© Charles A. Clough 2001
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 6: New Truths of the Kingdom Aristocracy
Chapter 2 – The Earthy Origin of the Church
Lesson 172 – Faith-Rest Drill (Part 2): Trustworthiness of God: The Noahic Covenant
19 Apr 2001
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Let’s begin with the work sheet on the faith-rest drill; I’d like to start there. This is going to be the finishing up of this faith-rest drill that we’ve been going over because as we finish Pentecost we’re going to conclude this spring with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and that introduces us to other things, so this is sort of a summation of the faith-rest drill approach. I want to go through this outline because it contains some elements that are just really basic. Of course the first verse that I cite, Colossians 2:6 sort of normalizes all sanctification and grounds all sanctification tools, if we put it that way, as the same way you trust in Christ for the gospel. “As you have received Christ the Lord, so also walk in Him.” So it’s not some special thing that changes after we become a Christian. It’s we walk, as we became Christians, by faith.
Going through the points we’ve gone over: grabbing a fragment of Scripture, working with it in our souls until we can get to the point of stage three where we can trust. A little thing that I’ve noticed in Scripture and in my personal life and the life of other Christians is that it helps that when you reach out and grasp a Scripture or a promise or some piece and chunk of revelation in the Bible, that you think of this not as something that’s wholly contained in this book but rather is the words of the God who is out there. That’s why I say I’ve added this “with a dose of revelation and nature.”
If you look at Job 38 you’ll see dozens of questions where God goes after Job at a crisis point in his life, not by quoting one single verse of Scripture. Every one of those questions in Job 38 is [a] question about God’s revelation in Job’s environment. I think it’s interesting that that’s how God works with us sometimes. Maybe He works that way because we are so familiar with Scripture we’ve kind of got calloused to it. It’s sort of like a blunt knife that’s not sharp anymore, so God has to try another approach and He’ll work through circumstances or awareness of His revelation in our environment. Job 38 is a very nice chapter to read and reflect upon, it’s a counseling approach and it’s working with the issue of faith. So it’s interesting to try to ask well, when God Himself works through these problems with us on a one on basis, how does He do it? He does it by drawing attention to Himself as He really truly exists.
Psalm 19 is the great Psalm that points to God’s revelation in nature also. So remember that when you grab a Scripture fragment you’re grabbing a fragment of the Word of God who is out there. This makes it sometimes a little bit more real than just thinking of it as a text in the King James Version or the New ASV or something.
Another thing that I’ve added about this is that you can also refer to phenomena in nature. One of the ones I love is the rainbow. When I see a rainbow I always think of the Noahic Covenant because that’s His signature. And ever since I realized that the rainbow optically and physically is designed as a mirror image, or as a finite replica of the glory around the throne of God, that makes it much more real to me, that I’m actually viewing a projection in the sky from His throne, and that’s what we’re looking at every time we see a rainbow. Those kinds of approaches help mentally in working and starting off this faith-rest drill.
I’ve given eight verses that we’ve gone over, and now we come to step two and I want to show something about step two that might make it a little bit more personal. Before we go further in step two you notice that I put a little statement there in which I quote Matthew 8 and Matthew 17. I think it also helps to think of the fact that as Hebrews says it is impossible to please God without faith, that faith is what pleases Him. So since Jesus Christ is God and we can watch His response to faith or lack of faith, I want to take us to those two passages, because they illustrate, if we can look at Jesus’ response and Jesus is God incarnate, then by looking at Jesus’ response we ought to be able to look at God’s response.
Turn to Matthew 8:5, we could cite several illustrations in the gospels but I thought we’d pull two out of Matthew. Notice that what we say is what we’re trusting here, and I borrowed this from Joe Carroll in the Evangelical Institute in Greenville, South Carolina who makes a point of this in his prayer letters. What we’re trusting is, is in the trustworthiness of God. That’s a clever little statement, because if you look at the noun “trustworthy” it means that if we don’t trust we’re demeaning His character. So lack of faith is not just a psychological thing; lack of faith is not just a passive thing. It’s actually an insult; it’s a positive insult to God’s trustworthiness. If He is trustworthy and if we don’t deem Him trustworthy, then that’s insulting His character. Conversely if He is trustworthy and we trust Him, that pleases Him.
I’ve always been intrigued with this illustration in Matthew 8, it’s the story of the centurion but notice how it ends, there’s a little notice in the text. Remember the centurion’s background, a Roman, trained in the Roman army, trained in a structure that’s very authoritative and he has the concept of authority. “And when He [Jesus] had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, entreating Him,  saying, Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering great pain.  And He [Jesus] said to him [the centurion], ‘I will come and heal him.’  But the centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not qualified for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I too …” now look at the guy’s thinking here. “For I too am a man under authority,” so right away you can tell he’s recognized, if he’s saying that Jesus is under authority, then that implies that he’s already cognizant of the deity of Christ, nobody else is over Jesus, who else is over Jesus.
So there’s a lot to be said for what this centurion has thought through before he opened his mouth here. He said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.  Now when I heard this,” look at the response, if Jesus is God incarnate, then God Himself can “marvel?” God Himself can respond to trust. “Now when I heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.’ ” Then He goes on to predict the incoming of the Gentiles in the Kingdom of God.
What did this guy do that so excited and made this … this is a rather stupendous statement there in verse 10, that he says I’ve never found more faith in anyone else in Israel. And He’s talking to a Gentile. So what has this guy got onto that the Jews evidently hadn’t got onto? You notice that in verses 8–9 the guy is not singing, he’s not coming up with some sort of religious goo, he just has a basic idea, and the basic idea is that the Word of God is absolutely authoritative. And that’s what excites God. So again, if Jesus is God incarnate, then the verb in verse 10, “marveled” is what God must do when we trust in Him, when we take something by faith. It pleases Him, Hebrews 11:6. He marvels at it when we trust Him. So that’s kind of a neat way of thinking about the faith-rest drill as it’s not just a drill, it’s not a psychological technique, it’s fundament in a relationship with God Himself.
