Pentecost in Old Testament and New Testament
Pentecost is the old Greek and Latin name for the Jewish harvest festival, or Festival of Weeks (Hebrew חג השבועות Hag haShavuot orShevuot, literally "Festival of Weeks"), which can be found in the Hebrew Bible, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks (Hebrew: חג השבועות, chag ha-Shavuot, Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10 ); Festival of Reaping (Hebrew: חג הקציר, chag ha-Katsir, Exodus 23:16 ), and Day of the First Fruits (Hebrew יום הביכורים, Yom ha-Bikkurim, Numbers 28:26 ).
Extra-Biblical and Post-Biblical Jewish Texts
The Talmud refers to Shavuot as Atzeret (Hebrew: עצרת, literally, "refraining" or "holding back"), referring to the prohibition against work on this holiday and to the conclusion of the holiday and season of Passover. Since Shavuot occurs 50 days after Passover, Hellenistic Jews gave it the name Pentecost.(πεντηκοστή, "fiftieth day").
According to Jewish tradition, Pentecost commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. The Talmud derives this from a calculation based on Biblical Texts.
The Jewish Encyclopedia points to similarities between the Christian and Jewish Pentecost, as an outpouring of the Spirit or the giving of the Law in seventy languages. Similarly, many consider the events of each historical Pentecost to be the birthday of each religion respectively.
The same building on Mount Zion is traditionally revered by Jews as David's Tomb and by Christians as the Cenacle (The Upper Room), and that there is a Jewish tradition that David was born and died on Pentecost.
The biblical narrative of Pentecost, where the 11 Disciples of Christ (Acts 1:13, 26), along with about 109 other individuals (Acts 1:15), including many women, among whom was Mary the mother of Jesus (Acts 1:14), received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room, is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in Acts 2:1-6:
|"||And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.||"|
While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in many languages, the Apostle Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy ("I will pour out my spirit") In Acts 2:17, it reads: "'And in the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams." Acts 2:41 then reports: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Peter stated that this event was the beginning of a continual outpouring that would be available to all believers from that point on, Jews and Gentiles alike.
- ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, Pentecost (Whitsunday)
- ^ 2:1-31
- ^ The Seven Festivals of the Messiah 12 Edward Chumney - 1994 p230 This is called the counting of the omer. On the fiftieth day following the Feast of First Fruits (Bikkurim) is the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) or Pentecost ( Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:15-21).
- ^ Acts 2:1-4
- ^ Acts 2:1-6 in all major bibles
- ^ Joel 2:28-29
- ^ Acts 2:41
- ^ Acts 2:39
(Photo: A depiction of the Descent of the Holy Spirit in the Rosary Garden of San Carlos Seminary, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City,Philippines.)