DOES NOT ACTS 11:15 PROVE THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST BEGAN IN ACTS 2?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Acts 11:15 says, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” What was that “beginning” found in Acts chapter 2, the day of Pentecost? Is this verse saying that Acts chapter 2 was the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ? While some have used this argument to force us into Pentecost, we will see what the Bible really says. Unless we have a denominational bias to hinder our understanding, this verse is amazingly simple. There are one-dozen reasons why the Church the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost. (Please see our study linked at the end of this article.) To use one verse—Acts 11:15—to argue against dozens of verses is absolutely ridiculous. In fact, for someone to use Acts 11:15 in that manner is to demonstrate a desperate attempt to hang on to Pentecost with whatever it takes. Tradition is awfully difficult to abandon!
Acts 2:41 reads: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” If the Body of Christ really began at Pentecost, and the 12 apostles were saved before Pentecost, of what body of believers were they members? Obviously, there was “church” that existed prior to Acts chapter 2. That group was the “little flock” of Luke 12:32, the Messianic Church of Matthew 16:16-18. After Peter preached his famous sermon on Pentecost, the Bible says other disciples were “added unto them.” Again, on Pentecost, there was a preexisting group of believers. There is nothing, nothing, nothing new in Acts chapter 2, but rather it is a continuation of something already there.
Now, regarding Peter’s words in Acts 11:15, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” This certainly refers to Acts chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and filled the apostles. (In chapter 11, Peter is saying that a similar event occurred with Cornelius in chapter 10.) That “beginning” refers to the beginning of the “last days” of Israel’s program (see Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18). Peter, led by the Holy Ghost, says that the events of Pentecost are the “last days,” not the first days of anything. They are a further development of Israel’s prophetic program. Israel has just rejected and crucified Messiah Jesus (just as the Old Testament prophets predicted), the Holy Spirit has come (as the Old Testament prophets foretold), and now the wrath of God is coming (just as the Old Testament prophets predicted). Everything the prophets spoke of in the Old Testament is being fulfilled, and Peter is warning in Acts chapter 2 that the worst is yet to come! The “beginning of the final days of Israel’s program” is the only beginning that would make sense in Acts 11:15 and Acts chapter 2, considering the Body of Christ and our Dispensation of Grace are not spoken of in the Old Testament.