Some people refer to these observances as the feasts of the Jews. No servile work was to be done. These awesome events on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 launched the New Testament Church. Pentecost calls us out to uncertainty and change but it also assures us that the Gospel will be heard everywhere! Every male in Israel was on that day required to appear before the Lord at the sanctuary (Exodus 34:22,23). As the Holy Spirit descended upon His faithful followers, it appeared as tongues of fire, and His disciples began to miraculously speak in foreign languages (Acts 2:3-4). They have a part in preparing for an even greater harvest of people to follow. In the post-apostolic Christian church Pentecost belonged to the so-called "Semestre Domini," as distinct from the "Semestre Ecclesiae" the church festivals properly so called. Wind and tongues of fire witnessed to the presence of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the entire pentecostal period, the so-called "Quinquagesima," was marked by joyfulness, daily communion, absence of fasts, standing in prayer, etc. Pentecost is a central feast of Judaism. Pentecost is a Christian feast, 50 days after Easter. With the loaves two lambs were offered as a peace offering and all were waved before Jehovah and given to the priests; the leaves being leavened, could not be offered on the altar. Chrysostom calls it "the metropolis of the festivals" (De Pentec., Hom. In the Old Testament, it is referred to by several names: The feast … God determines when each person will be given the opportunity for salvation. Their founders despised the Jews and didn’t want their religion to look similar to that of the Jews. 2. In this way God can speak to us. Consider the events that led up to the momentous Pentecost of Acts 2. Meaning of Pentecost. The misguided, breakaway version of Christianity, which separated itself from the original Christianity founded by Jesus and His disciples, changed Passover to Easter (the name of a pagan goddess of spring and fertility). Acts 2 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. The day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the words Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding the Holy Spirit of God, which is represented by wind and fire throughout the Bible. What does Pentecost mean for Christians? The Sadducees, who were members of the priestly sect, were in charge of the temple and the worship that occurred there. By counting 50 days beginning with the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread (as designated by Scripture), we always come to Sunday. As yet there was no trace of Christmas, which began to appear about 360 AD. A clear understanding of the events leading up to the Feast of Pentecost makes its importance much more clear. If you have been following the news recently, you know the connection between George Floyd and what is happening in Minnesota and other cities as I write this. The purpose of this feast was to commemorate the completion of the grain harvest. A popular custom on Pentecost is to eat dairy foods and cheese-cakes in honor of the Law, which is likened to "honey and milk" (Cant.iv. It’s connected with the change from the biblical Passover to Easter. 3. In the old covenant, Pentecost or the Festival of Weeks was one of the "weightiest" festivals for God's people, according to Ligonier Ministries, an international organization founded by Dr. R.C. The festival of Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. School was out. There is some difference of opinion as to what is the significance of Pentecost for the church as an institution. Pentecost is a Greek word identifying the conclusion of the Jewish harvest festival. This feast occurred during the first harvest of the land, and Jewish tradition says that this day commemorates God giving the ancient Israelites the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai. The Holy Spirit descended in answer to the explicit promise of the glorified Lord, and the disciples had been prayerfully waiting for its fulfillment (Acts 1:4,14). Pentecost is often thought to have begun in the New Testament, but in actuality, the word Pentecost is a Greek word referring to the Festival of Weeks, which was one of the main holy festivals of the Jewish people ( Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9 ). Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot, the spring harvest festival of the Israelites, which was going on when the Holy Spirit came. But, as the Encyclopaedia Britannica explains, “The Sadducees and Pharisees were in constant conflict with each other, not only over numerous details of ritual and the Law but most importantly over the content and extent of God’s revelation to the Jewish people” (“Sadducee”). What does Pentecost mean … God must first call people before they can repent of their sins and receive the Holy Spirit, which identifies them as Christians who will receive eternal life. God’s instructions were to “count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath” and that day was to be proclaimed “a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:16, 21). In the old covenant, Pentecost or the Festival of Weeks was one of the "weightiest" festivals for God's people, according to Ligonier Ministries, an international organization founded by Dr. R.C. (Judaism) Jewish holy day celebrated on the sixth of Sivan to celebrate Moses receiving the Ten Commandments The manifestations or gifts of the Holy Spirit were seen in the first century Christian believers (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28) and include signs and wonders such as the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues. God the Holy Spirit proved on Pentecost His personal existence, and the intellects, the hearts, the lives of the apostles were on that day miraculously changed. A. πεντηκοστῆς, pentēkostēs literally means _____ . Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. 