What do You Mean, “You”?                                      Study No. 208



ne day, the Lone Ranger and his Indian sidekick, Tonto, were ambushed by wild Indians.  This bushwhacking went sore against them.  In desperation during the heat of battle, the Lone Ranger exclaim­ed, “Tonto, we are goners!”  Tonto replied, “What do you mean, ‘we’, white man?


And so it is, that Church of God ministers often play games with simple words; a notorious example is usage of the words, “ye,” “you,” or “your,” in Leviticus 23.

The entire chapter of Leviticus 23 was spoken by the Eternal to Moses, verse 1.  It is the only place in the Bible that, in one chapter, gives the Sabbath and all the Holy Days together, and when and how to keep these important sacred appointments.


Ye Shall Do No Servile Work


The seventh day is the Sabbath, “ye shall do no work therein; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings,” verse 3.  In this verse, who is the “ye” and “your”?  Is it only Moses and the leadership of Israel?  No, it is everyone, all the children of Israel.  All followers of the Eternal are to keep the Sabbath holy.

Referring to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, verse 6 says, “seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”  And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, “ye shall do no servile work therein,” verse 7.  Are Moses and the elders the only ones that must eat unleavened bread and rest on the Holy Day?  No!  All Israel must do so.

Likewise, on Trumpets “Ye shall do no servile work,” verse 25; on Atonement, “ye shall afflict your souls,” verse 27; on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great day, “ye shall do no servile work therein,” verse 35, and “ye shall do no servile work therein,” verse 36.  So far, so good.  Nobody has a problem understanding these verses.  “Ye,” “you,” and “your,” refer to all of us.


Understanding “Thee’s” and “Thou’s”


In King James English, “Ye” is the sub­ject of a verb, “you” is the object of a verb.

Modern English replaces all the “thee’s” and “thou’s” with “you’s,” not distinguishing between singular and plural, or nominative or objective.  The chart at the end of this article shows that the English spoken at the time of the King James translation was more precise, and helps us understand the Bible better.

But, like Tonto, certain Bible expositors switch sides when it comes to other uses of these pronouns in Leviticus 23.


Ye Shall Proclaim


Verse 4 says, “These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.”  Now, surely, here is a difference, some maintain.  Only the ministry, it is claimed, can proclaim when the Holy Days and Feasts are to be kept.  However, even if their argument is correct, the ministry cannot proclaim days to be holy that the Almighty has not already proclaimed to be holy (cf. Matthew 16:19).  Minister “X” may proclaim one day holy, and Minister “Y” may proclaim another day holy.  Others, of the independent variety, claim that “ye shall proclaim in their seasons” means that the brethren are to observe the New Moons for themselves, and determine the Sacred Calen­dar for themselves when the Holy Days occur.  Both extremes are wrong.  If the brethren can decide for themselves when to observe the Holy Days, then you would likewise have chaos and lack of uniformity.

What exactly does “ye shall proclaim in their seasons” mean?  Verse 2 helps, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.”  Since verse 3 refers to the weekly Sabbath, and verses 4-43 refer to the annual Holy Days, we see that the Sabbath is also a feast of the Lord.  Now certainly, neither the ministry nor the laity can deter­mine when to observe the Sabbath, can they?  It is the seventh day of the week, period.

The Hebrew word for “proclaim” is Strong’s #7121, qara, which means call upon, (Psalm 99:6), preach (Nehemiah 6:7), read (Joshua 8:34-35; Nehemiah 8:3, 8, 18), pub­lish (Deuteronomy 32:3), proclaim (Jer­e­­mi­ah 36:6, 9), cry out (Joel 1:19, Zechariah 7:13).  The word, “Karaite,” comes from the Hebrew word qara.  We see that to proclaim the feasts in their seasons has to do with preaching, proclaiming, reading, publish­ing, and crying out to God on the feasts.  By doing this, we “proclaim” the feasts of the Eternal.  In the New Testament, we are told that when we observe the Christian Passover Memorial, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come,” I Corinthians 11:26.  The NKJV renders it, “you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”  By putting them to practice, by teaching others about them, we proclaim the Eternal’s Feasts!  Every one of us has respon­sibility to proclaim as holy convocations the divine appointments of the Almighty.


