Pentecost, Year II

  • Deuteronomy 16.9-12; Acts 4.18-33 ; John 4.19-26


Pentecost
Pentecost is the festival 50 days after Easter or the Sunday next after Ascenion (which is day 40 after Easter). It primarily commemorates the coming of The Holy Spirit, on the old festival of weeks, where the tongues of fire unite all voices under Christ in The Spirit to direct all nations to The Father. It reverses what happened at The Tower of Babel in The Book of Genesis. It ushers in Proper Time on The Church Calendar.

The Book of Deuteronomy 16.9-12

(9) You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain.

7 weeks x 7 days in a week = 49 days
Easter Day is Day 1, and 49 days later is Day 50. Now in in Greek “Day 50” is said with the word “Pentecost.”

Christ harrowed Hell, but it was not until Easter Sunday Morning in which the legions of dead rose again and walked out of The Hellmouth which is the jaw of The Leviathan that serves as the Gates of Hell, for The Devil seeks to swallow up all humanity. Christ set free those Patriarchs & Matriarchs, who, though not perfect and holy as God-himself alone could be enfleshed in Christ, did manage to live naturally Just lives in accordance with virtue. So just as the grain stands awaiting harvest for it’s ripeness, so too the Just dead whose deeds gave them a ripe harvest awaiting the coming of The Lord to be harvested and brought into The Lord’s barn. Thus St. Matthew’s Gospel says at the crucifixion many rose from their graves and walked about the city, not because the story is chronological, but because of the atemporal nature of God, such that the fleshly deeds of Christ could have everlasting effects at seemingly strange times. This is the mystery of The Trinity united to the nature of Man.

(10) Then you shall keep the feast of weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand

In celebrating Pentecost, “The Fiftieth Day,” Christians keep to The Festival of Weeks commanded in Deuteronomy, for God the Father’s commands do not fade but are fulfilled in Christ.

(11) at the place which the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there

While God may dwell anywhere as Eternal and outside time and space, He did not forget that in condescending to His creatures in flesh in the Person of Christ that we do need to worship in a time and at a particular place, for we are spatiotemporal beings, or creatures. Thus it was that God made his Son a place in which he dwells, and in giving us His Son & Holy Spirit made our bodies dwelling places so that wherever there be two or more gathered there will God be. However, to giving fitting worship to God he saw to it in his infinite majesty to inspire the minds of architects and builders alike that we might build him a House, and it was to be a House of Prayer, just as it was in the times of Solomon and our other forefathers. So it is that The Church constructs churches that when lit with a torch denote Christ’s very corporal presence is with us, and not just some ethereal, ghostly God who did not condescend into flesh to be made into our likeness, that we may be made into His likeness.

You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.

In being Baptized not only is Abraham made our forefather, but so too we share in The Story of our people being slaves in Egypt. In grafting The Gentiles onto The Jewish line in The Person of Christ we have a shared lineage, having been adopted by The Holy Spirit as sons and daughters of God the Father. This being our story too then, we must take care to remember our forefathers and foremother’s transgressions, and hold fast to the celebration God commanded them, just as he commanded us. Therefore we never fail to meet together at Pentecost, as is the habit of some, to come together to give thanks (in Greek pronounced eucharist) to God the Father for all his mighty deeds.

The Acts of the Apostles

(19-20) “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”

The Apostles do not appeal to an epistemology of experience, “that we know because we experience and then words are arbitrarily drawn up to fit it,” but they “speak of what we have seen” such that word and sight are caught up together at once. The senses are filtered through the word and categories to become perceptions, so while senses come in warmth or cold or brown and gold, it is the perception of a dog that requires ordering of those senses. And it is the intellect which can articulate “dog.” While the brutes communicate they do not speak with grammar and vocabulary as we do. This is fitting since The Apostles having seen The Resurrection of The Word itself, their judgment has come to say “Christ is Risen,” and through The Holy Ghost their tongues have gone out into all lands and are heard in every person’s respective language, a great reversal of the Curse of Babylon, wherein The Lord scattered the people into many tongues. Now The Word with The Father has sent The Holy Ghost through The Apostles to gather up his harvest, and it shall not return to God the Father empty.

