The fourth holy day of Leviticus 23 is known as Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, or Pentecost. Why so many confusing names? It depends on the language. The English translation would be Feast of Weeks, while the Hebrew word for weeks is Shavuot. Later this holiday was known as Pentecost in the Greek language. This was because it referred to fifty days.
Institution of Shavuot
While His people were still wandering in the wilderness, God gave instructions to celebrate this holy day when they came into the promised land. Leviticus 23: 15 “From the day after the Sabbath—the day you bring the bundle of grain to be lifted up as a special offering—count off seven full weeks. 16 Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later. Then present an offering of new grain to the Lord.
This fourth Holy Day was also a first fruits celebration; this time the first of the wheat harvest instead of the earlier barley harvest. It was to be a “week of weeks” or 7 x 7 days plus one day after Passover. Therefore, the day is known as Shavuot or weeks in Hebrew. The Feast of Weeks was always fifty days after Passover. When Greek became a more dominant language, this Holy Day became known as Pentecost because “pente” stood for fifty.
The Feast of Weeks is Always Connected with Passover
The foundation for the Feast of Weeks like Unleavened Bread, and Feast of First Fruits is Passover. The Feast of Weeks would not have been possible if God had not taken His people out of Egypt and placed them into the promised land.
Years later, Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit would not have been possible without the death and resurrection of Jesus. The foundation of our faith is Jesus and His work on the cross. Jesus would leave this earth but would send a helper for us. John 14: 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
As 21st century Christians we don’t think about Pentecost being an ancient celebration. It was instituted 1400 years before Christ would walk this earth. But just as Jesus gave new meaning to Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits, Pentecost had a new, deeper meaning after the cross of Jesus. It now represents the coming of the Holy Spirit to build the church of Jesus. To hear more about the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, or Pentecost, listen here: