Bible Verses About Pentecost
While the Christian church recognizes the Day of Pentecost as the birth of the church when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, the Jewish holiday has its roots in the Old Testament (Exod 34:22; Num 28:17; Deut 16:10; 2 Chron 8:13). As the second of the three great pilgrimage feasts in Israel (the other two are Passover and Tabernacles) it concluded a cycle of time begun at Passover. According to the Encyclopedia of the Bible on Bible Gateway, it was named Pentecost because it fell on the 50th day after the offering of the barley sheaf during the Passover celebration. It was the beginning of the offering of firstfruits.
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Saint John’s Bible: Pentecost Reflection]
Other names for the observance include Feast of Ingathering, Feast of Reaping, Feast of Harvest, Fifty Days, Assembly, and Day of First Fruits. It was essentially a harvest celebration. Exodus 23:16 gives the most ancient name as “Feast of Harvest.” The title “Weeks,” used for the special feast day when the firstfruits of the wheat harvest were presented to God, refers to the whole period of grain harvest, starting with the reaping of the barley and concluding with the end of wheat harvest, a period of about seven weeks. The period was particularly sacred in Israel when they recognized the Lord as the source of rain and fertility (Jer 5:24).
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The Encyclopedia says the feast was designated the “day of first fruits” (Num 28:26; Exod 23:16; 34:22; Lev 23:17), because it marked the beginning of the time in which the people were to voluntarily bring their offerings of firstfruits, a season that concluded with the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). It was celebrated as a sabbath with rest from ordinary labors and the calling of a holy convocation (Lev 23:21; Num 28:26).[Watch the Bible Gateway Blog post, Video: Day of Pentecost Meditation on Acts 2]
Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD, the God of Israel. 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.
Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.
You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you. You shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.
Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Pentecost: The Holy Spirit Advancing the Church]
When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers gathered in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven. It was like a strong wind blowing. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like fire in the shape of tongues. The flames separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in languages they had not known before. The Spirit gave them the ability to do this.
Godly Jews from every country in the world were staying in Jerusalem. A crowd came together when they heard the sound. They were bewildered because each of them heard their own language being spoken. The crowd was really amazed. They asked, “Aren’t all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then why do we each hear them speaking in our own native language? We are Parthians, Medes and Elamites. We live in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia. We are from Pontus, Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia. Others of us are from Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene. Still others are visitors from Rome. Some of the visitors are Jews. Others have accepted the Jewish faith. Also, Cretans and Arabs are here. We hear all these people speaking about God’s wonders in our own languages!” They were amazed and bewildered. They asked one another, “What does this mean?”
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