Tongues of Fire
The Festival of Shavuot
By: Dr. Jürgen Bühler, ICEJ President
For the Jewish people, Shavuot (Hebrew for “weeks”) marks the events described in Exodus 19, when God came down in flames of fire on Mount Sinai and gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites seven weeks after their Exodus from Egypt. This is considered the moment Israel was born as a nation, called to be a “light to the nations.” (Isaiah 49:6)
For Christians, the same festival is known as Pentecost and also recalls the events of Acts chapter 2, when “tongues of fire” descended on 120 followers of Jesus gathered in the Upper Room, fulfilling his promise that “the Comforter” would soon come to them. The Church was born that day, and “endued with power” to fulfill its Great Commission.
A Universal Message
The Ten Commandments gave humanity an expression of God’s nature and character – His holiness and glory. God’s people were called to reflect that divine character in their daily lives. The giving of the Law was a most awe-inspiring moment for the Israelites. The Bible indicates they heard the very voice of God speaking forth each commandment. Trembling, they pleaded with Moses that it was too much; that from now on God should just talk to and through him.