Impact

The Feasts of Israel – Weeks (Pentecost)

These are the Lord’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time. (Leviticus 23:4 NET)

Historical Background of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)

“ ‘You must count for yourselves seven weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the wave offering sheaf; they must be complete weeks. You must count fifty days—until the day after the seventh Sabbath—and then you must present a new grain offering to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:15–16 NET)

The Feast of Weeks (Hag Hashavuot) (Exodus 34:22. Deuteronomy 16:10), Feast of Harvest (Hag Hakatzir) (Exodus 23:16), Day of the Firstfruits (Yom Habikkurim) (Numbers 28:26), or Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1;20:16. 1 Corinthians 16:8) was to be celebrated fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits. Hence in the New Covenant, the name “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word meaning fifty. The Old Covenant name of “Feast of Weeks” was similarly named because it was seven weeks plus one day after the Feast of First Fruits. Recall, the Feast of First Fruits was observed on the Sunday after Passover. This means that the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) was on the first day of the week, a Sunday, and only for one day. (2)

“You must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you; do this at the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt... “You must observe the Feast of Weeks—the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat—and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year. At three times in the year all your men must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. (Exodus 34:18:34:22,23 NET)

The Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, or Shavuot (shə-​ˈvü-​ˌōt) (early to mid-Sivan) was one of the three pilgrimage festivals that every Jewish male was required to go to Jerusalem to observe. The two other pilgrimage festivals are the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15-21) (1), also in the spring, and the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering (Succot, Tishri 15-22) in the fall. Note that the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover (Pesach, Nisan 14) (1), over time, became to be considered as one continuous festival that was called by either the name Passover or Unleavened Bread. However, Jewish males were not required to be in Jerusalem on the day of Passover but would be required starting the night after Passover, when the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.

“Three times in the year you must make a pilgrim feast to me. You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before me empty-handed. “You are also to observe the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors that you have sown in the field, and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year when you have gathered in your harvest out of the field. At three times in the year all your males will appear before the Lord God. (Exodus 23:14–17 NET) 
Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled completely, and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9–10 NET)
You visit the earth and give it rain; you make it rich and fertile with overflowing streams full of water. You provide grain for them, for you prepare the earth to yield its crops. You saturate its furrows, and soak its plowed ground. With rain showers you soften its soil, and make its crops grow. You crown the year with your good blessings, and you leave abundance in your wake. The pastures in the wilderness glisten with moisture, and the hills are clothed with joy. The meadows are clothed with sheep, and the valleys are covered with grain. They shout joyfully, yes, they sing. (Psalm 65:9–13 NET)

It was a feast of harvest, an agricultural observance marking the harvest of the spring season. In addition, it was to be an observance of the best of the first fruits of their labors in the field; this was the time of the first fruits of the early summer harvest. (2)

So you must keep his commandments, live according to his standards, and revere him. For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of brooks, springs, and fountains flowing forth in valleys and hills, a land of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat food in plenty and find no lack of anything, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you can mine copper. You will eat your fill and then praise the Lord your God because of the good land he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:9–10 NET)

Honey was one of the seven fruits of the land permitted in Firstfruits offerings given to the priests for their services during the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) which means they were not offered by fire.

When you gather in the harvest of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field, and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest. You must leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.’ ” (Leviticus 23:22 NET)

It was also a time to remember the poor and foreigners by sharing the God-given fruits of the earth with them.

“You must observe the Feast of Weeks—the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat—and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year. (Exodus 34:22 NET)

The common name found here is “the feast of weeks,” again, because it took place seven weeks plus one day from the first Sunday after Passover day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Here it is emphasized that it is “the first fruits of the wheat harvest” juxtaposed to the Feast of First Fruits, which was the “first fruits of the barley harvest.” (2)

“ ‘You must count for yourselves seven weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the wave offering sheaf; they must be complete weeks.You must count fifty days—until the day after the seventh Sabbath— (Leviticus 23:15–16 a NET)

Again, the beginning of the count started on the day after the Sabbath, which was Sunday. They were to count forty-nine days plus one to make fifty days because the feast itself was to be observed on the fiftieth day, which again would be another Sunday. Moses said that seven Sabbaths should be counted. (2)

and then you must present a new grain offering to the Lord.  (Leviticus 23:16 b)

Again the purpose of the feast was to offer a new meal-offering unto the Lord.

From the places where you live you must bring two loaves of bread for a wave offering; they must be made from two tenths of an ephah of fine wheat flour, baked with yeast, as first fruits to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:17 NET)

The primary activity on the Feast of Weeks was the presentation of a wave offering to the Lord. For the Feast of First-fruits, only one container of roasted barleycorns is required, but two loaves made of wheat are required in the Feast of Pentecost. However, the two loaves are both waved while on one sheet or tray. Furthermore, the two loaves were to originate from where Israelites lived. They were to take the wheat and grind it into a fine flour (1), add leaven (i.e., yeast), then bake two loaves, and then they would be waved as a meal-offering. (2) The wave offering expressed the Hebrews’ dependence on God for the harvest and daily bread. It was a thanksgiving offering. (4) This is one of only two times that leaven is part of an offering; the other is the ring-shaped loaves (i.e., cakes) given to the priest in the Peace Offering of Thanksgiving (1) (Leviticus 7:13). (2)

You must not offer the blood of my sacrifice with bread containing yeast; the fat of my festal sacrifice must not remain until morning. (Exodus 23:18 NET)(cf. Exodus 34:25)
“ ‘No grain offering which you present to the Lord can be made with yeast, for you must not offer up in smoke any yeast or honey as a gift to the Lord. You can present them to the Lord as an offering of first fruit, but they must not go up to the altar for a soothing aroma. (Leviticus 2:11–12 NET)

Note, in both of these two offerings where yeast is required, the leavened bread does not contact blood and is not offered on the altar in accordance with the scriptures.

There are eight unique features of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost):

  • A full seven weeks plus one day or fifty days after the Feast of First Fruits sets a date for the Feast of Weeks. (Leviticus 23:15,16). Just as one who is expecting the most faithful of his friends counts the days and hours to their arrival, so Israel counts “omer of the day” starting from the Feast of Firstfruits (i.e., when Israel crossed the Red Sea on their Exodus from Egypt) to that of the giving of the law, which was the object of the Exodus., as it is said: “ You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” (Exodus 19:4)
  • Because the great manifestation of the giving of the law did not last more than one day, they annually commemorate it for one day only.
  • All males of Israel were to appear before the Lord in His sanctuary on this day, bringing with them the required sacrifices and offerings (Exodus 23:14-17)
  • No regular or ordinary work was to be done on this day (Leviticus 23:21. Numbers 28:26)
  • It was a day of first fruits. On this occasion, the first fruits of the wheat harvests were offered, which were a more valuable and more nourishing grain than barley (Revelation 6:6). Its flours producing the choicest of goods with wheat bread, the bread of prosperity.
  • It was to be observed under the law forever as acknowledging God’s bounty because the whole harvest belongs to God, not to man. (11)
  • It acknowledges our dependence on the Lord. It shows joy and thankfulness for the Lord’s blessing of the harvest. (19) It celebrates God’s provisions for life. (20) This feast was especially for the poor, the widows, orphans, and foreigners. (21)
  • This feast celebrated the first fruits of the summer harvest. (11)
May God show us his favor and bless us! May he smile on us! (Selah) Then those living on earth will know what you are like; all nations will know how you deliver your people. Let the nations thank you, O God! Let all the nations thank you! Let foreigners rejoice and celebrate! For you execute justice among the nations, and govern the people living on earth. (Selah) Let the nations thank you, O God! Let all the nations thank you! The earth yields its crops. May God, our God, bless us! May God bless us! Then all the ends of the earth will give him the honor he deserves. (Psalm 67:1–7 NET)
Loyal love and faithfulness meet; deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss. Faithfulness grows from the ground, and deliverance looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will bestow his good blessings, and our land will yield its crops. Deliverance goes before him, and prepares a pathway for him. (Psalm 85:10–13 NET)

Required Sacrifices

The animals to be sacrificed had to have the following four general characteristics. The animal had to be: 

  • ceremonially clean, 
  • utilitarian, meaning “usable for food” or sustenance, 
  • domesticated (i.e., those that obeyed their master’s will and more or less were endeared to the offerer), and
  • types of animal sacrifices (see “Sacrifices and Offerings of the Old Covenant” table immediately below)
Sacrifices and Offerings of the Old Covenant

In addition, the animal to be sacrificed had to meet the following three criteria:

  • Condition – perfect without spot, blemish, disease, or deformity (cf. Malachi 1:8 NET) 
  • Gender – Male, and
  • Age – generally, the animal had to be one year old (e.g., a lamb at the peak of life and health). (5) Sometimes, it could be as young as eight days old (Leviticus 22:27) or as old as three years (Genesis 15:9). (2)

There were fourteen sequential steps of the Feast of Pentecost ritual:

  1. As the omer for the 16th of Nisan was of barley, being the first ripe barleycorn in the land, the ‘two wave loaves” were prepared from wheat grown in the best district of the country—under conditions similar to those discussed in the Firstfruits-sheaf (1).
  2. Similarly, three seahs, or about three pecks and three pints of wheat, were cut down, brought to the Temple, thrashed like other meal offerings, ground, and sifted.
  3. From the flour thus obtained, two omers (or double the quantity of that of the barley Firstfruits) were used for ‘the two loaves;’ the rest might be redeemed and used for any purpose.
  4. Care was taken that the flour for each loaf should be taken separately from one and a half seah, that it should be separately kneaded with lukewarm water (like all thank-offerings), and then taken to the Temple to be baked.
  5. The loaves were made two evenings before the festival since the day before was always a Sabbath. In shape, they were long and flat and turned up, either at the edges or at the corners. According to the Mishnah, each loaf was four hand-breadths wide (a hand-breath is 4 fingers, 7.4 cm, 2.92 inches), seven long, and four fingers high, and, as it contained one omer of flour (2.2 liters, or rather less than four pounds’ weight), the dough would weigh about five pounds and three-quarters, yielding, say, five pounds and a quarter of bread, or ten and a half for the two ‘wave-loaves.’
  6. On Saturday, the day before the festival, pilgrim bands would enter Jerusalem, and immediately after midnight, the Temple gates were thrown open so that all burnt- and peace offerings brought by the people to the feast could be examined by the officiating priesthood.
  7. At dawn on Sunday, the inspections would cease, and at 9:00 AM, the daily morning sacrifice would be performed.
  8. Then the Festival Offerings (Numbers 28:26–30) were brought—first, the sin-offering, with the proper imposition of hands, confession of sin, and a sprinkling of blood; and similarly the burnt offerings, with their meal-offerings.
  9. Then the Sheaf of Waving Offerings (Leviticus 23:15-22) were brought—first, the sin-offering, with the proper imposition of hands, confession of sin, and a sprinkling of blood; and similarly the burnt-offerings, with their meal-offerings. Lastly, the peace offering of two lambs with the Sheaf of Waving Offering was brought; it was a two-sheaf offering while positioned east of the alter.
  10. The priest placed his two hands below the one sheet or tray. Next, the two lambs were “waved” while still alive. Then, after their sacrifice, the breast and shoulder, or principal parts of each, were laid beside the two loaves contained on the one sheet and ‘waved’ (generally towards the east) forwards and backward and up and down. These things then became holy to the Lord.
  11. A handful of the wheat flour was burned on the altar, and the rest was eaten by the priest, who could not partake of it until after the ceremony itself had been performed. After burning the fat, the flesh belonged, not to the offerers, but to the priests.
  12. As in the case of the holiest sacrifices, the sacrificial meal was to take place within the Temple itself and no part of it to be kept beyond midnight. One of the wave-loaves and lambs went to the high priest; the other belonged to all the officiating priesthood.
  13. Even as the bringing of the omer at the Feast of First Fruits marked the period when new barleycorn might be used in the land, so the presentation of the wave-loaves meant that new wheat flour might be brought for meal-offerings in the Sanctuary.
  14. After the ceremony of the wave-loaves, the people brought their own freewill offerings, each as the Lord had prospered him—the afternoon and evening is spent in the festive meal, to which the stranger, the poor, and the Levite were the Lord’s welcome guests. On account of the number of such sacrifices, the Feast of Weeks was generally protracted for the greater part of a week, and this the more readily that the offering of firstfruits also began at this time.

Later, when the Jews were scattered among the nations, the Feast of Pentecost lost its primary significance as a harvest festival and was celebrated as a memorial when God gave them the Torah at Mount Sinai.

“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord.“ But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34 NET)
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy reputation which you profaned among the nations where you went. I will magnify my great name that has been profaned among the nations, that you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the sovereign Lord, when I magnify myself among you in their sight. “ ‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. I will sprinkle you with pure water and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. I will multiply the fruit of the trees and the produce of the fields, so that you will never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil behavior and your deeds which were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds. Understand that it is not for your sake I am about to act, declares the sovereign Lord. Be ashamed and embarrassed by your behavior, O house of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:22–32 NET)

Consequently, the Israelites would come to Jerusalem each year celebrating Pentecost, hoping that God would fulfill His word to give them a new circumcised spiritual heart and write His laws on it. (4)(16)(17)(18a)

The Feast of Weeks observed for the First Time in the Old Covenant (circa 1446 B.C.) (6)

Based on Scripture and the ancient interpretation from Jewish scholars, we learn that the first Pentecost did not happen in the Book of Acts; it happened in the book of Exodus. The first Pentecost was at Mount Sinai when God wrote His words on tablets of stone. Yet, the Lord promised there would be a time in the distant future when He would write His laws on the fleshly tablets of their circumcised spiritual hearts.

You demand that your precepts be carefully kept. If only I were predisposed to keep your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, if I were focused on all your commands. (Psalm 119:4–6 NET) 

The Law was given through Moses

For the law was given through Moses... (John 1:17 a NET)

Moses implemented the Passover (1) Lamb’s sacrifice to provide the blood covering for the nation of Israel, which took place on the 14th of the first month of Nisan at twilight.

Moses implemented the Passover meal to be eaten with Unleavened Bread which occurred after Nisan 14’s twilight on the 15th of Nisan.

Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt with them carrying unleavened dough to make unleavened bread (1) during the journey on the early morning of the 15th of Nisan.

