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Passion and Heavy Breathing

Acts 2:1-2

Acts 2:1-2
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

“They” were all with one accord.

But who are the “they?”  Who received the original or initial outpouring of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost? 

If you follow the pronouns back to the closest associated antecedent at the end of chapter one the “they” in chapter 2 refers to the apostles.

Acts 1:26
And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Follow the pronouns from the noun apostles, and it makes this aspect of Acts 2:1-4 clear.

Acts 2:1
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

When the day of Pentecost had fully come the apostles were in one place and with one accord, meaning they had the same passion, the same motivation. “Accord” is homothymadon in the Greek. Homo means the same, and thymadon comes from thumos which basically means passion. This is what I said about thumos in Mechanics of the Mind.

Thumos is what causes people to act with varying degrees of effort and energy and commitment. Thumos gets you moving, at times when you don’t even realize why you decided to act. It is the passion that moves people. It is the emotion that grabs hold of a person’s mind and sends them forth into the arena to compete, to contend, to give it their all.

Most only see thumos as anger, like a raging fire that burns fiercely but briefly, an impulsive anger. It appears 18 times in the Greek text while its word family appears a total of 57 times in the texts. When I look at all of it uses and that of its word family, I see much more than wrath or anger. I see passion, I see emotion. I see motivating forces at work.” 

For the full teaching on thumos you can go to Mechanics of the Mind…Thumos.

Acts 2:2
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 

First, I want to consider some of the individual words in this verse.

The word suddenly is aphno which most Lexicons define as suddenly. However, if you look at Strong’s Lexicon it also adds the word unexpectedly. Now, there is a difference in emphasis between suddenly and unexpectedly and the difference impacts this verse. 

Suddenly deals with time, something taking place quickly. Unexpectedly just deals with a thing being unexpected, out of the normal or routine. Unexpectedly has no time frame. Contextually unexpected flows better with the verse. Suddenly and unexpectedly take your mind in different directions.

While out walking suddenly it started to rain.
While out to diner with my wife, I unexpectedly ran into my old girlfriend.

The words “there came” is ginomai in the Greek and means to come, to become, or to arise. 

The words, “a sound,” in the Greek are echos. I am sure you can see where we got our English word echo. The Lexicons define echos as a noise, a sound, a rumor, or the roar of the waves of the sea. A diverse range of meanings. Interesting though when you consider the acoustics in the Temple so that a priest could be heard by all.

The next word is “from”, ek in the Greek. A preposition that means out from inside the object it is attached to in the sentence. For example, if you drew a circle, and put a dot in the center of that circle, ek would be a line out from that dot moving out and away from the circle. In Acts 2:2 “from” is attached to the word “heaven.” So, we are speaking of a sound (echos) coming out of heaven. 

“Heaven” is the next word. Heaven is ouranos in the Greek. We learned in the Fall of Mankind, when we were studying Genesis chapter 1, that heaven begins at the top or surface of the sea and the land. So, heaven is any place above the surface of the earth, whether land or sea. When I am sitting or standing my “ears” are listening in heaven.

Next comes “as of a” which is one word in the Greek hosper and is defined as, just as or even as.

The words “of a rushing” is the Greek word phero which means to carry along. “Of a” is added because phero is in the genitive case. There are 10 different types of genitives. This would be a genitive of origin meaning it was carried along from the source. The source, as we will see, is the Apostles.

The next word is “mighty” from the Greek word biaios. Lexicons define this word as, violent, forceable, strong, and mighty and one Lexicon used the word heavy.

The next word in the text is “wind”, pnoe in the Greek. Pnoe is defined as breath or breath of life. God gave man the breath of life back in Genesis 2:7, since that time it has been man’s responsibility to breath. When God gave man the breath of life back in Genesis it was not a “strong, fierce, violent, or mighty” wind, God simply blew into man’s nostrils and man became a living soul.

Another point I want to make before I get where I am going is about the term “house.”

Acts 7:47
But Solomon built him an house.

Luke 11:51
From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation.

Luke 19:46
Saying unto them, it is written, my house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

The Greek word for “house” in Acts 2:2, and in Acts 7:47, and both times in Luke 19:46 is oikos. In Luke 11:51 the Greek word translated “temple” is oikos. Many times, Luke used the term oikos when speaking of the House of God. Luke also had a habit of identifying an oikos when it was a private home.

Acts 12:12
And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.

Acts 21:8
And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

The house spoken of in Acts 2:2 is God’s house, and the third hour of the day was an hour of prayer. In the first century the third hour of the day was morning prayers, it correlates to approximately 9:00 AM. The third hour meaning, the third hour since sunrise (Acts 2:15).

Now what is the point of all of this?

Translating from one language to another is not an exact science. It becomes even more of a challenge when you consider the English language. Although each of our words has a precise and exact definition, we do not always use our words in accordance with the definition. Also, because our language comes from so many different languages, we have a multitude of synonyms for every word.

You have seen how Lexicons will give you two, three and even four words to define one Greek word. Sometimes those definitions will have a wide range like rumor to the roar of the waves in an ocean. 

