The fulfillment of Shavuot is found in Acts 2. Let’s open our Bibles to this very crucial chapter and see how extraordinary the events are surrounding the birth of the Body of the Messiah.

Let’s read from Acts 2:1-4 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.

Take note of the term a rushing mighty wind. The word wind in Hebrew and Greek is the same word for spirit, so it could be read like this; that it was the mighty Spirit coming to them. This is the moment they would receive the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit).

Notice as well the word mighty, biaos in the Greek. This is the very same word that the 70 rabbis who translated the Bible into Greek (the Septuagint) used to describe east in their translation of Psalm 48:7 when it speaks of the east wind.

It was from the east direction where the Spirit and Yeshua both began a new era. For instance, at the time of the destruction of the first Temple in 586 B.C., the prophet Ezekiel described the departure of the Spirit of God from the Temple, and the direction was toward the East Gate where He first stood (Ezekiel 11:1).  Then the prophet tells us that the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city. (Ezekiel 11: 23). This is the very mountain where Yeshua stood in Acts 1 when He promised the coming of the Spirit to the believer, and Acts reminds us that the same Spirit Who departed from the Temple, has come back, but now, to His new temple, which is in the heart and mind of the believer.

These Jews in the upper room that day of Pentecost understood very well that something extraordinary was happening. The language used to describe the event was not foreign to them as we shall soon see. It’s important to remember that it was to the Jews that the Spirit came at this point, for the Gentiles did not come into the Body until Acts 8.

Consider the words tongues of fire which marked the event. How would a Jew understand this? They were already familiar with associating the shape of tongues with the act of redemption and deliverance. For instance, this must have reminded them of a ceremony which was done every year during the Day of Repentance, Yom Kippur. On this day, they offered one goat at the temple while the other would be let go in the wilderness to Azazel. On the goat heading to Azazel, they would tie a red ribbon to its horns, and as the goat would go, the ribbon would miraculously turn white. This is what both the Babylonian and the Jerusalem Talmud reported. This color change was an indication that God had forgiven them of their sins. They based this on Isaiah 1:18 when God, speaking to Israel says,Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool”. This same Talmudic source tells us that this ribbon was in the form of a tongue. It was, they say, of a shiny cloth attached between the horns of the goat that went to Azazel, (Strack, M.Yoma 4:2 & 6:6)

So, this must have been such a great revelation to the disciples and the believers when these tongues appeared to them. These tongue shaped flames indicated that now redemption had come. Just like the goat at Yom Kippur went out to confront the Azazel, here the Body of Messiah would confront the world with the Word of God.

But this is not all, for tradition also tells us that the same thing was done to the Red Heifer in that a red ribbon was also attached to this animal before it was sacrificed. The Mishnah called this ribbon לָשׁוֹן שֶׁל זְהֹרִית, lashon shel z’horit,  the tongue of z’horit.  It means a tongue which shines (Brenner, Colour Terms in the  O.T.). The word shine, זְהֹרִ zahor is used in Ezekiel 8:2 to describe the brightness (Jastrow) of a theophany, that is a physical manifestation of God, as it was in Acts 2 with the manifestation of the Spirit of God.

Remarkable as it may seem, we also learn from Jewish tradition that a red tongue shaped ribbon was also attached to a healed leper. ( This was used to show that the healing was confirmed by the religious authorities. And this is major because this could only have happened in the first century, around the time of Acts 2. The only Jewish lepers in history, since the Law of Moses was given, ever recorded being healed, were healed through Yeshua.

And so, according to this tradition, the healed lepers in the Gospels could very well have been going around with this tongue shaped red ribbon attached to them. So, when we read that there appeared to them tongues as of fire, there is a history of its presence and connection with the Jewish people. These tongues which they saw, confirmed that these new believers were not only healed through Yeshua, but that they were the new recipients of the Spirit, pointing to the spiritual healing offered through the Messiah. This is the wonderful news about Shavuot.


Click here for the Message on Shavuot: The Dawn of the New Day