Pentecost         

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Pentecost (Ancient Greek: πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], pentekostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth day") is one of the prominent feasts in the Christianliturgical year, celebrated the fiftieth day after Easter Sunday (the tenth day after Ascension Thursday). Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2.

 

Descent of the Holy Spirit
 
 
The events took place on the day of the Pentecost, in Jerusalem, at 09:00 ("the third hour of the day", according to Jewish timekeeping). The community of Christ's disciples, approximately 120 people, was gathered "into an upper room" in a building that Tradition locates on Mount Zion. The Tradition also says that it was the same room where Jesus ate His Last Supper. The tremendous phenomenon is very well described in Acts 2:1-4:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The phrase "a rushing mighty wind" is almost a literal translation of the Hebrew word ruah, meaning in Hebrew texts the Spirit of God. The experience is a powerful mystic one, hence the sensation of sacred possession (misinterpreted by passers-by as drunkenness) and the advent of supernatural gifts: the speaking with other tongues (glossolalia) and prophesying. During the Apostolic times, many of the people who received Christian baptism experienced the same extraordinary gifts.

 

Baptism of the three-thousand

According to the Book of Acts, the experience of the Pentecost was noticed by all in the large crowd, causing confusion and awe.


When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language…. Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? …Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" Acts 2:6-12

Then the Apostle Peter, standing with the eleven other apostles, spoke to the crowd. He explained that these strange events had been predicted by the prophet Joel, and that Jesus' resurrection from the dead and exaltation to heaven had been prophesied by David. Peter explained that these events confirmed David's prophecy. Peter then exhorted his listeners to turn to Christ. When Peter was asked what men should do he responded by saying "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." About three thousand responded to Peter's sermon and were baptized and were therefore "added" to the number of believers or the church.
 
 
Baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

According to the New Testament, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience sent by Jesus Christ. As recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus describes it as "the Promise of the Father", through which believers in Jesus Christ receive "power from on high" (Luke 24:49). According to the book of Acts, Jesus further referred to the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience through which his disciples would "receive power, after that the Holy Ghost[1] [was] come upon [them]" (Acts 1:8). Among various Charismatic groups, interpretations differ as to what the baptism with the Holy Spirit means to practical Christian experience.

 

Pentecostal/Charismatic view

 
In ChristianPentecostaltheology, baptism with the Holy Spirit is a distinctive Christian experience, the Biblical basis for which is found in the description of Pentecost in Jerusalem in Acts 2:1-4. Pentecostals emphasize that to be 'baptized with the Holy Spirit' is to be immersed in the Holy Spirit, and the experience presupposes conversion. That is to say, it is both distinct from and subsequent to salvation, which is itself a definite work of the Holy Spirit. Support for this can be found in the book of Acts, most notably the disciples of John the Baptist who were possibly converts to Christianity but had not yet heard of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7). Another compelling argument is the encounter with Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:12-24).

Charismatics are not as dogmatic, generally, as Pentecostals in the claim that the Holy Spirit baptism is distinctly separate from the experience of salvation. Some Charismatics believe that the Gift of the Holy Spirit is 'given to all Christians', occurring with the experience of salvation. Such Charismatics claim that the gifts of the Holy Spirit – that is, exercising spiritual power such as speaking in tongues or prophesying, are evidences of a release of the Holy Spirit's Power rather than the baptism itself with the Holy Spirit. At large, Charismatics and Pentecostals have very similar beliefs. Charismatics, however, focus more on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Charismatics and Pentecostals both point to Ephesians 5:18, where the Apostle Paul urges his audience to "be filled with the Spirit" using an imperative mood verb. Pentecostals see this gift (baptism in the Holy Spirit) as an experience following salvation. Whereas other churches have seen being filled with the Holy Spirit to require piety and grace, some Pentecostals and Charismatics have seen it as a requirement that all who are saved must have a Pentecostal experience. This belief has its roots in Luke 24:49, in which Jesus commands His followers to wait in Jerusalem until they "are clothed with power from on high" (NIV). After His followers have received this experience, they are to be His witnesses "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

In contemporary theology, there is a divergence between the two main strains of Pentecostal believers, with some organized as Pentecostal and others as Charismatic or Second Wave churches. Both believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is spoken of by Jesus in Luke 11:13 and also Acts 1:5 and that it was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit prophesied in the Old Testament books of Ezekiel 36:27 and Joel 2:28-29.

 

Development of the term

The term "baptize with the Holy Spirit" is encountered in each of the four gospels in descriptions of John the Baptist's prophecies of the coming Messiah who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, {{bibleref2|Luke|3:16, John 1:33). Jesus is quoted using the phrase "baptized with the Holy Spirit" in Acts 1:5, where he commands his followers to wait in Jerusalem for this experience, which he also referred to as the "Promise of the Father" in Acts 1:4. In Acts 11:16, the Apostle Peter terms the experience of the household of Cornelius (described in Acts 10:44-46) as being "baptized with the Holy Spirit", declaring that the experience was "the same gift that [God] gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ" at Pentecost (see Acts 11:17 and compare Acts 2:1-4). Other terminology in the New Testament may refer as well to the baptism with the Holy Spirit: the language of filling (Acts 1:4 and Acts 9:17); other language of the Holy Spirit being poured out (Acts 2:17-18 (referring to Joel 2:28-29), Acts 2:33 and Acts 10:45); the language of receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15 and 17), the falling of the Holy Spirit on individuals (Acts 8:16 and Acts 10:44), and also descriptions of the Holy Spirit coming upon individuals (Acts 1:8 and Acts 19:6). Members of the Holiness churches have also referred to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a "second blessing" or "second work of grace." This language and practice eventually evolved into the modern Pentecostal movement, and Pentecostals adapted the Holiness usage of the term as they understood it.

 

Baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues

 


Biblical scholars note the close association of Biblical references to "baptism in the Holy Spirit" with descriptions of "speaking in tongues." In the Acts of the Apostles, there are three specific references to individuals speaking in tongues: Acts 2:4, ;&version=KJV; Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6. Each of these instances of tongues-speaking is immediately subsequent to or contemporary with an experience of being "baptized in the Holy Spirit." The experience in Acts 2:1-4, which included tongues-speaking (see Acts 2:4), may be connected with the prediction by Jesus in Acts 1:5 that the disciples would be "baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." This experience was referred to later in retrospect by Peter as well, as being "baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 11:16).

The description of Cornelius' household receiving the Gospel from Peter and his companions in Acts 10:46, which included a reference to their "speaking in tongues," is later associated by Peter with the Pentecost experience of the disciples, relating that Cornelius and his friends and family were "baptized with the Holy Spirit" as the disciples had been at Pentecost (Acts 11:16) and Acts 19:6, which includes reference to individuals in Ephesus "speaking in tongues," although not specifically using the term "baptized with the Holy Spirit," states that the "Holy Spirit came upon them" when the Apostle Paul laid his hands upon them. Pentecostal tradition points to these passages to affirm what it believes to be adequate scriptural basis for their view that "speaking in tongues" is an initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

 

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