOS EI ME,  unless) ye believed (ἐπιστεύσατε, EPISTEUSATE, aorist indicative active)

in vain (εἰκῇ, EIKE, adverb, without cause, in vain, to no purpose).

3 For I delivered (παρέδωκα, PAREDOKA, aorist indicative active; the infinitive of this verb, PARADIDOMI, means “to deliver over, to pass on with authoritative teaching” [Rogers & Rogers, 384)

unto you first of all (ἐν πρώτοις, EN PROTOIS, in the first place, first of all. The words may indicate priority either in time or importance” [Rogers & Rogers, 384])

that which also I received (παρέλαβον, PARELABON, aorist indicative active, from PARALAMBANO, to receive, the same word Paul often used to express his reception of direct revelation):

that Christ died for our sins (Χριστὸς ἀπέθανεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, Christ died, literally, a crucial event recorded in history, in behalf of or over our sins. ἀπέθανεν, APETHANEN, died, is aorist active indicative) according to the scriptures (LUKE 22:37; 24:25; ACTS 2:25-27; 2:35; 13:24; 17:3).

4 and that he was buried (καὶ ὅτι ἐτάφη, KAI HOTI ETAPHE, aorist indicative passive, from THAPTO, to bury; not only did He die, the grave offered by Joseph of Arimathea, in which they put His body in, too was a witness that He indeed lost His life for our gain);

and that he hath been raised (καὶ ὅτι ἐγήγερται, KAI HOTI EGEGERTAI, perfect indicative passive, from EGEIRO, to raise. He died, He was buried, and He rose again! “The perfect tense emphasizes that Christ is risen and indicates a continuing condition which has given rise to a new state of affairs” [Rogers & Rogers, 385]. Paul makes this change of tense to emphasize the permanence of Christ’s resurrection. “He is still risen” [Robertson’s Word Pictures]) on the third day according to the scriptures;

5 and that he appeared (ὤφθη, OPTHE, aorist indicative passive of ORAO, to see. “The appearances were not just visions; he could be seen by human eyes” [Rogers & Rogers, 385]) to Cephas; then to the twelve;

6 then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once (ἐφάπαξ, EPHAPAX, at once, at one time),

of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep (This incident is the one described in MATTHEW 28:16, the prearranged meeting on the mountain in Galilee. The strength of this witness lies in the fact that the majority (HOI PLEIOUS) of them were still living when Paul wrote this Epistle, say spring of AD 54 or 55, not over 25 years after Christ’s resurrection” [Robertson’s Word Pictures]).

(2) There is no record in the Scriptures that the Five Hundred had been SET by God into the church, like He did the apostles. It is useless to speculate.

(3) There is no proof either that they had been baptized in water on Pentecost. If they had, their rising up from the baptistery would have been the beginning of their newness of life, their being born of water and of the Spirit.

(4) This is not to say that the 500 disciples had never been born of water and of the Spirit and that their sins had not been washed away. This is to point out that much difficulty lies in finding proofs to support this opinion. I wish we knew. But I am content with the fact that we humans know nothing about this. If God in his mercy and love chose not to reveal the how, it is still good, better and best for our souls. The Bible contains other facts that are for us, and commands to do to please Him. These alone are important, nothing else is.

THE 120 DISCIPLES: WHEN WERE THEY BORN OF WATER AND SPIRIT?

 

When were the 120 disciples (a) born of water, (b) born of the Spirit, and (c) washed by the blood?

(1) The number of persons gathered that day waiting for the Holy Spirit’s coming were one hundred and twenty (ACTS 1:15), but among these were the eleven apostles, and Matthias, and other disciples that included Mary and Jesus’ brethren, and the women (e.g. Mary Magdalene). The real number, not including the apostolic band, should be one hundred and eight.

(2) With Peter presiding, they began the process of choosing one to replace Judas the man from Kerioth. The fellow with three names, called Joseph Barsabas Justus, was not appointed. If he was, it would be the first time in history we have an apostle with three names! But instead it was Matthias. Why?  ACTS 1:24 tells us. The one hundred and twenty put forward two names, they prayed, they cast lots, but the Lord still had the final say.

(3) If you keep tracking the pronouns “they,” “them,” and “these,” etc. from ACTS 1:14 till ACTS 2:1-4, you will be forced to conclude that the one hundred and eight, together with the Twelve Apostles, were also recipients of the Holy Spirit baptism that came with the signs of rushing mighty wind that filled the house where they sat, and cloven tongues like fire that sat on each of them. The Holy Spirit filled the house with its power and filled each of them. That is the language that speaks of overwhelming power! They each spoke in the tongues familiar to their listeners (ACTS 2:8).

(4) Were they baptized together with the apostles? I am torn between two opinions. First is the affirmative answer. I based that by considering the pronouns from ACTS 1 to Acts 2. I am, in a manner of speaking, tracing the footprints.

ACTS 1:17  For he (Judas of Kerioth) was numbered among us (HEMIN)

ACTS 1:21 Of the men therefore that have companied with us (HEMIN)… all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us (HEMAS)

ACTS 1:22  beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he (the Lord Jesus) was received up (referring to His ascension) from us (HEMON), of these must one become a witness with us (HEMIN) of his resurrection.

ACTS 1:23  And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, and Matthias

ACTS 1:24  And they prayed

ACTS 1:26  And they gave lots for them

ACTS 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place.

ACTS 2:2  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

ACTS 2:3  And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them.

ACTS 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

If they had been baptized together with the apostles, the one hundred eight too were SET into the kingdom-church.  However there is NO passage that says they were.

(5) Were they too baptized in water on Pentecost day? I lean more toward the opinion that they were. There is no record however that says they joined the three thousand in the dunking (ACTS 2:38). It would be a cute doctrine if we could prove it. For if God had chosen them to set an example in obeying the great commission given to the apostles, JOHN 3:3-5 too had been fulfilled in their obedience.

(6) It is not easy to answer the questions WHEN were they born of water, WHEN were they born of the Spirit, and WHEN were their sins washed away. There is no Scripture to guide us to these “facts,” which simply means they are no facts at all.  This is not to say that they had not been born of water and of Spirit and that their sins had not been washed away. It is not easy to presume things for which one has no proof.

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