What every Christian should understand about the great Feast of Pentecost

… the Jewish Feast of Pentecost—which literally means “Fifty”, taken from the fifty days counted after Passover—was the Jewish liturgical celebration of the Giving of the Law at Sinai.  If one makes a careful count of the passing of time in the Book of Exodus, one discovers that the Sinai theophany (appearance of God) occurs exactly fifty days after the Israelites departed from Egypt.  So, Pentecost was not only an agricultural festival celebrating the end of the harvest, but also a sacred historical memorial of the day of the establishment of the Old Covenant.

This parallel and its significance is missed by modern readers, but not by ancient Jewish readers of Acts!  At Sinai the Law was given in a fearsome storm, and on tablets of stone.  At Pentecost, there is a “peaceful storm” of the Spirit (the rushing wind, the lightning-like tongues of flame) and the giving of the Law on the Heart.

As St. Thomas says in his treatment of the Old Law in the Summa, “the law of the New Covenant is nothing other than the Holy Spirit.”  The Spirit is the Law written on the heart promised with the New Covenant…

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Grand reopening planned for actual site of the Last Supper

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The Cenacle, the building on Mt. Zion which houses the “Upper Room” where Jesus and his disciples held the Last Supper will once again be open for Catholic worship, it has been announced by spokesmen for the Vatican, the Israeli government and the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

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Editor’s note: This is also the site of the descent of the Holy Spirit, on Pentecost.

The Feast of Pentecost as a prophetic “marker”

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Moses and the Tablets of the Law

by Doug Lawrence

The wind and fire of the Holy Spirit hovered powerfully over Mount Sinai – where Moses had remained for the last 40 days and nights.

The Children of Israel concluded that no man could survive such an event, so they assumed Moses had died, and promptly returned to their old Egyptian ways, coercing Moses’ brother Aaron to make for them an idol – the infamous “Golden Calf”.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Moses shortly turned up alive – complete with the stone tablets of the Law, which God himself had written. Other details aside, the Children of Israel had now become the People of the Mosaic Covenant – and the Law.

It was Pentecost, about 1450 B.C.
The “vehicle” of our salvation
now had a set of “training wheels”
and a “road map”!

* * * *

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The Prophet Jeremiah

Almost a thousand years passed, and the Israelites had once again succumbed to idolatry. This time it wasn’t a golden calf – but rather, the false gods of their neighbors – and they were totally unwilling to repent.

The Prophet Jeremiah was sent to help get them back on track, but they refused to hear him. So God permitted the Babylonians to come in, sack Jerusalem, and destroy the Temple.

The Babylonians carried off the Temple furnishings, sacred vessels and the surviving Israelites into Babylonian captivity, where they would remain for a time, until the Babylonians themselves were conquered by the Persians.

It was Pentecost, about 586 B.C.
The remnant of the Children of Israel

weren’t quite sure where things were going from here,
but it wasn’t looking very good!

* * * *

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King Cyrus Returns the Sacred Vessels

King Cyrus of Persia – the new ruler of the former Babylonian Empire – was suddenly “moved” by the Holy Spirit – deciding to permit the Israelites to return to Jerusalem, so they could rebuild both the city and the Temple.

Cyrus also financed the entire operation – as well as restoring to the Israelites all of the plundered Temple furnishings and sacred vessels – so everything might be ready for the arrival of the coming Messiah.

The sacred scriptures are not clear
about the exact day this particular event occurred, 

but based on the context, I’m going to estimate the date
as the Day of 
Pentecost, around 539 B.C.
and things were definitely looking up!

* * * *

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The First Christian Pentecost

The Risen Christ had bodily ascended to Heaven ten days earlier. Mary and the Apostles were gathered in the upper room of the Jerusalem Cenacle – the same place that Jesus had earlier instituted the New Covenant in his blood – at the Last Supper – and the place where the New Covenant (Catholic) Church would soon be born.

