July 8, 2003 ©Homer Kizer
Typology & Pentecost
Of the seven festival Sabbaths of God, Pentecost is the only one most Christians celebrate. If asked, these Christians will say that Jesus' disciples received the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost following Christ's crucifixion. And indeed, the glorified Jesus told His disciples to remain in Jerusalem to await the promise of the Father. "'This [promise, Jesus said] is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'" (Acts 1:4-5). John baptized with water for repentance, and John said of Jesus, '"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire"' (Matt 3:11). Additionally, John said, "'I myself did not know [Jesus], but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit"'' (John 1:33). Thus, before Jesus' ministry began, a plan existed for a physical baptism by water to parallel a spiritual baptism by fire. When Israel left Egyptian slavery, the nation was baptized with water (1 Cor 10:2) as a one time occurrence--repeated on a smaller scale when the uncircumcised children of the Israelites who left Egypt crossed the Jordan into the promised land. Circumcised Israelites were baptized by fire on that day of Pentecost, with this baptism repeated on a smaller scale when the uncircumcised Gentiles of Cornelius' household heard Peter preach the gospel. These uncircumcised Gentiles were then baptized by water. They were now spiritual Israelites, citizens in that holy nation called "God's own people" (1 Pet 2:9). And with Peter's vision and Cornelius' baptism, the order of baptism changed for all time so tight is the parallelism. First circumcised Israel, then uncircumcised Israel was baptized by water. First circumcised spiritual Israelites, then uncircumcised spiritual Israelites were baptized by fire. The creation on this earth was first baptized by water, which is a baptism into death. The creation will be, in the future, baptized with fire, which will change what is corruptible (or physical) into what is incorruptible (or spirit). The Flood destroyed the wickedness of the first age when God repented of having made humanity (Gen 6:5-7) and literally baptized the world for its sin by bringing about the death of all by eight. Fire will destroy the corruption or physicalness of the present age prior to when the new heaven and the new earth appear (Rev 21:1, 5), but the heirs of God will be glorified before the world is immerse in fire. These heirs will have received eternal life either when Christ returned, or in the great White Throne Judgment. Baptism by fire is to change what is subject to death and decay into what will never die or decay. Therefore, when Cornelius was baptized by fire, he received eternal life (conditioned on him enduring in faith until the end, or until his end). He then by water put to death the old man, or his former carnal self. Thus, the juxtaposition of baptism by water and by fire, of the creation of a man of flesh and of a man of spirit (1 Cor 15:43-49), of being born of water and of spirit (John 3:6) establishes parallelisms between the visible physical creation and the invisible spiritual realm that allow disciples to "see" into the invisible realm where mortals cannot go to make measurements. Actually, the parallelisms form a single mental construct that the Apostle Paul identifies as being spiritually minded (Rom 8:5-8). This construction results in the mindsets of those who have it no longer being hostile to God, or to His law. So those individuals who are spiritually minded have been mentally born again, or born a second time. Their physical bodies are still subject to death and to being enslaved by sin, but their minds have received life. They will receive glorified bodies when resurrected, but because of their baptism by fire, they already have eternal life.
One of the most difficult concepts a person can imagine is that of a mental landscape. Just as a geographical area has contour, with associated seasons and weather, a creating physical terrain that determines what plants (and animals) can grow and prosper in the area, minds have mental landscapes. Minds become figurative gardens. But minds do not grow tomatoes and potatoes. Rather, thoughts sprout, grow and develop on these mental landscapes--and being spiritually minded means changing landlords. The Apostle Paul wrote that the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor 4:4). Who is the god of this world that controls minds? Jesus said that the Paraclete (i.e., that which stands beside to speak for) would prove the world wrong "about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned" (John 16:11 author's emphasis). Not only had the ruler of this world been condemned, he was coming to take Jesus (14:30), who had shortly before given Judas Iscariot the morsel of bread. "After [Judas] received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him" (13:27). So Satan, possessing Judas, was coming with "a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees" (18:3) to take Jesus. Satan is the ruler of this world. Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9), and he has deceived the world by blinding minds. Elsewhere, the Apostle Paul wrote, "[Y]ou once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient" (Eph 2:2). So Satan blinds minds by exercising rule over the power of thought. Literally, Satan controls the mental landscapes of the world. He controls the terrain in which thoughts sprout. He doesn't have to implant thoughts in a person's mind. A certain temptation doesn't usually come directly from Satan, but grows from a seed that will sprout in his garden soil. In academic jargon, he controls the social constructs of the world, regardless of linguistic reality.
