Yes, thanks for asking. My big toe is feeling better. Thanks to God, lots of water, and the proper medication.
I now return to my regularly scheduled piece.
If you haven’t read the previous Pentecost Through Jewish Glasses, you should do so before you read further. Read here
Ready? Okay, let’s highlight a bit.
The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) was 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. The Mount Sinai event (Exodus 19) was 50 days after Israel’s release from Egypt. Both events occur on the Feast of Shavuot (Shavuot means “weeks”, as in 7 weeks with the observance on the next day = 50).
The Sinai event occurred on what was soon to be designated by Moses’ Torah as the annual Feast of the Lord, Shavuot. The Pentecost event also happened on the established Feast of Shavuot. Got it so far?
Both events, separated by about 1,500 years had very similar manifestations.
Logic says, if A = C and B = C, the A = B.
If Shavuot at Sinai had specific manifestations and Shavuot at Pentecost had the same manifestations, then what had happened on Shavuot 1,500 B.C. at Mount Sinai was a pattern of what happened on Shavuot A.D. 33 on the Temple Mount as was established in the last post. Therefore, it follows that to understand the meaning of the Day of Pentecost, we need to understand the meaning of Shavuot at Mount Sinai. In other words, what God did with His people at Mount Sinai reveals what He was doing with his people in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount at Pentecost.
For that, we’ll use Exodus 19 and its context as our template to explain what a Jewish Pentecost means for Christians. We need to review the events of the previous Spring Feasts of the Lord – Unleavened Bread, Passover, and First Fruits – to see how the events and meanings flow.
Unleavened Bread – Israel was obedient, prepared to depart Egypt, and were ready to serve the Lord at His command.
Passover – Protected by the Passover Lamb’s blood, Israel marched out of Egypt after the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt.
First Fruits – Israel passed through the Red Sea, freed from their slavery from Pharaoh and free to serve God. (Isn’t it interesting that “pass over” needs to precede “pass through?”)
The Feast of First Fruits is also a time when Torah-observant Jews present the first produce of their crops to the Lord as a thank offering and a “thanks-in-advance” for the full harvest yet to come. So what does it mean for Israel to be the “first fruit nation” dedicated to God?
After the Flood, humanity was a single block of people with a single language and single vocabulary (Genesis 11:1) with increasingly expanding family lines. These families were able to remain united as a single group because they could communicate with each other.
As one people, they banded together in an attempt to reconnect with the spiritual realm, a human attempt to recreate what Eden was – humans and God dwelling together. However, humanity’s post-Fall drive to be like God (Genesis 3) was still their motivation and God was having none of that (Genesis 11:6-9). After all, how can a King have a kingdom of subjects bent on sedition, rebellion, and usurpation?
One of the best ways to put the kibosh on a group’s plan is to cause disunity. Therefore, God disrupted their ability to communicate, causing them to split up via similar speech. The truth is much strife and fighting come from people being unable to understand each other. Not understanding leads to not listening. For some people, that especially means not listening to or not understanding God.
However, one man did listen to and understand God. Abraham.
According to the Jewish apocalyptic literature, because of the Babel attempt, God “disinherited the nations,” separated them by language (see effective parenting, as in “Do I have to separate you two?”) and put them under the stewardship of divine beings (Michael Heiser, Unseen Realm). He knew He would have to do something new – build a nation from scratch.
As I’ve shared before, God miraculously created a family from Abraham, gestated the embryonic nation in Egypt, and birthed a newborn “baby boy” nation of His own. But the process wasn’t over. As we know, every father needs to teach his son the family ways. Every king must give the “laws of the land” to his newly-created subjects. And Every bride and groom must learn how they are to live together in faithfulness and harmony.
That is what happened at Mount Sinai on the 50th day after Israel emerged from the Red Sea.
At that first national gathering, a King embraced His subjects, a Father embraced His son, and a Bridegroom embraced His bride.
Put another way, the King made a covenant with His people, the Father saw His son bar mitzvah-ed (becoming a son of the covenant), and the Bridegroom entered into a marriage covenant with His beloved bride. Oh, and it came with a lot of flash and noise just so you wouldn’t miss the significance of what was happening. It’s what happens when God shows up. So here’s the meaning, the significance, of the 1st Shavuot:
King. At Sinai on Shavuot, Israel formally became God’s kingdom, God’s subjects, on earth. They were a nation under the sole kingship of God Himself, not a divine being acting as a steward. (Again, see Dr. Michael Heiser’s book, Unseen Realm.)
Father. At Sinai on Shavuot, Israel was affirmed as God’s “firstborn son,” the first nation to be restored more closely to God’s family than any other nation on earth.