All were fervently waiting and praying for the descent of the Holy Spirit – and the “power” Jesus had promised to them. Inside, it sounded like wind and thunder – soon to be complemented by descending “tongues” of fire. To those in the streets, it would have looked more like a reenactment of the supernatural events that took place above Mount Sinai, almost 1500 years earlier – which it was!

Since this was in fact, 50 days after Passover (technically, the Feast of First Fruits, some three days after) – in the Hebrew, Shavuot – in the Greek, Pentecost – the day when all observant Jews come to Jerusalem, specifically to celebrate Moses’ reception of the Tablets of the Law, from God – something like this would not have gone unnoticed.

Then the apostles came out into the street to explain.

Acts 2:5-12 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. (6) And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. (7) And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these that speak Galilean? (8) And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? (9) Parthians and Medes and Elamites and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, (11) Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. (12) And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this?

It was the Day of the first Christian Pentecost, about 33 A.D.
Salvation had come to the world,
and the world rejected him.

Salvation had been killed, and had risen again.
But Salvation would not be denied,
so all the promises of Jesus Christ were duly fulfilled. 

* * * *

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Titus’ Siege of Jerusalem

While he still walked the earth, Jesus had sternly cautioned them:

Mark 13:1-2 And as he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him: Master, behold what manner of stones and what buildings are here. (2) And Jesus answering, said to him: Seest thou all these great buildings? There shall not be left a stone upon a stone, that shall not be thrown down.

The Roman General Titus and his legions had nearly encircled the city of Jerusalem – but they inexplicably stopped short – for one whole day.

Those “in the know” – mostly Christians – took good advantage of the reprieve – hastily abandoning the city – much as Lot had narrowly escaped the sudden destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But now it was Sunday, the encirclement was complete and the siege was on. Over the next six months – apparently just in time for the fall Feast of Tabernacles – the Temple would be burned to the ground and totally destroyed, hundreds and thousands of Jews would be killed, the sacred Temple vessels would once again be carried off, and Jerusalem would never be the same.

The siege began on Pentecost, 70 A.D.
Many of those who walked with Jesus Christ
“this generation” – 
Mark 13:30
were still alive to witness the events.

It marked the definitive end
of the Jewish Temple Worship System,
and the budding Church would now reach out

in the name of Jesus, not just to the Jews,
but to the whole world.

Within the span of some 500 years,
against all odds, the Roman Empire,
along with most of the known world,
would be converted to Christianity.

When the Roman Empire eventually fell,
The Catholic Church would be there
to rebuild Western Civilization,
in the image of Heaven.

* * * *

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Jesus Christ at the Second Coming
(Image: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception)

Revelation 10:5-7 And the angel whom I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven. (6) And he swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things which are therein, and the earth and the things which are in it, and the sea and the things which are therein: That time shall be no longer. (7) But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound the trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared by his servants the prophets.

No one except God the Father knows the day or the hour Jesus will finally and triumphantly return – so I don’t intend to even try to set any kind of date – but based on all of the above – and the fact that – according to the Bible – the last 6 months of the 42-month final tribulation period is where most of the major “action” is – I offer the following, for your consideration:

The “Grand finale” of the “End of the Age” will likely begin on Pentecost and continue for six months – right up to the time of the old Feast of Tabernacles – which according to the old calendar – is also when Jesus Christ arrived here on earth – the first time – as a helpless infant.

From the looks of the above picture – and the account in the Book of Revelation – Jesus will not be coming back like that, again.   Instead, he will come again in power and  glory – to render judgment for sin – and things will go something like this:

Revelation 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened: and behold a white horse. And he that sat upon him was called faithful and true: and with justice doth he judge and fight. (12) And his eyes were as a flame of fire: and on his head were many diadems. And he had a name written, which no man knoweth but himself. (13) And he was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood. And his name is called: THE WORD OF GOD. (14) And the armies that are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (15) And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he may strike the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty. (16) And he hath on his garment and on his thigh written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 22:12-13 Behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to render to every, man according to his works. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 

Related Link

4th century Pentecost miracle: Fire in the sky over Jerusalem unifies Christians and Pagans alike, in holy terror.