Therefore, when the Apostle Paul writes,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodilness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. (Rom 1:18-20 author's emphasis)
we should, if spiritually minded, expect our changed social constructs to allow us to see what has been invisible through what is visible. This includes that wrath of God that is being or will be exercised against those who suppress the truth.
If those aspects of God that are invisible to human eyes can be seen by what has been created, then the visible or physical creation exists as a type of the spiritual realm so that humanity can make mental observations in a dimension humanity cannot enter. These observations are, again, made in the form of thought. Thus, if God has shown what can be known about Him to unbelievers and even to those individuals who suppress knowledge through the rejection of revelation, whose minds have been blinded by the god of this world, whose mental landscapes are enemy-occupied territory, then born again or born from above disciples should experience little difficulty grasping the typology at work on that Pentecost day following Jesus' crucifixion.
Before further examining the disciples' baptism by fire, let us examined what happened on the very first day of Pentecost, when the living words of the law were spoken from atop Mount Sinai. The physical nation of Israel was offered an unprecedented opportunity. YHWH told Moses to tell the people, "'[I]f you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation'" (Exod 19:5-6). The offer was extended on two conditions: (1) obey YHWH's voice, and (2) keep His covenant.
Of course, the elders of Israel on behalf of the nation accepted the terms. (YHWH's offer was not made with individuals, but with the nation, a point of importance when examining the promises of material blessings conditioned on national obedience.) As if one individual, the elders said, '"Everything [YHWH] has spoken we will do'" (Exod 19:8). Moses conveyed the nation's acceptance of the terms, and YHWH said to Moses, "'I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after'" (v. 9). So, even though the nation would hear YHWH's words and were to obey those words, YHWH would be speaking to Moses to give to Moses permanent credibility with the nation of physical Israel. YHWH's words were not directed at individual Israelites, or even at the nation as a whole. Yes, each person would hear the spoken words of YHWH, but each person would hear as one overhearing another person's conversation.
The nation had to physically purify itself by washing clothes and abstaining from sexual intercourse for three days. The nation could not climb up the mountain but had to stand at its base. Moses and Aaron only went up on the mountain, when, finally, "God spoke all these words: I am [YHWH] your [Elohim]" (Exod 20:1-2). God continued on through the remainder of the Ten Commandments. So for physical Israel, obeying God's voice was keeping the Decalogue. Only the Ten Commandments were uttered loud enough for the nation to hear them spoken. God did not audibly utter the terms of the covenant loud enough that the nation could hear Him speak them. And since keeping the terms of the covenant was a requirement apart from obeying God's voice, the Decalogue was not technically a part of the covenant--the terms of this first covenant begin in Exodus 20:22 and continue through the end of chapter 23. The sacrifices were added as busy work because of the gold calf that sort of cast itself (this is what Aaron told Moses). Therefore, anyone who argues that the Decalogue was abolished when the law that separated the circumcised from the uncircumcised was abolished (Eph 2:15) has set for him or herself a difficult task; for the second covenant (Deu chptrs 29-31), made with physically uncircumcised Israelites (Jos 5:2-7) whose hearts and minds were to be circumcised (Deu 30:6), includes obeying by faith the laws, commandments, statutes and decrees of God (Deu 30:10, 16). These uncircumcised Israelite children, then adults, are the shadow of the physically uncircumcised nation of spiritual Israel. And the second covenant of Moses made with them is Paul's "law of faith" (Rom 3:27), which becomes his "righteousness that comes from faith" (Rom 10:6) that he identifies by quoting portions of it (vv. 7-8 -- compare to Deu 30:11-14). The terms of this second covenant become the terms of the new covenant made with spiritual Israel when the mediator changes from Moses to Christ, and when better promises are added for obedience by faith. So the law that was abolished is exactly what Paul says it is, the law or covenant by which circumcised Israel was made a holy nation. The initial acceptance and ratification of that at law is recorded by Moses (Exod 24:3-8), as are further additions recorded elsewhere. But obeying the voice of YHWH was never a part of that covenant. YHWH spoke only to Moses, whom He knew by name (Exod 34:17). Today, because the Father has personally drawn every spiritual Israelite (John 6:44, 65), God knows each Israelite by name; so disciples are to the Father as Moses was to YHWH.