Conversely, turn to Matthew 17, here’s the other side of the coin. You can always learn by contrast. Not only do we learn what the truth is, we learn what the truth isn’t. Here’s a case where Jesus responds to a lack of faith. Again, if Jesus is incarnate, then logic would say this is a revelation of God’s own heart. In Matthew 17:14 it says, “And when they came to the multitude, a man came up to Him, falling on his knees before Him, and saying,  ‘Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is an lunatic, and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water.  And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.’  And Jesus answered and said,” now verse 17 is a not nice response, so here’s Jesus responding to the lack of faith of His disciples, “ ‘O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.’ ” Does this sound like God is a little frustrated? If Jesus Christ is God, then this is a revelation of His frustration.
So it goes back to what Joe Carroll said, you either trust the trustworthiness of God and we please Him or we don’t trust His trustworthiness, in which way we’re insulting Him. Either way there’s a response on His part to what our response is. Sometimes we have a very Greek intellectual abstract idea that creeps into our thinking about God as this sort of emotionless being, that has about as much emotion as a computer. That’s not true. God interacts and He has what corresponds to our emotions; He has what corresponds to what we call feelings. Look at the verbs of action that God does here.
I wanted you to see that to guard and protect you against visualizing this faith-rest drill as just a technique. It’s not just a technique, I said it’s a drill because it’s something we should go through and respond to. Okay, we’re on step two of the process. I have suggested five different things from the framework. You could pick out a whole bunch of other things. All I’m trying to show there is that when you get into this, when you finally hit a Scripture, or you finally think about something and you hope long enough in your soul to sort of meditate and get together, then it helps to bring up some of the things we’ve learned in the framework, because when we’ve learned these things in the framework over the years, we’ve always tried to learn in terms of an antithesis. What is the truth and what isn’t the truth.
If you will look at each of those five rows in that table, let me go through those and show the point. Go back to creation. How do you do that? Visualize it, not just the word “creation” but in your mind’s eye, with your own imagination, put yourself as an eyewitness to Genesis 1, and just think about the words of God. Imagine you’re looking at the universe being created, and just think about what it must have looked like for Him to say that in the middle of all the billions and billions of atoms and molecules that now exist, because they haven’t been destroyed, so every molecule out there, the atom structures were there, the atomic structures, in Genesis 1:1. So after He created the heavens and the earth, and all was without form and void, then He suddenly speaks and there is light, and there’s day and night before there are planets, and there is day and night before there’s sun, meaning that the whole universe is pulsing on what we call a twenty-four hour cycle, independently of the stars and the earth.
A twenty-four day is not due to the rotation of the earth around the sun; biblically the twenty-four-hour day is due to the fundamental time unit of Genesis 1, three days before there ever was a sun. So in this God sets off the day/night cycle, and this is the beat of the universe. That’s why we believe that there’s passages in the Bible, “Give us this day, our daily bread,” “take up daily your cross,” “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” The Bible measures as the fundamental unit of time, not the second, not the minute, it measures the fundamental unit of time as the day. That is an absolute measurement that pertains to the entire universe. The proof is that it preexisted planets, it preexisted astronomical motion.
Visualize being there and seeing the Word of God, He spoke and it was done, He commanded and it stood fast. What a powerful imaginative picture of the Word of God. That’s how you can absorb that creation idea and start playing with it in your mind, and let it run all through the nooks and crannies of your soul.
What doctrines have we associated with that? We associated a whole bunch of doctrines with it, we don’t have to go into those now but you can recall all kinds of stuff. In the chart we’ve talked about God, man and nature, but in this little chart all I’ve done is take off one little piece of the doctrine of God and I said “God and His revealed attributes versus imagined qualities,” and I put in italics what truth isn’t. So there’s a complete antithesis on the right side of that chart. The only option you have to a God with attributes, like the biblical God, is qualities like love, truth, that are just imaginations, they’re just imaginative constructions out of the human mind of speculation if they’re not grounded in His attributes.
I was talking to the missionary when he was here and he was narrating what happened when he was at Dallas Seminary, it was the last year of the career of Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, who for many years taught New Testament at Dallas Seminary, and of course over the years as the culture as gotten further and further away from the gospel, kids come to the seminary and they really are far out as far as what used to come to the campus 20, 30, 40 years ago.
S. Lewis Johnson was teaching a course in New Testament theology or something, on the attributes of God. He was halfway through the lecture and a student raised their hand and said, Dr. Johnson, will you please tell me what the attributes of God have to do with my personal life? And he said Johnson just about fainted, that anybody could be so stupid that they’re in Dallas Seminary and they don’t know what the attributes of God have to do with their personal life? I mean, do we talk about truth, love, justice, as personally relevant to you or not. Well, if they are relevant to you, then the attributes of God have to be relevant to you or you’ve got an idolatrous speculative and phony reconstruction of those attributes.
So you’ve either got the real thing or you’ve got a surrogate; you’ve got the God of the Bible or you’ve got an idolatrous replacement, but you’ve got one or the other because you can’t talk about truth, love, justice, knowledge and any of the other things that correspond to God’s attributes without relying on God’s attributes, or rebelling against Him and replacing in a rebellious fashion those attributes with your own little constructions. That’s what the attributes of God have to do.
Then we talked about the fall. So in your mind’s eye what would you do? Play the tape. This is why reading the Scripture is so valuable. Don’t ever demean reading the Bible, even if it’s only for a couple minutes. Look what we learn from a three minute commercial on television, they stick in your mind. Well, three or four minutes in the Word of God can stick in your mind, so read the Bible. Then replay the tape, so you can think through, okay, suffering situation, big mess, where does the framework tell you this started? The Fall. So visualize the situation, visualize Adam and Eve and you’re the video cameraman, and you’re taking a picture of this whole thing and you’re running the drama back through your mind’s eye, and you visualize them hiding, and God’s cursing the ground, God cursing the serpent, and now they’re going to start dying. Right away their whole physiology, right away their whole anatomy, starts to change because now the human body has death working in it. And we share that. You know, DNA, this DNA comes from Adam and Eve—it’s dying; your DNA is dying, it’s all corrupted; so the Fall.
