Question:

I was reading your article on who received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  You're saying the 120 didn't receive the Holy Spirit, but the Apostles only, is that correct?  If so, my question is: Did they receive the Spirit twice? Because in John 20:21-22 Jesus breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Please explain Acts 2:15, where Peter addresses the crowd as "these people", not including himself.


Answer:

In symbolism of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus breaths on them in John 20:21-22 – the word "spirit" literally means breath or wind (Acts 2:2). It didn't happen right then, Jesus had said he would send the Spirit after he returned to heaven (John 16:7). Notice at the time of Jesus' blessing, nothing happened -- unlike Acts 2 and Acts 10 where the baptism of the Holy Spirit is recorded and the recipients immediately began speaking in other languages.

It is a mistake to assume that the gathering of the 120 (Acts 1:15) was on the same day as Pentecost. In fact, the mention of the day in Acts 2:1 indicates that this was a different day. How many were present on that particular day is not mentioned. However, in Greek, when a pronoun is used, you back up to the nearest noun for its definition. The "they" in Acts 2:1 refers back to the apostles mentioned in Acts 1:26.  Carl did a good job detailing this argument along with several others in 120 Received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4?

"But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day" (Acts 2:14-15).

Peter did not include himself with the other eleven apostles because at that moment he was addressing the crowd in his normal language -- probably Aramaic or Greek. Since Peter was not demonstrating at that moment a miraculous gift as the other eleven were by interpreting his speech into other languages, it was proper to refer to "these." Notice that verse 14 already defines the grouping of Peter and the other eleven apostles.