Question:

I have been studying some on Pentecost. I think I finally understand some of it, but could you please expound on this some more? My most recent studies have been in the Old Testament, on feast days and ceremonial days, such as Passover, Purim, etc. Pentecost was explained some in this study. What I am wondering about is the word itself. Is it Hebrew, Greek or some other language? What is the breakdown and meaning of each part of the word?


Answer:

The word Pentecost is a transliteration of a Greek word that means "fiftieth." In this case it refers to a celebration that took place fifty days after the Passover week (the Feast of Unleaven Bread).

"And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD" (Leviticus 23:15-16).

Another name for the period was called the Feast of Weeks because seven weeks were marked off. "Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work" (Numbers 28:26). The end of the Feast of Weeks was the day of the firstfruits (what was called Pentecost in the New Testament). It marked the beginning of the harvest season when the wheat crop generally became ready. "And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end" (Exodus 34:22).

Because the 50 days was always counted from the Sabbath at the end of Feast of Unleaven Bread, the day of Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week (Sunday).