Are We the Witnesses in Acts 1:8?

Are We the Witnesses in Acts 1:8?

In Acts, the use of the word “witnesses” relates to the Apostles themselves, who were “witnesses of his resurrection.” It doesn’t seem to be used of the normal believer throughout Acts.

Acts 1:8 was a commission and a promise given to the Apostles only, which was fulfilled in their missionary journeys (Mk 16:15; Col 1:23). See it in that light:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

This verse refers to an experience in redemptive history not to be repeated and a geography that is not our own, but those of the Apostles. The “witnesses” words in Acts are a beautiful fulfillment of Isaiah 44:6-8, “And you are My witnesses.”

At Pentecost, the rest of us get our marching orders however; there’s more to do as seen in the Joel quote by Peter. In that quote out of Joel below, “prophesy,” in my view, is in its most general use of speaking out a message from God. In this case, it is the gospel. He includes prophesy again when not found in the Joel quote in the words “and they shall prophesy,” giving it emphasis. Peter appears to be saying that in the period between this experience at Pentecost and the Day of the Lord is a harvest time when the gospel explodes across the entire world! And “everyone” (Jew or Gentile) who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Read it again carefully here:


But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them:

“Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

“And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts‬ ‭2:14-21‬)