Teaching Paper 011The Gentile ‘Pentecost’

Gospel to the Jews Only

The early Jewish disciples had fallen short of Jesus’ commission to go to the (Gentile) Nations with the Gospel (Matthew 28:19).

Matthew 28:19 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,

And the Gospel (at times) was preached to the ‘Jews only’ (Acts 11:19).

Acts 11:19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

The Roman Centurion ‘Cornelius’ Receives Divine Instruction

Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, a Gentile called Cornelius who was a centurion in the Italian Regiment, and also a devout man. Cornelius feared God as well as all his household. (Acts 10:1,2).

One day, when praying about the ninth hour, Cornelius had a clear vision of an angel of God who told him to send for the Apostle Peter whom the angel explained was currently lodging in Joppa, by the sea (Acts 10:5-8). Cornelius immediately (Acts 10:33) explained his divine encounter to two of his household and a devout soldier and obediently sent them on their way to Joppa, to fetch Peter.

Peter Instructed to ‘Eat’ Unclean Animals

The day after this vision (of Cornelius), the Apostle Peter also had a divine encounter. Peter had gone up onto the housetop where he was staying, to pray. It was about the sixth hour and he became very hungry and so Peter asked for food. While he was waiting, he fell into a trance and saw heaven open. A collection of common and unclean animals (for Jews) descended before him (Acts 10:10-11) and a voice said to Peter ‘kill and eat’ which Peter refused to do. The voice continued and told him “what God has cleansed” do not call common (or unclean). This was done three times (Acts 10:16).

Once this trance had finished and Peter was wondering what it all meant, the three men from Cornelius arrived at the house where Peter was staying. The Holy Spirit said to Peter “do not doubt” and trust these men. And so the next day, Peter and six brethren (Acts 11:12) left Joppa together with Cornelius's men and travelled to the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:23).

Cornelius was waiting and had called together his relatives and close friends. Both men explained to each other their divine encounters of the previous few days and Peter explained how he now realised that he should not consider any man ‘unclean’ or ‘common’ (Acts 10:28). Later, Peter would fully understand that the Gospel was not only for the Jews but the Gentiles also (Acts 11:18).

The Gentile ‘Pentecost’

During this initial encounter with Cornelius, Peter opened his mouth to preach and he delivered a succinct explanation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – Peter’s eye-witness account and…

Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

This was the Gentile ‘Pentecost’! The Holy Spirit was poured out upon all the Gentiles present in the house of Cornelius and they spoke in tongues and magnified God (Acts 10:46). Peter was astonished and commanded that these who were filled with the Holy Spirt should also be baptized in water (Acts 10:47-48).

Pentecost Post Resurrection

Just as the Jewish Pentecost occurred shortly after the resurrection of Jesus, so too did the Gentile ‘Pentecost’ at the house of Cornelius, occur shortly after a resurrection (of Tabitha in Acts 9:40).

Parallels Between the Apostle Peter and the Prophet Jonah

There are parallels between the Apostle Peter and the prophet Jonah. Both men had direct divine intervention and instruction regarding Gentiles. Both were reluctant to obey this divine instruction. Peter refused to ‘eat’ unclean things (Acts 10:14) and this was typical of Jewish non-association with Gentiles, and Jonah travelled in the opposite direction from the Gentile city of Nineveh (Jonah 1:2) when instructed to preach there. Both men were found at the same geographical location of Joppa (Jonah 1:3 and Acts 10:5).

Significantly, both these episodes of Jonah and Peter concluded with a major spiritual blessing for the Gentiles. Nineveh repented after a very short sermon from Jonah (Jonah 3:5) and all those present at the house of Cornelius were filled with the Holy Spirit during the preaching of Peter and were baptized in water (Acts 10:44).

Many ‘Threes’

Note that the number ‘three’ appears several times in biblical narratives concerning Peter, Jonah and resurrection. As will be seen, these ‘threes’ are important:

  • The three men who arrived at the house where Peter was staying (Acts 11:11).

  • The three times of Peter’s vision (Acts 10:16).

  • The three-day journey to cross the large city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:3).

  • The three hours difference between the trance of Peter (at the sixth hour) and the vision of Cornelius (at the ninth Hour).

  • The three days and three nights when Jonah was in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1:17) as the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:40).

  • The three denials of Peter on the morning of Jesus’ death (Matthew 26:75).

  • The three days during which Jesus was in death before resurrection (Matthew 16:21).

  • Jesus calls Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah’ three times at the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:15-17).

  • The eighth and last sign miracle in John’s Gospel was the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples post resurrection (John 21:14).

  • The children of Israel crossing the River Jordan (as a type of the first resurrection) was preceded by three days (Joshua 3:2)

Note that the biblical meaning of the number ‘three’ is divine perfection based on the Trinity of the God Head.

So, the Gentiles were blessed and in Peter’s case received the Holy Spirit, and this was a major spiritual event for the early Jewish church as they realised that the Gospel was not for them alone (Acts 11). This Gentile ‘Pentecost’ would turn out to be an extraordinary moment for what would become the mainly Gentile Body of Christ.