Ye Shall Count, Ye Shall Number


Next, in relation to the Feast of Weeks, called Pentecost, “And ye shall count unto you . . .  shall ye number fifty days,” Leviti­cus 23:15-16.  Here again, some inebriated with their own supposed authority, say that the “ye’s” and “you’s” here refer to the authority of the Church hierarchical ministry to count the days toward Pentecost.  Not so!  Even as the individual Israelite brought his or her wave sheaf offering, “from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering,” verse 15, so the individual Israelite was to count the days, fifty of them, towards Pentecost.  There is great meaning in counting the days toward Pentecost.

The Karaite Samuel Al-Magribi said, “The counting should be done aloud by each member of the community, since it is written, And ye shall count (Leviticus 23:15), and again in the next verse: shall ye number, both in the plural.  Possibly this was intended by God to serve as an emphasis of the great importance of this ordinance, and also as an assurance of general knowledge of the correct count” (Karaite Anthology, p. 219).


Ye Shall Bring a Wave Sheaf from Your Harvest


Verses 10-11, deal a deathblow to a com­mon­ly held, false theory in the Church of God today.  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:  and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”  Isn’t this perfectly plain?  The individual children of Israel were to bring a sheaf of their (not someone else’s) harvest to be waved by the priest, and be accepted for them by the Lord.  Then, why is it that all the major Church of God organizations descended from the Worldwide Church of God, believe that Josh­ua 5:10-12 authorizes moving wave sheaf day (and hence, Pentecost) a whole week too early on those years that Passover (Abib 14) falls on a weekly Sabbath?  There is no mention of a wave sheaf day in Joshua 5.  There could not have been a wave sheaf at that time, because the Israelites had not planted and harvested any crops, having just crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  Remember the “you” and “your” in Leviticus 23:10-11.  In every case in Leviticus 23, “you” refers to the individual Israelites, not someone else.  Bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest, they were told.  Do you think the Almighty would accept a sheaf of someone else’s harvest?  We are to observe “the feast of harvest [Pentecost], the first fruits of thy labours, which thou has sown in the field . . .” Exodus 23:16.

When Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave them land for which they did not labor, Joshua 24:13.  It was years after the conquest of Canaan, before the Israelites were able to offer a wave sheaf.


Ye Shall Offer


Finally, some object to our understanding of Leviticus 23 because there is constant reference to sacrificial offerings that “ye” shall offer, verses 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 25, 27, 36, and 37.  Surely, some argue, the individual Israelite family could not afford to offer all these animal sacrifices out of their own flocks and herds.  However, what is good for the Lone Ranger is good for Tonto.  Referring to the Day of Atonement fast, verse 27 says, “ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.”  If there only needs to be one representative offering for all Israel, then only one individual, perhaps the High Priest, needs to afflict his soul by fasting.  Can you see the perverseness of the commonly used arguments against the Truth of God?


Wave Sheaf to Be Accepted for You;Ye Shall Eat


The Jews, both Pharisees and Sadducees, did not properly read, qara, the Scriptures.  They took it upon themselves to offer one representative wave sheaf offer­ing for all Israel.  Not only that, they gathered up harvesting instruments and marched out to the selected field on the Sabbath, so that they would cut the wave sheaf at sundown at the beginning of the morrow after the Sabbath.  How could they dare gather sickles for harvesting on the Sabbath, and proceed to a field to work?

According to Alfred Edersheim (The Temple, pp. 258-259), as the sun was going down, three selected men, each with a sickle and basket, formally went to work.  First, they were asked by bystanders three times each of these questions, “Has the sun gone down?”  “With this sickle?”  “Into this basket?”  “On this Sabbath?” “Shall I reap?”  Having each time answered in the affirmative, they cut down barley to the amount of one ephah (ten omers) which Edersheim says is twenty-four quarts and a pint.  The barley was taken to the Court of the Temple, where it was parched and offered with oil on the morning of the next day as the wave sheaf offering.  This unauthorized ceremony does not resemble the Word of God.

The Bible says nothing about when the wave sheaf was to be cut.  It does say when the wave sheaf is to be offered: the morrow after the Sabbath.  The wave sheaf could have been cut before Passover at the individual Israelite’s home farm, so he could bring it to the priest in Jerusalem at the Festival.  The Bible does say that “you,” each individual Israelite, was to reap and bring a sheaf from his own harvest.  Any farmer knows that you do not begin a harvest at sundown.

After the wave sheaf offering, Israelites could eat of the new barley harvest, “And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings,” verse 14.  What do you mean, “you”?  Certainly, “you” means every Israelite!

Will we read the Bible correctly, or devise our own ideas, as the Jews did?


