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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN


THE GIVING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

A PAPER SUBMITTED TO DR. WILLIAM VICTOR

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR

THE COURSE NBST 522

LIBERTY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY

JONATHAN L. KEENE

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA

SUNDAY AUGUST 9, 2009

Table of Contents
Preface..................................................................................................................... .....3
A Marriage Made in Heaven...............................................................................................4
A Hebrew Holiday.............................................................................. .............................4
The Marriage and Divorce of Israel......................................................................................7
Segulah........................................................................................................... ...........7
Mikvek............................................................................................... .......................8
Chupah............................................................................................... .......................9
Ketubah....................................................................................... ............................10
Adultery and Divorce.................................................................................................. .10
The New Covenant.................................................................................................... .....12
The Comforter.................................................................................. ............................13
A Rushing Mighty Wind................................................................................ ...............15
Tongues of Fire...................................................................................... ....................15
Speaking in Tongues.............................................................................................. ......16
Conclusion.......................................................................................................... .........17
A Comparison of Facts.................................................................................... .............19
Works Consulted...........................................................................................................22

Preface

The Day of Pentecost is an amazing story from the Book of Acts that is one of my

favorite Bible narratives. A mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire, and the miracle of speaking

invarious languages lends the story a phenomenal attraction to the spectacular. These miraculous

signs often outweigh the foundational truth that is found in the giving of the Holy Spirit to the

believers of Christ.

I have developed this paper with an understanding that I received while studying the

scriptures from a messianic point of view. God led me to be the leader of a Bible study group

that was made up of Christian men and women who desired to know God more fully. In order to

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accomplish this task we approached the Scriptures from a messianic direction. We found that

this point of view incorporated a theological understanding which had been built on 5000 years

of history, when a majority of today’s general Christian perspective is only gained from a 2000

year old theological understanding. This messianic view offered a unique perspective in the fact

that as the Old Testament progressed toward the New, we could more clearly seethe hand of God

at work in history in regards to the ultimate fulfillment of Scripture: the New Covenant. As this

document progresses I intend to write it from an historical perspective that is placed before the

giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is my assumption that most contemporary Christians

view Pentecost from a 20th Century perspective and look back to the advent of the Church at

Pentecost. By approaching Pentecost from a 1st Century view I intend to shed old Light on the

subject. This will hopefully create in the reader an anticipation that was similar to what the first

century Christians may have felt while they counted the Omer in anticipation for Pentecost. May

God bless you and create in you a heart that desires Him more fully as you read this work.

A Marriage Made in Heaven

It is no secret among believers that God desires a relationship with mankind. In the

beginning God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was the original intent of

God to live among people. Sin entered into the world and since that time we have been

separated from God and the paradise that was ours. As history progressed, mankind continued to

walk farther and farther away from God. Yet there was always a faithful remnant who remained

as close to God as they knew how. Able, Enoch, and Noah were men of God who remained

faithful to him in the face of a sinful world. Abraham, Isaac and Israel were men who received

the promise of a covenant that would ensure a place for their descendants and a blessing for the

entire world.

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The purpose of this paper is to reveal the secret of Pentecost. It will show that Pentecost

became a holiday to remember the giving of the Law at Sinai at which point the Israelites entered

into a marriage relationship with God. It will also show how Israel was not faithful to God and

received a divorce. Furthermore it will discuss the fact that Jesus had to die in order to re-marry

Israel as a new man and that the Holy Spirit encourages us to keep from falling into adultery

against God. Finally we will discuss the Power that the Holy Spirit has to help us enter into the

New Covenant.

A Hebrew Holiday

Many Christians today are unfamiliar with Pentecost from a Hebraic perspective. If one

were to ask a Christian what Pentecost was you would receive answers like the following: “It is

the day that God poured out the Holy Spirit.” “It is the day that God created the Church.” “Itis

the day that Holy Spirit made the disciples talk in tongues to preach to the people in Jerusalem.”

While all these statements are true, they are all statements that look back in time to the Day of

Pentecost. These statements really don’t address the original question of what Pentecost was. In

fact, these statements answer the question of what happened on Pentecost day after Jesus had

ascended to Heaven. It is appropriate for a Christian to focus on that time in History due to its

very significant nature for the Church. But to gain a full understanding of the day one must look

back further in time to the advent of the holiday of Pentecost and the social idioms associated

with that festival season.

