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Pentecost & the Body of Christ

Many believers think that the Church the Body of Christ began on the Day of Pentecost. Numerous "churches" also teach this point of view. They will tell us that the Day of Pentecost was when both the Jew and the Gentile became one body, and had fellowship with one another.

Confusion resides in the church today because sincere believers are following the myths of denominations rather than the Word of God. Therefore, they have no explanation to those who practice signs, miracles, and the gifts as registered in the early part of the Book of Acts. Only as we realize that the experiences recorded during this period were exclusively for the Nation of Israel ("for the Jews require a sign"), do we begin to get a clear understanding of the events that happened that day. Most fundamentalists, cannot explain why the Church, the Body of Christ does not believe in or practice these same manifestations in this Dispensation of the Grace of God (this is why they try to keep some gifts, and get rid of others, see chapter 7 on gifts).

In this article, we shall look at some reasons why the "Body of Christ" could not have started on the Day of Pentecost.

It should be clear to the Bible student that there was a church already in existence at Pentecost. The scriptures do not say the church began at Pentecost. At Pentecost, believers were "added" to the church, which consisted of the 120 in the upper room.

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.

Acts 1:15

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

Acts 2:1

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

Hence, it is clear there must have been a church or churches before this (read Acts 7:38 to see this).

Matthew 18:15-17

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [16] But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

This passage in Matthew takes place before the crucifixion. Moreover, this church is already in existence and it is a Jewish Church. Hence, this goes along with Peter's word's during his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Peter says in Acts 2:16-17 that the last days for Israel had arrived. He does not say it is the first days or beginning days of the church.

Everything that happened on the Day of Pentecost was in fulfillment of prophecy. Peter quotes Joel and David in Acts 2 and in Acts 3:24. Paul however, tells us that the truth about the Body of Christ (the Church of this Dispensation), was a mystery not in prophecy (see Eph.3:1-9, and Col.1:24-26). Hence, the Body of Christ was not known until well subsequent to Pentecost. To further substantiate this, we see that Paul was the first member of the Body of Christ.

1 Tim. 1:15-16

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit 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.

Paul was saved well after Pentecost, and since he is the first in the Body the Body could not have started at Pentecost. This point is validated by Peter on the Day of Pentecost, because he is only speaking to Jews. There are no Gentiles even present (Acts 2:22,36; Acts 3:12-26; etc.). Israel had not been set aside yet. In order for the Jews and Gentiles to be reconciled in one Body, Israel had to be first "cast away".

Romans 11:15

For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Ephes. 2:16

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Hence, before the message of reconciliation went to the Gentiles, Israel had to be "cast away." In fact, we see that Peter never even went to a Gentile until Acts 10, and then he had to have an individual revelation from God or he would not have gone. Furthermore, the others would not preach to the Gentiles in Acts 11. The church , the Body of Christ, is Jew and Gentile where there is no distinction. If the church started on Pentecost, why is there still a difference in Acts 10 and 11? On the Day of Pentecost, there is no mention of any Gentile!

Pentecost was one of Israel's annual Feast Days (Lev.23:15-21). These Feast Days deal with God's redemptive dealings with His nation, Israel, in the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. Pentecost was dealing with Israel, not the Body of Christ.

Acts 2:1

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

The word "fully" means "completely". Hence this part of Israel's redemptive program had fully come. Therefore, this is dealing with prophecy, not mystery. However, we have already seen that the Body of Christ was a mystery not part of prophecy.

Many would try to make the presentation of the two loaves as described in Lev.23:17-20 to be representative of Jew and Gentile. This cannot be, since the Church was "hid in God' till Paul. Paul, as we have discussed, was not saved until after Pentecost. Besides, the Church is not two loaves, but one, where there is "neither Jew nor Greek", but a oneness.

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

If these loaves are to represent the Body of Christ, there should only be one, not two. However, Israel was a divided Kingdom, with two separate parts: the Northern Tribes, and the Southern Tribes. Since this feast day speaks of Israel's redemption, both parts must be represented.

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

At Pentecost, the Jewish believers were to be baptized in water "for the remission of sins." This was not done as a testimonial; it was done for salvation. Furthermore, it says: "ye shall (a future tense word) receive the Holy Ghost." The believers had to wait for the Holy Ghost to come; He did not indwell them the very moment they believed.

Acts 19:1-2

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, [2] He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

In the Body of Christ, Paul tells us that we are freely given Christ's righteousness for the remission of sins. It is not done by water baptism, nor do we ever see anyone baptized anywhere in scripture for a testimony.

Romans 3:24-26

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 1:14, Paul says, "I thank God I baptized none of you." Why does Paul say this? In verse 17, he tells us that "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." Therefore, Peter's gospel (water baptism for the remission of sins) is not Paul's gospel. Peter could never say Christ sent me not to baptize, because Mark 16:16 clearly tells us Peter's commission was to baptize, and that, indeed, Christ did send him to baptize.

At Pentecost, they were baptized with the Holy Ghost for power (Luke 24:49); Christ was the baptizer (Mat.3:11, Acts 1:5). Today, however, it is the Holy Spirit (Ghost) who baptizes us into Christ (1 Cor.12:13). This one baptism (Eph.4:5), places the believer into Christ. This is done the very instant a person believes the gospel. They do not have to wait for the Holy Ghost like at Pentecost (Eph.1:13-14). Moreover, Acts 2:38 records water baptism, and spirit baptism for a total of two baptisms, not one.

The baptism which baptizes us into Christ (His Body, the Church) happens just once (Eph.4:5); it is never repeated in the life of a believer (Gal.3:26-27; 1 Cor.12:13). Through this one baptism, we are taken out of Adam and placed into Christ. This happens only once, and gives us security (Rom.8:1). However, this cannot be said about the Holy Ghost baptism that took place on the Day of Pentecost because that baptism was often repeated and did not have to occur on the day of saving belief (Acts 1:5,8; Acts 2:4; Acts 11:15-17; Acts 19:6). Peter received this baptism or filling at least two times after Pentecost and once before Pentecost (John 20:22; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31). Hence, Peter received at least one water baptism and counting Pentecost, four Spirit baptisms. Therefore, this is at least five baptisms that scriptures record Peter receiving (One by water, and four Spirit).

These are just a few of the reasons the Body of Christ could not have begun on the Day of Pentecost, and why Peter cannot be the apostle to the Body of Christ.

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