On the right side of the graph you think okay, now I’ve run the tape in my mind, what does it tell me? Well, it tells you that evil began in a point in time and it’s going to be ended at a point in time in the sense that God’s going to judge it, and He’s going to separate it, and it’ll be eternally partitioned, good from evil forever and ever and ever. And that’s relief. So evil is not some process that’s out of control. It wasn’t there and then suddenly it came into existence at creature rebellion.
So no matter how horrible whatever you read in the newspaper, whatever you personally witness … I was talking to someone who came back from South Africa and they were saying that while they were there, this man’s wife was in Habitat for Humanity and they were in South Africa and he said I never saw so many dead people in my life, he said I drove along the road and there was a big bus wreck and they just left the bodies on the side of the road, spilled all over the place, blood all over, you just drive on by. And a big riot, people shooting at each other and they leave them in the streets and go on, corpses all over the place, I never saw so many corpses in my life. That’s shocking, that’s kind of a messy situation that people run into; a hospital, a messy situation.
All these situations that we encounter remind us of death. Instead of freaking out about it and saying oh God, how could you let a horrible thing … and you slide right into the accusation, now it’s not our fault, it’s God’s fault. Wait a minute, hold it, what’s the event that defines and controls this issue? The fall. What do we know about the fall? Start and end, boom. That’s subduing, that’s using the Word of God to subdue a situation. Then to think about the alternative, again in italics. What are you going to do if you don’t do this? Okay, I don’t want to believe the Word of God. Okay, then where does that leave me? Only one place. Now I’ve got …, imagine, notice I always indicate “imagine” because that’s not the truth. The lie is not the truth—it’s imagination, it’s a vain imagination. So you can circle imagine, imagine, imagine, imagine, every one of those things on the right side because that’s the verb. It’s just an “imagine.” It’s a vain imagination, and the vain imagination is that the good/evil mixture will go on and on and on forever. Do you really think that? Then you’ve got a problem, a real one, because you’re never going to escape it.
Then we could come to a covenant, the Noahic Covenant, the rainbow, maybe you’re outdoors and see the rainbow and say okay, that reminds me of God’s covenant. What does that mean? That God has a contract. What is a contract? A contract is with nature. It wasn’t Al Gore that thought up ecology. God created the Noahic Covenant a number of years before Al Gore arrived on the scene. And in constructing this covenant He not only controls the terrestrial environment, what else does He control in order to execute the promise? He has to control the whole universe, because if He doesn’t control the whole universe you could have an asteroid or something else come by the earth and create a tidal wave that would inundate the earth.
So in order to protect the planet from any problem with the Noahic Covenant He’s got to also control the external environment around the earth, but to control that environment He has to control the celestial environment around the solar system; in order to do that, etc., etc., etc., it’s an infinite regression. If He doesn’t control it all He can’t control any. So the fact that God can make a statement of what He can and cannot do in the terrestrial environment implies that He has total control of the entire universe throughout all history.
So we have a geophysical contract. What does that mean? It means in spite of all the scientific theories and everything else, everything is under His administration, versus imagined uniformity and chance. And that’s the only alternative you’ve got. Try to think in terms of basic alternatives and you won’t be thrown by the tides of life. Fortunately for us, finite creatures, there are only two or three answers to every big question. There are not fifty-seven varieties here. We’re not talking about an infinite number of questions that you spend your whole lifetime thinking about. There are only two or three answers to every basic question, and there are only five or six basic questions. So it’s a very small plate for all this stuff, it’s just that we don’t think about it much, too busy thinking about useless details.
The next group is a cluster, and this is how you can also work with the framework, by clustering like events. What I’ve done there in the cluster is I’ve clustered the flood, the Exodus, the death of Christ, and the session of Christ. Why did I cluster those particular four things? Because they all have to do with God’s judgment and the act of saving, and any one of those four can be visualized. The session of Christ may be hard, that’s more demanding on our imaginations because nobody has ever seen the session of Christ, other than the Apostle Paul and Stephen and a few others have seen Him on the throne. Most of us have never see that so we have to kind of in our minds eye generate the imagery out of Scripture. So what do we have here? We have a revelation of God’s saving work or the only alternative to God’s saving work is what I put in italics, the imagined self-help human good scheme. That’s the only option you’ve got. You can go to the fence and really see if the grass is greener on the other side. That’s what this whole exercise is about, is it really greener?
Then the conquest and settlement, you can think about that in terms of an either/or, either the sanctifying program of God in your life or the life is purposeless, it’s going nowhere with no background, no drive, not direction. The diagram that I’ve put there is to show the amoeba thing of surrounding whatever the crisis, trial or circumstances are with the plan of God and the purpose and the Word of God. And you’ve got to, sometimes it’s easy to do and sometimes it’s not easy to do and sometimes it takes a long time to go through step two. Step two can vary from a split second to days of working with this, or weeks, sometimes months in certain areas of getting a handle … and by getting a handle, the reason I like that diagram that I have there is that it shows you, it’s putting it in the squeeze where you’re cutting off any option other than the Word of God to deal with that situation. There are no other answers than that which is given by the Word of God. And I believe that if you concentrate on that you will find it very easy to trust God. But the times and the places where we have difficulty trusting God, we really haven’t encircled it. That’s the problem. It’s loose and it’s trying to encircle us. There’s this little game that’s being played there. And it all occurs up here, in the head. We all know that’s the battleground of the Christian life, it’s not in Congress; the battleground of the Christian life is in our heart and this is the stuff that goes on there.
Finally we get down to the faith-rest and we get down to the summary, either we have confidence that what He has promise He is able also to perform, or we’ve sucked up some vanity out of the world system. One or the other!
