Pentecost is NOT on Sivan 6

Many are aware that the majority of today's Jews, in line with the tradition of the Pharisees, observe Pentecost on the sixth (and also the seventh, according to Orthodox Jews) of the third month of the Hebrew Calendar, called Sivan. The sixth of Sivan can fall on the first, second, fourth, or sixth days of the week.

TABLE 1: Passover, Sivan 6 and Monday Pentecost

Passover Abib (Nisan) 14

Sivan 6

Monday Pentecost

Monday

Wednesday

Sivan 11

Wednesday

Friday

Sivan 9

Friday

Sunday

Sivan 7

Sabbath

Monday

Sivan 13

 

What is the basis for belief in a Sivan 6 Pentecost? Why do we reject this teaching and instead keep Pentecost always on the second day of the week, a Monday?

How to Count Pentecost

Leviticus 23 is the key Bible chapter to understanding when to keep all of God's Holy Days. In verse 10, the Eternal told Israel to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of their harvest to the priest. Verse 11 says, "And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath [Hebrew: mi-mohorat ha-shabbat] the priest shall wave it." This "Wavesheaf Day" is critical to determining the correct day for Pentecost.

Verses 15-16 refer back to the Wavesheaf Day in verse 11, "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD." Verse 21: "And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be a holy convocation unto you [the day of Pentecost] . . . ."

We believe Wavesheaf Day is the Sunday after the Sabbath that falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is "day one" of the count toward Pentecost. Fifty days are completely counted, then Pentecost is observed, always on a Monday.

The "Sivan 6 Theory"

The argument in favor of a Sivan 6 Pentecost has gained prominence among Sabbath keepers through William F. Dankenbring, former writer for the Worldwide Church of God, who heads Triumph Publishing Company. This article examines some of the arguments for a Sivan 6 Pentecost, showing them to be invalid. The "Sivan 6 Theory" contains these elements:

(1) It is said that we are to count Pentecost from the first High Day Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Wavesheaf offering (Leviticus 23:9-14) is claimed to have been performed always on Nisan 16, the day after the first high holy day Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Since Leviticus 23:10 follows verse 7 which mentions the first holy day, an annual Sabbath, of Unleavened bread, it is assumed that the "the morrow after the Sabbath" actually means "the morrow after the first holy day." This is the key point of the Sivan 6 theory.

(2) Joshua 5:10-12, some believe, "proves" that Wavesheaf Offering day is always Nisan 16.

(3) It is claimed that Matthew 23:2-3 shows we are to follow the Pharisees in the Holy Days we observe, including Pentecost. The great Jewish historian Josephus was a Pharisee and he says that Wavesheaf Offering day was on Nisan 16. Paul was a Pharisee, Acts 23:6, and it is assumed all Pharisees believed in a Sivan 6 Pentecost.

(4) The Sadducees, who agreed with us that the Sabbath of Leviticus 23:11 was the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, are not to be believed because they were "liberal Hellenistic Jews."

(5) The Septuagint(Greek translation of the Old Testament), also known as the LXX, is said to be 100% inspired scripture without any translation errors. It supposedly translates the Leviticus 23 passage with the understanding that Wavesheaf Offering day is Nisan 16.

(6) Some say that none of God's Holy Days can ever fall on a Sunday. God abhors His people observing the PAGAN day of the Sun God, Sunday.

(7) The Wavesheaf offering was an integral part of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread and "must" fall "within" it.

(8) It is believed by some advocates of a Sivan 6 Pentecost, that Christ fulfilled the Wavesheaf Offering on Friday, Nisan 16, 31 A.D., when supposedly His sacrifice was accepted by God.

(9) Counting the fifty days to Pentecost is said to be not necessary, even though counting down the days adds to the anticipation and excitement of Pentecost.

These arguments have been presented by proponents of a Sivan 6 Pentecost.

Proof that Sivan 6 Theory Wrong

If the "Sivan 6 Theory" is correct, then "the morrow after the Sabbath" in Leviticus

23:11, and 15 must be interpreted as "the morrow after the annual Sabbath," that is, forcing Wavesheaf Day to be always Abib (Nisan) 16. And most importantly, verses 15-16 must be interpreted in this erroneous way: "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the first holy day, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven weeks shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD."

