By Harry Bultema

An awful thing happened this past week. Again, three small nations have been overrun by a neighboring mighty nation. Born and bred in Holland, and having many friends and relatives still, there, I have been greatly moved by this latest invasion in this peaceful and strictly neutral little land.  We may well ask with David, “Why do the heathen rage and why do the people imagine a vain thing” (Psa. 2:1)? The Bible gives us the answer to this question. Negatively, it is because the nations are not yet filled with the Holy Spirit. Someday God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and then the nations will be spiritual; they now are exclusively carnal and filled with lust for power and plunder lust.

 The word Pentecost means “fifty.” The feast of Pentecost fell fifty days after the feast of the Passover. Passover, or the lamb slain at Passover, with a sheaf of first-fruits was presented before the Lord to commemorate the commencement of harvest. Fifty days afterward, loaves were made from the new harvest and laid on the altar before the Lord to celebrate the completion of the harvest. This typical feast fore-shadowed a rich spiritual lesson. At the resurrection, Christ was the first-fruits and by the Spirit God feeds the risen Christ to His people as the Bread of Life.

 When the Disciples returned to Jerusalem, they took themselves, not to the supper room, but to the upper room, where  “they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). This is a great contrast to our time, for now the saints are often with much discord in many places. While they prayed, the Spirit miraculously came with a furious blast of a mighty wind and flaming tongues, and they were all filled with the Spirit and began to speak in ecstatic and rhapsodically strange tongues. Here was not only a wonder of the tongue, enabling them to speak foreign languages without any preparation and study, but also a miracle of hearing so that everyone could understand the other languages without any study whatsoever. Many valuable lessons are suggested here.


  1. The Spirit loves to come and work in connection with prayer and supplication.
  2. The Spirit loves to work in connection with the unity of believers.
  3. The Spirit loves to work sovereignly, mightily, purifyingly, and independently like the mighty storm.
  4. The Spirit as a fire would warm, illumine and burn.
  5. The Spirit would operate among all the tribes and tongues, and as a sign of that, it sat on all of them.
  6. The Spirit would not fight with the carnal sword but operate with the word of the tongue.
  7. The Spirit would so stimulate, transform, and intensify the lives that even humble fishermen, naturally cowards, became heroic and irresistible preachers and flaming evangelists. There was such a whirlwind of holy passion that the carnal crowd thought they were drunk with wine.

 This blessed Spirit is a royal gift of the crucified and risen Savior. He first showed this in Acts 2:24 and resumes the argument in our text (Acts 2:32-37). In our text He again reminds His hearers of this important fact and someone has rightly called it the terrible argument for the cowering awe-stricken and guilty murderers of Christ and their cohorts that made up Peter’s audience.

 Think of the contrast …

… They killed Christ. The God of Israel had raised Him up.

… They hated Jesus. God loved Him.

…They gave Him the death of a criminal or a runaway renegade slave.

… God openly justified Him as the innocent and flawless Messiah.

… God raised up “this Jesus” and thereby openly and beyond a shadow of a doubt proved that He was and forever is the Son of God.

… They abhorred Him. God was satisfied with Him and crowned Him with honor and majesty at His right hand.

… They despised Him and gave Him but a crown of thorns and the Cross.

… God gave Him a place above all principality and power thereby focusing fulfilled prophecy (vss. 24-31) and, thus, linking the Old and New Testament.

 By raising up “this Jesus,” disallowed by the whole nation, the God of Israel gave “full proof” and demonstration of His Deity. The resurrection of Christ would, henceforth, be the new measure and standard of God’s  power for the believer. Compare Micah 7:15 with Ephesians 1:9, and further the pledge and guarantee of the believer’s resurrection as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15;49 and Philippians 3:21. The Cross could not be the tarry place for faith, nor the tomb, but, rather, the throne, not a dead but a living Christ.

 God did not only raise up His Son but He also gave Him a right- hand exaltation. In Israel they knew full well that this meant the place of honor, power, glory and love of the Father. Israel could not have more deeply degraded Him. God could not have more highly exalted Him. Truly, we exclaim with Isaiah that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than man’s thoughts and ways, even as the Heavens are higher than the earth. Human words fail us when we contemplate the grandeur of our Lord’s  exaltation.

 Peter’s audience had abundant evidence that the rejected Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead but what proof did  they have that He was exalted and seated at the Father’s right hand?

