Counting Pentecost, A Simplified Explanation
For 40 years the Church of God kept a Monday Pentecost.
Then the “scholars” told us we were counting wrong and that Sunday was Pentecost.
As stated in other articles on this web site, we firmly believe that
God revealed the Truth of a Monday Pentecost to His Church.
However, there are so many different explanations on how to count Pentecost.
What is the proper Biblically supported way to count Pentecost?
by P. Scott Royer Jr.
May 2013, Updated May 2014
All quotes are from The New Kings James Version.
Here is a simplified explanation on how to technically count Pentecost. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a short explanation. We will first go through the scriptures and let the Bible teach us how to count Pentecost. Then in the last part we will examine the mistakes others make in how they count Pentecost.
Prove All Things
To begin, let us remember that the Bible says that all of us as an individual should “prove” (KJV) all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
While we all can benefit from instruction by others to help us learn the truth from the Bible, we can never forget this responsibility – to prove all things our self. Remember, most Christian ministers and churches would tell you that Pentecost is on a Sunday and the Jews would tell you it is on Sivan 6 or Sivan 7 (most Jews who keep a Sivan 6 recognize they only count 49 days before keeping Shavu’ot). They might also tell you it is too complicated for lay members to determine and that you should just trust their church to make the right decision. All of us, along with all our other spiritual brethren, can and do make mistakes. We should be open to not only instruction, but correction, as we continually prove all things according to the Bible as God gives us understanding through His Holy Spirit within us. But we do not do that by letting go of the basic or core doctrines that God has revealed to us through His Holy Spirit at the beginning of a new church era.
The Test Holy Day
We often refer to the weekly Sabbath as the “test commandment” for new converts. Will they make a total commitment to God in giving up “their time” on the seventh day to observe Holy Time by resting and worshipping God? I personally believe that Pentecost became the “test Holy Day” for established converts. Would they hold fast to the revealed truth, even if ministers made mistakes in understanding how to count, or would they put their trust in “the scholars” who would tell them how to count so as to arrive at a Sunday Pentecost? Sadly, after 40 years of keeping a revealed Monday Pentecost, the vast majority did not hang on to the faith once delivered and changed to a Sunday Pentecost as promoted by the scholars. My dad said a long time ago, “First, you have to count Pentecost spiritually or you will never understand how to count physically.” That is a most important point. Without God’s spiritual guidance, one will never figure out how to physically count Pentecost to come to the right day of its observance.
Count 50 Days
So now, let us look at the scriptures to help in better understanding how the physical count works.
Leviticus 23:15-16 And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.
We are told in this scripture to count 50 days after “the Sabbath”. The Hebrew word for “Sabbath” used here always refers to the weekly Sabbath, never a “High Sabbath” or what we call a “Holy Day”. Also note this scripture specifically states to count from the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering. This is on the first day of the week, a work day when the start of the spring harvest was first allowed, but only after the offering of a wave sheaf from your own field. So while most Jews count from the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread to arrive at a Sivan 6 or Sivan 7 Pentecost (which can fall on any day of the week), we can easily figure out that this starting point according to the Jews is an error. There is an important reason why we are told to count Pentecost, otherwise God could have just said keep Pentecost on a particular day of the month like He does all the other Holy Days.
Another extremely important point is to realize that the day of Pentecost itself is not part of the count of 50 days. Read Leviticus 23:16 again. Notice! We are told to count 50 days, then make an offering on the day of Pentecost. We must number 50 complete days. The Hebrew word used here and the way the Israelites counted means the count must be “complete” or “perfect”. This means a full 50 days must have come to an end before you begin to observe Pentecost. This scripture tells us which day is the 50th day that must be completed before you begin Pentecost – it is the day after the 7th Sabbath, the first day of the week that is now called Sunday, it is the final day of the 50 day count. We are told to begin the count starting with the day after the weekly Sabbath during the days of Unleavened Bread, the same day as the Wave Sheaf Offering, the first day of the week, which the world labels Sunday.
