Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Pentecost -- The MYSTERY Solved!
The correct counting of Pentecost remains a volatile issue in the minds of many. There are some that say Pentecost must be counted from the weekly Sabbath, while others say it must be counted from Nisan 16. The former insist that the word translated "Sabbath" in Leviticus 23:16 cannot refer to "week," or be translated that way, while the latter insist that it can! What is the truth? Can we determine this matter, once and for all? Are YOU willing to look personally into this subject, and OBEY YEHOVAH GOD?
by John D. Keyser
The single verse of Leviticus 23:16 has been used by proponents of the Sadduccean Pentecost counting method to justify their "Sunday" or even a "Monday" Pentecost. This, they claim, is their "conclusive proof" that Pentecost should not be counted from the day after the fixed first annual holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
According to this group, the Hebrew word shabbat means exclusively the seventh day of rest -- and can never mean "week." For example, if you look up the word "Sabbath" in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, you will find that in the overwhelming number of cases it refers to the weekly Sabbath. On a few occasions it refers to a high holy day or annual Sabbath. In a few cases, it refers to the sabbath-year of rest, every seven years.
The proponents of the Pharisaic method of counting to Pentecost claim that the "Sabbath" of Leviticus 23:11 and 16 refers to the first day of Passover or the first day of Unleavened Bread -- the 15th of Nisan, which was a high Sabbath day of rest. According to this group, the Pharisees controlled the Temple worship during the time of the Messiah. This group claims that the word Sabbath can also mean "week." So who is correct?
The significance of the word Sabbath becomes apparent when you try to determine the beginning point of the count to Pentecost. Does this term refer to the weekly Sabbath, or does it refer to the annual Sabbath -- the First Day of Unleavened Bread?
What the References Say
Both sides of the argument are well represented in the various reference works available today -- notice!
(1) The New Bible Dictionary (article Calendar) states:
"In general, the Jewish calendar in NT times (at least before A.D. 70) followed the Sadducean reckoning, since it was by that reckoning that the Temple services were regulated. Thus the day of Pentecost was reckoned as the fiftieth day after the presentation of the first harvested sheaf of barley, i.e. the fiftieth day (inclusive) from the first Sunday after Passover (cf. Lv. 23:15f.); hence it always fell on a Sunday, as it does in the Christian calendar."
(2) The New Testament Era: The World of the Bible from 500 B.C. to A.D. 100 agrees:
"Immediately after the subsequent [weekly] Sabbath came the morning of the Day of First Fruits, which had to be observed by the presentation of a sheaf (Hebrew 'omer) in the Temple (Lev. 23:11) and which was also the day from which the Feast of Weeks, celebrated fifty days later, was calculated" (by Bo Reicke, Fortress Press, PA 1981, p. 188).
(3) The New Bible Dictionary (article Pentecost) adds:
"The Sadducees celebrated it [Pentecost] on the 50th day (inclusive reckoning) from the first Sunday after Passover (taking the 'sabbath' of Lv. 23:15 to be the weekly sabbath); their reckoning regulated the public observance so long as the Temple stood, and the church is therefore justified in commemorating the first Christian Pentecost on a Sunday (Whit Sunday)."
(4) Going now to an United Church of God Doctrinal Paper, we find an interesting observation:
"It is interesting that in Leviticus 23, the discussion begins with a reference to the weekly Sabbath in verses 1-3. The term 'Sabbath' is not used again until we arrive at the discussion of the wave sheaf in verse 11 and then again in verses 15-16 referencing the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). The logical conclusion is that since there has been no reference to festivals being annual Sabbaths, but only to a weekly Sabbath, we are still dealing with the weekly Sabbath in verse 11 and again in verses 15-16. There is no precedent for concluding this to be a reference to the annual Sabbath...In Leviticus 23 we must be consistent in our understanding of these verses. If we conclude that verse 3 is referring to the weekly Sabbath, then we have no reason to conclude that verses 11, 15, and 16 aren't referencing the same weekly Sabbath" (Pentecost and Its Observance, pages 6-7).
(5) According to Richard Nickels in his article, Pentecost is NOT on Sivan 6 --
"Mi-mohorat ha shabbat occurs in Leviticus 23:11 and 15, and means 'from [on] morrow of [after] the Sabbath,' that is, the day after the Sabbath. This is the key phrase regarding the counting of Pentecost...An investigation of the original Hebrew of Leviticus 23 absolutely precludes a Sivan 6 Pentecost. There is no evidence that mi-mohorat ha shabbat refers to anything other than the day after the weekly Sabbath" (pages 3-4).
(6) The Restored Church of God has this to say about Pentecost:
"By counting fifty days from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread, you can pinpoint Pentecost. On this day, the wave sheaf offering was presented. This ceremony involved cutting and waving the first sheaf of barley of the initial harvest. The fifty-day count began and ended on the first day of the week. Theoretically, the day of the wave sheaf offering -- the day after the weekly Sabbath -- could be any one of the days of Unleavened Bread. The sacred calendar does not designate a specific day in the month of Sivan on which Pentecost should always fall. That is why a count is necessary" (Website comment).
(7) The Assembly of Yahweh, 7th Day, comes up with a rather unique method of determining the correct day to start the count to Pentecost from, notice!
"In beginning the count of the fifty days, the questions has been asked, “To which Sabbath does verse 15 refer – the weekly Sabbath, or the annual high day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Two points are clearly made in these verses: --The count is to begin on the morrow after the Sabbath. --The count is to end on the morrow after Sabbath -- the seventh Sabbath. To determine which day begins the count to Pentecost, let us begin by examining the third month of the Scriptural Calendar. Are any of Yahweh’s festivals in the third month? There is only one -- The Feast of Pentecost. All the other annual high days of Yahweh’s Calendar are in the first month or the seventh month, as can be noted by consulting Lev. Chap. 23. Once again, the only Scriptural, yearly high day occurring in the third month is the Feast of Pentecost. Therefore, all other Sabbaths in the third month are weekly Sabbaths. Pentecost should always follow a Sabbath, “…even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days…” (Lev. 23:16). Since Scripture tells us that we are to count to “the morrow after the seventh Sabbath,” (for determining Pentecost), then it is evident that the “seventh Sabbath” refers to the seventh day of the week, because (except for Pentecost itself) there are no Sabbaths in the third month except the weekly Sabbath" (Website comment).
Here is the other side of the argument -- promoted by the following publications:
(1) Smith's Bible Dictionary (article Pentecost):
"From the sixteenth of Nisan seven weeks were reckoned inclusively, and the next or fiftieth day was the day of Pentecost, which fell on the sixth of Sivan (about the end of May)" (by William Smith. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN).
(2) Prelude to Glory (Appendix C) agrees:
"In Jesus' day Pentecost was dated from the Passover Sabbath rather than the seventh-day Sabbath. Because of this method of dating, Pentecost would fall on different days of the week depending on the day on which the Passover Sabbath fell. The Passover Sabbath always fell on the fifteenth day of Nisan. On the next day, the sixteenth of Nisan, the people brought sheaves of barley to the temple to be presented as a 'wave offering.'...From the sixteenth of Nisan they would count fifty days which caused the Feast of Pentecost to always fall on the sixth day of Sivan, just as it does today" (by Wayne D. Leeper. Christian Communications, Nashville, TN 1987, p. 232).
(3) Insight On the Scriptures (article Pentecost):
"Instructions for this festival are found at Leviticus 23:15-21; Numbers 28:26-31; Deuteronomy 16:9-12. It was to be celebrated on the 50th day (Pentecost means 'Fiftieth [Day]') from Nisan 16, the day that the barley sheaf was offered. (Le. 23:15, 16) In the Jewish calendar it falls on Sivan 6....The Israelites were not allowed to begin the harvest until the firstfruits of the barley had been presented to Jehovah on Nisan 16. Therefore, in Deuteronomy 16:9, 10 the instructions are: 'From when the sickle is first put to the standing grain you will start to count seven weeks. Then you must celebrate the festival of weeks to Jehovah your God'" (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. 1988).
(4) The Jewish New Testament Commentary says:
"The name 'Shavu'ot' comes from Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:9-10, which, along with Leviticus 23:15-16, determine that the festival is to be seven weeks after the start of Pesach [Passover]" (by David H. Stern. Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. Clarksville, MD 1995).
(5) God's Festivals in Scripture and History (Chapter V, Part 1) states:
"The offering of the first barley sheaf took place on the day after Passover...Since barley ripens a few weeks before wheat, the ceremony of the barley wave-sheaf offering the day after Passover marked the starting point of the fifty days countdown to Pentecost" (by Samuele Bacchiocchi. Biblical Perspectives, Berrien Springs, MI 1995, p. 167).
(6) The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus gives an account of Pentecost in his work, Antiquities of the Jews -- notice!
" But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth...They also at this participation of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt offering to God.  When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice, (which weeks contain forty and nine days,) on the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost...they bring to God a loaf..." (Translated by William Whiston. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Book III, chapter X, section 5-6)
(7) Seventh-Day Adventist scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi comments that
"...I concur with Alfred Edersheim: 'The testimonies of Josephus, of Philo, and of Jewish tradition, leave no room to doubt that in this instance we are to understand by the "Sabbath" the 15th of Nisan, on whatever day of the week it might fall.' This means that Pentecost was celebrated by most Jews fifty days after Passover, on whatever day of the week it fell" (God's Festivals in Scripture and History Part 1: The Spring Festivals. Biblical Perspectives, Berrien Springs, MI, 1995, p. 169).
So there you have it -- both sides of the Pentecost question present some strong arguments to promote their understanding of the issue!
Both sides of the argument for starting the count to Pentecost are presented here by the various authorities. The question is -- which argument is correct? What do you think? Well, I'm going to really shock you -- pull the chair from underneath you! -- NEITHER SIDE IS WRONG, THEY ARE BOTH CORRECT!! Let me repeat, THEY ARE BOTH CORRECT!
They Are Both Correct!
They are both correct -- how could that be?
The proponents of both theories totally overlook the fact that the apostle John reveals that there were TWO SABBATHS ON ONE DAY -- the weekly Sabbath AND the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread!
That the day after Yeshua's death was a weekly Sabbath can be clearly demonstrated by Luke 23:56, which reads: "On SHABBAT the women rested, IN OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDMENT." What "commandment" is this? The FOURTH COMMANDMENT of course! In reference to this verse the Jewish New Testament Commentary makes this clarifying statement: "It is sometimes claimed that the New Testament says nothing about keeping the fourth commandment. This verse contradicts that claim, so it is important for a Jewish understanding of the New Testament. ON SHABBAT THE WOMEN RESTED, IN OBEDIENCE TO THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT (Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15; also Exodus 16). Of course they did! They observed Shabbat EVERY WEEK" (David H. Stern, p. 150). Obviously the WEEKLY SABBATH is the focus of verses 54 and 56 of Luke 23.
Now, having established that the weekly Sabbath is the focus of these verses, let's go to John 19:31 in the Jewish New Testament and read what the apostle John has to say: "It was the Preparation Day, and the Judeans did not want the bodies to remain on the stake on SHABBAT, since it was an especially important Shabbat." The New King James Version makes it clearer: "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the [weekly] Sabbath (FOR THAT [WEEKLY] SABBATH WAS A HIGH DAY)." What "high day" was this? My Bible references it to Exodus 12:16 -- the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread! Now consider this -- if that day had been a regular week day, John would have said "FOR THAT DAY WAS A HIGH DAY." But he says "for that SABBATH was a high day"!
The fact that the weekly Sabbath day here mentioned was also the first high Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is understood by numerous researchers. Writes Samuele Bacchiocchi, "Rabbinical sources...indicate that the weekly Sabbath was called a "high day" when it COINCIDED WITH PASSOVER, because, as well stated by Charles C. Torrey, 'its inherent solemnity was greatly heightened by the celebration of the foremost feast of the year.'" (The Time of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, chapter 3). "This information," continues Bacchiocchi, "is important because it disproves the claim that the weekly Sabbath was never called or referred to as a 'high day.'"
H. L. Strack and P. Billerbec, in their book Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrash (Munich, 1922-1928) state that in later Rabbinic literature the seventh-day Sabbath is regarded as a "high day" if it falls on Nisan 15, and they show numerous examples in support of this.
Bo Reicke, author of The New Testament Era: The World of the Bible From 500 B.C. to A.D. 100 understood this when he wrote --
"Since a holy day was approaching (Mark 15:42), the Jews asked the procurator to have the bodies taken away (John 19:31-37). Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Council, saw to Jesus' burial in a tomb that belonged to him...Immediately after the subsequent Sabbath came the morning of the Day of First Fruits, which had to be observed by the presentation of a sheaf (Hebrew, omer) in the Temple (Lev. 23:11) and which was also the day [Nisan 16] from which the Feast of Weeks, celebrated fifty days later, was calculated. On this morning some women sought to show their respect to the Lord by bringing spices and perfumes, but found that he was no longer in the tomb (Matt. 28:6; John 20:2)" (Fortress Press, Philadelphia. 1981, pp. 187-188).
Samuele Bacchiocchi, in his series God's Festivals in Scripture and History (Part 1) expands upon his previous statement that the weekly Sabbath AND the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread coincided in the year of the Messiah's death -- notice!
"It is interesting to note that in the particular year of Christ's death and resurrection, the two different methods of reckoning [i.e., the Sadducean and Pharisaic] concurred on the date of Pentecost. This is because, according to the Johannine chronology of the passion...Passover (Nisan 15) fell on a [weekly] Sabbath, and the offering of the wave sheaf on Sunday (Nisan 16). This fulfilled the Pharisaic interpretation of Leviticus 23:15, which counted the fifty days from the day after Passover (Nisan 16). Amazingly, it also fulfilled the Sadducean interpretation, which counted the fifty days from the first Sunday [actually, the First Day of the Week -- the term 'Sunday' was unknown at this time] after Passover" (page 170).
The Bible dictionary, Insight On the Scriptures (article, Passover), noted the same fact --
"This word [pa-ra-skeu-e' -- 'preparation'] seems to mark, not the day preceding Nisan 15, but the day preceding the weekly Sabbath, which, in this instance [year of the Messiah's death], was 'a great one,' namely, not only a Sabbath by virtue of being Nisan 15, the first day of the actual Festival of Unfermented Cakes, but also a weekly Sabbath."
A plural form of the word "Sabbath" is found in Matthew 28:1: "After the sabbath, when it was growing light on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to view the grave" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures). If correctly translated this verse should read -- "After the sabbaths [plural], when it was growing light on the first day of the week..." Also, the phrase "when it was growing light on the first day of the week" is translated from the original Greek, which literally says "to the [day] lighting up into one [first] of sabbaths" -- notice the plural form once again.
The phrase "into one [first] of sabbaths" is a reference to the first day from which the omer count starts in the count to Pentecost -- which count is made up of seven Sabbaths or weeks plus 50 days. This count always begins on Nisan 16.
The exact same thing is found in Mark 16:2 where the Greek literally says: "And exceedingly early to the one [first] [day] of the sabbaths they are coming upon the memorial tomb..." which in English usage reads "And very early on the first day of the week they came to the memorial tomb..." (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
Writes Harold W. Hoehner --
"Furthermore, to support their theory [those who believe in the Sivan 6 scenario] that John 19:31 ('the day of the Sabbath was great') points to a Passover Sabbath rather than a weekly Sabbath is unlikely. The Friday [better, Preparation Day] crucifixion better explains this by seeing that Nisan 15 FELL ON THE WEEKLY SABBATH, and hence in the year of Christ's crucifixion, that weekly Sabbath was indeed great" (Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, page 69).
The word "sabbath" is also in the PLURAL in Luke 24:1 and John 20:1, showing that this particular weekly Sabbath was also a high day. Now is this a one-time event -- or does the weekly Sabbath ALWAYS fall on Nisan 15?
The Evidence of Exodus
After the ten plagues and the exodus from Egypt at the end of the 12th and 13th dynasties, YEHOVAH God led Moses and the Israelites to the Wilderness of Sin where He revealed to them His TRUE Sabbath day. We read about this in Exodus, chapter 16 --
"And they departed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sina; and ON THE FIFTEENTH DAY, IN THE SECOND MONTH after their departure from the land of Egypt, all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. And the children of Israel said to them, Would we had died smitten by the Lord in the land of Egypt, When we sat by the flesh-pots, and ate bread to satiety! for ye have brought us out into this wilderness, to slay all this congregation with hunger. And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread upon you out of heaven: and the people shall go forth, and they shall gather their daily portion for the day, that I may try them whether they will walk in my law or not" (Septuagint version).
This passage highlights TWO main points, (1) the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron on THE 15TH DAY OF THE SECOND MONTH after leaving Egypt and, (2) YEHOVAH God was planning to test the Israelites to see if they would WALK IN HIS LAW OR NOT. The intriguing part of this whole passage is where Moses mentions THE EXACT DAY that the Israelites murmured against him and Aaron in the wilderness. There is ONLY one other place in the narrative of the Israelites' journey from Egypt to the Promised Land where an exact date is mentioned (Exodus 19:1)! This clearly indicates that this date was VERY IMPORTANT TO YEHOVAH GOD -- and that He wanted the Israelites to remember it. Also, on this same date, He was going to teach the Israelites something very important; He was going to test them and see if they would obey Him or not. What was this important lesson? Let's continue on Exodus 16 –
"'And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be TWICE AS MUCH as they gather daily.' Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, 'At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your murmurings against the Lord. But what are we, that you murmur against us?'....Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, THE GLORY OF THE LORD APPEARED IN THE CLOUD. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, "At twilight [between the two evenings] you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'" So it was that quail came up at evening and covered the camp..." (Verses 5-13).
This day -- the 15TH DAY OF THE SECOND MONTH -- was so important to YEHOVAH God that He appeared in the cloud before the Israelites, and then caused thousands (maybe millions) of quail to be blown into the Israelites' camp "between the two evenings," i.e. the afternoon of the 15th. WHY was this day so important to YEHOVAH? Writes Herbert W. Armstrong –
"I will show you that God was speaking to them [the children of Israel] on a SABBATH. It is evident that the Eternal first preached to men on the FIRST SABBATH. Adam was created on the sixth day of the creation week. Evidently he was created in the late afternoon, since the creation of man was the last act of creation on that day. When the sun had set, immediately after Adam's creation, God preached to him, offering him the GIFT of eternal life (through the tree of life), and warning [him] that the wages of sin is DEATH (Gen. 2:15-17).
"And here God is again preaching to Israel, through Moses, ON THE SABBATH" (Which Day is the Christian Sabbath. Ambassador College Press, pp. 30-31).
Now let's continue with the narrative in Exodus 16:
"...and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.'"
And now YEHOVAH God starts to teach the Israelites about the Sabbath –
"So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. And so it was on THE SIXTH DAY, that they gathered TWICE AS MUCH BREAD, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, 'This is what the Lord has said: "TOMORROW IS A SABBATH REST, A HOLY SABBATH TO THE LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning!"' So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, 'Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. SIX DAYS YOU SHALL GATHER IT, but on the SEVENTH DAY, which is THE SABBATH, there will be none.'"
As is normal with human nature, some of the Israelites went out on the seventh day looking for the manna (bread) –
"Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, 'How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has GIVEN YOU THE SABBATH; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' So the people RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY" (verses 13-30).
We see here that, starting on the 15th day of the month, YEHOVAH God provided food for all the Israelites. Then, on the seventh day after the 15th, He did not provide any manna -- thereby showing that this day (the 22nd day of the month) was a SABBATH. Obviously, if the 15th was seven days before the 22nd, it too was a Sabbath day! This Herbert Armstrong clearly understood. We can see here that YEHOVAH God was revealing His weekly Sabbath cycle for the Israelites. If the 15th and the 22nd were Sabbath days, so too were the 8th and the 29th days of the month! So we here see a pattern -- the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. What significance do these dates have? Just this -- THEY CORRESPOND TO THE PHASES OF THE MOON!! YEHOVAH God was showing the Israelites that His Sabbath days were to fall on the days of the month CORRESPONDING TO THE MOON'S PHASES, thus revealing that the weekly Sabbaths were to be observed using THE SAME CALENDAR or reckoning used to determine the annual Sabbaths or feast days!
Unfortunately, Herbert Armstrong never made the connection (to our knowledge) between these Sabbath days in Exodus 16 and the phases of the moon.
In the article Creation Weekly Sabbath the author DOES make the connection, however he seems to have a problem with arithmetic!
"In Exodus 16:1-30 Jahwah brought Israel into the Wilderness of Sin (which means 'Moon') to teach them the set-time ordinance of the Weekly Sabbath. The keeping of the Sabbath was a test to prove Israel's obedience to Yahweh's torah/instructions. They entered the Wilderness of Sin on the second month AND THE FIFTEENTH DAY that they left Egypt. Counting six days: 2/15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 -- the Sabbath fell on the 21st day of the month. (Lunar weekly Sabbaths fall on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days of the month)."
The author's arithmetic not withstanding, if you count seven days from the 15th you will arrive at the 22nd -- not the 21st! Since he mentions that the weekly Sabbaths fall on the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th days of the month, it seems evident that he is going by lunar observations. The miscounting of the days may be intentional to make the Exodus 16 account fit the author's own personal theory.
We have just shown that YEHOVAH's weekly Sabbath days fall on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th days of the lunar month. Since the 15th day of the lunar month of Nisan is the first holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread then obviously, this day falls on the weekly Sabbath!
Does the Septuagint Contradict Itself?
One of the chief supports for the Pharisaic interpretation of when to start the omer count from has been the Greek version (Septuagint) of Leviticus 23:11. Here we read: "...and he shall lift up the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you. On the morrow of the FIRST DAY (of Passover) the priest shall lift it up." That the "first day" mentioned here is the first day of Passover is universally recognized; however, verse 15 seems to throw everything into a quandary! Notice --
"And ye shall number to yourselves from the day after THE SABBATH, from the day on which ye shall offer the sheaf of the heave-offering, seven full weeks:"
The problem with this, notes Samuele Bacchiocchi, is that "the word 'Sabbath' in Greek, when used by itself, can mean ONLY the seventh day of the week, or the week as a whole, BUT NOT AN ANNUAL FEAST"! (God's Festivals in Scripture and History, page168). So, does the Septuagint contradict itself? No -- because the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread always falls on the weekly Sabbath!
What About Josephus?
We find a similar supposedly contradictory scenario in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, where he writes:
"But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And...they offer the first-fruits of their barley....When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice, (which weeks contain forty and nine days,) on the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost...they bring to God a loaf..." (Book III, chapter X, 5 & 6).
This seems straight-forward enough. However, when we go to Book 13, chapter 8, 4 we find what seems to be a contradiction:
"Nicolaus of Damascus...writes thus :-- 'It was the desire of Hyrcanus the Jew, because it was such a festival derived to them from their forefathers, whereon the law of the Jews did not allow them to travel.'...for that festival, which we call Pentecost, did then fall out to be THE NEXT DAY TO THE SABBATH; nor is it lawful for us to journey, either on THE SABBATH-DAY, or on a festival day."
Once again, the Greek word for "Sabbath" can here ONLY refer to the weekly Sabbath and NOT an annual feast day. If the day of Pentecost fell the day after the weekly Sabbath, the omer count to Pentecost started the day after the weekly Sabbath! So, is Josephus contradicting himself here? Absolutely not! Why? Because the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread ALWAYS falls on the weekly Sabbath!
The One Exception...
We have seen that when the Greek word for "Sabbath" is in the plural form it refers to two Sabbaths on the SAME day -- the weekly Sabbath and one of the annual Sabbaths -- but is this true in every instance in the New Testament scriptures?
There are a number of very important events noted in the New Testament that happened on the Day of Pentecost, which would have gone unnoticed if it were not for the specific use of the phrase "the day of the Sabbaths" (ήμέρα τών σαββάτων). The word used for "Sabbaths" in this phrase is shabbaton (σαββάτων) -- a non-Greek word borrowed from the Hebrew where it is used to describe an annual festival day. What makes the difference are the preceding words in the phrase -- "the day of the" (ήμέρα τών).
The term "shabbaton" (neuter plural) is also used to refer to a "week" of days -- in other words what is referred to as a regular week. Whether "shabbaton" refers to "Sabbath days" (plural) or to a "week" must be determined by the context. An example of this can be found in Luke's Gospel.
In Luke's account (found at Luke 4:17-21) of the Messiah's reading of the scroll in the synagogue after he had returned to his hometown of Nazareth following the Passover at Jerusalem, we find this unusual Greek expression -- "the Day of the Sabbaths" (ήμέρα τών σαββάτων). Since this expression can also be rendered, "the Day of Weeks," this is another way of saying Pentecost -- agreeing with the terminology of Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10, 16 and II Chronicles 8:13. The Messiah was handed the scroll of Isaiah and he read chapter 61, verses 1 and 2 -- notice!
"And he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up, and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Day of the Sabbaths [Greek, ήμέρα τών σαββάτων or, The Day of the Weeks] and stood up to read. And he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the scroll, and found the place where it was written: 'The Lord's Spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor, hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set free the bruised, to proclaim the Lord's acceptable year.' And he rolled up the scroll, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. And he began to say unto them, 'Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears'" (Luke 4:17-21).
It should be noted that the synagogue attendant handed Yeshua the scroll of Isaiah. This shows that the synagogue liturgy required Isaiah to be read that day. If so, this indicates that the Messiah read the regular triennial cycle selection from the prophets that accompanied the sequential readings from the five books of Moses. It is interesting that the section that the Messiah quoted was that which paralleled the readings from the Law of Moses for Pentecost on the second year of the triennial cycle. See the chart accompanying the article on the "Triennial Cycle in the Jewish Encyclopedia," Funk and Wagnalls, 1906. This is an indication that this event in the synagogue in Nazareth occurred on Pentecost.
Some people have pointed out that this day could not have been either Passover or Tabernacles (Sukkot) because the Judahites were required by YEHOVAH's Law to be in Jerusalem for these occasions. While this is true -- it also applied to Shavuot or Pentecost. The reason the Messiah is seen here in Nazareth attending a local synagogue, instead of being in Jerusalem on Pentecost, is because the "pilgrimage" law only applied to those Judahites living in the kingdom or province of Judea. Nazareth was in Galilee -- and thus Judahites from here were exempt from traveling to Jerusalem every year to attend the three feasts.
Can this phrase "the day of the Sabbaths" (ήμέρα τών σαββάτων) be found elsewhere in the New Testament? There are several locations in the Book of Acts where Paul observed the Day of Pentecost on the SAME DAY as all the Jews of his time -- notice!
"The men, together with Paul, now put out to sea from Paphos and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John withdrew from them and returned to Jerusalem. They, however, went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Psidia and, going into the synagogue on THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS (ήμέρα τών σαββάτων), they took a seat. After the public reading of the law and of the Prophets the presiding officers of the synagogue sent out to them, saying: 'Men, brothers, if there is any word of encouragement for the people that you have, tell it.' So Paul rose, and motioning with his hand, he said: 'Men, Israelites and you [others] that fear God, hear...'" (Acts 13:13-16).
Hear Paul was observing "THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS" -- better translated "the day of the weeks" -- the very same day as the vast multitude of Jews did in the Jewish synagogues!
On another occasion Paul observed "THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS" on the banks of a river, because there was no Jewish synagogue in the town. We read:
"Therefore we put out to sea from Troas and came with a straight run to Samothrace, but on the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a colony, which is the principal city of the district of Macedonia. We continued in this city, spending some days. And on THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS (ήμέρα τών σαββάτων) we went forth outside the gate beside a river, where we were thinking there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women that has assembled. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira and a worshipper of God, was listening, and Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things being spoken by Paul" (Acts 16:11-14).
Paul said we are to follow him as he followed the Messiah. Paul observed Pentecost on the day that was counted from the day after the weekly Sabbath which happened, as we have seen, to always occupy the SAME DAY as the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread! The counting started on the First Day of the Week -- which was Nisan 16! This was how all the Judahites started the omer count to Pentecost.
What about the Messiah? Can we know what day he kept? Indeed we can! He certainly knew what day to observe. What did Yeshua do?
Did he observe the very same day as all the Judahites around him -- the day after the Sabbath, counting from Nisan 16 or the First Day of the Week -- the day the Messiah was resurrected from the dead? Notice!
At the beginning of his ministry, right after the forty days in the wilderness, the Messiah went to his home town of Nazareth in Galilee where he entered the local synagogue on the Sabbath day and began to read. Notice! "So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read" (Luke 4:16, New King James Version). If you check the Greek for this verse you will find the word "Sabbath" is in the PLURAL, preceded by the words "the day of the". Here's the literal translation from the Greek: "And he came into Nazareth, where he was having been reared, and he went in according to the custom to him IN THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS (ήμέρα τών σαββάτων) into the synagogue, and he stood up to read" (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
Yeshua not only went to the Jewish synagogue to preach, but he did it also on "THE DAY OF THE WEEKS", which fell in the fourth month of YEHOVAH's calendar! Not only did he do this the first Passover season after he began his ministry in 28 A.D., but he did this "ACCORDING TO HIS CUSTOM" -- or, "AS HIS CUSTOM WAS." It was Yeshua's long-standing practice to observe this day and to visit the synagogue or Temple on those Holy Days, along with all the other Judahites!
If the Messiah had been observing a DIFFERENT DAY, he would have been ALL ALONE, BY HIMSELF, in the synagogue or Temple! Yeshua, therefore, was preaching on "THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS" -- the day of Pentecost in the year of 28 A.D.
In every case where the word "day" is used, or implied by the context (such as in "THE DAY OF THE SABBATHS [better 'WEEKS'])", one and only one day is meant: the day of Pentecost. However, if the Greek word for "Sabbath" is in the plural (σαββάτων) -- and is NOT preceded by the "day of the" (ήμέρα τών) -- then we should understand that two sabbaths -- an annual Holy Day AND the weekly Sabbath fall on the SAME day.
To try to use the plural form of "Sabbath," found in Matthew 28:1, to support a "Wednesday" crucifixion, and a "Thursday" high Holy Day followed by a "Saturday" weekly Sabbath is totally untenable. When the term "Sabbath" is found in the plural form by itself in the New Testament, it refers to ONE day only and the events that fall within it, i.e. two sabbaths on the ONE day! There is no case for a Passover Sabbath which precedes the weekly Sabbath by several days.
It is a fact that not only did the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread fall on the weekly Sabbath during the year of the Messiah's death, but it ALWAYS fell on the weekly Sabbath -- every year -- year in and year out! Why? Because the weekly Sabbath is determined by the phases of the moon, just like the annual Sabbath days! For more information on this, write for our articles Have We Been Observing the Sabbath At the Wrong Time All These Years? and From Sabbath to Saturday: The Story of the Jewish Rest Day.
The True Date of Pentecost
One of the major problems with the currently held method of counting to Pentecost is the fact that Sivan 6 occurs BEFORE the Israelites even arrived at Mt. Sinai! How do we resolve this stumbling block?
You may have noticed that in Ferrar Fenton's version of Leviticus 23:15-17 he translated the Hebrew to read, in verse 16, "Then AFTER the seventh Sabbath, you shall count fifty days...." while all of the other translations say, "Count fifty days TO the day after the seventh Sabbath...." Why the radical difference in Fenton's translation? It appears that most translators, motivated by Jewish tradition and preconceived ideas stemming from the Catholic Whitsunday, failed to translate ONE little Hebrew word! What is that word? It's the word "MIN."
The beginning of verse 16, in the Hebrew, is "AD-MIN-MOCHORATH." The word "MIN" is a preposition which, when combined with other words, means "FROM." The Hebrew word "AD" is a preposition, adverb or conjugation that has many uses for describing TIME, SPACE or DEGREE. Ignoring the word "MIN," the translators render "AD" as "EVEN UNTO" -- however there is a major problem with this! The phrase "EVEN UNTO" deals with SPACE, while all of the measurements in verse 16 -- "the morrow," "the seventh Sabbath," and "fifty days" all deal with TIME, not SPACE! Therefore, the English translation for "AD" as "EVEN UNTO" is in error and CANNOT be correct since it deals with "SPACE" and not "TIME."
It would not be going out on a limb to state that this GROSS misapplication of "even unto" here has been very successful -- albeit a deliberate deception to achieve the translator's personal or traditional meaning for this critical passage. Every English translation -- with the exception of the Fenton translation -- is CLEARLY based upon the KJV's MISUSE of "even unto," making it appear that the day following the seventh Sabbath is the terminus or ending point of the fifty-day count. This is in perfect keeping with the "count fifty" Pentecost interpretations we covered earlier in this article, and which now dominates "Christendom" -- including the unwilling and/or unwary Sabbatarians who should know better since they are always quoting I Thessalonians 5:21.
So HOW should the Hebrew of Leviticus 23:16 be CORRECTLY translated into English? Since the English translation for "AD" as "EVEN UNTO" is misapplied and cannot be correct since it deals with "space" instead of "time," what definitions DO apply to the measuring of "time" in verse 16? They are as follows:
"Hebrew "AD" = English "DURING, WHILE and UNTIL." Other general options for Heb. "AD" include: "AS, AND, AT, BY THAT, AS FAR AS, WHEN, WHILE and YET."
But what if the Hebrew word for "FROM" was at the beginning of verse 16? If this was the case, it would be the STARTING POINT for the fifty-day count rather than the ending point. As we have already seen, the Hebrew word for "FROM" is indeed at the beginning of verse 16. While the word "AD" does NOT mean "FROM," the word "MIN" DOES -- and it is in the very beginning of verse 16 along with the word "AD"! Although the Hebrew word "MIN" is there in the Hebrew text, it has purposely been omitted from every English translation except the Ferrar Fenton version!
The original Hebrew scriptures CLEARLY show that after counting seven Sabbaths (weeks) from the Wave Sheaf Offering, there is a SECOND NUMBERING of 50 days up unto the actual Feast of Shavuot. That second count of 50 days does NOT conclude, but rather COMMENCES on the morrow AFTER the seventh Sabbath. This places the feast of the WHEAT HARVEST at the very end of the fourth Hebrew month -- right where it belongs in the middle of the SUMMER wheat harvest and at the beginning of the grape harvest, midway between the Spring and Fall harvest seasons.
The Chronology of the Exodus
Proof that the time-period between the Wave Sheaf Offering and Pentecost is an extended period of time -- much more than the 50 days adhered to by most of Christendom -- can be found in the chronology of the Exodus and the time spent at Mount Sinai.
In Exodus 19:1, we read: "In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they to the wilderness of Sinai." From this we learn that Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai on the 15th day of the Third Month. We can know this because Moses tells us that they arrived on the same day of the month that they had left Egypt, which was the 15th (Numbers 33:3). This means that Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai exactly 7 days after the "seventh complete Sabbath," which is always the 8th day of the Third Month on YEHOVAH's lunar calendar.
What is most interesting about this is that the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai on the following Sabbath AFTER the seventh Sabbath -- they DID NOT arrive by the modern "fifty day" count to "Pentecost." This is because from "the morrow after the seventh Sabbath" the 50-day count had begun, and by their arrival on the 15th, 7 days had already elapsed.
If we continue reading, we see that the Israelites were commanded by Moses to consecrate themselves and wash their clothes for they were to meet with YEHOVAH God in 3 days. "For on the third day, YEHOVAH will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people" (Exodus 19:10-11). By this we can conclude that YEHOVAH descended on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people exactly 10 days after the "seventh complete Sabbath" (8th day of Third Month + 7 days + 3 days).
In Exodus 20:18-21, we read that the Israelites were terrified at the presence of YEHOVAH God, so they asked Moses to speak to YEHOVAH for them. Moses then ascends the mountain, where he remains for "forty days and forty nights" (Exodus 24:18). After 40 days, Moses descends Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments Law of YEHOVAH God (Deuteronomy 9:9-12). From this, we can conclude with certainty that Moses descended Mount Sinai with the Commandments EXACTLY 50 days after the "seventh complete Sabbath" (8th day of Third Month + 7 days + 3 days + 40 days). Amazing! So we most definitely agree that the Feast of Weeks is a memorial of the giving of the Law! And now we can keep it on the right day!
It is worth noting also that Aaron (the high priest), one day earlier, somehow knew to proclaim a "feast to YEHOVAH" on this very day -- EXACTLY 50 days after the "seventh complete Sabbath."
"And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast [Strong's H2282] to YEHOVAH" (Exodus 32:5).
Note that the word "feast" in the above verse is Strong's H2282 (khag); Khag is consistently used throughout Scripture to denote a pilgrimage feast (See The New Strong's Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words). The Feast of Weeks is one of three pilgrimage feasts (khags) commanded by YEHOVAH God -- Deuteronomy16:16. Also note that YEHOVAH does not reprimand His high priest (Aaron) for proclaiming a feast on the wrong day; rather YEHOVAH cites idolatry as the reason for His anger (Exodus 32:7-9; Deuteronomy 9:16, 20).
Moses descended the mountain with the Ten Commandments Law of YEHOVAH God on the same day that Aaron (the high priest) somehow knew to proclaim a "feast (khag) to YEHOVAH." This took place 50 DAYS AFTER THE "SEVENTH COMPLETE SABBATH"! It is simply NOT reasonable to dismiss all of these things as coincidence -- as some will try to do!
It seems apparent that the children of Israel had been anticipating a feast on this very day, because on the preceding day we see that it was when they saw that Moses "delayed" that they went to Aaron and began to pressure him in going along with their own idolatrous preparations for a feast the following day. "Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, 'Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him'" (Exodus 32:1, NKJV).
Recapitulating we see --
1) On the THIRD month, 15th day, the Israelites arrive at Mount Sinai. That is 7 days after the "seven Sabbaths complete" on the THIRD month, 8th day.
2) For 2 DAYS the Israelites prepare and are presented before YEHOVAH God to receive His covenant on the 3rd day.
3) On the next day, THIRD month, 18th day, Moses prepares and goes up onto the mountain to receive the tablets of stone. That's 3 more days. 7 days + 3 days = 10 days.
4) Moses spends 40 days up on Mount Sinai with YEHOVAH God, receiving the written law. That's 10 days + 40 days = yes, 50 DAYS!! Count 50 to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot!
And what did Aaron say on the day BEFORE Moses descended the mountain? "So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow is a FEAST to the LORD.' Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play" (Exodus 32:5-6).
Incidentally, this is one of the most remarkable proofs for the lunar Sabbath! For only by counting "seven complete Sabbaths" on a lunisolar calendar -- and then counting 50 days -- can we locate the Biblical Feast of Weeks or Shavuot! This means that ONLY those who use the lunisolar calendar to reckon the seventh-day-Sabbaths (as well as the other feast days) can correctly locate YEHOVAH's Feast of Weeks -- the feast most closely associated with the pouring out of YEHOVAH's holy spirit and the latter rain!
The Evidence of the Wheat Harvest
In John 4:35 we find written --
"Do you not say, 'The harvest comes WITH THE FOURTH MONTH'? See! Look up, I tell you, and survey the fields; for they are already white for harvesting" (Ferrar Fenton Version).
While the Messiah was talking about a spiritual harvest amongst the repentant Samaritans, the CONTEXT and TIMING of this passage is of great importance in determining the correct day of Shavuot or Pentecost.
Yeshua and the disciples had just kept the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread in Jerusalem (John 2:13), spoken privately with Nicodemus about being "born again" (John 3:1), had his disciples performing baptisms in Judea (verse 22), and then "He left Judea and departed again to Galilee....go[ing] through Samaria (John 4:3-4).
It was at this time -- around the last days of the first month (Nisan) -- that the Messiah recited the oft-quoted proverb of that time: "The harvest comes with the fourth month." The confused disciples must have wondered what he was talking about as they looked out across the empty WHEAT fields that the Messiah had just called, "white for harvesting."
Whether or not the wheat there was newly planted (Spring wheat) or was just sprouting (dormant Winter wheat seed revived by Spring), these fields were anything BUT ready to harvest -- hence the Messiah's enigmatic statement.
What is significant is the fact that at the end of Nisan the wheat crop was nowhere near ready for harvesting. Agricultural information resources reveal that wheat crops typically take 100-plus days to be ready for harvesting -- placing both a Winter or Spring wheat harvest in the SUMMER months. There is simply NOT ENOUGH TIME (employing the modern "count fifty" Pentecost) for wheat to come to maturity by the first week of the third month. Approximately seven Sabbaths/weeks (52-53 days) plus 50 days is commanded from the Wave Sheaf Offering for the computing of Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks.
It is NO COINCIDENCE that the 100-plus days count up to the "Feast of the Wheat Harvest" matches the length of time required for the wheat to mature! This is ANOTHER PROOF of the ERROR and ILLEGITIMACY of the third-month "count 50" Pentecost.
A situation similar to that found in the fourth chapter of John existed at the time of the Exodus -- which supports a realistic time-frame for the wheat harvest AT THE END OF THE FOURTH MONTH. Notice, now, Exodus 9 --
"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be HAIL in all the land of Egypt -- on man, on beast, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt'" (verse 22).
"And the HAIL struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field" (verse 25).
"Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud. But the WHEAT and the spelt WERE NOT STRUCK, for they are LATE CROPS" (verses 31-32, NKJV).
The Hebrew word for "LATE" in verse 32 is "aphiyl" (Strong's H648), whose verb form means "to be dark, obscure." Whereas the barley was earring, ready for the FIRST month's harvest, the WHEAT was still not sprouted (hidden, obscure) and was therefore NOT DAMAGED by the hail sent on Egypt's crops.
Once again, we can clearly see that a 50-day count only would be FAR TOO SHORT for the wheat to mature and the harvest commence.
What About the "New Wine"?
There is another clear indicator for the fourth month, mid-summer Feast of Shavuot found in the New Testament book of Acts. It concerns the SUMMER GRAPE HARVEST -- which slightly overlaps the wheat harvest. Here are some scriptures that show the OVERLAPPING of the WHEAT and GRAPE harvests -- which ONLY occurs in the SUMMER harvest season:
1) "Woe is me! For I am like those who gather SUMMER FRUITS, like those who glean vintage GRAPES; there is no cluster to eat of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires" (Micah 7:1).
2) "The threshing floors shall be full of WHEAT, and the vats shall overflow with NEW WINE and oil" (Joel 2:24).
3) "In those days I saw in Judah some people treading WINE presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in SHEAVES [of wheat], and loading donkeys with WINE, GRAPES..." (Nehemiah 13:15).
Now let's go to Acts 2 --
"Now 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" (verses 1-2).
"And they were all filled with the holy spirit and began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven" (verses 4-5).
"So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'Whatever could this mean?' Others mocking said, 'They are full of NEW WINE.' But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are NOT DRUNK, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day" (verses 12-15).
The grape/wine harvest could NEVER have occurred early in the THIRD MONTH (Sivan) -- but rather the seasonal timing of this passage places it AGAIN in the late FOURTH MONTH of Tammuz, in the SUMMER harvest. The Bible continually associates the WHEAT harvest with the GRAPE harvest, both taking place in the SUMMER. The "NEW WINE" simply would NOT have been available in the third month (Spring).
Yeshua, the disciples and the early New Testament Church of YEHOVAH God were NOT keeping the modern third-month "count fifty" Pentecost, but rather the COMMANDED Feast of the Wheat Harvest (Shavuot) in the SUMMER!
The Forty Days of Appearances
Many of those refusing to accept this new truth about Pentecost/Shavuot keep bringing up Acts 1 to bolster their arguments:
"...to whom he also presented himself alive after his suffering by many INFALLIBLE PROOFS, being seen by them DURING FORTY DAYS and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which,' he said, 'you have heard from me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the holy spirit NOT MANY DAYS FROM NOW'" (verses 3-5).
The expression "MANY DAYS" can be shown to generally mean FORTY DAYS or so by comparing different biblical accounts of the same events. So "NOT" forty days would again fit PERFECTLY within the 100-plus day timeline from the Wave Sheaf Offering to the actual Feast of Shavuot. It also explains why the Messiah told them that they should NOT "depart from Jerusalem, but...wait" for what would not come immediately, but would coincide with the coming Feast, which they would then understand prophetically.
A review of the dates involved shows that this statement was probably made in the summer, in the month of Tammuz. It was at the end of an extended period of time wherein the Messiah appeared to his disciples on forty different occasions. Whether the risen Messiah was seen on forty different occasions or on forty different days, the Scriptural evidence indicates that they were spread out over an extended time-period rather than on consecutive days. In John, chapter 20, we read:
"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week...Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you'....But Thomas, called Didymus, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came....And after EIGHT DAYS his disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace to you!'" [2nd time] (verses 19, 24 and 26).
Then, in John 21, we find --
"After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way he showed himself....This is now the THIRD TIME Jesus showed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead" (verse 1 and 14).
In the unlikely event that the apostles went fishing at the Sea of Tiberius on the day following when the Messiah appeared to the disciples (including Thomas), that would have been THREE appearances over the first TEN days -- or once every THREE-plus days! This would average out to 40 visits in around 130 days.
It now becomes obvious that when computing these first TEN-plus days, plus the "NOT MANY DAYS" waiting time after the Messiah's ascension to heaven, a "count only fifty" Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 becomes quite untenable -- if not IMPOSSIBLE! If we assume that the Messiah would have naturally increased this frequency toward the end of his allotted time on earth, 100 days or slightly less could easily be accommodated in the scriptural Wave Sheaf to Feast of Shavuot schedule.
Regarding the expression "infallible proofs" found in Acts 1:3, we find explained in Strong's Greek Dictionary the following:
"G5039. tekmerion tek-may'-ree-on neuter of a presumed derivative of tekmar (a goal or fixed limit); a token (as defining a fact), i.e. criterion [or/decisive factor/reason/standard] of certainty:- infallible proof. The TOKEN or defining a fact was Him [the Messiah] being seen a NUMBER of [yamim] or TIMES by the apostles whom He had chosen, NOT A SPACE OF TIME. Infallible proofs must meet certain criteria i.e. a criterion i.e. case of certainty which equals a decisive factor of him [the Messiah] being seen ALIVE after the crucifixion/passion 40 [yamim] or TIMES by the apostles."
Why "Count" Pentecost?
Why does YEHOVAH God command that we "count fifty days" each year from Passover till Pentecost? Some have assumed that this was because the date had to be reckoned from the weekly Sabbath that fell on different days during the Passover week. This assumption, however, is simply not true since we have seen that the first day of Unleavened Bread always falls on a weekly Sabbath. In YEHOVAH's lunisolar calendar, however, Shavuot or Pentecost could fall on one of two days (including the Sabbath) depending on the length of the months (29 or 30 days).
Also, the day of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was also the day YEHOVAH God "married" Israel, and the nation became His "BRIDE." Thus the counting of the days till Pentecost assumes a very sacred, vitally important significance! It is as if we are literally "COUNTING THE DAYS" till the coming of Yeshua the Messiah, and the marriage of the Church to him! (Revelation 19:6-10). Are you, personally, "counting the days"?
Pentecost, the reaping of the first SUMMER wheat harvest, pictures the entire CHURCH OF YEHOVAH GOD, MADE WHITE [John 4:35], AND GLORIOUS, BECOMING THE LITERAL "FIRST FRUITS" OF YEHOVAH'S KINGDOM, AND BECOMING THE BRIDE OF THE LAMB OF YEHOVAH GOD FOR ALL ETERNITY!
Think about that! Let its awesome splendor sink into your mind. What a GLORIOUS FESTIVAL! The Christian's journey out of sin, pictured by Egypt, and out of bondage to Satan, pictured by Pharaoh, requires a "journey through the wilderness," and continual intervention and miracles by YEHOVAH God Almighty, to get us to our destination where the Laws of YEHOVAH God become written upon our hearts and minds, at the resurrection, and at the coming of YEHOVAH God and our Lord to RESCUE his bride from the wrath of Satan and the destruction and devastation of the world!
What a JOYOUS FESTIVAL this ought to be to those of us who truly seek to obey YEHOVAH God, and keep His commandments! How wonderfully vital and deeply significant it is for us to observe this holy festival of YEHOVAH God Almighty UPON THE RIGHT DAY!!!
State M'Clintoch and Strong:
"...So intimately connected are the beginning of the harvest at Passover with the termination of it at this festival (Pentecost), that Pentecost was actually denominated, during the time of the second temple, and is called in the Jewish literature to the present day, 'THE CONCLUSION,' or, 'THE TERMINATION OF PASSOVER.'...It was, as we have seen, ESSENTIALLY LINKED TO THE PASSOVER -- that festival which, above all others, expressed the fact of a race chosen and separated from other nations. It was not an insulated day. It stood as the CULMINATING POINT of the Pentecostal season" (p. 928-929).
The apostles of Yeshua the Messiah knew which day Pentecost fell upon. They observed it along with all the Judahites in Judea. The overwhelming majority all observed Pentecost at the same time since the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread always fell on the weekly Sabbath.
Says M'Clintoch and Strong:
"Those early fathers who were best acquainted with the Jewish tradition testify to the same thing, that the law was given on Pentecost, and that the Jews commemorate the event on this festival. It was therefore on this day, when the APOSTLES, IN COMMON WITH THEIR JEWISH BRETHREN, WERE ASSEMBLED TO COMMEMORATE THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE GIVING OF THE LAW FROM SINAI, and were engaged in the study of Holy Writ, in accordance with the CUSTOM OF THE DAY, that the HOLY SPIRIT DESCENDED UPON THEM..." (ibid., p. 929).
Notice! The apostles observed Pentecost on the same day as their Judahite brethren. "In common with their Jewish brethren," who were also assembled in Jerusalem at that very same time to observe Pentecost, from regions throughout the Middle East, the apostles "were assembled to commemorate the anniversary of the giving of the law from Sinai," and were studying the Scriptures, as was "THE CUSTOM OF THE DAY."
Luke tells us, "When the day of Pentecost CAME, they were all together in one place" (Acts 2:1). At this very same time, devout Judahites from around the world were assembled in Jerusalem.
"Now there were STAYING IN JERUSALEM GOD-FEARING JEWS from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5, NIV).
What were all these Judahites doing staying at Jerusalem? Why were they there?
The answer is obvious: They were there, like the apostles, to CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF PENTECOST! These were "God-fearing Jews [Judahites]" -- not ungodly Jews, who had the wrong day! They were keeping Pentecost, just like the apostles were, ON THE VERY SAME DAY!
Let's face it. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming that Pentecost should be observed in the SUMMER, seven Sabbaths PLUS 50 days after the Wave Sheaf Offering! There is absolutely no evidence otherwise. It is amazing how people can remain mired in ignorance, steeped in error, when the TRUTH is so plain, so self-evident, so palpably strong and obvious!
What Will You Do About It?
What about it? This question deserves your careful consideration and serious investigation. This is no trifling matter of Biblical "trivia" It is a matter which concerns the very COMMANDMENTS OF YEHOVAH GOD! Yeshua said that if we desire to enter into life, we must "KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS" (Matthew 19:17). He said explicitly to the young rich man who asked him what good thing he must do to get eternal life,
"If you want to enter life, OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS" (Matthew 19:17, NIV).
On another occasion, Yeshua said to his disciples, his true followers:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the LAW or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, NOT THE SMALLEST LETTER, NOT THE LEAST STROKE OF A PEN, WILL BY ANY MEANS DISAPPEAR FROM THE LAW until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18, NIV).
YEHOVAH's commandments were ordained for our eternal good and welfare. They are the commandments of LIFE. They are the way of LIFE. It is very important, then, that we observe them correctly, and keep YEHOVAH's holy days as He originally intended and commanded -- on the precise day He set aside for worship! If the apostles had not been gathered together on the right day to observe Pentecost, they would not have received the outpouring of YEHOVAH's spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
If YOU do not observe Pentecost on the correct day which YEHOVAH God commanded, YOU will not receive the outpouring of YEHOVAH's spirit to see you through these tumultuous, traumatic "last days"! Those who stubbornly refuse to obey YEHOVAH God, even when the truth has come to them, will be cut off from YEHOVAH, and have their names blotted out of the book of life. They will have no part in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Indeed, this is very serious business!
Remember the words of the apostle Jude, who wrote so vividly:
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and EXHORT YOU that ye should EARNESTLY CONTEND for the faith WHICH WAS ONCE DELIVERED unto the saints" (Jude 3).
And remember YEHOVAH's words to the Philadelphia era of His true Church:
"I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
"Behold, I come quickly: HOLD THAT FAST WHICH THOU HAST, THAT NO MAN TAKE THY CROWN.
"Him that OVERCOMETH will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches" (Revelation 3:8-13, KJV).
Are YOU "contending earnestly" for the faith and truth ONCE DELIVERED?
Are YOU holding fast to that original truth, so that NO MAN can steal your crown, laid up in heaven for you?
Consider well what you have read here. Consider well the importance of observing Pentecost on the right, God-revealed day. Consider well the proofs set forth in this treatise. Your salvation, and eternal life in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, could very well be at stake for you . It could mean suffering the wrath of YEHOVAH God, as "correction" from the Almighty, if you refuse to check into these things, and choose to put these things out of your mind, procrastinating, and "waiting for a more convenient season," to investigate these matters. Is your salvation worth checking up, going to a local library, and reading the available literature yourself? Is your salvation worth searching the Scriptures, and "proving all things" (II Thessalonians 5:21), as Paul said?
Do you "love" the truth of YEHOVAH God?
It is your own decision to make. May YEHOVAH God help you, and inspire you, to pray to Him for guidance, and to make the right decision!
If we are diligent to respond to YEHOVAH God's commandments, we can claim the promise found in Psalm 111:10 --
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!" (RSV)
With YEHOVAH God's help we can grow in our understanding of His wisdom and of the significance of His commandments for all of us. Our observance of Pentecost after counting seven Sabbaths (weeks) PLUS 50 days from the Wave Sheaf Offering on Nisan 16, is based upon the firm foundation of Scripture.
|Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!|
Hope of Israel Ministries
|Scan with your