Torah Tidbit – Pentecost
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.” Exodus 20:18
This is one of those things you read over and again and then all of a sudden you see something you have never seen before. The English text states ‘they saw the thunderings’. When was the last time you saw ‘thunderings’? The Hebrew text says it a little more clearly. ‘And all the people saw the ‘qol’ – the voices (or sounds) – and the torches (or flames of light) and the voice of the shofar, and the mountain smoking; and all the people saw, and they moved and stood at a distance . . .” There is a specific word in the Hebrew for ‘thunder’. It is the word ‘ra-am’. But the word used in Exodus 20:18 is the Hebrew word ‘qol’ for ‘voice’. And the word ‘lightning’ ? In the Hebrew it is the word ‘baraq’. But the word used in Exodus 20:18 is the Hebrew word lappidim or ‘torches’. Where else in Scripture do we have people in the presence of God seeing flames of fire and voices, if you will ? Acts 2:3 says the people saw ‘tongues of flames or fire settled above the heads of the apostles’ and everyone heard in their own language based on that which the people saw.
Did you ever wonder how the folks in Acts 2 knew to call the event ‘Pentecost’ if the event portrayed was the first one of it’s kind? Simple . . . it was not the first. Exodus 19 and 20 was the first Pentecost, and that which brought the followers together in that upper room was the Memorial Observance commanded by God to remember that which took place on the mountain (Mt. Sinai) some 1500 years earlier.
When Moses came down off that mountain with the written Word of God and encountered the sin of the people, 3000 souls died ( Exo. 32:28). In Acts 2:41, during the memorial events of Pentecost, 3000 souls were added to the body of Messiah. Our Heavenly Father is just and righteous as well as gracious and merciful – and all about restoration.
In Exodus 20, the Word of God was given to the people. “ In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” In Acts 2 we see the second part of the ‘promise of the Father’ – “And I will pour out My Spirit . . . “ Joel 2:28-29).
“So shall My Word be that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isa. 55:11
Pentecost . . . the giving of the Word of God . . . and the beginning of the last days.