top of page

Passover and Pentecost: Brings Us In (part 1)

Post Title: A Vital Biblical Connection

Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD. - Exodus 23-14-17

Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you. - Deuteronomy 16:16-17

Pentecost (Shavu’ot)—the second of three pilgrim feasts given to the people of God— occurs seven weeks after Passover (Pesach). I have dealt with the subject many times, yet I never cease to be amazed at how much more gold there is to mine from Scripture and Jewish tradition. It is actually a frustrating topic to deal with because of how much there is to talk about!

First, I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​touch​ ​upon​ ​a​ ​few​ ​principles​ ​I​ ​have observed elsewhere. To go deeper on this subject, get my audio seminar The Power of Pentecost.

Second, I​ ​want​ ​to share​ ​with​ ​you​ ​some​ ​additional​ ​insights​ ​that​ ​I​ ​think​ ​are​ ​​timely​ ​and​ ​ very challenging​ ​for the​ ​church. A church with which I am familiar from my extended teaching travels. A church that, I think, ​is​ ​at​ ​a major​ ​crossroads​ ​of either​ ​service​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Lord ​or​ ​apostasy.​

This is not a theoretical exercise for me. ​I​ ​really​ ​want ​you​ ​to​ ​lay​ ​hold​ ​of​ ​something​ ​that will​ ​change​ ​your​ ​life. That is my passion and desire as a teacher. I want you​ to​ ​be​ ​more​ and more ​conformed​ ​to​ ​the​ ​will​ ​of God—to​ ​the​ ​image​ ​of​ Christ—​in​ ​your​ ​attitudes,​ ​your​ speech, and your​ ​actions.

The first lesson I want you to master is essential to biblical thinking yet is rarely grasped by most Christians. It​​ ​is this, the reality of Pentecost fulfills the​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​Passover. There ​is​ ​a crucial connection​ ​between​ ​these​ ​two Spring ​festivals.

There​ ​is​ ​a​ vital ​spiritual​ ​dynamic and​ ​an​ ​inseparable bond between​ ​the​ ​Exodus​ ​from​ ​Egypt​ ​and​ ​the​ ​giving​ ​of​ Torah​ ​at Mt. ​Sinai. The​ ​rabbis​ ​called Pentecost​ the​ ​end or completion (atzeret​)​ ​of​ ​Passover.​ ​​​From​ ​the​ ​perspective​ of Israel’s sages, Pesach ​does not​ ​​ ​end​ ​until​ ​the​ ​fiftieth​ ​day​ ​when​ ​Shavu’ot​ ​occurs.

Pentecost​ ​completes​ ​Passover.

This idea is a dominant​ ​line​ ​of​ ​thinking​ ​in​ Jesus​ ​and​ ​the Jewish world of his day​. Exodus​ ​was​ ​the​ ​means; Sinai​ ​was​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​God’s purpose. Why? Because​ ​fifty​ ​days​ ​after​ ​deliverance​ ​from Egypt,​ ​the LORD​ ​gave​ ​​Israel​ ​his​ ​Word,​ ​the​ ​Torah. Just as fifty​ ​days​ ​after​ ​our​ ​Passover Lamb’s blood was spilled, God gave his​ ​church his​ ​Spirit​ ​on​ ​Mt.​ ​Zion.

​​​God gave​ ​Israel​ ​the​ ​Torah,​ ​written​ ​by​ ​the​ ​finger​ ​of​ ​God. It ​was​ ​a​ ​reflection​ ​of​ ​his Spirit, which​ ​is​ ​a​ ​Spirit​ ​of​ ​truth. And it​ ​was​ ​that​ ​same​ ​Spirit​ ​that​ ​he​ ​poured out in​ ​abundance​​—at the festival of ​Pentecost—on ​the​ ​church​ ​that​ ​Jesus​ ​had​ ​founded. God’s Torah could now be​ ​rewritten​, as the prophets foretold,​ on​ the ​tablets​ ​of our hearts​ ​rather than tablets​ ​of​ stone.​​

We​ ​are​ ​to​ ​inculcate​ ​the​ ​wisdom​ ​and​ ​will​ ​of​ ​God​ ​reflected in​ ​the​ ​Torah​ ​into​ ​our​ ​very​ ​lives,​ ​as​ ​witnessed​ to and​ ​pioneered​ ​by​ ​Jesus.

​God​ ​gave​ ​his word​ ​, and​ ​he​ ​gave​ ​his​ ​Spirit.​ ​​​Is it any wonder ​Pentecost​ ​is the​ ​spiritual​ ​birthday​ ​of both​ ​Israel​ ​and​ ​the​ ​church? At Mt.​ Sinai,​ ​Israel​ ​became​ ​a​ ​holy​ ​nation​. They had​ ​been​ ​liberated​ ​and​ ​redeemed from Egypt.​ Yet it was​ ​by revelation​ ​​they​ were forged​ ​into​ ​the​ ​nation​ ​that​ ​God​ ​intended​ ​them​ ​to​ ​be.​ ​​​Likewise, the​ ​church​ ​was liberated​ ​and​ ​redeemed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​shed​ ​blood​ ​of​ Jesus, ​our​ ​Passover​ ​lamb. But watch this; it​ ​did​ ​not become​ ​the​ ​spiritual​ ​force​ ​it​ ​was​ ​intended​ ​to​ ​be​ ​until​ ​the​ ​day​ ​of​ ​Pentecost!

I want you to grasp this​ inseparable​ ​connection​ between​ ​redemption​ ​and​ ​revelation because ​it​ ​is​ ​an essential link​ ​between​ ​God’s​ ​grace​ ​and​ ​his​ ​law.

This​ ​relationship​ ​is​ ​made​ ​very​ ​explicit in​ ​Jewish​ ​culture ​because​ ​God​ teaches them to count the​ ​days. You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God [...]. - Deuteronomy 16: 9-10

Beginning on​ ​the​ ​day​ ​after​ ​Passover,​ ​the Jewish faithful​ ​start​ ​counting each day with a​ sheaf​ ​of​ ​wheat called the omer in Hebrew. Indeed the Greek word pentecost means fifty or fiftieth. After Passover, you​ ​count​ ​the​ ​days​ one at a time until the fiftieth day, Pentecost. And​ ​so​ ​the​ ​disciples​ ​of​ ​Jesus​ ​were doing​ ​precisely​ ​that​,​ ​counting as they obediently waited.

Jesus presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father [...]. - Acts 1:3-4

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. - Acts 2:1

Read more: Next Post


Want to go deeper? Click here to explore audio seminars by Dwight A. Pryor.

Interested in taking one of our dynamic online courses? Click here.


This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.

Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.

Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.

bottom of page