You are here: Home / Part 4 Disciplinary Truths of God's Kingdom (Lessons #70–104) / Appendix – Resolving the Controversy (#104) / Lesson 170 – The Old Faith-Rest Drill: Going for the Deep Roots; Peter, Acts, and Pentecost
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 170 – The Old Faith-Rest Drill: Going for the Deep Roots; Peter, Acts, and Pentecost
29 Mar 2001
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
Turn in the Old Testament to Isaiah 41, we’ll look at one of the faith-rest promise of Scripture, we’ll continue a little bit on the faith rest drill. We have three parts to the faith-rest drill, number one is to grasp hold of a promise in Scripture; number two, to develop the rationale around that text of Scripture; and number three, at the point we can we trust in it, and that’s the rest of faith. Isaiah 41:10 is a promise to deal with fear and anxiety. It says “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am you God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,” or in the King James “the right hand of My righteousness.” And that last term in that verse, “the right hand of My righteousness,” or in the modern translations “My righteous right hand” is actually a Messianic term, because the right hand of God is the thing that He accomplishes things, it’s part of Him that does things, and the part of God that does things is the Messiah or the Son of the Trinity. So that traditionally has been looked upon as a Messianic term.
That’s the text, so here we are in this anxiety situation, we remember Isaiah 41:10, we either have memorized it or we read it, so we’re thinking about it, and one of the ways of developing the rationale so that we can actually trust in that text of Scripture is when we look at the text originally, or when we look at that promise originally, look in the context. If you look just ahead of verse 10 you’ll notice that it is linked to the election of God, the elective purposes of God. It’s not a promise that sits in isolation from this framework. If you look in verse 8 you’ll see a specific reference to the Abrahamic Covenant and you remember that the Abrahamic Covenant was the founding covenant of redemption in history, because that was the covenant… God said civilization is going down the tube and I’ve got to do something about it, so now I’m going to call into existence a counterculture to the pagan culture. The point of verse 8 and 9 is that God is a God of history, He moves historically. So when you see a promise like verse 10 where we’re going to apply it maybe in our own personal life, in our little circle, that promise is part and nested inside of a larger circle, which is the whole plan of God for history.
That’s why knowing prophecy and knowing history is so important, because it gives the frame of reference for how God works. Then we can set our lives, and plug them inside of that frame of reference, but if you don’t do that you’re going to have trouble applying promises like this because they tend to come off like they’re just shallow religious verbiage. When the pressure is on and you’ve got a big crisis you’re trying to handle or a persistent one you need something besides some shallow religious verbiage. You need something that has roots, something you can hold on to. So that’s why it’s important to see that these little promises we pull out aren’t isolated, they’re part of a pattern. Isaiah 41:10 is one of those great promises, “Do not fear for I am with you; be not anxious for I am your God, I will strengthen thee and uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” That’s the King James, I’ve never got so I can memorize any Scripture in the new translations, I started in the King James and I guess I’ll go to the grave quoting the King James.
Turn to Acts; we’ve got some more work to do as we look at Peter’s analysis of what was going on at Pentecost. We want to review again that in our idea of linking doctrine with history we have the session and actually it’s the session of Jesus Christ sitting at the Father’s right hand that is the basis for the second event, which is Pentecost, and that’s the thing we want to be sure we grasp, that Pentecost is the result of Jesus Christ’s session and Jesus Christ goes to the Father so you have the Father and the Son who dispatch the Holy Spirit to earth. Whereas the session is the heavenly origin of the Church, as we titled chapter one, Pentecost is the earthly origin of the Church as we titled chapter 2. We said in Acts 2:14 Peter gives this explanation to the people; Peter might have been just a (quote) “lay person” but his grasp of Scripture was amazing. It’s amazing to see how he takes the Old Testament (he didn’t have the New), he takes the facts of Jesus Christ, and he puts them together.
So from Acts 2:14–36 the logic of what’s going on here is that we have the events of the birth, the life, the death, the resurrection, the ascension and session of Jesus Christ. Those are the events. What Peter is going to do is he’s going to surround those events with the Old Testament because the Old Testament gives the framework in which you can understand those events. These events do not stand by themselves; they’re part of a historic pattern. We have to think that way as Christians, because the moment we allow a piece of the framework of Scripture to sit by itself out here, unbelief will always eat it up; skeptical attacks will always suppress pieces of Scripture. However, the way Scripture defends itself is by linking it with all the other pieces of Scripture, so you have a whole network. It’s just like a civil engineer building a structure. One little piece of steel isn’t going to cut the mustard but when you put it all together as a framed structure, then it stands. That’s the way to think about Scripture. You can’t take isolated truths without hooking them together. So that’s what Peter’s going to do, he’s going to take these events in the life of Jesus Christ, particularly the ascension and session, and of course the events of Pentecost, and then he’s going to put them inside of this Old Testament structure.
Verse 14, he got up and he first began to work through Joel 2, so we want to look at Joel 2 and follow his reasoning. Actually what he’s quoting is Joel 2:28–32, so hold the place in Acts and we’ll look at how this fits together. Let’s look at Joel 2:28–32 in the Old Testament context. “And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind,” again who is the subject of the action, who is the subject of the verbs? It’s Jehovah God, that’s important. “And it will come about after this that I [Jehovah God] will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; 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 out My Spirit in those days.”