The Deferred Resurrection of Pentecost

Consider the typological meaning of Pentecost. The Feast of Weeks (Hebrew ‘sevens’) is an agricultural feast which begins with First Fruits (Jesus was the single grain of wheat which fell to the ground and died – John 12:24) and concludes with the harvest (many believers) at Pentecost. What is important is that the Feast of Weeks is about resurrection. The agricultural metaphor of a grain dying to produce much grain is not just speaking about the spiritual miracle of many believers but the physical miracle of resurrection of many believers! The fulfilment (or anti-type) of the final stage of this Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) in AD 33 should have been the resurrection of all believers: Jesus had fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits by rising from the dead at the first moment of the Feast of First Fruits and the remainder of all believers should have been raised (from the dead) at the subsequent Pentecost (seven weeks later) – this is what Pentecost is all about – resurrection! Of course, this resurrection of all believers did not happen at that Pentecost in AD 33 because there were still 2000 bible years of God’s work to run (to complete the 6000 bible years before the seventh ‘day’ Millennial Kingdom). Instead, God gave a ‘down payment’, a deposit or guarantee (Ephesians 1:14) of what was to come by blessing the 120 disciples (in the house in Jerusalem in AD 33) with the baptism of the Holy Spirit – their number of ‘120’ being the Lord’s ‘mark’ that the first resurrection would later conclude at the 120th Jubilee after 6000 bible years of history. Shortly after, the Gentiles believers too would receive their ‘Pentecost’ at the house of Cornelius. (Note in respect of the Gentile ‘Pentecost’, that the Hebrew meaning of the name ‘Jonah’ is ‘dove’ and a ‘dove’ is representative of the Holy Spirit – Mark 1:10).

The Jewish and Gentile Pentecosts circa AD33, therefore, were primarily about a deferred resurrection until the 120th Jubilee at 6000 bible years when the first resurrection would conclude or be made perfect. After all, the first resurrection is not only about physical bodies being raised to physical life but about physical bodies being raised ‘perfect’, ‘incorruptible’ and ‘immortal’ (1 Corinthians 15:53). This moment of ‘perfection’ or the conclusion of the first resurrection, is biblically known to take place in the consummation (extra time) of the age.

During the interim (or ‘paused’ resurrection) period called the church age, the Body of Christ would be spiritually blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. During this church age, the Holy Spirit would facilitate the growth of the Body of Christ; being the Helper and Comforter as the Spirit of Jesus. Once the church age was completed, the Holy Spirit, who resides in the heart of believers (1 Corinthians 6:19), would then return to heaven as the Spirit of Jesus, and the Bride of Christ and the Bridegroom would be united.

So, this biblical truth of the ‘deferred resurrection’ is pivotal in understanding the outworking of Pentecost 2000 bible years ago. God essentially paused corporate resurrection for a further 2000 bible years to facilitate the formation of the Body of Christ as a bride for Messiah. This was God’s wisdom in light of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah (John 1:11) at the time of Jesus.

Peter and Jonah Linked to John’s Gospel

The foundations are now in place to consider a (biblical) typological link between the ‘Peter/Jonah’ Gentile ‘Pentecost’ (as discussed above) and John’s Gospel.

Jesus (in Matthew’s Gospel) named Peter as ‘Peter Bar-Jonah’ (Matthew 16:17) and this Greek word ‘Bar-Jonah’ (Strong’s number 920) only appears once in the whole Bible. The only other two places in the Bible where Peter (also called Simon) is associated with Jonah are found ‘surrounding’ John’s Gospel! Peter (also called Simon) is described as the ‘son of Jonah’ at the beginning of John’s Gospel (John 1:42) and then at the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:15-17). As such, Peter (also called Simon) son of Jonah appears to ‘typologically span’ the entirety of John’s Gospel.

Another typological link is provided by the same number of brethren (namely seven) who were present at both the ‘Peter/Jonah’ Gentile ‘Pentecost’ (Acts 11:12) and at the eighth sign miracle at the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:2)these being the two important biblical passages related to Peter and Jonah.

In this way, the ‘Peter/Jonah’ Gentile ‘Pentecost’ and John’s Gospel are typologically linked.

The Perfection of the Deferred Resurrection

Now, consider when the deferred resurrection is completed. But first, a better word to use is ‘perfected rather than completed. This is because resurrection is not just about physical bodies being raised to physical life but about physical bodies being raised ‘perfect’, ‘incorruptible’ and ‘immortal’ (1 Corinthians 15:53). The conclusion of resurrection is therefore a moment of ‘perfection’ (of the physical body).

So, when is the first resurrection perfected? Well, it is staged through the consummation of the age for the church and for Israel. The Rapture is next, followed by the resurrection of the ‘two witnesses’ in the middle of the Tribulation, followed by the resurrection of the Old Testament and Tribulation believers at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

This is where the ‘threes’ come in. As already mentioned, the biblical meaning of ‘three’ is divine perfection and the perfection of the first resurrection (as just described) is in the consummation of the age. The ‘threes’ which are embedded in these verses about Peter, Jonah, Pentecost and resurrection therefore intend the timing of this typological link (between the ‘Peter/Jonah’ Gentile ‘Pentecost’ and John’s Gospel) as being the consummation (extra-time) of the age when the ‘deferred resurrection’ will be perfected.

