How to Celebrate PENTECOST
Ye "shall COUNT unto you from the morrow (next day) after the SABBATH (weekly Sabbath not annual Sabbath), from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering (an omer of sifted, barley flour); SEVEN SABBATHS (or "weeks" -- Deut.16:9; Num.28:26) shall be COMPLETE (not partial weeks but complete weekly cycles): Even unto the MORROW (next day) after the SEVENTH SABBATH shall ye NUMBER FIFTY DAYS (There's no need to count if a person always ends up on Sivan 6 as the Jews believe.) ... Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves ... they shall be baked with leaven; they are the FIRST FRUITS unto the Eternal.... And the priest shall wave ... the bread of the FIRST FRUITS for a wave offering before the Eternal... And ye shall proclaim on the self-same day, that it may be an HOLY CONVOCATION ("rehearsal" -- #4744) unto you: ye shall do NO SERVILE WORK therein: it shall be a statute FOREVER in all your dwellings throughout your generations. And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field ... neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest; thou shalt leave them unto the POOR, and to the STRANGER" (Lev. 23:15-22). Just as in the Jubilee Year (after seven weeks of years) the land provided free produce to the POOR, so at the Feast of Weeks (after seven weeks) the GLEANINGS and CORNERS (Lev. 19:9; 23:22) provided free grain to the POOR. Part of observing Pentecost includes an offering to POOR JEWISH CHRISTIANS of 1.66 percent of the year's income: "not less than one-sixtieth" (Mishna Peah 1:2).
Just as the JUBILEE gave LIBERTY to the economic slave by giving him LAND the FIFTIETH year, so PENTECOST offers LIBERTY to the poor with GLEANINGS and CORNERS starting on the FIFTIETH day.
In Acts 2:1 we read that they were "all with one accord in one place." They didn't have part of the church observing SIVAN 6 and part observing a MONDAY PENTECOST and another part observing a SUNDAY PENTECOST. All kept Sunday -- the only right time. John 4:9-24 shows that God DOES CARE WHEN we worship him. The Holy Spirit only fell on SUNDAY, Pentecost, 31 A.D. Pentecost can float through the days of the month, anywhere from the 4th to the 12th of Sivan. But it is anchored to SUNDAY. Deuteronomy 16:9-10 says, "Seven weeks shalt thou number ... And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks" (after 49 days). On the fiftieth day. Numbers 28:26 says, "Observe Pentecost after your weeks be out." If we count from SUNDAY, the day of the wave sheaf, when Christ was accepted by the Father, then SUNDAY is day number one. Thus, fifty days from SUNDAY brings us to another SUNDAY. Christ WASN'T ACCEPTED by God on a MONDAY (John 20:1-17; Matt.28:9). SIVAN 6 gives ANY DAY of the week. In the same way, the JUBILEE YEAR is the FIFTIETH YEAR after counting (Lev.25:8-11). Seven times seven is a complete unit with God. The seventh DAY is the SABBATH. After seven WEEKS is PENTECOST. The seventh MONTH begins with TRUMPETS and is full of holy days (ATONEMENT, SUKKOT and EIGHTH DAY). The seventh YEAR is a LAND SABBATH (Ex.23:10). After seven LAND SABBATHS is the JUBILEE (Lev. 25:10). This pattern is altered if PENTECOST is MONDAY or SIVAN 6.
Since the wave sheaf occurred on a SUNDAY, we also know the day of the week he ascended from the Mount of Olives "FORTY DAYS" later (Acts 1:3). His ascension (Acts 1:9-12) took place on THURSDAY. The feast of "Pentecost" (Acts 2:1; Greek "count fifty") is also known as the "Feast of HARVEST, the FIRST FRUITS of thy labors" (Ex.23:16) or the "Feast of WEEKS" (or Heb. "SHAVU'OT) (Ex.34:22; Deut.16:10) or "the Day of the FIRSTFRUITS" (Num.28:26). Josephus calls it "The feast of the FIFTY DAYS" (Wars 2:3:1).
Law Given From Mount Sinai
On Pentecost the Law was given to Israel from Mount Sinai (TB Shabbat 86b; Pesachim 68b) . But "Not with you alone do I make this covenant ... but with ... those who are not here with us this day" (Deut. 29:13-14). Later generations, Israelite colonies in Greece, and non-Israelite peoples can also be included.
