We saw yesterday that Pentecost is actually a feast day of the Lord which Israel had celebrated for 1500 years prior to Acts 2. It is connected by its calendar to the feast days of Passover/ Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. So let’s see what happened on that day in the year of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, which instituted those feast days.
In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. Exo 19:1
The first Passover occurred on the 14th day of the 1st month, the month in which the barley was found to be in its head. Israel arrived at Sinai on the very same day of the week in which they celebrated the first Passover, in which the angel of death slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, and Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt. They arrived at Sinai when the 3rd month had already begun. If they were marking the anniversary of Passover by weeks, it would be the seventh week following their deliverance: 2 weeks to finish the 1st month, 4 weeks for the 2nd month, and another week to enter into the 3rd month. As we saw yesterday, since the Feast of Weeks is always celebrated 7 weeks + a partial week from Passover (or 7 weeks from the Feast of Firstfruits, which falls a partial week after Passover), they are dangerously close to the day which the Lord will command them to celebrate the Feast of Weeks (which is Pentecost in Greek).
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. Exo 19:10-11
Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Exo 19:16-17
Passover + 7 weeks + 3 days = the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, and the people met with God.
The very next thing that happened, when God and His people met together, was:
And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exo 20:1-3
And so on. His speech recorded in Exo 20 is the record of the Ten Commandments! When He had finished speaking the Tenth Commandment:
Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. Exo 20:18-21
In other words, the words of the Ten Commandments, which God spoke, all Israel heard with their ears. He spoke in an audible voice that thundered, which Israel feared. So they asked Moses to intervene for them, to hear the words of God himself, and relay them to them, rather than them also hearing the thundering voice of God any longer.
The next thing that happened:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.” Exo 20:22-23
If you read Exo 20 carefully, and the chapters following, you discover that the words of God which Moses heard, and relayed to the children of Israel, continued through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. God intended to speak His entire Law to all Israel in an audible voice! They actually heard the summary of it, the Ten Commandments, before retreating from His awesome presence and His awesome voice. So Israel received the Ten Commandments, and Moses received the rest of the Law of God on Mount Sinai, beginning on the exact day that came to be celebrated as the Feast of Weeks, our Pentecost!
What is the connection then with Acts 2? We will pick up this fascinating thread tomorrow in the New Testament …