Moses recorded the fact that Israel crossed the Red Sea and physically left the land of Egypt on the 9th of Iyar in Numbers 33:8

(Numbers 33:1-11 NET) 
 33:1 These are the journeys of the Israelites, who went out of the land of Egypt by their divisions under the authority of Moses and Aaron. 
33:2 Moses recorded their departures according to their journeys, by the commandment of the Lord; now these are their journeys according to their departures. 
33:3 They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the Israelites went out defiantly in plain sight of all the Egyptians. [recall, Israel’s days start at sunset] [15th of Nisan][ Leviticus 23:5,6. Numbers 28:16,17]
33:4 Now the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them; the Lord also executed judgments on their gods. 
33:5 The Israelites traveled from Rameses and camped in Succoth.
33:6 They traveled from Succoth, and camped in Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 
33:7 They traveled from Etham, and turned again to Pi-hahiroth, which is before Baal-Zephon; and they camped before Migdal.  
33:8 They traveled from Pi-hahiroth, and passed through the middle of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and camped in Marah. 
33:9 They traveled from Marah and came to Elim; in Elim there are twelve fountains of water and seventy palm trees, so they camped there. [in Elim] 
33:10 They traveled from Elim, and camped by the Red Sea. 
33:11 They traveled from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Zin [Sin]. 

(Exodus 16:1 NET)
16:1  When they journeyed from Elim, the entire company of Israelites came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their exodus from the land of Egypt. [15th of Iyar]

(Numbers 33:12-15 NET) 
33:12 They traveled from the wilderness of Zin [Sin] and camped in Dophkah.
33:13 And they traveled from Dophkah, and camped in Alush33:14 They traveled from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.
33:15 They traveled from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai.

Exodus 19:1,2 (NET)
19:1  In the third month after the Israelites went out from the land of Egypt, on the very day, they came to the Desert of Sinai. 
19:2 After they journeyed from Rephidim, they came to the Desert of Sinai, and they camped in the desert; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. [1st of Sivan]
They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe, when he performed his signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan. He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams. He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave their crops to the destroying locust and the fruit of their labor to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost. He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts. He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. He made a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague. He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham. Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won. (Psalm 78:42–54)
Our ancestors in Egypt failed to appreciate your miraculous deeds, they failed to remember your many acts of loyal love, and they rebelled at the sea, by the Red Sea. Yet he delivered them for the sake of his reputation, that he might reveal his power. He shouted at the Red Sea and it dried up; he led them through the deep water as if it were a desert. He delivered them from the power of the one who hated them, and rescued them from the power of the enemy. The water covered their enemies; not even one of them survived. They believed his promises; they sang praises to him. They quickly forgot what he had done; they did not wait for his instructions. In the wilderness they had an insatiable craving for meat; they challenged God in the desert. He granted their request, then struck them with a disease. (Psalm 106:7–15 NET)
But I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. Therefore, you must not acknowledge any God but me; except me there is no Savior. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the dry desert where no water was. When they were fed, they became satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; as a result, they forgot me! (Hosea 13:4–6 NET)

Moses led the nation of Israel to Mount Sinai, arriving on the “very day” of the new moon, which was the 1st of the third month of Sivan (1). (Exodus 19:1,2) [1st of Sivan]



Mount Sinai and the Giving of the Law

Typologically the Outer Court, Holy Place (Hebrews 9:1,2), and Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:3-5) are seen in the Israelites journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai:

  • blood on the door threshold and posts (1) of their homes in Egypt representing the Brazen Altar (1) (Exodus 12:1-14),
  • passing through the Red Sea representing Water Baptism at the Bronze Laver (1) (1 Corinthians 10:1,2. 1 Corinthians 6:11),
  • manna was given by God representing the Word of God at the Table of Showbread (1) (John 6:31-51)
  • Israel declared by God to be a Kingdom of Priests and a holy nation to illuminate the nations of the world representing the Golden Lampstand (1) (Exodus 19:5,6. Isaiah 49:6. Matthew 5:16)),
  • Israel commanded by God to spend three days sanctifying themselves, cleansing themselves physically and spiritually, through prayer, representing the Golden Altar of Incense (1) (Exodus 19:10,11. Revelations 8:3),
  • God manifests His Glory to Israel when giving them the Ten Commandments representing the Ark of the Covenant (1). (Exodus 25:21,22. 2 Corinthians 3:18)

Then, for the duration of God’s appearance, Mount Sinai typologically represents the future wilderness tabernacle, with both evidencing a tripartite division. The summit corresponds to the Most Holy Place (1). The second zone, partway up the mountain, corresponds to the Holy Place (1). From the foot of the mountain, the third zone is analogous to the Outer Court (1). (8)

As with the Tabernacle, the three distinct zones of Sinai feature three gradations of holiness in descending order. Even as Moses alone may ascend to the mountain’s peak, only the High Priest may enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Just as the Holy Place is the exclusive preserve of the priesthood, only the priests and elders can ascend partway up the mountain. The confinement of everyone else to the Tabernacle’s outer court, where the altar of burnt offering was located, evokes the parallel with Sinai in the restriction of the non-priests and Levites to the mountain’s foot where an altar was built. (8)

The graduated restrictions on access, touch, and sight are the counterparts of the repeated regulations about the unlawful entrance into the tabernacle’s sacred rooms in the same three ways. God is said to “descend” upon the mountain as upon the Tabernacle, and He communicates with Moses on the summit as He does in the Holy of Holies. Finally, the vivid descriptions of smoke, dense cloud, and fire that issued from and enveloped Sinai are paralleled by the cloud by day and the fire by night that become associated with the Tabernacle. (8)



Moses, for the first time, ascended Mount Sinai on the 2nd of Sivan to talk with the Lord. (Exodus 19:3-6) (5) This may not have been on the top of the mountain and possibly the location where Moses had seen the burning bush. (15) Israel is to be a kingdom of priests to mediate between God and the nations (i.e., Gentiles) of the world.

Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, “Thus you will tell the house of Jacob, and declare to the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I lifted you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. And now, if you will diligently listen to me and keep my covenant, then you will be my special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is mine, and you will be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you will speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:3–6 NET)(cf. Deuteronomy 3:10,11)

The terms of the covenant parallel those given earlier by God when He called Abram (Abraham).

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household to the land that I will show you. Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, so that you will exemplify divine blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but the one who treats you lightly I must curse, and all the families of the earth will bless one another by your name.” (Genesis 12:1–3 NET)

Through this covenant with Moses, the fulfillment of the promise to bless all the nations made to Abraham will be fulfilled!

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. (Galatians 3:13–14 NET)
He proclaims his word to Jacob, his statutes and regulations to Israel. He has not done so with any other nation; they are not aware of his regulations. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 147:19–20 NET)
You people worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:22 NET)

Moses, for the first time, descended from Mount Sinai on the 3rd of Sivan to discuss with the seventy elders all that the Lord had spoken. The elders then communicated the message to all the people. This was because it was not physically possible for Moses to communicate directly with approximately 2.5 million people. The elders then communicated to Moses the people’s acceptance of the Lord’s covenant conditions. (Exodus 19:7,8 a)

So Moses came and summoned the elders of Israel. He set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him, and all the people answered together, “All that the Lord has commanded we will do!” (Exodus 19:7–8 a NET)

Moses, for the second time, ascended Mount Sinai on the 4th of Sivan to share the words of the people with the Lord and to hear from Him. (Exodus 19:8-13)

So Moses brought the words of the people back to the Lord. The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and so that they will always believe in you.” And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and make them wash their clothes and be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You must set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death! No hand will touch him—but he will surely be stoned or shot through, whether a beast or a human being; he must not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast they may go up on the mountain.” (Exodus 19:8 b. Exodus 19:9–13 NET)

Moses, for the second time, descended from Mount Sinai on the 5th of Sivan with directions from the Lord to sanctify the Israelites and describe the safety protocols to be observed for His visitation with them in three days. (Exodus 19:14-19) God’s holy presence on the mountain has made it holy for the duration of His visit. (cf. Exodus 3:5) They were to observe these safety protocols until they heard a final long blast from the Shofar (Ram’s horn) indicating God had left the mountain, and then they would be permitted to cross the barrier and go upon the mountain. However, after they experience the presence of God, out of fear, the people will have no desire to go near the mountain. (Deuteronomy 5:5)

Then Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day. Do not go near your wives.” (Exodus 19:14–15 NET)

Moses sanctifies the Israelites for three days (6th – 8th of Sivan). (Exodus 19:14,15) They were not to have relations with their wives which would have rendered them both unclean. (Leviticus 15:16-18)

On the third day in the morning there was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a very loud horn; all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their place at the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 19:16,17 NET)
From Zion, the most beautiful of all places, God comes in splendor. Our God approaches and is not silent; consuming fire goes ahead of him and all around him a storm rages. (Psalm 50:2,3 NET)
May the splendor of the Lord endure! May the Lord find pleasure in the living things he has made! He looks down on the earth and it shakes; he touches the mountains and they start to smolder. (Psalm 104:31,32 NET)

Moses brings the Israelites from the camp to Mount Sinai’s foot to meet with God on the morning of the 8th of Sivan (Exodus 19:17). God the Father descends from Heaven upon the mountain in the Kingdom of Heaven’s mobile tabernacle. This mobile tabernacle functions as a mobile embassy that contains a throne and an altar (Ezekiel 1:4-49. Ezekiel 10:1-20). That is, the Kingdom of Heaven was temporarily on Earth atop Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 4:36)! Clouds appearing as smoke and darkness envelope the mountaintop. Opaque smoke-appearing clouds are associated with revealing the Shekinah Glory of God’s presence, albeit reduced in intensity to the observer (1 Kings 8:10–11. Ezekiel 10:4). Dark light-blocking clouds are associated with preventing the Shekinah Glory of God from being revealed. These clouds serve to mitigate the glory of God from radiating outward so that all unholiness that is near the throne of God is not immediately annihilated (Exodus 19:21;33:20). However, God’s cloud veiled glory can be seen periodically through the smoke-looking cloud, appearing as flames of fire or flashes of lightning! The Hebrew word used here could also be translated as “torches,” meaning flashes or fireballs, as seen by Abraham when “cutting” the Abrahamic covenant. (Genesis 15:17)

Now Mount Sinai was completely covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire, and its smoke went up like the smoke of a great furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. When the sound of the horn grew louder and louder, Moses was speaking and God was answering him with a voice. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain... (Exodus 19:18-20 a NET)

Moses and the Israelites actually “saw the voice of God” coming out of the mountain in flaming tongues of fire, according to Jewish scholars. The mixed multitude that came out of Egypt saw the tongues of fire and heard the one voice of God speak in their different languages so they could understand His words. Since it seems strange to “see voices,” this phrase was translated as thunderings and flashes of lightning. That is, the voice of the Lord sounded like thundering and appeared as fire.” (4)(XX)

You approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, a mountain ablaze to the sky above it and yet dark with a thick cloud. Then the Lord spoke to you from the middle of the fire; you heard speech but you could not see anything—only a voice was heard. (Deuteronomy 4:11,12 NET)

What was intentionally hidden by the dark cloud was revealed, at least in part, in later appearances of God in the scriptures:

“While I was watching, thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His attire was white like snow; the hair of his head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was ablaze with fire and its wheels were all aflame. A river of fire was streaming forth and proceeding from his presence. Many thousands were ministering to him; Many tens of thousands stood ready to serve him. The court convened and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9,10 NET)
I saw an amber glow like a fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I threw myself face down, and I heard a voice speaking. (Ezekiel 1:27,28 NET)
Then I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and his image and the number of his name. They were standing by the sea of glass, holding harps given to them by God. They sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and astounding are your deeds, Lord God, the All-Powerful! Just and true are your ways, King over the nations! Who will not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name, because you alone are holy? All nations will come and worship before you for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:2–4 NET)
I placed you there with an anointed guardian cherub; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked about amidst fiery stones. (Ezekiel 28:14 NET)
For our God is indeed a devouring fire. (Hebrews 12:29 NET)

Why does God appear to us as fire?

Set me like a cylinder seal over your heart, like a signet on your arm. For love is as strong as death, passion is as unrelenting as Sheol. Its flames burst forth, it is a blazing flame. Surging waters cannot quench love; floodwaters cannot overflow it. If someone were to offer all his possessions to buy love, the offer would be utterly despised. (Song of Solomon 8:6,7 NET)

Because fire is a metaphor for love in the scriptures and God is love!

The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8 NET)
The leech has two daughters: “Give! Give!” There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, “Enough”— the grave, the barren womb, land that is not satisfied with water, and fire that never says, “Enough!” (Proverbs 30:15,16 NET)

In giving His love to us, God, similar to fire, is never satisfied in love He has given, thus never saying that He has given enough. Furthermore, the law of diminishing returns does not apply to God’s love or any of the other fruits of the Holy Spirit (1) (Galatians 5:22,23). Unfortunately, this love, this fire, in consuming all things contrary to us, will also consume sinful mankind. Consequently, God shields us from the full manifestation of this Holy Fire or rather His fire that makes all things holy!

The Lord reigns! Let the earth be happy! Let the many coastlands rejoice! Dark clouds surround him; equity and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him; on every side it burns up his enemies. His lightning bolts light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of the whole earth. The sky declares his justice, and all the nations see his splendor. (Psalm 97:1–6 NET)
You prevail over all your enemies; your power is too great for those who hate you. You burn them up like a fiery furnace when you appear; the Lord angrily devours them; the fire consumes them. (Psalm 21:8–9 NET)
God springs into action! His enemies scatter; his adversaries run from him. As smoke is driven away by the wind, so you drive them away. As wax melts before fire, so the wicked are destroyed before God. (Psalm 68:1–2 NET)

Moses, for the third time, ascended Mount Sinai, going all the way to the top, at God’s request, on the 8th of Sivan. (Exodus 19:18-24) Moses receives the repeated admonition for the Israelites not to attempt to ascend the mountain under the penalty of destruction, the warning for the priests to ensure they are sanctified, and Aaron’s invitation to accompany Moses on his next ascent. Realize, all first-born males were priests at this time (Numbers 3:2;11-13. Numbers 3:45;8:16-18). After the Law is given to Moses on Mount Sinai, the Aaronic Priesthood from the Tribe of Levi will be established, and firstborn males will no longer all be priests for the nation of Israel (Exodus 28. Exodus 29). Aaron and his sons, as priests, would mediate between the Lord and the nation of Israel. Nevertheless, Israel was still to function as a Kingdom of Priests to mediate between the nation of Israel and the nations of the world, to bring them to the Lord (Exodus 19:6. Isaiah 61:6, John 4:22).