The original Hebrew absolutely prohibits such an interpretation. With the use of Englishman's Hebrew Concordance, you can prove this for yourself.

The words for "Sabbath" and "Sabbaths" in Leviticus 23 are Strong's #7676, Shabbat and #7677, shabbaton. Englishman's Hebrew Concordance, page 1235, shows every place these words are used. NOT ONCE DO THESE WORDS MEAN "WEEK" OR "WEEKS"! In other words, the Hebrew word for "Sabbath" never means "week"!

What is the Hebrew word for "week"? It is Strong's #7620, shebuah. Englishman's Hebrew Concordance, page 1224, proves conclusively that nowhere in the Bible does this word ever mean "Sabbath"! So the Hebrew words for Sabbath never mean week, and the Hebrew word for week never means Sabbath. The foundation for the Sivan 6 Pentecost Theory is totally false.

Some have pointed to Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, which defines #7676 as "Sabbath, . . . perhaps a week, like the Syrian and Greek (Matt. 28:1) Lev. 23:15; compare Deu. 16:9." As we show in our article, "Basic Bible Study Tools," lexicons are Bible word dictionaries which contain the lexicographer's understanding of what words mean in Bible context. In this case Gesenius is in error. Shabbat does not mean week. It means Sabbath. Deuteronomy 16:9, which uses a different word, #7620 shebuah, does not interpret Leviticus 23:15. We have proven that shabbat does not have the same meaning as shebuah. See the Englishman's Hebrew Concordance. Look up the scriptures for yourself.

Word Studies on Pentecost

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. From the Hebrew-English Interlinear Old Testament, by Jay P. Green, Sr., we see the Strong's numbers for the Hebrew.

The Hebrew word for Sabbath, Shabbat, is Strong's number #7676. Shabbat is derived from #7673, shavath, which means "intermission, desist from exertion, to cease, rest, celebrate." A related verb is #7677, shabbaton, meaning "the act of keeping the Sabbath, resting." The Hebrew word for "seven" is #7651, sheba or shibah, the word for "seventh" is #7637 shebiyiy. As we have seen, the word for "week" is #7620, shebuah which is not necessarily a "perfect week" of Sunday through Saturday.

In verse 15, "seven Sabbaths shall be complete [KJV]," the word for "complete" is #8549, tamiym, meaning "perfect, without blemish." The literal words say "seven Sabbaths perfect." There are seven PERFECT Sabbaths that fall between the day of the wavesheaf until day fifty of the count toward Pentecost. What is a perfect Sabbath? Why, God's Holy Day, the seventh day of the week! Not an imperfect "week" of just any seven days! Tamiym is used in verses 12 and 18 in reference to lambs offered "without blemish." Tamiym used with shabbat leaves us no doubt that Leviticus 23:15-16 means seven Sabbaths, not seven imperfect weeks.

The inspired Hebrew in both verses 15 and 16 says SABBATHS, shabbatot (plural), notWEEKS, shebuat. Verses 15-16 say literally, "seven Sabbaths perfect they shall be to the day after the Sabbath [ha-shabbat] the seventh [ha-shebiyit] you shall number fifty [fiftieth] day." Notice the unusual usage of the definite article "the" (Hebrew ha). It is not just any Sabbath that is the day before day fifty of the count. But THE Sabbath THE seventh. Certainly this precludes counting imperfect weeks that do not run from Sunday through Sabbath. Indeed, we are not told to count seven Sabbaths at all. We are told there will be seven perfect Sabbaths on the way to a full count of fifty days. And through the next day after the seventh perfect Sabbath, a Sunday, day fifty of the count toward Pentecost is completed.

Notice the usage of shabbat elsewhere in Leviticus 23. Verse 3, in reference to the seventh day of the week, says literally, "and on day the seventh, Sabbath resting, a gathering holy . . . ." Verse 24 refers to the Day of Trumpets, a time of "resting." #7677, shabbaton. Verse 32 commands the Day of Atonement, "Sabbath resting [shabbat shabbaton] it is to you . . . you shall keep your Sabbath." Finally, in verse 38, in reference again to the weekly Sabbath, Shabbatot, is used. Only in verses 11, 15 and 16 is the definite article "the" (Hebrew ha) used. Why? Because although Trumpets is a resting and Atonement a Sabbath resting, only the weekly Sabbath is THE Sabbath. In Ezekiel 46:1, ha-shabbat is used to refer to every weekly Sabbath. Thus, the definite article ha used with Shabbat shows that this Shabbat is the weekly Sabbath, not the first annual Holy Day.

