In order to fully appreciate what believers now call Pentecost, as awesomely described in Acts 2, let us turn the Bible back to Exodus.
Imagine the scene: the nation of Israel has been removed from Egypt through God’s mighty right hand. They have crossed the Red Sea and have sung the song of Moses & Miriam which declares “the horse and rider thrown into the sea” – Exodus 15:21. They have seen Moses strike the Rock to bring forth water for them to drink. They are now at the foot of Mount Sinai and are told to prepare for the third day – Exodus 19:11 – where they will hear a bat kol – a Voice from heaven.
…”On the morning of the third day, there was thunder, lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain. Then a shofar blast sounded so loudly that all the people in the camp trembled. Moshe brought the people out of the camp to meet God; they stood near the base of the mountain. Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, because Adonai descended onto it in fire — its smoke went up like the smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder, Moshe spoke; and God answered him with a voice.“… Exodus 19:16-19.
In just a few short Scriptures, God Himself then speaks to the nation of Israel and gives them “The 10 Words” (10 Commandments). Scripture goes on to tell us that the hearers of God’s very voice were so frightened that they begged Moses not to let God speak to them anymore or they would die. They witnessed the thunder, the lightening, the shofar blasts, and the mountain smoking and they were fearful for their very lives.
This day is known as Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks) and it celebrates the giving of the Torah to God’s people. As you can plainly see from scripture, God is right there…speaking directly to His people in a personal, albeit very frightening experience. His first words to them are: “I am the Lord thy God who took you out of Egypt.”
Shavuot is the crowning touch from deliverance to salvation. God does not require obedience from us ahead of salvation, lest we ever forget He is the Lord our God who took us out of bondage. I believe God does this so that we will understand it is not through “our works” that He has chosen us…for even “our works” are like filthy rags.
I have heard it said “Passover is God taking us out of Egypt; Shavuot is God taking Egypt out of us.”
Fast forward to the New Covenant Scriptures and Acts 2. Shavuot is what the believers were gathered in one place observing. “The festival of Shavu‘ot arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place. Suddenly there came a sound from the sky like the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire, which separated and came to rest on each one of them. They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and began to talk in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.”
They had waited for this moment. After all, it was Yeshua (Jesus) Himself who told them: “This is what I meant when I was still with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah of Moshe, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the Tanakh, telling them, “Here is what it says: the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day; and in his name repentance leading to forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to people from all nations, starting with Yerushalayim. You are witnesses of these things. Now I am sending forth upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been equipped with power from above” Luke 24:44-49 and “But you will receive power when the Ruach HaKodesh comes upon you; you will be my witnesses both in Yerushalayim and in all Y’hudah and Shomron, indeed to the ends of the earth!” Luke 1:8.
The Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures on Shavuot and Pentecost ultimately reveal the same thing:
Passover → Redeemed → To Serve God
Torah → Instructions
Ruach (Holy Spirit) → Power, Ability
You are delivered from Egypt (bondage) through Yeshua (Jesus) to serve Him. The Torah is the instruction and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is the Power that enables us to serve Him.