Acts 2 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and began speaking in different languages, as the Ruach (Spirit) gave them ability for speech. There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. When this sound occurred, the multitude came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” Acts 2: 1-6
What is known in the “Christian” world as, “Pentecost”, is actually a Jewish festival called Shavuot. (Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:9-10) The Lord commanded this festival of harvest “first fruits” to be 50 days after Passover. (Leviticus 23:16) When the Bible was translated into Greek, the translators chose to name the festival “pentekostes”, which means “fifty”.
Shavuot was one of the Shalosh Regalim: The three times each Jewish man was to make a pilgrimage on foot to Jerusalem, each year. This is why Jews from every nation were gathered there when the Ruach HaKodesh was given. It is a command of G_d.
While it was initially a harvest festival, Shavuot has become synonymous with the giving of the Torah in Moses’ day. This is because the Torah was given 50 days after the Passover in Egypt.
The similarities/contrasts of the giving of Torah and the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh are definitely worth noting.
Here are a few: Moses ascended Mt Sinai to meet with G_d, and Yeshua ascended to the Father. The children of Israel were commanded to wait until the “Teaching” was given. The disciples were commanded to wait until the “Teacher” (Ruach HaKodesh) was given.
On the day the Torah was given, 3000 men died. (Exodus 32:28-29) On the day the Spirit was given, 3000 men were saved and baptized. (Acts 2:41-42) The Torah was written on tablets of stone, whereas the Spirit writes G_d’s teaching on our hearts of flesh. (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
At the Tower of Babel, G_d sent languages to confuse evil mankind, keeping them from working together. At Shavuot, G_d used languages to unite devout men for His purposes.
Also, worth mentioning: King David is said to have died on Shavuot…whereas Jesus, the “Son of David” is alive! (Acts 2:25-32)
So, WHY is it that the “Church-at-large” don’t acknowledge Pentecost as a holiday…?
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Friday, July 19, 2013