"There are 613 (Hebrew) letters in the Decalogue, equal to the number of the commandments" (Bemidbar Rabbah 13:15-16). But modern Hebrew texts of Deuteronomy 5:7-21 have 665 letters and Exodus 20:3-17 have 579. Hebrew liturgists, beginning with Rav Saadyah Gaon, composed Piyyutim (religious poems) for Shavuot containing ten chapters and including all 613 commandments. On Pentecost it is a Jewish custom to read and study all 613 laws. Sephardim recite Azharot (all 613 laws). The first five commandments were written on one tablet, and the second five on another tablet (Yerushalmi Shekalim 6:1). The first five regulate our conduct toward God (since "the Torah compares respect for parents to respect for God" -- Kiddushin 30b) and the second five our conduct toward our fellow men.
The Bible describes the Ten Commandments as "the writing of God, ENGRAVED (harut) on the tablets" (Ex. 32:16). "ENGRAVED" could also be read herut "FREEDOM," for no man is truly FREE unless he engages in Torah study (Avot 6:2). Offering them "FREEDOM on the tablets" is appropriate since they had come from Egyptian SLAVERY.
The Midrash says God's voice thundered the Torah from Mount SINAI "in seventy LANGUAGES, so that all the nations should understand" (Exodus Rabbah 5:9). God spoke in"VOICES" (Ex.20:18; Rhm.; YLT). There was also "FIRE" and a "SOUND" (Heb.12:18-19 Ex.20:18). The first trump is in Exodus 19:19. Israel became a NATION on Pentecost. No Holy Spirit was given. Instead, "the Eternal said unto Moses, come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a LAW, and commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them" (Ex.24:12). Also they were given an "ADDED" law of RITUALS (Gal.3:19) as a SUBSTITUTE for the HOLY SPIRIT and about 3000 men were buried because of idol worship (Ex.32:28).
The Gospel was spoken in many "OTHER TONGUES" accompanied by "FIRE" and a "SOUND" in Acts 2:2-4 on Mount ZION. Also, the New Testament CHURCH began on PENTECOST at the temple mount in Jerusalem (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1; Heb. 12:22). Before going onto the Temple mount itself, a pilgrim had to be ritually cleansed in a mikvah and excavations have uncovered many mikvaot outside the south wall of the Temple Mount. Therefore, this had to be the spot where the 3000 were baptized (buried in a mikvah) on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41,46). In fact, the "house" they were sitting in (Acts 2:2) may have been the "House of God." Incidentally, according to legend the world was divided into 70 LANGUAGES at Babel on PENTECOST also (Gen. 11:8). The TONGUES OF FIRE over the apostles' heads (Acts 2) correspond to the fact that "all the people saw the thunders and the FLAMES" (Ex.20:18). The "devout men" (Acts 2:5) weren't Christians but instead were those who obeyed the laws of the Old Testament.
Why Two Loaves?
Each LOAF contained about four pounds of flour (Lev. 23:17). According to the Mishnah, each loaf was 7 x 4 handbreadths (28" x 16") and seven fingers wide (6"). The TWO WAVE LOAVES offered on Pentecost represent the CHURCH which is "built upon the foundation of the APOSTLES (New Testament saints) and PROPHETS (Old Testament saints) (Eph.2:20). Or they represent pre-tribulation (LEAH) and tribulation (RACHEL) saints. Or they are the two houses of JUDAH and ISRAEL, or ISRAELITES and GENTILES. Just as the WAVE SHEAF was LIFTED UP into the air and waved, symbolizing CHRIST'S TRIP TO HEAVEN and RETURN, so the WAVE LOAVES were LIFTED UP and waved meaning WE WILL MEET HIM in the AIR , marry him, and return after seven years (1 Thess.4:16-17; Acts 1:11; Zech.14:3-4). These Jewish Christians will be HARVESTED at Christ's return. "Thrust in thy sickle, and REAP ... for the (good wheat) HARVEST of the earth is RIPE" (Rev.14:15). "Gather the wheat" (Matt.13:30). But just as these loaves contain LEAVEN (Lev.23:17), so the church ISN'T PERFECT (1 John 1:8; Rom.3:23). Only CHRIST was PERFECT (Heb.4:15;5:9; 7:26; 9:28). The LEAVEN may also illustrate the presence of "TARES" (weeds) (Matt.13:38), or FALSE BROTHERS living among both the OLD and NEW TESTAMENT SAINTS. During the fifty-day period, the wheat must GROW and MATURE until it is ready for harvest. If the heads of barley were not entirely ripe, they could be dried with FIRE or parched -- a type of FIERY trial (Mal.3:1-7; 1 Cor.3:13-15; Rev.3:18).