Tonight we’re going to get back to Pentecost and Joel 2, so turn there. We want to look at Joel and pretend for just a moment that you’ve taken a time machine and you’ve gone back into the 7th and 8th centuries BC, you are now living in Palestine and you’re listening to Joel the prophet. So we’re all thinking of ourselves as the recipients of this text, we’re thinking of ourselves as Jews living in that age of the declining kingdom, faced with a national judgment, faced with prophets who are saying we are going to get creamed, that our nation is going down the tube and is under the hand of God and we are shortly going to experience discipline, but these prophets are saying … if there’s evil in history, is evil bounded or is it loose? It’s bounded. So the prophets, while they proclaim God is going to cream the nation, He’s not going to do it eternally. There is hope that finally the problem will be resolved. So there’s always hope in the cursings. The cursings go to a point and then they promise salvation.
In Joel 2:28, he’s talking about afterward, “And it will come about after this,” in other words after all the destruction, after all the evil, after all the heartache, “it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind,” all flesh, “and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  And even on the male and female servants I will pour our My Spirit in those days.  And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke.  The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.  And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”
So you see at the end of the text we’re talking about the survivors, the remnant, and it’s arguing that the great day of the Lord will come and there will be survivors of this whole process that will enter the Kingdom of God. So that’s the end of this passage. Verses 28–29 talk about a phenomenon prior to the great day of the Lord God, and that phenomenon is a pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh and in context how is all flesh explained? It’s explained as “sons, daughters, old men, young men, male and female servants. That’s what “all flesh” means. So what is that saying? There are no class distinctions in this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is a powerful thing, right back here …, this is where some of these liberal bullies that are in college classrooms like to pick on Christian kids in class and they get a big thrill out of seeing how many kids faith they can destroy, using taxpayer financed dollars because they can’t get jobs anywhere else so they have to go to the college campus and get on tenure.
We have these people who are saying that the Old Testament is patriarchal, anti-feminine. What do you make of this passage? In the end of history, where is history moving? It’s moving to the point where the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out on what? Just the patriarchs, or is it going to be poured out on all flesh in every area? Come on people, read this, this is English, it’s not Hebrew, anybody can read this, all you have to do is open the book. Verses 30–32 are talking about geophysical phenomenon and it’s talking about horrible things and it’s demonstrating the fact that God is in control of history.
Now here Peter is, he’s there within minutes of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, manifest by the noise, by the tongues of fire, and by supernatural languages. And I hope there’s nobody here that doubts that in Acts 2 this is not some lah-lah-lah-lah-lah kind of language. This is actual human language that was understood, [that] had dictionaries [and] lexicons. These were languages that were really spoken, not so-called unknown tongues. [These were] known languages; unknown to the people who were speaking them, but to the people that heard them they weren’t unknown, or they wouldn’t have recognized that they were in their own dialects with their own accents.
In verse 14, Peter picks up Joel 2 and people think that what he’s saying here is that Pentecost totally fulfills all those things we read about in Joel. Now if Pentecost really totally fulfills everything in Joel 2, what do we do about how we interpret the geophysical events? Are there any geophysical … is the sun turning dark here, is the moon turning red, is there smoke and fire all over the place? I don’t see any. That wasn’t there at the time of Pentecost. Therefore, if this fulfills Joel 2 it logically follows that you have to change your literal interpretation into an allegorical interpretation and say that the Joel passage has to be understood allegorically. We don’t believe that approach works; it may appear to work here and there, but let’s go on.
In verses 17–18 Peter quotes that first section about the pouring out of the Spirit, then he adds, and in your Bibles some of the translations have the text of that Old Testament quote so it’s set off, so you can see what’s part of the quote and what isn’t. That last clause in verse 18, “and they shall prophesy” is not part of the Joel passage. That “and they shall prophesy” is Peter’s comment on the Joel passage, and shows you what’s going through his mind. The thing he wants us to get out of that Joel passage is that what happened on Pentecost with the Holy Spirit coming upon the guys, whether they were high priests or not high priests, they were mostly Galilean laymen, we would call them, and they were all having this strange ability to speak in tongues, to prophesy, i.e., to preach the things of the works of God. That’s what Peter is saying. He’s saying Joel spoke of this kind of thing happening.
Then it says, verse 19, “And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.” So he quotes that again, the second part of the Joel passage, and in verse 22 he explains to us what’s going on in his mind when he quotes those passages. He says, because of the word “signs and wonders,” “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—” it’s not a subjective opinion, it was public, it wasn’t private, it was public revelation. Verse 23, “This man …  God raised Him up again,” etc. So, clearly Peter is talking about two things from this Joel passage. One, he is drawing our attention to the preaching and prophesying in miraculously known human languages, and he associates that phenomenon of speaking in tongues or speaking in languages with the Joel passage. So let’s diagram the logic of what he’s doing.
He’s saying that the Old Testament forecast, predicted this pouring out of the Spirit. And one of the evidences of that was prophesying. Now what he says is that clearly the prophesying has happened, so he’s linking this with Pentecost, with the tongues or the known languages. And that was a miracle. But he does more than that, because when you go back to verse 33, he qualifies the source of the languages as being sent by whom? Who is the real driving subject in verse 33? It’s the Lord Jesus Christ, “He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” Who’s the subject of the verb “poured?” It’s the Lord Jesus Christ. What he’s saying, then, is … the thrust in Acts 2 and Pentecost is often made over the signs, the wonders and the tongues. But if you look at the logic of what Peter is doing, what he’s really showing is that Jesus Christ is Jehovah.
