The moed of Shavuot is also known as the Feast of Weeks (shavuot means "weeks"). In Christian nomenclature it is often called Pentecost (which comes from the Greek word pentekostes meaning "fiftieth"). It occurs about 50 days after Passover. In this moed we can see the Most High giving the Law at Mt. Sinai and then giving the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem 1,500 years later.
As we examine this moed and discover all that Scripture has to tell us about it, we should consider that it was the same very same G-d Who gave us the Law Who also gave us His Spirit. What does Scripture says about this festival and its related commandments? What are we to do and when are we to do it?
Oh, Lord, please "open our eyes that we might behold wonderful things from your Torah" and see our risen Messiah in this moed. Scripture was given to speak of Him and we should listen and hear its voice... His voice... especially during these special times.
What Scripture Says About Shavuot
Shavuot [שׁבעת, singular shavua, Strong's #7620] means "weeks". Scripture calls this moed the "Feast of Weeks" in Exodus 34:22.
Pentecost [πεντηκοστη, pentekostes, Strong's #4005] means "fiftieth". Scripture calls this moed the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1 and the Septuagint uses a form of this word to refer to the "fiftieth" year (or Jubilee) when the captives are to be released and the Land returned to its original owners in Leviticus 25:10.
Shavuot is the second of the three pilgrimage festivals when all Israelite males are to appear before the Lord G-D, the G-d of Israel (Exodus 34:22-23).
Shavuot is also called the Day of the First Fruits or Yom Habukkurim (Numbers 28:26) which is from the latter harvest.
Who: All the sons of Israel. (Leviticus 23:10)
- You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths (Leviticus 23:15).
- You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath (Leviticus 23:16) [complete the counting of the omer]
- On this day you shall make a proclamation as well (Leviticus 23:21)
- You are to have a holy convocation (Leviticus 23:21, Numbers 28:26)
- You shall do no laborious work (Leviticus 23:21, Numbers 28:26)
- This is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations (Leviticus 23:21)
- You shall present a new grain offering to the LORD (Leviticus 23:16, Numbers 28:26).
- You shall bring in from your dwelling places two [loaves?] of bread for a wave offering made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:17)
- Along with the bread you shall present a burnt offering to the LORD:
- seven one-year-old male lambs without defect (Leviticus 23:18, Numbers 28:27)
- a bull of the herd (Leviticus 23:18, Numbers 28:27)
- two rams (Leviticus 23:18, Numbers 28:27)
- These shall be offered with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD (Leviticus 23:18, Numbers 28:28-29)
- three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull
- two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram
- one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb
- You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering (Leviticus 23:19, Numbers 28:30)
- You shall also offer two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings (Leviticus 23:19)
- The priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before they LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest (Leviticus 23:20)
- When you enter the Land which G-d is going to give to you (Leviticus 23:10)
- When you reap the harvest of the Land (Leviticus 23:10)
- On the fiftieth day counted after the Sabbath of Pesach (Leviticus 23:11, 16)
Where: in the Land of Israel (Leviticus 23:10)
According to Leviticus 17:3-9, all offerings must be made in the Tabernacle (or later the Temple) in Jerusalem, where the LORD placed His Name forever (1 Kings 9:3).
The moed of Shavuot provides a picture of G-d's provision of all of our needs. The physical need that is met is pictured by the grain used to make the bread offering (Leviticus 23:17): G-d provides for our physical needs. Shavuot is G-d's approved process for giving thanks for His provision. How do we know our physical needs will be met? G-d makes a conditional promise in Deuteronomy:
It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. (Deuteronomy 11:13-15) [emphasis added]
In one Psalm of Praise, King David spoke of G-d's provision of all creatures:
You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:16)
This feast is also a picture of the spiritual provision that G-d provides. On the very first Shavuot after the children of Israel exited Egypt, G-d provided the spiritual sustenance that they needed: the Torah. The giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai was part of G-d's provision for His people. The Law is Spiritual (Romans 7:14) and was given to Israel that they might be a holy nation, set apart by G-d's commandments (Exodus 19:6). We know that Messiah Yeshua delivered the Torah to Moshe and the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai for it says "and they saw the G-d of Israel" and "ate and drank" before Him (Exodus 24:9-11). Messiah Yeshua plainly declared that nobody "has seen the Father, except the One who is from G-d; He has seen the Father." (John 6:46). So who did the Israelites see on Mt. Sinai?
Roughly fifteen hundred years later G-d delivered an additional spiritual provision: His Holy Spirit. Once more G-d appeared in flesh to the children of Israel (John 1:14, 11), He lived among them for thirty-some-odd years and taught them His ways. Then He was crucified and died, buried, and resurrected.
In Jerusalem, fifty days after the resurrection of the Messiah, G-d poured out His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) upon the believers in the Temple. Acts 2:41 indicates that about three thousand souls were added to the believers that day. They had definitely grown from the one hundred and twenty persons who were gathered after Yeshua's ascension (Acts 1:15) There were Jews from many nations who heard the apostles speaking in their own language (Acts 2:6) but some were mocking so not everyone there believed. The only place in Jerusalem large enough to fit a crowd of over 3,000 people was the Temple.
Just as the Law was given through Moses at Mt Sinai to millions, so, too the grace and truth realized through the Messiah Yeshua was to be shared with millions (John 1:17). How could this be if many of the disciples were dejected by Yeshua's death and had already left to return home (e.g. the disciples on the road to Emmaus- Luke 24:13-36)?
G-d empowered the believers to perform signs and wonders by the power of His Holy Spirit when all the Israelites were to gather together again: Shavuot. From there their testimony and the miracles they worked by His Spirit spread the good news of Messiah's work throughout Israel and the world.
He is both the Law-giver and the grace-giver. Let's examine the festival for pictures of the Messiah...