The Language of God in the Book of Acts

John J. Blanchard
September 19, 2015

Today I want to talk about the language of God. We have talked about that many times. We understand that the Bible has within it a language that God shares with people through His Holy Spirit, so that we can understand His deeper thoughts. Since we have covered that in detail in the past, what I want to do is focus on the language of God in the Book of Acts, which is kind of a pivotal book, especially the first couple of chapters. It will help us grasp how far off track people can become if they don’t understand the language of God and how wonderful the Bible becomes if one does have comprehension and can indeed hear God’s thoughts through His word. I want to go through that in Acts, but I want to tie in other places where God talks about hearing His word and understanding and comprehension.

The first Scripture I want to use today is Revelation chapter 2. As we know, the second and third chapters of Revelation have the messages to the seven churches. Each one concludes like this, in verse 7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”

Seven times we see in the first couple of chapters of the Book of Revelation where God says, if you have ears to hear. Unless we have suffered some accident and are deaf or have suffered some disease where something has caused deafness, most people have the physical sense of hearing. God is talking, of course, about hearing and understanding His message.

Turning a few pages over to Revelation chapter 13 in verse 9, we are told here: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”

He says in verse 10: “He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

That is the endurance.

He says we must have ears to hear, and He is right in the midst of very heavy prophecy here when He gives this message. We understand, if we have ears to hear, that the sword is the word of God. It is not necessarily speaking of a sword of physical warfare. Captivity is going back into Satan’s ways. We need an ear to hear what prophecy is really saying, because so many people look at prophecy in strictly a physical sense. That leads them off into error.

The apostles, of course, learned at Jesus’ feet. We are blessed with ears to hear.

Let’s go back to Matthew chapter 10. Christ tells His apostles this in verse 27 of Matthew 10: “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.”

He says, whatever you hear and comprehend from My words I want you to preach out loud from the housetops and bring light to the world. Of course, the world was a very dark place until Jesus Christ came, and He was blessing them with piles of information! He said, you will be able to hear it and understand. He said then I want you to go and preach it from the housetops. In other words, shout it to everyone wide and far. Of course, they did as He directed.

We can learn a lot from the early shoutings and proclamations of the apostles in the Book of Acts. There were a number of miracles in the Book of Acts, but let’s focus on chapter 2. We are going to the Book of Acts, chapter 2. Of course, this is the first Pentecost after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection as it says here in verse 1.

Acts 2, verse 1: “When the Day of Pentecost had 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 the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

We see here in Acts right away there is a miracle that takes place. There is a loud, rushing, mighty wind and tongues of fire that descend upon 120 people gathered in one place on that holy day—the first Pentecost after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This is a miracle in itself, and it’s a sign and a wonder for God’s people at the time and ever since, if we have ears to hear and comprehension to understand the language of God. What exactly was going on here? If we continue in verse 5, we see that it led to another miracle. It was a miracle of hearing.

Acts chapter 2, verse 5: “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.’ So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’”

People literally from all over the known world—Jews from all over—were hearing the apostles speak in their own language, and they could see something very unusual and amazing was taking place. That is the miracle of spiritual hearing, but then there has to be understanding that goes along with it. One has to understand what the apostles were talking about. The crowd that assembled had many people that grasped it once they got the explanation.

The apostles were receiving this gift of language, of being able to speak the mysteries of God. People were also participating in the miracle by being able to hear the words in their own language. If we drop down to verse 14, we can see that Peter had to answer some questions because people were amazed at what was going on. But in verse 13, which we did not read, it said others were mocking saying, “They are full of new wine.” In other words, these are just drunk men! Obviously that was ignoring the miracle taking place.

Continuing in verse 14 of Acts 2: “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…’”

Peter is going to explain a fulfillment here of an Old Testament prophecy that many people today think is strictly an end-time event portraying things just in our days. Of course, they view them in a terrible physical way.

In verse 17 Peter says this: “…And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God [quoting Joel], that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophecy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Peter is quoting a prophecy from the Old Testament, and he is saying, you have seen these signs and wonders. Why we are so confused today is because so few people have ears to hear and don’t have the understanding to grasp the language of God. That’s an incredible shortfall, but we need that today more than ever before, because people are frightened about the end of the age and what God is about to do on the earth. It literally will be something marvelous for mankind. We are about ready to embark on the most wonderful thousand years in human history called the Millennium!