The number TWO in the Bible is the number of WITNESS and TESTIMONY. TWO witnesses establish a truth (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:19-20). The Ten Commandments were written on TWO stones (Ex. 31:18) and are fulfilled by TWO commandments of love (Matt. 22:34-40). If the TWO loaves symbolize the TWO Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, then both Jews and Christians are independent witnesses to the truth of the Bible.
The congregation sings Psalm 113. The priest faces Jerusalem and waves the LOAVES SOUTH and NORTH for verses 1 and 2 -- "from this time forth and for evermore." EAST and WEST for verse 3 -- "from the rising of the sun unto the going down." UP for verses 4 and 5 -- "God, who dwelleth on high." DOWN for verse 6 -- "who looks far down" (RSV). It's been done this way for thousands of years only in Hebrew.
The Small Spring Grain Harvest Pictures Salvation Of Jewish Christians
The resurrection of Messiah was the wave sheaf of BARLEY. The resurrection of Jewish Christians (those who obey like Jews and believe like Christians) who live during the 6000 years will be the two wave loaves of WHEAT. The gleanings (Lev. 23:22) which are harvested last by the poor and alien may picture "deathbed repentances." They remain in the field (world) till the Millenium when they're harvested. The resurrection of the rest of humanity -- Millenial Jewish Christians and after -- will be the waving of the lulav and etrog representing the FRUITS and NUTS.
There were TWO physical HARVESTS in Israel annually. The first was the GRAIN HARVEST lasting seven weeks. The barley ripened sooner than the other grains and was ready for harvesting on wave-sheaf Sunday (Ex.9:31-32; 2 Sam.21:9; Ruth 1:22; 2 Ki.4:42). Wheat took longer to ripen and was harvested at PENTECOST (Ex.34:22; Ruth 2:23; Ex.9:32; Lev. 23:20-22). "Thou shalt observe the Feast of Weeks, of the FIRSTFRUITS of WHEAT HARVEST" (Ex.34:22). We Jewish Christians are "FIRST FRUITS of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23). The Jews called Pentecost "atzeret" or "CLOSING DAY" of the Passover season because it is the LAST FESTIVAL of the GRAIN HARVEST just as the EIGHTH DAY was the LAST FESTIVAL of the FRUIT HARVEST (cp. Pesik. 30:193) Pentecost is the day that DIVIDES the GRAIN HARVEST from the FRUIT HARVEST (see Jewish Encyc., art. "Firstfruits" and art. "Pentecost" and A Guide To Shavuot by Chaim Pearl).
The "WEEKS OF THE HARVEST" (Jer.5:24-25) are the SEVEN WEEKS from wave sheaf Sunday to Pentecost. It is a type of the HARVEST of ISRAELITES OUT of EGYPT and into God's barn or way of life which has a second fulfillment and gathering which may occur on Pentecost again (Ez.20:40-41). Jeremiah 2:3 says, "Israel was holiness unto the Eternal, and the FIRST FRUITS of his increase; all that devour him shall offend." "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his SHEAVES with him" (Ps.126:6; cp. Matt. 13:37-39; Mark 4:26-29). The GRAIN HARVEST was the comparatively SMALL SPRING HARVEST after the "FORMER RAIN" (Joel 2:23; Hos.6:3; Deut.11:14; Jer.5:24; James 5:7) moderately watered the fields in the SPRING as a type of of the Holy Spirit. Then came the second or FALL FRUIT HARVEST which ended on the EIGHTH DAY just as PENTECOST ended the GRAIN HARVEST. Grapes, olives, figs and pomegranates were gathered in (Ex.23:16) during the heavy "LATTER RAIN" (Joel 2:23,28,29; Isa.32:14-15; 44:3; John 7:37-39; Zech.10:1) of the FALL. Both come in the first month (Joel 2:23) -- one in Tishri and one in Nisan. As God's Holy Spirit pours out in abundance, the whole world will be saved (Joel 2:28-29).