In other words, this pouring out of the Spirit, God caused it, so when you see the known languages and he deduces that it was the Lord Jesus Christ who poured out the Spirit, then it makes the Lord Jesus Christ equal to God. So he’s saying this is what was prophesied by Joel, that God is going to pour out the Spirit and He has. And the medium of doing this is the Lord Jesus Christ. So the whole point of the logic is to focus on the person of Jesus Christ and who He is. He’s not just a man, He went into heaven at the ascension and session, sat down, it says in verse 33, at “the right hand of God,” and from the he received the promise. Why does he use the word “promise?” Because Jesus Christ said after I leave you I’m going to send the Holy Spirit to you, John 14. So He received “the promise” and He poured it forth “which you both see and hear.” What did they see and hear? The known languages. So there was an empirical observed audio and video type detection of a pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
The second thing that he does in verses 19–20, he points out the miracles, and we said in verse 22 the miracles are those which Jesus Christ did. Did Jesus Christ turn the moon into blood? No. Did Jesus Christ have blood, fire and vapor of smoke? Not that we know of, it’s not reported in the New Testament. Well then why does he link verses 19–20 to verse 22 that way? Because the Lord Jesus Christ showed that He had dominion over nature. What did He do on the Sea of Galilee when he stopped the storm? What did He do every time He healed a sick body? Is that dominion over the physical universe? Of course it is. Is it on the scale and grandeur of those astronomical predictions of Joel? No. But the point is you can argue from the lesser to the greater that the Lord Jesus Christ had control over these lesser manifestations and that alone shows you that He will eventually have control over the larger manifestations. Because if you can heal bodies and if you can stop storms on the Sea of Galilee, then you can do the rest of them okay.
So he’s not emphasizing the details of the miracles so much as he’s saying …, again the Old Testament says before the day of the Lord there will be these miracles. We’ll call them miracles “G”, i.e., miracles of a geophysical nature. But he says the Lord Jesus Christ did miracles, we’ll just call them the smaller ones. But the emphasis isn’t on the difference in miracles; the emphasis is that the Lord Jesus Christ did them. And because the Lord Jesus Christ did them, that makes Him God, so again the identity and the stress is on the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is God, He does the works of God, and from now on Israel has to take this very, very seriously, that they crucified the incarnate God. Do you see why they got convicted of their sin? You talk about rebellion against God, I mean, if Jesus Christ is really God and they tried to kill Him, what does this show about sin? That when God visits the planet He gets crucified? Isn’t that a glorious testimony to the inhabitants of planet earth? Imagine if you did have councils like Star Wars, and all the rest of the planets are saying you did WHAT! That’s the force of Peter’s dialogue.
Of course the resurrection gets in there, we pointed out the resurrection, so on page 33 of the notes I’ve tried to diagram the logic of what Peter is doing here. Then we want to conclude by going to Acts 3 to show you furthermore how Peter is interpreting this in the light of Pentecost, what he’s doing with the Pentecost phenomenon. Page 33, “What, then, is Peter’s interpretation of Pentecost?” Stop right there. Why am I talking about Peter’s interpretation of Pentecost? Turn to page 35 and you’ll see. Who is the next guy we’re going to talk about? “Luke’s and (Paul’s) interpretation.” So quite clearly I’m trying to show that there’s a difference here that you have to come to grips with when you read the New Testament. Something is going on in the book of Acts.
So back to page 33, what is Peter’s interpretation of Pentecost? There are three points in that paragraph; notice what they are. “The Old Testament foretold a new work of the Holy Spirit prior,” notice the word “prior,” [blank spot] … not worried about being in the Kingdom, they’re still not yet in the Kingdom, it has not yet come. “The Old Testament foretold a new work of the Holy Spirit prior to the Kingdom,” remember Joel said after these things, before the great day of the Lord, “which included new revelation coming through many different Jews and miraculous disturbances in the natural environment.”
The second point, “the Old Testament foretold that the Davidic Messiah would not succumb to death.” The third point, “Jesus foretold His ascent into heaven and dispatching of the Spirit to earth,” remember, that was the Upper Room Discourse in the Gospels.
“The logic then refers to actual historical events:” and I left out a point here, so if you’ll write this point in, the first point, “Jesus performed miracles that disturbed some parts of man’s natural environment (in most cases the natural environment of his body). The second point that you should add, that’s not in the notes is: “Jesus rose from the dead.” Third point, “new revelation was given through miraculous language on Pentecost.” That’s what happened historically. So everything in this paragraph, these three points, those are the last events we studied in Christ’s life, His resurrection, His ascension and session, and Pentecost, that’s three events.
So the first cluster of three is what the Old Testament predicted. The second cluster of three is what historically occurred, and next we have two points where Peter ties the two clusters together and draws conclusions. He says the Old Testament said this, history shows you this, and here is the end of the matter.
“The logic finally deduces that Jesus Christ is the King of the Coming Kingdom because: as resurrected, ascended and seated Messiah He now stands in the role of Yahweh” whom? By substituting the Lord Jesus Christ’s role into the role of Yahweh in the Old Testament, he has shown (Jehovah’s witness here in the true sense of the word) “as resurrected, ascended and seated Messiah He now stands in the role of Yahweh in sending the Holy Spirit to believing Jews.” Secondly, “as incarnate God He performed miracles of enough magnitude to qualify as the One Who will one day perform the specifically prophesied miracles in the Joel passage which brings in the pre-Kingdom judgments.” It’s not that these are the pre-Kingdom judgments.
Why, by the way, let’s back up one step. Why is it that the miracles that Jesus did did not yet amplify into the great signs and wonders? What cut Jesus off? It was the rejection. Halfway through each Gospel what happened? The multitude did not believe. So the answer is well why didn’t Jesus do the big miracles? Well why didn’t the people believe? He’s not going to do miracles, because what did He say? To this generation there will be no sign given except the sign given to Jonah, which is the resurrection. He said I don’t give you any more signs, you haven’t believed the signs you’ve got, why should I give you any more. So the amplification of all these signs is truncated by the rejection of Jesus Christ nationally.
Now we go to Acts 3 just to show you more of the flavor of the book of Acts. This is why you cannot come driving into the book of Acts at forty-five miles an hour and read it and think you’re going to go back to the New Testament church here. There’s a lot of stuff in the book of Acts, it’s ca very complicated book. I diagram the book of Acts this way: the role of the kingdom is very strong in early Acts; the role of the Kingdom declines as you go through the book of Acts. In the beginning of Acts the role of the church is hardly seen; as you get to the end of the book of Acts it’s entirely the church. The book of Acts is a dispensational transition from Israel to the church. That’s why unless you’re a dispensationalist you can’t detect what’s going on here. If you don’t distinguish between the church and Israel you’ll never understand the book of Acts.
