3.4 Acts -- Pentecost, cont.
c. Pentecost marked the beginning of the following three movements: the Ages of the Spirit, the Church, and the Gentiles. All of these are congruent, but represent three new aspects of God's intervention in history. All embody a monumental break with prior revelation:
-- the Spirit. From now on, the active agent in history is going to be the Spirit dwelling in God's people. In the Old Testament, He dwelt in and empowered the exceptional people -- kings and prophets. But now everyone who believes in Jesus as God's Answer receives the Spirit as both a seal of salvation and an enduement, or anointing, of power for service. The Spirit is the believer's connection to God the Father and to the Resurrected and glorified Son.
-- the Church. This is the new "holy nation," the inheritor of the promises made to Abraham. It is composed of New Covenant Jews (who have made the transition from Moses and the Temple to faith in Christ), and non-Jews of all stripes. There is no longer any wall of separation between believers of different racial origins. The Church is both international and cross-generational, and represents a higher loyalty than one's own family, culture, nation or race.
-- the Gentiles. Both Luke and Paul refer to a specific period of history in which the Gentiles will be predominant:
"Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Lk 21:24).
Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in (Ro 11:25).
This period began with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, and the resultant dispersal of the Jews around the Mediterranean. It continues to this day.