The SMALL SPRING HARVEST-- the "LITTLE FLOCK" (Luke 12:32) -- which began on wave-sheaf Sunday and ended on the Feast of PENTECOST, typified the 2000 YEARS between Christ's first coming and his second. The HARVEST typifies SALVATION at "the end of the world (age)" (Matt.13:39).
God didn't reveal spiritual understanding to ancient Israel (Eph.3:5). They DIDN'T HAVE the HOLY SPIRIT (John 7:37-39) and therefore
didn't have the heart to obey (Deut.5:29). The law was "WEAK through the FLESH" (Rom.8:3). The carnal mind is hostile to God's law (Rom.8:7; Eph.4:18; 1 Cor.2:14). That was the FAULT with the Old Covenant -- the UNCONVERTED PEOPLE (Heb.8:8; Rom.11:32; Deut.29:4; Isa.30:9-10; Jer.31:31-34; Ez.11:19-20; Ez.36:26-27). The "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38), as a whole, was DENIED the HOLY SPIRIT. They will be in the FRUIT and NUT harvest. But a few patriarchs, kings and prophets were GIVEN God's HOLY SPIRIT and were able to obey the spirit and intent of the law. Even in Old Testament times the heroes were truly "Jewish Christians" and were under the New Covenant promises and requirements. They represent the WHEAT.
For instance, God's Spirit was in JOSEPH (Gen.41:38), MOSES (Num.11:25), JOSHUA (27:18), OTHNIEL (Judges 3:9-10), GIDEON (6:34), JEPHTHAH (11:29), SAMSON (13:24-25), SAUL (1 Sam.10:6) and DAVID (16:13; Ps.51:11) among many others. It's true that "the Holy Spirit was not yet given" (John 7:39) in 30 A.D. to the church as a whole. But it had been given to key individuals in the past. These men will be "FIRST FRUITS" in Revelation 14:4. "But every man in his own order: CHRIST the first fruits (WAVE SHEAF of BARLEY); afterward they that are Christ's (Jewish Christians) at his coming" (WAVE LOAVES of WHEAT) (1 Cor.15:23; 16:15; cp. 1 Th.4:13-17; Rom. 8:29). See also Romans 11:16, Colossians 1:18 and Hebrews 12:23. Jewish Christians are "a kind of FIRST FRUITS of his creatures" (James 1:18). The rest of humanity are the ETROG and LULAV last.
"Repent, and be baptized ... in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. For the promise (of Eternal Life) is unto you" (Acts 2:38-39). By being "sealed with the HOLY SPIRIT of promise" we receive "the earnest (downpayment) of our inheritance until the redemption" (Eternal Life) (Eph.1:14; cp. 2 Cor. 5:5). "Now if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his" (Rom.8:9). "For as many as are led by the SPIRIT OF GOD, they are the sons of God" (Rom.8:14). But God gives his SPIRIT only "to them that OBEY him" (Acts 5:32). We can quench it by DISOBEDIENCE (1 Th..5:19; Ps.51:11). The "SPIRIT OF TRUTH" will "guide you into all truth" (John 16:13) and "teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I (Christ) have said unto you" (John 14:26). We can then worship God "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). The SPIRIT working in us will do greater miracles than even Christ did of healing and raising the dead (John 14:10-12). The FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT "is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness" and "temperance (self-control)" (Gal.5:22-23). Yes, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the HOLY SPIRIT that is given unto us" (Rom.5:5). "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love" (John 15:10). "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments" (1 John 5:3). We repent and are forgiven (PASSOVER) and then obey (UNLEAVENED BREAD), and get supernatural help and power (PENTECOST).
The Old Covenant Marriage
Yahweh's PROPOSAL was, "Now if you OBEY ME fully and keep my COVENANT, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession" (Ex.19:5). The bride responded, "We WILL DO everything the Eternal has said" (Ex.19:7-8). "I sware unto thee, and entered into a COVENANT with thee ... and thou becamest Mine" (Ez. 16:8-9) on Pentecost. This was a MARRIAGE (Ez. 16:8; Jer. 31:32). Yahweh said, "I am MARRIED unto you" (Jer. 3:14). The terms and conditions of the OLD COVENANT agreement are found from Exodus 19:1 to 24:8. It wasn't an OLD TESTAMENT since the death of one of the parties wasn't required to make it binding.