For me, the easiest way to understand how this works is to count by half days or by a quarter of a day. We start counting at sunset at the end of the Sabbath. In the middle of the night we can count 1/4 of a day. By Sunday morning we can count 1/2 a day. By Sunday noon we can count 3/4 of a day. And by sunset on Sunday we finally arrive at one full day counted. We can continue counting this way until we arrive at Sabbath sunset 7 weeks later. We would then have counted 49 days. Those who keep Whitsunday or a Sunday Pentecost only count 49 days and then keep Pentecost. This is a serious error. On this Sunday morning our count is at 49 1/2 days, Sunday noon 49 3/4 days and finally our count is finished with 50 full, complete, perfect, whole days at Sunday sunset. That is when we are to begin keeping Pentecost. The Israelites as instructed by God counted days differently than how we count days today. They counted days the same way we count years in determining our ages. More on that with scriptural proof in a moment.
Count 7 Weeks
Deuteronomy 16:9-10 You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you.
This is the only other scripture that talks about how to count Pentecost. This scripture, however, uses a 49 day count and a different starting point. First notice that we are told to count 7 weeks, not seven Sabbaths. Each week is a 7 day period, in this case it turns out to be from Monday to Sunday. Also note that the starting point is from the time when they began to put the sickle to the grain. The first time the Israelites were allowed to start the spring grain harvest was after they had taken one sheaf from each of their fields and presented it to a priest for the Wave Sheaf Offering. As we already read in Leviticus 23:15-16, this takes place on the day after the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread, or a Sunday. So, here in Deuteronomy 16 we begin the count of 7 weeks, or 49 days, Sunday evening at sunset, whereas in Leviticus 23 the count of 50 days begins at Sabbath evening at sunset. Notice again the emphasis on counting 7 weeks and then you keep Pentecost. Both counts, obviously, end on the same day, on a Sunday evening at sunset, at the end of the day. And then Pentecost begins at that time and continues for the next 24 hours.
Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Here is an important scripture. Acts 2:1 says that the Day of Pentecost had fully come. This means the main way of counting 50 days had been completely counted – 50 full days before you can start to observe Pentecost.
How to Count
Leviticus 25:8-10 And you shall count seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.
We get a better idea of “how to count” by looking at the instructions for Jubilee. We see in this scripture that Israel was to count 49 years, then keep the year of Jubilee. The comparison here between Leviticus 23 and 25 is that in Leviticus 23 the count is for 50 days as compared to 49 years in Leviticus 25. The important point though, is that the method of counting must be the same. In each case, the count must be completed before starting to observe Pentecost or Jubilee. Just as the Jubilee year is not the last year of the count but the year following the count of 49 years, so Pentecost is not the last day of the count but the day following the end of the count.
Leviticus 15:28-29 But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
This is another scripture that tells us specifically how to count days. A woman is to count 7 days for which she is unclean after her menstruation discharge. Then on the 8th day she is to offer a sacrifice of two birds. Of course, after Jesus’ sacrifice, we are not concerned with sacrificial rituals of purification. But this scripture is a good example along with Jubilee on how to count, the count must be complete before the next activity can begin.
Exodus 22:29-30 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.
Leviticus 22:27 A bullock, or a sheep, or a goat, is brought forth, then it shall be seven days under the dam; and from the eighth day and thenceforth it shall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
Here are two more scriptures relative to the giving of the firstborn. Sons and unclean animals were to be redeemed, but clean animals could be sacrificed., However, one had to at least wait for 7 days first. While the word count is not used in these two scriptures, there is a period of 7 days that must be counted and the action of giving the animal to God, either to His priest or as a sacrifice, was not to occur until the day after the count had ended, the 8th day.
In the Bible, days are usually counted like we count years – for instance, how old we are. In our first year of existence we don’t say we’re one year old. We don’t say we’re one year old until after our first birthday and then we say we’re one year old during the whole period of the second year of our existence until our second birthday. Hence, in our 51st year of existence, we say we’re 50 years old. Only when our 51st year of existence comes to a close with our 51st birthday do we then say we’ve reached the age of 51. This same way of how we count our age is how the Bible counts days – which is indeed different than what we’re normally used to in our English speaking nations.
Count 50, not Keep 50th
The actual day of Pentecost is never part of the actual counting. It may be a common misconception that Pentecost means “keep the 50th day”. Pentecost means “count 50”. Actually, “Pentecost” is a Greek term only used in the New Testament. In the Old Testament this day is called the “Feast of Weeks” (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10), “Feast of Harvest” (Exodus 23:16), and “Day of First Fruits” (Numbers 28:26). It is interesting that in Leviticus 23 where all the Holy Feast of God are given, that there is no “official name” given to this Holy Day we now call Pentecost.