In the book of Acts, in Acts 3 something else happens that shows you the problem of this book. It talks about Peter and John, the incident, with the beggar, verses 5–6, and then he begins to leap and walk and all the people see him, etc. Then Peter, verse 12, Peter starts another sermon, and he says, “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this, or why do you gaze at us as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?” By the way, that’s a neat confession of humility. See how he draws attention to Jesus Christ—“Hey, look, forget it, don’t worry about me, I didn’t do this by myself, this is the work of God.” Immediately the humility of this guy, he’s out there in front of a crowd, he’s preaching in a strong voice but he has mental attitude humility because he draws attention not to himself, but draws attention to the source of the miracle which is God.
In verse 13, he goes back to what? What is he really getting back to? Whenever you see “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” what event should you think of? The call of Abraham and what covenant? The Abrahamic Covenant. The Bible is always covenantal. So he goes back to this Old Testament covenant, and he talks about the promised Jesus, he says [verse 14] “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,  but put to death the Prince of life,” this is pretty harsh language. You just imagine you listening to this and imagine Peter sticking it right in your face. How would you like this? I don’t think I’d like it, I mean, this is pretty convicting stuff. He’s very, very blunt here in verse 14, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.” You “put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead,” so you didn’t win that one either.
Verse 16, “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of all.  And now, brethren, I know you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.” You’re stupid but you had stupid leaders. Verse 18, “But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets,” now what is he quoting? Old Testament, see, it’s all heavy, heavy, heavy into the Old Testament. “… that as Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.  Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that” now watch the language in verse 19, “in order that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.  and that” he may do what to Jesus? “may send Him,” Second Advent. Right here you begin to see the First and Second Advents distinguished and developed. He’s going to send Him.
Verse 21, “Whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things, about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” That’s the Kingdom of God of the Old Testament, like Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, all those guys.
Verse 25, “It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham,” see, covenant, [“and if your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”] Verse 26, “For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
This is an invitation; it is an invitation to the men of Israel. No Gentiles are in here; this is a Jew-Jew business. This is a Jewish apostle, Peter, talking to a Jewish audience who has crucified a Jewish Messiah because of a Jewish covenant. No Gentiles involved, this is all Jewish, it is all Kingdom, the Church is not here, there’s no talk about union with Christ, there’s no talk about the Christ-life, there’s no talk about our position in Christ or any of that. It’s all Jewish, Israel and Kingdom.
Let’s conclude by turning to a parable that predicted this was going to happen. And in your notes on page 34 I draw attention to the guy who pointed this out years ago, Alva McClain. Look at this, seven verses in Matthew 22; look at the details and then we’ll look at Alva McClain’s quote. “And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying,  The kingdom of heaven” same Old Testament Kingdom, “may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.  And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.  Again,” notice Again, “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, ‘Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.’  But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business,  and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.  But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their” what on fire? “Their city on fire.”
Isn’t this an interesting thing? Look at what McClain pointed out years ago about these seven verses, page 34 of the notes: It’s “certainly a reference to our Lord’s finished work of redemption at Calvary. Such a call could not have gone out until after the Resurrection. But again the call is rejected,” stop there and go back to Matthew 22:2–3, look at this again, the King gave a wedding feast for his son, the feast there is a picture of the Kingdom to come. Everything’s waiting for the party to begin, so it’s an invitation to party, and in verse 3 “he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding,” who are those who had been invited? Jews, or Gentiles? It’s the Jews. He sent to “those who had been invited,” all through the Old Testament the Jews were invited, invited, invited, invited, invited, invited, to the Kingdom, to the Kingdom, to the Kingdom.
“He sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.” That’s the Gospels. Notice a difference in verse 4, now he sends “other slaves,” so it’s a different group of people, “saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited,” so it’s the same audience, “‘Behold, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered,” etc., but notice in verse 5, and contrast verse 5 to the last clause in verse 3. The first invitation goes out and what’s the response? They’re unwilling to come. The second invitation comes out, and what happens in verse 6? They begin to kill the slaves who are doing the inviting. Do you see any killing in verse 3? No killing? The first invitation is simply negative volition, it’s rejection. The second invitation is followed by murder and physical persecution.
Now go to page 34 and see what McClain points out here. “The call is rejected, this time by actions which help identify it in biblical history: some Jews would turn away with contemptuous indifference, according to the parable, while others would mistreat and kill the messengers (verse 6). This points to the post-Pentecostal offer, as described in the Book of Acts, when the officials of Israel did exactly that. During the gospel period,” notice this, “during the gospel period not an official disciple of Christ was killed by the Jews, but during the period of Acts the terrible persecution and killing of the messengers began. There is no third call,” - only two invitations and then the judgment falls. [“There is no third call for this generation of Israel, but judgment falls:] the King sends forth his armies, destroys the murderers, and burns their city—a parabolic prediction of the awful destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (verse 7).”
So then what’s the second invitation? Acts, early Acts is when the apostles once again turned to Israel after they crucified Christ and they say if you will turn again the times of refreshing will come to you. So just as the Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist asked the Jews to accept Messiah and the Kingdom could come, so in the early pages of the book of Acts there’s a hypothetical possibility that the Kingdom still could come then. There would have been no Church Age. Why? Because this is a genuine invitation, it’s a genuine offer to the Jews who had rejected Jesus Christ. And it can’t be a genuine offer unless it’s a genuine opportunity for the Kingdom to have come. So as far as Peter knows, by the end of chapter 3 and into chapter 4 of Acts, as far as he knows the Kingdom was still as imminent in his day as it was in John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ day. After all, there’s only a year or two difference here, so we’re not talking big time. This is the way you have to look at the early Acts, it is not focused on the church; it is not Church Age evangelism here. This is an invitation as Jewish as anything in the Gospels.
Next time we’re going to go later in the book of Acts, page 35 of the notes and we’re going to begin to see that things start changing. As Israel has rejected that second invitation, as Israel and the nation is headed toward the disaster of AD 70, there now begins to emerge an awareness that something else happened on Pentecost, and that something else is what involves us.
