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# 8: 8-16-17 1

Acts 2:1-11

After His resurrection, Jesus had taught His disciples for forty days concerning the kingdom of God. He
had spoken to them about the power they would receive when the Holy Spirit came upon them - power to
witness to Jesus to the ends of the earth.

Then Jesus ascended bodily into heaven before the eyes of His disciples. Ten days later - fifty days after
His resurrection - the Holy Spirit came.

v. 1 As mentioned last week, Pentecost means fiftieth. This was the fiftieth day following the resurrection
of Jesus from the dead. That occurred on the feast of Firstfruits, a harvest festival. Christ fulfilled the feast
of Firstfruits - He was the first to rise from the dead in a body of glory.

Now fifty days later came the feast of Pentecost, another harvest festival, and this date would be its
fulfillment - when Pentecost was Afully come@. Like the offering of the wave loaves at the feast of
Pentecost, on this day the Body of Christ would be consecrated to God - the spiritual harvest in Christ,
reaped from the earthly creation of mankind.

The Father=s approval of this consecrated offering would be seen as He set His seal upon the Body of Christ
- the Holy Spirit - who would be manifest by two unmistakably divine tokens. The Holy Spirit was the
anointing of the Body for their ministry - the ministry of Christ - reconciling men to God.

Luke writes that they were all with one accord, in one place. AThey@ refers back to the disciples of Jesus
that Luke recorded in chapter one - the apostles and other disciples of Jesus that were in Jerusalem - about
120 of them. This was not all of the believers - there were over 500 brethren, most of them likely in Galilee
(1 Cor 15:6).

The place where they were waiting was the upper room (1:13), which had become a kind of meeting place
for the assembly. Very large upper rooms, such as would accommodate this number of people, were found
only in the spacious homes of Jerusalem=s Upper City, which is near the temple.

It was a little before the third hour of the day - about 9 AM - for later in this passage, we will see that Peter
began to address a crowd that had gathered, and names that time (2:15). The third hour was a time when
the Jews would go up to the temple to pray.

Prayer was offered morning and evening at the temple, at the third hour and the ninth hour (9 AM and 3
PM); the prayers accompanied the morning and evening sacrifices which were made daily by the priests, in
accordance with the Law (Num 28:1-8). So this was the time of morning prayer - and the morning
sacrifice.

Luke said that the disciples all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication - all had one mind; all
were submitted to the will of God. And what was God=s will, at this time? That they should wait - for the
promise of the Father. They were waiting for the baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus would pour out on
them, from heaven.

v. 2 As the disciples were sitting in the house, they began to hear a sound. It must have seemed that the
sound came from above them, directing their attention upward; they recognized that the sound was
originating from heaven. The sound came down, then, filling the house where they were sitting.
# 8: 8-16-17 2

Now, the key word that Luke uses to describe this sound is the Greek pnoe - wind. This wind-like sound
was that of violently moving air - the sound that a tempest might make. There is a word for wind in the
Greek that indicates a stronger wind - pneuma - but Luke avoids using this word, because it is also used for
the Holy Spirit.

Luke wanted his readers to understand that the sound that was heard was not the actual Spirit, but a sign, a
token of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is immaterial - He cannot be seen or heard by the physical senses. This
was a sound like a tempest, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Notice it is just the sound of a wind - not the actual wind itself, not air in motion. The air in the house was
perfectly still, but there was this sound of a violent wind. Because there was this sound of wind, without
any motion of the air, it was apparent that this sound was of supernatural origin.

In Scripture, the wind is sometimes used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jesus likened the Spirit to the
wind, in His conversation with Nicodemus. Turn to John chapter 3. Jesus had told Nicodemus that he must
be born again, born of water and the Spirit, in order to enter the kingdom of God.

[John 3:6-8]

Jesus was clarifying to Nicodemus that being born again is not another physical birth, but a spiritual birth,
through the water of the word of God, and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus likened the Spirit to the wind, that blows where it wishes - where it wills. Believing into Christ, a
man is given Christs eternal life - spirit-life for the body. Thats the Spirits will for everyone who believes
(Rev 22:17).

Now, there is no physical evidence that the man has been born of the Spirit - but the manifestation of the
new Life can be seen and heard through him - like the effects of the wind. The new birth is real, but unseen
- except by its effects.

[Return to Acts]

Now, this wind, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, filled the whole house where the disciples were sitting.
They were sitting in the house - and the house was filled with the sound. This sound, then, shows Jesus
pouring out His Spirit upon His Body on earth - the household of Christ (Heb 3:3-6).

This sign communicates the idea that the Body of Christ was being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit was sent - just as the Father had promised (Jn 14:16, Acts 1:4).

v. 3 This was another manifestation of the Spirit, a visible one: divided tongues, not of fire, but as of fire -
they looked like fire. The word Adivided@ communicates the idea that the appearance was of one fire, as if it
had been separated into parts; individual flaming tongues - divided out to each disciple from one
common source.

And who was that common source? The Holy Spirit. In that a flaming tongue came to rest upon each of
the disciples present, we can see that this manifestation of the Spirit was directed to each one personally -
yet there was the unity of the common source of this manifestation - the unity of the Spirit.
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Now, fire is a process of combustion; it requires fuel in order to burn. And yet these tongues as of fire were
not burning any fuel; they were just there, with the appearance of flames. They rested upon each disciple,
and yet were not burning them. Like the sound as of a wind, these tongues as of fire were clearly a
supernatural phenomenon.

In Scripture, fire denotes the Divine presence. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Moses, He
appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush - a bush that burned with fire, but was not
consumed (Ex 3:2). When the LORD descended onto mount Sinai to speak to His people, the nation of
Israel, His presence was made manifest by fire (Ex 19:16-18).

Our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29); He consumes everything that is not of Him. But the disciples
were not consumed by these flaming tongues, sitting upon each of them. Why not? These were members
of Christ=s Body; they were of God.

The divided tongues were a second manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had come upon the
Body of Christ, just as Jesus had said (Acts 1:8) - enduing them, clothing them with power from on High
(Lk 24:49) - shown by God visibly, in the tongues as of fire.

In this sign, we see the anointing of the Body of Christ for their ministry as witnesses to Jesus, for their
tongues would be on fire as they proclaimed the One by whom men could be made right with God.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit was not the baptism of fire of which John the Baptist spoke. John had been
speaking to the Jewish rulers. He said to them that Jesus Ashall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with
fire@ (Mt 3:11).

This was a statement of judgment. John was prophesying of the fiery judgment which awaits members of
the unregenerate nation, pointing ultimately to the Tribulation and the return of Jesus to the earth at His
Second Coming, as the Judge. But when Jesus spoke of the promise of the Father to His disciples, He
spoke only of the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).

Now, wind and fire are both elements of nature which have great destructive ability; and yet the disciples
were not harmed in any way by these manifestations of the Spirit. Instead, these elements served to show,
both audibly and visibly, the power with which the Body of Christ was now infused - they had received the
enabling power of the Spirit; their Lord, dwelling and now acting in their midst (Jn 14:16-17), through His
Spirit.

The true church is the household of Christ; the temple of the Living God (2 Cor 6:16); a habitation of God
through the Spirit (Eph 2:22).

When Moses finished His work in building the tabernacle, the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (Ex
40:35). When Solomon completed the temple in Jerusalem, and brought the ark to rest there, the glory of
the LORD filled the house (1 Kings 8:11). The tabernacle, and then the temple after it, was the place where
men could come to meet God, and to worship Him.

Now the Body of Christ, the spiritual house built up by Jesus Christ of living stones, is being dedicated as
the place where men could come to meet God - and once again, the glory of the Lord fills His house - in the
Person of the Holy Spirit.
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As this Body is dedicated to the Lord for His purposes, we see the wave loaves of the feast of Pentecost,
which foreshadowed this consecration. Remarkably, the other part of the offering at Pentecost - the
sacrifices made on the altar - was also simultaneously being pictured, in the morning offering being made at
the very same time in the temple by the priests.

