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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Pen´tecost, the name (signifying fiftieth) given in the New Testament to the Feast of Weeks, or of Ingathering, which was celebrated on the fiftieth day from the festival of unleavened bread, or the Passover; or seven weeks from the 16th day of Nisan. It was a festival of thanks for the harvest, and commenced immediately after the Passover [FESTIVALS]. It was one of the three great yearly festivals, in which all the males were required to appear before God at the place of his sanctuary. Josephus states that in his time great numbers of Jews resorted from every quarter to Jerusalem to keep this festival. This testimony affords interesting corroboration of ; ; ; , in which the same fact appears. The commencement of the Christian church on the day of Pentecost, preceded as it was by our Lord's ascension, attached a peculiar interest to this season, and eventually led to its being set apart for the commemoration of these great events. It was not, however, established as one of the great festivals until the fourth century. The combination of two events (the Ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost) in one festival has a parallel in the original Jewish feast, which is held to have included the feast of first-fruits, and of the delivering of the law (; ; ). Indeed, this festival in some respects bears a close analogy to the Jewish one; and is evidently little more than a modification of it. The converts of that day, on which the Holy Ghost descended, were the first fruits of the Spirit. This festival became one of the three baptismal seasons, and it derives its name of Whitsunday, or white-Sunday, from so many being clad in white on this the day of their baptism.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Pentecost'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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