Worldwide Church of God Borrows Karaite Teaching


The Karaites, a group of renegade Jews who disagreed with the majority of Jews during the Middle Ages, take their name from the Hebrew word qara, “to read, proclaim, preach, publish, call upon, cry out.”  Karaites claimed to be better scholars than the Rabbinates (descendants of the Pharisees).  However, they agreed in many respects with the Rabbinates.  Karaites claimed to reject the Jewish Talmud, yet nevertheless established traditions of their own.  Like the Pharisees or Sadducees, Karaites count seven weeks, not fifty days, to Pentecost, observe Passover on the beginning of the fifteenth day of the first month, Pentecost always on Sunday, believe there are eighteen (rather than nineteen) holidays of Scripture, and have many similarities to commonly accepted, false, Jew­ish beliefs.  Although their name means, “to read,” Karaites don’t read Scripture very well.  The Bible says to count fifty days toward Pentecost; Passover is on the beginning of the fourteenth; there are nineteen annual Biblical holi­days (Passover + seven Days of Unleavened Bread + Pentecost + Trumpets + Atonement + seven days of Tabernacles + Last Great Day = nineteen days).

The sun and moon move in a nineteen-year cycle; every nineteen years, they come back in the same alignment.  Contrary to Karaites and other rejecters of the calculated Hebrew Calendar, the Greek Meton did not “invent” the nineteen-year time cycle.  A recent article by Carl Franklin and Dwight Blevins, “Historical Evidence of a 19-Year Intercalation Cycle,” proves that the nineteen-year time cycle was understood, and incorpor­at­ed, in calendars thousands of years B.C.

Bullinger, in his book, Number in Scripture, says that nineteen “is a combina­tion of ten and nine, and would denote the perfection of Divine order connected with judgment . . .” p. 262.

In 1974, the Worldwide Church of God borrowed a major teaching from the Karaites.  Samuel ben Moses al-Magribi, a Karaite physician of Cairo, Egypt, in 1434 completed his code of Karaite law, which he wrote in Arabic and entitled al-Mursid (The Guide).  His and other Karaite writings are included in the book, Karaite Anthology, translated and edited by Leon Nemoy, Yale Judaica Series, 1952, 1980, New Haven, Connecticut.  In his section on Pentecost, al-Magribi claims, without proof, that the morrow after the Sabbath, wave sheaf day, must be part of the seven days of unleavened bread.  To “prove” his point, al-Magribi uses Joshua 5:11, “And they ate of the produce of the land, on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the selfsame day.”  Al-Magribi says, “it follows that in that year the Feast of Passover [sic, fifteenth] fell on a Sunday and that on that day they also made the offering of the sheaf and ate the unleav­ened bread and the parched grain” (Karaite Anthology, p. 217).  In 1974, the Worldwide Church of God used the Karaite argument to move Pentecost a week too soon in those years when Nisan 15 falls on a Sunday.

Although claiming to believe in the literal interpretation of Scripture, Karaite teaching belies their claim to a literal reading of Scripture.  One of the first famous Karaites, eighth century Anan Ben David (said to be the founder of the Karaites), found that the only birds used for burnt offerings were turtledoves and pigeons.  Therefore, Ben David claims, this “proves that the only clean birds are turtle­doves and pigeons,” (Karaite Anthology, p. 17).  While Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 do not list any clean birds, they list twenty or more unclean birds, and say, “of all clean fowls ye may eat.”  If the Eternal had intended us to eat only two birds, turtledoves and pigeons, He could have avoided wasting His time listing unclean birds, by just listing the two clean birds.


Karaites Have an Attitude Problem


When one reads Karaite literature, it is easy to detect an attitude problem.  Karaites claim to be “holier than thou,” more scriptural than the Rabbinates.  Twisted Karaite logic seemed to justify their departure from the majority camp of Jewish thought, but general­ly it does not hold water.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the dispute between Karaites and Rabbinates over the Sacred Calendar.  Karaites generally argued against the Hebrew calculated calendar, and were easily refuted by the Rabbinates.

The attitude problem shows up in the writings of the Karaite Jacob al-Kirkisani, who, referring to the involved problem of the calendar and the calculation and determina­tion of the dates of festivals, is said to have advised his followers to follow the Rabbin­ates, because, as he cynically phrased it, “all coins are clipped anyway, so you might as well use the counter­feit that is at hand,” (Karaite Anthology, p. 335).