It was called by the people “the day the sky caught fire.” At about 9 in the morning on May 7, 351, the feast of the Pentecost, the people of Jerusalem gathered in the streets, pointing to the sky in frightened shock. Tongues of flame were roaring across the horizon forming a gigantic blazing Cross in the sky. The apparition, “brighter than the sun,” extended from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives – about two miles – and was seen by everyone in Jerusalem. It remained extended over the city for several hours.

Many people fell to their knees, beseeching God to spare them from annihilation. Others went to the Churches to pray and ask forgiveness for their sins. But one man, the newly elected Patriarch of Jerusalem Cyril (315-386) bowed his head and gave thanks to God for this blazing sign from Heaven.

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Just in time for Pentecost: Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit – From Genesis To Revelation.

Bible Study:

Physical Manifestations of the Holy Spirit – From Genesis To Revelation

God has apparently made many more appearances in our realm of existence than most of us can possibly imagine, and even when those events are duly recorded in scripture, they are often missed, or mistaken for something else.

Click the link below to view a 9-page compilation of virtually EVERY appearance God has ever made (at least as recorded in scripture) and be sure to spend a little extra time towards the end … contemplating the events of the first Christian Pentecost, and their direct aftermath.

Click here for more (PDF file format)

Bishop explains Sacrament of Confirmation

This is the time of year when Bishops celebrate Confirmation. It is certainly a wonderful moment for the recipients of the sacrament, as they receive the same Holy Spirit bestowed upon the Church at Pentecost…

Link

One of our readers (name withheld by request) has a topical comment:

Most of the parishes in my area let young people get confirmed even though they do not go to church every Sunday.

The Confirmandi promise the Bishop they would abide by the precepts of the Church, but are not even required by their parishes to go to church on Sundays during confirmation class years. So after confirmation the confirmed just move on [been their and done that].They forget about their commitments to God and the Bishop.

The policy is “everyone gets Confirmed” regardless, whether they obey the precepts of the church or not.

This is the same mind set as the public schools to lower the standards so everyone moves up and out. We owe our Catholic youth MORE… tough love; so they do not go out

This policy of the youth directors is leading to the mass exodus of college students and 20 somethings from Sunday Mass.

Some “deep background” on Saturday’s “End of the World” prediction

by Doug Lawrence

While I fully expect to still be blogging, come Sunday … the folks behind the widely disseminated prediction of the imminent end of days, purported to be coming up on Saturday, May 21, may actually have a few things figured out correctly … at least in a very approximate sense.

Looking back at the way God chose to accomplish certain critical events in the past … such as the day Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, the date of the destruction of the 1st temple, the time of the 1st coming of Jesus Christ, the date of the first Christian Pentecost, the date of the encirclement, cutting off and invasion of Jerusalem, and a few months later, the destruction of the 2nd temple … all point to a likely time frame for the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and the final conclusion of the end of this world age, to begin on Pentecost Sunday, and wrap up around the date of the old Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, in the fall (which coincides with the likely, actual date of the first Christmas … Christ’s first coming.)

The above also pretty much dovetails with the final 5 months of world cataclysms, as detailed in the Book of Revelation.

So … do I think the world is going to end, this coming Saturday? Absolutely not!

In truth … as Jesus rightly pointed out … no man knows the hour or the day. Only God the Father knows that. Catholics meanwhile, are advised to concentrate on more mundane and practical matters, such as the state of our personal soul.

But when the actual, God-appointed time of the end does finally arrive (and if you happen to still be alive, here on earth) I suggest you look for things to begin to come to a head on or about Pentecost Sunday … finally wrapping up in late September, about 5 months hence, with the return of Jesus Christ, the Eternal King of the Ages.

And that will certainly be something to see!