Clearly verses 28–29 look down the corridors of time from Joel’s day and they see an event that’s going to take place. That event is the pouring out of the Spirit. We understood from last time by comparing “pouring”—remember the expression “pour out.” We learned to interpret what that means by turning to Proverbs 1:23 where “pour out” is in parallel with sharing truth. I emphasized that because in the last hundred years there’s been sort of a Pentecostal emphasis that pouring out the Spirit means I have to fall on the floor and go through all kinds of shenanigans, and that’s not what the pouring out the Spirit means here.
Pouring out the Spirit means to share content of thinking. The teacher lets her words be made known and that process is it transfers stuff from the teacher’s spirit to the pupil’s spirit. That’s what’s happening here, transfer of truth from God’s Spirit to man’s spirit. So when you see “pour out” in Joel 2:28 the thing that ought to go through your mind is that this is talking about a day of revelation. There’s going to be revealed truth that’s going to come out and it’s going to be known by people in all social strata. This is not going to be confined to a priestly circle, it’s not going to be confined to a prophetic few people, it’s going to be pretty universal; that’s verses 28–29.
Then verses 30–31 speak of something else, “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.” There’s a lot of truth in here, Peter is not going to use all these truths. He’s going to select out of the matrix of verses 30–31 certain truths. But before we look at Peter, let’s look at the original text. In verse 30 it says “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,” and he talks about these wonders and signs. So whatever verses 30–31 are talking about, they’re talking about miraculous things in nature, miracles. That’s the whole point of verses 30–31.
But at the end of verse 31, look how that sentence ends, look very carefully at the text how verse 31 terminates. As it terminates it gives us a time sequence, it says at the end of verse 31, “before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” The great and awesome day of the Lord is the day that He brings judgment in and the kingdom begins. So clearly whatever the signs are in verses 30-31 they precede the coming of the Lord and the initiation of the Kingdom. So they’re not a fulfillment of the Kingdom, they’re events prior to the Kingdom.
In verse 32, the last part of this section, here we have why all this takes place, because verses 28–29 talk about the pouring of the Spirit; verses 30–31 talk about the geophysical miracles that are going to happen in history, but it has a purpose. Verse 32 says “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered,” delivered from what? What has verse 31 ended with? The coming day of the Lord? So the deliverance in verse 32 harps back to the day of the Lord in verse 31. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered,” and “calls on the name of the LORD” is equivalent to New Testament belief, trust. The end of this verse, he concludes “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.”
The phrase you see there, “those who escape” and “survivors” are part of an Old Testament concept known as the concept of “the remnant.” In the Old Testament the idea was here you have the elect nation, all sons and daughters of Abraham, here they are, the twelve tribes, boom, boom, boom. They make up a physical political entity. But the prophets argued that just because you’re physically part of Israel and you, therefore, are part and parcel of the Mosaic Covenant, just because you’re part and parcel of the Mosaic Covenant and part and parcel of physical Israel doesn’t mean you’re in the remnant; that means the saved subset. So the remnant is the reference that the prophets made clear as the nation went down the tube spiritually, and it was deteriorating and falling apart and the monarchy was corrupted, the people were corrupted, that’s when it was revealed to Israel that there will come a time when Messiah will come and He will set up a righteous kingdom, but you all aren’t going to go in the Kingdom. The only people going into the Kingdom are the people who trust in Him, who, in this phrase, “call upon the name of the LORD.” Verse 32 represents the gateway into the Kingdom, and verses 28–31 therefore are phenomena, events, and historical happenings that set up the door to the Kingdom.
With that in mind, come back to Acts 2. Peter, in verse 16, identifies and says “what was spoken of through the prophet Joel.” Verse 17–18 he cites those first two verses of Joel, so it’s Joel 2:28–29 that are requited in Acts 2:17–18. However, if you look at the text you notice that the end of verses 18 contains a phrase that is not found in Joel. That’s Peter’s addition and it’s Peter’s addition to that Old Testament citation that tells you what’s going on in his mind. He says “and they shall prophesy.” That means that when Peter is citing these two verses the thing that he wants to get out of it is, among many things, he could have gotten 52 things out of it but he got one thing and that’s the thing that we want to see, what Peter’s doing here. He’s saying the Old Testament foretold a time in history when the Holy Spirit would be poured out in a new way and it would be cast-less, it would a pouring out of the Holy Spirit without casts, without upper and lower strata, everybody would be involved in this thing, and the people who are involved in it would have access to revelation. There’s a revelation process so there’d be new doctrine or new truths, and sure enough that’s what’s happening because of the ascension of Jesus Christ.
Then in verses 19–21 he cites a clipped version of the Joel text, because in Acts 2:19–21 he cites most of Joel 2:30–32, actually only half of verse 32, he clips off that section about Jerusalem and Zion. That’s important to notice, that he’s clipped that out of there. The reason he’s clipped it out of there is because at this point in time the issue isn’t what’s going to happen at Jerusalem, the issue he wants to say …, he terminates it and scissors it off after it says in verse 21 “call upon the name of the Lord,” because that’s where he wants the emphasis. He wants the emphasis on what are you going to do with Jesus Christ? Not that the other part of the text isn’t important, nor that it isn’t going to be fulfilled, it’s just that Peter’s point in quoting that text is to focus on Jesus Christ. As he does this he begins to build something, and what we said last time was that in verses 28–29 this first section of the Joel passage emphasizes revelation, the dissemination of new doctrine, and the pouring out of the Spirit, obviously.
