Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sinai and Pentecost

So, I have a question about Pentecost.

I've heard that the feast of Pentecost was a festival that was associated with the giving of the Torah (see New Testament and the People of God). Under the New Covenant, the people of God are given the Spirit, who does what the Torah was supposed to do but couldn't - bring life and 'write the law of God on peoples hearts'.

In Exodus, just as Moses is given the Torah, Israel falls into idolatry, worshiping a graven image. Israel was about to receive the God's good Torah that was meant to bring life and through Israel draw the nations to YHWH. Instead:

And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord's side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.” - Exodus 32.30-34.
3000 people die. Then in Acts, on the day when the Spirit is sent to the people of God at Pentecost, and instead of death, the Spirit brings life, particularly through the baptism of 3000 people:

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. - Acts 2.37-41.
Is it right to draw this connection?

4 comments:

Mike Bull said...

Spot on, Matt.

Moses ascended Sinai and 'opened' the Law.
Christ ascended a 'mountain that cannot be touched' and opened the seven-sealed scroll, the New Covenant.

There is also a prefiguring of this in both Enoch and Elijah. These ascensions are all 'Firstfruits' to the following Pentecosts.

In these three, Atonement comes respectively in
Enoch - the flood
Elijah - the two bears eating Jezebel's 'children'
Jesus - the flood of Roman armies (Dan. 9:26)

byron smith said...

I've heard it done before. Makes sense.

I love how you reference NTPG without a page ref, because we all obviously know it by heart!

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Haven't you?

byron smith said...

Haven't I memorised NTPG?
Not yet in the original Greek.