From the May/June 2022 issue of Discern Magazine

Why Celebrate Pentecost?

Are you planning to celebrate the biblical Feast of Weeks—Pentecost? This Christian holy day has important meanings that continue to be relevant today.

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Just over seven weeks from the anniversary of Jesus’ crucifixion, another important biblical celebration is found on the calendar of Christians who are striving to follow the original, unaltered Christianity of the first century. This special day is a holy day of God, often called the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, it is called Pentecost.

When is Pentecost 2022?

This year, Pentecost occurs on Sunday, June 5, 2022.

Will you be observing this special celebration that was an integral observance of the early Christians? If you haven’t decided, consider these five vital reasons you should. 

1. Observing Pentecost reminds you how the Christian Church began.

In the years leading up to the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the followers of Christ looked like simply another sect of Judaism. The Jewish religion already included the two major sects of the Sadducees and Pharisees, plus a number of other smaller groups, each with its own variation of beliefs.

The early Christians worshipped on Saturday, kept the annual holy days God had established in the Old Testament, didn’t eat pork and met in the synagogues with the Jews. So, to the outside world, Christians were just another variation of Judaism.

The one major distinction was that Christians believed that Jesus was the Son of God—the promised Messiah. But the Jews argued and fought among themselves over a lot of religious perspectives. Thus, to outsiders, disputes over Jesus’ identity wouldn’t have seemed all that important.

The Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 began the process that would eventually change this perception of Christianity forever. This eventful day launched the New Testament Christian Church. Although believers still met with Jews in the synagogues for a number of years, the Church of God from this point forward clearly had its own identity. The promise Jesus had made to establish His Church began with the miraculous assistance of the Holy Spirit—the power of God Himself.

To learn more about how the world was prepared for the establishment of the Church of God, read “Church History: The Beginning.”  

2. Observing Pentecost reminds you of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

In the days leading up to Pentecost in A.D. 31, the resurrected Jesus had appeared to His disciples and told them that He would send them “the Promise of My Father.” To receive this “Promise,” they were to wait in Jerusalem until they were “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

Clarifying to His disciples just what this “Promise of the Father” was, Jesus explained, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5).

You, too, can receive the Holy Spirit to empower you to serve God if you likewise repent of your sins and are baptized. Although God had given His Holy Spirit to a few individuals in the Old Testament (Nehemiah 9:30; Psalm 51:11; 1 Peter 1:10-11), it was not widely available to all who served God. Through the prophet Joel, God had proclaimed, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2:28). This prophecy began to be fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31.

Jesus’ followers who had assembled in Jerusalem to observe this annual holy day suddenly heard a sound like a rushing wind, saw tongues as of fire resting on each of them and were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they then began to speak in other languages. As for what these miraculous events meant, God inspired Peter to explain that this was the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy about people receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:14-21).

3. Observing Pentecost reminds you to allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life.

The miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit was on full display on Pentecost in A.D. 31. The visible manifestation of the Spirit on believers and their ability to speak in other languages astounded those who were present.

In addition to these outward evidences of God’s Spirit, what was equally amazing was the change that having the Holy Spirit made upon Jesus’ followers. Peter, one of Jesus’ specially chosen disciples, had only weeks earlier denied three times even knowing His Master (Matthew 26:69-75). Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, “Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice” and boldly began to explain to the crowd what had just occurred (Acts 2:14).

In his sermon, Peter cited Joel’s prophecy about the coming of the Holy Spirit and then addressed the additional questions that many likely had. Why did some people who were present—apparently only Jesus’ followers—receive the Holy Spirit while others did not? And how could those who did not receive the Holy Spirit likewise obtain this supernatural power?

Peter explained to the largely Jewish crowd that Jesus was the Son of God. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (verse 36).

Pricked in their consciences because of their sinful conduct, which included their failure to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and as their Lord, the people wanted to know what they should do.

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ . . . Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them [the disciples who had earlier received the Holy Spirit]” (verses 38, 41).

This advice still rings true today. You, too, can receive the Holy Spirit to empower you to serve God if you likewise repent of your sins and are baptized. This Spirit can produce godly fruit in your life (Galatians 5:22-23), identify you as belonging to God (Romans 8:9) and guarantee your change into spirit at Christ’s return (Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).

If you already have God’s Spirit, observing the Day of Pentecost reminds you to allow this amazing gift to work in your life.

To learn more about God’s expectations of you, read “The Sermon That Launched the Church.”

4. Observing Pentecost with others reminds you that God can do powerful works through His Church.

Demonstrations of the power of God’s Spirit were not limited to the Day of Pentecost. A short time later, a man who was lame from birth was miraculously healed by Peter and John (Acts 3:1-10).

Brought before the Jewish religious authorities to explain this miracle and his teaching about Jesus, Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole’” (Acts 4:8-10).

Peter, who had only weeks before been afraid to acknowledge to these authorities that he knew Jesus, was now powerfully countering their attempts to squelch Christianity. Instead of following the command of the religious leaders to stop talking about Jesus, the disciples gathered and prayed that they might, “with all boldness,” speak God’s word (verse 29).

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (verse 31).

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s representatives powerfully preached the gospel of the Kingdom. In spite of the opposition against it, the Church of God was established throughout the Roman Empire.

The Church of God, a Worldwide Association—a continuation of the Church established on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31—preaches the same gospel of the Kingdom of God that Jesus, His disciples and the first-century Church taught. 

To learn how this Church operates and how you can become part of its mission to preach this original message of Jesus to the world, see the booklet Welcome to the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

5. God commands observance of this holy day.

If you aren’t already convinced to observe the Day of Pentecost, here’s the clincher. God commands you to do so.

Leviticus 23 says the feasts of the Lord are “holy convocations”—sacred assemblies. And speaking specifically of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost in the New Testament), God says that this day “is a holy convocation to you” (verse 21).

The Church of God, a Worldwide Association, is planning to hold services on this day in its congregations around the world. Go to cogwa.org/congregations to find a location near you and contact the pastor for times and addresses.

About the Author

David Treybig

David Treybig

David Treybig is a husband, father and grandfather. He and his wife, Teddi, have two grown children and seven grandchildren. He currently pastors the Austin, Texas, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He has served in the pastoral ministry for over 40 years, pastoring congregations across six states.

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