 The answer to this question is definitely given in Peter’s harangue at Pentecost when he said to Israel, “Therefore, being on the right hand of God exalted, He hath shed forth this” (Acts 2:33). Their murdered sovereign King had sent a gift from the throne of the Father. This both proved that He lived and that He was highly exalted. The dead or the poor do not send royal gifts. Even King David was not so highly exalted as the Son of David for the prophet, as he prophesied of Christ’s session at the right hand of God in Psalm 110:1 said: “The Lord said unto my Lord sit Thou on My right hand….” David the man after God’s own heart was not ascended unto the Heavens in the same place or position occupied by Christ.  David had never desired this. In Psalm 27 he is pleased to tell us the one main ambition of his life, and that is not to be in Heaven, but to be in the Temple, the house of the Lord on earth, forever to see there the beauty of the Lord. Read the last eight Chapters of Ezekiel and you will find that God will someday fulfill the holy ambition and prayer of David by giving him a special place in the “house of prayer for all nations” in the glorious Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 There are many persons today whose slogan is “back to Pentecost.” They continually exhort others to seek the Pentecostal blessing,  as they refer to it. But as Scriptural as this may seem to be, it is a delusion, as this was an Israelitish affair and in vain do  Gentile believers of today seek and wait for the mighty tempest of the Spirit that will shake their house.  In vain do they look for the cloven tongues or what they call the baptism of fire. The fire baptism is the judgment of God upon Israel. Vainly do they look for the tongues of Pentecost and vainly they babble in worse than Babylonian confusion. In vanity they affect a baptism for the remission of sins. Vulgarly they claim the Pentecostal healing but it is spurious for they do not heal as Peter did by his shadow making or as Paul by his girdle laying. Vauntingly they boast and bray about prophesying, dreaming, and night visions.

 These reject the Christian voluntary communism of Acts 2:42-46, 5:5 & 10, 12:23, and 13:11.  They do not behold sudden judgment of death upon all the liars, otherwise, they would all suddenly drop dead. Neither do they enjoy angelic visits from Heaven as we find to be the continual experience of the believers in the Book of Acts (12:1-11) as an example. They do not go, as the Pentecostal Jews of Acts did, to the synagogue and temple to pray and to bring a bloody sacrifice. It is of prime significance to see clearly that the ACTS REGIME IS NOT THE REGIME FOR US TODAY. That regime passed away with Israel’s priority and the Temple with its sacrifices along with the many signs and wonders manifested to Israel as a nation.

 It is plain that Peter, in our text, speaks emphatically to the whole nation of Israel. Hear the indictment: “THEREFORE LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY THAT GOD HATH MADE THAT SAME JESUS, WHOM YE HAVE CRUCIFIED BOTH LORD AND CHRIST” Acts 2:36). No nation on earth had cause to weigh Peter’s words as Israel had a cause. It is Heaven’s proclamation to the nation that had killed its prophets and now even its great Prophet and its sovereign King. He had exalted Israel above all the nations of the earth.

 All the eight glorious things mentioned in Romans 9:4-5 belonged to Israel as a nation. He cracked down on Egypt in their behalf with ten great plagues, opened the sea, gave them drink as out of the great depths. He rained down for forty years the manna or angels’ food. He placed His tabernacle among them and dwelt between the cherubim. Finally, He planted Israel in the land of milk and honey, casting out thirty-one kings before her. As a climax to all centuries of signs and wonders. God raised up Christ and exalted Him to His right hand and through Him poured out His Holy Spirit with mighty signs and marvels.

 Now the royal proclamation went forth that all the house of Israel should know assuredly that God had made this murdered Son both Lord and Christ—the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King that was promised of old.

 The Pentecostal spirit was poured out during the Acts period miraculously four times and upon four communities or groups: 


  1. upon the Jews in Acts 2;
  2. upon the Samaritans in Acts 8:14-17;
  3. upon the gentiles in acts 10:44-46; and
  4. upon John’s disciples in Acts 19:6.


In each case there were several concomitant miracles and signs, such as we do not behold today, of which all the modern imitations are frothy and futile and extreme. If the tongues then, according to Paul, were of very little profit, how unprofitable must the spurious tongues of today be!!

 Let the whole world know, O believer, that your Savior is made both Lord and Christ. Israel does not recognize Him as Lord today, nor do the nations of the world. But, you do own Him as Lord. All the Egyptians of old had to recognize that Joseph had been taken out of prison and made Lord of the whole land of Egypt. All had to own Him as such, and so now all Israel and the world have to own Him as Lord of all. Daniel was taken out of the lions’ den and was made Lord of the whole Medo-Persian Empire and all the Medo-Persians had to recognize him as such. Mordecai was taken from all of his contempt and danger and made next to the King in the same empire and all had to pay homage to him. But listen! A greater than Joseph, a greater than the much-beloved Daniel, an infinitely greater One than Mordecai, even this despised Nazarene has been made by God the Father both Lord and Christ.

 Do you own Him as Lord? Have you publicly confessed Him as such? Do you lovingly obey Him as your Lord and Master? You cannot be loyal to this Lord and at the same time befriend the world that hates Him. You cannot show fidelity to Him and at the same time live for self and sensual pleasures. You must choose for Him and yield yourselves fully to Him.

 Let us briefly consider the effects of Peter’s discourse. The sting of his harangue lay in the sentence that God had made their victim both Lord and Christ. There was a deep and pungent conviction pricking their minds and hearts. Their pride was punctured. They repented and came to a change of mind concerning that Jesus was Whom they had rejected. They now believed that God had made Him Lord and the terrible reality of the murder of their sovereign King came to them. They must have smitten their breasts as they cried from the bottom of their hearts. “Men, brethren, what shall we do?”

 What a blessed question! Oh, that many today would ask this question, and would not say, “Repent, and be baptized for the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38) as Peter did but simply say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou shalt be saved.” 

 Yes, believe in that Lord and Savior and salvation forever is your full and free portion.