...and the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. The Lord said to Moses, “Go down and solemnly warn the people, lest they force their way through to the Lord to look, and many of them perish. Let the priests also, who approach the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break through against them.” Moses said to the Lord, “The people are not able to come up to Mount Sinai, because you solemnly warned us, ‘Set boundaries for the mountain and set it apart.’ ” (Exodus 19:20 b. Exodus 19:21–23 NET)

The Israelites had journeyed from Egypt to Mount Sinai to meet their God and fellowship with Him. Again, the Lord demonstrates concern that in their excitement to meet Him, the Lord of the Universe, they would disobediently “crash the barrier” to approach Him. This is a scene we have all seen played out with famous people around their idolizing fans. However, being overcome with excitement would not be their reaction to the Glory of God, who is absolutely holy! (cf. 2 Samuel 6:9. Isaiah 6:5. Job 42:6)

Moses, for the third time, descended from Mount Sinai to share the Lord’s repeated warnings for the people and priests (i.e., all firstborn males) and extend the Lord’s invitation for Aaron to come up with him. (Exodus 19:25)

The Lord said to him, “Go, get down, and come up, and Aaron with you, but do not let the priests and the people force their way through to come up to the Lord, lest he break through against them.” So Moses went down to the people and spoke to them. (Exodus 19:24–25 NET)

Moses returned to the base of the mountain and crossed back over Mount Sinai’s barrier, thus joining the people of Israel. They gathered in one place at the foot of the mountain on the morning of the 8th of Sivan. That is, God the Father came from the distant north with God’s shofar sounding louder and louder as He approached from above. He came down upon Mount Sinai to meet with His people gathered at its base. The whole mountain was filled with fire. God spoke, they saw His voice as fire, and then Moses spoke, and the people trembled. It was an awesome revelation of the glory of God! (4) Then the Lord proclaimed the Decalogue (the Ten Words or Commandments) (Exodus 20:1-17) to them all at the base of Mount Sinai from the fire, the cloud, and the deep darkness atop Sinai.

The Lord spoke face to face with you at the mountain, from the middle of the fire. (I was standing between the Lord and you at that time to reveal to you the message of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.) He said: (Deuteronomy 5:4,5 NET)
From heaven he spoke to you in order to teach you, and on earth he showed you his great fire from which you also heard his words. (Deuteronomy 4:36 NET)
Be very careful, then, because you saw no form at the time the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the middle of the fire. (Deuteronomy 4:15 NET)

Again, this occurred on the 8th of Sivan, seven weeks and one day (i.e., 50 days) after Sunday the 18th of Nisan (Sunday, April 26, 1446 B.C.), which followed the 14th of Nisan Passover (Wednesday, April 22, 1446 B.C.). Realize, after they enter the Promised Land (Leviticus 23:9-11), the day after the weekly Sabbath following the Passover (i.e., Sunday) would be the Feast of First Fruits, and 50 days after that would be the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Meaning, the Ten Commandments were given on the day that would later become the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost! (5)

That is, the date of First Fruits and Pentecost Sundays would vary since the date of Passover was fixed at the 14th of Nisan:

“ ‘On the fourteenth day of the first month [Nisan] is the Lord’s Passover. (Numbers 28:16 NET)

Consequently, the day of the week on which the Passover date fell naturally varied.

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land that I am about to give to you and you gather in its harvest, then you must bring the sheaf of the first portion of your harvest to the priest, and he must wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for your benefit—on the day after the Sabbath the priest is to wave it. (Leviticus 23:9–11 NET)

Again, this refers to the weekly Sabbath and not the High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which had a fixed date of the 15th of Nisan.

And on the fifteenth day of this month [Nisan] is the festival. For seven days bread made without yeast must be eaten. And on the first day there is to be a holy assembly; you must do no ordinary work on it. (Numbers 28:17,18 NET)

Thereby fixing the day for the observance of the Feast of Firstfruits and Pentecost to always be on a Sunday. For example, with the 14th of Nisan falling on a Wednesday, Pentecost would be 50 days from Sunday, the 18th of Nisan, the 8th of Sivan. Recall, the Hebrew religious calendar (1) was synchronized with the harvest seasons. This started with synchronizing the start of a new year with a new moon and when the barley was near harvest-ready. Similarly, the Lord did not give a fixed date for the Feast of First Fruits (e.g., the Lord did not state the day after the High Sabbath of Nisan 16 as some purport) but rather made it variable. Thus, providing up to an additional week of fine adjustment for synchronizing the readiness of wheat to be harvested with the Feast of Pentecost.

The Lord said these things to your entire assembly at the mountain from the middle of the fire, the cloud, and the darkness with a loud voice, and that was all he said. (Deuteronomy 5:22 NET a)

At this point, the people became aware of the angelic host that accompanied the Lord (Hebrews 2:2). They saw the Seraphim (1) that guard God’s throne in the mountain that was ablaze with fire (Ezekiel 1:5-14. Revelation 4:6-8).

And he says of the angels, “He makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire,” (Hebrews 1:7 NET)
God has countless chariots; they number in the thousands. The Lord comes from Sinai in holy splendor. (Psalm 68:17 NET)
He said: The Lord came from Sinai and revealed himself to Israel from Seir. He appeared in splendor from Mount Paran, and came forth with ten thousand holy ones. (Deuteronomy 33:2 a NET)
O shepherd of Israel, pay attention, you who lead Joseph like a flock of sheep! You who sit enthroned above the winged angels, reveal your splendor! (Psalm 80:1 NET)
The Lord reigns! The nations tremble. He sits enthroned above the winged angels; the earth shakes. (Psalm 99:1 NET)

The angels acted in the role of Heaven’s Ambassadors for the administration of the Lord’s Law. (11)

This same Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer through the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:35)
Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions, until the arrival of the descendant to whom the promise had been made. It was administered through angels by an intermediary. (Galatians 3:19 NET)
This is the man who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and he received living oracles to give to you. (Acts 7:38 NET)(cf. Acts 7:35)
You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it.” (Acts 7:53 NET)

The sight of the fire of God was so intense, the sound of the shofar and the voice of the Lord was so loud that the people desired to see and hear it no more!

For you have not come to something that can be touched, to a burning fire and darkness and gloom and a whirlwind and the blast of a trumpet and a voice uttering words such that those who heard begged to hear no more. (Hebrews 12:18–19 NET)
The Lord’s shout is heard over the water; the majestic God thunders, the Lord appears over the surging water. The Lord’s shout is powerful, the Lord’s shout is majestic. The Lord’s shout breaks the cedars, the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf and Sirion like a young ox. The Lord’s shout strikes with flaming fire. The Lord’s shout shakes the wilderness, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The Lord’s shout bends the large trees and strips the leaves from the forests. Everyone in his temple says, “Majestic!” (Psalm 29:3–9 NET)

This revelation from the Lord caused even more intense fear among the people (cf. Deuteronomy 9:19. Hebrews 12:21). The Holy God had spoken, causing the people to realize their own sinfulness (Isaiah 6:5). So they moved back from the mountain (Exodus 20:18, 21), and the tribal leaders and elders, speaking for the people, requested Moses to act as their intermediary with God. (9)

All the people were seeing the thundering and the lightning, and heard the sound of the horn, and saw the mountain smoking—and when the people saw it they trembled with fear and kept their distance. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:18,19 NET)
Then, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was ablaze, all your tribal leaders and elders approached me. You said, “The Lord our God has shown us his great glory and we have heard him speak from the middle of the fire. It is now clear to us that God can speak to human beings and they can keep on living. But now, why should we die, because this intense fire will consume us! If we keep hearing the voice of the Lord our God we will die! Who is there from the entire human race who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the middle of the fire as we have, and has lived? You go near so that you can hear everything the Lord our God is saying and then you can tell us whatever he says to you; then we will pay attention and do it.” (Deuteronomy 5:23–27 NET) 

The people are now ready to accept Moses in his intermediating role with the Lord as their leader. Note that Moses was not qualified to be a true mediator, for he was an imperfect mortal man. A true mediator between God and man must be as holy as the Lord, so he could touch God without being destroyed and have an immortal human body so that he can touch humankind without destroying them and must exist for all time.

Nor is there an arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both, (Job 9:33 NET)  
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God any more or see this great fire any more lest we die.” The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name. (Deuteronomy 18:15–19 NET)

Moses tells the people that the Lord heard what the Israelites said about desiring a mediator, and He agreed. God said He will raise up a prophet who would be the mediator (1), and He would come from the bloodline of the nation of Israel. This prophet would speak only what the Lord commands, and those that do not obey would bear the consequences of their actions.

Moses tells the people that God did not manifest His glory so that they would be afraid of Him. But, rather they would realize that He should be treated reverently (i.e., with a Holy Fear), which included not rebelling against Him and His ways (i.e., not sinning) but rather worshipping and serving Him and caring for all His children. That is, approach God with Exodus 20:20 vision:

Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you so that you do not sin.” (Exodus 20:20 NET)

Do not fear, but fear!

Moses then relays to the people the Lord’s direction for them to return to their tents, but he draws near to Mount Sinai, on the side of the boundary adjacent to the camp, to hear the commandments, statutes, and ordinances from the Lord.

When the Lord heard you speaking to me, he said to me, “I have heard what these people have said to you—they have spoken well. If only it would really be their desire to fear me and obey all my commandments in the future, so that it may go well with them and their descendants forever. Go and tell them, ‘Return to your tents!’ But as for you, remain here with me so I can declare to you all the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that you are to teach them, so that they can carry them out in the land I am about to give them. Be careful, therefore, to do exactly what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn right or left! Walk just as he has commanded you so that you may live, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land you are going to possess. (Deuteronomy 5:28–33 NET)
The people kept their distance, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:21 NET)

Moses receives the commandments, statutes, and ordinances from the Lord while at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses then went to the people and proclaimed to them all the Lord’s words and decisions.

Moses came and told the people all the Lord’s words and all the decisions. All the people answered together, “We are willing to do all the words that the Lord has said,” (Exodus 24:3 NET)
Now these are the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that the Lord your God instructed me to teach you so that you may carry them out in the land where you are headedand that you may so revere the Lord your God that you will keep all his statutes and commandments that I am giving you—you, your children, and your grandchildren—all your lives, to prolong your days. Pay attention, Israel, and be careful to do this so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in number—as the Lord, God of your ancestors, said to you, you will have a land flowing with milk and honey. (Deuteronomy 6:1–3 NET)
Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4–5 NET)

Moses recorded all the Lord’s words, thus creating a scroll, the “Book of the Covenant.” “Covenant” in the Bible means “God’s proposal of blessing.” Early on the 9th of Sivan, he built an altar on the side of the boundary adjacent to the camp (cf. Exodus 19:17), at the base of Mount Sinai, and arranged twelve standing stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Note, Moses did not erect a singular stone representing the Lord as that could be taken as an idol. Young Israelite men, most likely firstborn males in the role of priests (as discussed previously), offered burnt offerings (1) and sacrificed young bulls (i.e., male calves) for the peace offerings (1) to the Lord.

and Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. Early in the morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain and arranged twelve standing stones—according to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls for peace offerings to the Lord. (Exodus 24:4,5 NET)
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, to whom at Horeb I gave rules and regulations for all Israel to obey. (Malachi 4:4)

Moses took half of the sacrificial blood and put it in bowls, and half of the blood he splashed on the altar. The Altar representing the Lord’s commitment to the Covenant. Moses took the “Book of the Covenant” and read it to the people, and they again stated they would be willing and obedient to all that the Lord had commanded. (Isaiah 1:19,20) Moses then proceeded to splash the blood from the bowls on the people (most likely splashed the blood on the twelve columns representing the people) and said, This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you by the words of the “Book of the Covenant.” At this point, the role of being a kingdom of priests was formally ordained (Exodus 19:6). The only other passage where blood was ritually applied to persons under the Mosaic law was in the consecration of the priests (Exodus 29:19–20). The people were set apart concerning their worldwide mission in the same way as Aaron, and his sons were set apart to function as priests within the covenant community. (15)

Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and half of the blood he splashed on the altar. He took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people, and they said, “We are willing to do and obey all that the Lord has spoken.” So Moses took the blood and splashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:6–8 NET)
So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” (Hebrews 9:18–20 NET)

The Lord requests that Moses, Aaron, along with Aaron’s two sons (the ones who would later be destroyed by God for their disobedience in offering strange fire while likely drunk (Leviticus 10:1,2)), and seventy of the elders (cf. Exodus 3:16. Numbers 11:16,17,24,25) ) were to cross the boundary and ascend Mount Sinai to some position partway up. From that elevation, they would worship the Lord.

But to Moses the Lord said, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from a distance. Moses alone may come near the Lord, but the others must not come near, nor may the people go up with him.” (Exodus 24:1,2 NET)

Moses, for the fourth time, ascended partway up Mount Sinai on the 9th of Sivan, along with Aaron and his two sons and seventy of the elders. (Exodus 24:9-11) They viewed a manifestation of God (i.e., a Theophany) by looking up to Him from a lower elevation seeing Him through the transparent blue sapphire floor supporting His throne. They then fellowship with the Lord by partaking in a “Peace Offering” or “Fellowship Offering” covenantal meal from the animals sacrificed earlier. Realize, no man has seen God as He really is, in His divine essence, in the fullness of His Glory (John 1:18. 1 Timothy 6:13-16). If we humans, in flesh and blood bodies, were to see God as He really is, we would cease to live (Exodus 19:21;33:20). Again, what they saw was a visible manifestation of the first person of the trinity – God the Father. Isaiah also saw God the Father when he saw the Lord (Isaiah 6:1). (10)

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. But he did not lay a hand on the leaders of the Israelites, so they saw God, and they ate and they drank. (Exodus 24:9–11 NET)

Moses, before ascending at the Lord’s command, directs Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders to return to the people in the camp so they can resolve any matters of dispute. In addition, they are directed not to break camp and resume their travels until Moses and Joshua return. Moses then continues his fourth ascent toward the top of Mount Sinai along with Joshua. Moses and Joshua stop at the edge of the Lord’s Glory cloud, the cloud with the luminous presence of the Lord within, for six days.