We continue in verse 4.

v. 4 Here we read that all the disciples were filled - as a collective Body - with the Holy Spirit. Each one
had previously believed into Christ to be born again, born of the Spirit, a child of God. Each one was, at
that time, individually indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who enlightened them to the truth.

And together, these disciples had already received the Holy Spirit on the night of Jesus= resurrection. At
that time, Jesus had breathed upon them all, to show that He was breathing life into His collective Body -
the new creation in Him - just as the LORD God had breathed life into His first created man (Gen 2:7). The
Holy Spirit is the life of the collective Body of Christ.

But now, as Jesus poured out His Spirit upon His Body on earth, the disciples were being collectively
baptized in the Holy Spirit - the Body of Christ, anointed for their ministry - marking their new relationship
with God as His ambassadors on earth, a fact which was attested by God through visible and audible signs.

As the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven, the Spirit filled the Body of Christ, collectively, to
empower their witness - filling them with the spiritual graces, the charismata.

As each disciple then received that filling individually, he was then personally equipped to accomplish
Gods will. The filling of the Spirit is what gave the enablement to the individual members of the Body of
Christ to effectively represent God to men. Through the Spirit, the Body of Christ was now clothed with
power.

The baptism of the Body of Christ was a one-time, historical event. We can know this for a fact by
considering the feasts of the LORD, which picture the key events in the Coming of Christ to the earth.
Passover pictured the crucifixion of Christ; a one-time historical event. Unleavened Bread pictured the
burial of Christ=s Body - a one-time event. Firstfruits pictured Christs resurrection, which happened one
time.

The feast of Trumpets, day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles picture the Second Coming of Christ
to the earth, the spiritual birth of the nation Israel, and Christ setting up His kingdom - all future events,
which will happen - one time.

Pentecost pictures the baptism of the Body of Christ in the Holy Spirit - which, following the pattern of the
feasts, was a one-time historical event.

The Body of Christ was baptized once at this Pentecost, and never again. All those who came to believe
into Jesus as their Lord after this Pentecost were simultaneously indwelt by and baptized in the Holy Spirit,
by which they were added to the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13), receiving Christs life and the Holy Spirits
indwelling and empowering, all at once.

This is also true for all those disciples who were not present in Jerusalem when the Body of Christ was
baptized, such as those in Galilee. They also would have received the Holy Spirit in power at that time,
because they were already members of Christ=s Body. The baptism in the Holy Spirit pertained to the Body
of Christ collectively, not to individuals.
# 8: 8-16-17 5

What this means is that a believer does not receive Christ and the Holy Spirit separately, for the Holy Spirit
is the Spirit of Christ; they are One God.

Nor does a believer need to ask God or plead with Him for the anointing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit -
for that baptism was poured out upon the Body of Christ 2000 years ago, sent just as the Lord promised -
as a gracious gift (Acts 11:17). At the time any man believes into Christ, he becomes a member of the
Body of Christ, and receives that baptism.

Unlike the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which was a one-time gift to the Body of Christ, the individual filling
with the Holy Spirit is a choice, made by each believer, personally. We can tell it is a choice, because Paul
exhorted believers, in continuously, being filled with the Spirit@ ( Eph 5:18).

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a moment-by-moment decision, to yield ourselves unto God, and our
members as instruments of righteousness (Rm 6:13). It is the choice of letting the Lord have the say in us -
as opposed to insisting that we have the say.

The Lord has equipped us, empowered us with all that we need to live Christ before an unbelieving world -
but we can only do so as we yield to Him, so that Christ can live His Life in us and through us.

The disciples here were all filled with the Holy Spirit, who gave them the ability to speak with other
tongues. The word for Atongues@ here refers specifically to intelligible languages; in this case, languages
that were different than the native language of the speakers.

A more literal translation would read: AAnd all were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking
other languages that the Spirit was giving to them to sound out@.