Bridegroom. At Sinai on Shavuot, God made a lasting, loving covenant with a bride for whom a great price had been paid to release her from her “birth” family to take to Himself.
The Torah. At Sinai on Shavuot, in keeping with the kingly, family, and wedding covenant patterns, God gave His people the “laws of the land, the house rules, and the marriage terms.” If followed, the people would prove their faithfulness to their King, Father, and Groom.
The Spirit. Finally, at Sinai on Shavuot, God gave some of His people an impartation of His Holy Spirit to enable them to fulfill the work to which they were called.
I hope by now some very big revelations are exploding like fireworks in your head and heart! Why? Because what happened at Sinai is the same thing that happened on the Day of Pentecost!
Let’s connect the timeline of events and themes. What do the Spring Feasts of the Lord mean to Christians? For that we look to what Jesus did.
Unleavened Bread Week. Jesus was examined by the Jewish leaders and Pilate. They found Him faultless (Matthew 22:46; John 18:38). Leaven is a symbol of sin. Jesus was sinless, obedient, and prepared to defeat death in His Father’s name.
Passover. Jesus died and was buried. He was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, 36) and is how death passes over us. Though death comes to us, our physical death will be overruled and our spiritual death is prevented.
First Fruits. Jesus rose early Sunday morning during Unleavened Bread Week, the day after the Sabbath (Luke 24:1). Therefore, Jesus is the first fruit of the dead, that is, the first person to be resurrected into a retooled and rejuvenated Body 2.0. The only one to date, by the way. Jesus’s blood makes the death sentence “pass over” us so we can “pass through” death to eternal life!
Now just as the previous Spring Feasts of the Lord were fulfilled by Jesus, so was Shavuot/Pentecost 50 days after His Resurrection. The Mount Sinai Shavuot was a model for what was to come. Only now it wasn’t about creating one nation, Israel, to be planted in one place as God’s revelation to the world. At Pentecost, God launched His reborn, Spirit-filled, Torah-imparted people throughout the world to spread God’s revelation via Jesus to the Gentile nations so that any person could join God’s people under One King, One Father, and One Bridegroom.
King. On the Temple Mount at Shavuot, all those who embraced Jesus as Lord (King) became His subjects in the Kingdom of God. God’s kingdom on earth is now open to both Jews and Gentiles, all descendants of Abraham, because our citizenship is based on faith in God. This new nation is under the sole protectorate of our King, God Himself.
As an aside, let me be clear. This new nation (the community of Jewish and Gentile Jesus followers) did not replace physical Israel, the Jews, as God’s people. God still has an eternal covenant with them through Abraham (Genesis 17:7) and they still have a core mission in this world to fulfill. There is only one covenant of salvation (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5) and it dovetails into the ongoing Abrahamic covenant until everything is restored.
Father. On the Temple Mount at Shavuot, God’s family was restored. This was the first group of humanity to be fully brought back into full fellowship with our Heavenly Father and our Elder Brother, Jesus. When God looks at His born again children, He sees His Son.
Bridegroom. On the Temple Mount at Shavuot, God made a lasting, loving covenant with a bride for whom a great price had been paid to release her from her family so He could take her to Himself. What began with the Passover price was affirmed by the Bridegroom’s reappearance at First Fruits, and the marriage was sealed with the Holy Spirit’s arrival on Pentecost.
The New Covenant Torah. On the Temple Mount at Shavuot, in keeping with the kingly, family, and wedding covenant patterns, God again gave His people the “laws of the land, the house rules, and the marriage terms,” which if followed would prove their faithfulness to their King, Father, and Groom. These terms are now written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit as part of the New Covenant revealed by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:33).
The Holy Spirit. Finally, on the Temple Mount at Shavuot, God gave all of His people (not just a select few) His Holy Spirit to enable them to fulfill the work to which they were called – becoming the walking revelation of God throughout the world!
If you are a born-again follower of Jesus, you are “grafted into” God’s people (Romans 11:17). You share in the Commonwealth of Israel, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19. See 2:11-22). You may not be of national Israel, but you are no less God’s people. You are in an intimate covenant with the One who loves you more than you can comprehend (John 3:29; Revelation 19:7).
Before Pentecost, God’s people used to be one nation of one people. But at the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21) God’s people will be one people of all nations (Revelation 7:9). One humanity, under God, as it was “in the beginning” (Genesis 1, Revelation 21:3).
And that’s what Pentecost means for Christians as I see it through Jewish glasses.
Pastor Jay Christianson
The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts