Thoughts on R.V.G. Tasker’s, “The Old Testament in the New Testament”, as it relates to Pentecost

Tasker, R.V.G. (1947). “The Old testament in the New Testament”, Phila: Westminster Press.

St. Peter’s speech, however, which follows the incident, interprets it not just as another occurrence of common religious phenomenon, but as something unique. He interprets it as the fulfillment of words of the prophet Joel, prophetic of the Messianic age, when God’s Spirit would be poured out not only on Israel, but on “all flesh”, and “all who called upon the name of the Lord would be saved” (Tasker 1947:74).

There is an assumption that a “Messianic Age” would include an outpoured Spirit on all, not just Israel. Is this a fair assumption? “All who called upon the name of the Lord” was used by Paul to specifically deal with the inclusion of Gentiles into the people of God. Peter, though quoting Joel as such, doesn’t seem to have in view the inclusion of Gentiles for it was something he later struggled with and he in fact needed a vision to go to Cornellius’ home and experience first hand the inclusion of the Gentiles into the body of Christ through their own “Pentecost”. Is it possible that Luke is arranging his material purposefully to show that Pentecost, the inclusion of the Samaritans, and the inclusion of the Gentiles was all an outworking of Jesus’ words that the Church’s ministry would reach into Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth?

But the manifestations of the Spirit were not only to be found in the mighty deeds of the Apostles, but also in the lives and conduct of the disciples, who were spoken of as “followers of the Way”, or “brethren,” or “believers,” or “those who are being saved”… (Tasker 1947:76)

Tasker understands that the inclusion of others into the Pentecostal experience evidences the intent of God to include many into the blessings of this New Covenant which is founded in the life of the Spirit.

The new age, however, was not one of outward peace. Jesus had never promised His disciples that it ever would be. On the contrary, in the world He prophesied for them “tribulation”….But the Spirit gave them “boldness of utterance” and the courage to endure (Tasker 1947:77).

The Messianic Age as we now live in it doesn’t include worldwide peace. This much attests to Joel, which even after the outpouring of the Spirit in Joel 2:28-32, spoke of coming judgment upon the nations and peoples who failed to “call upon the name of the Lord”. The eschatological age of the Spirit therefore presumes conflict, but strengthens the people of God to endure whatever persecution they may face…thus being effective “witnesses” to the world during these “last days”.

© 2009, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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