Lessons For Pentecost                                       Study No. 220



od’s Word is pure and refined seven times, Psalm 12:6.  On rare occasions, it is very helpful for me to hear a sermon that misses the mark, and deceptively twists the word of God.  If one is awake, it is amazing what one can learn.  No way would I recommend a regular diet of rubbish.  However, the Eternal shows in Daniel 11:35 that some of understanding shall fall, to try and test us, to see if we are purged of sin and made white.  Most of God’s people seem to fail the test.  I recently listened to a taped sermon from a minister I respect.  It is entitled, “Lessons for Pentecost.”  Not only did he miss the mark, he didn’t even hit the wall.  He demonstrated a lack of precision in handling the precious, pure, Word of God.


Say What You Mean


In counting Pentecost, he quotes Leviticus 23:15, “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath.”  Then, he comments: “This Hebrew word here is referring to the weekly Sabbath [the day of rest] that occurs during the Days of Unleavened Bread.”  Apparently neither this minister, nor his audience, realized that neither he nor most of his audience agree with what he said here.  He actually believes that Wavesheaf Sunday must always occur during the Days of Unleavened Bread.  On those rare (10% of the time) years when Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath, this minister does not believe Wavesheaf Sunday is the morrow after the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread.  What he said does not equal what he believes.  This is one of many examples of lack of precision.

Another example is that he quotes Leviticus 23:16, “number fifty days,” and then turns around and counts only seven weeks.

Wouldn’t it be more honest to say what you mean, and mean what you say?


A Matter of Semantics?


Words have meaning. Yet, in the Church of God today, ministers, and official Church study papers, can present blatant untruths, yet defend them as accurate statements. 

Here we give another sad example in this minister’s sermon tape.  He says, “Sivan 6 . . . can fall anywhere during the week.”   Anybody familiar with the Hebrew Calendar would never make such a ludicrous statement.  Passover, as we know, can fall only on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and (rarely) Sabbath.  The first month, Abib (Nisan) always has 30 days.  The second month, Iyar, always has 29 days.  Therefore, Sivan 6 (sixth day of the third month) can only fall on four days of the week, not anywhere during the week.

This minister agrees with the United Church of God Doctrinal Study Paper on Pentecost, which states, “The actual day of [Sivan 6] Pentecost can fall on virtually any day of the week . . . .”  When I wrote UCG headquarters asking them why they made this inaccurate statement, when, according to the calculated Hebrew calendar, which they follow, Sivan 6 can fall on only a Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.  The chairman of the team which produced the UCG study paper replied, “it’s a matter of semantics.”

Now, semantics is the study of the meaning of words.  Often, this means a distortion of the meaning of words to suit the individual.  “The paper’s statement is true,” the UCG leader said, “there is no restriction in the Hebrew calendar that limits the days of the week on which Sivan 6 could fall.  However, it is also true that Sivan 6 would be limited to the days noted in the above book [Spier’s Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar], if it is calculated from Tishri 1.”  The UCG concluded their reply to me by stating, “semantics can often be confusing.”  When Sivan 6 falls during the week is not at all important or necessary to the UCG assertion that Pentecost is on Sunday.  They do not need to make Sivan 6 fall on any day of the week to plead their pro-Sunday Pentecost case.  But, factual truth is not their purpose, only semantics, which can be confusing.  God’s Truth, in contrast to the approach of these men, is the clear, plain truth.


Pentecost:  Fiftieth or Count Fifty?


In “Lessons for Pentecost,” the minister said, “The Greek word, Pentecost, means ‘fiftieth’.  It doesn’t mean ‘count fifty’ like we used to assume, it means ‘fiftieth’.”  However, looking at the “10s” numbers in several languages, we see that Pentecost inherently means “count fifty”:









ten, shortened to “ty” (te)






twenty (two tens)

esriym (2 tens)

eikosi (score)

viginti (2 counts of ten)

veinta (2 counts)


thirty (three tens)

sheloshiym (3 tens)

triakonta (3 counts of ten)

triginta (3 counts of ten)

treinta (3 counts)


forty (four tens)

arbayim (4 tens)

tessarakonta (4 counts of ten

quadraginta (4 counts of ten)

cuarenta (4 counts)


fifty (five tens)

chamishshiym (5 tens)

pentekonta (5 counts of ten)

quinquaginta (5 counts of ten)

cincuenta (5 counts)


sixty (six tens)

shishshiym (6 tens)

hexekonta (6 counts of ten)

sexaginta (6 counts of ten)

sesenta (6 counts)


seventy (seven tens)

shibiym (7 tens)

hebdomekonta (7 counts of ten)

septuaginta (7 counts of ten)

setenta (7 counts)


eighty (eight tens)

shemowniym (8 tens)

oktokonta (8 counts of ten)

octoginta (8 counts of ten)

ochenta (8 counts)


ninety (nine tens)

tishiym (9 tens)

ennenekonta (9 counts of ten)

nonaginta (9 counts of ten)

noventa (9 counts)


one hundred






In English, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, as well as Spanish, the “10s” words beyond ten are combinations of ten, plus how many tens.  When you say, “10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc.,” you are counting by tens.  The Spanish verb, contar, means “to count,” and is very similar to the Greek, konta, which in turn is similar to the Latin ginta.  In Spanish, cuenta is one of the conjugated forms of contar.  The English sentence, “Please count from one to fifty,” is translated into Spanish, Por favor, cuenta a partir de la una a cincuenta.  Spanish, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew have similarities.  Danite Israelites migrated to Greece at the time of the Exodus, and Jews later heavily settled throughout the Mediterranean, including Spain.

In Hebrew, the tenth letter of the alphabet, yohd, is used to add counts of ten to words.  The Hebrew “tens” words end in yohd mem, pronounced yim, and literally means “tens.”  The Greek uses konta, which is a combination of the word for ten, deka, and count.  The word, pentekonta, literally means “five counts of ten,” or, as Herbert W. Armstrong said, “count fifty.”  Sunday Pentecost proponents do not want to count fifty, or they would be forced to observe Pentecost on Monday.  Pentekonta is the Greek cardinal number (how much) for 50; pentekostee is the Greek ordinal number (order or sequence) for 50th.  In Acts 2:1, the Greek word, pentekostee, not only means “fiftieth,” but also “five counts of ten.”

According to R. Govett, in his book, English Derived From Hebrew, page 44, the Greek word pente, which means “five,” is derived from the Hebrew PeTeHH, meaning “the open hand,” with all five fingers displayed, and, the Greek deca, ten, is from the Hebrew TeQ’A, “to strike hands, to proclaim,” since when the two sets of five fingers are brought together with a clap, all ten fingers are shown.  The Greek pente, as in pentekonta, equivalent to the Latin aginta as in quinquaginata, comes from the Hebrew AGeD, meaning “a bundle.”


Produce, Smoduce


Our deceptive speaker quotes Joshua 5:11-12, “and they did eat of the produce of the land  on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened cakes and parched corn in the selfsame day.  And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the produce of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”

The word in the KJV translated “old corn,” and NKJV “produce,” is Strong’s #5669, abuwr.  What kind of produce was this?  Strong’s says it means, “passed, kept over; used only of stored grain.”  It is the same word as #5668, which means, “crossed, transit.”  Both are derived from #5674 abar, which means “passed over, passed by,” as when Absalom passed over the Jordan, II Samuel 17:24.   In other words, this is grain that is kept over from the previous year’s harvest, or passed over, stored.  In Joshua 1:11, we see that the Eternal instructed the Israelites to prepare victuals three days before they crossed over the Jordan.  Rather than properly translate abuwr as “old corn,” as the KJV does, those who want to have a wavesheaf offering in Joshua 5 will stoop to twisting God’s Word to fit their preconceived theories.


Bring Me the Victuals!


“Victuals” (pronounced “vittles”) is not a commonly used word in today’s English.  In the wild west, the impatient husband waiting for his dinner, would exclaim to his wife, “bring me the victuals!”  Someone asked us recently what the word “victuals” in Joshua 1:11 means.  The NKJV, unfortunately, gives an inaccurate impression by rendering it “provisions,” which gives the idea of something other than food.  But, “victuals” means food.

You should have and use the Englishman’s Hebrew, and Englishman’s Greek, Concordances.  If not, you have one hand tied behind your back in Bible study, and need to get them.  Order from our www.giveshare.org/amazon/ website, or, from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.

 What are the “victuals” of Joshua 1:11, and 9:11?  The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance (EHC) tells us, by showing all the places the word, tzedeh, Strong’s #6720, is used.  In Genesis 27:3, it is the “venison” Isaac wanted Esau to get for him.  In Genesis 45:21, 25, “provision” was definitely food for traveling, given by Joseph to his brothers.  In Exodus 12:39, “victual” is unleavened bread, definitely food.  In Judges 7:8, “victuals in their hand” is food, also in Judges 20:10.  In I Samuel 22:10, the priest gave David victuals, since he was hungry, chapter 21Psalm 78:25, “Man did eat angels’ food [manna]: He sent them meat [#6720] to the full.”  Thus we see that tzedeh, #6720, means food in every case, either meat or bread.  Now, letting the Bible interpret the Bible, the “victuals,” tzedeh, of Joshua 1:11 and 9:11, have to be the same thing: food.  Scripture does not make this a possibility, but a definite.  There is nothing else besides food that this word means.  And so it is that Gesenius’ Hebrew Dictionary of the Old Testament says, #6720 means “food, especially provisions for a journey.”

 Even more so, EHC shows that #6720 is related to #6718, tzahyid, which, likewise, means meat from hunting, or bread.  See Joshua 9:5, 14, the “provision” or “victuals” of the Gibeonites was their mouldy bread.  Nehemiah was angered and put a stop to selling “victuals” on the Sabbath, Nehemiah 13:15.

 There is no usage of #6720 or #6718, out of all the 29 or 30 uses in the Hebrew Bible, where these words mean anything but food.  In the mouth of two or three witnesses, everything is established.  Here, we have 29-30 witnesses. “Bring me the vittles!”


Your Harvest, Your Sabbath, Your . . .


He misquotes Leviticus 23:10, saying, “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 the harvest unto the priest.”  The correct translation is “ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest.”

Was this misquote a slip of the tongue, or a deliberate deception?  Only God knows.  Reading from the KJV, the speaker made up his own translation, substituting “the” for “your.”  This changes the entire meaning of the verse.  If the speaker’s version, “the harvest,” is proper, then you could bring a sheaf of someone else’s harvest.  If the KJV, “your harvest,” is correct, then you could only bring a sheaf of your own harvest, which obviously, you had planted yourself.  The NIV, not being a literal translation, but the result of a ideas of a liberal committee, including at least one Lesbian, renders verse 10 as, “When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.”  Again, the NIV message is that it doesn’t matter who planted the grain.  No wonder some refer to the NIV as the “non-inspired version.”

Green’s Interlinear Bible tells which translation is correct.  The Hebrew possessive “your” is not a separate word.  Thus, you will not find the possessive “your” in Strong’s Concordance, because it doesn’t stand alone, but is a suffix attached to the end of a word to indicate the possessive.  The Hebrew possessive “your” is kem, two consonants and a vowel point.  The Hebrew “k” here is khahf, which is a “kh” sound, like when you are clearing your throat.  Kem is attached to the end of several words in Leviti­cus 23: “your Sabbath [Shabbatkem],” verse 32, “your God [elohhakem],” verses 14, 22, 28, 40, 43, “your dwellings [moshabatkem],” verses 3, 14, 17, 21, 31, “your generations [dorotkem],” verses 14, 21, 31, 41, 43, “your souls [nepheshatkim],” verses 27, 32, “your land [eretzkem],” verse 22, “your gifts [presents, mattanahtkem],” “your vows [promises, nederkem],” and “your freewill offerings [nedabahtkem],” verse 38.

The Hebrew word for “the” is ha, and is a prefix attached to the beginning of a word.  The question is, does Leviticus 23:10 have “the harvest,” or “your harvest”?  Green’s Interlinear Bible, and the Masoretic text, has “your harvest [qatsiyrkem].”

So we see in Leviticus 23 several things that the Almighty says are “yours”:  Sabbath, God, dwellings, generations, souls, land, gifts, vows, freewill offerings, and harvest.  It is our time that we dedicate to God when we keep His Sabbath.  Yahweh truly is our God, and not the God of pagans.  Our dwellings (houses, property), are owned by us, and to be dedicated to God’s use.  Our generations are to be taught God’s Law, to continue His way to the future.  Our souls are to be afflicted when we fast.  Nobody can do this for you!  Our land is God’s land.  Our gifts, promises and offerings are out of our own abundance, and dedicated to God.  God wants us to give to Him out of our increase, not someone else’s increase.  Finally, we are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of our own harvest to give to God.  Firstfruits are to come from “the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field,” Exodus 23:16.  You cannot bring your firstfruits from a field which you have not sown and harvested.  You have to do the laborious work of planting and harvesting, and cannot palm it off on someone else.