Regarding the misconception that Pentecost means “keep the 50th day,” as has been stated, the Bible counts days differently than we do today. In the Bible, the Israelites and Jews did not count a day until it was over or complete. In that sense, Pentecost is the 50th day until it is over when it then become historically speaking the 51st day. This is proven in Luke 24:21 where the two men traveling on the Sunday said it was the third day since Jesus’ death.
Luke 24:21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
The way we count days, the crucifixion being on Wednesday, Thursday would be day one, Friday day two, Sabbath day three, and we’d then say “today Sunday is the fourth day since the crucifixion”. But again, the Jews didn’t count a day until it was “perfect” or “complete” – therefore for them, Sunday was the third day. Hence, for the Jews, a Monday Pentecost would be the 50th day until after it was over. Again, we can maybe understand this with our counting by 1/4 days. Sunday at midnight on Pentecost would be 50 1/4 days, Monday morning would be 50 1/2 and Monday noon would be 50 3/4 days since the weekly Sabbath of the Days of Unleavened Bread. From this perspective, Pentecost is day 50 in a numbered count – similar to how we count and state our age.
Hebrew Calendar Rules Indicate Sunday Is Not A Viable Day for Pentecost
An additional point to consider is relative to the oral calendar calculation rules passed down through time by the Jews. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans that the oracles of God were given to the Jews for preservation down through history.
According to the Jewish calendar calculations, the four fall Holy Days can never occur on a Friday or Sunday. On a few occasions, only a couple of times in a decade, the first or last Holy Day of Unleavened Bread can fall on a Friday or Sunday. The calendar God gave to Moses and the associated oral rules passed down through time are to prevent two Sabbaths in a row. This is done so that each Sabbath, whether it is a weekly Sabbath or a Holy Day, can have its own preparation day. The way the fall Holy Days are spaced, this is always true. However, with the Feast of Unleavened Bread being seven days long with both the first and last days of the feast being Holy Days, it is a calendar impossibility to prevent them from occasionally falling on a Friday or Sunday.
If God set up His calendar that He gave to Israel so that His Holy Days never or rarely fall on the first day of the week, the day Pagans worship their sun god, why would He ordain Pentecost to occur on a Sunday? If God set up the calendar so that there is almost always a day of preparation for His Holy Days, why would He put Pentecost on a Sunday where no preparation the day before is possible? It just does not make spiritual sense for Pentecost to be on a Sunday for so many reasons.
Uniqueness of Pentecost
All Holy Days are unique and different than the other Holy Days in their own way. They each have a special meaning relative to God’s Plan of Salvation. Without going into the spiritual meaning of Pentecost, here is a list of the unique “physical” characteristics of Pentecost.
1. It is not on a set day of the month
2. It is always on a set day of the week
3. It has to be counted each year
4. The beginning of the count is dependent upon another Holy Feast and its weekly Sabbath
5. There is a special event that begins the count, waving of the wave sheaf offering
6. The end of the count determines when the Holy Day of Pentecost begins
7. Has several different names:
1. Feast of Harvest (as opposed to Feast of Ingathering which is the Feast of Tabernacles)
2. Feast of First Fruits
3. Feast of Weeks (not Sabbaths, but weeks)
(5. Festival of the Covenant, a Jewish traditional name not used in the Bible)
(6. Birthday of the New Testament Church, a somewhat common conception among Churches of God)
Why Do We Need to Count
A good question we can ask ourselves is, “Why didn’t God make this more clear and just say Pentecost is on the second day of the week?” My personal opinion is that God did this on purpose as a test for His people, His church. Would they rely on His inspiration and revelation on which day we should keep Pentecost? Or would we try and figure it out on our own and ask the scholars of the world for help? Those who go to the scholars or trust their own wisdom end up keeping Pentecost on the wrong day. I firmly belief in faith that God revealed a Monday Pentecost to His end-time church which had its beginnings in the mid 1930’s. Unfortunately, after 40 years the ministry decided to reexamine how to count Pentecost and went to the scholars for their advice. More on that coming soon. The apostle James talked about two different types of wisdom, one of which will lead you to a Sunday or Sivan 6 or 7 Pentecost, the other will give you understanding for a Monday Pentecost.
James 3:15-17 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Three Mistakes, but the Right Day
Back in the mid 1930’s, with just the King James Version of the Bible, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and the newly begun Radio Church of God came to a Monday Pentecost. He made three mistakes on how to technically count Pentecost according to the Hebrew definitions for the words God used to explain counting Pentecost in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16. First he counted “from” the day after the weekly Sabbath, the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering. He therefore thought you didn’t count Sunday as the first day, but that the count started with the following Monday. In our English culture, if on a Sunday we say I will see you in 7 days, we don’t count Sunday as the first day and show up for the meeting on a Saturday – we start counting on the following day, a Monday, and we count 7 days, Sunday now being the 7th day from our beginning point. We don’t wait until the day is over to include it in the count. As we have seen, this is far different from how the Old and New Testament Israelites counted days.
The second and third errors on how to count Pentecost need to be considered together. Second, Mr. Armstrong thought Pentecost was on the 50th day. And third, he did not understand that the count of 50 days had to be complete before one begins to observe Pentecost.
However, this is one of those very rare circumstances where several technical mistakes in how to count according to the Hebrew, canceled each other out. Lead by the Holy Spirit, he arrived at the right day, even though his English counting did not agree with the Hebrew counting. If we believe this was indeed the True Church of God with a new beginning in the end-times, we have to ask ourselves, did God “lie” to His Church by leading them to a Monday Pentecost? Who was in charge? Who was directing the results? Men or God? Your belief and answer to those questions will be the difference in whether you keep a Monday Pentecost or a Sunday Pentecost!
Inclusive vs. Exclusive Counting
As explained in the above section, Mr. Armstrong counted “from” Sunday, not counting Sunday, but counting Monday as day one. This is “exclusive counting,” not counting the first day from your beginning point. The Hebrew scholars were correct in stating that this is not the proper way of Biblical counting. Biblical counting and the Hebrew words used definitely mean that “inclusive counting” should be used. Sunday should indeed be included in the count of 50 days.
However, this only corrects one of the errors Mr. Armstrong made. One must also use “inclusive counting” to end the count of 50 days. When one does this, then the Sunday after the seventh Sabbath is day 50 inclusively and you cannot begin Pentecost until that day is completely counted at sunset Sunday evening. Those who arrived at a Sunday Pentecost do so by beginning their count with inclusive counting, but end the count with exclusive counting. They only count 49 days and then keep Pentecost. That is incorrect, you cannot mix counting methodologies. As technically incorrect according to the Hebrew as Mr. Armstrong was, he was at least consistent in beginning and ending his count with exclusive counting. He just also misunderstood that Pentecost is not the 50th day as we consider it in our English cultures, but the day after 50 complete days have been counted according to the Hebrew.
How is it that the ministry of the Church of God only considered correcting how the count of 50 days was started? How can they not take notice that they begin their count with inclusive counting, but retain the error of exclusive counting to end their count? It would almost seem that they had predetermined that Pentecost should be on a Sunday according to their own wisdom and they set about to establish an explanation that produced that result. Is that something you want to be a part of?
One Week Too Early
There was one other change made at the same time the Church of God changed Pentecost to a Sunday. About once a decade, Passover can occur on Sabbath evening, our Friday night. The first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread then falls on a Sunday. The last Holy Day of Unleavened Bread falls on the following weekly Sabbath. This then causes the Wave Sheaf Offering to fall on the next day, the Sunday after the Days of Unleavened Bread are over. The ministerial leaders reasoned that the Wave Sheaf Offering should occur within the Days of Unleavened Bread. In order to accomplish this, they came to the conclusion that the Sabbath Passover should be considered part of the Days of Unleavened Bread and that the next day, a Sunday and the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread, should be the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering and the day the Pentecost count begins.