The word for weeks, #7620, shebuah, is not used at all in Leviticus 23. In Leviticus 23, we are not told to count seven weeks (shabutot) toward Pentecost. Instead, there are seven PERFECT Sabbaths, and we are to count the day after the seventh Sabbath, not the seventh week. A day is counted when it is completed. When day fifty is counted, then we are to keep Pentecost, always on a Monday. Shebuah is used twenty times in the Old Testament. Only once, in Daniel 9:27, is shebuah used to refer to a perfect week of Sunday through Saturday. The Messiah was cut off in the midst of a week, on a Wednesday. In other cases, shebuah refers to any period of seven consecutive days.

In referring to the first holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Abib (Nisan) 15, the word Shabbat is not used. We are merely told to have a mikra kodesh, a "gathering holy." And likewise the last Holy Day of the Feast, Abib 21, is not called a Shabbat, but a mikra kodesh. I have not found a single reference to Abib 15 being called a Sabbath, nor any annual Holy Day referred to as "ha-shabbat."

An investigation of the original Hebrew of Leviticus 23absolutely 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.

Which Sabbath Do We Count From?

Leviticus 23, verses 9-21, is the Wavesheaf and Pentecost section of this "Holy Day Chapter" of the Bible. It is the only place in the Bible where we are given detailed instructions how to count Pentecost (also known as Feast of Weeks, Feast of Harvest, and Feast of Firstfruits). And yet, verse 11 does not explicitly say which Sabbath precedes the Wavesheaf Offering Day, "day one" of the count to Pentecost. Pharisees said this Shabbat was not the weekly Shabbat but the first annual Shabbat, Abib or Nisan 15, the first Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. However, as we have seen, the Hebrew prohibits this interpretation.

The "Sivan 6 Theory" says that since verse 11 follows verse 7, therefore Wavesheaf Offering Day must be Nisan 16. However, we must not ignore verse 8, which refers to Nisan 21, the last Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Consistent reasoning would have to admit that verse 8 is closer to verse 11 than verse 7 is to verse 11. Using this logic, Wavesheaf Offering Day would have to be on Nisan 22. Indeed, this is the very position taken by the Ethiopian Falashas, or "Negro Jews" of Africa. The truth is, that neither Leviticus 23:7 or 8 call the two annual Holy Days during Unleavened Bread "Sabbath" or Shabbat. (The Day of Atonement, verse 32, is called a "Sabbath of rest.") Verse 3clearly refers to the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week.

So which weekly Sabbath does verse 11 describe? It has to be associated with the firstfruits of harvest, which occurred in the springtime in Palestine, around the time of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the barley grain is ready to harvest. By deduction, Leviticus 23:11must refer to the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Joshua 5 and the Old Corn

Joshua 5:10-12 states that Israel kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even, and ate of the old corn of Palestine on the morrow after Passover, when the manna ceased. Somehow, Sivan 6 advocates deduce that this passage "proves" Wavesheaf Offering Day is Nisan 16.

This was old corn, or produce carried over from the East Bank of the Jordan River. It was NOT new grain from the harvest. Before Israel could eat of new grain, they had to harvest and offer the Wavesheaf Offering. And yet this verse specifically states they ate old corn, the original Hebrew meaning "carried over" corn.

Israel crossed the Jordan on Nisan 10. The males were circumcised and were very sore for at least three days or more. Thus, it is very likely that the Joshua 5 Passover was the Passover of the second month, as described in Numbers 9, not the normal first month Passover. After circumcision, the male Israelites were in no shape to engage in a grain harvest and Wavesheaf Offering. Joshua 5 does not support a Nisan 16 Wavesheaf Day.

Should We be Pharisees?

Should we should follow the Pharisees, those "conservative guardians of the law,"(according to Dankenbring) in their counting of Pentecost? Some interpret Matthew 23:3 to say that we have to follow the Pharisees in ALL that they command us to observe. In keeping with following modern Pharisees, some now believe in a Nisan 15 Passover, rather than the Biblical Nisan 14 Passover.