We went down further in Peter’s message and our eyes fell on Acts 2:32 because as he developed the theme of his preaching, he came to conclude in verses 22–23 that “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.  Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” What is it that you “both see and hear?” The phenomenon of Pentecost. So now what’s the thrust, logically, of Peter? Can you trace the logic that he’s using. He’s dealing with a group of people that have seen an event and he’s telling them how to interpret that event. What he’s saying is that the supernatural things that you’ve observed, Pentecost, are proof that Jesus has made it the throne. Pentecost is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ now reigns. It’s a momentous thing; it’s not just the coming of the Spirit. Yes it is that, it’s the coming of the Spirit but the deeper question is not the coming of the Spirit, it’s who sent the Spirit.
That’s where in verse 33 we have an enormously important piece of theology because you’ll notice in verse 33, which is connected to verse 32, verses 32–32 start out with Jesus as the subject, not the Father, it’s the Son, Jesus, who is the subject here. Well if Jesus is the subject, what’s the verb at the end of verse 33; the last clause in verse 33, what’s the main verb of that clause? “Poured out.” Where have we heard “pour out” before? That’s the Joel passage. Who was doing the “pouring out” in the Joel passage? Jehovah. Who is doing the “pouring out” now? Jesus Christ. Guess what the conclusion is; with all due respect to Jehovah’s Witnesses this is saying that Jesus is Jehovah, not Michael, He is Jehovah. It’s a substitution, clear cut proof. That’s one of the great things that he’s done here with this Joel passage. He has said Pentecost, this our pouring, this miraculous thing that’s happened is a direct result of Jesus Christ risen from the dead, ascended and seated at the Father’s right hand, after He shows Himself to the disciples on earth. This thing started in heaven; this is the heavenly origin of the Church.
What’s interesting about this, and we’ll get into this later, have you ever noticed in the science fiction over the past 15–20 years, wherever you see a movie or read a book about space invaders, etc., did you ever notice that almost nine out of ten cases it’s always something evil that’s coming to earth, it’s always something threatening that’s coming out of the heavens to the earth. To me that’s very interesting because it’s exactly opposite to reality. Who is it that came out of Heaven to the earth at Pentecost? Not the evil, it’s the good. But you see, the secular mind seems to think of anything coming into the earth’s orbit from outside the earth’s orbit is something that interferes.
Does the Holy Spirit interfere? You bet. Then what’s the difference in the labels? It’s the sinful mind of the flesh wants to control, that’s the whole point of the flesh, you know, we get in the flesh we’re control freaks, we want to control, WE want to control so that WE are in charge of everything, and we want to be like God. To have something come into our lives from outside of our lives from heaven, literally out of space into this planet, that’s an interruption and a disturbance. So it’s striking that Pentecost is actually a mirror image of science fiction. It’s exactly opposite, it’s 180 degrees opposite. It is the good that infiltrates and disturbs the evil earth. Earth is evil, and the heavenly source is the good. You watch it as you think about the science fiction things you see, they’re entertaining and all that but think about what’s going on. Earth is always good and the interfering power from heaven is always evil.
Pentecost has this image and that’s the pouring out of the Spirit. But Peter doesn’t stop there, in verse 19 where he quotes Joel he talks about signs and wonders. So we want to understand signs, wonders, blood, smoke, sun, moon, let’s take all those words and scan from verses 22 to verse 36. Here’s how you understand Scripture. You do a vocabulary search and you say to yourself, okay, does he mention earth and blood anywhere between verses 22–36? Not that I can see, unless you have a different text than I do, I don’t see those vocabulary words there. Does he talk about fire and smoke anywhere from verses 22–36? I don’t think you can find those vocabulary words there either. Aha, but now if you scan the words “signs and wonders,” do you find those words anywhere between verses 22–36? Yes you do, because in verse 22 is the phrase.
So since we’ve done an objective scan of the actual vocabulary, now we say ah, so out of the Joel passage he’s not picking up the sun, the moon, the blood, and the fire and the smoke, he’s picking up on the words “signs and wonders.” In verse 22 he connects “signs and wonders” with whom? The Lord Jesus Christ. Notice in verse 22 he’s not even connecting “signs and wonders” with Pentecost. He’s connecting “signs and wonders” to the person of Jesus Christ. So we say to ourselves, Peter, what’s your point? What do you suppose Peter would answer us? My point is that Jesus Christ is doing, or did, during His lifetime He did “signs and wonders” that identify Him as God who does miracles, because who is doing the “signs and wonders” in verse 19? Who’s the subject of those? It’s God. You’ll notice he’s very careful in verse 22 to identify that it’s “God working through Him in your midst” he says. He’s picked up here verse 22, unlike he does down in verse 33, in verse 22 he continues the thought that God is doing miracles and signs, or did them, “through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.”
He’s talking to unbelievers here, isn’t he? And look what he claims. That even unbelievers knew about the signs and the wonders, this wasn’t confined to a back door inside a store-front church some place. This was done outside in the public. So the very fact that he can say at the end of verse 22 that “you yourselves know” tells us that they were public signs and public wonders, open to historical observation. A powerful statement!
