Friday, June 2, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to Pentecost Sunday

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lᴏʀᴅ, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. Then the Lᴏʀᴅ came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again.… Then Moses said to [Joshua], “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lᴏʀᴅ’s people were prophets and that the Lᴏʀᴅ would put His Spirit upon them!” (Nu 11:24–25, 29)

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Ac 2:1–4)

This Spirit descended upon the seventy Elders in the days of Moses. (Now let not the length of the discourse, beloved, produce weariness in you: but may He the very subject of our discourse grant strength to every one, both to us who speak, and to you who listen!) This Spirit, as I was saying, came down upon the seventy Elders in the time of Moses; and this I say to you, that I may now prove, that He knows all things, and works as He will. The seventy Elders were chosen; And the Lord came down in a cloud, and took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and put it upon the seventy Elders; not that the Spirit was divided, but that His grace was distributed in proportion to the vessels, and the capacity of the recipients. Now there were present sixty and eight, and they prophesied; but Eldad and Medad were not present: therefore that it might be shewn that it was not Moses who bestowed the gift, but the Spirit who wrought, Eldad and Medad, who though called, had not as yet presented themselves, also prophesied.

Joshua the Son of Nun, the successor of Moses, was amazed; and came to him and said, “Have you heard that Eldad and Medad are prophesying? They were called, and they came not; my lord Moses, forbid them.” “I cannot forbid them,” he says, “for this grace is from Heaven; no, so far am I from forbidding them, that I myself am thankful for it. I think not, however, that you have said this in envy; are you jealous for my sake, because they prophesy, and you do not yet prophesy? Wait for the proper season; and oh that all the Lord’s people may be prophets, whenever the Lord shall give His Spirit upon them!” saying this also prophetically, whenever the Lord shall give; “For as yet then He has not given it; so thou hast it not yet.”—Did not Abraham have this then, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph? And they of old, did they not have it? No, but the words, “whenever the Lord shall give” evidently mean “give it upon all; as yet indeed the grace is partial, then it shall be given lavishly.” And he secretly alluded to what was to happen among us on the day of Pentecost; for He Himself came down among us.

Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 6:25–26

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