Shavuot

Jewish Ministry

Shavuot

Shavuot, or Pentecost, is the day on which God gave Israel the Ten Commandments. God promised to write the commandments on men’s hearts in Jeremiah 31:31–33. This was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1–4. In honor of God’s Word, Jews read the Ten Commandments on Shavuot and spend a lot of time studying the Bible. It is also customary to eat a lot of dairy in honor of the milk of God’s Word. Jews also read the book of Ruth, which is about harvest time.

Shavuot means “weeks.” The Hebrew Bible calls this the Feast of Weeks because it commemorates seven weeks plus one day. By the first century, Jews started to call this “Pentecost” which is a Greek word that means “the fiftieth day.” God commanded Israel to count off 50 days following the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:16).

God commanded Israel to offer grain offerings on Shavuot. Interestingly, on Passover, God required bread to be made without leaven/yeast. Leaven symbolizes sin (among other things). The Passover matzah bread is symbolic of Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:7). Some of the bread offerings for Pentecost had to include yeast (Leviticus 23:17). The bread of Pentecost is symbolic of people. The leavened Pentecost bread shows that God is willing to pour His Spirit on imperfect people, and that is what He did in Acts 2.