Our main source for understanding Pentecost is the Scriptures. There are three ancient

passages thatgive instruction regarding the holiday of Pentecost.

Exodus 34:22-23 says,

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“And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and
the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. Three times in the year all your men
shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel.”1

In Deuteronomy 16:9-10 it reads,

“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from
[the time] you begin [to put] the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast
of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your
hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you.”2

Finally in Leviticus 23:15-17 and 21 it is written,

“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day
that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be
completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall
offer a new grain offering to the LORD. You shall bring from your dwellings two
wave [loaves] of two-tenths [of an ephah]. They shall be of fine flour; they shall
be baked with leaven. [They are] the firstfruits to the LORD. And you shall
proclaim on the same day [that] it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no
customary work [on it. It shall be] a statute forever in all your dwellings
throughout your generations.”3

Thesescriptures give specific instructions to count seven weeks from the time that the

firstfruits offering was presented at the time of Passover. It was to be a count of 50 days. The

Bible refers to Pentecost as the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament. The name changed from

Feast of Weeks to Pentecost due to the fact that one was to count 50 days. In Jewish circles this

time of counting is known as Counting the Omer. The Omer is the 50 day period of anticipation

for the Feast of Weeks.

1
Blue Letter Bible. "Exodus - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Exd&c=34&v=22&t=NKJV#22
2
Blue Letter Bible. "Deuteronomy - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Deu&c=16&v=9&t=NKJV#9
3
Blue Letter Bible. "Leviticus - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Lev&c=23&v=15&t=NKJV#15

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When correlated to Biblical History a person can count 50 days from the Passover in

Egypt to the Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. In fact this is not a modern thought. Possibly by

the time of the first century and definitely by the 3rd century one understanding of the Festival of

Pentecost was to commemorate the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.

“Besides its primary agricultural significance Shavu’ot later came to be


understood as commemorating the giving of the Torahto Moshe. The
earliest reference to this reinterpretation date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries
C.E. (Talmud: Shabbat 86b, Pesachim 68b); but Louis Jacobs, using
material from Louis Finkelstein’s The Pharisees, theorizes the “the
transformation into a historical feast took place before the present era”
(Encyclopedia Judaica 14:1420-1421). Exodus 19:1 says that the Israelites
came to the foot of Mt. Sinai “in the third month”; from this and other
biblical data the rabbis deduced that God actually gave the Torah on
Shavu’ot.”4

The author believes that Pentecost is not only a harvest festival, but also a commemoration of the

giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Indeed the first century believers could have understood this as

well.

The Marriage and Divorce of Israel

A very interesting thing about the meeting at Mt. Sinai and the children of Israel gathered

to receive the Torah is the situations similarities to a Hebrew marriage ceremony. Each detail of

the meeting can be viewed as allegorical of a traditional betrothal and marriage. In fact, a

marriage is an appropriate way of viewing the relationship between God and Israel as we will

see.

4
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Clarkesville, Maryland, (Jewish New Testament Publications,
Inc. 1999), p. 219

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The Hebrew people divide the Torah into a yearly reading schedule. Each week another

Torah portion called a Parasha HaShavuah is read. The Parasha that deals with the Mt. Sinai

narrative is Parasha HaShavuah ‘Yitro:’ whichis found in Exodus 18:1-20:26. Many of the

allegorical aspects of an ancient Hebrew wedding are found within this portion of Scripture.

“I am not alone, nor am I the first one to see things this way. For example, Rabbi
Aryeh Kaplan, basing his remarks on centuries of Jewish biblical interpretation,
says, “It is significant that God’s taking Israel as His nation is likened to a
marriage.” If this is so then there are several features in this week’s portion which,
when put together, show that here at Mt. Sinai we are attendants of a sacred
wedding.”5

Let’s take a look at some of the similarities of this meeting with an ancient Hebrew wedding

ceremony.

Segulah

Firstly God’s opinion of Israel at this point is very high. He loves her and calls her is

“special treasure” in Exodus 19:5. The term ‘special treasure’ is interpreted from the Hebrew

word ‘segulah’ which is a very expressive word.