1. seventh Sunday after Easter; commemorates the emanation of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles; a quarter day in Scotland 2. info)) in Ashkenazi usage, (Hebrew: שָׁבוּעוֹת ‎, lit. From Acts 2:1 we learn that it was a pre-determined event in the mind of God. (Acts 5:32) That is the Spirit of Pentecost. The other sacrifices were, a burnt offering of a young bullock, two, rams and seven lambs with a meat and drink offering, and a kid for a sin offering. All rights reserved. The Old Testament does not give it the historical significance which later Jewish writers have ascribed to it. "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". In the New Testament, the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples of Jesus. For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement. As Christians accross the world celebrate Pentecost this Sunday, what comes to mind of many is what it means and how it affects the religion they are practicing – Christianity. Ascension Day, the 40th day of the period, ushered in the climax of this joyfulness, which burst forth in its fullest volume on Pentecost. the Revised Version (British and American) translates the obnoxious word simply "was now come." Dr. H. Bavinck says: "Christ gathers a church about Himself, rules it directly so long as He is on the earth, and appoints twelve apostles who later on will be His witnesses. These two meals represent the two loaves of bread, formerly offered in the "bikkurim" offering at the Temple service. George Floyd, Minnesota, Pentecost. Some congregations, however, give no special attention to this festival. Bibliography Information These festivals do not belong solely to the Jews. Their reasons for doing so “are that the book takes place at the time of the barley harvest, that Ruth’s assumption of Naomi’s religion reflects the Israelites’ acceptance of the Torah at Sinai, and that King David, who is alleged to have died at this time of year according to rabbinic tradition, is mentioned at the end of Ruth” (“Shavuot 101,” myjewishlearning.com). Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. But according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Passover that year occurred on Thursday, Nisan 14, and hence, Pentecost fell on Saturday. Besides the sacrifices prescribed for the occasion, every one was to bring to the Lord his "tribute of a free-will offering" ( Deuteronomy 16:9-11 ). What we note from these passages is that Pentecost is a feast of God. These two meals represent the two loaves of bread, formerly offered in the "bikkurim" offering at the Temple service. Three Pentecost Symbols. So many vocalize the question everyone there was thinking, “What does this mean?” “Pentecost” is the Greek word for fifty. 44). From the sixteenth of Nisan seven weeks were reckoned inclusively, and the next or fiftieth day was the day of Pentecost, which fell on the sixth of Sivan (about the end of May). Those whom God called to be part of His Church on Pentecost in 31 AD were told that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if they would repent and be baptized, accepting Jesus Christ’s sacrifice to pay for their sins (Acts 2:38). That is discussed in the article under TONGUES (which see). This version of Christianity set the method for calculating Easter so it could not fall on Passover. From this amazing beginning, the Church of God began to rapidly expand throughout the Roman Empire. This means weeks or sevens, which alludes to the instruction to count 50 days. The Spirit’s appearance as the dove at Jesus’ baptism symbolizes the gentle Savior bringing peace to mankind through His sacrifice. This Jewish festival was one where they spent time thanking God for the early harvest that had just come in. Please enter your email address associated with your Salem All-Pass account, then click Continue. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version (© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.). Satan could not do anything with the core of disciples in the first church; they were invincible. As Numbers 28:26 says, “Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. Leviticus 23:18 describes the additional sacrifices required on this occasion. Comp. The institution of the apostolate is an especially strong proof of the institutionary character which Christ gave to His church on the earth" (Geref. Pentecost Sunday - What is it? The Holy Spirit. This is well described as "an incredible hypothesis" (Hodge, Systematic Theology, III, 484). They consider it, in effect, to be the birthday of the New Testament Church. It was highly esteemed by the Fathers. Pentecost is from the Greek word 'Pentekostos', which means 'fifty'. The Spirit of Pentecost: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit. At the same time, they also changed its date and meaning. In the first century, when Jesus’ followers observed Pentecost and received the Holy Spirit, there is no mention in the Bible of any concern or disagreement over the date. by COGWA-STL on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them. The festival "Octaves," which, in accordance with the Jewish custom, devoted a whole week to the celebration of the festival, from the 8th century, gave place to a two days' festival, a custom still preserved by the Roman church and such Protestant bodies as follow the ecclesiastical year. Pentecost is considered the birth of the church and was recorded in the New Testament in Acts 2. Pentecost is a Christian holy day that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit 40 days after Easter. Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe, Article URL: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/life/plan-of-salvation/pentecost/what-does-pentecost-mean/, Pentecost: Spirit of Power, Love and Sound Mind, From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You. The reason is that the day of the week when the Days of Unleavened Bread begin varies from year to year. What is Pentecost anyway, and how is it significant to the church today? Instead, the scriptural account emphasizes that Pentecost has to be counted each year. Just as the appearance of God on Sinai was the birthday of the Jewish nation, so was the Pentecost the birthday of the Christian Church. Pentecost Sunday is the Sunday that many Catholic and Protestant congregations observe as the beginning of the New Testament Church and as the day the Holy Spirit was given. Those who celebrate all seven feasts of the Lord and rehearse their meanings each year continually find deeper meaning in them. The fire of Pentecost burned in each one of them until their dying day. Meyer follows the Johannic reckoning and openly states that the other evangelists made a mistake in their reckoning. The festival so named is first spoken of in Exodus 23:16 as "the feast of harvest," and again in Exodus 34:22 as "the day of the firstfruits" ( Numbers 28:26 ). The habit of dressing in white and of seeking baptism on Pentecost gave it the name "Whitsunday," by which it is