Nine days after Christ's ascension on the Mount of Olives came Pentecost, a name which means "fiftieth."
Pentecost was applied to the Jewish feast celebrated 50 days after the second day of unleavened bread, or the Passover day. It is also known as "the feast of weeks" (Ex. 34:22; Deut. 16:10), because according to the Hebrew style, it fell seven weeks, or a week of weeks, after the Passover. It was also known as "the feast of harvest" (Ex. 23:16) and as "the day of the first-fruits." (Num. 28:26.)On the day of Pentecost after the Savior's ascension, the Holy Ghost descended on the apostles as they were gathered "all with one accord in one place." (Acts 2:1.)
In Jesus the Christ, Elder James E. Talmage wrote that the Apostles "were engaged in their customary devotions, and waiting, as instructed, until they would be endowed with a particular bestowal of power from on high. The promised baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost befell them on that day.
" `Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
" `And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' " (Acts 2:2-4.)
The sound was heard abroad, and a multitude gathered about the place where the apostles were assembled. By the power of the Holy Ghost, every man in the multitude, representing many nations, heard the apostles speak in his own language. (Acts 2:6-7.)
Elder Talmage explained: "The power of the Holy Ghost could not be resisted; to every earnest soul it carried conviction. They that heard were pricked in their hearts, and in contrition cried out to the apostles:
" `Men and brethren, what shall we do?' Now that they were prepared for the message of salvation, it was given without reserve. `Repent,' answered Peter, `and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.' (Acts 2:37-38.)
"To the apostles' testimony, to the exhortation and warning, the people responded with profession of faith and repentance. Their joy was comparable to that of the spirits in prison, to whom the disembodied Christ had borne the authoritative word of redemption and salvation. Those who repented and confessed their belief in Christ at that memorable Pentecost were received into the Church by baptism, to the number of about 3,000. Through the bestowal of the Holy Ghost the apostles had become changed men. As made clear to them by the Spirit of Truth, the scriptures constituted a record of preparation for the events to which they were special and ordained witnesses."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage; April 1979 and April 1982 general conference reports.