The Gospel according to St. John

(22) You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Some say we can know God fully, but this is surely to folly for God is infinite, and we creatures who are finite by definition cannot contain that which is infinite in our hearts nor minds. So it is that folks like Willaim Lane Crane who is a famous philosopher of religion has tried to maintain the claims of Evangelism are stronger for they allow one to “know God,” whereas classical theism (i.e. Christianity) maintains an ability to know about God but never God fully, for only God could know Himself fully. And Christ has said that those who see him have seen the Father, who St. John says elsewhere in his epistles that “no man has seen God [the Father]”. Then it is that only in seeing the resurrected flesh of Christ in the Resurrection to the Second Life will one come to see God the Father, who has no body. For in being resurrected we shall still have eyes, and thus have need to see flesh, but in seeing Christ’s flesh, we shall not only have his human form impressed upon us like the seal is to wax, but also the Divine form or nature, such that we will see God [the Father] face to face at last. We can do this because “salvation is from the Jews,” meaning just as the Old Testament continues the Jewish story with certain characters (e.g. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) while leaving off others, so too the story now continues with Christ, his Apostles, their Bishops, Priests, & Deacons (e.g. Stephen & his martyrdom in Acts) as the first clergy at the churches in Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Galatia, etc. and all the disciples there as the first lay people. The Church thus began spreading with its promise to see God and to know what we worship. For while we know in a mirror dimly, finally we’ll see him face to face and know Him as we are known.

(23-24) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Proper worship is always to God the Father, and it is in The Holy Spirit. Thus it is that we all face one way as if facing God the Father all joining one voice in prayer to Him, and it is those baptized who worship in the Spirit, and this is pleasing to The Lord, for he wishes all creatures to be united to him, though above all Man.

(25) I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” 

Christ means The Anointed One, following after the Anointings of the days of old that marked The Lord’s favour, such as when David was anointed King. So it is that Jesus was The Christ because he was of David’s lineage and was favoured above all. This would make him the ideal human, but in This Messiah then is the saviour, the anointed one, but also The God-Man. And it is this God-Man who shows the signs necessary to worship God the Father in Spirit and truth, thus completing the Trinitarian formula. While “Trinity” is found no where in the Scriptures by explicit word, it is everywhere. Thus we pray Jesus would open The Scriptures to us by the breaking of bread to reveal to us how it all attests to him, who will lead us to The Trinity.

(26) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he”

Jesus’ response which could be better translated as, “The one speaking to you, I AM,” contains the same identification The Lord says is His name when he spoke to his servant Moses in the burning bush, “I AM” or “I AM that I AM.” Thus the popular scholars who say ‘Jesus never said he was god or divine’ are sorely mistaken, for they expect a modern expression rather than the language of Christ’s forefathers. The Lord’s refusal to receive a predicate is an indication that the one speaking is above all possible qualities, objects, sets, or categories by which one could predicate a thing. In other words, the one speaking is no thing, but is above all things. For he says not “I am majestic” for then he would be in the set of majestic things alongside mountaintop dawns and moonlit ponds, but instead he is higher even than those, and it would be a categorical error to place The Lord amongst any of His creation. We thus can only say “The Lord is majestic” by analogy, and not in a strict, literal sense, i.e. univocal (‘one-voice’). The Lord is thus known by the analogy of being, we are like Him, made in his image, but there is always a gap there in the analogy. Just as an image of George Washington is on a coin to the actual George Washington, so too are we like that in that we are made in The Lord’s image are vastly different yet similar to the actual Lord. So too it is then that Dawkins and the like who read St. Thomas’ argument as establishing God as First Cause in a literal sense or sorely mistaken, for in some sense God isn’t in the chain of causes at all, but is outside sustaining the chain. But this whole argument is only due to Evangelicals & Dawkins both reading Scriptures in a univocal sense and never by analogy. So much for such arguments.

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