From atop Mount Sinai, YHWH uttered audible words, which entered the Israelites as sound waves vibrating eardrums. The spoken Commandments of God physically entered each physical Israelite. The spoken words of YHWH caused pressure waves to form in the atmosphere. The Breath of YHWH became moving air, which carried down the side of Mount Sinai, and when combined with the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, so greatly frightened the nation that the people asked that God not speak to them again.
The concept of the Breath of YHWH entering physical Israelites as sound waves when the Commandments were given to the nation of Israel needs to remain foregrounded as the record of what occurred when disciples are baptized with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is examined. That record is found in the second chapter of Acts: sounding like a violent wind, the Holy Spirit filled the entire house where the disciples were gathered together (vv. 2-4). This Pneumatos 'Agiou appeared as distributed tongues of fire that submersed each disciple as if it sat on the disciple, thereby filling or imbuing or empowering [plesthesan] disciples, giving them the power to speak words that were heard in other languages.
When YHWH spoke to Moses from atop Mount Sinai, the pressure waves from His voice literally immersed each Israelite in sound. Again, all of physical Israel was baptized by water when they crossed the Red Sea. They were then baptized in the sound of YHWH's words. This baptism was the physical shadow or type of spiritual Israel's baptism in the Holy Spirit/Pneuma. This baptism has them physically hearing the Commandments of YHWH. The spiritual parallel will have the baptism by fire writing the laws of God on the hearts and minds of spiritual Israelites…as a condition of the new covenant, disciples have the law[s] of God written on their hearts and minds (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10 & 10:16). Because of the change of order that comes with Peter's vision and Cornelius' conversion, baptism with fire now precedes baptism with water; disciples receive the promise of eternal life before they crucify their flesh, before they are buried with Christ. That promise of eternal life is, again, conditional: disciples must endure [in faith and in covenant] to the end. But that promise precedes death, just as the glorification of heirs will occur prior to when the earth is baptized by fire. And just as the physical nation of Israel was audibly baptized in sound that caused the Commandments of YHWH to enter Israelites as a one time occurrence, with each succeeding generation expected to keep those Commandments, the spiritual nation of Israel was baptized in fire that caused the laws of God to be written on the hearts and minds of three thousand additional disciples. Each succeeding generation of drawn and called spiritual Israelites also has the laws of God written on their hearts and minds. This writing (or baptism by fire) occurs prior to water baptism, and is the actual reason why these drawn disciples recognize that their mental landlord has been changed, why they leave the world. And if baptism by fire and the promise of eternal life are linked to physical Israel hearing the spoken Commandments of YHWH, then disciples best not attempt to erase the laws of God that have been written on their hearts and minds. As mentioned, the person who would argue that born again disciples do not have to keep the laws of God has a difficult case, and one the person should repent of trying to make. The person's mental landscape is still enemyoccupied territory, and until the Father claims that terrain, the person will continue to be carnally minded, even if that person thinks he or she is spiritually minded (Rom 8:7).
Again, most Christians, if asked, will say that the disciples received the Holy Spirit when they were baptized by fire on that day of Pentecost. There probably isn't a seminary in the nation that teaches any other understanding of what occurred on that high Sabbath of Pentecost than that when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they received the Spirit for the first time. Yet, if the denomination practices full immersion baptism, the question must be asked, How much water does a baptized disciple ingest during the ceremony? The answer will usually be none. So why has the assumption been taught for centuries that Jesus' disciples received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost when Scripture directly and clearly states when disciples actually received the Holy Pneuma? The Apostle John writes in his gospel:
When it was evening of that day, the first day of the week [the day of Jesus' Ascension], and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them…he breathes on them and said to them "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:19, 22)
Is that a definite enough statement to establish when Jesus' disciples received the Breath of God? The Greek is (in Roman characters), Labete Pneuma 'Agion. Disciples were to grab a hold of, or to take a hold of the Holy Spirit as if they were inhaling the exhaled Breath of Christ. And Scripture doubly emphasizes the act of Jesus giving His disciples the Holy Spirit: Jesus "breathes" on His disciples, thereby giving them His Holy Breath/Pneuma. Then Jesus clarifies exactly what He has done by commanding them to receive the Holy Breath/Pneuma. Jesus doesn't personify His Holy Breath by assigning it personhood. Rather He exhales it as a disciple might have exhaled his breath. Jesus' Breath leaves Him as moving air would leave the disciple who exhaled. It leaves the glorified Christ's mouth as the spiritual equivalent of a physical human's breath.