Although much of Jewish history is dominated by the Pharisees' influence because they gained complete ascendancy after 70 A.D., the Pharisees were by no means a united group, especially so during the time of Christ. The rival schools of Hillel and Shammai argued over points of the law. The priestly Sadducees disputed the Pharisees. And Essenes and Zealots were other competing Jewish sects of the First Century. The Apostle Paul, a Pharisee prior to his conversion, strongly disagreed with them on many points when he became a messianic believer.

Interpreting history to favor the Pharisees, when they were and are chock full of errors is certainly no proof that Wavesheaf Day is Nisan 16 and Pentecost is Sivan 6. John 18:3 indicates that the ones who were instrumental in killing Jesus were Pharisees and priests. This same band of evil men kept the Passover a day later than Jesus did, verse 28.

Matthew 23:3 cannot mean for us to follow the Pharisees in their errors, but only as they follow God. The rest of the chapter is clear that the Pharisees were loaded with hypocrisy and iniquity. Yes, the Pharisees did preserve some valid oral tradition which included the Hebrew Calendar and its rules. But we must not become Pharisees, slavishly following them even in their errors. Jesus said that we should beware of "the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees," Matthew 16:12.

Should We Be Sadducees?

On the other hand, some say the Sadducees were liberal Hellenistic Jews. They were of the wealthy priestly class, and a distinct minority compared to the majority Pharisees. Should we reject the Sadducee teaching that the Sabbath preceding Wavesheaf Offering Day is a weekly rather than an annual Sabbath? Or, should we follow the teaching of the sect of the Pharisees? John the Baptist referred to both the Pharisees and Sadducees as a "generation of vipers," Matthew 3:7. We should follow the Bible! We should not be modern Sadducees or Pharisees.

The "Holy" Septuagint?

The Septuagint is the old Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures, commonly designated LXX, because 70 or 72 translators were reputed to have been sent from Jerusalem by the high priest Eleazar to translate the Torah, at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 288-247 B.C. Supposedly, most Jews had lost a working knowledge of Hebrew, and Jews outside of Palestine mainly spoke Greek. Therefore, Jews of Alexandria, Egypt sought to overcome the opposition of Jerusalem authorities against the writing of Scripture in any but the old Hebrew scrolls. At first, only the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) was translated from Hebrew to the Greek Septuagint. Later, the rest of the Bible, along with spurious Apocrypha books were added to the Septuagint.

In support for a Sivan 6 Pentecost, Dankenbring lauds the Septuagint as "God inspired." Why the interest in the Septuagint? Because the disputed Hebrew phrase, mi-mohorat ha-shabbat, "morrow after the Sabbath" (KJV) was translated by the Septuagint as "the morrow of the first day," meaning the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The modern Jewish Publication Society translation, in line with Pharisee belief, renders it "the morrow of the day of rest." In other words, the first day to count toward Pentecost is this "morrow of the first day," or "morrow of [after] the day of rest." The Septuagint is held by some to support the position of the Pharisees. But is it valid? Is the Septuagint version really God inspired rather than the Masoretic Text which forms the basis for the Old Testament portion of the King James Version?

The Encyclopedia Britannica, article "Septuagint," describes the LXX as "corrupt." Further, "we need not assume that in cases of difference [between the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text] the Greek is to be preferred. The LXX translators made some palpable mistakes; their knowledge of Hebrew was often inadequate; they occasionally interpreted as well as translated . . . ." Also, the Septuagint includes the non-inspired historical books known collectively as the Apocrypha, while the Masoretic Text did not canonize these uninspired books. Why didn't the Jews of Alexandria, Egypt know their Hebrew? Because they had become liberal Hellenists, watering down and rejecting the Laws of the Torah and the Hebrew language. Biven and Blizzard demonstrate in their book, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus (Austin, Texas, 1984), that Hebrew, and not Greek, was the main language of Palestinian Jews during the time of Christ. However, the diaspora (dispersed Jews) often neglected Hebrew and became enmeshed in Greco-Roman culture.

