The Fulfillment to the Twelve Apostles

From Pastor Frank Snyder’s Book: Truly the Signs of an Apostle. Ordering information is available under links.

Promise Made / Promise Kept

 Many years ago, a co-worker in a factory told me that he had tape recorded a prayer meeting in his church. He asserted that when he played the recording later there was the sound of a rushing mighty wind on the recording of his church prayer meeting! This happened, he claimed, despite the fact that the participants heard no sound at the time the meeting was actually going on. He maintained that it was a replay of what happened at Pentecost in Acts chapter two. I asked him if there were slivers of fire in this meeting that rested on people, but he replied that there were not. He was convinced that a re-enactment of Pentecost had taken place in his  church  prayer  meeting. I was convinced he needed to buy a new tape recorder!

The conclusion of this writer is that the events recorded in Acts chapter two concerning  the special anointing of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event in history. In its details, it was never repeated in the New Testament and it has never been repeated in the almost 2000 years since it happened in Jerusalem. The event itself had two physical characteristics:

           There was an audible sound of wind like a tornado or at least a strong gale force wind.

           There was a visible manifestation of fire in the form of slivers of flame.

These peculiarities were never repeated in Scripture. They were a one-time manifestation indicating the unique nature of what was happening. It is apparent that the events of Acts two are the culmination of the promise that the Savior made to The Twelve recorded in chapter one of Acts and elsewhere.

                                        The Recipients of the Promise of Pentecost

It is sometimes maintained that the recipients of this special power included both men and women and that the power came upon all that were present in fulfillment of prophecy. Indeed, Peter did relate that what was then occurring was, in some sense, a fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel 2:28-29.

However, it is evident that Peter’s citing of this prophecy in Joel was not an absolute fulfillment of the prophecy. There were aspects of Joel’s prophecy that did not happen at Pentecost. Honest evaluation of the events cited in verses 19-20 — wonders…blood…fire…smoke…darkened sun…blood red moon… — were not occurring in conjunction with the outpouring of the Spirit of God in Acts two. Peter’s citation of this passage in Joel was used to assert that what was occurring before the eyes of the Jews at Jerusalem paralleled the prophecy in Joel, but did not literally fulfill that prophecy!

Plus, the reader will note in what follows that it was not all sons and daughters upon whom the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, but only to The Twelve! The biblical evidence confirms this analysis and verifies that only the Twelve Apostles actually received this promise on that day.

As we have already seen, the Lord Jesus commanded the Twelve to go to Jerusalem to wait for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit whom He would send. The Bible indicates that the only recipients of flaming tongues of fire indicating the fulfillment of the Spirit’s coming was to The Twelve! What is the evidence of that? Read on!

Only The Twelve

In the first two chapters of the Book of Acts we find the following basic breakdown of chapter one:

Acts 1:1-11:  Final instructions and the ascension of  the Lord Jesus into heaven

Acts 1:12-14: The gathering of the 120 disciples, including the Twelve, in the upper room

Acts 1:15-29:  The choosing of a replacement for  Judas.

However, there is an apparent passing of time between the last verse of chapter one and the first verse of chapter two. The setting is no longer an upper room with 120 disciples. The subsequent verses in Acts chapter two reveal that the promised baptism of the Spirit came upon The Twelve and not the 120 of Acts 1:12-14.

This fact is revealed in the text of Scripture. In Acts chapter one and verse twenty-six, it states: “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”  (Acts 1:26)

The text begins in chapter two, verse one, still speaking of the now completed band of Apostles: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they  (the Twelve including Matthias, referred to in Acts 1:26) 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. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, andit sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-3)

Were the 120 people spoken of in Acts 1:15 included in this promised endowment of power or was this limited to the Twelve? Subsequent verses in the second chapter of Acts bear out that only The Twelve received this empowerment.

People from all over the world were in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover and heard the Apostles speak in their own languages. A stir was created when those upon whom the tongues of fire had settled began to speak in other tongues (languages). (Acts 2:5-8)

Then Peter stood up with the eleven other Apostles and began to address the crowd of amazed and doubting onlookers who were questioning the sobriety of the apostles.

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these (the eleven) are not drunken, as ye suppose …” (Acts 2: 14-15a)


Peter then dispels their assertion that they were drunk and quotes an Old Testament prophecy about the manifestation of the Spirit. He then witnesses about the Lord Jesus Christ, after which the Jewish folks who were gathered there, reacted (verse 37). The crowd addressed its remarks to the Apostles who were with Peter.


“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?” (Acts 2: 37)


Those who believed then attached themselves to The Twelve and stayed with them.

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2: 42-43)

The implication is clear that The Twelve and not the 120 were the recipients of the special, empowering presence of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost! This happened in completion of the promise made to them by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Promise Made! Promise Kept!

(c) 2011 by Frank Snyder, Truly the Signs of an Apostle

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