It is usually taught that "filled" [plesthesan] means that the disciples were now filled as if bloated with the Holy Spirit. If this were the case, then Pentecost isn't the first time such bloating occurs: Elizabeth was similarly filled or empowered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41), as was her husband, Zechariah (v. 67) and their son, John the Baptist (v. 15). So being filled or empowered by the Holy Spirit doesn't require baptism by fire. And any sort of baptism causes a person to be immerse or submerse, but conveys no sense of ingestion or receiving.
Pneuma 'Agion is the Greek icon phrase translated as the Holy Spirit, or more precisely, Spirit Holy. Pneuma is the Greek icon translated as spirit, or life. It is, though, a Greek loan word that forms the root of the English word "pneumatic." Mechanics use pneumatic tools. Jackhammers are pneumatic hammers. In English, as in Greek, "pneumatic" conveys the sense of moving air used to do work. In Greek, pneuma conveys the sense of moving air. When moving air pertains to a living being, the usual linguistic icon assigned by English speakers is "breath." So maintaining the same linguistic object/signified to icon/signifier relationship from language to language, the Greek icon or signifier pneuma should become the English icon "breath," or in a figurative sense, "breath of life." And some of the time, translators will properly assign the English icon breath to the Greek icon pneuma as New Revised Standard translators did in Revelation 13:15.
If the glorified Jesus "breathed" on John, this son of thunder received Christ's Breath. If Peter had breathed on John, John would have received Peter's breath. The difference is that as a glorified being, Christ no longer has to breathe air. His Breath, then, becomes a figurative expression for the power by which the spiritual creation is sustained. This power flows with a sound somewhat like wind (John 3:8), or like a violent wind (Acts 2:2).
Translators have sacrificed grammatical accuracy in their assignment of a personal pronoun to the linguistic icon phrase Pneuma 'Agion. They have doubly sacrificed accuracy when they assigned the male pronoun to the gender neuter phrase, feminine in Hebrew. They have allowed their theology to taint their other good work; for not one of them would assign personhood to his or her breath, which all of them in translating English to Greek would identify as the person's pneuma.
Someone will ask, Well, who am I praying to when I pray to the Holy Ghost? The person prays to the Breath of God, which can only be considered a form of mocking God. Certainly the person's intent isn't to mock either Christ or the Father. The person sincerely desires to worship God; yet, the person inadvertently takes God's name in vain. And the person's teachers will be held accountable for what has been taught.
It is too easy to say that the person who prays to the Holy Ghost worships demons. While that statement might be technically true, Christ will be this person's judge--and intent will enter into the person's judgment. But the teacher of spiritual Israel who makes love to the Breath of God fools around with familiar spirits. This person may have more explaining to do than the person is capable. For after a third of humanity has been killed near the end of the first half of the Tribulation, humanity "did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols" (Rev 9:20). Humanity didn't suddenly start worshiping demons; it has been all along.
The disciples who were baptized and empowered by the Breath of God "began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability" (Acts 2:4). But at the sound of the disciples speaking, "the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each" (v. 6). The miracle was in the hearing, not in the speaking. The pressure waves generated when each disciple spoke entered the ears of the "devout Jews from every nation under heaven" (v. 5), caused eardrums to vibrate, and electrical impulses to fire in the brains of these devout Jews. The words generated by these identical pressure waves, though, differed depending upon what the hearer's first language was. No wonder all "were amazed and perplexed" (v. 12).