This is wrong for several reasons. The scriptures state that the Wave Sheaf Offering follows the weekly Sabbath that occurs during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Passover is a completely separate Feast of God. Yes, all Feasts of God are related to each other, but they are separate feasts. Even though the “eighth day” of the Feast of Tabernacles immediately followings the Feast of Tabernacles it is still a separate Feast of God. There is no indication in the scriptures that the Wave Sheaf Offering has to fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread. It usually does, but there is no God-given rule that it has too. The determining point for setting the Wave Sheaf Offering, the weekly Sabbath, does have to occur within the Days of Unleavened Bread. A Sabbath Passover does not fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread and cannot be used to determine the Wave Sheaf Offering and the beginning of the 50 day count for Pentecost. Second, the Wave Sheaf Offering is to occur on the first day of the spring harvest, a work day. If you use a Sabbath Passover to determine the Wave Sheaf Offering, you end up having it occur on the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread, a day in which no work is to be done. This is a spiritual contradiction that God would never institute. This change was also made at the same time as the change to a Sunday Pentecost, not a good indication that either change was approved by God.
Wave Sheaf and Joshua 5
There are some authors and preachers who try to use Joshua 5 to prove that when the Passover is on the Sabbath Eve, it should be used as the Sabbath to designate the wave sheaf offering and hence, the beginning point for the counting of Pentecost. Let us take a brief look at this theory with Leviticus 23:14 in mind.
Leviticus 23:14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Some of the individuals who hold to this theory insert the world “old” before parched, and go on to explain that parched grain (King James “corn”) means the old grain from a previous harvest. This logic is critical to their “proof” that a Passover on a Sabbath should be used in determining when the wave sheaf was to be offered. Their “proof” that Joshua 5 supports this theory stands or falls on this point. However, they site no evidence for such a theory that parched grain means old grain from a previous harvest that I have read. Maybe I missed it in my research. “Parched grain” is from one Hebrew word and simply means “roasted grain”. There is no inherent designation of time associated with this Hebrew word relegating it to a former harvest.
Let’s use some simple Biblical logic to determine what this verse really means. First, we are talking about the Days of Unleavened Bread. Without quoting the scriptures, we know God commanded the Israelites to eat unleavened bread for seven days. It is not the feast of “no bread.” Unleavened bread had to be consumed each and every day of the seven Days of Unleavened Bread. Maybe I misunderstand, but according to the afore mentioned authors and preachers, absolutely no old grain or new grain could be eaten or used to make bread until after the wave sheaf was offered. This would be a contradiction to the command of God to eat unleavened bread for all seven days. Let’s ask another question. If the Israelites were not to eat any old grain or use it to make unleavened bread until after the current wave sheaf, when were they to stop using the old grain for food and bread? They would have been using it for food ever since the previous year’s wave sheaf offering. If they were not allowed to eat it during the Days of Unleavened Bread until after the current year’s wave sheaf offering, that would mean there would have to be a set time when they stopped using the old harvest grain prior to the beginning of this feast. When would that have been? This just doesn’t make any sense at all that I can follow. The obvious explanation, one stated in many commentaries, is that no grain from the current harvest was to be consumed in any manner, roasted, raw or made into bread, until after the wave sheaf offering. To fulfill the command of God to eat unleavened bread prior to the wave sheaf offering, Israelites would have used grain from a previous harvest. God does not contradict Himself and this theory that parched grain means old grain has no supporting evidence and indeed is not Biblically logical in any way. Let’s read Leviticus 23:14 from a couple of other modern translations.
Leviticus 23:14 Until this is done you must not eat any of the harvest for yourselves—neither fresh kernels nor bread nor parched grain. This is a permanent law throughout your nation. (The Living Bible)
Leviticus 23:14 I am your God, and I forbid you to eat any new grain or anything made from it until you have brought these offerings. This law will never change. (Contemporary English Version)
Now, let’s consider Joshua the 5th chapter. The Israelites have crossed the Jordan River after God stopped the flow of water for them. Then God commands that all the males be circumcised. Israel waited until the men healed and then the Passover was kept on the fourteenth day of the month. Then we come to verses 10 to 12.
Joshua 5:10-12 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. 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. 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. (King James Version)
To be fair and honest, commentaries seem to be evenly split concerning what “old corn” means. The Hebrew word here translated as “old” only occurs twice in the whole Old Testament, here in verses 11 and 12. Strong’s Concordance says it means “passed, that is kept over; used only of stored grain: --old corn.” About half of the dozen of commentaries I looked at accept this understanding and say it is in accordance with the law that Israel could not eat of the new grain until after the wave sheaf, it indeed refers to stored grain Israel had confiscated from the conquered land. We must also remember that Israel had been living for a few months on the east side of the Jordan River where they would have also had access to the stored grain of their conquered enemies. This indeed is the most logical explanation and is supported by the command Joshua gave to the Israelites in the first chapter of this book.
