Archive for January 2010

Did the Body of Christ Begin at Pentecost?

January 20, 2010

Many Christians assume the Body of Christ began on the day of Pentecost. Without ever stopping to prove why (I Thessalonians 5:21), they then move ahead to establish their doctrines concerning this dispensation with this as the key. Have you ever considered what actually took place on Pentecost? What follows is a list of fourteen reasons why the church could not have begun at Pentecost.

1. There was already a church in existence on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47). This church was not the church which is His Body (Ephesians 1:22-23), because this was hidden until it was revealed to Paul (Ephesians 3). This church, to which the believers of Pentecost were added, was the kingdom church and was based on the confession of Peter that Jesus was the Christ (or Messiah). Peter was then given the keys to this kingdom church and the power to “bind” and “loose” (Matthew 16:15-20; c.f. John 20:23).

2. Peter preached the “Last Days” of Israel on Pentecost and not the first days of the church which is His Body (Acts 2:16-17).

3. There is no indication in Acts 2, or anywhere in Scripture, that the Body of Christ is being formed on Pentecost.

4. Pentecost was a Jewish feast day given in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 16). In the dispensation of the Grace of God there is no observance of days, and they are spoken of as “weak and beggarly elements” and “bondage” (Galatians 4:9-11). It is inconceivable that the Lord would begin the church which is the Body of Christ on a feast day – a feast day which He had for another economy.

5. There was no casting off of the nation Israel on the day of Pentecost, as was necessary for the establishing of the Body of Christ (Romans 11:11-15, 32). On the contrary, the first real offer of the kingdom was made by Peter on Pentecost. The kingdom was not offered during the Gospels; it was only said to be “at hand.” It actually was impossible for it to have been offered until after the New Testament was established by the death of Christ (Luke 17:24-25; 24:26). Christ must first have suffered and then have entered into His glory (I Peter 1:11).

6. The Body of Christ is a joint body of Jews and Gentiles. Peter only addressed Jews at Pentecost. Notice the words, “Ye men of Judea,” “Ye men of Israel,” “Ye,” “You,” “Your,” “Men and Brethren,” and the “House of Israel” throughout the passage (Acts 2).

7. Part of the Pentecostal celebration was the two wave loaves of Leviticus 23. This is used as a type of the “Jews and Gentiles” by many dispensationalists, but this cannot match the clear teaching of I Corinthians 10:17, which shows that the body of Christ is one bread.

8. Part of the message that Peter preached on Pentecost involved water baptism as a requirement for salvation (Acts 2:38). Water baptism has no part in the gospel message committed to Paul for the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:5).

9. On the day of Pentecost the promise of the Father was fulfilled to Israel. This was a spiritual baptism where Christ was the baptizer, and Israel was the baptized (Matthew 3:11-12; Acts 1:5). This spiritual baptism is quite different from the baptism of this dispensation, where the believer is actually baptized into Christ. The student of the Bible should learn to make a difference where God makes a difference. There are two different spiritual baptisms: one is to the kingdom church, the other is to the church which is His Body. One is associated with signs and wonders, and the other is not (I Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-4).

10. Pentecost was a fulfillment of prophecy (Acts 2:16, 33) and thus had been “spoken since the world began” (Acts 3:24), whereas the body of Christ was a mystery which had been “kept secret since the world began” (Colossians 1:24-26).

11. If there was any dispensational change, the Apostles were completely unaware of it, for they continued at the Temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1, 3, 8, 11; 5:20-21, 25, 42).

12. The Twelve and the kingdom church at Jerusalem also continued, throughout the book of Acts, to observe the Law (Acts 21:20-25; 22:12).

13. The kingdom church, in accordance with the kingdom teachings of Christ, sold their possessions and established a common treasury (Acts 2:44-45; 3:6; 4:32-35).

14. Peter, in his message on the day of Pentecost, did not preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, which is the clear and distinctive message of Paul given to him by revelation.

Some would argue at this point that God started the Body of Christ here, despite the accounts given in Acts 2, and that Peter was simply ignorant of it being formed. This is hard to believe since Peter had his understanding opened (Luke 24:45), the indwelling of the Spirit (John 20:22), the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), and the filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).

No, Peter was not ignorant – he was completely aware of the program which Christ was carrying out at Pentecost and was right on target.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 1989, 2010

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Paul Was Not One of the Twelve Apostles

January 10, 2010

Paul was not one of the twelve Apostles. Paul had a unique, special Apostleship from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul Was Not Chosen During Christ’s Earthly Ministry.

The twelve Apostles were chosen in Matthew chapter ten.

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth … (Matthew 10:2-5).

Paul Was Not Chosen as Judas’s Replacement.

God chose Matthias as the replacement for Judas.

And they prayed, and said, ‘You, Lord, Who knows the hearts of all men, show whether of these two You have chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles (Acts 1:24-26).

Paul Did Not Meet the Requirements to be One of the Twelve.