My point is that there is more than one way to handle the translation of Acts 2:2, the simple evidence of this is the multitude of English versions of the Bible that exist today. All versions are from the same Greek words but with different English words. After giving you my version, I will explain to you why I believe my changing the normal Biblical translations is warranted. Although I have already shown you some of the logic.

Acts 2:2
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 

Literal of Acts 2:2
And unexpectedly there arose a noise, just like heavy breathing, and it was carried along in the air and filled the Temple of God where they were sitting.
Auxano Ministry

The apostles were breathing heavy as they sat in the Temple at the hour of prayer because that is what Jesus instructed them to do in the Gospel of John.

John 20:22
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

“Breathed on” in the Greek is emphysao and means to blow or breath upon. It is easy to see we get the English word emphysema from this Greek word. Have you ever seen someone with emphysema breathing? Their breathing can become very heavy as they strive to get as much air as possible in the next breath. 

The Darby Translation handles John 20:22 in this manner.

John 20:22
And having said this, he breathed into [them], and says to them, Receive [the] Holy Spirit:
Darby Translation

Following these instructions from Jesus, the apostles, on the day of Pentecost were in the Temple at the hour of prayer and they began to breath in and out, and the Temple was filled with the sound of their heavy breathing. An unexpected noise to hear in the Temple.

But it goes a few steps further.

Acts 17:24-25
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.

This was the Apostle Paul when he was in Athens. He was speaking to men who had never heard God’s Word before, and Paul is introducing these men to the One True God who gave and continues to give life and breath and all things to and for man.

As we have discussed in the Fall of Mankind, the purpose of the earth is to provide for mankind. Good reason to care for the earth, Not worship but care for, Romans 1:20-23. The purpose of breath life is to benefit man, to give physical life to mankind.

How does God continue to give these things? Does He breathe into a child’s nostrils each time a child is born? Does God re-create the earth and all, of its riches for man with each new generation? 

God accomplished past and present giving at the very beginning when He made the process of life to re-new itself through procreation. The earth also continues to make precious gems, and metals, and elements man requires. If man walked with God, He would show man where to find what he needs. But man, as a whole, does not walk with God so we search, many times in vain.

The Greek Septuagint was written between the third and first centuries B.C. The Greek word translated “wind” in Acts 2:2 (pnoe) was defined in Lexicons as “breath or breath of life.” The first time it is used in the Greek Septuagint is in Genesis chapter 2.

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The “breath” in the phrase “breath of life” is pnoe. 

In Genesis 2:7 man becomes a “living soul” having breath life, physical life when God breathes into man’s nostrils. Then following the instructions of Jesus in the Gospel of John, the apostles are given spiritual life in Acts 2 when the day of Pentecost is fully come.

Then Peter reminds those listening to him about a prophecy in the book of Joel, a prophecy concerning the Revealing Administration.

Joel 2:28-29
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also, upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 

The quote from Joel needs some context.

Joel 1:4
That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

This is the figure of speech personification whereby things are used to represent a nation.

Joel 1:6
For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.

The four critters in Joel 1:4, the palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar are four types of locust. The first one is known for its ferocious appetite. The second is known for its numbers. A swarm of these locust, even today, are described as a black cloud that covers and blocks out the sun and sky. The third is compared to how a cow eats up the grass in a field. Well, what does that mean? A cow likes a field of grass that is about six inches tall, when the cow is finished eating there is still about two inches of grass left on each blade of grass. It means because of the structure of their mouths the cankerworm will not strip a crop bare. The fourth locust, called in Joel a caterpillar, is known for his destructive effect on what is left of the crop. This locust is sometimes referred to as the destroyer for nothing is left when he is done.

Now consider the four invasions Israel endured. First it was the Assyrians taking the ten tribes in the Law Administration. These ten tribes disappeared! After the Assyrian invasion Israel consisted of Judah and Benjamin. The Epistle of James is written to the 12 tribes and the 144,000 that God sends out to speak His Word come from the 12 tribes. Both, the Epistle of James and the 144,000, deal with the Revealing Administration. So, Assyria had a ferocious appetite, eating up 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel.

The second invasion came from Babylon, or the Chaldeans. Their vast numbers simply overwhelmed what was left of Israel. The third invasion was from Alexander the Great and the Greeks. Alexander the Great did not completely eat up Israel allowing them to keep their Temple and their manner of worship. Alexander even went so far as to ask the High Priest to make a sacrifice for him to their God. The fourth and final invasion came from Rome, the destroyer of what was left of Israel. When Rome was done with Israel, Jerusalem was crushed into the ground, the inhabitants were scattered to the four winds, and the Temple was utterly destroyed. 

The four invasions of Israel match the four types of locust God spoke of to the prophet Joel. This is the figure of speech personification used in Joel. The book of Joel goes on to describe the devastation of Israel and asks them to call a solemn assembly of the nation to repent and return to God.

Chapter 2 of Joel speaks of the “day of the Lord,” this is also a figure of speech. The figure is metonymy of adjunct. Metonymy is the exchange of one noun for another noun. Adjunct refers to it being attached to a greater aspect of something. Here the noun “day” is put for the noun judgment and the greater thing is “of the Lord.” In other words, this figure is speaking of GOD’s judgment.