The second reason is, by quoting this he’s now identified not only this Holy Spirit is going to give new doctrine, but he’s saying that signs and wonders were connected to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and they are the same kind of signs and wonders that He’s going to do later on. All the rest, the blood, the moon, the sun, the vapor and the smoke, that’s yet to come. Peter at this point didn’t know it wasn’t yet to come. Why? Because in his view the Kingdom could have come here, it could have happened. We’ll see more about that as we move through the text.
So he’s made his point in verse 22, now the problem is that the Jewish unbelievers are going to say, oh, wait a minute here, hold it, you can’t have a dead Messiah, come on, people die, Jesus died, and nobody wants a dead Messiah. Peter’s going to show them what good this Messiah is, watch what he does now. He’s going to turn to another text of Scripture and in verses 25–28 he’s going to quote Psalm 16; by the way, notice how much of his sermon was [taken from the] Old Testament. If Peter dared to say something like this in the average church today he’d be completely over everybody’s head because you’re not supposed to dig deep into Scripture these days, you’re supposed to talk at 4th and 5th grade levels because that’s what the media is at and if you try to talk at any higher level than the 4th and 5th grade your bore people and they go to sleep.
In verses 25–28 he’s talking about the Old Testament Psalm 16. So let’s go to Psalm 16 and take a peek at that, where did that come from; what’s the context of that remark. One of the tricks in looking at Psalms is to look at the Psalm title. In the Hebrew the verses are numbered beginning with that title, not like your English Bible. In Psalm 16, for example, verse 1 starts, “A Mikhtam of David.” It doesn’t start with “Preserve me, O God,” the title in the Hebrew is considered to be part of the text; that’s how the verses are broken up. So what’s the first observation about Psalm 16? Who wrote it? David wrote it. David’s the speaker.
We’re going to learn a little bit about the Old Testament looking at this. In Psalm 16 who’s doing the speaking? David is doing the speaking. In verse 5 he says in the middle of his trouble, “The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot.” Notice something in verse 5, this is something you’ll see in the Psalms if you observe carefully. Remember in English, back when they taught English grammar, they didn’t have creative writing, they had drill and syntax, in those days we used to learn about different persons, and it used to be the first, second and third person. First person is “I”, second person is “you,” third person is “he” or “she.” We used to conjugate verbs that way. It’s good observation in the Scripture to watch this.
In the Psalms they have a peculiar characteristic syntactically. There’s an oscillation that goes on between the second and third person, and here in verse 5 is a classic instance of it. “The Lord is my portion,” he’s talking about third person, but then he immediately says “Thou dost support my lot,” second person. In Hebrew poetry this oscillation back and forth between the second and third person is a tool that the Psalmist uses to show you a perspective. He moves from talking to the Lord to talking about the Lord; to the Lord, about the Lord, to someone else. So it’s constant shifting like this. In his priestly way he talks to God, second person; then with the knowledge that he’s gained from talking to God as a priest, he turns around as prophet and talks to men about God. So that’s why you have this oscillation between the second person, third person, second person, third person, it goes on and on.
Now he develops it, in verse 7, “I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.  I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” There’s a nice verse. Verse 9, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely. So up to now it looks like for all intents and purposes this text is talking about a faith-rest situation. He’s in the middle of adversity, he’s learned things about the Lord, and now his conclusion is he’s resting. Here’s the faith-rest, “I will not be shaken,” “my heart is glad,” “my glory rejoices,” the source of his happiness isn’t his circumstances; the source of his happiness is the Lord’s promises and the Word. You know, when we finally get it right, the few seconds that we do, that is a marvelous position to be in because it frees you from being dependent on other people and circumstances. Right here is where that rejoicing is, “I will not be shaken,” it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, it doesn’t matter who I’m against, the people in verses 3–4 is what he’s talking about, so because verse 8, “I have set the LORD continually before me … I will not be shaken, my heart is glad and my glory rejoices,” that’s talking about his soul, “my flesh also will dwell securely.”
That little phrase, “my flesh will dwell securely” introduces a strange thought, now watch the text carefully from here on out. Verse 10, “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul,” what has he done? See our third person, second person, what’s happened here? What’s happened as you move from verse 9 to verse 10? Verse 9 is third person, now in verse 10 it’s shifted to second person. “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol;” what’s he doing in verse 10 that he’s not doing in verse 9? In verse 10 he’s looking at God, “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay [to see the pit.]  Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; in Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.”
People cite that as a wonderful promise of God but it’s linked to verse 10. The reason “Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore,” it’s talking about something that’s a little bit more than just faith-rest here. In verse 10 he makes this statement, this statement in the second person; verse 9 is third person, verse 11 is second person. Verses 10 and 11 are all addressed to God. “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; and you will not allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.” Parallelism, what noun in the first part of verse 10 is parallel to “Thy Holy One?” The first part of verse 10, “You will not abandon my soul,” so it’s “my soul” that’s parallel to “Thy Holy One.” So if we were reading Psalm 16 fast, we were getting a promise, we’d say oh, that’s a nice thought, I’ll claim verse 11, that’s a nice promise, until …, flip over to Acts 2, Peter takes a very startling different approach to interpreting Psalm 16.
Acts 2:24, he’s dealing with the issue of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Why has he had to introduce this? Because verse 23, the people took the One who was doing signs and wonders in verse 22 and what did they do with Him? You crucified Him, idiots. Now what’s happened? He rose from the dead, “And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.” Now he’s got to prove that, so in verse 24 he introduces Psalm 16, but look, how does he introduce Psalm 16? What do you notice immediately about his citation? What is he prefacing the citation with? Look at the text in Psalm 16. Does Psalm 16 say “David says of Him?” No, that’s Peter’s interpretive addition.
