A Pentecostal - Charismatic Encyclopedia
"And it shall come to pass in the last days,says God,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" Acts 2:17.
"Be glad then,you children of Zion,And rejoice in the Lord your God;For He has given you the former rain faithfully,And He will cause the rain to come down for you-The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month" Joel 2: 23
THE FORMER RAIN (33 - 100 A.D)
From the monumental mental work by Christos Chalkias "Worldwide Pentecost- A Pentecostal-Charismatic Encyclopedia" which Leonidas Fengos introduces by a preface, we cite here the preface of the first section of the work"Pentecost through centuries" as well as extracts from the first chapter of the same section."The Apostolic Church"(33-100 A.D) where someone can find a historical flashback to all the recorded outpourings of the Holy Spirit during the era of the Apostles from the Day of Pentecost until the death of the Apostle John.
2000 years ago one of the greatest mysteries in the history of our planet took place.
The Creator and Preserver of the universe visited the earth...
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among Gentiles, Believed on in the world, received up in glory." 1 TIMOTHY 3:16
God, through His Word, in the Holy Spirit, became a man.
Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and heir of all things by God His Father and a descendant of King David by His mother,
- was born in a humble manger, one night, during the reign of Octavius Augustus Caesar of Rome.
- Grew up in a small village of Judea, called Nazareth, where later he worked as a carpenter.
- At the age of thirty He started going about ,teaching and doing good by healing all kinds of sickness, raising people from the dead, feeding the hungry ones, forgiving sinners and filling every honest human heart with peace, love and hope for eternal life...
"And who will declare His generation?" Isaiah 53:8
- After three and a half years of ministry, He died horribly on the cross in the reign of Tiberius, Caesar of Rome-for the sake of the salvation of mankind.
- Hades could not keep Him because He was without sin and after three days He was raised from the dead, proving that He was the Son of God thus giving the hope of resurrection to anyone who believed in Him.
- 40 days after His resurrection He was received up into heaven and today at the right hand of God he intercedes for every repentant sinner. For ten days after Christ's ascension the Apostles and many other disciples were waiting in prayer in the upper room to receive the Holy Spirit according to His promise. Indeed, during the Sunday of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down with grace and power, thus initiating with greatness the establishment of the Church.
- Later the Apostles went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Mark 16:20
The triple message resounded everywhere:
God with us
God for us
God within us
This triple message signifies the Full Gospel, according to the commandment "teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you" Matthew 28:20
The foundation of the Christian Church is Jesus Christ Himself.
"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:11
The apostles were not just by themselves writers of the Christian creed, but they were chosen and anointed vessels. They coded the doctrinal inheritance of the Church "And as they went through the cities they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem" Acts 16:4
The apostles' successors received the doctrines of faith in written form and the post-apostolic Church, through tremendous hardships and obstacles, preserved and passed on to the forthcoming Christian generations the New Testament which is the constitution of the Church.
The 27 books of the New Testament were typically consolidated during the synod of Carthagene in 397 A.D since for centuries they had been widely accepted by the Church worldwide.
The basic Christian doctrines were taught by the Lord Himself and they were given in simple and infallible sections:
- Repentance and Rebirth
"Repent and believe in the Gospel" Mark 1:15
"Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh." John 3:6
- Justification and salvation through faith in the cross
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should perish but have everlasting life
." John 3:17
- The Baptism in water and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19
"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit, fell upon them as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord how He said "John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit"." Acts 11:15-16
- Holiness and fruitfulness
"They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth." John 17:16-17
To sum up the Lord went on to clarify by saying:
"And what I say to you, I say to you all: "Watch"
"I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:3
The Day of Pentecost (33A.D.)
"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 so they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, whatever could this mean? Others mocking said, they are full of new wine"
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them "Men of Judea and 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:And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, 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 prophesy.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 to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved"
"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-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"
"...therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear...repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call"
The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Samaria (34 A.D)
The first event with relation to the continuation of the outpouring of the Spirit -after Pentecost- took place in Samaria as it is mentioned in the New Testament.
Chronologically, it is placed shortly after the death of Stephan the Protomartyr. The "blood soaked plantation" began to flourish.Here people "had received the Word of God and "they had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" and although many contemporary Christian dogmas would consider it enough the Bible goes much further and adds, "For as yet the Holy Spirit had fallen upon none. They had not received yet their personal Pentecost according to the contemporary Pentecostal/Charismatic terminology.The Apostles Peter and John had to travel there. They had the authority as well as the discernment to transmit the Holy Spirit to new believers. (1)
Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard
that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none
of them.They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostle's hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, "Give me
this power also that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.Acts 8: 14-19
The characteristics of this "special day" are not repeated, that is sound and tongues of fire upon the believers' heads, -although there are references to such characteristics
in the Church History and especially during the contemporary period of the Second Worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit-, nevertheless clear reference is made
to obvious indications caused by the "indwelling" of the Spirit's power in every believer's body. Simon the sorcerer was so much impressed by this fact that he offered money to get this new power. If the descent of the Holy Spirit was without any outward obvious characteristics- mainly speaking in tongues- the sorcerer's demand would be meaningless.
Apostle Paul receives the Holy Spirit (35 A.D.)
Saul during his spectacular conversion, received the Holy Spirit by laying on of the hands:
And Ananias went his way and entered the house;
and laying his hands on him he said: "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent Me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 9:17
Almost two decades later, Paul was declaring:
I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all. 1 Corinthians 14:18
Cornelius and his relatives are filled with the Holy Spirit (40 A.D)
For the first time seven years after Pentecost the Holy Spirit pours out to non-Jews. These first non-Jew believers were the Centurion of the Roman army Cornelius and
his relatives, all of them inhabitants of Caesarea,Palestine.
