The Descent of the Eschatological Temple in the Form of the Spirit at Pentecost: Part 1: The Clearest Evidence -- By: G. K. Beale

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 56:1 (NA 2005)
Article: The Descent of the Eschatological Temple in the Form of the Spirit at Pentecost: Part 1: The Clearest Evidence
Author: G. K. Beale


The Descent of the Eschatological Temple in the Form of the Spirit at Pentecost:
Part 1: The Clearest Evidence1

G. K. Beale

Summary

This article argues that certain Old Testament and early Jewish references to a temple (usually a heavenly or sometimes a latter-day temple) have been formative for the depiction of the Spirit appearing as fire and for other associated features in Acts 2. The conclusion drawn from this is that the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is a description of the inaugurated eschatological descent to earth of the heavenly temple to establish God’s end-time people as a part of this temple.

1. Introduction

While the Gospels narrate to some extent Jesus’ establishment of himself as the end-time temple (e.g. John 2:19–22), and while the New Testament elsewhere refers to the Church as the latter-day ‘temple’ or ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ (e.g. 2 Cor. 6:16), there is no explicit mention of the decisive time when the Church was first founded as the eschatological temple. Furthermore, the Gospel of Luke (and Matthew) narrates a keen interest in Israel’s earthly temple, both with respect to

its proper and improper use,2 and then predicts its destruction. In contrast to Matthew, Mark, and John, who mention the replacement of Israel’s temple by Christ’s rebuilding of a new temple through his resurrection (Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; 15:29; John 2:19–22), Luke never tells the reader who or what will replace the temple. The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility that it is in Acts 2 that Luke narrates the initial establishment of the church as the latter-day temple in replacement or, better, in escalated continuation of the true temple of God. In particular, we will argue that God’s heavenly tabernacling and theophanic presence began to descend on his people at Pentecost in the form of the Spirit, thus extending the heavenly temple down to earth to include his people in it by building them into it. This will be shown through analyzing various Old Testament and Jewish allusions and backgrounds, which in their original contexts are integrally connected with the temple. Some of these allusions and backgrounds have more validity than others, but the hope is to ad...

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