As is well known, Pentecost occurs seven complete weeks after the consecration of the harvest by the offering of the wave sheaf of
first ripe barley. This sheaf was waved on “the morrow after the Sabbath“
|Leviticus 23:||11: “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.”|
Note the words “on the morrow after the Sabbath.” Several opinions are held as to which Sabbath is meant here, so I will begin by quoting the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible on this subject and then go on to give a few scriptural verses which have influenced us to count as we do. Article Feast of Weeks (page 633)
The critical question now is, "which of these three opinions is the correct one?" for though A Voice In
The Wilderness - Canada, like the Jews and the Westminster Dictionary, favours the third alternative, that does not necessarily mean
that it is the correct one. In this letter, therefore, I will give you scriptural reasons why I count to Pentecost from the morrow after the
first day of unleavened bread - the method mentioned at point 3 above. I will do this because I fully realize that even the best
authorities can be wrong. Besides, we should base our opinions on the Scriptures alone. On this subject we find that (Leviticus 23: 11-14)
states that the harvest was not to be eaten till after the wave sheaf and the food and drink offerings had been presented to God.
|Leviticus 23:||11: “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.|
12: And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
13: And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.
14: 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.”
The statutory progression of events was as follows:
It is this third point, the eating of the bread, parched corn or green years, that gives us the clue as to which Sabbath triggers the 50th day count to Pentecost. We read further in the book of Joshua that the children of Israel, in obedience to the regulations laid down in (Leviticus 23: 11-14) ate the corn of the land “on the morrow after the Passover.” Note the words “on the morrow after the Passover.”
|Joshua 5:||10: “And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.|
11: And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
12: And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn 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.”
Looking at this passage closely and comparing it with the one in (Leviticus 23), we cannot help but conclude that Joshua (a type of Christ) was here faithfully carrying out the instructions given in (Leviticus 23), and that “the morrow after the Sabbath” in (Leviticus 23) and “the morrow after the Passover” in (Joshua 5) were in fact referring to the same day. And so, though, we still haven't identified the Sabbath of (Leviticus 23: 11), we now know that in the book of Joshua that same Sabbath was called “the Passover,“ The inevitable question now becomes: and what day is the Passover held on - which in (Leviticus 23: 11) is simply called “the Sabbath?”
The answer is, the Passover is held on the first day of unleavened bread, which is also a Sabbath day. Yes, the Passover is held on the first day of unleavened bread (15th.Abib) Here is the proof.
|Matthew 26:||17: “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus saying unto him, where wilt thou
that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover”
|Mark 14:||12: “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover.”
|Luke 22:||7: “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.”|
These three texts prove that the preparations for the Passover took place just before the first day of unleavened bread - that is, at the end of the 14th Abib. This is in complete agreement with Yahweh's instructions as recorded in (Exodus 12) where we see how the Passover Lamb was slain towards the evening or end of the 14th Abib - the period which immediately preceded the first day of unleavened bread. (Exodus 12: 5-6) For further evidence see the leaflet entitled The Passover - When?
The inevitable conclusion, therefore, is: that Joshua must have kept the Passover on the first day of unleavened breadand then gone on to eat the corn of the land on the morrow after it. In other words, Joshua's 50 day count to Pentecost must have begun on the morrow after the first day of unleavened bread, which is a Sabbath day.
By way of summary I may say that in A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada I count to Pentecost from:
Concerning the wording of (Leviticus 23: 15-16), Hebrew scholars admit that the words “seven sabbaths” and the “seventh Sabbath” in these verses do not necessarily mean seven Saturdays but rather “seven weeks.” Even the Greeks who translated this as Pentecost understood it to mean 7 weeks - not 7 Saturdays. Using a calendar which is not distorted by manmade regulations and traditions I count to Pentecost each year, because it does not always fall on the 6th day of Sivan every year as some incorrectly suppose. Because the first and second months do not have fixed lengths Pentecost must be counted to.
In the present Jewish calendar months have fixed lengths - and this is not strictly scriptural. Abib, for instance could be 30 days or 29 days in length. Likewise the second month, it may be 29 or 30 days in length. This affects the count - so Pentecost is counted to, because it does NOT always fall on the 6th day of Sivan.
My method is by no means a new one; it was used long, long ago and was used by the Pharisees and, as the Westminster Dictionary puts it, “by those who directed the services of the 2nd Temple,“ the one the Saviour walked in. He recommended that we listen to the Pharisees in this matter (Matthew 23: 2-3).
|Matthew 23:||2: “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:|
3: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”
The Boethusian way of counting 50 days from the Sunday during the week of unleavened bread is, nevertheless, worthy of consideration. You will need to contact other groups who use that method. We in Canada also keep a close watch for the SIGNS in the sun, moon and stars on the Sunday that is arrived at by that method of counting. As it is a non-working day in Canada, we have no trouble doing this. No doubt a SIGN in the sun or moon, as indicated in (Genesis 1: 14), would settle the matter as to which counting method is correct. Look for it, for it is sure to take place! The Scriptures cannot be broken!
There has been centuries of dispute over the ‘count to Pentecost’s and no doubt this will continue till the Master returns. Meanwhile my advice to all is to keep an open mind on it and respect the opinions of other believers. Above all we cannot afford to pontificate on the subject, because it is not as clear cut as some think.
By far the greater issue is the one about the distorted calendar that so many feast - keeping Christians are currently using. That error alone causes millions of believers to inadvertently keep over half of Yahweh’s feasts on the wrong dates in two out of three years. For further details see Question 6 in the Sacred Calendar of the God of Israel