EARLY CHURCH HISTORY 101 (Lesson 10)

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” [John 20:21-22] 

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INTRODUCTION   

Ch 1: LESSON 1   LESSON 2   LESSON 3   LESSON 4   LESSON 5   LESSON 6   LESSON 7

Ch 2: LESSON 8   LESSON 9

LESSON 10

Acts 2:2

2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Our author Luke characterized the loud sound from heaven that morning as a strong and driving wind, a bearing breeze “bringing forth.” But rather than the prevalent word for wind he used another—pnoe—which primarily means “breath” or “breath of life.” It had a purpose and destination: It was the holy breath of God.

The first thing we must recall is this:

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. [Genesis 2:7]

Adam had been formed—created from the element-rich dry soil of the earth—though was in an inanimate condition. He was the highest life form of Creation and made in God’s own image. This is beyond profound. For such a being there could only be one animating force possible. It must be the breath of God.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]

Though this verse is well known, it is also otherwise well known for containing a subpar translation. In the New Testament, there are a total of thirty-one occurrences of the Greek word for wind—anemos. As in Acts 2:2, this is not one of them. The word “wind” in this verse is from the Greek word pneuma which is translated as “Spirit” in every other instance of its use in the passage. Thus, the Lord never said, “The wind blows where it wishes,” but more like “The Spirit goes where it will.”

Now, let’s try this verse again and see how closely it matches up with Acts 2:2:

The Spirit goes where it will and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]

And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. [Acts 2:2]

The 120 people in the Upper Room were about to be born again, or born of the Spirit, just as Adam was once literally born of the Spirit, or the breath of God. The Lord specifically told Nicodemus that no one could see (perceive, discern, discover) or enter into the kingdom of God unless he was born again.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” [John 3:6-7][1]

No one of us remembers our physical birth. Not so with our mothers. It goes without saying, of course, but human birth is a powerful process and unforgettable experience. So is the new birth. It denotes a completely new life and a total transformation. After all, it is the Spirit of God we are referring to here. He is like a rushing mighty wind. There was a sound, a noise. He filled the Upper Room and the entire house with His presence. He would soon fill each person with His Holy Spirit.

He would breathe new life into them just as He did with Adam.  

© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on April 17, 2020, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. you said, “human birth is a powerful process and unforgettable experience. So is the new birth. It denotes a completely new life and a total transformation.”
    so true, unforgettable; which causes me to wonder why any one or any church would commit apostasy if they were truly born again of God of Spirit?
    thank you again RJ!

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    • You answered your own question my friend. Thank you for an awesome comment. The Lord did His absolute best to tell everyone all they needed to know. He was patient. He was strong. He was compassionate. He was stalwart. He was understanding. But He never, ever compromised on the TRUTH. He put forth perfect instructions on how to find the small gate and narrow way, and how to walk out the path of Life. That the majority reject this is telling. That the majority of those who call themselves Christians reject it is even more telling. It exposes them for what they are. TOO MUCH JESUS MEANS TOO MUCH CONVICTION. And they’re gone.

      What the Lord blessed us with through His chosen vessel Luke tells the entire world how it all went down and what is expected of all if they will have any part with Him. There will be many sissies wailing away at the Judgment insisting they qualify for heaven though they refused to do what He commanded and what was required while drawing breath. The historical record clearly states spiritual reality.

      Blessings to you Yvonne.

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  2. RJ, it must have been an incredible event to witness, to experience. I get goose bumps! I do NOT believe that those 120 unified believers just sat there and sang Kumbyah. I think they were shocked into stillness, utterly and completely; and THEN they began to holler, shed tears, question each other, and praise God! What an amazing event it was!

    And you’re right about the miracle of human birth. I have four children. Each time, it was unique, memorable in different ways, exciting, painful, joyous, amazing! In fact, it was the contemplation of the birth of a child that finally convinced my not-yet husband that God was real, and that he needed the Lord. We started dating AFTER I knew–and he knew–that he had been born again. And that birth was just as exciting as the births of our children. How about that 🙂

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    • I do wonder if all those who followed the Lord knew how incredibly blessed they were to be the recipient of His actual presence and to experience such a powerful and wonderful event. They must have. They must have been enlightened by the Spirit of the Lord to know all of this and it served to anoint them to witness, teach, preach, and minister all the more. The Lord can never be put in a box, especially a religious one. Those who make the attempt always fail miserably and only serve to drive Him away for the sake of their own control. The Lord is free and powerful and when we allow Him and want Him to, He creates events like Pentecost. Don’t you love the following?

      Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers. [Psalm 104:1-4]

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  3. Yes, indeed, the Holy Spirit will breathe new life in us and resurrect the dead spirits. Thank you for sharing.

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