So now what he’s saying is that Psalm 16 is talking about Messiah, not David. Ooh, we didn’t see that over in Psalm 16, how’d that happen? He goes on, he quotes, “my soul,” verse 27, “my soul…thy holy one,”  “You made me to know,” then in verse 29 here’s his logic. “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.” Well if his tomb is there, how can verse 27 be correct? He has seen corruption, his soul has gone to the grave and proof of it is his tomb is with us.
This introduces a crisis. Go back to Psalm 16; that requires us to rethink what we just read.
Psalm 16 appears at first glance to be David talking to the Lord. But in verse 10, he makes a statement about “my soul,” there’s the first person, talking about me, I, “my soul,” but then he talks about “Thy Holy One,” if you were to say my Holy One, my soul, and then it’s God’s Holy One, doesn’t that kind of strike you as a little arrogant. In other words there’s a statement that’s said here in Psalm 16 that just doesn’t quite fit with David personally.
Here we’re introduced to this strange thought, strange to our western minds, not strange to the Bible, of how David saw himself merge into the Messiah, and it’s that phenomenon that I mentioned a couple years ago, remember when we were talking about Old Testament history, here’s a time line, here we have Saul, here we have David, here we have Solomon and then we had all these kings and they progressively got more and more gross, and we said what happened to the kingly line. The monarchy was having to be there as the leadership of God’s kingdom, but what does Old Testament history show about the monarchy historically? It corrupted out. Just like in the book of Judges the people corrupted out. Judges is an eloquent argument you can never have a democracy that’s totally correct. The rest of the Old Testament tells you that you can never have a civil government ran by fallen men that’s going to be correct.
So here you have David as this king who is looking down the line. Why is he looking down the line, let’s think. What is one of the great covenants of the Old Testament? The Davidic Covenant. What does the Davidic Covenant say? The descendants of David will one day rule the Kingdom of God. So when David says “my soul,” how can we interpret that; this is an interpretation question. How do we interpret his use of the term “my soul” such that Psalm 16 refers to the Messiah and not David? We’ve got to do something with this. As a matter of fact the apostles did something to this, Jesus’ interpreted it this way, “my soul” is interpreted to be larger than the individual David; “my soul” is interpreted to mean the continuity of all the souls in the Davidic line, culminating in the One who would never see death. David, when he gets in a prophetic mode of writing these Psalms doesn’t separate himself from the whole end of his dynasty. He speaks as David and he speaks for the entire David dynasty. And that’s what happens in the Old Testament.
For example, a few Psalms later, what do you notice in Psalm 22? Who wrote Psalm 22? Psalm 22 was written by David, and he quotes, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Wait a minute, that’s what Jesus quoted on the Cross; it’s a prophecy of what Jesus quoted. Look at verse 5, “To Thee they cried out and were delivered; in Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.” Look at verse 14, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; [My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.”] Look at verse 17, [“I can count all my bones, they look, they stare at me;”] Look at verse 18, they cast lots for my garments [“They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”] But David wrote this, not Jesus, David wrote it a thousand years before Jesus.
What’s going on here, how do we properly interpret Psalm 22? There’s only one way, that David envelops himself prophetically in this whole dynasty, all the way down to Jesus. So when David speaks prophetically in the Psalms, he is speaking all the way to the Messiah. Why is that? Because what is the purpose dynasty vis a vis the Kingdom of God. You can’t have a kingdom without a king, and you can’t have a righteous kingdom that is eternally secure without a sinless king, perfect king, one who will not be corrupted, a perfect government that is upon His shoulder. So that’s the source of the Kingdom, so that’s why the Davidic Covenant is there, to secure the King of the Kingdom.
There’s one other place Peter is going to cite, Psalm 132 so let’s take a peek at it because it’s going to come up. See what I mean about listening to these guys and how lost half of us would be today if Peter were to give a sermon like this. We’d have a hard time following it. Do you know why? What does that show about us relative to Peter? Duh! Psalm 132:10, “For the sake of David, Thy servant, do not turn away the face of Thine anointed.  The LORD has sworn to David,” by the way, what’s that referring to, “sworn to David?” Davidic Covenant. “The LORD has sworn to David, a truth from which He will not turn back; of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.” [blank spot]
Before we go to Acts 2 let’s check out another one, Psalm 110. This is heavy stuff, four major Old Testament passages in a matter of minutes in Peter’s address. Psalm 110, one we studied when we studied the ascension of Christ. Who’s the author of Psalm 110? David again, aha, things come together here a little bit. Notice again verse 5, “The Lord is at Thy right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.  He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.  He will drink from the brook by the wayside; therefore He will lift up His head.” Verse 4 is the Lord talking to David, second person but it’s the Lord talking to David. “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Verse 5, “The Lord is at Thy right hand,” and in most of your Bible translations notice L-O-R-D is capitalized in verse 4, L-o-r-d is not capitalized in verse 5. Why is that? Because the first one refers to Jehovah, the second one is the word for Lord and Master, and the difference is in verse 1, “Jehovah says to my Lord: Sit at My right hand,” there’s an expose of what we’re talking about, how David somehow prophetically intermingles Jesus and himself, because now it all hangs out loose and clear in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD” that’s clearly God, who does the possessive pronoun “my” refer to in verse 1. It must be David, “my,” David. Well then who is “the LORD?” If David were the highest authority and above him was no else than God, who’s this intermediate one that is being addressed by God, but yet is over David? See what I’m saying?