The idea here is that the Holy Spirit gave the ability to these disciples to say certain things in languages,
other than their own, with sounds that were not incoherent, ecstatic utterances but deliberate, meaningful
words and phrases that could be readily comprehended by listeners who knew these languages.

Now, speaking in these foreign languages does not appear to have been a permanently acquired ability, on
the part of the disciples. This was a temporary supernatural enablement of the Holy Spirit, who was
actually putting these utterances into the mouths of the disciples. What the disciples were speaking forth,
then, was not a product of their own intelligence; it was the doing of the Holy Spirit.

v. 5-6 Why were there Jews Afrom every nation under heaven@ dwelling in Jerusalem? They had come
there for the feast of Pentecost. As mentioned, Pentecost was one of three feasts of the LORD for which all
males of the nation of Israel were commanded appear before the LORD, in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16).

But why were these Jews coming from so many nations? Because long ago, their Jewish ancestors had
been scattered among the other nations of the earth by the LORD. And why was that? Because Israel had
forsaken the LORD for the worship of idols.

This was during the days of the divided kingdom. First, the Assyrians had taken the ten northern tribes into
captivity in 722 BC; later, Babylon had taken Judah to the south, into exile, between 605 and 586 BC.
Primarily due to these exiles, there arose many Jewish enclaves throughout the Mediterranean region, some
of which contained large Jewish populations.
# 8: 8-16-17 6

There were many Jews within these communities who were quite religious, and were determined to keep
the Law. If feasible, these Jews would make pilgrimages to Jerusalem during one or more of the feasts of
the LORD, in adherence to His command to the nation.

These were the Jews who were in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven - devout men, meaning pious
Jews, those who took God=s word seriously, and were intent upon keeping His commandments.

Luke says in verse 6 that when this sound occurred, the multitude - meaning these Jewish pilgrims - came
together. But what sound?

The word for Asound@ here is not the same as in verse 2, which is the Greek echo. Echo, something which
is heard, and most often pertains to a sound or noise. The word for Asound@ in verse 6 is the Greek phone, a
sound or tone given forth, and it is most often used for a voice.

Because of this distinction, and the fact that Luke uses the two different words, it is most likely that the
sound that the Jewish pilgrims heard was not the sound as of a rushing mighty wind, but the sound of the
disciples speaking in tongues.

This is borne out by two other considerations. First, as already mentioned, large upper rooms were only
located in the Upper City in Jerusalem, which is near the temple.

This multitude of Jews would have been at the temple or just arriving there, for this was the hour of
morning prayer. Word would have quickly spread through the crowd of the great phenomenon which was
taking place, as the disciples came out of their house, speaking in tongues.

Secondly, it is most likely that the glorious tokens that the Lord gave of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit -
the sound of a mighty wind, the sight of flaming tongues - were for the disciples only.

These signs confirmed the powerful anointing of the Spirit. The outworking of that power - in word and
action - was for the rest of the world to see. Specifically, the speaking in tongues was for those who did not
yet believe - as we=ll discuss shortly.

When this multitude of Jews came together, what they heard confused them - why? The next two verses
fill us in.

v. 7-8 Now, most of these religious pilgrims would have had a working knowledge of Aramaic and Greek,
but it is clear from the text that the disciples were speaking in the various languages of their different
nations - in the dialect of the many homelands of these pilgrims - and that caused great wonder.

The wonder was all the greater, in that these disciples were discernibly Galileans - perhaps they could be
identified by their dress, or perhaps they were speaking in their own native tongue at times, as well as in
other tongues.

The Galilean dialect was known to enunciate gutturals in an indistinct manner. Galileans had a way of
swallowing their syllables such that the meaning of words and phrases were often lost even on southern
Jews - let alone on others, who were less familiar with their dialect.
# 8: 8-16-17 7

As a matter of fact, the dialect of Galileans was proverbially crude and corrupt. We could say then that
Galileans were not strong on language - and yet these were the very people who were now showing such
remarkable linguistic abilities. That would have been a wonder, indeed! But that was exactly what the
Holy Spirit intended - so that the power by which the disciples could speak in these languages could be
seen to be not of men, but of God.

