New Testament Types in Acts: Part 5
Nov 30, 2006
The feast days of Israel provide for us the basic outline of all Bible prophecy. When Bible teachers stopped studying these feasts, considering them to be applicable only to Jews and rituals, their eschatology became confused. It was not long before they began to develop the idea of a "rapture," which replaced the concept of the feast of Tabernacles.
To see a more complete study on the sequence of events surrounding the second coming of Christ, as viewed through the Autumn feasts, see my Foundation For Intercession bulletin #206 dated September 2005. It is posted online.
The basic sequence of events is manifested in the story of Elijah, the prophecy of Joel, and again in the book of Acts. In each case, we see resurrection (Trumpets), then repentance (Day of Atonement), and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Tabernacles).
In the book of Acts, which is our subject at hand, we read in Acts 3:7, 8 that the lame man was raised up first, by which the apostles preached the resurrection of the dead. Many of the people then repented and believed their message (Acts 4:4), while at the same time the religious leadership rejected their message. Nonetheless, they had to let them go, even as they had to release the second goat on the Day of Atonement. Finally, Acts 4:31 speaks of the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit, by which the disciples preached the word of God with boldness.
Here is the basic sequence of feast-day events prophesied as types in the book of Acts. The first event in the sequence is the resurrection. This event will not remove all Christians from the earth, as the "rapture" idea teaches. Instead, it provides the greatest impetus for repentance in the so-called Ten Days of Awe leading to the Day of Atonement. In fact, when Christians witness the resurrection and then realize that it occurred without a rapture, they will be greatly troubled, thinking that perhaps they have missed the rapture and will have to endure great tribulation.
This fear will naturally bring about a tremendous repentance, a change of mind, an alteration of their eschatology, and fortunately for them, the Holy Spirit will NOT be removed from the earth. They will indeed be able to repent by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so, by their very repentance, they will keep the Day of Atonement as prophesied in the Scriptures.
Then comes the Feast of Tabernacles on the 15th day of the seventh month (Hebrew calendar). I believe that the overcomers will come into immortality on that day. It will then require another seven days of cleansing according to the law, as explained in FFI #206. The story in John 7 suggests that Christ will come in the middle of the feast of Tabernacles, and that on the last great day of the feast, the Holy Spirit will be poured out.
The eighth day of Tabernacles is the day prophesied in the law for the presentation of the Sons of God in the temple in heaven. This is why the male sons had to be circumcized on the eighth day and presented to God in the temple, even as Jesus was presented in Luke 2:21, 22. This event cannot lawfully occur prior to the eighth day of Tabernacles. (See Exodus 22:29, 30.)
Thus, on the eighth day of Tabernacles, I believe, the overcomers will be "caught away" (Greek:harpazo) in what the Church would call the "rapture," but which is actually the fulfilment of the feast of Tabernacles. This will not be a seven-year visit to heaven, however. It will be for only a day, after which time they will return to preach the word of God with boldness.
Then will begin the real work of putting all things under the feet of Christ--that is, under His authority. Then will the act of faith done by Joseph Barnabas in Acts 4:36, 37 be fulfilled.
But this work of preaching will not be by force of the sword, for they will come by the power of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This is the sharp sword that will proceed from their mouths. And so not all will be converted immediately. Even after a thousand years there will still be opposition (Rev. 20:7-9). There will be opposition, primarily from religious leadership, as the types indicate. And indeed, in Acts 5 we see this illustrated in the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
This couple sold a piece of property to imitate what Joseph Barnabas had done. But verse 2 says that they "kept back some of the price" for themselves. When we understand that this type is about putting all things under the feet of Christ, it is clear that Ananias and Sapphira were fulfilling the type of those people who do not want all things to be put under the feet of Christ. They CLAIM to want all men saved, but in practice, they become angry at the thought that He might actually accomplish this!
In other words, they do not believe in the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21), nor do they really want it to happen.
This story in Acts has its Old Testament counterpart in the story of Achan at the battle of Jericho. God had instructed the people to put all the gold, silver, brass, and iron from Jericho into God's treasury (Joshua 6:19, 24). These are the four metals representing the Babylonian succession of empires in Daniel 2:32, 33. Furthermore, Jericho is a type of Babylon, as we have shown elsewhere.
This instruction to Joshua portrays the fact that the "city" (oppressive structure) must be destroyed, but yet the treasure of that city must go into God's treasury. The real treasure is PEOPLE, who are to be refined as gold and silver. Thus is foreshadowed the fall of Babylon and the conversion of people, the ex-citizens of Babylon. In this repentance and conversion to Christ, there will be no more inhabitants of Babylon (Jer. 50:13), for everyone will flee from the midst of Babylon (Jer. 51:9, 45).
Achan was a type of person who preferred to take some of the gold and silver (i.e., people) and bury it in the ground (Joshua 7:21) and thus deprive Christ of the treasure that He desires and demands. In this way he acted as the Old Testament counterpart to Ananias and Sapphira in the fifth chapter of Acts. In both cases we are shown the heart of God in His love for all mankind, as well as the heart of men who are too angry at the "sinners" out there to contemplate their salvation.
In both cases, judgment came upon them for stealing God's property. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira, an added charge is given of lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3) and to "put the Spirit of the Lord to the test" (Acts 5:9). This latter charge has to do with opposing the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing all things under the feet of Christ.
What many miss in reading this story is the fact that Ananias and Sapphira were Christians. They believed that Jesus Christ had died for their sins and had risen again. They were probably "Spirit-filled Christians." They may even have been in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was given on that day of Pentecost.
But yet they manifested a very prevalent attitude that we yet see in the Church today. It was the same attitude that Jonah had as he groused about God saving the whole city of Nineveh (Jonah 4:1). God had given Jonah a tabernacle (booth), signifying the feast of Tabernacles. But Jonah's bad attitude toward Nineveh did not fit this feast, so God sent a worm to destroy it (4:7).
This strange story is unintelligible to those who are unfamiliar with the feast of Tabernacles and the meaning of the book of Jonah. But yet it is written in order to teach us to put on the mind of Christ in this matter of Nineveh and the four metals of Babylon. It teaches us the meaning of Peter's words in Acts 3:21 about the Restoration of All Things.
For further reading on that topic, see my web logs beginning with Sept. 11, 2006.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "New Testament Types in Acts." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones