Whit Monday

If you look at your calendar you might see that Monday is Whit Monday? Do you know what the significance of this day is? This is a holiday that is not well known in the US, but is commonly observed in Europe.

Your calendar may have Pentecost Monday instead of Whit Monday. In England Pentecost is know as Whitsun or Whit Sunday. Whit Monday is also known as the Second Day of Pentecost or Monday of the Holy Spirit.

Whit Monday is mainly observed by the Church of England, the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, you may be surprised that it is also observed by the Amish in the US. This is mainly because it was a holiday in the areas where they came from in Europe.

Our offices in Germany are closed on Pfingstmontag (Pentecost Monday) and it marks the end of the series of holidays in the Easter season. They were also closed the week before last for Ascension Day.

South Stairs to Temple Mount - Jerusalem - Pentecost Sermon Location? - Temple MountMost Christians will know that the day of Pentecost was when divided tongues as of fire descended upon the apostles and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They will also know part of the sermon that Peter preached before the crowd in Acts 2. Especially Acts 2:38.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, ESV)

However, we don’t always think of the significance of Pentecost. The name Pentecost is the Greek word for Shavuot or Festival of Weeks. This was one of the three great Jewish feasts (Passover, Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Booths) where all males were required to gather together. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, which happened 50 days after the Jews left Egypt. In Acts 2 we find that the day of Pentecost is when the church is established. The beginning of a new law and a new covenant with God.

Temple Mount - Dome of the Rock - South Courtyard on Temple Mount - Day of PentecostThe sermon by Peter took place on the Temple Mount, perhaps here in the south courtyard.

Temple Mount - Herodian Temple - South Temple Courtyard - Israel Museum Temple ModelAt the time of Pentecost it would have been a large open area where many people could assemble.

Mikvah - Ritual Purification Bath - Temple in Jerusalem - Day of PentecostThe area to the south of the Temple Mount had many Mikveh, this picture shows one of the smaller ones, but there were also several larger ones in the area. The Mikveh were used for ritual immersion or purification and the ones in this area would have been used to baptize the three thousand who responded to the Gospel and were added to the body of believers. I hope these pictures help you better visualize the setting for the events that happened almost two thousand years ago.

Steven

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