I copied this blurb from a website called JewFAQ Blog, more specifically from a page on the site referred to as ‘Judaism 100.’ I cannot attest to its accuracy, but needless to say I found it interesting.
“Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks (*Feast of Pentecost), is the second of the three major festivals…Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah (the Law) at Mount Sinai…Passover freed us physically from bondage, but the giving of the Torah on Shavu’ot redeemed us spiritually from our bondage to idolatry and immorality. Shavu’ot is also known as Pentecost, because it falls on the 50th day; however, Shavu’ot has no particular similarity to the Christian holiday of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after their spring holiday.”
The notion that there is no particular similarity is illogical, given the scope of the Bible in its entirety. The historical event that occurred on Mount Sinai—the giving of the Law, is a picture of what was to come in the receiving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in Acts chapter two. The parallels we can draw between these two events are extraordinary.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
As we read through Acts and Exodus 19, we can see that these two events are replete with similarity. God makes an appearance at both these events and we see smoke, we see fire, we hear His voice as a loud trumpet, and (by the power of the Holy Spirit) the speaking in tongues. Did you know that the Rabbis to this very day proclaim that when God spoke on Mount Sinai He did so in seventy languages? Amazing!
However, the most significant parallel is the one where we see the most dissimilarity. It is noteworthy because in their relationship—the combining of these two historical events, we see the Gospel message come full spiral. Understand that when the Law was given at Mount Sinai it brought death, for in it was a maxim that no man could achieve.
So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Exodus 32:28
But in the receiving of Christ Jesus, the yoke of the Law was broken and those who believe have life everlasting.
Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. Acts 2:41
When the Law came down off the mountain, three thousand perished, but on the day the Holy Spirit came upon Christ’s disciples, about three thousand lived like they have never lived before! The Law destroys and Jesus saves—the contrast of those certainties binds these accounts not as one, but as an illustration pointing towards the redemptive course found in Christ alone. It is not a circle we navigate, but rather an escalating spiritual-spiral we traverse, one that takes us past places we have seen while simultaneously towards what lingers ahead.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17