“Segulah means a cherished treasure, the same as (Ecclesiastes 2:8), “and


treasures of kings” costly vessels and precious stones which kings store
up. In the same manner shall you be unto Me a cherished treasure more
than other peoples.”6

In Exodus 19:1-8 we see God actually lay out the groundwork for the Marriage

relationship. He states in no uncertain terms the relationship he desires with Israel and expresses

the give and take nature of what this marriage would entail. As stated above, God calls Israel his

“special treasure.” This is, however, conditional to their faithfulness. “Now therefore, if you

5
Michael Boaz, First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club: Messianic Commentary on the Parashot HaShavuah, Vol. 1, Torah
Treasures, Littleton, Colorado, (First Fruits of Zion, Inc. 1999), p. 353-354.
6
Rashi, Sapirstein Edition, Brooklyn New York, (Mesorah Publications 1994), p. 98

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will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me

above all people; for all the earth [is] Mine.”7 The fascinating thing is that God has not even

begun to give the Israelites his instructions or even the Ten Commandments when He makes this

statement. This conditional statement is given even before the conditions of the covenant have

been expressed. The response of the people is given without ever having heard the rest of the

deal. God was asking them to step out into the relationship on faith, which to Israel’s credit, she

did. Verse 19:8 tells us that the people responded to God positively, “All that the Lord has

spoken we will do.”8 The Hebrew wording is very telling, “Na'aseh V'Nishmah -- we agree to do

even before we have listened.”9 The people of Israel were so enamored with the God who had

delivered them from slavery through mighty acts and deeds that they fell into His arms simply

because of his awesome reputation and his expressed love for them through previous actions.

Mikvek

Secondly, God tells Israel to get ready for the wedding. Exodus 19:10-11 says,

“Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them
today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for
the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai
in the sight of all the people.”10

In a traditional wedding ceremony among the Hebrew people the bride would take a ceremonial

bath called a ‘mikveh.’ This was no ordinary bath for cleansing, it meant much more.

7
Blue Letter Bible. "Exodus - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Exd&c=19&v=1&t=NKJV#top
8
Blue Letter Bible. "Exodus - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Exd&c=19&v=1&t=NKJV#top
9
Eddie Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, (Sippensburg, Pennsylvania. Treasure House, 1994), p.87
10
Blue Letter Bible. "Exodus - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Exd&c=19&v=1&t=NKJV#top

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“In many ways, the mikveh represents the womb. When a person immerses, it is
as if he has momentarily returned to the womb. Then when he emerges, it is as if
he were reborn. He is a completely new person.”11

The mikveh is the progenitor of the Christian baptism and is very similar in understanding. When

applied to the bride it was a symbol saying that she is not only ready for a relationship with her

new husband, but is in fact a whole new person in all the aspects of her life. Israel prepared for

two days to meet the Lord at Mt. Sinai and was being prepared for a new intimate relationship

with God. This idea of a bridal mikveh is repeated in Ezekiel 16:8b-9a, “…I swore an oath to

you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine," says the Lord GOD. Then I

washed you in water…”12

Chupah

The traditional Hebrew wedding also includes a ‘chupah.’ The chupah is the tent like

structure that is erected for the bride, groom, and officiator to stand under during the wedding

ceremony. “In Jewish thinking, the chupah is a symbolic house. It is a single domain into which

the groom welcomes the bride.”13 Allegorically speaking, the mountain itself, wrapped in smoke

can be seen as a chupah. It is the place where, on the third day, Israel meets God to accept the

wedding contract.

Ketubah

Now we come to the central part of the wedding, the ‘ketubah.’ The ketubah in a

traditional Hebrew wedding is the contract or covenant that both parties agree to live by. It is a

legally binding contract between the bride and groom which governs their marriage.
11
Aryah Kaplan, Made in Heaven, (Jerusalem. Moznaim Publications, 1983) p. 74.
12
Blue Letter Bible. "Ezekiel - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Eze&c=16&t=NKJV
13
Michael Boaz, First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club: Messianic Commentary on the Parashot HaShavuah, Vol. 1,
Torah Treasures, Littleton, Colorado, (First Fruits of Zion, Inc. 1999), p. 357.

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“It is always a written agreement, which is how the word ketubah derives its
name, from the Hebrew… ‘to write.’ The ketubah is read and signed during the
Jewish wedding ceremony.
In truth, the custom of using a written contract only dates to about the
middle of the third century of the Common Era, not back to Mt. Sinai. However,
there was always (at the least) an oral marriage agreement which was legally
binding.”14

It is evident that the contract that was received at Mt. Sinai is the Torah itself. Onewill notice

that in this portion of Scripture the focus is on the Ten Commandments, but a closer observation

of the Ten Commandments will reveal that they act a preamble for the rest of the Torah. All the

other laws of the Torah, of which there are 613, can be grouped under one of the Ten

Commandments. When the people of Israel agreed and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we

will do,”15 they agreed to all of these 613 laws that were revealed to them over time starting with

the Ten Commandments.

Adultery and Divorce

Israel did not keep her end of the contract however. Over time she began to chase after

other gods. She adulterated herself with Baal, Molech, and Asherah. Thus she broke her

contract with the Lord that was established at Mt. Sinai. God waited for centuries for her to

return to Him. In long suffering kindness he chastened her at which point she would return for a

time to turn away again later. He sent judges and prophets to protect and warn her of calamity,

but ultimately Israel was divided into South and North. Hundreds of years after receiving the

Torah from God at Mt. Sinai, God had had enough and gave Israel a divorce as it is written in

Jeremiah 3:8, “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed

Michael Boaz, First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club: Messianic Commentary on the Parashot HaShavuah, Vol. 1, Torah
14

Treasures, Littleton, Colorado, (First Fruits of Zion, Inc. 1999), p. 357-358.

Blue Letter Bible. "Exodus - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
15

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Exd&c=19&v=1&t=NKJV#top

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adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister

Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”16 Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was

carried away by the Assyrians in 740 B.C.E. never to be a nation again. Judah, however, was

taken into captivity into Babylon and returned to the land after a period of exile. Notice only

Israel was given the divorce.

So what is God to do? His love is unfailing, his promise to Abraham was unconditional,

yet the marriage he had with Israel was now in ruins. God always kept his end of the covenant

toward Israel. God was required to act according to Torah Laws as well. In Deuteronomy 24:1-4

it is written,

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor
in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a
certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she
has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man's wife, if the
latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her
hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as
his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be
his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD,
and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God is giving you
as an inheritance.”17

It is appear ant that God could not rekindle the relationship he had with Israel, because he is

faithful to keep the covenant he made at Mt. Sinai. Therefore, a portion of God’s ‘special

treasure’ was lost to him. But it is widely known that a marriage is only as good as long as both

parties are alive. In Romans 7:2 it reads, “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the

16
Blue Letter Bible. "Jeremiah - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jer&c=3&v=8&t=NKJV#8
17
Blue Letter Bible. "Deuteronomy - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Deu&c=24&v=1&t=NKJV#1

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law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of

her husband.”18 The Divorce was only as good a God and Israel were alive…God had a plan.

The New Covenant

In Jeremiah 33:31-34, God tells of a time when there would be a new covenant!

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- not according to
the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the
hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke,
though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this [is] the covenant that I
will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My
law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they
shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man
his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least
of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity,
and their sin I will remember no more."19

To establish this new covenant with His people, He would have to die. Jesus was sent to

not only die for humanity’s sins, but he also died to make a way for all of humanityto have a

personal relationship with the Father. By being crucified, he again fulfilled the Torah, by paying

for humanity’s sins with death. Yet when he was raised, he was glorified and reborn a new man,

therefore he can re-marry lost Israel as well as the rest of those who believe in Him!

It is written in Ephesians 5:25-27 that the Church is like a wife to Christ.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water
by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having
spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without
blemish.”20

18
Blue Letter Bible. "Paul's Epistle - Romans 7 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009.
13 Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Rom&c=7&t=NKJV >
19
Blue Letter Bible. "Jeremiah - New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jer&c=31&v=31&t=NKJV#31
20
Blue Letter Bible. "Ephesians- New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Eph&c=5&v=1&t=NKJV

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It is safe to say that a relationship with the Most High God through the person of Jesus

Christ is like a marriage relationship. But how does that correlate with Pentecost? How is the

giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai like what happened in the upper room on Pentecost day? What

were the believers expecting only 10 days after the ascension of the risen Lord?

The Comforter

We come to it at last, that fateful day in history when the Spirit of the Living God was

pouredout. Let us look at the day itself. It is the 50thday of the Omer. For fifty days the devout

Jewish men would have counted every day, “Today is the first day of the Omer, today is the

second day of the Omer, today is the thirdday of the Omer, etc.” Ten days before these same

devout men and women who were believers in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, had witnessed the

risen Lord ascend into Heaven in a cloud. It is interesting that the last question asked of Jesus on

Earth was, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel"(Acts 1:6b)?21 The author

believes that they didn’t exactly know what they were asking. “Will you at this time restore the

marriage relationship with estranged Israel?” Maybe they did know. Jesus avoided the questions

about the relationship, or political standing of Israel and said, "It is not for you to know times or

seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the

Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea

and Samaria, and to the end of the earth"(Acts 1:7b-8).22 The very last thing that Jesus says

before he floats up into Heaven is that the Holy Spirit is coming.

