Sinai/Pentecost Parallels

“By the time of the first century, the Day of Pentecost seems to have been associated with the giving of the law at Sinai. By the time of the second century, this was thought to have taken place in the seventy languages of the world, and this tradition may have already been commonplace. But even if that association in Judaism is questioned, a Sinai-Pentecost parallel is established in the New Testament itself. The revelation of God to Moses at Sinai had been accompanied by fire, wind and a divine tongue (Heb. 12:18-21). Moses had ascended the mountain. When he descended he had in his possession the Ten Commandments, the law of God. Christ too had recently ascended. At Pentecost he comes down, not with the law written on tablets of clay, but with the gift of his own Spirit to write the law in the hearts of believers and by his power to enable them to fulfil the law’s commands. Thus the new covenant promise begins to be fulfilled (cf. Je. 31:31-34; Rom. 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 3:7-11)” (Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, 61).

After reading this passage the other day, I thought of another interesting parallel between Sinai and Pentecost: the reception of God’s revelation. At Sinai, Israel ‘responds’ to God’s law with rebellion; they create a golden calf in direct contradiction of the law they had received. Moses sent the Levites, with sword in hand, to purge Israel of this rebellion. We are told in Exodus 32:28 that three thousand men fell that day. Interestingly, at Pentecost we read that the number who believingly received God’s word was about three thousand (Acts 2:41). Three thousand slain at Sinai because the mere external word of the law had no effect in their hearts; three thousand saved at Pentecost because the Spirit was poured out, causing God’s external word to penetrate into the heart of man (Acts 2:37).

Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics, Chapter 2 “Holy Scripture”

1. The Definition of Holy Scripture (Scripture as norm/canonical authority, inspiration of Scripture, infallibility of Scripture) [Heidegger, Vermigli, Aretius, Wendelin, Riissen, Mastricht].

2. The extent of the canon (extent of the canon) [Wendelin].

3. The Church’s testimony to the extent of the canon (the extent of the canon, substance and historical dispensation) [Cocceius, Riissen, Gallican Confession].

4. The Apocrypha (OT and NT apochryphal books, inspiration of Scripture, Scripture as autopistos, extent of the canon, Scripture as norm/canonical authority, testimony of the Church) [Wendelin, Musculus, Hyperius, Zanchius, Cocceius, Bucanus].

5. The relationship of the Word of God to Holy Scripture (unwritten word, written word, internal word, external word) [Calvin, Hyperius, Helvetic Confession, Wollebius, Voetius, Heidegger, Riissen].

6. The inspiration of Holy Scripture (revelation, authority of Scripture, illumination, amanuensis, dictation, testimony of the Holy Spirit, the divinity of Scripture, divine mandate, ‘organic’ inspiration, divine authorship, the “presidency” of the Holy Spirit, the inspiration of the Hebrew vowel points, the charism of infallibility, the inspiration of the book titles, the authenticity of the Greek and Hebrew accent marks, divine canonization) [Calvin, Hyperius, Cocceius, Heidegger, Leiden Synopsis, Academy of Samur, Formula Consensus Helvetica, Voetius, Mastricht].

7. The relationship of the inspiration of Holy Scripture to its attributes (authority of Scripture, certitude of Scripture, sufficiency of Scripture, perfection of Scripture, necessity of Scripture, perspicuity of Scripture, the authority of Scripture in itself and with us) [L. Crocius, Riissen].

8. The authority of Holy Scripture (authenticity, certitude, infallibility, divine authorship, Scripture as  norm/canonical authority, principia theologiae) [Polanus, Leiden Synopsis].

9. The attributes/affections of Holy Scripture (authority, perfection, perspicuity, effectiveness, power, historical authenticity, normative authenticity, integrity, holiness, and necessity) [Crocius, Mastricht].

10. Proofs of the Divinity of Holy Scripture (testimony of the Holy Spirit, external evidences, Scripture as autopistos, testimony of the Church, certitude of Scripture, illumination, authority of Scripture) [Calvin, Musculus, Ursinus, Bullinger, Piscator, Heidegger, Wollebius, Voetius, Alsted].

11. The Authority/Authenticity of Holy Scripture (historical authenticity of Scripture, normative authority of Scripture, divine inspiration) [Voetius, Turretin].

12. The Perfection of Holy Scripture (unwritten word, good and necessary consequence, normative authority of Scripture, transmission of the text) [Burmann, Turretin, Riissen].

13. The Essential and Integral Perfection of Holy Scripture (articles of faith, formation of the canon, providence) [Heidegger, Peter Martyr, Riissen (2x), Leiden Synopsis, Marck, Alting).

14. The Role of Tradition (historical tradition, dogmatic tradition) [Riissen, Wyttenbach].

15. The Necessity of Holy Scripture (Scripture as norm/canonical authority, esse and bene esse of the Church, necessitas ex hypothesi dispositionis) [Calvin, Musculus, Turretin, Cocceius, Polanus, Heidegger].

16. The Perspicuity of Holy Scripture (illumination, single passages and single heads of doctrine) [Wendelin, Leiden Synopsis, Polanus].

17. The Reception of Holy Scripture (regeneration, general grace and illumination) [Polanus, Bucanus, Voetius].

18. The Supreme Interpreter of Holy Scripture (analogy of faith, rule of faith and love, the Holy Spirit, authority of the Church, interpretation of Scripture, exegesis, use of Scripture, power of interpretation and judgment, true and false sense of of Scripture, gift of distinguishing, vocation) [Chamier, Turretin, Voetius, Heidegger].

19. The Legitimacy of Inferences from Holy Scripture (analogy of faith, according to understanding/according to speech, sufficiency of Scripture, perspicuity of Scripture) [Chamier, Turretin, Voetius, Heidegger].

20. The Proper and Improper Exposition of Holy Scripture (quadriga, literal sense, sense of the text, application) [Polanus, Turretin, Danaeus].

20b. The True Sense of Holy Scripture (literal sense, allegory, typology, articles of faith).

21. Tools for the Proper Interpretation of Holy Scripture (analogy of faith) [Second Helvetic Confession, Wollebius].

22. Contradictions in Holy Scripture (real contradictions/apparent contradictions) [Wendelin, Heidegger].

23. The role of the Holy Spirit in the interpretation of Holy Scripture (supreme judge of the Church, analogy of faith, agreement of the catholic Church, perspicuity of Scripture) [Ursinus, Leiden Synopsis, Cocceius, Riissen, General German-Reformed Confession].

“Helps for Studying Heppe” (Introduction)          Chapter 1, “Natural and Revealed Theology”          Chapter 3, “The Foundation of Holy Scripture”