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All About Pentecost

This Sunday is Pentecost. We celebrate the birth of the church and wear red. But when I did a search on the internet for the word Pentecost, it was interesting to me that not only the Christian celebration came up, but also the Jewish one.

According to the book “Christianity for Dummies,” (yes, not the best title, but it had good information) “Pentecost is a Christian holy day that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit 40 days after Easter. Some Christian denominations consider it the birthday of the Christian church and celebrate it as such. Originally, Pentecost was a Jewish holiday held 50 days after Passover. One of three major feasts during the Jewish year, it celebrated Thanksgiving for harvested crops. However, Pentecost for Christians means something far different.”

Wikipedia says, “The Christian holiday of Pentecost … commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles.”

The Feast of Weeks is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the same holiday the disciples were celebrating when the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, and Shavuot are all different names for the same holiday in Judaism. It is a spring holiday, originally marking the start of the wheat harvest. It is celebrated seven weeks after Passover.

The Christian Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks after Easter. That is no coincidence.

The parallels between Jewish and Christian holidays never cease to amaze me. Passover always coincides with the Christian Holy Week. It is good symbolism for Jesus, who was the ultimate sacrifice, as innocent as the lambs that were slain during the first Passover celebrated by the Jews.

Shari Van Baale
Communications Coordinator

Tags: Weekly Word