“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest of each of them. (4) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:3,4 (NIV)

The story of the first Pentecost celebration in the New Testament need not be repeated here as Luke wrote about it in colorful literary fashion, as referenced above. The importance of this festival for the life of the faithful Christian can’t be over emphasized.

To truly appreciate the significance of Pentecost, we must go back a little more than seven weeks before this miraculous event. It was the night before His crucifixion and the mood was somber. Christ is speaking to the disciples in what we might very well call His farewell address. Hearts were heavy as they sensed the direction of the Savior’s thoughts. Again and again He had referred to the Comforter whom He would send to them from the Father.

The miracle of that first Pentecost after that Last Supper and Passover is the fulfillment of that promise. But, wait - this special day has a double fulfillment. Acts 2:16, Peter proclaims, “. . . . this is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel”, and proceeds to quote Joel in verses 17 – 21. (NIV) We can find Joel’s prophetic statement in Joel 2:28-32. Jesus had affirmed that which Joel had prophesied and Peter declares it to be in fact fulfilled!! Pentecost is one of three great annual festivals of the Jews, but lasted only one day. It was the Fiftieth day from the day AFTER first day of Passover. Lev. 23:15-22. That is, 7 weeks plus one day. The first day of Passover was a Sabbath, being called a HIGH DAY (KJV) or SPECIAL SABBATH. (NIV) John 19:31, and not to be confused with the weekly Sabbath. The Savior was crucified on the day of preparation. That same day 3 hours of darkness covered the earth. Christ was in the grave during the first day of Passover (high day or special Sabbath) and resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath, as it was dawning toward (beginning) the first day of the week.

Jewish tradition is that this day, Pentecost, was on the exact same day as the giving of the Law from Mount Sinai. So the Feast of Pentecost associates the old covenant of the law with the new covenant of the Gospel.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was on the second day of Passover, which involved the barley harvest. Pentecost involved wheat harvest. Exodus 34:22.  This feast was also called Feast of Harvest, Exodus 23:16 (KJV) because this day were presented to the Lord the FIRST FRUITS of the wheat harvest. How appropriate it is that Pentecost was call feast of harvest for presenting the first fruits. On that Sunday, the first Pentecost after the resurrection of our Lord, the birthday of the church, the first fruits of the harvest were presented to the Lord, in that three thousand souls were added to their number!

It is important to note that all able bodied men of Israel were required to travel to Jerusalem for attending the three major festivals. During this time of absence from home God had made an amazing promise to the Israelites, “I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.” What a striking illustration we have here of God’s providence. Without God’s protecting and restraining influence, how easy it would have been for the surrounding nations to have come in during the absence of the men to capture and enslave their women and children. History never recorded a single invasion of their territory during their attendance of these festivals. How plain it is that “THE WAY A NATION HONORS GOD IS THE WAY OF SAFETY.”


       Just a Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.


                                                                                                        Updated April 30, 2010

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