Jacob taught that the Day of Atonement always had to be on a weekly Sabbath.  Some Karaites ob­served both Saturday and Sunday as days of rest, p. 335.  Karaite emphasis on observing the New Moon for themselves regardless of calcula­tion, appears to follow their friends and allies, the Muslims, whose calendar is strictly lunar.

The calendric controversy between Rab­binates and Karaites came to a head in the last part of the eighth century A.D. The Karaites asserted that the appearance of the new crescent alone determined the beginning of the months, and that this had been Israel’s practice at all times.

The famous Jewish scholar, Saadia Gaon, refuted this, saying that the fixed calendar, computation of molad and tekufah is a Mosaic-Sinaitic law that had been followed at all ages of the past, while observation of the new crescent was merely a passing episode introduced by the Sadducees to show the correctness of calendric calculation.

Mai­moni­­des shows that in the Mishnah, or Oral Law, visual observation of the new crescent and its computation by true astronomical values were prescribed to supplement each other in the regulation of the calendar during the period of the Sanhedrin. Moses and Aaron were shown by God at Sinai the crescent of Nisan, Exodus 12:1-2, and the rules of calculation. Thus, the calculation rules were based upon what would be visible.


Karaite Objections to Calculation


An excellent book which thoroughly covers the calendar controversy is Karaites in Byzant­ium, The Formative Years, 970-1100, by Zvi Ankori. AMS Press: New York, 1968.

Karaites are a tiny Jewish sect; some 30,000 exist in Israel today.  Webster’s Una­bridged Dictionary defines them as a sect originating in Baghdad in the eighth century, that rejects rabbinism and talmudism and bases its tenets on interpretations of the Scriptures.

Karaites flourished during the Byzantine Empire, 970-1100 A.D. Anan ben David led the Karaite anti-Rabbinate rebellion. His “Book of Precepts” is a “Talmud of his own.” His widely heralded fundamentalism and exclusive reliance on the written letter of the Law is largely a misnomer. He read into the Bible the customs and practices he already observed. The Dead Sea Scrolls people, the Essenes, seem to have a close affinity with later Karaites.

Karaites refused to light Sabbath candles Friday night, saying it was a violation of Exodus 20:10. Contrast the cheerful illumina­tion in Rabbinate Jewish homes with the gloomy darkness in Karaite houses. Because the Jews had been exiled from Palestine, Karaites rejected the Jewish (and Biblical) concept of oneg shabbat (Sabbath delight).

Karaites consistently pressed for the actual observation of the New Moon and for up-to-date reports of the state of new crops (abib) in Palestine as the only admissible evidence for determining Rosh-Hodesh (New Moon) and the leap year, respectively. Accordingly, they often celebrated the festivals on dates other than their Rabbinate neighbors, who had a pre-calculated calendar.

Late eleventh entury Rabbinate leader Tobias ben Eliezer refuted the Karaites’ demand for lunar observation by stating that because the Jews were scattered, they based themselves on the rules of the intercalation formula the way it was calculated from Adam to Noah, Noah to Shem, and Shem to Jacob, Jacob to Kehath, and Kehath to Amram the father of Moses. Ben Eliezer said that this method of calculation had been transmitted to the Sages of Israel of his day so that they may sanctify the month accordingly. Even though “Jewry is scattered in lands where the moon is not seen in the way it was seen in the Land of Israel, yet the Torah had stated, ‘Ye shall have one law’ (Numbers 15:29), and not a variety of observances.”

A third point of contention between Kara­ite and Rabbinate Jews was the interpretation of Leviticus 23:15, “the morrow after the Sabbath.” Karaites said that seven weeks had to be counted for Pentecost, and they kept the Festival of Weeks on a Sunday. On the other hand, the Rabbinates held to a fixed date, Sivan 6, for Pentecost (Feast of Weeks). The Karaites’ reasoning was similar to the old Sadducees, and also that of Byzantine Greek Orthodox Catholics.  Karaites differed from Sadducees in that the latter did not consider Nisan 15 to be Wave Sheaf Sunday when Passover falls on the weekly Sabbath.

Other unique beliefs of the Karaites were: (1) they demanded even their children fast on the Day of Atonement, (2) ordered their months from Nisan rather than Tishri, (3) distinguished between Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (4) called Tishri 1 the “Feast of Trumpets” rather than Rosh Ha-Shanah, (5) did not observe Hanukkah since it was post-Biblical, (6) observed the Jubilee Year, (7) called calendar calculations the same as witchcraft, (8) thought the lulab and ethrog materials were to build the sukkah rather than to wave, (9) allowed the eating of fowl meat with milk.


Calendar Conflict Result of Division


In spite of other differences, the main point of contention between the Karaites and Rabbinates was conflict over the calendar.

“The history of any [Jewish] religious sect . . . is to a great extent a history of its calendar deviations. For such deviations have always been the most outstanding symptoms of the sect’s break with its normative environment or with the general body to which its mem­bers adhered originally. Of course, differences of calendar are hardly the reason for seces­sion; rather they seal the separatist trend and constitute the group’s final declara­tion of self-determination and indepen­dence . . . . [calen­dar controversies] became active in­gred­ients in the evermore pro­nounced process of estrangement of the two factions, and widen almost irreparably the social rift be­tween the opposing camps (page 293).”  In other words, the real reason for the Karaites splitting with the Rabbinates, and for the many splits in the Churches of God today, is not the calendar, but a desire for indepen­dence.

Karaites so avidly favored an observable calendar that they would not marry another Jew without having in the marriage contract the freedom to observe their Holy Days.

Although few today have heard of Karaites, their position has a following by some Messianic believing Holy Day keepers. Relating the arguments from 1000 A.D. sounds much like the calendar arguments we are hearing in our day.

Rabbinates followed the molad (the pre-calculated birth of the New Moon) and they did not search for the abib (ripened barley) near the vernal (spring) equinox. Babylonian Karaites did not search for the abib, but followed computation of the vernal equinox alone, stipulating conditions different than the Rabbinates. The Palestinian-oriented Karaites observed the abib alone, and did not investi­gate the position of the sun (equinox). Karaites in the Byzantine Empire followed the Palestinian reckoning for several hundred years (pages 303-304).

Byzantine Karaites felt they needed written confirmation from Jerusalem as to the status of the barley each spring. They had misgivings as to the correctness of their calendar ideas and thus the Rabbinates would taunt the Karaites for their confusion. Karaites would follow the Rabbinate way of calculation, unless changed by a report from Jerusalem. Sometimes the barley ripened early and the Karaites’ Nisan would equal the Rabbinates’ Adar (12th month). More fre­quently, the barley ripened later, so the Karaite’s Nisan was equal to the Rabbinates’ Iyar (2nd month), resulting in Karaite Holy Days being a month later.

Karaites and Rabbinates lived in close proximity. Because their Holy Days often differed, feuds developed. At one time, Kara­ites filed government charges against the Rabbinate factions, resulting in a heavy tax on the Rabbinates. Tensions became so bad that a wall may have been constructed in Constan­tin­ople between the Karaite and Rabbinate communities.

In 1099, the Crusaders destroyed the Karaite center in Jerusalem. It became more difficult to obtain information on the state of the crops there. Eventually in the thirteenth century, the Karaites in Byzantium aban­doned the attempt to observe the abib and gave in to the Rabbinate pre-calculated nineteen-year cycle of intercalation. Those around Palestine contin­ued to observe the barley.

Another major issue was lunar observa­tion to determine the first day of each month. As the Byzantine Karaites gave in to the Rabbinate method of intercalation, lunar observation became the leading factor for continuing divisiveness between the two groups. Passover and Trumpets were often observed one day differently.

Rabbinates argued that the pre-calculated postponement rules have always been binding since the time of Adam. Leviticus 23:2 does not say we are to individually observe the seasons, but they are proclaimed, sanctified by court decision (kiddush beth din).

The second reason given by the Rabbinates was the issue of unity. Without an official standard, confusing factions would divide God’s people.  Rabbinates teased the Karaites: “What about observing the moon when the sky is cloudy?” There was confu­sion in the Karaite community because equally “pious” and “re­lia­ble” observers in different localities saw the new moon on different days, making them “the laughing­stock of the whole Jewish com­mun­ity.” This confusion “was helplessly admitted by the Karaite scholars themselves,” (page 352).

Besides division among themselves, Karaites fought against two other Jewish minority sects: the Tiflisites of Armenia and the Mishaivites. Tiflisites kept Pentecost on a Sunday, but used a different calendar than the Karaites. The Mishaivites also differed with the Karaites and Rabbinates over the calendar. Their calendar was strictly a solar one of 364 days. It ensured that yearly fasts and feasts fell on fixed days in the week, rather than on fixed days of the month, the way a lunar calendar would have it. Their Day of Atonement always fell on a Sabbath, Passover on a Thursday, Pentecost on a Sunday seven weeks after the first Sunday after Passover. Mishaivites rejected the Karaite and Samari­tan custom of beginning the Pentecost count on the Sunday within Passover week, and insisted it must start on the Sunday after Passover week, the position advocated by the apocryphal Book of Jubilees and the Qumran sect. Mishaivites also began their days in the morning rather than in the evening.

The purpose of giving the above historical tidbits is to show that calendar controversy has long been an issue among those striving to observe the Holy Days and New Moons of the Bible. True to human nature, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Arguments by modern day “Karaites” and other sects closely parallel their historical counterparts whether they are aware of their predecessors or not. As Zvi Ankori states, calendar differences were: “crucial in the sect-forming process of all times: calendar independence heralded a sect’s self-determination and final separation from the Mother Institution,” (page 377).  This is as true today as it was in A.D. 1000.


Danger of Karaite Belief


Any group which espouses belief in the Bible has some things right.  Karaites rejected  much of the Talmud and Jewish tradition, which often contradicts the Bible.  It is good to try to let the Bible interpret itself and not follow man-made customs.

Karaite belief is synonymous with an­archy.  They are disinclined to recog­nize the permanent authority of any religious leader, insisting on the freedom of each individual to interpret the Bible in the light of his own understanding and judgment.  This results in the anarchy of individual interpretation of the Bible (Nemoy, p. xvi).  “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” Judges 21:25.  This is not a good thing.


What Do You Mean “You”?


We have defined “What do you mean, ‘you’?” in Leviticus 23.  “You” is all of us —not any single one of us.  You do not have the authority to individually determine when the Sabbaths and Holy Days occur.  You do have the obligation to keep them, to proclaim them, in their seasons, along with every one of the congregation of the Almighty.

As on the Day of Pentecost, “And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convoca­tion unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings [plural] throughout your genera­tions [plural],” verse 21.  As on the Day of Pentecost in A.D. 31, “they were all with one accord in one place,” Acts 2:1.

— written by Richard C. Nickels W


Don’t be a modern Karaite!  See the series of Sacred Calendar articles in our book, Biblical Holy Days, online at www.giveshare.org/HolyDay, or in printed form for $20 plus $2 postage, from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.


Explanation of King James English “Thee’s” and “Thou’s”





Nominative (subject of verb)


Thou shalt not commit adul­tery,” Exodus 20:14.


“Praise ye the Lord,” Psalm 150:1.

Objective (object of verb)


“And I will give unto thee [Peter] the keys of the king­dom of Heaven,” Mat­thew 16:19.


“. . . an holy convocation unto you . . .” Leviticus 23:27.

Possessive Adjective


Thy word is Truth,” John 17:17.


“. . . from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sab­bath” Leviticus 23:32.

Possessive Pronoun


“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen,” Matthew 6:13.


“. . . for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” II Chron­icles 20:15.

Note:  The singular words above begin with a “T”; those beginning with a “Y” are plural.

Modern English uses “you,” “your,” and “yours” exclusively, thus making it impossible to distinguish about what you are talking.


Using the Knowledge of “Thee”


Knowing the difference between “thou” and “ye,” etc., may help open up many new avenues of Bible study.  Notice, that when God gave the Ten Commandments, He spoke them face to face to each Israelite, using the singular form, Deuteronomy 5:4, 6-22.  So, the Eternal used “thou” and not “ye,” Exodus 20:1-18.  This is highly significant.  Whereas the Sabbath and Holy Days of Leviticus 23 are addressed to “ye,” plural, the entire congregation of Israel as a group, the Ten Commandments are addressed to “thou,” singular, each individual Israelite.

Leviticus 23:22 reverts to the singular, making that verse especially incumbent on the individual.  We need to be personally involved in helping the poor and the stranger.  The system that the Worldwide Church of God established had members sending their third tithe to headquarters, making headquarters the benefactors to the widow, fatherless, and poor.  It separated us from the persons for whom we should have been individually caring.  But God’s intent was that care of the poor began close to home, in our fields and back yards.  Deuteronomy 16 is addressed almost completely in the singular, using the plural only once in verse 11, which deals with our obligation to care for the needs of others less fortunate. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 also uses singular pronouns.  We can’t pass the buck to the leadership, as we were taught to do so many years in the Church.  Individually, we have an obligation to help the poor.                                                                    — contributed by Kathy Puliafico W