On the next day Peter went away with them and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. Then Peter opened
his mouth and said : In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is Accepted by Him...While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those of the circumcision who believed, were Astonished as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Acts 10
Pentecost took place again and beyond any doubt proved that the promise:
"for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2: 39) is constant and panhuman. The proving sign of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, that is speaking in tongues, took place again and it is quite characteristic, that Peter in his later report towards the elderly of Jerusalem used the term "same gift" while clearly there is no description of sound or tongues of fire upon the believers' heads. (2)
() See: Acts 11: 15-17 and 15: 8
The Ephesians receive the Holy Spirit (55 A.D.)
The following event is the last reference to the description of the Spirit's outpouring in the Book of Acts.
"And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? " So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit" And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism» Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him that is, on Christ Jesus" When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied". ACTS 19: 1-6
Paul's question in the above extract is correct and rightly divided, given the fact that when Paul met some of John's disciples he accepted them as Christians and wanted to know if they had received the Holy Spirit.If the baptism with the Holy Spirit coincided with the rebirth like many Protestant dogmas claim, this question would be totally meaningless.
The Pentecostal Church of Corinth (54 A.D)
The Apostolic Church in Corinth was founded by Paul.
"After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized."Acts 18: 1-11
There Paul- like everywhere else- taught the "full gospel".
He spoke of repentance, salvation through faith in the sacrifice of the cross, holiness, He also talked about the baptism in water, and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the power from on high that constitutes the entrance to a Charismatic life and experience.He especially emphasized the fact that each congregation is a divine foundation which has a mission and work that nowhere else can be found.
It offers the Word of God, because it is the guardian and preserver of truth( 1 Tim. 3, 15 ).It is a place of worship and communication with Jesus, especially this communication is what is mostly unique. The apostolic church has prophets, speaking in tongues, interpretation, revelation, healing, visions e.t.c. Many dogmas have nice music and choirs, nice brotherhood and profound preachers but to be in the presence of God, like what happens in each genuine apostolic church is something totally different.
About five years later the Corinthians wrote to their spiritual father asking among many other things, for clarifications about the proper use of gifts in the church. The first Epistle to the Corinthians was his answer to them. Since then it is a unique constitution for every congregation that shares a charismatic life. "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.".
There are nine gifts (3), he explained, all of them having their own value.Speaking in tongues, which was underestimated so much in the past and even today it is despised by many, should be reconsidered from the angle of Paul's advice "I wish you all speak with tongues" because "those members of the body which seem tobe weaker are necessary." In conclusion he made a correlation between love and gifts thus composing an excellent "hymn to love" as the spirit gave him to.
Apostle Paul did not say, like some people deliberately misinterpret, that because love is "above all" there is no need for prophecy or speaking in tongues, On the contrary he pointed out that there is a great danger that all these gifts may exist without love.
"Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13: 1
The gifts must lead and work "in love". "Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy."1 Corinthians 14:1
"Therefore brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order".1 Corinthians 14:39-40
|1.||Word of Wisdom:||Supernatural revelation of the Word of God and His divine plan.|
|2.||Word of knowledge:||Supernatural revelation of facts and events.|
|3.||Gift of Healing.|
|4.||Faith:||Supernatural acceptance of the "impossible".|
|5.||Working of miracles:||A miracle above the natural laws.|
|6.||Prophecy:||A message in a comprehensible language coming directly from the throne of God .|
|7.||Different kinds of tongues:||A message,prayer or glorification in an unknown language .|
|8.||Interpretation of tongues.|
|9.||Discerning of spirits:||Discerning of which spirit every man is filled with as well as recognition of the presence of demonic powers.|
The whole first Church was "fervent in Spirit"
"And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God boldly."Acts 4:31
"And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."Acts 13:52
"God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will". Hebrews 2:4
About 65 A.D Paul wrote characteristically in his Epistle to Timothy: "Do not neglect the gift that is in you , which was given to you by prophecy with the laying of the hands of the eldership." 1 Timothy 4:14
In the entire Book of Acts there are several testimonies about the manifestation and the workings of the Spirit.(5)
Acts 2: 29, 38 4 / 8, 13, 29, 31 5 / 3,9 6 / 10 7 / 5 8 / 7 9 / 17 13 / 9 15 / 28 16 / 6 19 /1 20 / 20.
Beyond any doubt or dispute, it is a fact that the first Church had life and power. The Holy Spirit made a realistic work among the believers.
The abolition of the borders by the Roman Empire and the wide use of the Greek language were great advantages for the rapid propagation of the Gospel. The New Testament was written in the Greek Alexandrian dialect and by the end of the apostolic era it had been widely accepted by the believers. In 70 AD Stravon himself admitted that the Christians had spread out everywhere. Although even then several local and general imperial persecutions took place, the Church was not systematically persecuted maybe because it was regarded as just another branch of Judaism, which was "RELIGIO LICITA". Nevertheless the Christians who were clinging to Judaism were indeed a serious problem for the first Church. These kinds of Christians can be found in every era and they are usually the ones who confuse the Law with Grace.
Without any big central offices or educated missionaries and preachers without any money or means the Apostolic Church humbly managed to achieve its goal. The secret is that the whole first Christians' life was dedicated to the fulfillment of the great commandment, personal holiness, edification of others, and communication with the Father.
The Lord through His Spirit had a continuous contact with His Church during the apostolic days. Prophetic messages, visions, revelations, speaking in tongues, interpretations were unceasingly coming from the heavenly throne to the Church. Quite characteristic is how the Lord took care of His people during the great famine that happened in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11: 28).