21
Blue Letter Bible. "Acts- New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Act&c=1&v=1&t=NKJV#top
22
Ibid.

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Preceding the question which was asked in verse 6 of Acts is the Lord’s last command to

his disciples. In Acts Chapter one, verses four and five it reads,

“And being assembled together with [them], He commanded them not to depart
from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," [He said],
"you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be
baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”23

It is easy for a twentieth century Christian to look back and wonder why the disciples would then

ask about the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. The disciples were not familiar with what it

meant to be baptized with the Spirit. The mindset of their particular time in history was day 40

of the Omer. They were anticipating something great, something wonderful, and their idea of

great was the restoration of Israel. Indeed something great and wonderful would occur. The

promise of the Father was to be given.

Remembering that the Torah commands that “Three times in the year all your men shall

appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel,”24 it is imperative to understand that every

devout Jewish male who could be in Jerusalem was in Jerusalem at this time of year.

Therefore,men from every tribe of Israel and representatives of all the Roman provinces had

descended upon Jerusalem in force. Not only would the city be full of devout Jews, but it would

also have been full of devout merchants and peddlers who were there to take advantage of the

yearly festival. The city was full and ready to be harvested. The harvest and the giving of the

Torah would have been predominate themes on the minds of those gathered in the upper room

and of those on the street.

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord
in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing
23
Blue Letter Bible. "Acts- New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Act&c=1&v=1&t=NKJV#top
24
Blue Letter Bible. "Acts- New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009, Exodus 34:23,
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Exd&c=34&v=22&t=NKJV#22

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mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there
appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as
the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews,
devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the
multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak
in his own language.”25

A Rushing Mighty Wind

The Holy Spirit’s presence was announced by a rushing mighty wind. In Greek the word

for wind is pnoe, (πνοή). It is Strong’s word G4157 and can also mean ‘breath’ or ‘breath of

life.’26 It was such a strong wind and made such a ruckus that the people on the street heard it.

In Acts 2:5-6a it reads, “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every

nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together.”27 This wind

acted like the trumpet blast as Mt. Sinai. It announced the presence of the Lord and was heard

by a multitude of the sons of Abraham. The wind brought with it the breath of life that filled

those gathered in one accord with the Holy Spirit.

Tongues of Fire

As the Disciples of Christ heard the wind that had filled the place where they were, they

saw what looked like tongues of fire which came to rest on each of them. As this happened they

were filled with the Holy Spirit. It was an answer to the prayer that Moses had uttered centuries

25
Blue Letter Bible. "Acts- New King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 3 May 2009
http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Act&c=1&v=1&t=NKJV#top
26
Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for pnoē (Strong's 4157)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 11 Aug
2009. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=G4157&t=NKJV >
27
Blue Letter Bible. "Acts of the Apostles 2 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 11
Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Act&c=2&t=NKJV >

15
earlier in Numbers 11:29b, “Oh, that all the LORD's people were prophets [and] that the LORD

would put His Spirit upon them!”28 John the Baptist foretold this day in Luke 3:16-17,

“John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One
mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan [is] in His hand, and
He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His
barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”29

Notice the idioms of Pentecost used in his prophecy.

The tongues of fire may or may not represent the languages spoken. “Again, it is

difficult to translate this experience into terms which will convey its true significance.”30

One understanding of the tongues of fire calls us to remember what happened at Mt.

Sinai. “The roar and fire in Jerusalem recalled the fire, smoke and sounds at Sinai.

However, instead of God’s people being kept away, God’s glory, represented by tongues

of fire, came to each individual.”31 When the Lord descended on the mountain, he did so

with smoke, thundering and fire. The fire was far off then, impersonal. On Pentecost, the

fire was very personal; the Divine presence was in the fire and was then transferred to the

believers gathered

Speaking in Tongues

As each person was filled with the Holy Spirit they went out into the streets and

began preaching to the multitude who had gathered at the sound of the might rushing

28
Blue Letter Bible. "Book of Numbers 11 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 11
Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Num&c=11&t=NKJV >
29
Blue Letter Bible. "Gospel of Luke 3 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 11 Aug
2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=3&t=NKJV >

F.F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of the Acts. Grand Rapids,
30

(Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1988) p. 50.

