New Testament Types in Acts: Part 10
Dec 06, 2006
After Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in the eighth chapter of Acts, Philip was caught away to another town by the Spirit of the Lord. We read in Acts 8:39, 40,
" (39) And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away [harpazo] ; and the eunuch saw him no more, but went on his way rejoicing. (40) But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through, he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea."
This Greek word, harpazo, is used 13 times in the New Testament. In this case, Philip was physically transported from one place to another in a kind of inter-dimensional travel. In the spirit, there is neither time nor distance, so when the Holy Spirit chooses to transport someone in this manner, the person does not need to "fly" anywhere at some great speed. It is only a matter of stepping into that spiritual dimension and suddenly finding yourself in another location according to the will of God.
One might argue that Philip was taken to heaven, in that he had stepped into the spiritual dimension for a moment. But the real focus here is his travel to another location on earth--that is, to Azotus.
Another place where harpazo is used is found in Rev. 12:5, which reads,
"And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up [harpazo] to God and to His throne."
The primary pattern in Revelation 12 is the birth and ultimate ascension of Jesus Christ "to God and to His throne." This event had been prophesied in the heavens through the constellation Virgo before the Bible had even been written. God named the stars, or constellations (Psalm 147:4) in order that they might be "signs" in the heavens of the divine plan (Gen. 1:14).
Of course, in later years, men misused biblical astronomy, creating astrology, when they claimed to be the Messiah foretold in these God-given signs. But that represented a later degeneration from the original truth. Even so, through the names of the stars and constellations the Gospel was preached to all, for "the heavens declare the glory of God" (Ps. 19:1), and "night unto night reveals knowledge" (Ps. 19:2). Therefore, to some extent, men are without excuse, for the Gospel was set forth to all men from the beginning.
The book of Revelation is full of references to these signs in the heavens. The woman portrayed in the heavens in Revelation 12 is a clear reference to Virgo, who carries a Branch in her hand. Zech. 3:8 says, "For behold, I will bring forth My Servant, the Branch."
And so Revelation 12 portrays Virgo bringing forth a son, pictured by the associated constellation, Coma, which means "the desired one." Haggai 2:7 speaks of Christ as "the Desire of all nations."
The point of this is to show that Mary had fulfilled the prophecy of Virgo, and Jesus was Coma, the Desire of all nations. Furthermore, the red dragon that sought to devour the Manchild as soon as he was born (Rev. 12:4) was King Herod, who sought to kill Jesus (Matt. 2:16). Herod was half-Edomite, and Edom means "red." He was therefore, manifesting the red (Edomite) dragon in his actions.
This whole prophecy leaves out all of the details of Jesus' life and ministry, focusing only upon His birth and ascension. The ascension is described by the word harpazo. Therefore, instead of thinking of this word in terms of a "rapture," we should properly think of it as an ascension in order to get a fresh look at this.
The third place where harpazo is used is found in 1 Thess. 4:17,
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up [harpazo] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord."
As I showed in my earlier series on the Rapture (July 29 to Aug. 9, 2006), the dead in Christ will rise first. This occurs at the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. Then comes the great day of repentance called the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the same month.
Finally, on the fifteenth day of the month, the Feast of Tabernacles begins, which brings the living overcomers into immortality and starts their seven-day cleansing period (for touching a dead body--i.e., their mortal body). They are thus not allowed to be presented to the Father until the eighth day of Tabernacles. This presentation will also include their heart circumcision on the eighth day from their "birth" into immortality.
This presentation is also the time of their ascension, their harpazo. After their presentation as the Sons of God, they will be able to return to minister as "priests of God" to the rest of mankind on earth, as prophesied in the law. Their presentation to God on the eighth day concludes their consecration to the priesthood, as established by the pattern under Moses in Lev. 8 and 9. Aaron and his sons were consecrated for seven days (Lev. 8:35) and then came out of the tabernacle on the eighth day (9:1). That was the day that the glory of God manifested to the rest of the people (9:4, 6, 23).
I believe this prophesies that the glory of God and the new priesthood ministry (Melchizedek) begins on earth on the eighth day of Tabernacles. That priesthood is foreshadowed in Ezekiel 44, where the "sons of Zadok" (types of Melchi-Zadok) are privileged to minister both to God in the sanctuary and to the people in the outer court.
The outer court is a type of the physical body. Most of the people are not overcomers, and so they will not be made immortal at the time of the first resurrection and the fulfillment of Tabernacles. They will remain in the "outer court," but the "priests of God and of Christ" (Rev. 20:6) will minister to them in their realm.
The only stipulation in Ezekiel 44:17 is that these priests will have to change clothing when they go between the sanctuary and the outer court. They must wear linens (glorified bodies) when they minister to God in the Sanctuary in heaven; but they must change into woolens (physical bodies) when they minister to the people on earth.
This is what Jesus did after His resurrection. When He ministered to the disciples, He put on His woolen garments so that He would be like them (sheep), but when finished, He disappeared after changing into the linen garments. See Luke 24:36-39 where He suddenly appeared to them, and verse 31 where He just as suddenly vanished.
The harpazo describes the experience of being caught away between heaven and earth. This permanent ability comes with the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. It is given to the overcomers in that day who qualify as priests of God, or "sons of Zadok," in order to minister to others by the full power of the Holy Spirit. They will minister from the position of the throne of God, and hence, they are caught up to the throne, even as Jesus Himself was.
Even now we are already seated with Him in heavenly places insofar as authority is concerned (Eph. 2:6). But we are currently empowered by Pentecost, not by Tabernacles, so it is a partial authority by an earnest of the Spirit. But the day is coming when we will be fully empowered to finish the work begun under Pentecost.
Philip, "lover of horses," prophesies this by his experience in Acts 8. He preached in cities until reaching his final goal at Caesarea, the place of Caesar, the world ruler. The word will be preached until the kings of this world bow before the true Heir of all things.
This is the tenth part of a series titled "New Testament Types in Acts." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones