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Pentecost and its surprising connection to the Ten Commandments


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Philip Kosloski - published on 05/27/23

The Jewish feast of Pentecost commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses.

While many know that Pentecost was a Jewish feast, few know that one aspect of this celebration is the remembrance of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments.

The Catholic Encyclopediaexplains, “Since the close of biblical times, an entirely new significance, never so much as hinted at in Scripture, has been attached by the Jews to the feast: the Pentecost is held to commemorate the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, which, according to Exodus 19:1, took place on the fiftieth day after the departure from Egypt. This view, admitted by several Fathers of the Church…has passed into some modern Jewish Liturgical books, where the feast is described as “the day of the giving of the Law.”

This adds a fascinating connection to the Christian celebration of Pentecost.

On Pentecost, God gave the Church the gift of the Holy Spirit, where a new law is written, not on tablets of stone, but in our hearts.

The prophet Jeremiah foretold of such a law.

But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days—oracle of the Lord. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. They will no longer teach their friends and relatives, “Know the Lord!” Everyone, from least to greatest, shall know me—oracle of the Lord—for I will forgive their iniquity and no longer remember their sin.

Jeremiah 31:33–34

The “new law” in no way erases the Ten Commandments, but it embeds them into our hearts, calling us to a new standard of living.

Come, Holy Spirit!

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