Call a solemn assembly to repent for the time of God’s judgment is close at hand. Remember, the time of tribulation is not just a horrific time because the anti-christ is in power, it is also horrific because it is time for God’s judgment against unrighteousness. How unrighteous must you be to demand the murder of God's son?

Acts 2:22-23
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

This is the Revealing Administration! This helps us understand why Peter quotes the whole prophecy of Joel even though the day of Pentecost was not yet time for God’s righteous indignation against unrighteousness.

Now that we have a little context for Joel, let’s look at what Peter has to say on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:16-18
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

In verse 16 Peter opens with, “this is that.” The question must then to asked, what does this refer to and what does that refer to?

“This” the outpouring of God’s gift of holy spirit, demonstrated by speaking in tongues and “that” is what Joel prophesied. It is the equivalence of saying; this day is this scripture fulfilled.

This is the opening of the Revealing Administration.

The next two verses are about what will go on during the Revealing Administration and especially toward the end of the Revealing Administration as the judgments of God are poured out upon unbelief and unrighteousness. Also recognize that throughout the entire time of the Revealing Administration God has opened the door for redemption and salvation. Israel has the opportunity to repent as Joel was asking Israel to do.

Joel 2:13
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

During the Revealing Administration, the “day of the Lord,” the time of God’s judgment is coming. Consider Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, and Simon in Acts 8, and Herod in Acts 12. But the judgment of God is a discussion for another day.

Joel 2:30-31
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

Acts 2:19-20
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

This concerns the end of the Revealing Administration when Christ returns.

Why would Peter quote the whole prophecy if Acts 2 were only the beginning? Why quote the end of the prophecy?

We already touched on this earlier. In the context of Joel, we see that the judgment of God is coming. The “day of the Lord” is close at hand, therefore, repent.

Matthew 24:34
Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The Revealing Administration would be brief, less than one generation.

Acts 2:22-24
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

The word “pains” is the Greek word odin and refers to birth pains. It is speaking of the resurrection of Jesus Christ when he was regenerated.

Romans 1:3-4
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

This is about both births of Jesus Christ. His physical birth through Mary and his spiritual birth when God raised him from the dead. This is the figure of speech metonymy once again, although here it is metonymy of cause where the action is put for what it produced.

Some, after hearing the words of Joel and the Apostle Peter, and seeing the demonstration of spiritual power with speaking in tongues were moved in their hearts.

Acts 2:37
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Then, the Lord Jesus Christ built his church as he proclaimed in the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The word “and” is the conjunction kai.  Blue Letter Bible defines kai in this manner, “and, also, even, indeed, but.” A conjunction will show phrases to be contrast or coordinating. Here in Matthew, it is contrasting Peter to Christ.

1 Peter 2:5
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

In 1 Peter 2, the word “built” is in the present tense and the passive voice. Peter and the other apostles are not doing the building, Christ, the Rock, is doing the building.

“You are Peter” his name meaning a stone, but “upon this rock” Jesus, “I will build my church…”

Acts 2:47
Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Peter proclaims the opening of the Revealing Administration and the impending day of the Lord. For those who do not believe the coming day of the Lord is a day of judgment. But Peter shows Israel the solution.

Joel 2:32
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Acts 2:21
 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Joel 2:28-29 are fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. 
Joel 2:30-31 apply to aspects during and at the end of the Revealing Administration. 
Joel 2:32 applies throughout the Revealing Administration.

There is one more point to consider.

John 20:22
And having said this, he breathed into [them], and says to them, Receive [the] Holy Spirit:
Darby Translation

After Jesus tells his apostles about breathing, Jesus says “receive the holy spirit.” The Greek word for receive is lambano. The word lambano is in the imperative mood making it a command. The word lambano means to take it, to procure for oneself.

There are two ways in which you could receive a hundred-dollar bill I give to you. You could take the hundred-dollar bill and put it in your pocket, or you could take the hundred-dollar bill and utilize it. To lambano, you would take the hundred-dollar bill and use it. Consider the parable of the talents.

Let’s look at the first time the word lambano is used in the Greek Septuagint. 

Genesis 3:6
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took [lambanoof the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

When Eve took, lambano, of the fruit, she ate. Lambano is to receive something to the point of using what you have received. Eve was wrong in her lambano and the apostles were right in their lambano.

The apostles received God’s gift of holy spirit and spoke in tongues, lambano. Then Peter standing up addressed the crowd by revelation, again, lambano.

What did speaking in tongues do on the day of Pentecost?

Acts 2:11
Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

So, when the day of Pentecost had fully come, the apostles were sitting in the Temple, at 9 AM, the hour of prayer. They were breathing in and out, strong enough so that the sound of their breathing filled the air in the area where they were sitting. Then cloven tongues like as of fire appeared and sat upon each of them, and they began to speak in tongues, speaking the wonderful works of God, as God gave them the words to speak.

It was an amazing day on which God opened the Revealing Administration.

©  Auxano Ministry 2021

A Journey through the Book of Acts