At the conclusion of the Omer count, ten days after our Master Yeshua’s ascension, the disciples of Yeshua celebrated Shavu’ot.The book of Acts tells us that “The day of Pentecost was fully come” and “that they were all together in one place.”
We do not have to wonder what that place was, it was the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The place where the observant first-century Jewish apostles of our Master would be on Pentecost.
While the disciples were gathered in the Temple courts, a rushing wind filled the portico. However, the disciples felt no wind. The sound of the wind descended from heaven and lasted long enough to draw attention throughout the Temple courts. As the wind descended from heaven, a blaze of fire appeared above them. The flame separated into several flames that rested upon each disciple. What the apostles experienced was God’s Holy Spirit. The Spirit appeared as tongues of fire because the Spirit was going to enable the apostles to speak tongues—languages—they did not know articulately. The disciples were all “filled with the Holy Spirit.” The tongues of fire represented the endowment of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit—the same Spirit that rushed upon Yeshua as a dove when he emerged from his immersion in the Jordan.
The events described in Acts 2 mirror the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19. Both occurred on the Festival of Shavu’ot. On Shavu’ot, the disciples received the Holy Spirit in the Temple with much strength like the children of Israel who received the Torah at Sinai with God’s thunderous voice and flames of fire. To understand properly the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must understand the connection between God’s Holy Torah and His Holy Spirit.
The prophets foresaw that the giving of the Holy Spirit would signal the final redemption and the coming of God’s kingdom. In Jeremiah 31:33, we read, “I will put my Torah within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” In Ezekiel, the LORD says that in the kingdom, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:27).
According to these prophets, God Holy Spirit is a sign of the Messianic Era, when God will place his Torah within our hearts. The prophets saw no division between God’s Holy Torah and his Holy Spirit.
Here we see the connection between God’s Torah and his Holy Spirit. Both are signs of a redeemed people.
Realizing that the Torah and the Holy Spirit work in unison in our lives will help align our lives with the reality of God’s kingdom now. After all, it is no coincidence that the giving of the Holy Spirit and the giving of the Torah took place on the same day.
This means that the work of the Holy Spirit and the Torah is fundamental to our walk as disciples of Yeshua.
As we discuss the Holy Spirit and his work in our lives and our communities, we must do so in light of Yeshua’s message that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
It is exciting to imagine the potential of a movement built on the foundational pillars of Torah and the Holy Spirit. This Shavu’ot, may God generously pour his Holy Spirit on us to lead us in his holy ways. Let’s pray that he gives us a genuine love for his Torah in light of the work of our Master.
This article is an excerpt from First Fruits of Zion’s book Gifts of the Spirit. Also available in audio formats, CDs, and MP3s. Click here to order!
- See Torah Club: Chronicles of the Apostles on Acts 2.
- Joseph Fitzmeyer, The Acts of the Apostles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (The Anchor Bible; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1997), 238.