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me to the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandments that I have written, so that you may teach them.” So Moses set out with Joshua his attendant, and Moses went up the mountain of God. He told the elders, “Wait for us in this place until we return to you. Here are Aaron and Hur with you. Whoever has any matters of dispute can approach them.” (Exodus 24:12-14 NET)   

Moses, upon the Lord’s request, enters the Glory cloud and continues his fourth ascent to the top of Mount Sinai, on the 15th of Sivan, staying for 40 days and nights. Joshua remains at the edge of the Lord’s Glory cloud (Exodus 24:15-18). Moses received the plans for the tabernacle, its furnishings, materials, and procedures, clothing for the priest and high priest, atonement money given for service of the tabernacle (to avoid a plague), etc. Lastly, Moses received the Ten Commandments (1) written by the finger of God on Tablets of Stone. (Exodus 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)

Moses went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord resided on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day he called to Moses from within the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in plain view of the people. Moses went into the cloud when he went up the mountain, and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:15–18 NET)
Our ancestors had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God who spoke to Moses ordered him to make it according to the design he had seen. (Acts 7:44 NET)
He gave Moses two tablets of testimony when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, tablets of stone written by the finger of God. (Exodus 31:18 NET)
Then he inscribed the words on two stone tablets and gave them to me. (Deuteronomy 5:22 NET b)
He said: The Lord came from Sinai and revealed himself to Israel from Seir. He appeared in splendor from Mount Paran, and came forth with ten thousand holy ones. With his right hand he gave a fiery law to them. Surely he loves the people; all your holy ones are in your power. And they sit at your feet, each receiving your words. Moses delivered to us a law, an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob. The Lord was king over Jeshurun, when the leaders of the people assembled, the tribes of Israel together. (Deuteronomy 33:2–5 NET)

When Moses did not return from the mountaintop for some time, the Israelites asked Aaron to make them idol gods (Elohim) that could go before them. Aaron did as they requested, made a mold, and cast a calf (an Egyptian god (1)) from the earrings of gold from their wives and children. The Israelites then declared that this golden calf was their idol god (Elohim), who delivered them from Egypt. Aaron heard this and built an altar to this idol of god and announced they would have a feast to the Lord (Yahweh) the following day. The next day they proceeded to bow to the idol god, offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to it, ate the sacrifices, drank the libations, and then played by singing and dancing before it lasciviously mimicking the idolatrous worship of Egypt. (Exodus 32:1-6)

Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him aside and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt—we do not know what has happened to him!’ At that time they made an idol in the form of a calf, brought a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing in the works of their hands. (Acts 7:39–41 NET)
They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe, when he performed his signs in Egypt and his marvels in the fields of Zoan. He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams. He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave their crops to the destroying locust and the fruit of their labor to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost. He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts. He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. He made a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague. He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham. Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won. (Psalm 78:42–54 NET)
But God was not pleased with most of them, for they were cut down in the wilderness. These things happened as examples for us, so that we will not crave evil things as they did. So do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” (1 Corinthians 10:5–7 NET)

The Lord saw the corruption of these “stiff-necked” (12) people and directed Moses to descend quickly. The Lord was ready to give them what justice demanded, their destruction, and then He would start over with Moses making a new nation.

The nation of Israel had lost the:

  1. Recognition as God’s people (i.e., they were judged to be disowned by God and to be eliminated)
  2. Promised Land
  3. Lord’s presence with Moses
  4. Lord’s presence manifested as the “Shekinah Glory” in the future Tabernacle
  5. Mosaic Covenant, and
  6. They had uncovered and unpardoned iniquity and sin.

Here is depicted a mighty conflict against the revelation of the truth of God. If God was not wanted, and His Presence was spurned, then the devil would win the day, and the Word of God would be overthrown. (14)

However, God left an opening, not a temptation but rather a test (1), for Moses to intercede for the tribes of Israel (aka, Jacob) to be restored as God’s people or out of selfish ambition, take this opportunity to have the tribes of Moses become the new nation.

To make His mercy understandable to a world with no understanding of it, the Lord, in dealing with Moses, placed Himself in an odd position and in an odd light. Furthermore, under the Law, it was necessary to view God in a considerable degree of likeness to man to be understandable to people who had little conception of spiritual things. Consequently, we see a God in a blaze of anger and wrath. It was of one who was lunging forth upon the nation that He had just covenanted with, to destroy it for the idolatry indulged in at the very time when He was giving the first tables of the Law to Moses. Everything depended on Moses’ FAITH and lowliness. (14)

Yet Moses himself was sustained by the presence of the Lord and by the very truth in the contest. For Moses had found the Lord to be faithful and good, and full of mercy and compassion, and gracious. In this terrific pressure, humility alone-as some people think of it was not sufficient to make him able to STAND AGAINST THE ADVERSARY; he had to PARTAKE OF the peculiar something which constitutes the WILL of God to be able to stand. Everything depended upon whether he KNEW GOD well enough to be able to bear the intercession for sin. Moses STOOD in faith. He was not repelled from God but drawn more closely to Him in his intercessions by which the Devil was overthrown. (14)

Moses asked (1) in faith, based on the Word of the Abrahamic covenant (1), with his motive being the impact of their destruction on the Lord’s glory and reputation (1).

(Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than any man on the face of the earth.) (Numbers 12:3 NET)

Moses’ reaction to throwing himself as an intercessor between the nation and God was the test’s purpose. For what Moses said and did, as recorded in Exodus 32, was what God Himself wanted to say and do. It was the truth of God in Moses. That truth of God in Moses became, then, the established relationship of God with Israel as the LORD God who dwelt among them. (14)

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go quickly, descend, because your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way that I commanded them—they have made for themselves a molten calf and have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ” Then the Lord said to Moses: “I have seen this people. Look what a stiff-necked people they are! So now, leave me alone so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them, and I will make from you a great nation.” But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your anger burn against your people, whom you have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘For evil he led them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger, and relent of this evil against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants, to whom you swore by yourself and told them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken about I will give to your descendants, and they will inherit it forever.’ ” Then the Lord relented over the evil that he had said he would do to his people. (Exodus 32:7–14)
But they rebelled and offended his holy Spirit, so he turned into an enemy and fought against them. His people remembered the ancient times. Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea, along with the shepherd of his flock? Where is the one who placed his holy Spirit among them, the one who made his majestic power available to Moses, who divided the water before them, gaining for himself a lasting reputation, who led them through the deep water? Like a horse running on flat land they did not stumble. Like an animal that goes down into a valley to graze, so the Spirit of the Lord granted them rest. In this way you guided your people, gaining for yourself an honored reputation. (Isaiah 63:10–14 NET)

At Moses’ first intercession for the people, the Lord in mercy withheld judgment on the people.

They gained back:

  • Recognition as God’s people based on the Abrahamic Covenant.

However, they had still lost the:

  • Promised Land
  • Lord’s presence with Moses
  • Lord’s presence manifested as the “Shekinah Glory” in the future Tabernacle.
  • Mosaic Covenant, and
  • They had uncovered and unpardoned iniquity and sin.
And he said to me, “Get up, go down at once from here because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have sinned! They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them and have made for themselves a cast metal image.”Moreover, he said to me, “I have taken note of these people; they are a stubborn lot! Stand aside and I will destroy them, obliterating their very name from memory, and I will make you into a stronger and more numerous nation than they are.” (Deuteronomy 9:12–14 NET)
“You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven. You provided them with just judgments, true laws, and good statutes and commandments. You made known to them your holy Sabbath; you issued commandments, statutes, and law to them through Moses your servant. You provided bread from heaven for them in their time of hunger, and you brought forth water from the rock for them in their time of thirst. You told them to enter in order to possess the land that you had sworn to give them. “But they—our ancestors—behaved presumptuously; they rebelled and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. You did not abandon them, even when they made a cast image of a calf for themselves and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up from Egypt,’ or when they committed atrocious blasphemies. (Nehemiah 9:13–18 NET)
For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13 NET)

Moses, for the fourth time, descended from Mount Sinai to share the Commandments. (Exodus 32:15-30)

Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. The tablets were written on both sides—they were written on the front and on the back. Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. (Exodus 32:15–16 NET)
So I turned and went down the mountain while it was blazing with fire; the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands. (Deuteronomy 9:15 NET)

Moses hears the sound of dancing and then sees the rebellion against the Lord and His commandments (Exodus 32:17,18). Moses, in righteous indignation (Psalms 119:53. cf. Exodus 32:10), then demonstrated what they had done by throwing the two tablets down and breaking them near the Lord’s altar (Exodus 24:4). They had broken all ten commandments (1) in their wickedness!

Furthermore, they had broken the Mosiac blood covenant ratified about forty days earlier when they said, “We are willing to do and obey all that the Lord has spoken.” (Exodus 24:6–8 NET)

When he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became extremely angry. He threw the tablets from his hands and broke them to pieces at the bottom of the mountain. (Exodus 32:19 NET)
When I looked, you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God and had cast for yourselves a metal calf; you had quickly turned aside from the way he had commanded you! I grabbed the two tablets, threw them down, and shattered them before your very eyes. (Deuteronomy 9:16–17 NET) 

Moses took the golden calf, burned, melted, and ground it into fine dust. He then tossed it into the stream that flowed down from Mount Sinai and made the people drink it. (Exodus 32:19. cf. Deuteronomy 9:21) The idol’s construction was likely a wooden frame overlaid with gold sheeting based on the burning, melting, and then grinding to dust. Note the similarities with drinking water with ashes and gold dust with the test for a wife accused of adultery by her husband. (Numbers 5:11-31) The adulterous wife test included drinking pure running water stored in the Bronze Laver mixed with dust from the tabernacle floor to determine guilt or innocence of unfaithfulness to her faithful husband. If she were guilty, there would be physical manifestations of her guilt (e.g., womb swelling, thigh wasting away, etc.). Here it is, drinking the pure running water from the mountain stream, mixed with ashes and gold dust from the idol, determines guilt or innocence of unfaithfulness to God, Israel’s faithful husband. It is not indicated what physical manifestations would occur from the gold dust; however, it must have been obvious, as will be seen. (8)

“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:31–32 NET) (cf. Isaiah 54:5)

Moses listens to Aaron’s improbable story of the sequence of events leading up to the rebellion for which God wanted to kill Aaron (Deuteronomy 9:20). Similar to Adam (Genesis 3:12), Aaron blames his failure to obey God on another, the people. (Exodus 32:21-25. ) Moses stood at the camp entrance, with his back to the mountain, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” The Levites, Moses’ own tribe, allied with him. Moses relayed the Lord’s words to fasten their sword on their side and go throughout the camp, killing those that did not pass the ashes and gold dust water test even if they were a brother, friend, neighbor, or son. The Levites then went throughout the camp, and three thousand out of the approximately 2.5 million people’s lives were lost. Thus the Levites consecrated themselves to the Lord and were blessed by being installed into the office the Lord had called them. The next day, Moses let the people know that they have committed a grave sin; however, he will go to the Lord with the hope of making atonement for their sin (Exodus 32:26-30)

Moses, for the fifth time, ascended Mount Sinai, going all the way to the top to continue intercession for the people. (Exodus 32:31-33) Moses tells the Lord that he is willing to lose his salvation to save the people. (cf. Romans 9:3,4) The Lord makes it clear that under the law, only sinners are blotted out of His book of Life (cf. Psalms 69:28. Philippians 4:3. Revelation 3:5).

At Moses’ request, the Lord in mercy relents and gives the Promised Land back to the people. The Lord instructs Moses to go lead them there, but the Lord would no longer be with them so that His holy presence does not consume these rebellious people. Furthermore, they would continue to be lead to victory over the indigenous people in the Promised Land being led by the Angel of the Lord. However, they would be punished, but it is delayed for now.

Realize, God destroys evil as light blots out darkness. Sin was the direct motion of the Devil in opposition to the Word of God. God is present in His Word and reveals Himself in it. The whole power of evil is to shut God out from the heart by deceit and lies, which the self-pleasing heart loves. The devil can only oppose God in this world through the hearts of those created in His image. God “COVERS” and “PROTECTS” the repentant in His mercy. But the rebellious cut themselves off from the mercy and the covering and are the immediate target and prey of the Devil’s destructive spirits that seek to obliterate God’s goodness with evil. (14)

El, God, the Lord speaks, and summons the earth to come from the east and west. From Zion, the most beautiful of all places, God comes in splendor. Our God approaches and is not silent; consuming fire goes ahead of him and all around him a storm rages. He summons the heavens above, as well as the earth, so that he might judge his people. He says: “Assemble my covenant people before me, those who ratified a covenant with me by sacrifice!” The heavens declare his fairness, for God is judge. (Selah) He says: “Listen my people! I am speaking! Listen Israel! I am accusing you! I am God, your God! I am not condemning you because of your sacrifices, or because of your burnt sacrifices that you continually offer me. I do not need to take a bull from your household or goats from your sheepfolds. For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me, as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills. I keep track of every bird in the hills, and the insects of the field are mine. Even if I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all it contains belong to me. Do I eat the flesh of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? Present to God a thank-offering! Repay your vows to the sovereign One! Pray to me when you are in trouble! I will deliver you, and you will honor me!” God says this to the evildoer: “How can you declare my commands, and talk about my covenant? For you hate instruction and reject my words. When you see a thief, you join him; you associate with men who are unfaithful to their wives. You do damage with words, and use your tongue to deceive. You plot against your brother; you slander your own brother. When you did these things, I was silent, so you thought I was exactly like you. But now I will condemn you and state my case against you! Carefully consider this, you who reject God! Otherwise I will rip you to shreds and no one will be able to rescue you. Whoever presents a thank-offering honors me. To whoever obeys my commands, I will reveal my power to deliver.” (Psalm 50:1–23 NET) 

The Lord then sends a plague on the people because they and Aaron made the golden calf idol. Between the Levite slaughter of 3,000 and the plague, 23,000 were killed out of the over 2.5 million Israelites (1 Corinthians 10:8). This means 20,000 were killed by the plague. (Exodus 32:31-35;33:1-3).

So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has committed a very serious sin, and they have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin …, but if not, wipe me out from your book that you have written.”The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me—that person I will wipe out of my book. So now go, lead the people to the place I have spoken to you about. See, my angel will go before you. But on the day that I punish, I will indeed punish them for their sin.” And the Lord sent a plague on the people because they had made the calf—the one Aaron made. The Lord said to Moses, “Go up from here, you and the people whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go up among you, for you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 32:31–35;33:1–3 NET)

At Moses’ second intercession for the people, the Lord again was merciful.

They gained back:

  • Recognition as God’s people based on the Abrahamic Covenant.
  • The Promised Land

However, they had still lost the:

  • Lord’s presence with Moses. The basis for this removal is revealed due to their rebellious nature. Even with their recent iniquity and sin being forgiven or covered, it had not been pardoned, remitted, or canceled. Therefore, God might yet destroy them on the way as they continue in their rebellious ways. Instead, the Angel of the Lord will go with them.
  • Lord’s presence manifested as the “Shekinah Glory” in the future Tabernacle.
  • Mosaic Covenant, and
  • They had covered but unpardoned iniquity and sin.

Moses, for the fifth time, descended from Mount Sinai to communicate the Lord’s words to the people. (Exodus 32:34,35;34:1-3 )

Moses relates to the people the message from God that they are stiff-necked people, including the consequences of their rebellion. He informs them of the Lord’s requirement, a test, for them to take off their ornaments. The people then stripped off Egypt’s ornaments (Exodus 3:22;12:35,36. Psalm 105:37), previously used to make the golden calf, by Mount Sinai.

Moses erected an interim “tent of meeting” outside of the camp where the Lord would speak with him (Exodus 33:8-11)(cf. Psalms 99:6-8). The people would watch from the front of their tents as Moses went into the interim tent of meeting, and the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance while the Lord spoke to Moses. The people would worship the Lord from their tents while the pillar of cloud was present. The Lord would speak face to face with Moses as a man speaks to his friend (cf. Numbers 12:6-8. Deuteronomy 34:10. John 15:15).

Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel was one of those who prayed to him. They prayed to the Lord and he answered them. He spoke to them from a pillar of cloud; they obeyed his regulations and the ordinance he gave them. O Lord our God, you answered them. They found you to be a forgiving God, but also one who punished their sinful deeds. Praise the Lord our God! Worship on his holy hill, for the Lord our God is holy! (Psalm 99:6–9 NET) 
I lay flat on the ground before the Lord for forty days and nights, for he had said he would destroy you. I prayed to him: O, Lord God, do not destroy your people, your valued property that you have powerfully redeemed, whom you brought out of Egypt by your strength.Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; ignore the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of these people. Otherwise the people of the land from which you brought us will say, “The Lord was unable to bring them to the land he promised them, and because of his hatred for them he has brought them out to kill them in the desert.”They are your people, your valued property, whom you brought out with great strength and power. (Deuteronomy 9:25–29)
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have been saying to me, ‘Bring this people up,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. But you said, ‘I know you by name, and also you have found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your way, that I may know you, that I may continue to find favor in your sight. And see that this nation is your people.” And the Lord said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:12–14 NET)

At Moses’ third intercession for the people, the Lord was again merciful.

They had gained back:

  • Recognition as God’s people based on the Abrahamic Covenant.
  • The Promised Land
  • The Lord’s presence with Moses (will give him rest from all the problems of leading these stiff-necked people).

However, they had still lost the:

  • Lord’s presence manifested as the “Shekinah Glory” in the future Tabernacle,
  • Mosaic Covenant, and
  • They had covered but unpardoned iniquity and sin.
And Moses said to him, “If your presence does not go with us, do not take us up from here. For how will it be known then that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not by your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?” The Lord said to Moses, “I will do this thing also that you have requested, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:15–17 NET)

Moses, as God intended him to do, pled with God that His Presence should go with them, or else not take them to the Land. (14)

At Moses’ fourth intercession for the people, the Lord again was merciful.

They had gained back:

  • Recognition as God’s people based on the Abrahamic Covenant.
  • The Promised Land
  • The Lord’s presence with Moses
  • Lord’s presence manifested as the “Shekinah Glory” in the future Tabernacle (Thus again giving permission for it to be built. That is, the Lord will dwell with His people).

However, they had still lost the:

  • Mosaic Covenant, and
  • They had covered but unpardoned iniquity and sin.

Moses then asked to see the Lord’s Glory. The Lord stated that no one could see His face and live (cf. 1 Timothy 6:6). The Lord would hide him in a fissure (the cave later used by Elijah, 1 Kings 19:9) and cover its opening with His hand as He passed before Moses while declaring His name. Once he passed by the fissure, He would remove His hand and allow Moses to see His backside. That is, Moses will be able to see the glorious works of the Lord from the beginning until this time, but not His future works. This encounter allowed Moses to have the wisdom to write the Pentateuch (i.e., the first five books of the Bible), including the times before his birth contained in Genesis.

And Moses said, “Show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass before your face, and I will proclaim the Lord by name before you; I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:18,19 NET) 

In Hebrew, the last part of that verse reads: “I will grace whom I will grace, and I will compassion whom I will compassion.” Moses was not only humble, blindly obedient to the commandments of the Law, but he was also PARTAKER, in utter lowliness, of the MERCY which God associates with his “NAME.” (14) And the Lord said, “Thou canst not see my face: Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and . . . while my glory passeth by, . . . I will put thee in a cleft of the rock and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” Moses, in all, and above all, wanted God to know Him, and love Him, and please Him. And God constituted him His Intercessor, to stand between the people and the devil which was bent upon their destruction. The Intercessor was set to deliver them, for that was like GOD Himself, and it was the working of His Spirit. (14)

But he added, “You cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live.”The Lord said, “Here is a place by me; you will station yourself on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and will cover you with my hand while I pass by. Then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back, but my face must not be seen.” (Exodus 33:20–23 NET) 

The Lord directed Moses to cut out two tablets of stone like those for the first commandments provided by the Lord (Exodus 32:16). Also, to make an interim wooden ark to contain them until the Golden Ark of the Covenant was built. The Lord was allowing Israel to reinstate the covenant they had broken, as evidenced by the following:

  • The shattered tablets, which once testified to the reality of the covenant, are to be replaced.
  • The text incised upon the original tablets by the Lord is to be reproduced.
  • Moses is told to “be ready” by morning just as the people had been ordered to “be ready” for the first occasion (Exodus 19:11, 15).
  • Access to the mountain is severely restricted in both experiences (Exodus 34:3;19:12,13a).
  • The Lord will “come down” upon Sinai (Exodus 34:5;19:9,18,20).
  • The event will evoke such fear that the people back away (Exodus 34:30;20:15–18). (13a)
The Lord said to Moses, “Cut out two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you smashed. Be prepared in the morning, and go up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and station yourself for me there on the top of the mountain. No one is to come up with you; do not let anyone be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks or the herds may graze in front of that mountain.” So Moses cut out two tablets of stone like the first; early in the morning he went up to Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him, and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone. (Exodus 34:1–4 NET)
At that same time the Lord said to me, “Carve out for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones and come up the mountain to me; also make for yourself a wooden ark. I will write on the tablets the same words that were on the first tablets you broke, and you must put them into the ark.” So I made an ark of acacia wood and carved out two stone tablets just like the first ones. Then I went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hands. (Deuteronomy 10:1-3 NET)

Moses, for the sixth time, ascended Mount Sinai, going all the way to the top and staying for another 40 days and nights. He proceeds into the fissure carrying the two chiseled-out blank tablets in his hands. (Exodus 34:4-28) The Lord (Yahweh) descends in the cloud concealing the fullness of His glory, stands with Moses, and declares His name (i.e., declares what He is and what He does) (cf. Exodus 3:14):

Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate [Hb., rachum] and gracious [Hb., channun] God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love [Hb., Chesed] and truth, maintaining faithful love [Hb., chesed] to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation. (Exodus 34:6–7 HCSB)

Compassion – A great inward tenderness of love that moves the soul is the Hebrew word “rachum” (rakh-oom’). It is a companion word to mercy (chesed), and it is also translated as tender mercies or merciful. (14)

Grace – It is the smiling face of God turned to us in favor is the Hebrew word “channun” (khan-noon’). That favor is unmerited, for it is what-God-IS. It is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of that glory comes to us through Jesus, who is our brother-man, and whose life-dwelling is in the glory of God. (14)

God – His love has the two facets of compassion and grace combined with the title “El,” a word used less frequently in the Old Testament to describe God. Its basic idea is that of strength and demonstrates that divine strength and power are consistent with love. There is no evidence of divine weakness in the fact that God is compassionate and gracious. (14)

Slow to Anger (Long-suffering) is the revelation that God is “slow to anger” is all the more marvelous because the Law could not fully reveal God as a giver of everlasting life until the New Covenant. The Law of Moses was an unveiling of the mystery of sin and death, describing sin within the man himself as the cause of death. To bring such light into the world required the execution of the sentence of death pronounced upon sin at the beginning. Therefore, God had to be known in human terms that law-breaking sinners could comprehend. As depicted in the Old Covenant, God’s anger and wrath, and destructiveness fit humanity’s understanding of an all-powerful Being. Yet to Israel, and to all who would enter into a covenant of faith with Him, He gave the words describing and conveying the knowledge of what He is in Himself (14). It acknowledges that even when His creation is in rebellion against Him, He is reluctant to act against it. He waits long to give the sinner opportunity to return in repentance. However, God is not forgetful and does not condone sin, and will act decisively against it in His perfect timing. (15)

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:13 NET)

Faithful love is translated from the Hebrew word “chesed” (kheh’-sed, “kh” – pronounced with a heavy breath), which is frequently translated as “mercy.” Chesed is translated by three main synonyms: mercy, loving-kindness, and kindness. When reading the words kindness or loving-kindness, you can just as well read it as mercy. Chesed (mercy) is the eager and ardent desire by which one is led to do good to someone. That good is nearly always kindness and loving-kindness that implies some degree of love. Chesed describes the mercy IN GOD, which is not merely a legal whim of a despotic ruler. Chesed describes a personal desire, a strong desire, to do the good, which is in itself. It is lovingkindness and not just a “good turn” for someone for personal reasons, such as exchanging favors (i.e., Not quid pro quo). Remove the word mercy-lovingkindness from the Bible, and there is no Bible – just a dead book, no salvation, no Savior, no Kingdom of God, no Word of God to man, no eternal life – nothing! Mercy is God’s supply system for every need everywhere. Mercy (1) is that kindness, compassion, and tenderness is a passion for suffering with or participating in another’s ills or evils to relieve, heal, and restore. It accepts another freely and gladly AS they are and supplies the needed good of life to build up and to bring to peace and keep in peace. To take another into one’s heart JUST AS THEY ARE and cherish and nourish them there. Mercy takes another’s sins and evils and faults as its own and frees the other by bearing them to God. Mercy is love-in-action or lovingkindness (chesed). This is the Glow-of-love; this is the ANOINTING! (14)

“Taking “love” as the all-inclusive term: Grace may be called favor in the FACE of God’s Love; Mercy is Love in action, the WORKING of that Love; and Compassion is the moving of Love to seek and to suffer and do good in the FELLOWSHIP of that love.” (14)

Truth is translated from the Hebrew word that has these related ideas: stability and perpetuity, faithfulness, uprightness, integrity, truth as opposed to falsehood. “Unchanging faithfulness and truth” captures its meaning in the English language. The Bible teaches that a great distinction of the Eternal Being, the Creator God, is that His mercy is unchangingly true and faithful to all who will live in it. His truth is forever endless, the great eternal constant. His truth is the great unchangeable, the polar opposite to all evil, oppression, falseness, destruction, corruption. The Truth of God revealed in the Old Covenant is that He is Mercy! (14)

Forgiveness by the Lord for the whole range of human disregard including:

  • Wrongdoing points to actions twisted away from what is right by the willful wrongdoing of individuals.
  • Rebellion is a willful violation of the covenant’s terms and betrayal of the covenant relationship with God, including treachery and disobedience.
  • Sin, missing the mark, is a general term for a fault and may include inadvertent mistakes. (15)

Judgment is the dividing of the evil from the good, the false from the true. The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished through judgment as long as they remain guilty. Furthermore, sin’s impact is not limited to the individual who commits it but spreads to all those they come in contact with, particularly the family group to which they belong (i.e., to the third and fourth generation) (1). (15) We are typically afraid of judgment because we do not understand mercy. When you are living (doing) God’s mercy, then you KNOW that God’s judgment is FOR you, delivering you, upholding, sustaining, and supplying every need by His mercy. If we DO His will of mercy, then we will understand that His judgment is FOR us, in our favor AGAINST the adversary. (14) However, they need not remain guilty before Him, for His law provides a way to His mercy. This means that the guilty remain guilty until they are willing to meet God on the grounds of the mercy which He institutes for their forgiveness. The Old Covenant describes that meeting between God and man to receive forgiveness. On man’s part confession of his sin, with repentance which includes making his wrongs right as far as it is possible to do so. On God’s part is the offer to forgive the sin of the sinner and to “cover” him. In the Old Covenant, the covering meant that the sinner could remain in the congregation of the people of God. (14)

It is important to notice here that God’s words in proclaiming His NAME to Moses make up a grouping that describes what He IS. In this group which describes what He is, we find the very center and heart of the revelation of God to mankind. In fact, these words can be said to constitute the Name of the Lord. Thus the institution of the Old Covenant Law began in this revelation of God. In it, and through it, the great-identifying-distinction of the Lord was MERCY-mercy and truth. Truth has to do with the faithfulness of His Word-that He keeps His Word. His Word has to do with the truth of what He is. And the testimony of His Own Word is that He is MERCY. Man’s arguments are meaningless apart from God’s own revelation of what He IS. (14)

Other verses with the same grouping of God’s words describing who He IS:

He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust. (Psalm 103:7–14 HCSB)
God has declared one principle; two principles I have heard: God is strong, and you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do. (Psalm 62:11,12 NET)

Moses’ response to the revelation of the Lord’s glory (i.e., His Grace, Mercy, and Compassion) was to bow to the ground and worship the Lord. Moses then addresses God with His name Adonai, a name that focuses on God’s rule and authority. Moses asked for “pardon of iniquity and sin” and not “forgiveness of iniquity and sin” as stated by the Lord (cf. Exodus 34:7). The Hebrew word for pardon includes forgiveness and adds remission of whatever penalty is due for an offense. The Hebrew word for inheritance implies an individual’s inalienable possession that could not be taken from them. Moses is asking for the Lord to go with them as already agreed (Exodus 33:14); furthermore, that He would not allow anything in the future to separate the Lord from His people, including destruction that might be due because of their iniquity and sin.

Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped and said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord [Adonai], let my Lord [Adonai] go among us, for we are a stiff-necked people; pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” (Exodus 34:8–9 NET)
Then I again fell down before the Lord for forty days and nights; I ate and drank nothing because of all the sin you had committed, doing such evil before the Lord as to enrage him. For I was terrified at the Lord’s intense anger that threatened to destroy you. But he listened to me this time as well. (Deuteronomy 9:18–19)

At Moses’ fifth intercession for the people, the Lord is Gracious, Merciful, and Compassionate. (Exodus 34:10-26)

They had gained back:

  1. Recognition as God’s people based on the Abrahamic Covenant.
  2. The Promised Land
  3. The Lord’s presence with Moses
  4. Lord’s presence manifested as the “Shekinah Glory” in the future Tabernacle
  5. Mosaic Covenant, and
  6. No unpardoned iniquity and sin.

Consequently, they had regained all they had lost!

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:8–9 HCSB)
The Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread, and he did not drink water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:27–28 NET) 
And he wrote on the tablets, in the same writing as before, the Ten Commandments that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. And the Lord gave them to me. (Deuteronomy 10:4 ESV)
As for me, I stayed at the mountain as I did the first time, forty days and nights. The Lord listened to me that time as well and decided not to destroy you. Then he said to me, “Get up, set out leading the people so they may go and possess the land I promised to give to their ancestors.” (Deuteronomy 10:10,11 NET)

The sign of the Mosaic Covenant was the Sabbath days, even as the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant was male circumcision (Genesis 17:10-14).