The disciples had this treasure - the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, seen in the face of Jesus
Christ - and through their earthen vessels, that glory shone - so that the excellency of the power could be
seen to be of God, and not of them (2 Cor 4:6-7).

So this glorious grace of God - the ability to speak in tongues - was intentionally set in sharp contrast
against the background of these language-challenged Galileans. How they must have marveled at what was
issuing forth from their own mouths!

Luke then gives a catalog of the regions from which these religious pilgrims came, all of whom were
hearing the disciples speak in their own native dialects.

v. 9-11 Fifteen countries correspond to the different people-groups that Luke mentions here (see map).
Besides Rome to the west, they constitute almost all the regions or nations from the eastern Mediterranean,
with the exception of Galilee, Syria, Cilicia and Greece.

Luke=s purpose here was not to provide an exhaustive list, but one that demonstrates the number and the
variety of languages that the disciples were empowered by the Spirit to speak. Luke was documenting the
miracle of the speaking in tongues at Pentecost, for his readers.

In verse 10, Luke mentions Jews and proselytes. Proselytes were Gentiles who had converted to Judaism,
even going so far as getting circumcised as an initiation to the keeping of the Law of Moses. Though not
listed last, the Jews and proselytes may have been from all the nations listed here.

In verse 11, we learn something of what it was that the disciples were saying, in these other tongues. What
did they speak of? The wonderful works of God. In the Greek, this speaks of great works - the outworking
of the greatness of God=s power and glory.

So what do you think that meant they spoke of, specifically? I=m sure they spoke all about Jesus - the great
work of redemption that He had wrought for the human race.

The disciples were fulfilling their ministry - to be witnesses to Jesus - ambassadors for Christ. And these
religious pilgrims, who were so conscientious about keeping the Law, would learn of the One who fulfilled
the Law for them - Jesus.

The speaking in tongues - languages different from that of the speaker - was a supernatural ability imparted
by the Holy Spirit to the members of the Body of Christ that were present at Pentecost, and to certain other
members of the Body in select circumstances.

The book of Acts shows that speaking in tongues was used by God to attest to the fact that certain groups of
people had received the Holy Spirit - the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-18); God-fearing Gentiles in Caesarea
(Acts 10:46); and a group of unknown disciples in pagan Ephesus (Acts 19:6).
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It would seem that God was marking out the glorious path of the gospel - from Jerusalem, to Judea and
Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth. And in this way, the Father showed that in Christ, all are
welcome into the family of God - accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6).

Beyond that purpose, Paul wrote that the speaking in tongues was for a sign. Turn to 1 Corinthians chapter
14. The Corinthian assembly had an inordinate fascination with speaking in tongues - they all desired this
ability, since it was a showy one.

Paul began writing to them first about the genuine spiritual grace of speaking in tongues - the ability given
by the Holy Spirit. Paul contrasted this with ecstatic utterance - speaking in an unintelligible tongue - that
is, gibberish, which cannot be understood by anyone.

Ecstatic utterance was practiced by pagan Gentiles, in their religious ceremonies. It was something with
which the members of the church in Corinth were quite familiar, from their former manner of life; and it
seems that some may have brought it into the church in Corinth, in the absence of Paul.

Paul sought to introduce limitations through his letter, which would rein in uncontrolled speech of any kind,
in the assembly. But he also sought to encourage the believers in the spiritual graces that involved
intelligible speech, within the assembly - such as prophesying - because the Body of Christ is edified, only
when there is understanding.

Well begin in verse 20. What Paul is bringing out here is that the Holy Spirit uses the right graces, in the
right places; He has a purpose and place for the speaking in tongues - languages - and a purpose and place
for prophesying.

[First Corinthians 14:20-22]

v. 20 Paul is urging the Corinthians to grow, in the Lord; not in their puffed-up pseudo-spirituality.

v. 21-22 Paul is quoting Isaiah 28 (v. 11-12). The prophet was speaking of the unbelief of Judah. Since
Judah despised the warnings of the LORD spoken to them by their prophets in their own language, the LORD
would communicate with them through a foreign language; this communication would be His judgment of
them, for their unrepentance.