Joshua 1:10-11 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”
It appears, however, the manna continued to fall until Israel crossed the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, the land God promised them, and kept the Passover. The other commentaries say “old corn” simply means “produce of the land” and one cannot tell for sure if it refers to old or new grain. They spend more time debating whether “morrow after the Passover” means the 15th or 16th of the Hebrew month.
Again we should ask ourselves some questions. When comparing Joshua 5:10-12 with Leviticus 23:14, one, why did God not inspire a word for “old” to be included in the Leviticus 23 instructions if He did not want old grain used for unleavened bread? Two, in contrast, why did God specifically inspire a word that can mean “old” to be used in Joshua 5? And three, why did God not inspire a word that could only be understood to mean “new” to occur in Joshua 5 eliminating any confusion if indeed He wanted to provide proof that a Sabbath Passover determines the wave sheaf? Instead, the opposite is true in these cases and it should be obvious when considering all the scriptures that unleavened bread was made from old grain until the wave sheaf occurred. Joshua 5:10-12 does not indicate one way or the other when the wave sheaf occurred. To say that Joshua 5:10-12 proves a Sabbath Passover determined the wave sheaf is, at best, taking great liberty with God’s inspired scriptures. When studying the Bible, we should be careful not to let our own preconceived concepts and hoped for outcomes determined the conclusions we come to when expounding on the scriptures. We should also remember one of the guiding principles of Bible study, do not use one unclear scripture to establish doctrine.
Just like we stick with the faith once delivered about a Monday Pentecost, let’s continue to use the Sabbath that falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread to determine the wave sheaf, even if the wave sheaf itself occasionally falls after the Last Holy Day of Unleavened Bread.
Interesting Jewish Traditions
Some additional Jewish traditions are interesting to know. The Jews believe the following events occurred on Pentecost. There is no Biblical evidence for these traditions, but they are interesting to consider. While Pentecost was not instituted until Israel left Egypt, we know God still did special things on the dates that would become the Holy Days in the future. Exodus 12:41 tells us the First Day of Unleavened Bread was exactly 430 years to the day after God’s original covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. Following is a list of Jewish traditions for the day of Pentecost.
Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17)
Birth of Isaac
Vows between Jacob and Laban
Giving of 10 commandments
The only event we know for sure that took place on Pentecost is, of course, the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. It is likely God gave the 10 commandments on Pentecost as it fits the timeline of Exodus, a law the people could not keep because they didn’t have the “heart” to do so (Deuteronomy 5:29). Then almost 1500 years later, God gave His Holy Spirit to His Church so that His called ones could have the “heart” to keep His commandments. There is also the possibility that the Sabbath mentioned in Acts 16:13 might refer to Pentecost, exactly 19 years after Acts 2. On this Pentecost in Acts 16, God opened a “door” for Paul to enter “Asia” (the modern areas of Greece and Turkey) and preach the Gospel for the first time.
I hope this helps in understand how to properly count 50 days in arriving at a Monday Pentecost.
Some who want to make an excuse for their keeping of a Sunday Pentecost with the larger groups in the Church of God say it really doesn’t make that much difference. Would they ever say the same thing about the Sabbath? Do any of us in the Churches of God really believe it doesn’t make any difference to God whether we keep Sunday or Saturday as the Sabbath? There are many scriptures that say part of the reason God has, and will again punish Israel, is because they have abandoned the keeping His true Sabbath Day. The keeping of both the weekly Sabbath and Pentecost involves Holy Time. Only the seventh day of the week is Holy Time. The same principle would also apply to the keeping of Pentecost. Only one day is Holy Time for Pentecost. If we observe any other day than the day God has consecrated as Holy Time for Pentecost, then we will not receive His spiritual blessing, but potentially suffer punishment unless we repent in time.
Put your confidence in the originally revealed truth of a Monday Pentecost. Once you do, you can understand how the inspired scriptures do indeed support a Monday Pentecost with inclusive counting to both begin and end the count of 50 days. Pentecost always has been and always will be on a Monday.