Here you will find a podcast plus notes on Pentecost (9 minutes).

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Pentecost: The facts

  • Acts 2, the day of Pentecost, birthday of the church
    • Friday 3 April, 33 AD, likely date of crucifixion.
    • Sunday 5 April, date of resurrection.
    • Sunday 24 May, date of first Pentecost.
  • Comes from the Greek word for 50 (pentekoste)
    • It is the 50th day counting from Passover (7 weeks later, with exclusive reckoning).
    • 10 days after Ascension Thursday (Acts 1:3 has 40 days of appearances and teaching before the ascension, leaving 10 days).
    • Usually falls in May, though as it is rides with the date of Easter, whose date varies by calendar and tradition, is sometimes occurs in June.
  • Other names:
    • Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. It is a minor Jewish holiday, but a major Christian one.
    • In Jewish tradition, it commemorates the giving of the Law at Sinai. In tradtion, Israel arrived at Sinai 50 days after Passover.
    • Also called Whitsunday, esp. in Great Britain.
  • Was one of three feasts at which the presence of all male Israelites was required.
    • It was a pilgrim holiday.
    • Note that the crowd in Acts two was quite international. People were living in Jerusalem who had roots all around the Mediterranean. It is not likely that the crowd "stayed over" between Passover and Pentecost (costly!).
  • Deuteronomy 16:9-12:
    • A time of rejoicing.
    • A time to remember the slavery from which we have come.
    • A time of offering.
    • A time of careful obedience.
  • Pentecost was a feast of harvest.
    • New believers as firstfruits, and Holy Spirit as firstfruits.
    • Appropriate for the beginning of the Christian church!
      • Culmination of three years of preaching and teaching.
      • Those present would have been the more serious, biblically-oriented Jews.
      • 3000 males baptized. Never equaled again. (Beware false comparisons.)
    • Initiation of the new covenant. The Bible can thus be divided between Malachi and Matthew, or between Acts 1 and Acts 2, 90 chapters later.

Further study

  • There was no eclipse at Pentecost. Learn why by clicking here.
  • Many languages were spoken on this auspicious day, none of which was anything like modern "tongues." To learn which languages were spoken, click here. Hear also the podcast on Tongues at this website. And to learn much more about the work of the Holy Spirit, please consider reading my book The Spirit.
  • In Acts 20:16, Paul wants to reach Jerusalem before Pentecost, the collection symbolizing his harvest among the Gentiles.
  • Hear also the podcast, Surprises from Acts 2 (open to premium subscribers).
  • Here is an article by Phillip Lester called, "Messianic Significance of Shavuot (Pentecost)".