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Pentecost Revisited

“Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” – Exodus 5:1

“Feast?” What feast?

Did you ever wonder what “feast” God had in mind for that wilderness celebration? The original text from Exodus 5::1 actually uses the Hebrew term יחגגו meaning, “they shall celebrate.” Tucked into that Hebrew word is the word חג which typically refers to any one of the three required festivals: Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost) or Sukkot (Tabernacles). So, which of these feasts was the wilderness celebration?

It’s not a difficult mystery to solve! Exodus 19:1 – “In the third month [May-June on our calendar] after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai.” Only one of the prophetic feasts falls in that season: Shavuot, the Feast of Pentecost. This explains why, in Jewish tradition, Shavuot marks the birth and empowerment of the nation Israel. On that day 3500 years ago, the wilderness community received their Constitution: The Ten Commandments, transforming them from a mob of ex-slaves to the first and only true theocracy!

But wait – There’s more!

Birth and empowerment. A Jewish community, transformed. Does that ring any bells?

It is no coincidence that the birth and empowerment of God’s “wife,” Israel, and Messiah’s “bride,” the Church, occurred on the very same day, 1500 years apart! Consider the astounding parallels:


ISRAEL (Exodus)


19:17 - all are congregated in one place

2:1 - all are congregated in one place

19:16, 18 - violent storm, fire

2:2,3 - violent wind, fire

19:25ff - God speaks audibly through a human instrument

2:4-6 - God speaks audibly through human instruments

20:1-17 - God delivers His Law

2:4 - God delivers His Spirit

20:18 - the reaction: fear & resistance

2:6-13 - reaction: confusion, resistance

24:3 - the revelation is received

2:41 - the revelation is received

It is important to note that Israel and the Church are two distinct entities, not to be confused or consolidated. Israel is a physical, literal nation – God’s “wife” (Hosea 2:19,20) — comprised of the physical, literal descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This nation has received covenantal promises from God, most of which will be fulfilled after her Messiah returns. The Church is a distinct entity, biblically defined as the Body and Bride of Messiah (Ephesians 3:30-32. This Body is a mysterious union of Jews and Gentiles who are reconciled with God and bound together by grace through faith in the Messiah, Yeshua.

Israel is distinct from the Church and will remain an everlasting nation, never to be replaced or eradicated. But as we’ve already begun to see, Israel’s yearly celebration of her birth and empowerment on Shavuot (Pentecost) hearkens to the birth and empowerment of Messiah’s Body, the Church!

Pentecost’s Bizarre Offering

Consider God’s unusual instructions to Israel concerning the celebration of Shavuot. Not only does He invite Gentiles to the party (Deut. 16:11), the LORD also requires two loaves of bread to be brought into His holy presence, and those loaves are to be “baked with leaven” (Lev. 23:17). Leaven? The biblical symbol for sin and corruption? Elsewhere, in Leviticus 2:11, God warns, “No grain offering which you bring to the LORD shall be made with leaven,” but for Shavuot He makes a special exception! Why? Because embedded in this remarkable festival is a foreshadow of Messiah’s Body, the Church: Two loaves (Jews and Gentiles) coming before the one true God as an offering that is pleasing to Him, yet those loaves contain leaven.

Question: Is there sin in the Church? You don’t have to think too hard about that one, do you? Speaking to believers, God’s Word tells us, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Yes, there most certainly is sin in the Church, but wonderfully, God accepts this leavened offering for a season! We are destined to become a chaste Bride, presented as “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27)

“You shall receive power…”

As it was with the first three prophetic Feasts of the LORD, this fourth feast, Pentecost, was fulfilled to the letter and to the day.

Think of it:

  1. Passover, fulfilled in the atoning death of Messiah our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7)

  2. Feast of Unleavened Bread, fulfilled in the burial of the unleavened Bread of Life, Yeshua (John 12:24)

  3. Feast of Firstfruits, fulfilled in the glorious resurrection of Messiah our Firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:23)

After Yeshua rose from the dead, He was seen by witnesses for 40 days (Acts 1:3). It was then that He instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem, saying, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). They waited ten days. 40+10=50, and fifty days from the Feast of Firstfruits lands us squarely on the Feast of Pentecost! And so it was, on the anniversary of the day when God birthed the nation Israel and scribed His Law on tablets of stone, God birthed the Church and wrote His Law on 3000 Jewish hearts (confer Jer. 31:33).

In this season of Shavuot as we consider “Pentecost revisited,” it is my sincere prayer that Pentecost has visited you with spiritual rebirth and empowerment! May we be living in joyful anticipation of the fulfilment of Feast #5, the Feast of Trumpets, when our beloved Bridegroom will, at last, collect His Bride “with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thess. 4:16).


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