PENTECOST DAY CELEBRATION
Pentecost Day Celebration is a celebration of the triumph of the Spirit of God above all spirits of devil. It is a time to promote the triumph of the good spirit of God above all spirits that have been unleashing terrors on mankind in these last days.
HISTORIC BACKGROUND FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
Pentecost was one of the three mandatory festivals or feasts that the Lord instructed the Jews to keep after they left Egypt as seen in Exodus 23:14-17. One school of thought claims this festival was the celebration of the beginning of the early weeks of (wheat) harvest, usually during the month of May or sometimes in early June. The date was calculated from the day of the celebration of First fruits (one of the several festivals of the Old Testament). Counting 50 days on, you would arrive at the Day of Pentecost. It was also called the feast of Weeks because 50 days equal seven weeks. Some defined it as the celebration held 50 days after the festival of Unleavened Bread (Passover). Leviticus 23 contains the instructions of how to count the date. It says to count from the first Sabbath that falls in the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. It was to be a holy assembly in which they were to do no work and a lasting ordinance for all their generations wherever they lived.
Bearing in mind that the first Sabbath in the feast of Unleavened Bread is the feast of First fruits, the first two definitions are the same.
A third opinion claims Pentecost is the Greek name for Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, commemorating the giving of the laws to Moses (50 days after exodus), referred to as Atzeret (meaning conclusion of their exodus) in the rabbinic tradition.
Traditionally for the Jews, Pentecost was a festival, which brought all adult Jewish men back to Jerusalem for the celebration, it was a holiday. No work was done, instead people gathered for a great celebration. The biblical requirements for this celebration are in Deuteronomy 16, verses 10-12: to appear before God with a freewill offering; rejoicing; and remembering they were once slaves. Everyone was expected in this gathering: sons, daughters, servants, Levites including the strangers, fatherless and widows.
By the time the apostles appeared on the scene in the New Testament book of Acts, the tradition was still very much in place, hence the presence of a crowd in Jerusalem at the time. The Bible claims there were pilgrims from different parts of the world. To a greater degree, the events of the celebration of Pentecost in the second chapter of the book of Acts gave birth to the more contemporary understanding of Pentecost. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4
This experience of the infilling of the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues resulted in the conversion of 3,000 to Christianity because of Peter’s preaching. Thus, ‘the church’ was born. As a result, Pentecost is also regarded as the church’s birthday.
Pentecost was otherwise known as Whitsunday/ White Sunday traditionally in the church. ‘White Sunday’ was a day for baptism and those being baptised would wear white. It is marked 50 days after Easter. It is also celebrated as the birth of the Christian church. It is regarded as a Holy Day of Obligation. In churches that follow the liturgical year and colours, red is used on that day as a symbol of the Spirit.
In the Catholic encyclopedia, it is defined as “a feast of the universal church which commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ”
For the present day Christian, Pentecost is the commemoration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus Christ including the apostles. It is the fulfilment of the promise made by Jesus to His disciples. In Luke 24:49 He promised them power from on high and in Acts 1:8 He said the Holy Ghost would come upon them.
SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF PENTECOST TODAY
Power: The recognition that it is the Holy Spirit that empowers the church. Without Him, the church will be ineffective in their witness of Christ. God desires to pour His Spirit on the church for the purpose of missions, so that” the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
Unity: The Spirit was poured on the church as they were unified in their gathering. The bible records that the disciples were ‘with one accord’.
Multiplication: As a result of the message preached by Peter, three thousands were added to them, thus enabling the mission to become a movement.
IMPORTANCE OF PENTECOST DAY CELEBRATION
- It marks the beginning of the new life that Christians enjoy after the death of Jesus Christ Act 2:1.
- It ushers a new dawn of the manifestation of the seven fold spirit of God that enhances, progress, creativity, innovation, discoveries in all fields of human endeavour.
- It ushers greater evangelism by believers.
- It brings revival in our Spiritual lives.
- Release of power for signs and wonders.
- The threat to peaceful living by the malevolent forces of wickedness in our State and the country can only be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The presence of God’s Spirit guarantees a peaceful co-existence among all men.
THE NEED FOR PENTECOST DAY CELEBRATION
- It is time for Christians to speak with one voice on issues that concern the unhindered practice of our FAITH, preservation of our HERITAGE and ADVANCEMENT of God’s kingdom.
- It is time to also call attention to areas where we have not been duly recognised.
- It is time to pray for peace and harmony in our State and Nation; it is time to resist spirits that provoke and promote bloodshed, violence and chaos in our nation.
- It is time to destroy all the altars of false gods with heavenly fire; known and unknown.
DECLARATION OF PENTECOST DAY AS PUBLIC HOLIDAY
Pentecost Day is a public holiday in many European countries and even some African countries as well. It is the day that is regarded as the “birthday of the church” due to the importance of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian faith. The countries that celebrate Pentecost as a public holiday include; Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Ukraine, Sweden and neighbouring countries like Senegal, Benin Republic, and Togo. This is why declaring it as a public holiday in Osun State, Nigeria will not be out of place, but will confirm the status of the State as the pacesetter on matters of religion in Nigeria.
However, Pentecost Day was celebrated in Osun state Nigeria in 9th June, 2014. Christians all over the Osun State from different denominations gathered together to fast and pray for the release of the Spirit of God. The presiding Bishop of Victory Life Ministries International and also the convener of Pentecost Day Celebration in Osun State, Bishop Mike Bamidele made a request to the Governor of the State to grant a public holiday for this purpose especially as two new additional public holidays had been granted for Muslims and indigenous religion worshipers. The Governor is yet to accede to this request.
JOURNEY SO FAR IN OSUN STATE, NIGERIA
We have held five editions in the last five years (2014 to 2018), where Christians from different denominations converged to celebrate the day of HOLY GHOST and also raised an altar of prayer for the State, the citizens and all the people in positions of authority at: Local Governments, States and Federal Government. It is important to note that a lot of time was devoted to praying for a smooth transition of power and the then incoming government at the Federal Level, for wisdom to provide competent and effective leadership and good governance.
This year Pentecost Day Celebration will be coming up on 10th June, 2019 at Government Technical College school field, Iwo/Ibadan road, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. Ministers’ Fire Conference is 10.00am, while the celebration will kick off by 3.00pm. Join us to celebrate this year Pentecost Day.
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