Answers to Bible Questions
Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible
(Q) Was the day of Pentecost the beginning of the church age for today called “The Body of Christ”?
(A) A correct understanding of the significance of the Day of Pentecost will fully show that Christians have been misled by their pastors and Bible teachers for many, many centuries. Most of the blame goes to the early church fathers who started the visible church off on the wrong foot. There has been a wholesale failure on the part of believers to rightly divide the Word of truth.
Pentecost means ‘fifty,’ referring to fifty (50) days. The word ‘Pentecost’ is mentioned three times in the New Testament (Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1 Cor. 16:8). The second chapter of Acts is the most misunderstood chapter in this book. In Christendom, this chapter is called the birthday of the church. Nothing could be further from the truth, as you will see. Church leaders, preachers, and theologians have been blinded to the truth because they wrongly divide the Word of truth. They refuse to accept the truth of 2 Tim. 2:15, and instead resort to human ideas in order to explain God’s Word.
The one and only way to solve the problem of when the church of today called the Body of Christ began, is to search the scriptures. Instead of starting the Body of Christ on a very controversial Jewish festival day and dream up human interpretations to defend it, it is best to start things when God did something different. The salvation of Saul was different from anything that had happened before it or after it. It was unique as we can see from 1 Timothy 1: 15-16: 15This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. The salvation of Paul did not happen until Acts chapter 9 on the way to Damascus. Paul was not saved at the time of Pentecost, so it would have been impossible for the church called the Body of Christ to have started on that day; (Pentecost).
Now we will look at the “church” in Acts 2: 47. What kind of “church was this? The Received Text of the Greek New Testament is the text we should follow when discussing verse 47 because it contains the Greek word EKKLESIA # 1577 in Strong’s Greek Dictionary, (which basically means ASSEMBLY), but translated “church” in the New Testament. There was definitely a “body” or “group” of saved people as a result of Peter’s preaching of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” This “church” possessed a number of characteristics; 6 of which we will now present here:
1. It was a completely Jewish assembly. There were no Gentiles at this Feast of Pentecost. Therefore, no Gentiles were saved on the Day of Pentecost. This assembly was not a Christian church. Their beliefs and doctrine was all Jewish.
2. Those who responded were saved according to the Gospel of the Kingdom. This Gospel message that Peter preached after the resurrection was the very same message preached by him and the Lord before the resurrection (Matt. 9:35; 10:1,7 ). Peter did not preach anything new. What was new was the coming of the Holy Spirit in order to empower the Apostles as they preached about the soon advent of the corning Kingdom of heaven to earth (Acts 3:19-21).
3. The Jewish rite of water baptism was required for the forgiveness of sins. That was absolutely necessary because it was a part of God’s plan of salvation for Israel at that time (Luke 7:30).
4. Every believer in this assembly did not lack a thing. All of their needs were met by the combining of all their resources and goods.
5. The doctrine that was being taught by the Apostles was in relation to the Kingdom of God that Jesus had taught them for 40 days prior to His ascension (Acts 1:3). This involved the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the Tribulation Period and to the Millennium. NO PAULINE REVELATION HERE! Only the truth that pertained to Judaism and God’s program for Israel. The Law of Moses would also be involved in this (Acts 21:18-20).
6. The presence of many wonders, signs and miracles in the assembly attested to the fact that God was in their midst with His blessings, and that they were in His will.
This “church” that is mentioned in Acts 2:47 is NOT THE BODY OF CHRIST. That it is the Body of Christ is a belief based on the false premise that the Lord Jesus Christ preached Christianity during His earthly ministry. Peter knew absolutely nothing about the Body of Christ, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. The idea that the Body of Christ began on the Day of Pentecost is one of the biggest lies that is being preached in Christendom today. The reasons given for the beginning of the Body of Christ in Acts 2 is all of the flesh and not of the Spirit.
In fact, there is no evidence in the Bible that the Church, the Body of Christ, began on the Day of Pentecost. Rather, there are 12 solid Scriptural reasons why the Body of Christ DID NOT BEGIN on the Day of Pentecost. They are as follows:
1. There already was a church or assembly in existence, with 120 members in it (Acts 1:15). The 3000 saved on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 41) were ADDED to this assembly (Acts 2:47). These 3000 souls DID NOT START the church!
2. Peter proclaimed the ‘last days’ for Israel, not the ‘first days’ of the church (Acts 2:17). He was filled with the Holy Spirit and knew what he was preaching about. He did not make a mistake in what he said. The ‘last days’ and the ‘first days’ are two different bodies of truth in the Bible.
3. Pentecost was a JEWISH FEAST DAY, which is a part of God’s program for Israel (Lev. 23:15-22). There is nothing ‘Christian’ about it. The Jewish people offered animal sacrifices as a part of this festival (Lev. 23:18-19). Judaism is not Christianity, and Christianity is not Judaism. It is too bad that Christian people are so mixed up in their understanding of these two Divine systems of worship.
4. The title ‘the Church which is His Body’ is unique to Paul. It is found only in his letters (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18,24). It implies that there are other churches which are not His Body.
