The day of Shavuot or Pentecost on the Jewish calendar is the date for the celebration of the giving of the Torah, the covenant of the ten words, or the ten commandments. The Jewish calculation that this is the date is reasonable. Often, however, people do not notice that the phenomenon of the Sinai events has very close parallels to the events that took place in Acts 2 on the day of Shavuot/Pentecost. Sinai is actually a foreshadowing of the events of Pentecost/Shavuot. Note the words of the text in Exodus 19:16.
On the third day, there was thundering and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and the blast of an exceedingly loud shofar. . . then in v. 18, “Now the entire Mount Sinai was in smoke, because ADONAI had descended upon it in fire. The smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace. . . . When the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with a thunderous sound. V. 18, All the people witnessed the thundering and the lightning, and the sound of the shofar and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled . . .
How do we picture the event on Mt. Zion in the Temple. The notes in the NIV and my own reading is that the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 on the Temple Mount in the Portico of Solomon. Were the tongues of fire small little tongues? Or were they enveloped in glory? Were the disciples quietly speaking in Tongues almost in a whisper or shouting out (declaring) with a noise that was awesome? Why else would the thousands have gathered to where they were. Then they heard the voice of God in the tongues of the people just as the voice of God was heard by the people at Mt. Sinai. They were declaring, I believe, in loud voices. The wind itself was mighty and probably heard way beyond the 120.
Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And tongues like fire spreading out appeared to them and settled on each one of them. Thy were all filled with the Ruach ha Kodesh and began to speak in other tongues as the Ruach enabled them to speak out . . . And when this sound came, the crowd gathered. They were bewildered, because each was hearing them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished . . . we hear them declaring in our own tongues the mighty deeds of God.
There are amazing parallels in both events. Bible students and scholars have noted the parallels. They were both public dramatic miraculous events. Both are on mountains. Mt. Sinai was a temple of God’s presence as was the Temple in Jerusalem that was its successor.
The days of Moses were not bereft of the Spirit. Moses had the Spirit and the Spirit came upon the 70 elders who prophesied Numbers 11:24-26. Moses seemed to anticipate the New Covenant and said, “If only Adonai would make all the people prophets.”
The Spirit is certainly important in the Mosaic period, but the Torah, the Word, the commandment is much more emphasized. Due to the failure of the nation, the prophets predicted a New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31ff, Ezekiel 36:24ff) where the Spirit in us would move us to obey God’s word. The New Covenant brings the Age of the Spirit where the two mountains come together, the Torah of God-given on Sinai and the Spirit of God given on Mt. Zion. The giving of the Spirit establishes a better covenant (Heb. 8:7-12). The better covenant empowers through our dying and rising with Yeshua (Romans 6) and being filled with the Spirit. Romans 8:4 summarizes, “So that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Ruach.”
In the Mosaic order, the Word of Torah is the larger emphasis, in the New Covenant the power of the Spirit is the larger emphasis. The giving of the Spirit in power brings a great harvest. It did in the first century and onward and from every great revival a harvest was gained.
The words of Joel 2:28 ff and Acts 2 show us that that outpouring was not the final fulfillment of Joel 2. It was, as with the Kingdom having come, in an “already not yet” way. Why? Because these texts still envision a greater final outpouring that would lead to the final harvesting and the second coming of Yeshua. This was understood by Puritans and Lutheran Pietists hundreds of years ago and was also the hope of the Pentecostals in their beginnings. It is hard to miss this: The underlines that follow note the parts of the text that show that the great fulfillment of Joel 2 is also not yet and still to be greater than anything that has yet been seen.
And it shall be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Ruach on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall dream dreams. Even on My slaves, male and female, I will pour out my Ruach in those days, and they shall prophesy.
And I will give wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, fire, and smoky vapor. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious Day of ADONAI. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of ADONAI shall be saved.
All flesh anticipates something more than the few thousand who experienced the Spirit at that time. The events of Joel 2 are to occur just before the final mighty Day of the Lord. This is the Day when God intervenes in final deliverance for his people but judgment on the wicked who will not repent. The phenomena of signs in the heaven, the sun, and the moon were not yet fulfilled. Yes, the first century was a day of the Lord but not the Day of the Lord. The final outpouring leads to a mass harvest so that whoever calls on the name of the ADONAI shall be saved. The images here of the smoke and fire are also Sinai images.
We see an amazing aspect of this end-time revival and outpouring of the Spirit in Isaiah 4:2-6. It is an astonishing passage.
In that day the Branch of ADONAI will be beautiful and glorious . . . whoever is left in Zion and whoever remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
After ADOANI has washed away the filth of the Daughters of Zion and has purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then ADONAI will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her convocations, a cloud by day and smoke and shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all, glory will be a canopy.
Note the days of Moses images but also the greater promise of the ultimate presence of the ADONAI in Jerusalem. This day will come when Jerusalem calls on the name of Yeshua.
We, therefore, seek a mighty Shavuot/Pentecost worldwide, in Israel and Jerusalem but until that day we can see revivals that are local and regional. The Disciples were mightily filled a second time in Acts 4:29-31, and Peter’s prayer needs to be ours.
And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant Your servants to speak your word with utmost courage—while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy Servant Yeshua.
And when they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. And they were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and began to speak the word of God with boldness.