Here’s an example of what goes on. It’s mind boggling. This is not easy and, if you’re struggling with it, hey, join the club. But I’m telling you, this is how the Holy Spirit worked in real history. If we were there, I would imagine he himself would have had a problem telling us about how all this fits together because he was clearly buoyed on by the Holy Spirit, probably not knowing completely what he was writing. But he wrote it nevertheless.
Back to Acts 2 and watch how Peter puts all the pieces together. Peter is going to make the point that Jesus Christ has risen; he’s going to say, after they killed Him, verse 24, Jesus Christ rose. Here’s his first point, Jesus Christ rose. Now he’s going to support that with precedent from the Old Testament, that this isn’t a miracle that just sort of happened in a grave outside of Jerusalem, gee, you know, strange things happen. No, it was part of the structure of the Old Testament prophesies. So that’s why in verses 25–28 he goes into this extensive quote from Psalm 16 that we thought at first glance was referring to David and we were wrong; Psalm 16 actually was looking further down the Davidic Dynasty to the end person who would be Jesus Christ.
Verse 29, Peter understood that because he was able to distinguish Psalm 16 from David and say that Psalm 16 doesn’t literally apply to David. Psalm 16 though written by David is prophetically enlarged to include the person of Jesus Christ. Now verse 30 is an explanation of how Peter saw this. He says the reason is because David was not just an ordinary author, he was … what does the text say, “he was a prophet,” and he “knew that God had sworn to him with an oath,” there’s the citation from Psalm 132, that He would sit “one of his descendants upon his throne.” Well if he knew that one of his descendants would sit upon the throne and the throne was the throne of an eternal kingdom, then the guy that sits on the throne couldn’t be subject to death.
So Peter says this resurrection thing is not something strange, it’s the warp and the woof of the whole Old Testament issue of who’s the Messiah. This must have blown people’s circuit’s right here. This was tough stuff, and if you read contemporary Judaism at the time Peter preached this, they missed it. This was not a popular idea here, this is brand new out of the box, because who poured out His Spirit? Jesus Christ sitting at the Father’s right hand pours out the Spirit; all of a sudden things begin to click. All of a sudden these guys say yeah, this is how the Old Testament fits. They probably got a lot of it. You know, the Emmaus Road, etc.—people heard Jesus say this, but it was like they didn’t hear Him say it.
So in verse 30 he says the reason David could write the way he wrote was because he wasn’t writing as a poet, he was writing as a prophet, a prophetic poet if you will. And that’s why verse 31 …, see verses 30–31 is Peter’s explanation for the dilemma we just found ourselves in when we read Psalm 16. We say how does Psalm 16 apply to Jesus? Well, Peter says, verse 30, because first of all Psalm 16 was written by a prophet who knew something; he knew first Psalm 132, the Davidic Covenant, that’s all Psalm 132 is. Verse 31 Peter goes on now, he tries to show us what David was thinking. He looked ahead. See, that’s what’s going on. These Psalms aren’t just talking about David’s personal life; he looks ahead down the dynastic line of the Davidic Covenant. He’s always looking down the dynastic line of the Davidic Covenant.
Verse 31, “he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,” and then he quotes again Psalm 16. Why is he quoting Psalm 16? Because he’s exegeting the text. See what the apostles did, they taught from the text, they exegeted the text, it wasn’t three points and a poem; it was verses out of tough stuff and Messianic passages of the Old Testament. “Therefore,” look at the “therefore,” now he gets to the logical conclusion of his point. After he talks about Christ rising he is able to conclude something. He is free to put a “therefore” in verse 33. Why? What has he just got through that laid the basis for making this logical conclusion? That Jesus Christ fulfilled the whole dynastic picture. “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
Verse 34, “For it was not David who ascended into heaven,” see again, notice in verse 34 and verse 29 he’s so ever careful you can’t make David do that, that’s not literal interpretation. David did not ascend into heaven, “but he himself says, The LORD said to my Lord,” there’s Psalm 110 being quoted, “Sit at My right hand,  until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.” The next “therefore,” verse 36, now here’s his grand conclusion, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know,” and by the way, are Gentiles in view here? This is not an evangelistic sermon of the Church Age. This is a special address to the nation Israel with Jewish Scriptures, with Israel’s destiny. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
And as you can tell by verse 37, this walloped the people that heard this. These people were really laid open by this thing. This is a pretty hairy, shocking indictment of their sin. And that’s why he says in verse 38, “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself,” and where did he get that phraseology from? He got it from Joel 2:21. That’s where it came from, “those who call on the Lord.” So he’s not only quoting directly these Old Testament prophetic Scriptures, he’s making allusion after allusion after allusion, not illusion, allusion, that is a reference, he takes whole phrases out of the prophets and uses them in his teaching.
The text goes on, people were baptized, they were  “devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer,” and people had “a sense of awe.” What two words do you see in verse 43 that reappear, that were part of the Joel quote. [“And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.”] Wonders and signs. Who were doing the wonders and signs in verse 43, not every Christian? Who was doing the wonders and the signs? The apostles were doing the wonders and the signs, they were His special spokesman.