Jesus the Messiah was the God of this OLD COVENANT. Since no man has ever heard the voice of God the Father (John 5:37), it must have been Jesus the Messiah who spoke the ten commandments from Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:1-2). He created everything as the God of the "Old Testament" (John 1:3; Col. 1:16). He was the "HUSBAND." Israel and Judah were the "WIFE" and said "I DO" in Exodus 19:8 and 24:7 before being tried and tested and without the Holy Spirit.
The promises for OBEDIENCE in the LETTER were NATIONAL PHYSICAL wealth, health, and victory. But Israel committed ADULTERY with other gods and played the HARLOT. Messiah then DIVORCED Israel (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:6-8; Isa. 59:1-2; Hos. 2:2) but stayed married to Judah. He said to his divorced wife, "Ye shall be REDEEMED without money" (Isa. 52:3). "For thy maker is thine husband ... and the holy one of Israel is thy REDEEMER.... For the Lord hath called thee as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, saith thy God" (Isa. 54:1-10). Messiah REDEEMED Israel without money when he died at Golgotha. This was necessary since Deuteronomy 24:4 forbade remarriage to a divorced wife. Messiah's death also dissolved the MARRIAGE to Judah (Rom. 7:1-4). Messiah paid with his life the BRIDE PRICE in order to remarry his transformed wife. A cup of wine seals this NEW COVENANT (Matt. 26:28). When the Jewish Christian Bride accepts, she is "BOUGHT with a PRICE" (1 Cor.6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Messiah will marry spiritual Israel under a NEW COVENANT when she is resurrected. Spiritual Israel includes any Jew or Gentile who chooses to accept Messiah's BRIDE PRICE and OBEY the Bible. This covenant is also a NEW TESTAMENT since death of one of the parties was necessary to make it binding. Eternal inheritance of earth was given only to one seed -- Messiah (Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:16-19). "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). The "better promises" (Heb. 8:6) for obedience in the spirit "from the heart" (Eph. 6:6) are the gifts of the HOLY SPIRIT and ETERNAL LIFE. The problem with the Old Covenant was not the law. This law was perfect (Ps. 19:7; Rom. 7:12). The fault was with the people (Heb. 8:7-8). The bride must first be tried and tested, with the Holy Spirit, to see if she really wants to obey God. To attend this wedding she must be "born again" as a spirit being. When Messiah returns, he will spend the second half of his week of seven years in Daniel 9:26-27 confirming the covenant with Israel and writing his laws in her heart and mind (Heb. 8:6-10) -- "in the fleshly tables" of her heart (Jer. 31:33; Ez. 11:19-20). His second marriage to Israel will occur in Revelation 19:7-9 and is described in 2 Corinthians 11:2.
Which Day Is Pentecost -- Sivan 6 or Sunday?
Leviticus 23:11 says the sheaf is waved on "the morrow after the sabbath." BUT WHICH SABBATH? A WEEKLY SATURDAY or an ANNUAL SABBATH -- NISAN 15? If we use NISAN 15 as both the Hillel and Shammai Pharisees did (M. Hag. 2:4; Mena. 10:3), Pentecost is anchored to Sivan 5, 6 or 7 and will float around any day of the week. If we use a WEEKLY SABBATH as the Sadducees did (TB Men. 65b; Mishnah Men. 10:3; Mishnah Hagigah 2:4), SUNDAY PENTECOST floats between Sivan 6 and Sivan 12. One is tied to the day of the MONTH, the other to the day of the WEEK. Which is right?
First, Leviticus 23:15-16 says, "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath ... seven SABBATHS shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh SABBATH shall ye number fifty days." The word "SHABBATH" here in this verse always means "REST" and never means "WEEK" anywhere in the Bible. The word "SHABUWA" found in Deuteronomy 16:9 always means "WEEK" and never means "REST." If the word "SHABBATH" in any way meant "SEVEN," then it would not have been possible to refer to the annual holy days as "SHABBATHS" since they have no relation to "SEVEN." But "SHABBATH" is applied to the holy days. Furthermore, since the word "SHABBATH" means "REST DAY," it would pollute its meaning to say it also means "A WEEK." A WEEK includes SIX WORK DAYS.
Second, if the expression "the morrow after the SABBATH" in verse 15 is supposed to mean "the day after the annual holy day," then it would follow that the expression "the morrow after the seventh SABBATH" in verse 16 really should mean "the day after the seventh annual holy day" since the same Hebrew word "SHABBATH" is used in both places. But that doesn't make sense.
