The Hebrew word, Shavuot, means “weeks”, as this next Appointed Time is seven full weeks counted from Unleavened Bread. For this reason, the day is also known as the “Feast of Weeks”. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning “fiftieth” because the day is the “morrow” after the seventh Sabbath counted, making it the fiftieth, and final, day of the Omer count.
Most Christians only know the name Pentecost and are quite familiar with the account of the Holy Spirit filling the apostles and others (Acts 2). This is often called the beginning, or birth, of the church. However, this day was given as an ordinance 1500 years earlier! It was not a new day to celebrate after the events of Acts, but an observance that YHWH already had for His people.
In fact, if the Moedim ended with the Messiah, as most Christians believe, then I doubt that this event would have occurred as it did. The very reason there was a multitude of people in Jerusalem that day was for the observance of Shavuot. And we see that the Spirit seemed to fall upon the apostles in an obvious and public way. They were most likely at the temple (the House of YHWH) just as most others were at the time. This is where people were on Shavuot – not hidden in an upper room out in the suburbs.
Shavuot comes at the time of the wheat harvest, and two loaves of finely ground wheat were to be waved at the temple before YHWH on this day. There appears to be a lot of depth to the reasoning behind this, but today they certainly symbolize the Jews and the gentiles who come together to make the One New Man – Israel. Just as the two loaves were presented as one offering, the two groups of people represent YHWH ‘s set apart people and will be part of the one bride.
An unusual thing about the two loaves is that they were to contain leaven – something not normally allowed in other offerings. This also represents us. Even though we are forgiven and our sins are removed through the perfect sacrifice of the Messiah (represented by the sin offerings of this Appointed Time), we are not fully free of sin until we are perfected in the future.
Although not stated in Scripture, the giving of the Torah at Mt Sinai is generally believed to be on the day of Shavuot. This is what today’s Jews celebrate each year, and there are some interesting parallels between the accounts in Exodus and Acts. We see, for example, that YHWH came down to His people at Mt Sinai in an amazing way where they received the Torah in written form. Centuries later in Jerusalem, He came down upon His people again to write His Torah upon their hearts just as the prophets foretold.
The story of Ruth and Boaz occurred during the time of the Omer Count, with their marriage quite likely around the time of Shavuot. The story illustrates the two (Jew and gentile – House of Judah and House of Israel) becoming one.
Shavuot is really the climax of Passover itself, with the final piece of the redemptive process. The Spirit is an integral part of our salvation and needed for us to truly overcome sin and to be the servants we are called to be. We see the change in the apostles in the book of Acts, and we should see that change today when people turn in repentance to YHWH, and to the ancient paths He has set before us.