“Observe the festival of Shavu‘ot with the first-gathered produce of the wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year.”-Exodus 34:21
In verse 21 of Exodus 34, the Lord commands the observance of a festival called SHAVUOT in Hebrew.
This festival also goes by the name “Festival of Weeks” and the gentile church calls it “Pentecost”.
Now notice verse 23 where it says, “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Lord, Adonai, the God of Israel”.
So this is to be a pilgrimage festival.
3 of the 7 ordained festivals are to be celebrated at the central sanctuary in Jerusalem.
These three are Matzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread), Shavout (Feast of Weeks or Pentecost), and SUKKOT (Festival of Ingathering).
Here in Exodus 34 it says that only males are required to come to the Tabernacle in Jerusalem for these festivals but later in Deuteronomy, it makes it clear that the whole family should come.
However, at this point in time, this command is just a conceptual matter.
The Israelites would first have to take over and settle into the land of Canaan.
The Tabernacle itself would first be located in a city called SHILOH for a while before it was finally moved to Jerusalem.
During the Exodus, Jerusalem was just a small town ruled by a group of people called the Jebusites.
King David would eventually capture the city, change its name to Jerusalem, and make it part of Israel.
Now I need to share a few words about how the gentile church generally views SHAVUOT which they have renamed PENTECOST.
They teach (mistakenly I believe) that this is the first time the Holy Spirit began to dwell inside of men.
If you want to read more about this, click here.
This event is also primarily known as that day when people started speaking in tongues and depending on which Christian denomination (out of the ridiculous hundreds in existence), some very strange ideas have arisen concerning what actually transpired on this day.
Let’s see if we can shed some clarifying light on this God-ordained holiday.
First off, the word “Pentecost” is just a Greek word that means 50 days.
Second, this holiday takes place precisely 50 days after Yeshua’s resurrection.
Pentecost, is NOT, and I repeat is NOT some new holiday designed by the gentile church to celebrate the first-time arrival of the Holy Spirit.
PENTECOST was actually a Biblical Feast established by God at the time of Moses and it was at this time that the Holy Spirit descended.
Second, what exactly was the setting of Pentecost as depicted in the Book of Acts?
Who attended and why were they there?
The first thing you need to realize is is that in that upper room where the Holy Spirit descended, there were ONLY Jews present.
There was NOT ONE GENTILE in the bunch, just Jews who had traveled from different lands to Jerusalem.
And why were they there?
They were there to celebrate SHAVUOT!
Per the command here in Exodus, they were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for this feast (and 2 others).
Now what’s up with this “tongues” issue?
Well, there isn’t a Greek word that directly translates into “language”
Rather the word “tongue” was used to refer to “language”.
So in the Book of Acts, the “tongues” was referring to real existing languages that the many Jews who had gathered spoke as their native tongues back in the various foreign lands from which they had come.
Remember, at this time, pretty much the whole known world, including Judah and Jerusalem, was under Roman rule and only 10% of the total population of Jews were living in the Holy Land.
90% of the remaining Jewish population had been scattered throughout the whole Roman Empire where they had taken on the language and culture of whatever nation they were a part of.
But having said that, these scattered Jews, called the “Diaspora” meaning “the dispersed”, still clung to their Jewish ways and religion with a passion.
And again, that was the very reason why they had gathered in Jerusalem.
To celebrate SHAVUOT or “Pentecost” in gentile speak.
The miracle of the tongues as depicted in the Book of the Acts was that Jews from one area could all of a sudden supernaturally speak a language they didn’t know or they were given the ability to suddenly understand a language they had never learned or been exposed to before.
At this time in history there were scores of languages spoken within the vast Roman Empire, so to an outsider, indeed it must have seemed like a bunch of drunk babbling.
Speaking of babbling, a good way to look at this incident is to see it as kind of a reversal of what happened at the Tower of Babel.
At Babel, the Lord used different languages to separate people who were rebelling against Him.
At Pentecost, language was used to UNITE Jews who had come together due to their common faith in Yeshua.