The fulfillment of this prophecy occurred when Babylon carried Judah away captive, into exile. Yet as a
nation, they still refused to hear the LORD.

In the events on this Pentecost, we see a far-fulfillment of this prophecy. The truth of God was once again
being proclaimed to the Jews in other tongues - which should have been taken by them as a sign from God -
to heed the message - the good news of Jesus Christ, their Messiah. But well see in the book of Acts that
Israel will continue to refuse to believe into Jesus.

Nonetheless, there were individuals in the nation who would respond to the truth, when they heard it -
notably, some of the pilgrims present at Pentecost. These would be willing to submit themselves to God, to
receive His Christ and be saved - and they would be added to the church.

v. 22 From Isaiahs prophecy, Paul concludes that the speaking in tongues - genuine languages - was a
sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers - specifically, to the nation of Israel - a sign that was to point those
who heard it to God. In His longsuffering, God gave Israel this sign, after they had put Jesus to death, to
point them back to God - one last opportunity for this generation to receive their Messiah, and be saved.
# 8: 8-16-17 9

But Israel would not believe to see Jesus for who He is. Having completely rejected their Messiah, Israel
once again brought God=s judgment upon themselves, and in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and
dispersed the Jews into the lands of the Gentiles. And so the prophecy was fulfilled, once again.

But speaking in tongues - languages - was a sign, no only for Israel, but for all unbelievers. It validated the
first messengers of the gospel as they went into all the world, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ -
bearing witness that their message was the truth of God - through the supernatural ability to speak in the
language of the hearers.

The sign of tongues signaled Gods calling out of a new people to Himself - the church, the Body of Christ.
After the time of the apostles, speaking in tongues came to an end of its own accord - as Paul prophesied
that it would (1 Cor 13:8) - for it had accomplished its purpose.

Pauls point to the Corinthians is that the Holy Spirit uses tongues primarily for those outside the assembly;
while prophecy and the teaching graces are used inside the assembly, to edify believers.

[Return to Acts]

When the pilgrims heard of the wonderful works of God in their own languages, they were amazed and
perplexed - and they were confused (v. 6). Why? Because the men who were speaking were Galileans,
whom they ordinarily would not have been able to understand - but because they were speaking in tongues,
they could understand them.

There is a language barrier, throughout the world, primarily between different nations. Do you remember
when this language barrier came into existence? It was after the families of the earth had rebelled against
the LORD.

This was a few generations after Noah. Instead of filling the earth as the LORD had said, the families, who
all spoke one language, decided to stay together in one place, to build, and to make a name for themselves.
They made an exchange - to worship and serve the creature - themselves - rather than the Creator.

This, they were free to do - a sad choice. But the unity that they possessed, in their rebellion, threatened to
suffocate the freedom of choice of anyone who would chose otherwise - choose to believe into the LORD.

This the LORD could not allow, so He disrupted their unity. How did He do that? The LORD confused their
language, and scattered them abroad over the face of the earth (Gen 11:9). The place where this happened
became known as Babel, meaning confusion. And wherever the LORD scattered them, the families of the
earth grew - into the Gentile nations.

The events on the day of Pentecost were a reversal of the events at Babel. Where God had scattered
mankind into various geographic locations on the earth, He now drew them together again, to Jerusalem,
for the fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit endowed the united Body of Christ with the ability to speak in all the languages of the
pilgrims from many nations who had come up for the feast. This miracle transcended the language barrier -
it was as if there was only one language being spoken again.
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Initially, this caused confusion - just like the opposite had, at Babel. But the confusion on Pentecost would
quickly be overturned with an understanding and receiving of the truth of God, as Jesus Christ was revealed
to these men of many nations. And some of them would return to their own countries as ambassadors,
carrying the news of the wonderful works of God - in Christ - to the ends of the earth.

Reading: Joel; John 7:37-39; Matt 24:1-30; Rev 6:12-17.