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Information about Pentecost

Published on June 30, 2009

Author: andrewneileen


Pentecost : Pentecost Christadelphian Presentation Anticipations : Anticipations “John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’ ”Luke 3:16 One Baptism (Eph 4) Anticipations : Anticipations “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13 “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 Anticipations : Anticipations “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” Acts 1:5 Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Isaiah 6 : Isaiah 6 Luke is deliberately evoking Isaiah’s call narrative (Isa 6:1-13). Isaiah saw “the lord sitting (ka,qhmai) upon a throne” and “the house” (oi=koj) “full (plh,rhj) of his glory” (Isa 6:1, LXX[1]). In the accompanying theophany smoke fills (pi,mplhmi) the temple, and there is a voice or sound (fwnh,) of praise (Isa 6:3-4), which shakes (evpai,rw) the doorposts of the temple. Isaiah has his “lips” (Isa 6:9) purged as a symbol of his appropriateness as a mouthpiece of the deity. [1] This LXX interpretation of the Hebrew is confirmed in John and applied to Jesus (Jn 12:41). Isaiah 6 : Isaiah 6 Luke’s Pentecost account has corresponding detail: Luke has the disciples in “the house” (oi=koj), when the house is filled (plhro,w) with a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2); the disciples are then filled (pi,mplhmi, Acts 2:4) with the holy Spirit, and their voice (fwnh,, Acts 2:6) is a voice of praise, and they are empowered to speak on behalf of God; finally, this event takes place after Jesus has ascended and been exalted to a position as “the lord” sitting upon a throne (ka,qhmai, Acts 2:33, 34). Isaiah 6 : Isaiah 6 In addition to these correspondences, there is a broad thematic “fit” with Acts insofar as Isaiah’s call narrative is about calling and commission. The crux in the text is about who will be “sent” (avposte,llw) and who will tell the people (Isa 6:8-9). This corresponds to the commission of the disciples to be “apostles” (avpo,stoloj, Lk 6:13, Acts 1:8). Isaiah’s commission was ultimately to be unsuccessful insofar as the people would hear “but not understand”, and see “but not perceive” (Isa 6:9). This is the quotation upon which Luke concludes his view of the Jews (Acts 28:25-26), which thereby shows his Isaianic view of the preaching of the disciples throughout Acts. FirstFruits : FirstFruits Firstfruits was celebrated at the beginning of harvest (Exod 23:16, qerismo,j), and the festival of “ingathering” at the end of the harvest. Luke has previously used a harvest figure to describe the mission of the seventy (Lk 10:1-2, qerismo,j). This suggests that Luke would have conceived of the disciples at Pentecost as “labourers” in the field and the result of their preaching on this occasion (3000 converts, Acts 2:41) to be the firstfruits of a future fuller harvest. Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing Luke has already advertised his typological understanding of Jesus’ death and resurrection as an e;xodoj (Lk 9:31), and considerations of plot would suggest that this deliverance required a response of praise. Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing Luke uses avpofqe,ggomai in Acts 2:4 (“utterance”) to describe the speech act. The verb occurs in 1 Chron 25:1 translating the verb abn, “Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph…who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals” Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing The noun occurs in the Song of Moses (Deut 32:2), “My doctrine (avpo,fqegma,) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass”. Furthermore, in Psa 58:8 where the verb is used to describe the lying of the enemies of Israel, the Psalmist contrasts this with his singing (v17). Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing Some liturgical aspect to the phenomenon is implied by Luke’s account of the “Gentile Pentecost”, where speaking with tongues is juxtaposed with the description kai. megaluno,ntwn to.n qeo,n (Acts 10:46). For Luke, the archetypical magnification of the deity is delivered by Mary (Lk 1:46). Speech acts of praise at Pentecost would seem likely (Acts 11:15), and the content of such acts would rehearse God’s mighty acts. Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing Luke places the disciples in the Temple on the day of Pentecost, and possibly an assembly room within the temple compound (cf. Ant. 8.65). This was their normal place of assembly (Lk 24:53, Acts 2:46), and while oi=koj is not Luke’s normal word for the temple, and might suggest a private room, the word is used by him (Acts 7:47, 49; Lk 13:35, 19:46), when he is directly using Jewish scriptural material about the temple. Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing The devout Jews who were dwelling in Jerusalem describe the content of the speech acts that they were hearing as ta. megalei/a tou/ qeou/. The expression, ta. megalei/a, is used in Deuteronomy 11:2-3 to describe the acts of God in Egypt (rather than at Sinai). It is used as part of praise in Psalm 71:19. Praise and Singing : Praise and Singing Paul says, “…he that speaks in a tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God” (1 Cor 14:2); and acts such as praying, singing, blessing and giving thanks were involved (1 Cor 14:14-16). Their multi-lingual character allowed Diaspora Jews to understand something of what was being uttered, but this does not imply that the speech acts were delivered in their direction (the Jews appear later on in the scene). Preaching : Preaching Luke repeats avpofqe,ggesqai in Acts 2:4, 14, and this makes Peter’s declaration an example of the kind of speech act to which the Spirit was giving utterance. Only Peter’s speech is specifically directed towards any person or group. The Coming One : The Coming One “John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.’ ”Luke 3:16 The Coming One : The Coming One “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the lord (!wda), whom ye seek, shall suddenly come (e;rcomai/awb) to his temple. And (kai/w) the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come (e;rcomai/awb), saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 3:1) Purification : Purification Our proposal is that this “spirit-and-fire” relates to a single group rather than two groups and involves the notion of beneficial purification. The actions attributed in Malachi to the one who was coming included a work of purification (v2-4). Malachi and Isaiah : Malachi and Isaiah Malachi predicts a “lord” ((!wda) coming to his temple (lkyh) and sitting (bvy) in judgment (v5), and Isaiah had seen a vision of a “lord” ((!wda) sitting (bvy) in the temple (lkyh). Isaiah is cleansed with a coal from the altar (Isa 6:7), and the Levites are purified by the refiner’s fire (v3). Subsequent to this purification, Isaiah is “sent” with a commission and the Levites offer sacrifices. Luke and Malachi : Luke and Malachi Luke’s use of Malachi 2/3 sends a reader to this eschatological context for an interpretation of “fire” The refining figure in Malachi describes a beneficial effect on a single group of people (Levites) This is different from the destructive unquenchable fire of Luke’s purging metaphor (Lk 3:17) Baptism : Baptism The beneficial purpose of this baptism coincides with and develops the beneficial effect of John’s water-baptism, with which it is compared, and which was also applied to a singular group. Refining : Refining Malachi uses the simile of a refining fire to describe the work of the “lord”. The simile receives its sense by way of contrast with Malachi’s description of what was wrong with the Levites: they had not kept knowledge (Mal 2:7), and corrupted the teaching of the Law (Mal 2:8, 17), and this had resulted in various false practises. The work of the “lord” is not therefore one that relates to atonement and cleansing of iniquity; it is concerned with reformation in teaching and practice. Reformation : Reformation The work of John the Baptist concerned a water-baptism signifying repentance and remission of sins. Luke’s presentation of the Coming One adds to this kind of work, viz., a bestowal of the Spirit that would result in a reformation in teaching and practise. Malachi and Pentecost : Malachi and Pentecost There is dissonance and fit between Malachi and Pentecost. Malachi has a material focus in the institution of priesthood and the work of the Levites. Pentecost has no such focus. Further, in material terms the “lord” is present in Malachi’s prophecy and absent in Acts 2. The end-result envisaged by Malachi is that the “offering” of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable (Mal 3:5). No such material end is even adumbrated in Acts. However, despite such material inappropriateness, there are echoes of Malachi’s prophecy in Luke’s narrative that suggest he saw Pentecost as a typical fulfilment of Malachi. Typical Correspondence : Typical Correspondence The bestowal of the Spirit is accompanied by the “sudden” (a;fnw, LXX Mal 3:1) occurrence of sound. The event happens in the temple. There is a manifestation of “fire” (pu/r Acts 2:3) which sits (kaqi,zw Acts 2:3) upon the disciples. Teaching : Teaching Luke presents the work of the apostles as “teaching” (Acts 4:2, 18, 5:21, 25, 28, 42), and an extension of Jesus’ own teaching (Acts 1:1). A “fire of purification” mediated by the Spirit on behalf of the “lord” would be a suitable symbol for pure teaching, and a mission directed towards the Jews in which there is a separation of true and false in the thinking of the people . Teaching : Teaching Malachi’s charge is that the priest should “keep” knowledge, remain in the “way”, and “turn” (evpistre,fw) many away from iniquity; the people should seek the Law at their mouths and the benefits to all would be “life” and “peace” (Mal 2:5-7). Luke transfers these characteristics to the apostles and the body of the disciples: Peter’s preaching is designed to “turn” the people from iniquity and to the “lord” (evpistre,fw — Acts 3:19, 11:21, 15:19, 26:18, 20, 28:27). The early communities were called “the Way” (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22) and the disciples claimed to teach the right ways of the “Lord” (Acts 13:10, 18:25, 26). Luke continues to relate how the early Jewish disciples uphold the Law in teaching and practice (Acts 21:20, 24:14, 25:8, 28:23). The result was that the disciples had peace and walked in the fear of the Lord (Mal 2:6, Acts 9:31). Zachariah : Zachariah Zechariah also uses this figure, “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ” (Zech 13:9). Last Days : Last Days The work of the Coming One through the apostles thus continues the work of the Baptist in “turning” the people from their iniquity. There is therefore a direct comparison to be made between the work of the Spirit through John the Baptist and the work of the Spirit through the apostles. In Luke’s programme, just as John the Baptist was a forerunner to the Coming One, so too the apostles are the forerunner to the return of the Coming One; the spirit and power of Elias was now in the apostles: Luke continues to present his narrative within the framework of the “last days”.

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