To get the mentality and put ourselves in the house of Israel, standing there in rapt attention, listening to this guy in the fishing business talk about all of a sudden people talking in supernatural languages, you would say what is going on here, I’ve been coming to Jerusalem for this Feast of Pentecost for a number of years, I never heard this before. What is going on? We want to put ourselves in this mentality so in conclusion go back to Luke 1. We’re going to look at how the ordinary Jew was thinking about David and the Kingdom, lest we get too sloppy in our interpretation and begin to think that this is just a general sermon and he’s talking about the church.
Remember I introduced this section between chapter one and chapter two with the appendix where I distinguish Reformed theology from Dispensational Theology, and what was my point about Dispensational Theology, why it advanced further from where Reformation Theology left us as a church, and that is the dispensational approach to Scripture looks carefully at the historical context and a literal interpretation of the text. One of the issues that we haven’t got time to deal with, Reformed theology interprets Peter’s sermon to refer to the fact that when Jesus sat at the Father’s right hand, that was the throne of David. That’s how they interpret it, they mish-mash two thrones into one. There are two thrones here. What are they? “The LORD said to my Lord, sit” where? “At My right hand.” But then David is talking about somebody that’s going to sit on his throne? Where is David’s throne? On earth, two distinct thrones - not the same [thrones].
That’s what we want to conclude with. Look at Luke 1:30, here’s the angel coming to Mary, here’s a Jewish teenage girl, an angel talks to her, they’re not doing any kind of slippery exegesis of any Scripture, they’re not trying to worm around things, just look at the natural way if you were Mary how would you interpret this. Here you are, you’re learning you’re pregnant, you have never had sex with any man and you’re pregnant, right away you have an unusual situation. So you’re sitting there in rapt attention of what’s going on over here. What’s the angel got to tell me about this little thing? Verse 30, “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.’ ” Now if you were Mary, would you think of that throne as in Heaven or would you think of that throne as on earth? On earth.
Let’s go further in Luke 1, verse 54, here is Mary’s magnificat. By the way, this girl was a tiger, she wasn’t some little floating flower. Mary was grounded theologically; I don’t know where she got her education. This also refutes the idea the women’s lib has, oh, the Bible was written in a patriarchal culture and women didn’t count. That’s reading back Islamic culture or something, into the Old Testament, a screwball idea. Where did this teenage girl get all this theology from if women weren’t trained and educated in the Scripture? Come on, get real. This magnificat has so much theology in it that theologians have a problem with it. They would even come to this little 15–16 year old Jewish girl, hey honey, would you please explain what you just said. That’s basically where we are theologically, she was so far advanced.
So she says in verse 54, “He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy,  As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.” The Abrahamic Covenant she’s talking about, “offspring” the dynasty concept again. Finally look at what Zacharias says further on in this chapter, verse 67, “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying” and look at what he is prophesying, “ ‘For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,’ ” verse 69… “ ‘In the house of David His servant.” Verse 71, “ ‘Salvation from our enemies. …’ ” Verse 72, “ ‘… And to remember His holy covenant,  The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,’ ” the Abrahamic Covenant,  “ ‘To grant us that we being delivered from the hands of our enemies, ….  And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways,  To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins,  To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.’ ”
Would this be conceived in those people talking this way, Zacharias and Mary, do you think these people are talking about something in heaven, or do you think they’re talking about something right there in the city of Jerusalem? It’s obvious; these people are thinking in terms of an earthly kingdom, there’s no question about it. So that’s why when we understand and go on further in Acts 2 and 3 with Peter and Pentecost, we want to think like a Jewish person would have thought at that time in that place.
So far in the Pentecost issue you just want to grasp what the overall event was and why you have to take a lot of care in understanding what was going on here in Pentecost. It’s the coming of the Holy Spirit upon people in ways that were absolutely without precedent in biblical history. So it’s a major event, and the doctrine I’m going to associate with Pentecost is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. We never have dealt with that, we’ve dealt with the essence of God, we’ve dealt with the person of Christ, but we’ve never dealt with the person of the Holy Spirit. So that’s coming up and that’s going to be the doctrine connected to Pentecost.
Question asked: Clough replies: That’s exactly right, the pouring out of the Spirit is connected to the New Testament revelation, and this gets, shall we say it’s a subject that you have to be precise in how you discuss it because there has come in church history some weird ideas here. And just kind of like a fore view of things, one of the questions of all time is, were the “signs and the wonders” that showed up on the day of Pentecost, are those signs and wonders to be normative throughout all church history in every person’s life. And the answer is no, they were foundational signs and wonders. Does that mean God can’t do miracles today? No, God can heal people today. It’s just that when God heals people today it’s not of this kind of healing that we observe in the book of Acts.
In the notes I’m starting to pick this up. That’s one of the controversial things about Pentecost, because we have a whole denomination called Pentecostal who believe in the perpetuation of these gifts. Classic Protestant theology is cessationist. What’s cessationist? “c-e-s-s,” cessation, it’s ceasing. So classical Protestant theology is cessationist in that apostles don’t occur throughout church history; speaking in languages doesn’t occur throughout church history; the miracle healings that we see Paul doing with his handkerchiefs is not continued down through church history, so what’s going on. Why? The answer is going to be because the revelational job of these gifts was completed. When you build a house you don’t lay a foundation upon a foundation upon a foundation. You let the foundation, you pour it, the foundation is made and then what do you do? Now you build a house on the foundation.
