As with many biblical holidays, it began as an ancient agricultural festival that marked the end of the spring barley harvest and the beginning of the summer wheat harvest. It is the second of three major festivals that hold both historical and agricultural significance. The others being Passover and Sukkot. Shavuot comes exactly fifty days (seven weeks) after the second day of Passover.
In fact, the name Shavuot literally translates as “weeks” and refers to the weeks that are counted between the two festivals. Shavuot marks the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurred seven weeks after Passover. In ancient times, Shavuot was a pilgrimage festival during which crop offerings were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Though various Christian denominations commemorate Pentecost, many forget that it was a Hebre holiday before the Church was established. The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word for 50, but the biblical name is Shavuot (meaning weeks or sevens).
While praying in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, the disciples were waiting to receive a divine promise.
Only a few days earlier, Yeshua “ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. … ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 1:4, 8)
Some Bible versions say the disciples were to “wait for the gift my Father promised.” Though the word “gift” is not in the Hebrew text, receiving the Ruach of our God is without a doubt a more precious gift than any diamonds or fame or anything money can buy.
As promised, the Ruach descended on the disciples and empowered them to understand how Yeshua fulfilled the Scriptures and to boldly proclaim that understanding to everyone they met in Jerusalem and beyond.
God’s choice to give Believers this gift on this day was not an isolated incident or the creation of a new holy day. It was a fulfillment of the ancient appointed day of Shavuot first mentioned in the book of Leviticus in the Torah.