September 1, 2003, Vol.3,
Two new articles every two weeks.
Bible Question? E-mail
THIS ISSUE: "Did
the Church begin on the First Pentecost
after Jesus' Resurrection?" (see
and "Introduction to Second
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS:
Did the Church begin
on the First Pentecost
by Tom Rainwater
after Jesus' Resurrection?
If the church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), then
Jesus could not be its Founder. He could not have set it up Himself
since He was not on the earth then but in Heaven. How could it
be His if He had to use others to set it up?
ANSWER: Thanks for your
While Jesus was on the earth He said, "I will build
my church." (Matthew 16:18). It's building was obviously
future to that statement. Though Jesus taught on earth many principles
essential to His will, the church did not begin until after
His death, burial, and resurrection. His will or testament became
binding only after His death (Hebrews 9:16-17).
Also notice that the church is spoken of as being present
after the day of Pentecost. "And the Lord added to the
church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47b).
Understand that in order for Jesus to build His church, He
had to purchase it with His own blood (Acts 20:28) by dying on
the cross for our sins. "In Him we have redemption through
His blood" (Ephesians 1:7). Without his crucifixion
there would be no salvation nor body of the saved (Ephesians
5:23,25-27). His resurrection from the dead is the ultimate proof
that He is the Son of God, and is the core of our faith (1 Corinthians
15:1-19). Without His resurrection, there would be no hope. His
death, burial, and resurrection are central to the Gospel message.
(See Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; John 3:14-16; Acts 2:22-36;
3:26; 10:39-43; 13:28-41; 17:31; 26:22-23; Romans 6:3-8; 1 Corinthians
2:2.) Belief in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection could
not have been required of people until after such was
accomplished. Can anyone today in this Gospel age refuse
to believe in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection and still
It is strange that you believe Jesus cannot accomplish His
will on earth while reigning in Heaven as Lord over all things
(Acts 2:36; Ephesians 1:20-23). In Peter's sermon on that first
Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 2), he stated that
Jesus had ascended to the right hand of the Father and "poured
out this which you see and hear." (Acts 2:33). In other
words, Jesus was responsible for what was happening on that particular
Pentecost. The fact of Jesus' miraculous involvement provided
Peter's audience with irrefutable proof of His resurrection from
the dead and position at the right hand of the Father's throne.
Were others used by Christ in the building of His church?
Yes, certainly others were involved as Jesus used them for His
purpose. Notice that the household of God was "built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
Himself being the chief cornerstone." (Ephesians 2:19-20).
When Jesus ascended into Heaven and sat at the Father's right
hand, He sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4) to inspire the apostles
(Acts 2:5-12) as He promised He would (John 16:5-13; Luke 24:44-49)
so they could teach His will beginning in Jerusalem.
"Thus it is written, and thus it is necessary for
the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached
in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem."
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit
has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
That particular Pentecost day was a "beginning"
(cf. Acts 11:15). Everything that happened that day in Jerusalem
did so because Jesus acted as Lord in Heaven directing the Holy
Spirit to inspire His apostles to preach what He wanted preached:
the saving message of the Gospel. Those who listened "gladly
received His word" and "were baptized"
and "added by the Lord to the church." (Acts
2:40-41,47). Simply, the church is composed of those who obey
the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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