Question asked: Clough replies: The question is how come we have so many of the Jews today that don’t recognize the Messiah. Paul’s answer in Romans 9, 10, and 11 is that blindness has come upon Israel, and he’s getting that idea … by the way, he didn’t invent that, that’s not new with Paul, he got that out of the Old Testament. A guy did his thesis many years ago at Dallas on Isaiah 6 and I’ve always been intrigued with his point. Isaiah 6, usually people get in there and it’s true, that’s the great image when Isaiah is transformed and he sees God and he looks upon Him, and that’s where we get our hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy,” I think one of the greatest hymns of the church, so he sees the glory of God and people look on that as a great missionary thing, I send you out, etc.
But he points out that if you look carefully in that passage in Isaiah, you’ll see that his calling is to blind Israel. Well, why is God blinding Israel with this? How do you blind somebody, you know there are ways of blinding people, and one of the ways is to shine a bright light in their eyes. One of the bad things about night vision goggles is that if you have a flash, you can really immobilize somebody that’s sitting there looking with night vision goggles. The point is that it appears that God’s method when people reject, is to turn up the light for a while, until it really blinds them.
He did this with Pharaoh in Egypt, Pharaoh rejected the miracles that Moses did, so what did God do? He gave him some more miracles, and the Bible describes that as a process of deliberately hardening Pharaoh’s heart. So God has that … and it’s not to say ha-ha, we believed and they didn’t. It’s really to be prayerfully concerned because He can do that to anyone. If you don’t respond to the light you’ve got, the light you have is taken from you, and it can be done in a number of ways. It can disappear or it can amplify to the point where you’re blind and apparently something like that has happened to the Jewish nation.
However, to put it in perspective, I have a Hebrew Christian friend, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, who never gets tired of pointing out that percent wise, if you work on a piece of paper with a pencil, and you put the number of Jews who have believed in the Messiah who are living today, and the denominator of the fraction, you put the total number of Jews that are living, you get a percent, I forget what it is. And if you compare that with another fraction, and the numerator you put the number of Christians total on the earth’s surface, and in the denominator if you put the total earth’s population, you’ll see that they are not much different.
So ironically the percent of Jews believing is about the same as the percent of Gentiles believing. It’s just that we don’t see that because here in the west there’s more Gentiles, kind of, that are into Christianity things, but if you think about it, look at China.
Quite a few people live in China, and most of them are Confucianists, most of them. There’s a church in China, yes, and there’s a vibrant church. It’s a persecuted church and they’re sort of hanging on, humanly speaking, by their fingernails, but it’s growing. So you have the Chinese church, it’s small, and you have the Russian church, very small, you could count the Christians in North Africa probably on two hands. So when you think in terms of percent of belief, it’s not that off, it’s not that much off.
As far as how they justify that, keep in mind that their dialogue with the Christian church over the centuries has hardened them against certain passages in the Old Testament. For example, no Jew today, or very few Jews today ever think of Isaiah 53 as speaking of the Messiah. You’ve got a problem because it’s very difficult to see anything in that passage except the Messiah, but they’ve evolved a method and a tradition of interpreting Isaiah 53 out of Messianic things by making Israel the suffering servant. There’s a lot of that stuff and if you trace it historically, you will find that most of it started between AD 700–1200.
That’s when a lot of this stuff got started, so it got started really late actually because the early church the first 50–100 years had a lot of Jews in it. After all, it was 100% Jewish when it started. As Gentiles came in, and that’s another thing, Rabbi Leopold Cohn who was the founder of the American Board of Missions to the Jews once wrote a little tract, I read it many years ago when I was a new Christian, having lived around New York City I was very conscious of a lot of Jewish friends of mine. So when I became a Christian I read that tract, there were many tracts by Leopold Cohn and this one was What it Has Cost the Church to Withhold the Gospel From the Jews.
His point in there was that the church really hasn’t actively evangelized Jews; they’ve been very poor actually. Only in our generation and only since about 1940 have there been serious missionary efforts at the Jewish race. It’s just been a series of antagonisms down through the centuries. But Leopold Cohn argued that had the church instead evangelized the Jew in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd centuries, it would have saved the church a lot of theological grief because had there been Jews in the church in those years, you’d never have amillennialism start because the Jewish mind is always thinking in terms of the Old Testament Kingdom. They would never confuse Israel with the church, so you wouldn’t have had that mess that we’ve inherited from the Reform tradition from Roman Catholicism. So it has cost us, not evangelizing the Jew and not getting interaction. Today the most outstanding prophecy teachers are Hebrew Christians. Tommy isn’t Jewish, he’s a Gentile, but there are a number of great Hebrew Christians …
Question asked: Clough replies: That’s a good point, that if you look at the actual way they study the Bible, they don’t. What they do is they study their traditions of studying the Bible, so what you have is books like the Mishnah. If you ever see it, it’s just fun to kind, get hold of the Jewish Mishnah sometime. Danby’s translation is the one I use. You look at that Mishnah and what’s so neat about it is it preserves their interpretations of the Old Testament. I have never had the patience to read through the thing, there are little formulas there on how you can cook an egg on the Sabbath day without cooking it. These are the “crucial questions” that concern their Bible study, because of tradition, you’re not supposed to work on the Sabbath day, so what do you do about cooking an egg
Does that work? Rabbis have fights over whether cooking an egg is to be allowed on the Sabbath day, so it’s very similar to our government bureaucracy. I’ve often said, having worked in the government so long, I work in an environment that’s very much like the Pharisees of the New Testament. The arguments that go behind the scenes, whether it’s this regulation or whether it’s that sub paragraph, or this one, or should we do this or should we do that, it’s like a bunch of lawyers fighting each other all the time. And that’s very Jewish, that’s exactly the Jewish spirit, arguing and fighting over … not the original law but all the little interpretations that have come in for the last thousands of years over the text.