Ephesians 2:20 says upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets the church has been built, so when the apostles and prophets finished their job, the foundation was finished and the church could get on with business. There are plenty of things to do in church history besides pour concrete every century. That’s the major controversy that’s going to happen with Pentecost. It’s a major issue. Pentecostals insist upon propagating all gifts for all Christians throughout all time. The Mormons insist that the apostles go on and on and on and on. The Roman Catholic Church believes in the continuing apostolic oral tradition, and the fact that Pope acts as sort of an apostle, one Pope after another. So this is a major parting of the ways here and Pentecost sets it up.
That’s why I’m spending all this time trying to get this clear as to what is happening at Pentecost and what is not happening at Pentecost. Pentecost is a unique event, just like the cross. Jesus doesn’t get crucified time after time after time, and the Holy Spirit doesn’t come and do His thing like He does at Pentecost time after time after time. In fact, He does it three times, He does it in Acts 2; He does it in Acts 10; He does it in Acts 19 and that’s it.
You’ll see a chart in the notes where those are all documented and you’ll see if you line up one after another, lo and behold, guess what, you see that Acts 1:8 is fulfilled. What is Acts 1:8? “You shall be witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the world. Three areas and you have three of these little mini-Pentecost’s that happened. First it was in Jerusalem, the next one was in Samaria. You have Acts 10—Cornelius—and Cornelius was a Gentile, he was part of the Roman army. So, now you have the gospel going forth into all the world, touching the whole Roman Empire. So there’s a structure there and we’re going to look at that and we’re going to cover verses that support cessation, that is that these things were done, completed and we’re to get on with life by paying attention to what the Holy Spirit poured out, which was the canon of the New Testament. That becomes the focus point.
Question asked: Clough replies: It doesn’t really matter because Ephesians 2:20 is talking about something that’s already finished, so it’s talking about an end to the process. Don’t worry about whether the prophets there are Old Testament or New Testament prophets because both Dispensational and Reformed Theology look to the prophets for truths. I know what they’re talking about; they’re talking about, well, that shows you the church was in the Old Testament. The point is that the church is defined and again, this is in the notes, something called the “baptism of the Spirit,” and the baptism of the Spirit is what puts you in union with Christ. Could you have been in union with Christ in the Old Testament? No, because Christ hadn’t come yet. Could you have been in union with Christ during His earthly ministry? No, because He wasn’t ascended and seated yet. What’s the first time in history you could be in union with Christ? After the ascension and session. So the Church had to start after the ascension and session. That’s why we say it’s this big dividing point.
The reason that classical Reformed Theology does what it does is because redefines the word “church.” They’re using the word “church” differently than the way we’re using the word; we’re both using the same word, spelled the same way, but we mean totally different things. They’re using the word “church” as a synonym for all saved people. We are not using the word “church” to refer to all saved people. We’re using the word “church” to refer to those people saved since Pentecost. That’s again these two things. That’s why I covered that whole thing, not that you’d understand all the details but I wanted to expose you to the fact that when you start getting into these things in the New Testament, here’s where it comes up now. Here we are in Pentecost and here we are, two different roads, and we’ll see that time after time. We do share, by the way, with Reformed theology cessationism though; they agree and we agree, and it’s funny that they do in one sense because if the church is nothing more than Israel, Israel had a continuing line of prophets, why not the church. That’s sort of interesting. The church is not Israel.
Question asked: Clough replies: Pentecost is “Pente,” fifty, so it’s fifty days later. People could come again to Jerusalem for that feast, that’s what was going on in Acts 2. That’s where all the tourists came from all those different places that heard the languages in their own national origin points.
Question asked: Clough replies: They were there … Pentecost came ten days after Jesus ascended. First you have the Passover, that’s when Christ was crucified. Then you have a space of time until Pentecost. It just turned out during those days Jesus was showing Himself, remember, for several weeks He appeared, and then Jesus departed ten days before Pentecost. When Pentecost came these people came. It’s interesting, if you study history, Josephus reports something interesting. Do you know how many people came to Jerusalem? Josephus gives us an account, that when these holidays showed up lots of people were there. Josephus reports, we don’t know because we don’t a census to check him, but Josephus argues that there was between 1.5 and 2 million Jews that were in that city to come to those feasts. I don’t know where the motels were in those days, but I would imagine that there were tents all over the place. This was big stuff—and good Jewish boys, good business … these holidays, I mean, you could make the national economy sing on those three holidays, Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. We’re not talking small stuff here; this is BIG, big-time business.
That’s why it’s interesting, who designed Pentecost originally? The Lord. So all these people had no consciousness of it and they just came because it was the Feast, the thing to do, go back to see Grandma, she’s sitting around Jerusalem and I’m a businessman out in the Mediterranean and I’ve got to go Jerusalem and I’ll see Aunt So and So and Grandma So and So and have a good time at Pentecost, parties around, that kind of thing. It was a holiday. And it was deliberately structured that way, centuries before, so that when the Holy Spirit came there’d be 1.5 to 2 million people sitting there. Beautiful timing.
Next week we’ll go further. Next Thursday we’ll have Tommy Ice here and I’ve asked Tommy to address you advanced students with the history of prophecy in the church. So he’s going to go through church history and go through some the different views of prophecy, so it should be a pretty good lecture.