Current Notes: Trinity, Part 8 - Some Background Regarding Pentecost

What actually happened at Pentecost?

Pentecost was one of seven Jewish feasts:

  1. Passover - the 14th of Nisan (roughly our April) - celebrated the events leading up to the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, notably the slaying of all of the firstborn of Egypt who were not protected by the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their houses. God's people had followed His directive to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood on the doorposts and the lintel, and so the Angel of Death passed over those homes and did not kill the firstborn.
  2. Pentecost - The 6th of Sivan (roughly our June) - Celebrates the completion of the wheat harvest. "Pente-" means fifty. Pentecost is fifty days (seven weeks) after the Passover. It was a feast of international significance that would attract devout Jews from many other countries, to Jerusalem for the event.
  3. The Feast of Trumpets - The First day of Tishri (October), the Jewish New Year.
  4. The Day of Atonement - The 10th of Tishri (October), more of a fast than a feast, in remembrance and rejoicing for the forgiveness of their sins.
  5. The Feast of Tabernacles - The 15th of Tishri (October), commemorating the end of the autumn harvest, and the completion of their historic wandering in the desert.
  6. The Feast of Lights - The 25th of Kislev (December), celebrating the dedication of the new re-built Temple after being released from Babylonian captivity.
  7. Purim - The 14th & 15th of Adar (March), celebration of the rescuing of the Jews from Haman's genocide plot, as told in the book of Esther.
The Last Supper was Jesus' celebration of the Passover with his disciples. At this meal, Jesus did several things: After the Lord's Supper and the Lord's arrest and crucifixion, there were no more spectacular miracles, except for: Seven weeks went by, with no more big miracles, and no promised Counselor.

Then in Acts 2:1, when devout Jews had come to Jerusalem from all over the Middle East to attend the Feast of Pentecost (the completion of the wheat harvest), a sudden sound like a mighty wind (probably not an actual wind) was heard where they were assembled. Something like tongues of fire rested on each person there, and "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." Acts 2:4.

So, what is "tongues"? We could spend many months on this controvertial topic alone. But this discussion is focussed on what happened at Pentecost. The foreigners heard Jesus' followers in their own language.

So what's the big deal about Pentecost, if the Holy Spirit (see previous lessons) has been here on Earth since B'reshith, since the Beginning -- and throughout the Old Testament?

And there are many other Old Testament manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Next week: some New Testament manifestations of the Holy Spirit before Pentecost.