After the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 A.D., the Jewish scribes sought to renew their efforts to preserve the original Hebrew Scriptures. The Masorete scribes were much more faithful preservers of the Bible than the Alexandrian Jews who had authored the Septuagint. Masoretes faithfully preserved the mi-mohorat ha-shabbat of Leviticus 23:11, 15. Wavesheaf Offering Day is indeed on the first day of the week, the day after the weekly Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Today, liberal Bible translators are enthralled by corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts, which form the basis for many modern translations of the Old Testament. The King James Version, however, drew solidly from the inspired Masoretic Text.

Some have pointed to a supposed usage of the Septuagint by New Testament writers. The facts show otherwise. Two out of every three quotations from the Old Testament found in the New do not agree verbally with the reading of the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament. The Septuagint became so corrupt that Jewish authorities forbade Jews from using it. (See "Do We Have the Complete Bible?" by Herman L. Hoeh.)

Others say that the "Dead Sea Scrolls" prove the Masoretic Text wrong. Since their initial discovery in 1947, the First Century A.D. Essene Qumran scrolls have been studied by scholars. The monastic Essenes withdrew from the mainstream of Jewish civilization, even refusing to worship at the Temple. Their scrolls, hidden in caves, sometimes differ markedly from the Masoretic Text. Previous to the discovery of these Old Testament portions, the earliest Old Testament manuscript dated from only the 10th Century A.D. The Revised Standard Version (1951) makes use of a number of "emendations" (alterations of text) of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Most scholars have now come to see that the Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrate the superiority of the Masoretic Text. Jewish tradition says Ezra and the "Great Synagogue" canonized the Old Testament, and entrusted "scribes" (Hebrew Sopherim, meaning "counters") with the sacred duty of preserving the official canonized text. In an age before computers, the scribes devised an ingenious method to insure scripture accuracy and purity. Careful records were kept of the number of words and even letters in each book, the middle word and middle letter of each book, how many times a letter was used in each book, and other statistics which minimized the possibility of mistakes in copies. If an error was discovered, the entire scroll was thrown away! Old and worn manuscripts were thrown away. That is why we have no official copies before the 10th century. That is why Jesus said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law," Matthew 5:18. Not even the smallest letter, or stroke of a letter! Although the Dead Sea Scrolls are "older" than extant copies of the Masoretic Text, they are not better, but instead are corrupted. (See "Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls," January 1971 Plain Truth.)

The liberal, corrupted Septuagint is not a proof for a Sivan 6 Pentecost.

None of God's Holy Days -- Oops! -- Can Ever Fall on a Sunday

William F. Dankenbring, in his article, "How Do You 'Count' Pentecost?," says that it is a "fact" that none of God's Holy Days can ever fall on a Sunday. God abhors His people observing in honor to Him the PAGAN day of the Sun-god (Sunday). Unfortunately for Mr. Dankenbring, his Pentecost, Sivan 6, in 1988 was on Sunday, May 22. In a later paper, Dankenbring quietly deleted his earlier statement that "God's annual holy days NEVER fall on a 'Sunday'!"

Such a mistake is typical of hasty, careless "research." Unfortunately, many are willing to accept "shocking new truth" without independent study and verification.

Some believers approach God's truth like a rabbit. They hop about going after this or that teacher and doctrine. They are not grounded and settled in the Truth. Sensationalism gives them an emotional "high." "New truths" are exciting. Digging into, proving and re-proving "old truths" is like slogging through the trenches. But that's what it takes to be an overcomer.

According to the Hebrew Calendar, Nisan 15, an annual Holy Day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, does fall on the first day of the week on the rare occasion when Passover, Nisan 14, falls on the weekly Sabbath. It happened in 1974, and will again in 1994. This is the only Holy Day that can (and even so, rarely) fall on a the first day of the week.

How Long is the Passover Season?

Mr. Dankenbring insists that Wavesheaf Offering Day MUST fall within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He opposes our belief that when Passover falls on the weekly Sabbath (which is a rare case), that Wavesheaf Offering Sunday is Nisan 22, which is OUTSIDE the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Dankenbring admits that Pentecost is not an entirely separate festival, but is closely tied with and interrelated with the Passover festival.

TABLE 2: Passover, Wavesheaf Sunday and Pentecost

Passover Abib (Nisan) 14

Wavesheaf Sunday

Monday Pentecost

Monday

Nisan 20

Sivan 11

Wednesday

Nisan 18

Sivan 9

Friday

Nisan 16

Sivan 7

Sabbath

Nisan 22

Sivan 13

 

As the Jews understand, the WHOLE PERIOD from Passover through Pentecost is known as the "Passover Season." Pentecost is referred to as the atzeret, or closing day, of the Passover season. So the rare occurrence of Passover (Nisan 14) falling on Sabbath, making Wavesheaf Sunday on Nisan 22, does not put Wavesheaf Offering Day outside of the Passover season.

Meaning of the Wavesheaf Offering

Emphasis needs to be placed on the meaning of the Wavesheaf Offering Day.

According to the "Sivan 6 Theory" of Mr. Dankenbring, the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins was accepted by God the Father "immediately" after his death, on Friday, Nisan 16, 31 A.D. The wave sheaf offering typified the accepted Christ. He rejects the common interpretation of John 20:17 that Jesus ascended to Heaven on Sunday morning to be accepted by His Heavenly Father, which is why He didn't allow Mary to touch Him. Dankenbring ridicules the idea that Christ's sacrifice wasn't accepted by God until 3 1/2 days after His death. Yet his concept places the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice 1 1/2 days after Messiah's burial, which was certainly not "immediately" after His death and burial.

When we examine all the Holy Days, we see that the Messiah is intimately involved in every one of them, in their spiritual fulfillment. The Savior was our Passover Lamb. "Christ in us" gives us the power to lead unleavened (sinless) lives, symbolized by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Messiah gave the Ten Commandments and gives the Holy Spirit of power to help us keep the Law (Pentecost). Messiah will return to raise the dead, regather Israel and win the Battle of Armageddon, typified by the Day of Trumpets. He will put Satan away and make mankind at one with God (Atonement). Jesus will establish the Millennium (Feast of Tabernacles). He will judge sitting on a Great White Throne (Last Great Day). Can you see we have an ACTIVE Savior?

However, for Mr. Dankenbring, the Savior "slept" in the grave on Friday, Nisan 16, 31 A.D., doing nothing, yet nevertheless fulfilling the spiritual meaning of the Wavesheaf Offering. Does this make sense? Absolutely not!

The cutting of the wavesheaf early Sunday morning represented Christ's ascension to Heaven. The wavesheaf being accepted represented Christ's blood being accepted as payment for our sins. He actively participated in the spiritual fulfillment of our atonement, Hebrews 9:11-12. Why couldn't Mary touch Jesus before He ascended to the Father? (Later that evening, the disciples could and did touch Him.) Because He was a Holy Sacrifice and could not be touched by human hands prior to His offering of Himself to the Father as our Wavesheaf.

Wavesheaf Day should be recognized and honored by Christians today. We do not offer the wavesheaf offering, but we should take note of and be grateful that our wavesheaf of the firstfruits, the Messiah, was accepted by God as sacrifice for our sins. If possible, it would be proper to have services in commemoration of this great event. Although there is no specific command for a holy convocation, we know that since the eight days of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread are a pilgrimage feast, just like the Feast of Tabernacles, there should be daily services during this festival period, including Wavesheaf Day.

However, there could be danger in carrying this too far. The early New Testament Church knew that Wavesheaf Day was always on a Sunday, but not always on Nisan 16. They held commemorative services on Sunday, and later apostates used this practice to abandon the weekly Sabbath for Sunday. Wavesheaf Sunday's counterfeit is Easter Sunday, and they are often on same the same day.

Because of the connection between Wavesheaf Sunday, day one of the Pentecost count, and Pentecost itself, some writers on the subject of Holy Days have confused terms and refer to Wavesheaf Sunday as the "Feast of Firstfruits," a separate Feast from Passover and Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is at one place called the "Day of Firstfruits," Numbers 28:26, while elsewhere it is termed "the feast of weeks of the firstfruits of wheat harvest," Exodus 34:22, and "the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors," Exodus 23:16. There is no Bible indication that Wavesheaf Sunday is properly called "Feast of Firstfruits."

Meaning of Counting Pentecost

We should actively count the fifty days toward Pentecost. Unger's Bible Dictionary, article "Festivals," shows that "the Jews regularly count every evening the fifty days . . . . The three days preceding the festival . . . are called the three days of separation and sanctification, because the Lord commanded . . . that the people should sanctify themselves three days prior to the giving of the law . . . ." Counting the days is a special observance in itself, heightening the joy and anticipation of the coming of the day of Pentecost, or Firstfruits, itself. It is good for us to count the days toward Pentecost, and to realize that Pentecost is closely tied to the spring Passover festival.

Leviticus 23 gives the calendar date for all the feasts and Holy Days except two: Wavesheaf Day and Pentecost. If the Pharisees are correct, then why didn't God say in Leviticus 23 that Wavesheaf Day is the 16th day of the first month, and Pentecost is the sixth (or seventh) day of the third month? The only logical reason is that there is no fixed calendar date for these two sacred times, and they need to be counted each year.

Count Day Fifty, Then Keep Pentecost

Jews know that the days toward Pentecost are to be counted every evening. A day is counted at evening, when it is completed. The fiftieth day is counted, at evening, THEN Pentecost is observed. A fact seldom noticed is that the Masoretic Text has carefully preserved the inspired message of the Eternal. In Leviticus 23:16, the original Hebrew literally states: "to the day after the Sabbath seventh you shall number fifty day [singular]." Day Fifty is numbered, then Pentecost is observed. Sivan 6 and Sunday Pentecost advocates generally admit they only count 49 days, when the Bible says to number day fifty.

Wavesheaf Offering Day is Nisan 16 only when Passover is on a Friday. Pentecost is NEVER Sivan 6. Wavesheaf Day is always the Sunday after the weekly Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is always on Monday.

Ten Commandments and Pentecost

Jewish tradition is replete with statements that the Feast of Pentecost is associated with the season of the giving of the Law, the Ten Commandments, at Mt. Sinai. Do the events of Exodus 19-20give us an indication of the proper date of Pentecost?

The KJV translates Exodus 19:1, "In the third month when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai." The Worldwide Church of God, and others, have explained this verse as follows: The expression "the same day" can only mean one of two things. Either this was the "same day" of the month or the "same day" of the week. Israel had departed from Rameses on the 15th day of the month (Numbers 33:3). It is likely this was on the fifth day of the week, Thursday, since Passover of the year of the exodus was probably on a Wednesday. Israel was already near Sinai on the 29th of the second month, Exodus 17:6, 18:5. So this "same day" of Exodus 19:1 could not refer to the fifteenth day of the third month, but instead refers to the fifth day of the week, the same weekday they had left Egypt. Therefore, Exodus 19:1 means they came to the foot of Sinai on a Thursday, Sivan 5. Some modern translations (such as the RSV), following the Septuagint, have mistranslated Exodus 19:1 as "on the first day of the third month after the departure." (Source: Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 35s.)

Green's Interlinear shows the literal Hebrew of verses 1-2says, "In the third month of the going out of the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt, on this day they came to the wilderness of Sinai. And they journeyed from Rephidim and came to the wilderness of Sinai, and they camped in the wilderness; and Israel camped there before the mountain." In other words, Israel came into Sinai on the same day as they left Egypt.

Israel left Egypt on the night of the 15th day of the first month, Abib or Nisan, Exodus 12:40-42, Numbers 33:3. Each Sabbath along the way to Sinai, they pitched their tents and rested. They crossed the Red Sea on Abib 21, the last holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. At Abib 24, Sabbath, they were at Marah; on the first day of the second month, Iyar, they were at Elim. Iyar 8, by the Red Sea; Iyar 15, the Wilderness of Zin. Exodus 16 shows that they stopped for a week at the edge of the wilderness of Zin on Iyar 15, where God taught them about the Sabbath. Then they went through the desert, to Rephidim on Iyar 29, Exodus 17:1, and had no water. Dophkah and Alush were intermediate stops along the way so that thirsty stragglers could catch up (Numbers 33). Rephidim was near Sinai, so it took only a few days, not a full week, to arrive before the mount.

If Israel camped at Rephidim on Iyar 29, thet could not have arrived at Sinai on the very next day, Sivan 1. Because the next day the Israelites fought against Amalek, and then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law met him for a few days, Exodus 17-18. Israel arrived at the foot of Sinai on Sivan 5.