David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Clarkesville, Maryland, (Jewish New Testament
31

Publications, Inc. 1999), p. 221.

16
wind. They preached to the men from every nation in their own tongue. From a Hebrew

understanding the gentile world had 70 languages. At Mt. Sinai some rabbis have

purposed that the thundering that sounded from the mountain was actually God speaking

all languages at once, so it sounded like thunder, but in actuality God was proclaiming

His Law to all nations. At Pentecost it becomes apparent that God’s plan is that all

nations would come to Him.

Speaking in tongues reminds one of another story from the Bible; astory in which

a group of people were in one accord and didn’t want to move from their spot. It is the

story of the tower of Babel. Mankind can do great things when they are in one accord,

Great things for God or great things for themselves. At Babel God created confusion of

speech. At Pentecost God created perfect understanding. A huge barrier that caused

separation was removed in order to aid in the spreading of the Truth to all nations in order

to fulfill the Great Commission.

“Almost 2,300 years after the tower of Babel something equally miraculous
happened. Another group was gathered together in a common cause…Their unity
paralleled that of the Babelites, and they penetrated the heavens with prayer and
praise rather than stone and mortar.”32

The barriers of speech were no longer in the way. Three thousand people were added to the

number of Christians that day. There were about 120 people gathered, who received the Holy

Spirit and to gain so many new converts was a miracle; what a harvest!

Conclusion

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who
do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For
what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by

32
Charles W. Conn, Pillars of Pentecost, Cleveland, Tennessee (Pathway Press: 1956) p.44-45.

17
sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He
condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be
fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
(Roman 8:1-4) 33

Some of the similarities of Mt. Sinai and Pentecost have been pointed out in this paper,

but the truth of the matter is that the most important thing to understand is that the New

Covenant is made possible by the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Old Covenant was written on

tablets of stone. At Pentecost the New Covenant is written on hearts of flesh. “But if the ministry

of death, written [and] engraved on stones, was glorious…how will the ministry of the Spirit not

be more glorious?” (2 Corintians 3:7a-3:8)34

With this understanding it is important to ask the question “Is the New Covenant in full

effect yet?” In Jeremiah 31:34 it reads,

“No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying,
'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the
greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I
will remember no more.”35

This verse has been fulfilled in part with the salvific work of Christ, but it still needs part to be

fulfilled, because there are thousands of people who do not ‘Know the Lord.’ Therefore, the New

Covenant is not utterly complete and will not be complete until the above statement is true. It is

true for individuals at this point, but not for everyon.

This paper hasapproached Pentecost from a more ancient direction than is usually

attributed to Christian thought. These questions still remain; “Did God give birth to the Church

33
Blue Letter Bible. "Paul's Epistle - Romans 8 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-
2009. 12 Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Rom&c=8&t=NKJV >
34
Blue Letter Bible. "Paul's Epistle - 2 Corinthians 3 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-
2009. 12 Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=2Cr&c=3&t=NKJV >
35
Blue Letter Bible. "The Major Prophet Jeremiah 31 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible.
1996-2009. 12 Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jer&c=31&t=NKJV >

18
on Pentecost, and did the Holy Spirit act before Pentecost?” In regard to the former, David

Stern asserts,

“Because Shavu’ot commemorates the giving of the Torah it is sometimes


thought of as the day which Judaism was born. Likewise, because God
gave the Holy Spirit to his people on Shavu’ot, it is sometimes regarded as
the birthday of the Messianic Community.”36

The author tends to agree with Stern when Stern puts forth the idea that Passover is a more likely
candidate for the birthday of the Church.
“But one could equally think of Pesach as the “birth of a nation” for the Jews,
who are first portrayed as a unified people in Exodus 12, at the time of the first
Passover. Similarly, it can be argued that the Messianic Community too came
into bing on Pesach, since that is when Yeshua died and was resurrected, and we
as a community have died and been resurrected with him (Ro 6:1-8).”37

Passover was the season that Christ was crucified and resurrected which created a way for people

to enter into a personal relationship with the most High God. Pentecost was the day that people

were empowered to live a life worthy of a closer walk with God. But then again, on Pentecost at

Mt. Sinai a nation was born, and on Pentecost in Jerusalem it is said that the Church is born. A

good way to reconcile this thinking is to realize that at Passover freedom was granted, and at

Pentecost whole hearted commitment to God and Christ was granted, a harvest of hearts.