The Lord said to Moses,“ Tell the Israelites, ‘Surely you must keep my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you... It is a sign between me and the Israelites forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’ ” (Exodus 31:12,13,17 NET) (cf. Ezekiel 20:10-12)
So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. ( Ezekiel 20:10–12 ESV)

Moses, for the sixth and last time, descended from Mount Sinai to communicate the Lord’s words to the people. (Exodus 34:29-35;35:1)

Now when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand—when he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to approach him. But Moses called to them, so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and Moses spoke to them. After this all the Israelites approached, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he would put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. Then he would come out and tell the Israelites what he had been commanded.When the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with the Lord. (Exodus 34:29–35 NET)
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:5 NET)
Then I turned, went down the mountain, and placed the tablets into the ark I had made—they are still there, just as the Lord commanded me. (Deuteronomy 10:5 NET)
Moses assembled the whole community of the Israelites and said to them, “These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do. (Exodus 35:1a NET)

The people’s disobedience meant that they had forfeited any rights that the treaty document had accorded them. So too here with the Lord’s covenant with Israel. The people’s rebellion has left them with no standing before God, but he shows himself merciful and forgiving. All the terms that could be used to convey God’s gracious love are brought together to impress on Israel that the forgiveness of their sin and the reinstatement of the covenant in its former terms derive from what God is in Himself. (15)

They made an image of a calf at Horeb, and worshiped a metal idol. They traded their majestic God for the image of an ox that eats grass. They rejected the God who delivered them, the one who performed great deeds in Egypt, amazing feats in the land of Ham, mighty acts by the Red Sea. He threatened to destroy them, but Moses, his chosen one, interceded with him and turned back his destructive anger. (Psalm 106:19–23 NET)

That is still God’s way with sinners who are his enemies (Romans 5:10) so that the provision of salvation can be seen to depend not on human achievement or entreaty, but on divine grace, now mediated through a greater Mediator than Moses, through one who can plead based on his own obedience and sacrifice. The same grace extended to the Lord’s people when they forsake their first love for him and fall into sin. If they repent, he will sovereignly restore His covenant with them and reinstate their former privileges (Revelation 2:4–7; 3:19–22). (15)

When Israel left Egypt, when the family of Jacob left a foreign nation behind, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his kingdom. The sea looked and fled; the Jordan River turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. Why do you flee, O sea? Why do you turn back, O Jordan River? Why do you skip like rams, O mountains, like lambs, O hills? Tremble, O earth, before the Lord— before the God of Jacob, who turned a rock into a pool of water, a hard rock into springs of water! (Psalm 114:1–8 NET)


Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ (Yeshua Hamashiach)


...but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17 b NET)
Moses’ Prophesy of the Prophet Fulfilled

A true prophet of God proclaims God’s word to people. God promised Moses that he would raise up a messianic prophet who would authoritatively speak for him: (28)

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God any more or see this great fire any more lest we die.” The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name. (Deuteronomy 18:15–19 NET) 

Those in Jesus’ day expected the Messiah to fulfill the prophetic role the Old Testament foretold. As the author of Hebrews tells us, Jesus’ prophetic ministry brought all that previous prophets of God had proclaimed to a definitive culmination: (28)

After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1,2 NET)

Jesus equated his own words with the authoritative words of the Hebrew Scriptures, showing that he knew his words were the very words of God. He recognized the unchanging authority of the Mosaic law (Matthew 5:18) and gave his teaching the same weight: (28)

 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35 NET)

Because Jesus’ words are the very words of God, they are divinely authoritative, eternal, and unchangeable.

Jesus’ prophetic authority is vastly superior to any other prophet because he speaks God’s words as God. The divine authority of his words is based on his identity as God incarnate. He proclaimed God’s truth as the One who is the Truth (John 14:6). His word is the ultimate Word. Since Jesus Christ is the true and perfect prophet, he is the ultimate source of truth about God, ourselves, the meaning of life, the future, right and wrong, salvation, and heaven and hell. The voice of Jesus in the Word of God should be eagerly sought and obeyed without reservation or delay. (28)

Jesus was active as a prophet even in the old dispensation, as in the special revelations of the angel of the Lord, in the teachings of the prophets, in whom He acted as the spirit of revelation (1 Peter 1:10,11. 2 Peter 1:21. Revelation 19:10), and in the spiritual illumination of believers. He appears in Proverbs 8 as wisdom personified, teaching the children of men. And after the incarnation, He carries on His prophetical work in His teachings and miracles, in the preaching of the apostles and of the ministers of the Word, and also in the illumination and instruction of believers as the indwelling Spirit. He continues His prophetical activity from heaven through the operation of the Holy Spirit. (29)

Even though Jesus perfectly fulfills the office of prophet, God’s plan is for the church to represent him with its own ongoing prophetic voice, proclaiming truth into the world. Paul certainly saw his own ministry as speaking for God: (28)

Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20,21 NET)

The Testimony of Jesus that He is the Prophet

Jesus claims to bring a message from the Father, John 8:26–28; 12:49, 50; 14:10, 24; 15:15; 17:8, 20, foretells future things, Matthew 24:3–35; Luke 19:41–44, and speaks with singular authority, Matthew 7:29. His mighty works served to authenticate His message. (29)

Jesus speaks of Himself as a prophet:

Now Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did he get these ideas? And what is this wisdom that has been given to him? What are these miracles that are done through his hands? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” And so they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:1–4 NET) (cf. Matthew 13:53-58)
At that time, some Pharisees came up and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, because Herod wants to kill you.” But he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Look, I am casting out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my work. Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, because it is impossible that a prophet should be killed outside Jerusalem.’ (Luke 13:31–33 NET)

The Testimony of Witnesses during Jesus’ Ministry that He is the Prophet

And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11 NET)
They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, because the crowds regarded him as a prophet. (Matthew 21:46 NET)
Fear seized them all, and they began to glorify God, saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us!” and “God has come to help his people!” This report about Jesus circulated throughout Judea and all the surrounding country. (Luke 7:16–17 NET)
He said to them, “What things?” “The things concerning Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied, “a man who, with his powerful deeds and words, proved to be a prophet before God and all the people; (Luke 24:19 NET)
The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. (John 4:19 NET)
Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14 NET)
When they heard these words, some of the crowd began to say, “This really is the Prophet!” (John 7:40 NET)
So again they asked the man who used to be blind, “What do you say about him, since he caused you to see?” “He is a prophet,” the man replied. (John 9:17 NET)

The Appearance of Two Old Covenant Prophets with Jesus’ during His Earthly Ministry

For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them privately up a high mountain. And he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with him. (Matthew 16:27–17:3 NET)
For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John and led them alone up a high mountain privately. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiantly white, more so than any launderer in the world could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared before them along with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. (Mark 8:38-9:4 NET)
For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you most certainly, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God.” Now about eight days after these sayings, Jesus took with him Peter, John, and James, and went up the mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became very bright, a brilliant white. Then two men, Moses and Elijah, began talking with him. They appeared in glorious splendor and spoke about his departure that he was about to carry out at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:26–31 NET)

Note that Moses, who was restricted by God from entering the Promised Land during his earthly life (Deuteronomy 34:4-8), was now in the Promised land talking with Yeshua (Jesus), the Prophet that he prophesied would come.

The Apostle Peter later described this experience:

For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur. For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted. ”When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves heard it, for we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:16–21 NET)
Author Unknown
The Last Supper is the Lord’s Passover (Wednesday the 14th of Nisan, 31 A.D. – Galilean Time)

“This Passover (1) would be the last divinely authorized one. From this point on, there would be a new memorial—not one recalling the lambs’ blood on the doorposts but the blood of the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:6; 6:9; 7:10, 17; 14:4, 10; 15:3; 19:9; 22:1, 3) “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

The Last Supper celebrated by the Lord with His disciples allowed Him to use the elements of the Passover meal to form a transition from the old covenant Passover to the new covenant Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:23–26).” (15)

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NET)
The New Covenant

“There at the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the New covenant, replacing Mount Sinai’s Old Covenant. At the Old Covenant institution, Moses, Aaron, Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s elders had gone mid-way up to the top of Mount Sinai, where they saw God the Father and shared a meal together with Him (Exodus 24:9–11). “Thus, the Old Covenant was instituted at a meal between God the Father and the elders of Israel.

In the upper room, the New Covenant was instituted at a meal between God the Son and the disciples, the church’s elders (cf. 1 Peter 5:1; 2 John 1; 3 John 1). At the Last Supper, when Jesus said, “This is my blood, which seals the covenant” (Matthew 26–28), the words (except for my) were identical to the Greek Septuagint’s translation of Moses’ words at the institution of the Old Covenant (Exodus 24:8). Jesus was instituting a New Covenant to replace the Old Covenant.” (13)

Jesus was the Mediator making a covenant between God the Father (represented by Jesus the God/Man) and humanity (represented by the 11 Hebrew Apostles). Realize that both the Old and New Covenants were made with Israel for the benefit of all humanity.

“The covenants of the Bible were treaties between God and his people. Thus it is significant that Jesus says, “This wine is the token of God’s new covenant to save you—an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for you” (Luke 22:20). Since the time of Homer, the pouring out of a cup of wine was the normal way of sealing a treaty between nations. This ritual was so central to treaty-making that the Greek word for “libation” became the word for “treaty.” Thus Jesus used this contemporary treaty symbolism to make sure everyone understood that he was instituting a New covenant or treaty with his people.” (13)

“The words “covenant” or “testament” refers to one thing, the act of God providing for the salvation of the believing sinner through the blood atonement offered on Calvary’s Cross by the Lord Jesus. It is a covenant in the sense that it is an agreement on God’s part that He will give salvation to the sinner who will receive it by faith in the High Priest He has appointed. It is a last will or testament in the sense that God bequeaths salvation to the sinner who will receive it on the terms of the will, faith in the blood of Jesus. God, the divine Testator, dies to make the will effective. The words “covenant” and “testament” are used of one thing (1), viewed from two angles.” (18)

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. And so he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, since he died to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant. For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven. For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive. (Hebrews 9:13–17 NET)
“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord. “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34 NET)

In Hebrew, the word for “make” in the verses above is “karat.” “One of the best-known uses of this verb is “to make” a covenant. The process by which God made a covenant with Abraham is called “cutting”: “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram …” (Gen. 15:18). The word “covenant” appears nine times before this in Genesis, but it is not connected with karat… Furthermore, hereafter in Genesis and throughout the Bible, karat is frequently associated with making a covenant… In Genesis, it often alludes to how animals were cut in two, and the party taking the oath passed between the pieces. This act was not created by God, especially to deal with Abraham but was a well-known practice among many men at that time… In such a covenant, the one passing through the pieces pledged his faithfulness to the covenant. If that faithfulness was broken, he called death upon himself, or the same fate which befell the animals.” (26)

“[Jeremiah] literally says, “I will cut a covenant” or ‘I will make a new covenant through the cutting of a sacrifice.” So, according to the Hebrew prophecies, the new covenant can only begin with a sacrifice. Only then can sin be forgiven.” (23)

A New Commandment

“Since the Old covenant contained commandments, one would expect that the New covenant would contain a new commandment. Thus at the Last Supper Jesus says,” (13)

“I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34,35 NET)
The Feast of Weeks observed for the First Time in the New Covenant (Sivan 8, 31 A.D.) (22)

Each year, the people would come to Jerusalem celebrating Pentecost, hoping that God would fulfill His word to write His laws on their hearts. For 1,500 years, they went home disappointed. But God is faithful to keep His word. In His own appointed time, God would come down on the people. There was such a loud noise accompanying this experience that it attracted the attention of the Jewish pilgrims, who went to see what the commotion was all about. (4)

Juxtaposed to rushing away from the foot of Mount Sinai, the crowds rushed to the foot of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. As they approached, they heard the disciples worshiping God in the various languages (1) represented by the Jews’ homeland. As their ancestors had experienced at Mount Sinai, the people saw and heard tongues of fire.

According to Luke’s record, when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to worship God in the foreign languages that were spoken and understood by the Jewish pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem to keep the feast. These were languages that the disciples themselves did not know. At the Tower of Babel God confused mankind’s language so they could not understand each other. (Genesis 11:1-9) At the Upper Room God caused mankind to understand each in their own language (Acts 2:4-13). The crowds thought the disciples were drunk.

But Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen carefully to what I say. In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. (Acts 2:14,15)

But Peter noted that it was only nine o’clock in the morning, much too early to be drunk. Peter then stood up and preached a bold sermon to this Jewish crowd.(4)

But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: ‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know—this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power. For David says about him, ‘I saw the Lord always in front of me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body also will live in hope, because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor permit your Holy One to experience decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of joy with your presence.’ “Brothers, I can speak confidently to you about our forefather David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. So then, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, David by foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his body experience decay. This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it. So then, exalted to the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out what you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:14–36)

When they heard his words, the people trembled and sought salvation. Instead of three thousand deaths, as happened at Mount Sinai, three thousand were born again into a new life when they accepted Jesus as Messiah and Lord! (4)

Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!” So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. (Acts 2:37–41 NET)

Again, this outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place on the day that the Jews were offering the two wave loaves to God, symbolizing their dependence on Him for the harvest.

Why two loaves? The number “two” became a consistent picture for witnesses in the Scriptures; that is, it took two witnesses for an acceptable court testimony (Deuteronomy 19:15).  This principle finds a variety of applications within the New Covenant. Congregations are not to allow an accusation to be made against an elder unless there are at least two witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19). Messiah sent out His disciples two at a time (Mark 6:7). There will be two witnesses against the anti-Messiah (Revelation 11:3-11). Also, in marriage, there needs to be an agreement between both spouses for prayer to be accepted by God (1 Peter 3:7). Without two witnesses, we just have opinions.

One of these wave loaves was pointing to the Jews who received the power of God in their lives by acknowledging Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Again, this happened on the exact day the Jews had been celebrating the Feast of Pentecost for almost 1,500 years. The other loaf represented the Gentiles, who would also receive this wonderful blessing from God. These loaves were placed on one sheet or tray for waving representing that the two have become one new man (Ephesians 2:13-15). Both can receive the power of God to live as effective witnesses to the lordship of Jesus.

Recall that the offering of the loaves accompanied several other sacrifices, including an important peace offering of two lambs (Leviticus 23:19). The Apostle Paul speaks to Gentiles at Ephesus about this peace offering:

But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:13–15 NET)

The two lambs represented Jesus (Yeshua) as a lamb peace offering for the Jews, and Jesus as a lamb peace offering for the Gentiles, thus uniting them in Christ. Consequently, the Jew and the Gentile become two witnesses to the reality of that fellowship found in Him.  Since God desires to reach the whole world in the testimony of Jesus the Christ (Yeshua Hamashiach), there had to be two witnesses for the testimony to be credible. Faith in the God of Israel and the universe was never meant to be limited to one ethnicity. Therefore, God promised to save the Gentiles to join the testimony of the Jewish people, who were already a “witness” for the Lord (Isaiah 42:6-7; 43:10,12).

This is why when the Day of Pentecost had “fully come,” “both Jews and proselytes” are specifically mentioned as coming to faith at the same time (Acts 2:1,10). A “proselyte” refers to a Gentile seeking the God of Israel. Luke is describing the two-loaves testimony – the Body of Christ. Our witness is a spiritual unity and not based on cultural uniformity, where ethnic identity is lost. This unity (1) results from the gracious work of Jesus the Messiah in reconciling man to God.