It is dangerous to change the word of God.  It is foolhardy to think the Almighty would be pleased with us attempting to bring to Him firstfruits of someone else’s harvest that they had sown in the field.  I would advise getting away from the dwellings of anyone who would so pervert the Word of God, Numbers 16:26.

Attempting to link Leviticus 23:10 to Joshua 5:10-11, the speaker says, “Joshua fulfilled that command in Joshua 5:10.”  Thus, he says that Israel offered the wavesheaf from the harvest of the Canaanites. Not only is there no indication that the wavesheaf was offered, but if Israel would have tried to offer a wavesheaf from the pagan’s harvest, sown by pagans, they would have broken God’s Law!


How Long is Forty Years?


“Who was buried in Grant’s Tomb?”  Most folks get it right, Ulysses S. Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb.  But, ask a deceptive minister how long is forty years, and you may get a slippery answer.

How long did Israel eat manna?  “The children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan,” Exodus 16:35.  When did they start eating manna?  They arrived at the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving Egypt, verse 1, which was a Sabbath (going backwards, you can see that Passover of the year of the Exodus fell on a Wednesday).  On Iyar 16, a Sunday, the manna fell for six days, verses 2-8.  When did they stop eating manna?  Forty years afterwards, shown in Joshua 5:10-12.  Israel kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month.  Notice, it does not say the fourteenth day of the first month.  Israelite men had not been circumcised in the wilderness, and during the forty-year wilderness journey, all those twenty years old and upward (except Joshua and Caleb), had died.  About the tenth day of the month, Joshua circumcised all the males, and they abode in their places until they were whole, verse 8.  Since it takes several days to heal from circumcision, and the third day after circumcision is the worst day of soreness and fever, it is highly unlikely that the Joshua 5 Passover was the Passover of the first month, but rather that of the second month.

Since Israel ate manna for forty years, not one month short of forty years, Scripture indicates that Israel stopped eating the manna two days after Passover, which had to fall on that year on a Friday.  They ate of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the Passover, and the manna ceased on the next day, Sunday, Iyar 16.  Forty years to the day, the manna ceased. 

Our speaker maintains that Joshua offered a wavesheaf in the first month, Forty years is an expansion of time, that includes a lot of different calculations when you understand the calendar . . . .  In a nineteen-year cycle, there are at least seven years that have thirteen months, so this description in Joshua 5 talks about, is all encompassing over two nineteen-year time cycles, forty years is referenced, the important thing here is that Joshua obeyed God, and kept that command [wavesheaf offering in Leviticus 23:10].”  This is his explanation for the fulfillment of forty years.  It is no wonder this minister counts only seven weeks to Pentecost, not fifty days, like the Bible says.  He demonstrates a pattern of imprecision.


Analysis of “Lessons for Pentecost”

His Statement

Our Comment

Wavesheaf day follows the Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

He believes this only 90% of the time.

Number 50 days.

He actually counts only 49 days, then keeps Pentecost following a 49-day count.

Sivan 6 can fall on any day of the week.

The Hebrew calendar, which he follows, allows Sivan 6 to fall only on a Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, or Monday.

Pentecost means “fiftieth,” not “count fifty.”

Actually, it means both.

Joshua 5:11-12 “produce” does not mean old corn as KJV translates it.

Hebrew word means stored over grain, passed over grain.  Thus, the KJV “old” is correct.

Joshua obeyed God by offering wavesheaf offering of produce of Canaan.

Joshua would have disobeyed God had he offered a wave sheaf of old grain, grain from pagan’s harvest.

Translates Leviticus 23:10 as “firstfruits of the harvest,” implying that any harvest will do, even from pagans.

Correct translation is “firstfruits of your harvest.”

Forty years is an expansion of time, en­comp­assing two nineteen-year time cycles.

And, counting 49 days is the same as counting 50 days, if you want to be imprecise.


“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned,” Matthew 12:36-37.

A lesson for Pentecost is that we must handle the word of God with reverence and respect.  As Paul noted, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty [shame], not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God,” II Corinthians 4:1-2.  “For we are not as many, which corrupt [deal deceitfully with] the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ,” II Corinthians 2:17.

                                                                                                          — by Richard C. Nickels W