Moses went up the mountain the next day, Exodus 19:3, receiving a message from the Eternal. Verse 7, the people were not already in assembly, so Moses called for the elders and gave them the "wedding proposal" from the Almighty. The people agreed, and Moses returned to the mountain to give their words to God, verses 8-9. Then, verses 10-11, the Eternal told Moses to have the people sanctify themselves "to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down

in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai."

Moses came down and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. God called Moses up the mountain on this third day, Pentecost, instructing him to go down and keep the people back from touching the mountain. Then the Creator gave the Ten Commandments in a thundering voice to all the people, verses 14-25, 20:1-17. The people were frightened, and asked Moses to commune with God for them. Moses went back up the mountain, the Almighty gave him the judgments of Exodus 21, 22, 23, he came and told them to the people, and they said, "All the words which the LORD hath said will we do," 24:3. Then, verse 4, Moses wrote all these words down.

Early the next morning, the day after Pentecost, Moses built an altar and confirmed the covenant with the people, verses 4-8. Thus the marriage ceremony of Israel and the Creator occurred on a day after the giving of the Ten Commandments. There was a "marriage supper" between God and the children of Israel, represented by Moses, Aaron and his sons, and seventy elders of Israel, verses 9-11.

These events square well with a Monday Pentecost.

TABLE 3: Possible Calendar of Events at Sinai

SIVAN (Third Month)

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Sabbath

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9 - Pentecost

10

11

12

13

14

 

Sivan 5, Thursday Israel arrives at Sinai.

Sivan 6, Friday Moses ascends Mt. Sinai, talks with Eternal, returns and gets Israel to say "I do."

Sivan 7, Sabbath Moses returns to mountain, told to sanctify the people today and tomorrow, and for them to wash their clothes, be ready for the third day.

Sivan 8, Sunday Wash day.

Sivan 9, Monday Giving of Ten Commandments on Pentecost.

Sivan 10, Tuesday Old Covenant Marriage Ceremony and Supper.

There are two important days: one for the giving of the Ten Commandments and statutes and judgments, and another day for the sealing of the Old Covenant marriage between the Creator and Israel.

Sunday Pentecost believers have a big problem with the events of Exodus. Wash day preceded the day of giving of the Law, which most agree is Pentecost. The weekly Sabbath can't be a wash day!

Bible evidence suggests that the giving of the Law was during the Pentecost season. However, there are no definitive statements that tie Pentecost with the day of the giving of the Law.

"New Truth" About Pentecost?

When someone comes to you talking about "new truth," you should "see" red warning lights. There is no such thing as "new" truth. Truth is absolute. It does not change. Some former members of the Worldwide Church of God who now keep Pentecost on Sivan 6 claim that they now have "new truth," which was unknown to Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of that church. Supposedly, he failed to consult Jewish "authorities." This is not true. For ten years, Armstrong kept a Sivan 6 Pentecost, before changing to a Monday Pentecost.

TABLE 4: "Pentecosts" Kept by Worldwide Church of God

Years

"Pentecost"

1927 - 1936

Sivan 6

1937 - 1973

Monday

1974 - ?

Sunday

 

There is no new thing under the sun. Doctrinal changers justify themselves by claiming to have "new truth." Too many people let others do their thinking for them, switching from one practice to another because some minister or writer says so. Don't accept what anyone says without checking it out in your own Bible.

The Pentecost debate probably won't be resolved until the return of the Messiah. Let us continue to search the Scriptures diligently and become able to spot the contradictions and errors being promulgated so freely today.

 

Additional Articles:

Pentecost: Its Message for Christians Today
Pentecost, the Day of Difference
24 Reasons Why I Believe in a Monday Pentecost
Pentecost and the Second Century Calendar Adjustment
Let us "Tarry" for Pentecost
When Does the Pentecost Count Begin?
Joshua Chapter Five and the Wavesheaf Day
Pentecost Quiz

Main Holy Day Menu

 

Written by: Richard C. Nickels
Giving & Sharing
PO Box 100
Neck City, MO 64849
United States of America

This material distributed on the Web by the Giving & Sharing site at: http://www.giveshare.org


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