Some commentators have noticed vague parallels between Pentecost and the Golden Calf episode. While they argue this is to contrast a more faithful obedience, I will assert that the prophesied and renewed priesthood was ordained at Pentecost. The parallels between Acts 2 and Exodus 32 signify an eschatological shift in the identity of the priesthood. The first part of the paper investigates the OT background of the need for a new priesthood. I begin by arguing that the Levite ordination of Exod 32 was a judgment on the nation. Israel began as a kingdom of primogeniture priests, now that right has been given to only the Levites. Then, I survey relevant verses in Jer 33 and Mal 2 concerning the “covenant with Levi” and the hope of a renewed priesthood that would include Gentiles.
In part two, I examine Acts 2 and its use of the Golden Calf episode in Exod 32. I start by noting the numerous links that other scholars have already drawn to Acts 2’s usage of cultic imagery. Then in order from most substantial to corroboratory, I offer evidence of Exod 32 in Acts 2. Narrative parallels, the number 3,000, the immorality of the people, water and cutting imagery, and “filling” language all work together to paint a picture of the ordination of the new priesthood.