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Passover and Pentecost: Brings Us In (part 3)

Post Title: You Go Up, Moses

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel. - Exodus 19:4-6

At the foot of Sinai, the mount of revelation, the​ ​people​​ ​fail​ ​in​ ​their​ ​high​ ​calling.​ ​​​Though they​ ​hear​ ​God​ ​speak​,​ ​they tremble and​ ​prefer​ ​to​ ​continue​ ​walking by​ ​sight​ ​and​ ​not​ ​by​ ​faith.​ They tell Moses, “You be the​ ​priest,​ ​go​ ​up​ ​the​ ​mountain to hear from the LORD,​ and we​ ​will​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​all​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to say.” ​​The​ ​word​ ​listen​ ​in​ ​Hebrew​ ​has​ ​the​ ​connotation​ ​to ​obey.

The​ ​irony​ ​and the​ ​spiritual​ ​lesson here​ ​is​ ​that​ ​at​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​of​ ​Israel’s​ ​most significant​ ​spiritual​ ​opportunity,​ ​they suffered their​ ​greatest​ ​spiritual​ ​defeat.

While​ ​Moses​ ​approaches​ ​God​ ​and​ ​goes​ ​up​ ​the​ ​mountain​ ​to​ ​receive the​ Torah​ ​for​ ​his​ ​redeemed people​, what do they do? They​ ​create and worship a​ ​golden​ ​calf.​ ​​​The sages note with sorrow that​ this is​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​sin​ ​in​ ​the​ ​history of​ ​Israel.​

Israel falls​ ​back, and​ ​in​ ​falling​ ​back​ ​they​ ​fall​ ​down. That​ ​should​ ​be​ ​a​ ​sobering​ ​thought​ ​to​ ​each​ ​of​ ​us in the new covenant, especially​ ​to​ ​those​ ​of​ ​us​ ​in vocational​ ​ministry.​ Rather than judge, we should see ourselves in the mirror of their experience. How do we respond at the moment​ ​of our​ ​greatest​ ​opportunity—at​ ​the moment​ ​of​ ​divine​ ​visitation,​ ​supernatural​ ​demonstration,​ ​and​ ​Godly​ ​revelation​?

Peter ​correlates​ ​this​ ​Exodus​ ​terminology​ ​with​ ​the​ ​church,​ ​for​ ​you​ ​and​ ​me. These​ ​texts​ ​that​ ​we​ ​are dealing​ ​with​ have​, ​in​ ​a​ ​very​ ​measurable​ ​way,​ ​changed​ ​my​ ​life.​ ​​​God​ ​has​ brought us out of Egypt, ​saved​ ​us through​ ​the​ ​power​ ​of​ ​the​ ​blood,​ ​for​ ​his​ ​purposes and​ ​for​ ​his sake.​ ​​​And​ ​he​ ​applies​ ​to​ ​us​ ​the​ ​​ ​same​ ​terminology​ ​that​ ​he​ ​applies​ ​to​ ​Israel​ ​because we​ ​have​ ​been​ ​grafted​ ​in.

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:4-5

This understanding​ ​can​ ​literally​ ​change​ ​your​ ​whole​ ​outlook​ ​on​ ​life.

Peter​ ​makes​ ​it​ ​very​ ​clear​ ​that​ ​our​ ​salvation​ ​is​ ​all about​ ​being​ ​joined​ ​together​ ​into​ ​the​ ​construction​ ​of​ a tabernacle (mishkan)​ ​in​ ​which the​ ​Spirit​ ​of​ ​God​ ​can​ ​dwell.​ ​​​His​ ​glory​ ​filled​ ​the​ ​tabernacle; now, his glory fills his people.​ ​​​We​ ​are​ ​being​ ​built into​ ​a​ ​spiritual​ ​house​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a holy​ ​nation​ ​of​ ​priests​ ​offering​ ​spiritual sacrifices.​ ​​​In​ ​other​ ​words,​ ​to​ ​engage​ ​in​ ​ministry​ ​on​ ​behalf​ ​of​ ​the​ ​owner​ ​of​ ​the​ ​house.

This is exciting stuff. Paul uses the same terminology in 1 Corinthians 3. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (vv 16-17). Do you see how powerful this image is to Peter and Paul? They knew the story and the texts from Exodus by heart. It is part of their lives and extraordinary that they would apply it to you and me.

That is why Pentecost (Shavuot) is essential to kingdom people. Without it, we fail to understand our high calling fully, and we fall prey to the temptation to delegate our spirituality to professionals. Ultimately, without it, we are missing some of the most meaningful truths about our great God. I want to give you three characteristics of God and his intent that the feast of Pentecost teaches us.

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.

Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.

Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

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