Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shavuot (Pentecost) 2009

The Jewish Pentecost celebrates the arrival at Mt. Sinai and the receiving of the Law, most especially represented by the Ten Commandments. Several important things to note about this day, fifty days after the Jewish Passover.

The first set of tablets were made by YHWH, who gave them to Moshe who took them down to the people. What Moshe found was less than pleasing. The people having given up on Moshe, and apparently on God as well had constructed an idol, the golden calf, and were worshipping it, showing it is easy to take the people out of Egypt, but not so easy to take Egypt out of the people. Moshe, in his anger threw down the tablets which were destroyed, demonstrating that God’s Holiness cannot exist in the presence of sin. Three thousand were killed that day for their apostasy, so a day which should have been of rejoicing became a day of mourning, and Moshe had to go up the mountain for another forty days, this time with tablets he made himself. The tablets being made by Moshe, were not destroyed and were kept in the ark.

The three thousand that died for their apostasy were remembered later. On the first Christian Pentecost, three thousand people were saved through the preaching of St. Peter and the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Traditionally on the eve of Pentecost we stay up late reading the scriptures. On the feast day itself we read of God giving Moshe the Ten Commandments.

The Jewish form of the 10 Commandments:

I. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

II. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

IV. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Page 9

V. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

VI. Thou shalt not murder.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

VIII. Thou shall not steal.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

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