Consequently, all congregations should understand the two-fold witness, which means that churches also should seek for Jewish and Gentile believers to be taught to freely live out their own cultural distinctions as well. For we are One Body made of both groups, Jews and Gentiles, serving the God of Israel together. We are of God’s household:

So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:19–22 NET)

Remember that the two loaves were baked with leaven. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) teaches believers to add the New Leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven (1), which is faith in Jesus and His word, to their lives, their dough, so that Jesus, the true bread from Heaven, would grow and multiply other Firstfruits unto God our Father as we share the Gospel of Peace! 

When Peter preached his sermon to the Jews, he said that the Promise of the Father (baptism in the Holy Spirit) was for everyone who would acknowledge Jesus as Lord (Acts 2:39).

Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!” So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. (Acts 2:37–41 NET)

The early church continued to grow as they continued in:

  • discipleship via the Apostles’ teaching,
  • fellowship with one another,
  • remembrance of the Lord through communion,
  • prayer
  • stewardship of their possessions,
  • worship of the Lord, and
  • evangelism of the lost.
They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. All who believed were together and held everything in common, and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47 NET)
But many of those who had listened to the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. (Acts 4:4 NET)

When they heard their words, the people believed and sought salvation. Approximately 5,000 men and assuming one wife and two children per family means about 20,000 saved. Instead of twenty thousand deaths, as happened at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:31-35;33:1-3), twenty thousand were born again into a new life when they accepted Jesus as Messiah and Lord! (4)

The exponential growth of the first church:

  • 11 Apostles (Matthias added later returning the number to 12 after Judas defected (Acts 1:26)) (John 20:19)
  • 120 (approximately, in the upper room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:15)
  • 3000 (approximately, added on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41)
  • 20,000 added (approximately 5,000 men and assuming one wife and two children per family) (Acts 4:4)
  • Jerusalem filled with the teaching of Jesus! (Jerusalem’s population during this time was approximately 80,000)(24)(25) (Acts 5:28)
The word of God continued to spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7 NET)
Again, Moses’ Prophesy of the Prophet Fulfilled

Peter said,

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a man who was a murderer be released to you. You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses! And on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, his very name has made this man—whom you see and know—strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all. And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets—that his Christ would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you—that is, Jesus. This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obey him in everything he tells you. Every person who does not obey that prophet will be destroyed and thus removed from the people.’ And all the prophets, from Samuel and those who followed him, have spoken about and announced these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.’God raised up his servant and sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each one of you from your iniquities.” (Acts 3:13–26 NET)

Stephen said,

“Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God made him move to this country where you now live. He did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, not even a foot of ground, yet God promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, even though Abraham as yet had no child. But God spoke as follows: ‘Your descendants will be foreigners in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years.But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there and worship me in this place.’Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.The patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt. But God was with him, and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. Then a famine occurred throughout Egypt and Canaan, causing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. So when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there the first time. On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. So Joseph sent a message and invited his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people in all. So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, along with our ancestors,and their bones were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. “But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham, the people increased greatly in number in Egypt, until another king who did not know about Joseph ruled over Egypt. This was the one who exploited our people and was cruel to our ancestors, forcing them to abandon their infants so they would die.At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful to God. For three months he was brought up in his father’s house, and when he had been abandoned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. So Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds. But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind to visit his fellow countrymen the Israelites.When he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, Moses came to his defense and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. He thought his own people would understand that God was delivering them through him, but they did not understand.The next day Moses saw two men fighting, and tried to make peace between them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’When the man said this, Moses fled and became a foreigner in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. But the Lord said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’This same Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge?’ God sent as both ruler and deliverer through the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs in the land of Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ This is the man who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, and he received living oracles to give to you. Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him, but pushed him aside and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt—we do not know what has happened to him!’At that time they made an idol in the form of a calf, brought a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing in the works of their hands.But God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, house of Israel? But you took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rephan, the images you made to worship, but I will deport you beyond Babylon.’Our ancestors had the tabernacle of testimony in the wilderness, just as God who spoke to Moses ordered him to make it according to the design he had seen. Our ancestors received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, until the time of David. He found favor with God and asked that he could find a dwelling place for the house of Jacob. But Solomon built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands, as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is the footstool for my feet. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is my resting place? Did my hand not make all these things?’ “You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become!You received the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it.” When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died. And Saul agreed completely with killing him. Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. (Acts 7:2–8:1 NET)


The Holy Spirit Received by the Gentiles

The dramatic outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the non-proselyte Gentiles was to take place in the coastal town of Caesarea. There was a non-proselyte Gentile by the name of Cornelius who was seeking God with all his heart. An angel spoke to him in a vision instructing him to send for Peter, who would come and preach to him and his friends.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were greatly astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “No one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” So he gave orders to have them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days. (Acts 10:44–48 NET)

Later, Peter shared what happened at that meeting with his fellow Jewish believers at the Jerusalem Church:

Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave them the same gift as he also gave us after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder God?” (Acts 11:15–17 NET)

Paul and Barnabas would later acknowledge the Lord’s command to bring salvation to the Gentiles:

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” (Acts 13:47 NET)

Typological Meaning of the Feast of Weeks

Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Passover (1) as the Lamb of God who died for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Firstfruits (1) by being resurrected from the dead so that we could be saved (1). Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) as the exalted and glorified Lord who baptizes in the Holy Spirit and fire! (4)

Again, the Feast of Weeks is also called the “Day of Firstfruits” because it marked the first fruits of the summer harvest. The application is that the first fruits were Jewish believers. For example, the first fruits of the Church are the three thousand Jews and proselytes who were saved on that occasion, according to Acts 2:41. They comprised the Church of that day. Furthermore, James, who wrote specifically to Jewish believers (James 1:1–2), called these Jewish believers “first-fruits”: (2)

By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. (James 1:18 NET)

The Feast of Weeks is fulfilled by the birthday of the Church that is constituted of Jewish and Gentile believers into one Body. The first-fruits aspect is fulfilled because Jewish believers and proselytes were the first in this Body during the first century. (2)

Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Pentecost when He was glorified and exalted to the throne of God; He then sent the Holy Spirit upon His disciples on the Day of Pentecost. This was the fulfillment (spiritual reality) of what God had promised through the prophets. God would write His laws on their hearts through the giving of the Holy Spirit. Remember, this was a Feast of the Lord the Jews had been celebrating for centuries. It was not a new revelation. They had been waiting for centuries. (4)

Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain. (John 12:23–24 NET) 

Jesus was talking about Himself as the human grain of wheat who would die for the sins of the world. The bread was made with fine flour, which represents perfect righteousness. Jesus was perfectly righteous. There was no coarse matter (sin) in Him. Yet, as the wheat was crushed, sifted, and baked in order to become bread, so Jesus was crushed, sifted, and baked for our sins. However, because He had never sinned, death could not hold Jesus (see Revelation. 1:18). Because of His perfect life, Jesus was resurrected as the firstfruits from the dead! (4)

As it was fifty days from the Feast of Firstfruits to the Feast of Pentecost. Likewise, it was exactly fifty days from Jesus’ resurrection to the day when He sent the Holy Spirit upon His disciples (refer to the calendar). (4)

Again, the Day of Pentecost did not originate with Christianity. It is the feast day upon which God chose to send the Holy Spirit as proof that Jesus had been exalted as Lord. This was when the Jews would be in Jerusalem celebrating the feast and the giving of the Torah. (4)

While it is true that God gave them the Torah on this very day, the Torah could not provide them with power. It was not the Promise of the Father. The reality that the Feast of Pentecost had illustrated for centuries was the anointing of the disciples with spiritual power to enable them to be effective witnesses of Jesus as Messiah, Savior, and Lord. (4)

Application of the Feast of Weeks

John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin and baptizes in the Holy Spirit and fire (John 1:29. Matthew 3:11. Mark 1:8. Luke 3:16). He was filled with the Holy Spirit when He was baptized by John in the Jordan River.

After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.” (Matthew 3:16–17 NET) 

Why did the Holy Spirit descend from Heaven like a dove to rest on Jesus if He was already here? (John 1:32)

The Holy Spirit is God and is not confined to the narrow concept of time and space that we have in our lives on Earth.  He exists in one dimension everywhere in the universe simultaneously (Psalms 139:7,8).  However, He came in a different dimension to rest upon Jesus in the form of a Dove (1). The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus to empower Him for ministry (Luke 4:14,17,18,19).  Remember, Jesus, emptied Himself (1) of self (i.e., of His right to all that being God entails) before being born of the Virgin Mary (Philippians 2:6,7).

Consequently, the miracles performed by Jesus were done in the power of God the Holy Spirit, not in Jesus’ power as God (Acts 10:38). 

 with respect to Jesus from Nazareth, that God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:38 NET) 

Again, Jesus was very God of God when He walked the Earth; however, He had voluntarily “emptied” (1) Himself of the right to use His power as God.  He came to earth as the “son of man” empowered by the Holy Spirit to destroy the devil’s works (1 John 3:8. Hebrews 2:14).

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he endured temptations from the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, he was famished. (Luke 4:1–2 NET)

After a victorious encounter with Satan, Jesus went to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside.He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by all. (Luke 4:14,15 NET)

While in Galilee, Jesus visited His hometown of Nazareth. He went to the synagogue and stood up to read the Scriptures. The leader of the synagogue gave Jesus the Book of Isaiah, from which He began to read these words:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18–19 NET)

This is the ministry of Jesus and it is also a form of the great commission Jesus has given to all His followers.

I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12 NET)

Jesus said His followers would do greater works than He did because He was going to His Father. When Jesus went to His heavenly Father, He sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, they received power to minister in the Spirit. They were the beginning of Jesus’ promise that we would do greater works than He did. (4)

If there was ever a group of people who should have been prepared to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit, it was the disciples. They had Jesus as their teacher for over three years. They watched Him perform many miracles. They saw Him conquer death and stand in their midst in a resurrected body. Jesus gave them the indwelling Holy Spirit, and they were born again to eternal life. (4)

Yet, despite all of this, Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received His power. The purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit was to give the disciples, and us, power to be bold witnesses to the lordship of Jesus (see Acts 1:8).

So what changed with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (i.e., at the birth of the Church)?

The Holy Spirit was already with the Apostles, but Jesus said that He would soon come to live inside them forever (John 14:16-17). Realize, the Holy Spirit in one dimension had been present with citizens of the nation of Israel. However, while Jesus was on Earth, the Holy Spirit came in a different dimension to be with the disciples giving them the power to do the works of Jesus (Matthew 10:5-8). However, the Holy Spirit was taken from them when they scattered in the Orchard of the Olive Press (i.e., the Garden of Gethsemane), thus abandoning Jesus. Realize, in the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit could be taken from someone. For example, King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) had the Holy Spirit taken away for disobedience, and it was this that King David feared when He committed adultery and murder (Psalms 51:11). However, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit back to be with them forever on the evening of Resurrection Sunday as they rejoiced in Him. (John 20:21,22).

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21–22 NET)
Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority [Grk: exousia] in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20 NET)

Jesus had given them the authority (Grk: exousia (26a)) to make disciples. However, He desired to fill them with the Holy Spirit so they would have the power (Grk: dunamis (27)) to be His witnesses to the nations. However, it was not yet time for Him to do this. (4)

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures,and said to them, “Thus it stands written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power [dunamis] from on high.” (Luke 24:44–49 NET)

Therefore, Jesus spent the next forty days with the disciples explaining how the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to Himself as their fulfillment. Then when the time came for Jesus to ascend back to Heaven, He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until He would send the Promise of the Father, at which time they would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. Now during the blessing he departed and was taken up into heaven.So they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,and were continually in the temple courts blessing God. (Luke 24:50–53 NET)

Later, Luke recalls the conversation Jesus had with His disciples. He reviews the words of Jesus instructing His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they receive the Promise of the Father, which Jesus calls the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus says the purpose of this baptism in the Holy Spirit is to give the disciples the power to be witnesses to Jesus. They would have this encounter with the Holy Spirit ten days later on the Day of Pentecost.

So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power [Grk: dunamis (27)] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight. (Acts 1:6–9 NET)

Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Jesus’ stepbrothers (James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas; Matthew 13:55) assembled with the Apostles and other women (perhaps including Jesus’ stepsisters?; Matthew 13:56) in the upstairs room on Mount Zion with one mind continuing in prayer. 

When they had entered Jerusalem, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James were there. All these continued together in prayer with one mind, together with the women, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty people) and said, (Acts 1:13–15 NET)

These followers of Jesus who were gathered in an upper room totaled about 120 waiting in prayer for this blessed event. Interestingly, this was the same number of priests that played trumpets when the Glory of the Lord filled Solomon’s Temple after the Ark of the Covenant was moved inside The Most Holy Place (1) (2 Chronicles 5:1-14)

Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem. When this sound occurred, a crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Completely baffled, they said, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!” All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!” (Acts 2:1–13 NET)

Thousands of Jews had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. This feast symbolized their second major encounter with God (i.e., the giving of the law), with Passover being the first. But the giving of the Law was only a foreshadowing of what was to come.

On the day of Pentecost, the great mystery is revealed – God has planned to “tabernacle” within reborn man! (Colossians 1:27) Even as the Ark of the Covenant, whose Mercy Seat represented Jesus, dwelt in The Most Holy Place in Solomon’s Temple, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, dwells within the reborn spirits of those that are born again. The physical body of a Christian is the temple of the Lord with our spirit, The Most Holy Place where the Holy Spirit dwells.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 NET) (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:16)
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:9–11 NET)

Furthermore, Jesus also said the Holy Spirit would come upon the Apostles at this time, too (Luke 24:49. Acts 1:8). Similar to coming upon others in the Old Covenant.

Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’ ” (2 Chronicles 24:20 ESV)

Again, the Holy Spirit was already with the Apostles, and then at Pentecost, He came within them and upon them. 

The Holy Spirit came within them to cause their spirit and spiritual heart that was dead to God to be born again, new, alive, and perfect before God. Indeed it has to be perfect to be the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit!

Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5,6 NET)
But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4–7 NET)
I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26 NET)  
But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the assembly and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect,  (Hebrews 12:22,23 NET)

Heart circumcision and the Spirit’s indwelling are parallel, and that is part of the parallel structure of these revelations. The parallel is inevitable because it is the indwelling Spirit who performs the heart circumcision. (23)

For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something that is outward in the flesh, but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s praise is not from people but from God. (Romans 2:28,29 NET)
In him you also were circumcised—not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ. Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11,12 NET)

Paul speaks of an inner circumcision performed by Christ (Colossians 2:11), and that is the same as the circumcision of the heart performed by the Spirit (Rom. 2:29a) as the Spirit and the Son work together—more particularly, as the Spirit works through the Son in a believer to perform the circumcision. That is, freedom from the rule of the flesh only comes once one has been buried with Christ in baptism and one has been circumcised by Holy Spirit working through Christ. Burial and circumcision of this kind only come after the full revelation and work of Christ in the new covenant. The Spirit of Christ himself will perform that circumcision of the heart so necessary if one is to love him with all one’s heart and soul—the first and greatest commandment. (23) 

Jesus said to him, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. ’This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” 

The Holy Spirit then took up residence in their spirit to cause (1) their transformation into Christlikeness (1) as they yielded to Him (1) (1 Corinthians 6:19).

I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. (Ezekiel 36:27 NET) 
On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’ ”(Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37–39 NET)
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 NET)  

This is the growing of the fruit of the Spirit (1) in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23 NET)

It is the Holy Spirit pouring the Love of God into our hearts.

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5 NET)

It is the writing of our Lord’s New Law of Love into our spiritual hearts, thus putting into our spiritual hearts all the Law and fulfilling it:

But showing its fault, God says to them, “Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. “It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord. “For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. “And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. “For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.” (Hebrews 8:8–12 NET)
This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” (Hebrews 10:16–17 NET) 
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone, revealing that you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink  but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2,3 NET)
I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34,35 NET)(cf. John 15:12,17. 1 John 3:11) 
Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10 NET)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1–4 NET)

The Holy Spirit then came upon the Apostles to empower them with the gifts of the Spirit (1) to continue the ministry of Jesus – destroying the works of the devil! (Luke 4:18,19. Acts 10:38)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight. (Acts 1:8,9 NET)

This second major encounter with God, rather than the resurrection, transformed Peter from being a coward hiding behind closed doors to the man who stood before the great crowd and boldly proclaimed Jesus to be Messiah and Lord. (4)

Peter had become a different man. He was no longer timid. Neither were the other disciples who were there with him. After they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they began to minister in the power, boldness, and authority of Jesus Himself. This little group of ordinary men and women turned their world upside down. When they were born again at Pentecost, they received the indwelling Spirit for salvation, then empowered and filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit for service. It was another encounter with God beyond their basic salvation experience.

When Jesus walked the earth, His ministry was limited to His human body. But now He ministers on earth through His spiritual body, the body of Messiah called the Church. However, just as Jesus and the first disciples needed the empowering of the Holy Spirit, His followers today must be filled with the Holy Spirit. God still wants to use ordinary men and women to turn the world upside down as we minister in the boldness and power of the Holy Spirit (1). (4)

‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says, ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will perform wonders in the sky above and miraculous signs on the earth below, blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ (Acts 2:17–21 NET)

The Holy Spirit-filled church composed of Jews and Gentiles is declared by the God-Man Jesus to be a Kingdom of Priests to illuminate the nations of the world.

From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from “he who is,” and who was, and who is still to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ—the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father—to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:4–6 NET)
Summary:

We are given three gifts during the new birth: a new spirit, a new heart, and the Holy Spirit tabernacles within our spirit made perfect. The Holy Spirit writes the law of love into our hearts, causing us to walk in that love as we yield to Him.  However, we are expected to submit to the Holy Spirit to renew our minds (i.e., the salvation of our souls), for Him to initially fill our spiritual heart, and for subsequent fillings of our spiritual heart.

A statement that is true for all but Jesus:

When we are born again, we immediately obtain all of the Holy Spirit (1)
However, the Holy Spirit does not immediately obtain all of us!

Biblical steps to receiving the initial filling of our spiritual heart (1) by the Holy Spirit:

I. We must be obedient which starts with the new birth (1). You can know Him now! (1)

And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32 NET)

Do you know the Lord or only know of Him? Will you continue to resist the God of Grace, Mercy, and Compassion?

So he said to them, “You foolish people—how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures. (Luke 24:25–27 NET)
“You stubborn people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! (Acts 7:51)
You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. (John 5:39–40 NET)
“Do not suppose that I will accuse you before the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.If you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what Moses wrote, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:45–47 NET)
But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right [exousia] to become God’s children —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. (John 1:12,13 NET)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power [dumanis] for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.” (Romans 1:16,17 NET)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NET)

II. We must be baptized in water (1) as an outward testimony of the inward work of salvation.  Although there is nothing “magical” in the water, it is a demonstration to our own hearts that we have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus.  Furthermore, in the Book of Acts, some were baptized in water after being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Whether water baptism comes before or after being filled with the Holy Spirit is not the main issue.  Being baptized with water was important enough for Jesus to make it a command, and the Apostles implemented it as a command in the Book of Acts.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” (Acts 2:38–39 NET)

III. We must need or thirst (1) and not just want the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we desire the Holy Spirit like our next breath of air, then we will find Him.

On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, 'From within him will flow rivers of living water.'"  (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) (Jonn 7:37-39 NET)
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matt. 5:6 NET)

IV. We must ask for the Holy Spirit.

 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13 NET)

V. We must drink or actively receive the Holy Spirit.

On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, 'From within him will flow rivers of living water.'"  (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) (Jonn 7:37-39 NET)
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13 NET)

VI. We must present ourselves (our hearts) surrendered to the Holy Spirit.

and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. (Rom. 6:13 NET)

VII. We must surrender our body to the Holy Spirit.

and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. (Rom. 6:13 NET)

For subsequent filling of our spiritual heart by the Holy Spirit:

And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:18,9 NET)
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, (Jude 1:20)
When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously. (Acts 4:31 NET)

Prayer and singing by the Holy Spirit unto God will keep you filled with all the fullness of God!



Shalom
(Peace, Wholeness, Success)

Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 2 NET)



(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.

(2) Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1983). The Messianic Bible Study Collection (Vol. 62, p. 16, Vol. 117, pp. 4,9). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

(3) Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (p. 743). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

  • F One puts the two loaves of bread on top of the two lambs and places his two hands below and swings them forward and backward and upward and downward,
  • G as it is written, Which is waved and which is raised up [Ex. 29:27].
  • H The waving was at the east [of the altar], and the bringing near of the west [at the southwestern corner].
  • I And the wavings come before the bringings near

(4) Booker, R. (2016). Celebrating jesus in the biblical feasts expanded edition: discovering their significance to you as a christian. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.

(5) Edersheim, A. (1959). The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ. (pp. 260, 261). London: James Clarke & Co.

(6) http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=1446+bc with Pentecost on Sivan 8 (Exodus 19:1-16) and Feast of First Fruits (if it had existed then) would have been on Nisan 18, 1446 B.C.

(7) Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history (p. 10,71). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

(8) Mackay, J. L. (2001). Exodus (p. 539). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

(9) Mackay, J. L. (2001). Exodus (pp. 337–338). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

(10) Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1983). The Messianic Bible Study Collection (Vol. 57, p. 4). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

(11) Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged (p. 406). Peabody: Hendrickson.

(12) Mackay, J. L. (2001). Exodus (p. 532). Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

Stiff-necked’ is a farming metaphor for an animal unwilling to bow its neck to receive the yoke and so be usefully employed on the land.

(13) Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history (p. 10,71). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

(13a) Sarna, N. M. (1991). Exodus (pp. 215,216). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

(14) What the Bible Teaches about Mercy, Authored by Rex B. Andrews May 1, 1964, Published in 1985 by Zion Faith Homes, Zion, Illinois 60099

(15)  Mackay, J. L. (2001). Exodus. Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor.

(16) Edersheim, A. (1959). The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ. (pp. 260,261). London: James Clarke & Co.

During the time of Jesus on Earth, according to unanimous Jewish tradition at that time, the day of Pentecost was the anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, which the Feast of Weeks was intended to commemorate.

That is, during the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread the Feast of First Fruits as the dedication of the harvest, commencing with the presentation of the first omer on the Passover was completed in the thank-offering of the two wave-loaves at Pentecost, so the memorial of Israel’s deliverance appropriately terminated in that of the giving of the Law.

(17) Sarna, N. M. (1991). Exodus (p. 105). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

According to Jewish tradition, the third day fell on the day of Pentecost and is identified with the harvest festival of Shavuot, which consequently came to commemorate the giving of the Torah.

(18) Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 10, p. 145). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

(18a) Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 2, p. 377). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

I.8 A. Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority:

B. On the sixth of the month [of Sivan] the Ten Commandments were given to Israel.

(136) for these Arabians have done what both the Greeks and barbarians own to be an instance of the grossest wickedness, with regard to our ambassadors, whom they have beheaded, while the Greeks declare that such ambassadors are sacred and inviolable. And for ourselves, we have learned from God the most excellent of our doctrines, and the most holy part of our law, by angels or ambassadors; for this name brings God to the knowledge of mankind, and is sufficient to reconcile enemies one to another. 

(19) Publishing, R. (2011). Feasts of the Bible: Jewish Roots of Believers in Yeshua (Jesus). Torrance, CA: Rose Publishing.

(20) Norten, M. (2015). Unlocking the secrets of the feasts. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

(21) Shannon, J. (2009). Prophetic calendar: the feasts of israel. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.

(22)

(23) Niehaus, J. J. (2017). Biblical Theology: The Special Grace Covenants (Old Testament) (Vol. 2, p. 329). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

(24) Keown, M. J. (2018). Discovering the New Testament: An Introduction to Its Background, Theology, and Themes: The Gospels & Acts (Vol. I, p. 16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The Jewish historian Josephus estimated the population in Galilee at the time of Christ was between 200,000 and 300,000. The population of Jerusalem was about 80,000 but increased dramatically during the festivals. The overall Jewish worldwide population was approximately seven million, with more than five million living outside Israel in the diaspora (the dispersion). Israel’s Jewish population was around one- to one-and-a-half million, but the total population of Israel was around two million; only half of the population was Jewish. Most of the Jewish population lived in Judea, including Jesus and his disciples, in a pocket of Galilee in the north.

(25)  King, P. J. (1992). Jerusalem (Place). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 3, p. 753). New York: Doubleday.

Jerusalem doubled in size during the Roman period, expanding considerably to the N and NW: it comprised about 450 acres, with a population of 80,000 or more.

(26) Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 1, p. 146). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.

(26a) exousia (ἐξουσία, 1849) denotes “authority” (from the impersonal verb exesti, “it is lawful”). From the meaning of “leave or permission,” or liberty of doing as one pleases, it passed to that of “the ability or strength with which one is endued,” then to that of the “power of authority,” the right to exercise power, e.g., Matt. 9:6; 21:23; 2 Cor. 10:8; or “the power of rule or government,” the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others, e.g., Matt. 28:18; John 17:2;25; Rev. 12:10; 17:13; more specifically of apostolic “authority,” 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10; the “power” of judicial decision, John 19:10; of “managing domestic affairs,” Mark 13:34. By metonymy, or name-change (the substitution of a suggestive word for the name of the thing meant), it stands for “that which is subject to authority or rule,” Luke 4:6 (rv, “authority,” for the kjv “power”); or, as with the English “authority,” “one who possesses authority, a ruler, magistrate,” Rom. 13:1–3; Luke 12:11; Titus 3:1; or “a spiritual potentate,” e.g., Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15; 1 Pet. 3:22. The rv usually translates it “authority.”In 1 Cor. 11:10 it is used of the veil with which a woman is required to cover herself in an assembly or church, as a sign of the Lord’s “authority” over the church. See jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength. 
 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 45). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.

(27) dunamis (δύναμις, 1411), “power,” (a) used relatively, denotes “inherent ability, capability, ability to perform anything,” e.g., Matt. 25:15, “ability”; Acts 3:12, “power”; 2 Thess. 1:7, rv, “(angels) of His power” (kjv, “mighty”); Heb. 11:11, rv, “power” (kjv, “strength”); see ability; (b) used absolutely, denotes (1) “power to work, to carry something into effect,” e.g., Luke 24:49; (2) “power in action,” e.g., Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; it is translated “might” in the kjv of Eph. 1:21 (rv, “power”); so 3:16; Col. 1:11 (1st clause); 2 Pet. 2:11; in Rom. 15:19, kjv, this noun is rendered “mighty”; rv, “(in the) power of signs.” The rv consistently avoids the rendering “might” for dunamis; the usual rendering is “power.” Under this heading comes the rendering “mighty works,” e.g., Matt. 7:22, rv (kjv, “wonderful works”); 11:20–23; singular number in Mark 6:5; in Matt. 14:2 and Mark 6:14 the rv has “powers”; in 2 Cor. 12:12, rv,“mighty works” (kjv, “mighty deeds”). See miracle, especially power.Note: Dunamis, “power,” is to be distinguished from exousia, “the right to exercise power.” See dominion, Note.
 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 406). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.

Note: Synonymous words are bia, “force,” often oppressive, dunamis, “power,” especially “inherent power”; energeia, “power” especially in exercise, operative power; exousia, primarily “liberty of action,” then “authority” either delegated or arbitrary; ischus, “strength,” especially physical, power as an endowment. 
 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 180). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.

(28)  Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2522). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

(29) Berkhof, L. (1938). Systematic theology (pp. 358–359). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co.

(30)  Neusner, J. (2008). The Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers.

[A] They may not bring firstfruits [from any produce] other than [the] seven kinds [for which the land of Israel was noted, i.e., wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives used for oil, and dates for honey (Deut. 8:8)]:


(I)  Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (p. 742). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

(II) Malda, B. D. (Ed.). (2015). Come and Worship: Ways to Worship from the Hebrew Scriptures (p. 62). Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books: a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers.

(III) Sklar, J. (2013). Leviticus: An Introduction and Commentary. (D. G. Firth, Ed.) (Vol. 3, p. 101). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

(IV) Masterman, E. W. G. (1915). Barley. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 405). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.

(V) Balfour, J. H. (1885). The Plants of the Bible (p. 212). London; Edinburgh; New York: T. Nelson and Sons.

(VI) Eisenberg, R. L. (2004). The JPS guide to Jewish traditions (1st ed., p. 670). Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.

(VII) Hannah, J. D. (1985). Exodus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 153). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

(VIII) Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

 (IX) Singer, I. (Ed.). (1901–1906). In The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, 12 Volumes (Vol. 9, p. 568). New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls.

(X) Hamilton, M. W. (2000). Elevation Offering. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 392). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

(XI)  (2016). The Lexham Figurative Language of the New Testament Dataset. In J. R. Westbury, J. Thompson, K. A. Lyle, & J. Parks (Eds.), Lexham Figurative Language of the Bible Glossary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

(XII) Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 331). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

(XIII) Lindsey, F. D. (1985). Leviticus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 177). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

(XIV) Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 19, p. 617). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

(XV) Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 143). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

(XVI) Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation (1 Co 5:6–8). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

(XVII) Thompson, J. A. (1974). Deuteronomy: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 5, p. 147). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

(XVIII) Keach, B. (1858). An Exposition of the Parables and Express Similitudes of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ(pp. 239–240). London: Aylott and Co.

(XIX) Beis Hamikdash Topics – Tour of the Temple: Class 10, The Altar

(XX) C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins, 1974), pp. 236–37. 

(XXI) Hall, K. D. (2000). Libation. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 807). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. 

(XXII)  Rogers, A. (2017). Back to Bethel. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ge 35). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.


Hal has been teaching the Bible for over three decades. Presently, He desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.

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