John’s Gospel Typologically Linked to the Consummation of the Age

So, the resurrection of all believers (typified by the harvest of Pentecost) was deferred (for believing Jews and Gentiles at their respective Pentecost’s in the years around AD 33) until the perfection (or completion) of the first resurrection in the consummation of the age. And the Gentile ‘Pentecost’ of ‘Peter/Jonah’ is typologically linked to John’s Gospel because Peter’s title of ‘son of Jonah’ appears ‘across’ John’s Gospel, at the beginning and at the end. And the ‘threes’ across the narratives (of the ‘Peter/Jonah’ Gentile ‘Pentecost’ and John’s Gospel) speak of the perfection of the deferred first resurrection which is biblically timed in the consummation (extra time) of the age.

Therefore, John’s Gospel is typologically linked to the consummation (extra-time) of the age!

This association of John’s Gospel with the consummation (extra-time) of the age gives insight into the deeper meaning of each of the eight sign miracles (in John’s Gospel) – ‘eight’ being the biblical number of ‘resurrection’. It is discovered that each sign miracle has a typologically fulfilment in the consummation of the age! The book ‘Unlocking the Sign Miracles of John in the Consummation of the Age’ addresses each sign miracle (in John’s Gospel) in turn, and associates it with a major event in the consummation of the age. Three sign miracles target an event for the church, and four sign miracles target an event for Israel and the eighth sign miracle targets both the church and Israel.

Also, this (association of John’s Gospel with the perfection of the first resurrection in the consummation of the age) fits well with Johns Gospel’s distinctive of ‘resurrection’. The narrative of John’s Gospel presents Jesus as already raised (John 1:9-13) with no mention of Jesus’ birth or ascension. This Gospel also contains six miracles which are not found elsewhere in scripture including the ‘Water changed to Wine’ (sign miracle 1), ‘Nobleman’s son revived’ (sign miracle 2), ‘Infirm man raised at Bethesda’ (sign miracle 3), ‘Blind man from birth receives sight’ (sign miracle 6), ‘Lazarus raised from the dead’ (sign miracle 7) and ‘153 fish miraculously caught’ (sign miracle 8), which makes John’s Gospel distinct regarding ‘sign’ miracles and invites the reader to dig deeper.

The Handkerchief

This concept of ‘perfected resurrection’ and ‘deferred resurrection’ is captured in the folded and unfolded grave cloths (respectively), found in the tomb of Jesus immediately after His resurrection.

John 20:6-7 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

The head piece cloth was folded but the linen cloths for the body were not. This speaks of the perfected resurrection for the Head, but for the Body of Christ (the church), resurrection is yet to be completed or perfected.

Darkness on the Cross Between the Sixth and the Ninth Hour

It cannot go unnoticed that the explicitly recorded ‘sixth’ and ‘ninth’ hour of the divine encounter of both Peter and Cornelius (which preceded the Gentile ‘Pentecost’) are the same hours during which darkness covered the land in the final three hours of the crucifixion of Jesus:

Luke 23:44-46 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Acts 10:3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

Acts 10:9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.

The biblical use of these specific hours is more than coincidence. They specifically counterpoint the belief of the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10) with the unbelief and murderous intent of the Jews towards their own Messiah.

How could there be light in Israel, or indeed the world, during the killing of the One with Whom they would have been as a light for the Gentiles (Genesis 12:3)? Messiah came to His own (Israel) but they rejected Him (John 1:11) and at Messiah’s death, Israel received this sign of darkness. Israel’s spiritual light would now fade in favour of Gentiles. The gentile woman at the well (in John 4) was one, who unlike Israel’s leadership, received the ‘light’ and revelation and it is noteworthy that Messiah’s encounter with this woman also began at the sixth hour (John 4:6).

These final three hours of darkness also relate to the Tribulation – a period of God’s judgement upon Israel (and the world) which will begin when ‘many’ in Israel enter into a covenant with the anti-Christ (Daniel 9:27) in further abject rebellion against God and His Messiah. Once again Israel will reject their Messiah in favour of the world! The numerical typology of the Christian Age and the ‘consummation of the age’ provides the detail. Please see teaching paper 009 - Christianity to the Millennium in Numerical Type.

In summary, these three hours (recorded in the narrative of the Gentile ‘Pentecost’ and mirrored on the cross during the ‘darkness’ hours) expose a counterpoint pattern between the blessing of the Gentile ‘Pentecost’ (in Acts 10, 11) and the rebellion of Israel (both in rejecting Messiah 2000 bible years ago and rejecting Him again in the Tribulation). In anticipation of the upcoming judgement of the Tribulation, Jesus not only warned the infirm man at Bethesda, but He also inferred His warning to modern day Israel. You see, the man at Bethesda was a type of Israel raised in 1948 and the biblical message of Messiah was and is: “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14).