What is Shavuot? Shavuot is a Day to Celebrate…

Shavuot is a day to celebrate…

  • A foundational moment for the nation of Israel
  • The abundance of the grain harvest
  • The birth of the Church and the coming of the Holy Spirit
  • The empowerment and instruction the Lord pours out

What is Shavuot? | The Day God Made Israel a Nation

Shavuot is a foundational moment for the nation of Israel. It is the day that God made them a people and nation. Passover represents their freedom from slavery in Egypt. Shavuot was the day God gave them an identity and instruction at Mount Sinai.

  • “On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.

“Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, ‘This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.’”—Exodus 19:1-6 NIV (emphasis added)

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What is Shavuot? | The Day to the Grain Harvest

Shavuot is a holiday celebrating abundance during the grain harvest. It has been referred to as the Festival of the Harvest, or Chag HaKatzir in Hebrew, identifying it with the harvest season. In ancient times, the Festival of Shavuot centered around the agrarian culture of the Jewish people living in Israel. 

During this time, the people also brought their firstfruits of the seven species (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates) as an offering to the Temple in Jerusalem. 

This was an act of thanksgiving, responding to the provision the Lord had given throughout the year. It also declared their trust that He would continue to provide for them in the coming months. 

The Jewish people would bring two loaves of bread, baked from the new wheat crop, and wave it before the Lord.

  • “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.”—Leviticus 23:15-17

What is Shavuot? | The Day the Holy Spirit Came

Pentecost is named after the Greek word pentekoste, meaning fiftieth. It was the ancient Greek term referring to Shavuot (the “Feast of Weeks” celebrated 50 days after Passover).

Pentecost is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it is celebrated on the 7th Sunday, 50 days after Resurrection Sunday.

  • “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”—Acts 2:1-4 (emphasis added)

The Greek word for “utterance” is sophia, which refers to the intimate understanding of God’s Word and His commandments, which results in holy and upright living—divine knowledge that is relevant especially today.

Three women holding hands and praying with their Bibles.

What is Shavuot? | A Day to Receive Empowerment

The Jewish people consider Shavuot, the day God gave them the Torah, an extraordinary spiritual event that touched the individual soul. They compared it to a wedding between the Lord and His people. 

Shavuot also means ‘oaths.’ It is a day to recognize your covenant relationship and remember the eternal devotion and loyalty between you and the Lord. 

Just as in a wedding, when the bridegroom and bride are joined together, they come to understand that what belongs to one belongs to the other. Because we are the Bride of Christ, we receive His identity, power, authority, and favor. 

Shavuot is a day to receive empowerment to step into your next season’s Kingdom call. 

  • “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”—John 14:15-18
  • “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.”—Matthew 10:1
  • “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”—Luke 10:19

Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, you can do nothing (see John 15:1-5).

How Can You Celebrate Shavuot?

Read the Story of Ruth

You can celebrate Shavuot by reading the book of Ruth. Not only is this story centered around the harvest season, but it is a love story that symbolically represents our marriage covenant with God.

Examine Your Heart

During this time, you can take time to examine your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and focus on the meaning of your covenant relationship with the Lord.

Purge the Old Way of Thinking

The way you think flows over into your attitudes, shaping your behavior. Shavuot is a time of purging the old way of thinking and preparing to receive renewed instruction and revelation.

Give a Feast Offering

Just as the Jews went to the temple and offered firstfruits and thanked God for what He had done and what He would do, you can do the same. The same fire of the Holy Spirit that burned the Ten Commandments into the tablets of stone has written His law into your heart and mind. There is a call to renew it!

  • “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”—Jeremiah 31:33

Receive God’s Instruction

Shavuot is a remembrance of the instruction released at Mount Sinai as well as a remembrance of our Guide and Teacher, the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost—a day to celebrate the Church!

Shavuot is a day to receive new revelation and instruction from the Spirit that will move you into new levels of faith. 

  • “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:”—1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Check out more ways to celebrate here.

The Takeaway…

What is Shavuot? Shavuot is a far-reaching spiritual event that allows us, as Believers today, to celebrate God’s provision and empowerment. It is a time to gain a better understanding of our spiritual inheritance and to experience a deeper relationship with the Lord.