Peter is explaining here that you witnessed this. The people must have said, how did we witness this? Let’s back up just a little bit and set the stage before we go into the explanation. Go back to Matthew chapter 27. A lot of those people who were hearing the words of Peter were witnesses and knew about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Let’s go back to Matthew 27, verse 45, where we are told: “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”

That’s what happened as Jesus Christ was hanging on the cross. In verse 50 it says: “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.”

In other words, He died.

With that backdrop, this is what these people had witnessed when they were hearing Peter talk about the fulfillment of Joel. Now let’s go to the gospel of John chapter 20. A few days prior to this Pentecost where the fire and the wind descended upon the 120 gathered, there was a miracle after Christ’s resurrection. Actually it was a sign from Jesus Christ, among many other signs and wonders, that He gave to them that would help them understand what was going to take place on Pentecost.

We are in John chapter 20, verse 19: “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to 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.’”

They did not receive the Holy Spirit at that moment, but what He was showing them is in a few days when they were going to receive the Holy Spirit, they would hear a mighty wind. They would connect that to the breath of God. That breath would come in them and allow them to speak. Just as when we speak like I am speaking right now, I have to draw in air and exhale that breath in order to utter words. That’s exactly what took place on Pentecost. Jesus’ breath entered them, and they were able to speak of spiritual things.

The other half of that miracle was that the crowd was given ears to hear, and then Peter had to explain to them what it was they were hearing. Before we get back to Acts chapter 2, I want to go to II Timothy chapter 3. Peter went back to the Book of Joel and re-uttered the prophecy, so that they would understand what he was about to say. The word of God—the Old Testament and the New Testament—are literally God-breathed. That’s what we are going to see in II Timothy 3.

II Timothy 3, verse 16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

We see that God inspired the Bible, and the word here for inspiration is theopneustos (#2315, Strong’s Concordance, 1995), which means God-breathed. When we speak, breath must come out. When the word of God speaks, breath must come out, and it got recorded in the form of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Literally Peter was explaining some words that were God-breathed from the Old Testament by the prophet Joel.

Now with that information, let’s go back to Acts chapter 2. We will better appreciate what Peter was about to tell the assembled crowd who heard the mighty wind and who knew something strange was going on when they could hear the apostles speak in their own tongue.

We are into Acts again. In Acts 2, starting in verse 22, Peter says this: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know…”

Literally recognizing that they knew what happened, and they heard Jesus!

Verse 23 of Acts 2: “…Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

He said, you saw Christ die. You literally saw the light of the Son put out, and he said you saw the moon turn to blood. We need to understand the thoughts of God. What is He talking about the sun going out and the moon turning to blood?

Go to John chapter 1, beginning in verse 1 where we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

Just as the sun brings life to the earth, the light of Jesus Christ brings light into human beings. We can go back to the last book of the Old Testament which is Malachi. Let’s go back to Malachi chapter 4. Here we are told that Jesus Christ literally is typed by the sun in the sky.

Malachi 4, verse 2: “But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.”

The word for Jesus Christ was The Sun of Righteousness, and here Sun is used. We know that Jesus Christ is what brings the light to the earth. When they killed Christ and they crucified Him and He died on that cross, God literally made the physical sun go dark to demonstrate to the human race what was happening. The true sunlight was being darkened by the death of Christ, but that allowed the blood of the Savior, Jesus Christ, to cover the moon, which is typed as the Church.

In the heavens, the light of the sun is reflected off the moon. That’s the way it should be in God’s Church. God’s people should reflect the light of the truth. If we do not, it is either because God has shielded that light from us for whatever reason. He has done that from time to time. He has withheld understanding from people. Or we have blocked it by our own way of living or because of false understanding. Then we cannot truly reflect the light of Jesus Christ.

We need that light in us and that breath working through us to be able to preach the gospel of the kingdom and bring good news to people. We share the language of God with them, so they can grasp the plan of God and His intentions for mankind.

Let’s go back to the gospel of John chapter 16. Christ said this to His disciples in John 16, verse 12: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

The Holy Spirit would be sent to mankind and enter people as on that Feast of Pentecost. It would give them the ability to understand the mysteries of God, if they have ears to hear and the ability to grasp the language of God.

In John chapter 14, back a page in your Bible, we are told this in verse 6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

Jesus Christ literally is the way, the truth, and the life, and His words recorded in the Bible are God-breathed. It is for us to understand, but it takes help from God to comprehend what His words are and what His thoughts are.