5. Israel was not alienated from God at the time of the day of Pentecost. The Father answered the prayer of His Son while on the cross, when He said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). God’s answer gave Israel another chance to repent and accept her Messiah (Acts 3:19-21), which she refused to do. In Acts 7 when Stephen was killed, THEN Israel became alienated from its God. One of the aspects of the Gospel of the grace of God is reconciliation. Reconciliation can only be preached to alienated people. This is why Peter did not preach reconciliation to Israel, and why Paul did preach reconciliation to both Jews and Gentiles (2 Cor. 5:19).
6. The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of heaven was offered to Israel for the FIRST TIME on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 3:19-20). If Israel had been set aside earlier (as our opponents teach) then the offer of the Kingdom by God would have been insincere.
7. The Body of Christ is a joint-body of saved Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:14-16). Peter only spoke to Jews in his ministry, with the exception of Cornelius in Acts 10 which was in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant.
8. On this Day there was the presentation of the two ‘wave loaves’ mentioned in Lev. 23:17-20. The sign of the two ‘sticks’ of Ezekiel 37: 15-28 explains what this means. The Body of Christ is ONE loaf (1 Cor. 10:17).
9. Forgiveness of sins was by water baptism. Now it is by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). When religious people put their trust in water baptism today for the forgiveness of sins, they are making the cross of Christ useless, of no effect, empty, by not recognizing the validity’ of the precious blood of Christ which was shed for all of mankind. They act like Christ did not die on the cross. Therefore, they become the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18). This is a most serious crime in the eyes of God.
10. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the resulting filling was for POWER in order to perform signs and miracles (Luke 24:49). There are no indications that the Spirit was forming a brand new body, a different body of believers called the ‘Body of Christ.’
11. In Acts 2, the Lord Jesus Christ is the One baptizing with the Spirit, just like John the Baptist predicted (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). This is one of the few truths that all 4 Gospels have in common. In 1 Cor. 12:13 we find out that the Holy Spirit is the baptizer in the formation of the Body of Christ rather than the Lord Jesus Christ. There should be no confusion in respect to the ministries of the three Persons of the Godhead.
12. Pentecost is associated with the Law of Moses (Lev. 23:15-22) and with prophecy (Joel 2:28-32). The Body of Christ of Paul’s revelation was not known by the Old Testament prophets (Eph. 3:4-5; Col. 1:26). In addition, the UNBELIEF of the Nation of Israel kept Joel’s prophecy from being fulfilled. It will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ. The phrase in Romans 16:26, ‘prophetic Scriptures’ (NKJV) refers to Paul’s writings to the Body of Christ – Romans through Philemon. They are full of prophecy.
In reading through these 12 Scriptural proofs, you may have noticed the references to more than one church. Two churches are mentioned – the one on the Day of Pentecost and the reference to the Body of Christ. However, there are also other churches in the Bible beside these two. Stephen, during his sermon in Acts 7, called Israel in the Old Testament ‘the church in the wilderness’ (Acts 7:38), making this church a rather large church with over a million members. In the book of Revelation there are seven churches mentioned in chapters 2 and 3 which relate to the coming Tribulation Period. And, the word church’ is often used in the plural – churches – referring to local congregations of believers. So then, there is more than one church in the Bible, and the one that is upper most in God’s mind during this Dispensation of grace is the Body of Christ. This is the church all saved people belong to, whether they know it or not.
The church of verse 47 can be considered as the Jewish Messianic Assembly. Only saved Jews were members, and they had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah, their coming King. This Jewish church is referred to 24 times in the New Testament (Matt. 16:18; 18:17; Acts 2:47; 5:11; 8:1,3; 9:31; 11:22; 12:1,5; 15:4,22; 18:22; 1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13,22; Phil. 3:6; 1 Thess. 2:14; Heb. 2:12; 12:23; James 5: 14; 3 John 6,9,10). It is THE church that Paul persecuted BEFORE he was saved in Acts 9. Paul did not persecute the Body of Christ.
A believer today with a willingness to learn about God’s purpose for Israel and His unrelated purpose for the Gentiles through Paul will have no trouble understanding the necessity of rightly dividing the Word of truth. The Bible will become a meaningful Book to him, and subjects like the Day of Pentecost will be easier to understand.
In conclusion, one more point that I would like to make is found in Colossians 1: 26. Here Paul says that the truth about the Body of Christ is a “mystery” which had been hid from ages and from generations, but is now made manifest to his saints. It is very difficult to believe that-that which every prophet of old predicted, is that which had been hidden from ages and generations. The Body of Christ which was a mystery was hid in God (not in scripture) from the beginning of the world, until it was revealed to the apostle Paul. (See Ephesians 3: 1-9). Pentecost came and went before the mystery of the Body of Christ was revealed to Paul. So how could Pentecost have been the start of the church age in which we live, called the Body of Christ if it had not yet been revealed at that time? Paul was not saved until at least 2 years after Pentecost. Pentecost in Acts 2 was approximately in 30 AD, but Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus did not take place until approximately 33 AD in Acts 9.
Pentecost was not the start of the “Body of Christ.” It started with Paul in Acts 9 who was the apostle to the gentiles: Romans 11: 13; 11 Timothy 1: 11.
MARANATHA – LORD COME!