by Tim Hegg

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The Sages fixed the coming of the people of Israel to Mt. Sinai on Shavuot in the following manner:

1. Ex 19 begins: בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁלִישִׁי לְצֵאת בְּנֵי־יִשְָׂראֵל מֵאֶֶרץ מִצְרִָים בַּיּוֹם הֶַזּה בָּאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינָי , “In the third month of the going out of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, on this day, they came to the wilderness of Sinai”. The text is emphatic in specifying בַּיּוֹם הֶַזּה, “on this (very) day,” and the opening “In the third month” seems to indicate that “on this (very) day” therefore refers to Rosh Chodesh of the third month, i.e., Sivan 1. Moreover, when Israel finally came to enter the Land after 40 years of wilderness wanderings, we read in Josh 5:10–12 that they celebrated the Pesach on the eve of Nisan 14, and on the day after the Pesach, i.e., on the 16th of Nisan, they ate from the produce of the Land, for the manna had ceased. This is in accordance with Lev 23:9–14, in which it is prohibited to eat from the new produce of the Land until the sheaf was waved as first-fruits. Then, following the waving of the sheaf (i.e., the first-fruits offered by the priests) on the 15th, the new grain may be eaten, i.e., on the 16th of Nisan. Starting with the 16th, 49 days are to be counted by bringing an omer of grain each day to the priests, and then, on the 50th day is the feast of Shavuot. This pattern of counting 49 days from the day after the Shabbat of Pesach (15th of Nisan) is pre-figured in the chronology of the exodus and the giving of the Torah at Sinai.

2. The chronology of the giving of the Torah:

The passover lamb was slain in the afternoon, roasted, and eaten that night. The Angel of the Lord put the firstborn to death at midnight. Israel travelled for the remainder of Nisan and for the month of Iyar.

No word from God came on this day because of the people’s fatigue. (Ex 19:1-2)

Aaron and those with him rested on the Shabbat, as did Joshua who had ascended further with Moses. (There is no indication as to where Joshua stayed during this time. He did remain on the mountain for the 40 days and nights, since he accompanies Moses when he descends, cf. Ex 32:17). God begins to expound the Torah to Moses, the fuller explanation of the 10 words written on the stone tablets. (cf. b.Shabbat 86b)

Chronology of the Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Yeshua
and the pouring out of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on Shavuot

(These are only suggestive. I recognize the many problems in constructing any kind of chronology for Yeshua’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.)

• Nisan 14

Yeshua eats the Pesach with His disciples at the closing of the day; goes to the Mount of Olives to pray after the Seder (it is now Nisan 15); is arrested, spends the night before the High Priests, and other judges.

Nisan 15 (morning; this is the Festival Shabbat as well as the preparation day for the weekly Shabbat)

Taken before Pilate; crucified at 9:00 am; darkness from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Yeshua’s body laid in the tomb in the evening, most likely before 6:00 pm.

Nisan 16 – Shabbat – 1st omer (a special Shabbat since the first sheaf of the barley was harvested on the Shabbat and waved in the Temple)

Nisan 17 Yom Rishon (יוֹם רִשׁאוֹן, Sunday) – 2nd omer – Yeshua is alive; meets the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:21, “it is the third day since all of things happened”)

Nisan 18 – Monday, 3rd omer

Nisan 19-Iyar 28, 4th-43rd omer = 40 days (Iyar 28 is a weekly Shabbat)

Yeshua shows Himself to many people, and teaches His disciples during the 40 days of His post-resurrection life in the Land (Acts 1:3).

Iyar 29 – 44th omer (Yom Rishon, יוֹם רִשׁאוֹן, just after the Shabbat had ended, thus evening time)

Yeshua ascends to the Father. He and His disciples were observing Shabbat in Jerusalem, and had walked across the Kidron Valley to the Mt. of Olives. The ascension occurs after the Shabbat had ended, just after sunset, thus the beginning of first day of the week. This is the only explanation for why Luke would include the otherwise superflous phrase “a Sabbath day’s journey” in Acts 1:12, to emphasize that walking to the Mt. of Olives on the Shabbat was not contrary to the prevailing halachah observed in Jerusalem.

The appearance of angels [two men in white] asking why they continued to gaze into the sky corresponds to the angels at the tomb following the resurrection. The timing is the same: both occurred at the beginning of Yom Rishon.

Sivan 1-5, 45th – 49th omer

The disciples stay in Jerusalem, anticipating and preparing for the coming of Shavuot. They choose Matthias to replace Judas as one of the Twelve. (Acts 1:15-26)

Sivan 6 (Friday, Yom Shishi, יוֹם שִׁשִׁי)

Shavuot arrives; disciples are congregated in Jerusalem to celebrate according to the Torah; the Ruach is poured out in the special “harvesting” mission, to gather in peoples of every nation that all the families of the earth might be blessed through the seed of Abraham, Yeshua (cf. Gen 12:1-3; Gal 3:8, 16).