The devout Jews who heard the disciples speak were immersed in sound waves; they were literally baptized in sound as were the Israelites gathered around the base of Mount Sinai. The difference between physical and spiritual becomes apparent: the nation of Israel was of one language, and heard the uttered Decalogue in the language of their birth. For all, that was the same language. But spiritual Israel consists of many nations, many peoples. In fact, spiritual Israel consists of all peoples drawn by the Father. This difference was discernable when disciples were baptized by fire. Whether the disciples understood this difference become debatable prior to Peter's vision. Certainly the type reveals what Peter's vision reveals, so Peter's vision is actually a second witness, which should be sufficient to establish a matter.
Now, what about the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit? On that day of Pentecost, Peter told the three thousand, '"Repent, and baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"' (Acts 2:38). Peter makes no mention of laying-on of hands. Yet, when people in Samaria repented and were baptized by Philip, the apostles at Jerusalem sent Peter and John to them. "The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ). Then Peter and John laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:15-17). And timing is here crucial: Samaritans were uncircumcised Gentiles, none of whom had yet been baptized by fire. This incident precedes Cornelius' conversion. And while these Samaritans could certainly receive the Holy Spirit when hands were laid on them, circumcised Israelites did not need, following circumcised Israel's baptism by fire, hands to be laid on them. They needed merely to repent, and to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. They were already part of the nation of Israel.
The significance of Cornelius' conversion, then, is that uncircumcised Gentile have been made into physically uncircumcised Israelites, making physical circumcision of no value, Paul's argument. Every drawn Gentile becomes the spiritual reality of the uncircumcised children of the Israelites who left Egypt. They are to have circumcised hearts and minds. The better promises of Christ change the parallelism: the uncircumcised children of physical Israel would have their hearts and minds circumcised after they were obedient to God. Drawn disciples now descend from either physical Israelites or physical Gentiles who have been baptized by fire. Therefore, they receive circumcised hearts and minds prior to obedience.
Just as the glorified Jesus breathed on His disciples and they received the Holy Spirit prior to Pentecost and their baptism by fire, the Samaritans Philip baptized in the name of Jesus Christ had hands laid on them and they received the Holy Spirit prior to when Cornelius' household was baptized by fire. Therefore, all uncircumcised Gentiles who have been drawn since Cornelius' baptism by fire are like the three thousand circumcised Israelites who did not need hands laid upon them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Prior to when first circumcised, then uncircumcised spiritual Israelites were baptized by fire, the Holy Spirit has to be transferred directly, either by Jesus breathing on His disciples, or by Peter and John laying hands on disciples. But following circumcised Israel being baptized by fire, all that was necessary was repentance and baptism to receive the Holy Spirit. With Cornelius' household being baptized by fire, the Holy Spirit was received prior to baptism, which becomes the model for future drawings and conversions. A carnally minded person is satisfied being carnally minded. This person is hostile to God, and to His law. This person will not seek God. Thus, for this person to be converted this person has to be drawn by the Father, which requires the forcible seizure by the Father of a portion of the person's mental landscape. The Father doesn't ask Satan if He can please have the person; He takes enough of the person's mental landscape that the person begins wanting to obey God. The person receives a puff of the Breath of God, which is enough to write the laws of God on the person's heart and mind. No one has to directly transfer the Holy Spirit to the person. The Father does the transferring, based upon both the circumcised and the uncircumcised having been baptized by fire. Since the law that divided these two people was abolished (Eph 2:15), the pattern for conversion is the same for all peoples. There is, today, only one holy nation: spiritual Israel.
A disciple drawn by the Father does not have to get into any particular denomination's water to be baptized, but as will be seen in a future article, judgment comes with baptism (1 Pet 4:17). A person baptized in the name of Jesus Christ has asked for judgment to be upon the person. And this person should know what the terms of the covenant are by which he or she will be judged.
If hands are laid-on disciples following baptism, certainly no harm will be done to the disciple, but the act is unnecessary. Typology tells us so. In addition, typology shows that receiving the Holy Spirit is having the laws of God written on hearts and minds. Therefore, to spurn observing these laws because keeping them is legalism is grieving the Holy Spirit. To erase what the Father wrote on the person's heart and mind is rejecting the Holy Spirit. And to know to keep these laws, but to knowingly refuse to do so is sinning against the Holy Spirit. Sin is lawlessness, or the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). And a disciple is to keep the laws of God to the best of the person's knowledge and ability. Anything less is hypocrisy, the unpardonable sin.
"The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright, 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved."