Mysteries Of The Bible: What Does Pentecost/Shavuot Have To Do With Resurrection?

Over this Pentecost weekend, quite a few speakers that I listened to sought to connect Pentecost (which the Jews call Shavuot) with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And admittedly this is not a difficult connection to make.  Nevertheless, if we want to express it fully, it does require us to engage with parts of the Bible that we do not necessarily spend time with.  What I intend to do here is to engage in a step-by-step series of questions whose answers lead to more questions and that give us a broader and deeper understanding of the intricate connection between Pentecost and resurrection, and that not only deal with the fundamental nature of Jesus Christ with the day of Pentecost but also show that the Gospels and the Law are deeply connected as well in ways that people often do not understand or appreciate, and that we do not fully understand one without understanding the other.

Why would we think that Pentecost and the resurrection were connected in the first place?  Acts 2, which is the quintessential Pentecost text for Christians, mentions the resurrection of Jesus Christ quite often.  Acts 2:22-24 reads:  “ “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”  After this comes a quotation of Psalm 16 in verses 25-28:  “For David says concerning Him:  ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.  Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.  For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.  You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’”  Continuing on, Peter points out in verses 29-36 the obvious implications of David’s statements concerning the Messiah:  ““Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.  This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.  Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.  “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.””

Seeing then that the theme of resurrection is so notable in Acts 2 relating to the day of Pentecost, is there anywhere in the biblical discussion of Pentecost in the context of the Bible that relates to the idea of resurrection?  And here we find that this too is the case.  Let us, in the interests of brevity, examine two lines of evidence to deduce this.  The first is from the Law, where we read about the wave sheaf offering in Leviticus 23:9-14:  “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.  He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.  You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”  Here we see that before the children of Israel could enjoy the fruits of the barley and wheat harvests between the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost that the first of the firstfruits had to be offered up as a wave sheaf, accompanied by a lamb without blemish sacrificed that is symbolic of Christ Jesus.  The second line of evidence comes from the book of Ruth, which is read by Christians and Jews during Pentecost/Shavuot [1].  In Ruth 4:9-10, we read:  “And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi.  Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.””  Here we see that the purpose of levirate marriage was to preserve the name of the dead, to allow for life after death, the continuation of what threatened to be a defunct family line.

How do we know that Jesus Christ is connected to the wave sheaf offering?  Here it behooves us to be students of biblical chronology.  Even though Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead well before sunrise after having spent three days and three nights in the grave [2], we find that before sunrise when the risen Christ encounters Mary Magdalene near the tomb that He tells her not to cling to him in John 20:17:  “Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ””  Yet later that day in Matthew 28:9-10, we see the disciples able to touch him without rebuke:  “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.””  Why did Jesus wait until it was daylight on the first day of the week in order to (briefly) ascend to God before returning for 40 days to spend time with His disciples?  Because His brief ascension that day was to correspond exactly with the wave sheaf offering that was set for the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath that was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.  And why does that matter for Pentecost?  Because it was this wave sheaf offering on the first day of the week that started the count for the Feast of Weeks, for exactly seven weeks after that date, on the first day of the week after the seventh weekly Sabbath after the wave sheaf offering that Pentecost took place.  It is no wonder, therefore, that resurrection is so deeply connected with the Pentecost.  What is a wonder is that the wave sheaf offering and its significance is so little known or understood among believers even to this day.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Mysteries Of The Bible: What Does Pentecost/Shavuot Have To Do With Resurrection?

  1. Pingback: Mysteries Of The Bible: What Does Revelation 19:15 Mean? | Edge Induced Cohesion

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