There were three yearly national feasts that Israel was commanded to celebrate. There was the Passover. It was celebrated during the first month on their calendar to remember the hasty deliverance that they were given from their bondage to Egypt (Exodus 12:11-20 & Deuteronomy 16:1-8). There was also the feast of Tabernacles. This was a feast that was meant to remind the people of the booths/huts that Israel lived in after being delivered from Egypt and the increase of goods that God had given them (Leviticus 23:38-43 & Deuteronomy 16:13-15). And finally, there was also the feast of Weeks (Pentecost). The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word Pentekoste that literally means “the 50th day.” Fifty days comes from doing the math by counting the seven weeks then adding the day after them which equals 50 individual days. The numbering of the days began after the first day of the Passover week and it was to be done in memory of their slavery in Egypt (Leviticus 23:15,16 & Deuteronomy 16:10-12). Now that the technical speak is over with let’s deal with the question above.
The word Pentecost is not used in the Bible until you get to the book of Acts. In Acts 2:1 the Bible says that Pentecost had fully come and from that point on in the chapter the Apostles are baptized in the Holy Spirit, they preach in a miraculous manner to the people (including Peter’s sermon about Jesus and His resurrection), some 3,000 people respond in a positive manner to the gospel message, become Christians and are added to the church by the Lord. This is the wonderful scene that many in modern-day religious circles abuse.
The miraculous events of Pentecost did not pertain to everyone present so the problem does not come from people who look back to remember the events of Pentecost in Acts 2 – the problem comes from people who are trying to re-live or “experience” the events that happened on the Pentecost of Acts 2 today.
In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came for a reason. He used the Apostles to fulfill the scriptures. Jesus told the Apostles, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Also, in Acts 1:8 Jesus said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem….” Acts 2 is a fulfillment of that promise. The Holy Spirit did not come to be an “experience.” He came to fulfill a promise. A promise that was unique to that Pentecost and not all Pentecost’s.
Furthermore, only the Apostles received the baptismal measure of the Spirit that day, not the crowd. Acts 1:26 leaves off talking about the Apostles and Acts 2:1 begins by speaking about them. The scriptures say that all the Jews from the different nations “heard them speak.” (Acts 2:6) Who is the “them” in that verse? It is the Apostles that were baptized in the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:1-3) The miraculous action taking place was the speaking, not the hearing.
The desires and hyper emotions of people do not replace truth. When a person honestly studies Acts 2 they will find that the miraculous events of that Pentecost were truly unique and controlled by God; it was not something that was determined by uncontrollable utterances or actions as is found today by those claim to experience the Holy Spirit. The Pentecost that ushered in the New Law and the church (Isaiah 2:2,3; Acts 2:47) can be remembered and studied, but it cannot be “experienced” today as many invite others to do. EA