THE FEAST OF WEEKS - SHAVUOT
THE HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF THE FEAST
Leviticus 23:15-21 “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to YHWH. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to YHWH. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to YHWH, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to YHWH. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before YHWH as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to YHWH for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
The Purpose of the Feast
The purpose of this festival was to give thanks to Elohim for the harvest and to dedicate one's life anew to Elohim. The Festival of Harvest is sometimes called "The Feast of Weeks" or "The Firstfruits of the Wheat Harvest". It was a joyful occasion celebrating the end of the harvest season and dedicating one's life anew to Elohim. It is also celebrated as the day on which the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. The festival is also a prophetic symbol of the great harvest of souls that took place when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the upper room (Pentecost).
It was the second major feast in which all able-bodied Hebrew males were required to attend (the other two being Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles). It was celebrated as a Sabbath with rest from ordinary labors and the calling of a holy convocation.
Leviticus 23:21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Numbers 28:26 “‘And on the day of the first-fruits, when you bring a new grain offering to YHWH at your Festival of Weeks, you have a set-apart gathering and do no servile work.
The Facts About the Feast
Essentially a harvest celebration, the term weeks was used to describe the time period from the grain harvest to the barley harvest and finally to the wheat harvest. It is called the Feast of Weeks because Elohim specifically told the sons of Jacob that they were to count seven weeks (seven complete weeks) from the Feast of Firstfruits This fourth feast was to occur precisely on the fiftieth day of Firstfruits. Therefore, the feast was given the name "Pentecost" in Greek (Acts 2:1) which means "fifty."
Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
On this occasion, the children of Israel were not to simply bring the firstfruits of the wheat to the Temple (as they brought the firstfruit of the barley at the Feast of Firstfruits), but rather two loaves of bread. These two loaves were specifically commanded to be made with fine flour and baked with leaven and they were to be used as a "wave offering" for the people.
Leviticus 23:17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to YHWH.
These two loaves, however, could not be eaten until after the ceremony was completed and could not be placed on the altar due to its leaven content. In addition to the wave offering, seven lambs, one young bull, and two rams were to be offered as burnt offerings before YHWH. The feast was concluded by the eating of communal meals to which the poor, the stranger, and the Levites were invited.
Leviticus 23:14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your Elohim. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Leviticus 23:18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to YHWH, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to YHWH.
Numbers 28:26-31 “‘On the day of firstfruits, when you present to YHWH an offering of new grain during the Feast of Weeks, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Present a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old as an aroma pleasing to YHWH. With each bull there is to be a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil; with the ram, two-tenths; and with each of the seven lambs, one-tenth. Include one male goat to make atonement for you. Prepare these together with their drink offerings, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering. Be sure the animals are without defect.
WHAT IT MEANS TO THE BELIEVER
The Feast of Weeks is a symbolic festival which pointed to the giving of the Holy Spirit as part of the Renewed Covenant. The Son of Elohim ascended to the throne on Firstfruits. He then spent forty days with His disciples in post-resurrection ministry.
Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of Elohim.
Immediately after forty days, Yahushua informed them that it was necessary that He leave them and return to His Father in Heaven (in order to apply the benefits of His once and for all sacrifice). However, He told His disciples that they would not be left abandoned and comfortless. He would then send them His Set-apart Spirit who would dwell with them in His absence.
John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
The disciples were commanded to wait at Jerusalem until He came (Acts 1:4), and they knew exactly how long they would have to wait. The coming of the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-apart Spirit) would occur on the next Hebrew holiday - a festive time when Jews from different countries were to be in Jerusalem to celebrate the completion of the harvest season. This annual feast was none other than Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks. The disciples waited as they were commanded; however, their wait was not long - only ten days. And then it happened. The Spirit of Elohim descended on those first-century believers.
Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The two loaves which were brought to the Temple represented both Jew and Gentile; or the House of Judah and the House of Ephraim, however they became one in Messiah with the advent of the Spirit's coming.
Ephesians 2:14-15 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
There was to be leaven in those two loaves, for the Church had not yet been glorified. During this age, there is still sin within the Church. Yahushua Messiah (the head) is unleavened. On the other hand, the Church (the body) still has leaven within her. Therefore, leaven was to be included in those two loaves.
The Spring Feasts, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Weeks (Pentecost), have already been fulfilled in Yahushua, the Messiah. These were all held during the spring harvest. There are three remaining feasts held in the fall which have yet to be fulfilled. Just as sure as the spring feasts were fulfilled precisely as laid down by Elohim, the fall feasts will also be fulfilled precisely on time, to the day, the very hour and the exact moment. The fulfilled spring feasts are:
• The Passover = Messiah died for our sins.
• The Feast of Unleavened Bread = Cleansing our lives and beginning our journey with Him.
• The Feast of Firstfruits = the resurrection of Yahushua Messiah and the hope of our resurrection.
• The Feast of Pentecost = the empowerment of the Holy Spirit for us to be a part of the great harvest of souls.