Pentecost is often thought to have begun in the New Testament, but in actuality, the word Pentecost is a Greek word referring to the Festival of Weeks, which was one of the main holy festivals of the Jewish people (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9). The Festival of Weeks (or Feast of Weeks) was celebrated at the end of the grain harvest (Exodus 34:22), which occurred fifty days after the wave offering of Passover. It was on this day—the day of Pentecost—that the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers in Jerusalem (Acts 2). Jews from every nation were all gathered together in the city, and witnessed tongues of fire falling on all the believers in Jesus, and they (the believers) were given the ability to speak in all the languages of the Jews gathered there, and they were amazed, saying "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?" (Acts 2:7-8).
The day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of the words Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding the Holy Spirit of God, which is represented by wind and fire throughout the Bible. Life was brought to Adam's physical body when God breathed into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7). God's Spirit is compared to the wind, when Jesus said, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8). God led the Israelites as a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21), and He is described as a "consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Isaiah 33:14; Hebrews 12:29). The glorified Christ is also identified by eyes that flame like fire (Revelation 1:14; 19:12).
But the tongues of fire and the mighty, rushing wind were not the only indications of the Spirit's presence that day. The Spirit spoke through Peter to the hearts of the people. Every person understood the sermon in their own language as a result of God's intervention, for God is merciful and "desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). As the crowds listened, they were "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37) and instantly understood the message, as a result of the Spirit's illumination. God is a Creator, and just as He created physical light to illuminate the world, He creates light in a mind darkened by sin and the fall, so that the person can see Christ clearly and come to Him (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). The day of Pentecost was a day of great mercy, when both Jew and Gentile were given that light, and God's invisible church, His bride, was born.
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