The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 5 of 211
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Pentecost and Sinai.
pp. 139, 140
Perhaps the Whitsun season is not yet too far from our thoughts for it to be
inappropriate to offer some suggestions upon the meaning of the Feast for the
consideration of your readers.
The Rev. H. St. John Thackeray, in his Schweich Lectures, shows that the Synagogue
Lessons for the Feast Day were from the Law, Deut. 16: or Exod. 19:;  from the
Psalms, Psa. 29: or 68:; from the Prophets, Ezek. 1: or Hab. 3:
Of these passages, Deut. 16: gives the Law setting up the Feast. Exod. 19: records
the arrival of the children of Israel at Sinai and the subsequent theophany. This passage
was read because, according to the Jewish reckoning, the arrival at Sinai took place on
the fiftieth day from the Passover in Egypt. Hab. 3: and Psa. 29: & 68: will all be
found to contain reminiscences of Sinai and the Exodus. The same cannot be said of
Ezek. 1:, which seems to have been included on account of resemblances between the
theophany there recorded and that on Mount Sinai. Thus, to the Jews Pentecost had the
dual significance of a Harvest Festival and the commemoration of the giving of the Law.
It will be remembered that Tabernacles also had a dual significance--it is the Feast of
in-gathering and also a reminder that Israel dwelt in tents during the Exodus.
Come now to Acts 2: Is it not remarkable that on the day when the minds of pious
Jews were turned to such passages as those just referred to, there should come from
heaven the sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind and tongues like as a fire? Before
meeting with Thackeray's work, the writer had turned to the Old Testament seeking for
something that might shed light upon these physical manifestations in  Acts 2:  It
appeared to be found in Ezek. 1: and Exod. 19:--the very passages which, upon other
grounds, had been chosen by the Rabbis for the Pentecost Synagogue Lessons.
The inference drawn is that in Acts 2: we have the incipient inauguration of the
"New Covenant" predicted in Jer. 31: It is true that the whole of Jer. 31: was not then
fulfilled, but the same thing applies to Peter's quotation from Joel 2: If this suggestion be
correct, the rushing of the mighty wind, and possibly also the fiery tongues, are intended
to remind us of the Old Testament theophanies, and particularly that in Exod. 19:
As regards the Harvest aspect of the Festival, it is interesting to notice that the
"saying" predicting the baptism of the Spirit in Matt. 3: occurs between two "sayings"
concerning the harvest. Fruit trees in verse 10, and wheat in verse 12. Also, with this in
mind, it is interesting to notice that just before the words quoted from Joel 2: we have
several Harvest allusions--verse 19: "corn and wine and oil"; verse 22: "for the tree
beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength"; verse 24: "and the
floors shall be full of wheat and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil."
[From a correspondent who, in sending, states that some contend that
Exod. 19: 1 is sixty (and not fifty) days from Passover.]