Recently, I was chatting with my colleague, Ariel Blumenthal. Ariel is a budding theologian within our Tikkun Global family. We were talking about prophecy and he said something akin to, "The greatest prophetic utterances in the New Testament era are the proclamation of the gospel." He based that on the angel's words to John in Revelation 19:10 (TLV): "For the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of Prophecy."
I had to meditate on that for a while. That afternoon, I felt the Lord redirect my Bible reading to the Book of Acts. I read the first four chapters and then three more today. And, boom, like lightning, I saw it!
The Transformation of Peter
The difference between pre-Shavuot/Pentecost Peter and post-Shavuot/Pentecost Peter is probably one of the most underappreciated stories or testimonies of the entire Bible. Before the Shavuot outpouring in Acts 2, Peter was quite underwhelming. He is an uneducated fisherman. He is overly dramatic and impulsive:
- He rebukes the Lord (Matt. 16).
- He declares he would die with Yeshua hours before he denies him three times (John 13, 18).
- He blurts out something about building tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17); God Almighty had to rebuke him.
- Even after the resurrection, he is confused and, with the others, goes back to fishing (John 20).
In fact, just days before Shavuot, on the day Yeshua ascended into heaven, he and the disciples did not understand the gospel message and began to ask Yeshua if he would now restore the kingdom to Israel.
The Rock Emerges
Then, on the day of Shavuot, they were all gathered in one place, and the Spirit empowered them for ministry. Fire came and rested on them, and they spoke in tongues. Something happened to Peter. Yeshua nicknamed him "Rock" and said He would build His congregation on that 'rock.' No, that doesn't mean that Peter was the first pope. It means a prophetic anointing would come on Peter, whereby he would teach, preach and testify of Yeshua at a level that would birth revival in Jerusalem. And the worldwide ecclesia would be built on that foundation.
If you read Acts 2-4, it is remarkable how he speaks. Remember, he is no Bible scholar. We never heard Peter expound upon Scripture before this. But now the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Yeshua, comes upon him in power.
Suddenly, he is an expert on Old Testament prophecy. He boldly tells his hearers that this is God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh, as prophesied by Joel. He then quotes five verses from Joel 2. When did he memorize these verses? He didn't, of course. This is the Spirit of God revealing the gospel to Peter. Yeshua promised:
"When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth" (John 16:13 GNT.)
"When the times comes, you will be given what you will say, for the words you will speak will not be yours; they will come from the Spirit of Your Father speaking through you (Matt. 10:19-20).
Peter speaks of the prophecies of King David, predicting the resurrection and showing Yeshua to be God. Listen to him:
Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it (Acts 2:29-32, NIV).
He speaks as, not only a seasoned theologian, but as a bold evangelist. Three thousand men, plus women and children, were "cut to the heart" and responded to his call that day. Immediately, they were immersed in water.
End-Times Expert in Just a Few Days
In Chapter Three, he expounds on the end times. Just about two weeks before this, as stated earlier, he and the other disciples expected Yeshua to take over the world (Acts 1:6-7). Yeshua tells them, it is not the time. First, go preach the gospel (Acts 1:8). But now, he is an end-times expert:
Therefore repent and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the One who previously was preached to you, Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must receive until the time of restoring what God spoke through all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21, MEV).
Oh, that we would know this power of the Holy Spirit to speak through us.
Uneducated Man Speaks With Authority
Next, they are arrested. Peter boldly preaches to the Sanhedrin. His words are awesome! And it is because of the first thing we read in the next passage:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we today are being examined concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, how this man has been healed, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands before you whole. He is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.'
There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:8-12).
While Peter is the vessel, the words are coming by the Spirit. The Sanhedrin is blown away. Just as it was said of Yeshua, he spoke not like the rabbis, but as one with authority (Luke 4:36, Matt. 7:28-29). The Sanhedrin could feel the anointing.
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were illiterate and uneducated men, they marveled. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
Yes, prophecy has other functions in the New Covenant era (1 Cor. 14), but if "the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of prophecy," we should be seeking more and more of His Spirit to prophetically call all men to follow Yeshua—as Peter and the disciples did. If you are a fivefold gifted evangelist, I hope this message will cause a new authority and anointing to arise in you.
Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah's Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally, teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.
This article originally appeared at messiahsmandate.org.
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