I think you see this today. To make an analogy, the United States Constitution was originally a pretty simple document. Think about it, you can carry it around in your pocket, and we really should as American citizens. I wish I could get … somewhere there must be little paperback copies of the Constitution, like a tract or something, and it would refresh us as Americans at least once a year read it, because it is so obviously simple. Yet, you walk into a law library and holy mackerel, there are books and books and books about what the court said about this and this and that and you begin to think, did the early fathers of our country when they wrote this mean all that? Are you guys kidding or what? There’s a remarkable analogy between the Constitution of the United States and the legal profession, and the Old Testament and Orthodox Judaism. The Reformed Jewish people and the liberal Jews don’t even bother to read this, they laugh at it. It’s an ancient book to them.
Question asked: Clough replies: This is a good question about isn’t it remarkable to see Peter’s subtlety in Acts 2, for a (quote) “simple business man.” And the guy that you meet in the Gospels, impetuous, and you don’t think of him as calming down and thinking things through and coming up with this stuff, which he looks like he just came up with it on the spur of the moment. Is that due to the post-Pentecostal work of the Holy Spirit? Let me back up and comment on this. That’s an observation that liberal higher critics use to demean the Scriptures by saying that that’s a reconstruction. Peter never could have done that, that’s the church speaking, that’s the church later on putting words into Peter’s mouth. Of course as Christians we can’t buy that, we have to say yes, it did come out of Peter’s mouth, the question is how much of it came out of his brain versus how much came out of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know. But it’s not apparently just a peculiar thing that happened after Pentecost.
If you want a more amazing example of that, coming out of a person you’d never think was deeply subtle is Mary’s magnificat. Here she is, a young teenage girl and you read that magnificat and you look at the theology that little teenager girl is coming out with, where did she learn all that stuff. Holy mackerel, do fifteen-year-old Jewish girls sit down and think through covenantal theology of a Messianic line?
Then let’s go back further, let’s go back to those Psalms of David. Where did he start thinking in terms of the crucifixion, in Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me,” and it’s like they’re transformed. The only way I can say it is that apparently when the Holy Spirit spoke to these people there was something very profound that happened. Paul said he was transformed to the third Heaven. We make light of that because it seems so spooky to us in our modern milieu where these things don’t happen, but Paul said he had this experience in which he thinks he might have gone to the third Heaven, he wasn’t sure, but he had this experience and he said I saw things I can’t even speak of. So whatever the Holy Spirit does to the souls of these people, it’s an amazing thing.
I think the lesson to learn about this, for all of us, is that that shows you that when you read in the New Testament “be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit” people often say that’s an analogy, that the filling of the Spirit is like … you know, you’re controlled by the Spirit like you’re controlled by alcohol. I don’t think so; I think it’s a contrast, not a comparison.
When you’re controlled by alcohol what happens to your brain? It’s dulled. But when you’re controlled by the Spirit what happens to your mind? It’s stimulated. And I think the Holy Spirit gives tremendous clarity and vision at times. And that’s the only explanation I know for explaining what Peter is doing here because he challenges … look at us, theologians for 1,900 years have looked at this Acts 2 passage and said gee, that’s deep stuff Peter, where’d you get that? So he may have surprised himself on that day, I don’t know.
But it is a very legitimate question here, we see profound things out of people that we are simple, and the only answer to that is that they walked so close to the Lord, the Lord was so close to them that there’s a greater mind at work. That’s the only way I can explain it. I don’t think he thought through, and some of this stuff I don’t think he did think through. You know why you get this impression? Because if you read the New Testament carefully and spend a number of years reading it, and then you go to the library and you pick up the church fathers, AD 100–150 and you start reading them, do you know the impression you get is that these guys are trying to mimic the language of the New Testament, but it’s like a kid that’s heard his parents use words and they try to go out and use the same word and they’re using it funny, and you realize that the kid is just using the word but he really doesn’t know what the word means. That’s the impression you get from the church fathers. It’s like after the apostles dropped out that these guys were trying to maintain things but they just didn’t have it, something was lost there.
That’s why as Protestants, Protestantism to the Reformation came to sola scriptura. It’s not that we think that all tradition is bad, we just say though, what’s reliable. Tradition is contaminated and the only thing that we know that isn’t contaminated is the written Word of God, so that’s why we differ with our Roman Catholic friends; they believe that the church gave us the Bible and the church is the custodian of oral tradition, passed down by the apostles, and we believe yea, but look what happened during the period of the Reformation, you guys got all corrupted, and that was a manifestation of the weakness of your old tradition. So the only thing that lasted was the Word of God. So we hope never to make that error again.
Question asked: Clough replies: But I think, something else was suggested in the last question, and now that I’ve had a minute or two to think about it, you said when you asked the question, “Did they learn it maybe after Pentecost, maybe from the Lord in some way.” The thought occurred to me, the Emmaus Road, after resurrection. You read about that Emmaus Road, here these guys are walking down the road, and Jesus explained all, He went through all the Old Testament, I mean these guys, it probably took …, it’s a long road, it’s quick by car, but it’s a long road from Jerusalem down to the coast there. And they’re on that Emmaus road walking, they took hours to walk. You wonder how much Jesus Christ could teach you in about two hours. The point I always think of, putting myself in that position, that I couldn’t absorb it, so it would be as miraculous for Him to make me able to absorb the throughput, talk about broadband communications here, think of the broadband that’s going on between God and a human being at that point of revelation.
There are all kinds of miraculous things. It’s like the miracles we often think of, like the lame walked and the blind see, and medical doctors point out that there’s actually more than one miracle, it’s not just the muscles of these people, it’s not just the eye, it’s the whole brain, it’s everything else that had to be coordinated. All of a sudden these people are walking, where did they get the coordination from? So maybe it’s a similar thing, when they have these encounters that somehow the reception was a thousand percent or something so they were able to very quickly absorb it. It’s just amazing, but you’re right, the bottom line to the question is it’s remarkable, Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 really is remarkable that that guy picked that stuff up, and remember, Luke is only giving us a summary of it. The real thing was a lot longer than that.
That’s all for tonight, next week we’ll forge on with Paul and Luke.