Pentecost/Feast of Weeks/Feast of Harvest




Shavuot in Hebrew characters

 pronounced: shav-voo-OH-t)           

Meaning:  [seven] weeks



Date in Hebrew calendar: month Nisan (March-April)
There are many names for the Feast of Weeks.
It is identified in the Old Testament as the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Harvest:
Decorative button Feast of Weeks Decorative button
"And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end."
Exodus 34:22 (NKJV)
Decorative button Feast of Harvest Decorative button
"And the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in [the fruit of] your labors from the field."
Exodus 23:16 (NKJV)
Decorative button Pentecost Decorative button
"When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."
Acts 2:1 (NKJV)
This is based on Leviticus 23:15-16, which points to "the morrow after shabbat after Passover"  plus 50 days–in Greek, Pentecost.
 "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the Lord."
Leviticus 23:15-16

Pentecost is one of only three of the seven feasts of Moses which was compulsory for every able male to attend.

"Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD
Deuteronomy 16:16 (NKJV)



Moses holding the Ten Commandments

The Feast of Weeks is associated with the birth of Israel and the giving of the Law/Torah in Exodus 19.   The Torah was given when they came to Mount Sinai during their desert experience.

Rabbi Irving Greenberg* explains, "The covenant of Israel turns the Exodus into an ongoing process. On Passover, God committed to the covenant by an act of redemption. On Shavuot, standing at Sinai, the Jewish people responded by accepting the Torah. The teaching that guides the way of the Jews, the Torah, became the constitution of the ongoing relationship of God and the Jewish people."


Decorative button Passover tells the story of God’s deliverance. The people were slaves in Egypt until God delivered them out of the house of bondage unto His great liberty.
Decorative button Sukkot, that is, the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths), is also one of the great pilgrimage festivals. Sukkot celebrates God’s provision for the people during their desert wanderings. They lived in temporary dwellings (sukkot, huts, or tabernacles) and they depended on the Lord for His provision each day. The cloud provided cover for the Israelites by day, the fire guided and protected them by night. God provided the manna as the necessary food provision for their journey. He brought them quail and gave them water. The tent dwellers in the wilderness experienced God’s miraculous care.
Decorative button The pilgrim festivals, Passover and Tabernacles, recall God’s deliverance from slavery and providential care in the wilderness. Like Passover and Tabernacles, during the festival of Pentecost the people of God were commanded to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It was natural to view Pentecost as signifying the events associated with Passover and Tabernacles.
Decorative button This pilgrimage festival of Pentecost was understood by the Jewish sages as the next stage in the journey of the ancient Israelites.
Decorative button They had been saved from slavery at Passover. They had been preserved in their desert wanderings in Sukkot.
Moses on the mountain
Decorative button Now the people of Israel came to Mount Sinai. With peels of thunder and bursts of lightning, God’s awesome presence was made known as He revealed His will to the people He loved (Exodus 19-20). God’s revelation in Torah was given to His people. Pentecost is the "time in which God gave us our Torah" "zeman matan toratenu".
Decorative button Shavuot is the anniversary of the giving of the Torah.
Decorative button It is also the anniversary of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the first Messianic believers in Jerusalem:

"And when the day of Pentecost [Shavuot] was 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 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 Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Acts 2:1-4


"But now Christ is risen from the dead, [and] has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.   But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those [who are] Christ’s at His coming."
1Corinthians 15:20,23 (NKJV)

Decorative button It was on Firstfruits, the first Sunday after Passover, when the empty tomb of Yeshua was discovered. While Israel’s risen Messiah was walking the streets of Jerusalem that day as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, Israel’s priests were in the Temple waving the firstfruits of the barley harvest before a torn veil that now represented access to the Presence of God through the death of the Messiah. (See Mt. 27:51 and Heb. 10:19-22) Biblically speaking, the anniversary of the Resurrection should be called "First Fruits," not "Easter," a word derived from the name of the Anglo-Saxon pagan fertility goddess.

Decorative button Yeshua remained on earth for forty days after His Resurrection. On the day of His ascension, He instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ten days later, on Shavuot, the anniversary of the giving of the Torah, Yahweh came again in blazing glory as He had done at Mount Sinai. But this time He wrote His commandments not upon tablets of stone, but upon the fleshly tablets of men’s hearts, as the prophets had foretold.
(See Jer.31:31-34;Ezk. 11:19, 20 and 3 6:26f.)


It is no coincidence that the giving of the Spirit took place on the anniversary of the giving of the Torah. On the day the Torah was given, the sin of the golden calf caused "about 3,000 men" to be killed (Ex.32:28).

Worshipping the golden calf

On the day the Spirit was given, the preaching of Peter caused "about 3,000 souls" to find new life in the Messiah (Acts 2:41). This is an excellent illustration of the fact that "the letter [of the Law] kills, but the spirit gives life" (2 Cor.3:6).


First Pentecost

Pentecost After Christ
The Commandments Given The Holy Spirit Given
Fifty days from the crossing of the Red Sea Fifty days from the resurrection of Christ
Law of Yahweh written in Stone Law of Yahweh written on our hearts
Three thousand slain Three thousand receive salvation
The letter of the Law The Spirit of the Law



Prophetic Implications

The seven Feasts of Moses are not only commemorative, they are also prophetic.

"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."
Colossians 2:16-17 (NKJV)

  The first three, in the month of Nisan, are predictive of the First Coming of Jesus. The last three, in the month of Tishri, are associated with His Second Coming. It is this one, in between, which is associated with the Church.


The Birth of the Church

Decorative button The Birth of the Church appears to be a fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost, or Shavout.

Jesus predicted it…

"These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
John 14:36-26 (NKJV)

Decorative button  It was also fulfilled precisely on the Feast of Pentecost. Acts 2:1-47

Decorative button It is interesting to carefully compare Acts 2 with Exodus 19.

Decorative button Pentecost is the only Feast in which leavened bread is allowed, which seems to give it a Gentile flavor! (Leaven is always a "type" of sin. Jesus and Paul both used it this way. It corrupts by puffing up.)

"Your glorying [is] not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth."
1Corinthians 5:6-8 (NKJV)


Decorative button Today in Israel the Feast of Shavuot is celebrated by decorations with a harvest theme and the reading of the account of the giving of the Law (Exodus 19-20). The Book of Ruth is also read, as it is a book of harvest and redemption, ending with the genealogy of King David who…according to tradition…was born and died on Shavuot.

Decorative button For Christians, Pentecost marks the ‘firstfruits’ of the New Testament covenant…the first believers in the church of Jesus Christ. It also celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit so the law could be written…not on tablets of stone…but on our hearts.

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