Craig Keener on Pentecost’s Eschatolgoical Significance

Posted: February 2, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Acts, Biblical Studies, Eschatology, Pentecostal/Charismatic Interests, Theology
Tags: , ,

All excerpts are from Dr. Craig Keener’s volume, “The Spirit in the Gospels and Acts”.

Keener (1997:193) sees eschatological significance in the three Pentecostal signs of wind, fire, and tongues:

The external signs more clearly function as divinely bestowed symbols of the impending kingdom of God. Wind (Acts 2:2) would have convinced the gathered believers that the coming age had arrived, for it symbolizes the breath of resurrection life in Ezek 37…

Keener (1997:193) adds:

Fire, of course, could symbolize the imminent time of eschatological judgment (Acts 2:3)….The fire, therefore, serves as a small reminder of the fire to be unleashed in God’s vengeance at the end of the age.

Keener (1997:193-194) remarks lastly about the significance of tongues:

The clearest sign in Acts 2:1-12 that the power of the eschatological kingdom is erupting into history is the phenomenon of glossolalia in 2:4….the Spirit of prophecy was an eschatological phenomenon, and…Luke recognizes speaking in unknown tongues as a form of  prophetic (i.e., inspired) speech, and uses this phenomenon to mark the fact that in the new era all God’s people would be prophets in some sense (Joel 2:28-29).

Keener (1997:195), though not elaborating on the nature of God’s eschatological reign, does affirm that Peter clearly taught that it had commenced in Pentecost, “Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-40 clearly connects baptism in the Holy Spirit with prophetic witness and the present experience of God’s future reign.” He later adds, “…this anointing is evidence that the time of Israel’s salvation has come…”

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