Now let’s go back to Acts chapter 2. The effect of the peoples’ understanding that day on Pentecost was truly astounding, and it launched the church dispensation off like a rocket! We are in Acts chapter 2, verse 41: “Then those who gladly received his word [Peter’s word] were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

The effect of the people understanding the language of God and that breath working in their minds and their spiritual hearing enlivened was that 3,000 people were baptized in one day! That’s fabulous! That launched the Church age off in the correct direction. They understood the signs and wonders that God had revealed in the Old Testament prophets when they heard it uttered, and they could grasp spiritual hearing—the language of God.

Those signs and wonders are throughout the Bible. The signs and wonders are not just physical signs in the heavens. That’s where people get off track, and they look for just physical warfare, death, destruction, earthquakes, and pestilence. God says He and His people are for signs and wonders, as you saw in that Pentecost and as Joel was talking about when he wrote those prophetic words in his book.

Let’s go to Isaiah in the Old Testament. We are told right here that Jesus Christ and His people are for signs and wonders. I am starting in Isaiah chapter 8, verse 16: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him. Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.”

Jesus Christ and His people are for signs and wonders. That is a principle to learn about the language of God. Too many people are looking for physical signs when the signs are done in God’s people.

Deuteronomy 34 starts to explain that Old Testament prophets were for signs and wonders. The most used Old Testament person for signs and wonders was Moses. Let’s go to Deuteronomy chapter 34, verse 10: “But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”

Of course with the plagues on Egypt and the signs that were extant around the first exodus and leading the people out from captivity, it was God working through Moses and to a lesser extent Aaron to perform those signs. Jesus Christ—the God of the Old Testament—and His people were for signs and wonders. That principle holds true for the New Testament dispensation of the Church.

Let’s go to II Corinthians chapter 12. Paul is speaking of his ministry here. II Corinthians chapter 12, verse 11: “I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.”

He was telling the people God has performed signs and wonders and mighty deeds in me (Paul) just like the other apostles. In other words, the apostles were for signs and wonders. Once again it was Jesus Christ working through them. That breath and that fire were working through human beings for signs and wonders. When we strictly look at signs and wonders out there in the physical earth and the heavens above us, we are totally missing the point of the language of God in God’s Scriptures. We misunderstand what He is trying to tell us.

It is crucial to have ears to hear and the comprehension of the language of God, so that we can properly preach the truth and also gain that peace of God like Christ said in John 20: My peace I give you. The understanding brings peace. It is a lack of knowledge that gives fear. God did not intend for us to have a spirit of fear. We are supposed to have a calm, peaceful spirit. The truth will do that for us. Understanding God will help us in that regard, and then we can bring peace into the lives of other people.

Peter was explaining signs and wonders that took place surrounding Christ’s crucifixion. He was showing the assembled crowd that God was about to fulfill Pentecost! They had been keeping it as Jews did for 1,500 years, and it was being fulfilled before their very eyes with Christ’s death, His resurrection, and when Peter was speaking. Though it was coming out of his own mouth in one language, they were hearing it in many languages! It is because he had the understanding, and God was performing a mighty miracle. Those people then received the peace of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and were baptized. Having repented on the spot, they realized they had erred in helping kill Jesus Christ. Those who had witnessed it and thought justice was being done knew they had been wrong, and they repented.

Let’s go back to John chapter 14, verse 25: “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit [Christ says here], whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

He said, I have given you peace through My words. We have to understand those words including the word of God as recorded in the Bible in order to gain that peace.

It is a misunderstanding of the language of God that causes us to be anxious and afraid. It causes us to be depressed, worried, and to fear the future. When we have the ears to hear and the ability to understand what we are hearing, we gain peace. We can share that peace with others.

It is important to understand God’s language to appreciate what is meant by His signs and wonders. It is important at this time in history to share that with the people on this earth who desperately need to gain that peace. They need the understanding. They need the ears to hear, and, of course, they need people willing to share the knowledge of God and the language of God with them at a crucial time that we are in now.

The future is indeed very bright for mankind, but around the world people are anxious, worried, and disturbed about what the future holds. Really when we understand the language of God and the plan of God, it is a wonderful future. That knowledge brings peace to us and to all who come in contact with us, if we know how to share that peace with them.