The Promise in Acts 2:39

Personal Influencing & Fruiting Presence of the Holy Spirit (6)

By Eusebio Tanicala

Ang temang ito ang pinagdebatehan noong nakaraang taon sa Urdaneta City at Quezon City: “Resolved, that the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells, influences, and guides the Christian today only through the word of God.” Tapusin muna natin ito bago talakayin yaong”indwelling” kung referido ba sa individual Christian or the corporate church.

In reacting to the modern Pentecostalist’s claim of a continuing miraculous healing and tongue speaking, we in the Churches of Christ have produced some wrong arguments. These arguments are like the wrong arguments that have been drawn from Amos 5 and 6 in our reaction against the promoters of mechanical instruments of music in church worship saying that instruments of music were prohibited in the above passages when in fact they are not.

From the very first months I attended classes at the Bible College fifty years ago, I have heard the following arguments based on Acts 2 that the “promise” applies to the (1) Holy Spirit baptismal measure upon the 12 apostles; (2) That since the “promise is unto all flesh” the 12 apostles represented the Jewish sector while the household of Cornelius represented the Gentile sector, the fulfillment is representative; (3) That by nature a “promise” when fulfilled once it ceases to exist and since the Jews and the Gentiles were both represented in this baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and Acts 10 this baptismal measure with its attendant miraculous powers ceased when the apostles and church leaders they laid hands on to impart the Holy Spirit died; (4) Therefore, miraculous healing and speaking in tongues have also ceased.

I believe that we have to revise our interpretation about the people or groups of people the “promise” was directed to. I believe that “promise” is not limited to the “baptismal measure” only. It is only a portion of the whole promise. The “promise” or prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 is the pouring of the Holy Spirit unto all flesh. I believe that the “unto all flesh” provision of the promise is kingdom-wide in application because of the following specifics of Joel: sons and daughters, old men, young men, menservants, maidservants, whoever calls on the name of the LORD, among the remnant whom the LORD calls. Please look at the passages again.

Acts 2:39 says, “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:33 also calls the Pentecost Day phenomenon the “promise of the Holy Spirit.” It should be logical to conclude that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” in verse 38 is the promise stated in verse 39 which the baptized believer receives. This is the Ordinary Measure of the Holy Spirit which the 3,000 baptized believers received during the Day of Pentecost. This Ordinary Measure of the Holy Spirit is part of the promised pouring out of the Holy Spirit unto all flesh.

The “representative fulfillment of the baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit” is a wrong interpretation in the light of Acts 2:39 as the fulfillment of the whole promise. If it were correct that the two incidents (12 apostles in Acts 2 and Cornelius household in Acts 10) fulfilled the whole promise, Acts 2:39 would be contradicted because the children of the audience, the people afar off, as many as the Lord God will call are all included recipients of the promise. We in the Churches of Christ interpret “afar off” in Eph. 2:13 to refer to the Ephesians and by extension Filipinos also.

The Ephesians had received the Holy Spirit because it was given to each believer as a seal of redemption (4:30); the Holy Spirit mightily strengthened the Ephesian Christians (3:16); the Holy Spirit was fruiting in the individual lives (5:9), and the Holy Spirit was personally present or else the term“grieving” Him would be a wrong expression of the inspired apostle. Acts 19:1-6 tells us of 12 Ephesians who received the Holy Spirit after Apostle Paul laid his hands on them.

I wish you a fruitful reflection on the word. More short articles to follow.Kung mayroong kahinaan ang aming analysis, handa kaming tatanggap ng inyong pagtutuwid.

Related Articles :

The Person, Mission and Medium of the Holy Spirit Viewed in Various Biblical Periods (1)

The Presence and Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2)

Does the fullness of the Godhead dwell in Jesus bodily? (3)

Does Holy Spirit personal presence in every believer divide the Holy Spirit? (4)

Does Satan personally influence people whom he seduces? (5)