Pentecost Sunday 2020 – Part III (Psalm 104)

Updated: Feb 5

The Acts 2 reading (a mandatory) and the two optional readings from Numbers and 1 Corinthians, wrap around a single Psalm – Psalm 104, verses 24-35 (although the lectionary lists the first verse as 25, with a verse 37, there are only 35, beginning at 24). After the Seventh Sunday of Easter, when “elohim” was sung many times (all translated as “God”), Psalm 104 states Yahweh four times (ending with “Yah”) and including one “elohay” – “my god.”  We also find forms or “ruach” (or “breath-spirit”) twice. Those verses sing: 24 O Yahweh, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Yonder is the great and wide sea with its living things too many to number, creatures both small and great. 26 There move the ships, and there is that Leviathan, which you have made for the sport of it. 27 All of them look to you to give them their food in due season. 28 You give it to them; they gather it; you open your hand, and they are filled with good things. 29 You hide your face, and they are terrified; you take away their ruach, and they die and return to their dust. 30 You send forth your ruach, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth. 31 May the glory of the Yahweh endure for ever; may the Yahweh rejoice in all his works. 32 He looks at the earth and it trembles; he touches the mountains and they smoke. 33 I will sing to the Yahweh as long as I live; I will praise elohay while I have my being. 34 May these words of mine please him; I will rejoice in the Yahweh. 35 Bless the Yahweh, O my soul. Yah! The first verse sung in this selection gives a prelude of the following verses, singing “How manifold are the works of Yahweh?”

The word translated as “manifold” is “rabbu,” meaning “many are, numerous are, or great are.” Thus, the works of Yahweh include, but are not limited to: descending like a mist around the tabernacle and making seventy elder prophesy for the only time in their lives; coming on like a rush of violent wind, filling an entire house, and dividing tongues as of fire on Apostles; and, presenting those who God loves and those who love God in return with various talents that enable them to do many spiritual things, including prophesying. When David sang, “in wisdom you make them all,” the word “chokmah” says everything created by God is from His Mind of perfection and skill. That means Eldad and Medad did not mistakenly receive the Holy Spirit. It means three thousand did not suddenly see some benefit in saying they would believe in a dead Jew as God’s Son. It means Paul did not write about how to be clear about what the Trinity is all about, as if there were to be some imperfection in God’s creation of apostles and Saints.  David knew God’s divine insight surrounds us all, at all times. Verses 25 and 26 sing of the flow of creation, as a “great and wide sea” where ships ride on the surface and powerful creatures are known to be submerged beneath. This is metaphor for the power of God and the Holy Spirit (as the “Leviathan”) being the “sport” of God’s baptismal powers.

How many of God’s creations do we tremble and shake at the thought of? More than you want to admit.

The “Leviathan” (from the Hebrew “Livyathan”) is thought to be a “serpent, dragon, or sea monster,” which makes it be projected by David as the “sport” of God that would have him descend to earth and strike fear in the hearts of the Israelites, simply by making Eldad and Medad prophesy suddenly, without any inkling they would be cast into the mouth of that great Spirit. The reaction of Moses to Joshua’s concerns were how David used “sachaq” as God “play,” as the word also equates to “laughter.” The fear of two speaking in tongues certainly brought out a laugh from Moses. In verse 29, where David sang, “you take away their ruach, and they die and return to their dust,” this speaks of the soul, which is the “breath” of life that fills all mortal creatures. The “ruach” is God’s breath of life that controls every aspect of a body’s growth and development, maintaining and regulating every internal system. When that soul spirit leaves a body of flesh it dies and returns to the earth, from which it came. However, in verse 30 David knew there was another form of God’s breath. When David sang, “You send forth your ruach, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth,” this speaks of the creation of Apostles and Saints. Peter and the eleven-plus were only filled with the ruach of mortal life until Pentecost Sunday. Then, the Holy Spirit gave them a new creation, so they were renewed on the face of the earth.

The Hebrew word “chadash” is translated as “renew,” but the word implies “repair” as well. From the previous verse singing about the loss of “breath” and death, “the “repair” is the gift of God’s grace as a “rebirth” of eternal life, from which the soul never knows death in a physical body again. This is the presence of JESUS in a living body of flesh that Paul explained … when that Lord is placed alongside the life breath soul, as its King. David then sang of this presence meaning “may the glory of the Yahweh endure forever; may the Yahweh rejoice in all his works.” Verse 31 then sings the praises of an apostle and Saint. It is less from David’s history and intellectual prowess that he knew of this state, but instead David was in a state of prophetic ecstasy and prophesied in his Psalms.

That means God spoke through his words just like God explained the Torah to the Israelites in ecstatic elders. The glory of Yahweh that endures forever is the living waters of Jesus Christ, which flowed through the Apostles and onto the streets of the Essene Quarter, filling three thousand souls with the same endurance of the Holy Spirit.

[Next is Part IV]

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