popularly known all over the world. In fact, Luke does such a steady of job of reporting events rather than interpreting their significance that most people today do not know that the events of Acts 2 fall on the same day as the Old Testament Feast of Pentecost. Within mainstream Christianity (Catholics and Protestants alike), many congregations recognize the biblical teaching that Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit was first given to Christians. Whatever we may think of this matter, the fact remains that Pentecost completely changed the apostles, and that the enduement with the Holy Spirit enabled them to become witnesses of the resurrection of Christ as the fundamental fact in historic Christianity, and to extend the church according to Christ's commandment. This vivid passage shows the close analogy between the Jewish and Christian Pentecost. The Holy Spirit offers us power for living, protection from evil, strength to fight temptation, and counsel for times of need. It was party time. Never miss a post! The service is celebrated with an All-night Vigil on the eve of the feast day, and the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast itself. HELPS Word-studies. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes the other names this feast has … From the sixteenth of the month of Nisan (the second day of the Passover), seven complete weeks, i.e., forty-nine days, were to be reckoned, and this feast was held on the fiftieth day. It is a holiday in the Christian Church for the day that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples. You can find the dates for Pentecost and other festivals according to the biblical calculation on our “Festival Calendar.”, What will Pentecost mean for you this year? 2. The 2nd of three great Jewish feasts. It is but once mentioned in the historical books of the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 8:12,13), from which reference it is plain, however, that the people of Israel, in Solomon's day, were perfectly familiar with it: "offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles." 3. ( deuteronomy 16:10 deuteronomy 16:11 ) The great feature of the celebration was the presentation of the two loaves made from the first-fruits of the wheat harvest. The almost universal opinion among theologians and exegetes is this: that Pentecost marks the rounding of the Christian church as an institution. (Acts 5:32) That is the Spirit of Pentecost. The Karaites explained the shabbath of Leviticus 23:15 as pointing to the Sabbath of the paschal week and therefore always celebrated Pentecost on Sunday. Pentecost means that God is working for the redemption of men and women according to a carefully pre-ordained plan or programme. Of all the annual observances given by God to the ancient Israelites, this is the only one that has been commonly known to Christians since the first century by its Greek name—Pentecost, meaning “the fiftieth day” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions). Pentecost is a Greek word identifying the conclusion of the Jewish harvest festival. To learn more about this amazing truth, download our free booklet From Holidays to Holy Days: God’s Plan for You. The Pentecost wind represents the power of God to bring life to the 'dry bones' of faith. Heb.) Three days and three nights after His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead, and during the next 40 days He appeared multiple times to His disciples (Acts 1:3). A popular custom on Pentecost is to eat dairy foods and cheese-cakes in honor of the Law, which is likened to "honey and milk" (Cant.iv. The shops were closed. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. It shares much of this organization with other liturgical churches and even some non-liturgical faith traditions. According to John, the Passover that year occurred on Friday, Nisan 14 (18:28). In the exodus the people were offered to God as living first fruits; at Sinai their consecration to him as a nation was completed. Pentecost (ProperNoun) A Jewish festival (also known as Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks) seven weeks after the feast of Firstfruits or Yom Habikkurim, originally a harvest festival but, since the destruction of the Temple, also commemorating the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Pentecost is reminiscent of the Last Supper; in both instances the disciples are together in a house for what proves to be an important event. The Pentecostal name comes from an event in the Book of Acts. 1:16). With a short review of the meaning behind the names mentioned above, we will get a deeper understanding of God’s intention’s about that day and its implications for all humanity. Pentecost holds an interesting distinction among God’s commanded holy days. Free-will offerings were to be made to the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:10), and it was to be marked by a liberal spirit toward the Levite, the stranger, and orphans and widows (Deuteronomy 16:11,14). Ministers in church often wear robes with red in the design as a symbol of the flames in which the Holy Spirit came … What do these three things have to do with each other? The Festival of Weeks (or Feast of Weeks) was celebrated at the end of the grain harvest ( Exodus 34:22 ), which occurred fifty days after the wave offering of … The Spirit’s appearance as the dove at Jesus’ baptism symbolizes the gentle Savior bringing peace to mankind through His sacrifice. 14, p. 1319, “Shavuot”). Sproul.. Pentecost was one of three festivals during which God required all males in Israel to be in Jerusalem. i.e., "fiftieth", found only in the New Testament ( Acts 2:1 ; 20:16 ; 1 Corinthians 16:8 ). The Feast of Weeks celebrated the end of the grain harvest. But, while God did indeed give these to Israel, including the Jewish people, it is important to note that God says, “These are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2), and that Moses referred to them as “the feasts of the LORD” (verse 44). Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish holiday held 50 days after Passover. 11). Its distinguishing feature was the offering of "two leavened loaves" made from the new corn of the completed harvest, which, with two lambs, were waved before the Lord as a thank offering. Easter, the beginning of the pentecostal period, closed the "Quadragesima," or "Lent," the entire period of which had been marked by self-denial and humiliation. 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