Want to know more about Pentecost? The following excerpt comes from Passover to Pentecost Study Guide: 50 Days that Changed the World by Robert Morris, which accompanies the DVD video series of the same name.
Some people are scared by the word Pentecost because it sounds similar to the word Pentecostal. I was raised Baptist, but when I was eight years old, I attended a Pentecostal church service for the first time with my Aunt Prudie and Uncle Smokie. Things seemed completely normal until the music started. Then these “normal” adults went crazy! They began shouting, running around the sanctuary, and speaking in tongues. One guy even ran around during the pastor’s message! It was a frightening experience for an eight‐year‐old boy. This was my first impression of the Pentecostal denomination, and my only thought was, I do not want to be a Pentecostal when I grow up!
I’m not saying anything negative about the Pentecostal denomination, but I realize some people might have had the same experience and, therefore, feel a little afraid or uncomfortable with this word. And if you feel that way, then it’s possible you might feel the same way about the Person of the Holy Spirit. You might think, I’m glad I invited Jesus into my life, but I don’t really want to invite a Person who would make me lose my mind.
WHAT IS PENTECOST?
The word Pentecost simply means “50.” There is no reason to be scared of the word 50! Pentecost was the celebration of the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. It occurred 50 days after Passover, when God’s people took the blood of the lamb and put it on their doorposts so the death angel would pass over their houses.
The New Testament Pentecost was 50 days after the resurrection. Passover was on Friday (when Jesus was crucified), then the Sabbath came, and finally there were 50 days until Pentecost. That’s 50 days plus two more. So how did that change from the Old Testament? God changed it back in Leviticus 23:15–16:
And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.
The new grain offering was to be offered after seven weeks plus a day (the Feast of Weeks) after the first Sabbath after the Passover, so that the celebration of Pentecost would match up with the time after the Messiah’s resurrection. God knew His Son would rise the day after that Sabbath. That’s why we see in Acts 2:1 the phrase, “When the day of Pentecost had fully come.” “Fully” means 50 days after the Sabbath.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven. … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. … Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” … And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” … Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them’ (Acts 2:1, 4, 38, 40–41).
Do you see how wonderful God is? When the Law was given, there was a sound from heaven, God wrote His Law on tablets of stone, and 3,000 people died. At the giving of the Spirit, there was a sound from heaven, God wrote His Law on tablets of flesh (people’s hearts), and 3,000 people were saved! The Law brings death; the Spirit brings life. God works all this out perfectly.
Copyright © 2023 by Robert Morris
Continue reading in the Passover to Pentecost: 50 Days that Changed the World Study Guide. Order yours today!