There were very specific and detailed requirements for being one of the twelve. Paul did not meet these requirements.

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection (Acts 1:21-22).

He would have had to have been in the company of the twelve all the time that the Lord was among them, from the “beginning … until the same day” of Christ’s ascension.

Paul Received and Preached a Different Gospel than that of the Twelve Apostles.

… The gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter (Galatians 2:7).

Paul Did Not Receive His Gospel Revelation from the Twelve Apostles.

But I certify you, brothers, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11, 12).

Paul calls this gospel that he received by the revelation of Jesus Christ, “my gospel.”

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel (Romans 2:16).

Now to Him Who is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began … (Romans16:25-26).

Paul Had a Distinct Apostleship from the Twelve Apostles.

Peter and the Twelve were Apostles to the Circumcision –the Jews – while Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles – to the Nations (Paul was God’s international apostle).

… He Who wrought effectually in Peter to the Apostleship of the Circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles … (Galatians 2:8).

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office (Romans 11:13).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2007

The Day of Pentecost

January 7, 2010

Over the past century a great deal of emphasis has been placed upon the Hebrew holy Day of Pentecost. Many have established their doctrinal systems around their understanding of this Jewish event. Some believe it to be the “birthday of the church,” while others even hold it to be the “standard” for church practice and experience.

Without ever fully examining the meaning and placement of the Feast of Pentecost from the Scriptures themselves, they proceed to arrange their doctrine and practice firmly upon this event. To them the Day of Pentecost is the pattern of God’s will and plan for our day.

Yet have they ever considered what actually took place on that specific Day of Pentecost some two millennia ago? We will briefly consider two important points concerning the Day of Pentecost.

THE DAY OF PENTECOST WAS A PART OF THE LAW OF MOSES

The Day of Pentecost was a Jewish Feast Day required under the Mosaic Law.

This feast is also known as the “feast of weeks” (Deuteronomy 16:10) and “feast of harvest” (Exodus 23:16). The word Pentecost actually means “fiftieth”[1] because it was observed fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits. This was one of the seven great annual feasts of the Lord, and the second of three feasts that required all males to be present “before the Lord” (Exodus 23:14-17).

Pentecost brought to a close the grain season. The cereal harvest began with barley at Passover and ended with wheat at Day of Pentecost (Exodus 34:22 – at Passover they waved the sheaf; at Tabernacles they mark the end of the fruit season).

In the Dispensation of the Grace of God there is no observance of Holy Days.

During God’s current dealings with mankind there are no special days. The Jewish days (feasts included) are spoken of as “weak and beggarly elements” and “bondage” by our apostle (Galatians 4:9-11).

THE DAY OF PENTECOST WAS A PART OF PROPHECY

The Day of Pentecost was a part of the prophetic program dealing with Israel.

The events surrounding Israel’s holy Day of Pentecost reveal that it was a day of prophetic significance.

Peter spoke to his Jewish audience on the Day of Pentecost telling them of its prophetic nature:

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16).

Peter goes on to quote the prophecy of Joel:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days,” says God, “I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:16-18).

Paul, the apostle, quoting Isaiah 28:11-12, also clearly reveals to us that the tongues (languages) present on the Day of Pentecost were a part of Israel’s prophetic program:

In the law it is written, “’With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people;[2] and yet for all that will they not hear Me,’ says the Lord” (I Corinthians 14:21).

What was the purpose of the prophesied tongues on the Day of Pentecost?

The Tongues on the Day of Pentecost were for a sign to Israel.

Wherefore tongues are for a sign (I Corinthians 14:22).

Signs were a divine requirement under God’s relationship with Israel.

For the Jews require a sign (I Corinthians 1:22).

By God’s design, Israel was His sign nation; signs were their birthright when He brought them out of Egypt.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe you, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign (Exodus 4:8).

Thus, signs belonged to Israel.

We see not our signs (Psalm 74:9).

Thus, signs belonged in Israel.

Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts (Isaiah 8:18).

Tongues were a sign to unbelieving Israel.

Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them who believe, but to them who believe not (I Corinthians 14:22).

Tongues were also the sign of Israel’s fall. In I Corinthians 14:20-22 Paul explains the purpose of tongues, quoting Isaiah 28:11-13:

For with … another tongue will He speak to this people … that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

The Scripture teaches us that the Day of Pentecost was a part of the Jewish economy, anchored in the Law of Moses, and fulfilled according to God’s prophetic plan with the nation Israel. It belonged to a Hebrew dispensation, and with the Circumcision’s Twelve Apostles.

The pattern of God’s will and plan for our day is the “dispensation of the grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). We do not look back to Israel’s law or prophecy, but to God’s current administration of grace and the mystery revealed to us by Paul, the apostle of the uncircumcision.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2008, 2010


[1] Strong’s Greek Lexicon #4005, “fifty days” (Leviticus 23:16).
[2] “this people” throughout the Scriptures is a reference to Israel.


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