In regard to the later question; God did work in his people in the Old Testament. The

Holy Spirit came upon people from a need by need basis. In Judges the Holy Spirit would fill a

judge for a time in order to accomplish a goal for Israel. The prophets would receive messages

from the Holy Spirit to give to the people. The general out pouring of the Holy Spirit did not

occur until Pentecost in Jerusalem.

36
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Clarkesville, Maryland, (Jewish New Testament
Publications, Inc. 1999), p. 221.
37
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Clarkesville, Maryland, (Jewish New Testament
Publications, Inc. 1999), p. 221.

19
A Comparison of Facts

In closingis given a chart of comparisons between Pentecost at Mt. Sinai and Pentecost in

Jerusalem. Many of the points of this chart have been discussed in this paper, but some have not

due to space requirements.

The First Pentecost The Giving of the Holy Spirit

The Fiftieth Day The Fiftieth Day

God’s Law on Stone: Exodus 24:12 God’s Law on Hearts: Jeremiah 31:33,
Romans 2:14-15, Isaiah 51:7

Written by the finger of God: Exodus 31:18 Written by the Spirit of God
2 Corinthians 3:3

3000 Killed: Exodus 32:1-8, 26-28 3000 Saved: Acts 2:41

The Letter of the Law The Spirit of the Law: Romans 2:29, 7:6, 2
Corinthians 3:6

Mount Sinai: Exodus 19:11 Mount Zion: Romans 11:26, 1 Peter 2:638

It is obvious that there are many comparisons in scripture between Mt. Sinai and Jerusalem’s

Pentecostal experience. As this work nears completion reflect on the words of Hebrews 12:18-

24.

“For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that
burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a
trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard [it] begged that the word
should not be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure what was
commanded: "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned
or shot with an arrow." And so terrifying was the sight [that] Moses said, "I am
exceedingly afraid and trembling.") But you have come to Mount Zion and to the
city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of
angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn [who are] registered in
heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus

38
Eddie Chumney, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, (Sippensburg, Pennsylvania. Treasure House, 1994), p.84

20
the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks
better things than [that of] Abel.”39

By gazing at Pentecost from a more ancient perspective this paper has shown how

Pentecostclosely resembles the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. It has explained that the

Torah was a wedding contract that Israel failed to keep and was therefore divorced. It has

brought light to the fact that God kept his end of the contract to the point of dying and

being raised in order to restore relationship with his divorced bride. It has explained that

the Holy Spirit is the empowerer of a New Covenant which is superior to the previous

covenant. Finally this work has shown the historical similarities of Pentecost at Mt. Sinai

and Pentecost in Jerusalem.

39
Blue Letter Bible. "Letter to the Hebrews 12 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009.
12 Aug 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Hbr&c=12&t=NKJV >

21
Works Consulted

Bruce, F.F. The Book of the Acts (Revised): The New International Commentary on the New
Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988.

_________. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1977.

Carson, D.A. and Moo, Douglas J. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand
Rapids: Zondervan,
1992.

Chumney, Edward, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah. Sippensburg, Pennsylvania: Treasure
House, an Imprint of Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 1994.

Conn, Charles W. Pillars of Pentecost. Pathway Press: Cleveland, Tennessee, 1956.

Kaplan, Aryah, Made in Heaven. Moznaim Publication: Jerusalem, 1983.

Lea, Thomas D. and Black, David Alan. The New Testament: It’s Background and Message.
Broadman & Holman Publishers: Nashville, 2003.

Maier, Paul L. First Christians: Pentecost and the Spread of Christianity. New York: Harper and
Row, Publishers, c. 1976.

Michael, Boaz and Torah Club Production Team. First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club: Messianic
Commentary on the Parashot HaShavuah, Vol. 1, Torah Treasures. Littleton, Colorado: First
Fruits of Zion, Inc. 1999.

22
Pentecost, J. Dwight. The Divine Comforter: The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. Westwood,
New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963.

Rashi, Sapirstein Edition. Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, 1994

Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary. Clarksville, Maryland: Jewish New
Testament Publications, Inc., 1999.

Wood, A. Skevington, Life by the Spirit: A Thorough and Exhaustive Study of the Place of the
Holy Spirit in the Life of the Christian. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House,
1963.

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