Third, the instructions for counting the interval up to Pentecost are found in two different passages. Leviticus 23:15-16 tells us to count seven SABBATH DAYS. Deuteronomy 16:9-10 tells us to count seven WEEKS. The only way these two scriptures can be reconciled is to have the counting start on SUNDAY -- the day after the weekly Sabbath day.
Fourth, there is NO REASON TO COUNT Pentecost if it is always on Sivan 6. Counting would be pointless. Opponents argue that since months can have 29 or 30 days, we don't know if Sivan is the 5th, 6th, or 7th. But what they're really saying is that they don't follow the Pharisees that they claim to follow -- who "sit in Moses' seat" (Matt.23:2). The JEWS USE ONLY SIVAN 6 but even TB Shabbat 86b gives Sivan 6 or 7 as the date for the giving of the Law on Sinai.
Fifth, Joshua 5:10-12 shows they ATE the grain of the land (harvest) the DAY AFTER PASSOVER. Since the wave sheaf had to occur BEFORE they ate the harvest, and since the wave sheaf occurred ON the "sabbath," we know the Passover must have been that sabbath. Since Passover is Nisan 14, it had to be a WEEKLY rather than an ANNUAL sabbath since "morrow after" Nisan 15 (Lev.23:11) would place it a day LATER than here in Joshua. But opponents argue that Passover is the 15th, not the 14th. Yet we see clearly from the gospels TWO CONSECUTIVE Passovers. Christ celebrated the FIRST which was NOT A FEAST (John 13:1) OR A SABBATH since Christ ordered food to be bought (John 13:28-30). The Jews would never have allowed an execution on a HOLY DAY either. The Pharisees celebrated the SECOND on NISAN 15 which was a FEAST, a "SABBATH" and a "HIGH DAY" (John 19:31).
Sixth, JESUS was the true WAVE SHEAF who was ACCEPTED on SUNDAY. Therefore the "sabbath" had to be a WEEKLY SABBATH, NOT the ANNUAL SABBATH (first holy day) in "morrow after the sabbath" (Lev.23:11). If NISAN 15 was the wave sheaf, he would have been ACCEPTED THURSDAY. But he was DEAD in a tomb on THURSDAY. John 20:17 and Matthew 28:1and 9 show that Christ was ACCEPTED on SUNDAY. First "Jesus saith unto her, TOUCH ME NOT; for I am not yet ASCENDED to my FATHER. But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ASCEND unto my FATHER and your Father, and to my God and your God" (John 20:17). Then later, "they came and HELD HIM by the feet" (Matt.28:1,9). They TOUCHED him. Pentecost (Acts 2:1) fell 50 days after this "WAVE SHEAF SUNDAY"
Seventh, Matthew 23:2-3 says, "The scribes and the PHARISEES sit in Moses' seat. All, therefore, WHATEVER THEY BID YOU OBSERVE,
that OBSERVE and DO." Therefore our opponents argue that we should follow the PHARISEES today who observe SIVAN 6 as Pentecost. Even PAUL was proud of being a PHARISEE, they argue (Acts 23:6; Phil.3:4-6). The fallacy with this reasoning is that the PHARI-SEES were often WRONG doctrinally. Jesus said, "except your righteousness shall EXCEED the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20). Sivan 6 was one of their errors. Furthermore, Moses' seat was NOT DOCTRINAL. Instead it was ADMINISTRATIVE and LITIGATIONAL -- like an admonition to obey the POLICE and JUDGES today. Christ and the apostles kept PASSOVER on a DIFFERENT DAY than the Pharisees (John 18:28). The Pharisees were WRONG ABOUT the SABBATH (John 9:16; Matt.12:9-14). They were WRONG ABOUT HANDWASHING (Matt.15:1; Mark 7:1-5). WRONG ON TRADITION (Matt.15:1; Mark 7:1-5) and about EATING WITH SINNERS (Matt.9:11; Luke 5:30). They believed in an IMMORTAL SOUL (Antiquities 18:1:3) and LOVED FLATTERING TITLES (Matt.23:6; Luke 11:43). They believed in FATE (Wars 2:8:14) and were WRONG ABOUT CHRIST (Matt.9:34; 12:24; John 8:13). The Pharisees even DISAGREED AMONG THEMSELVES (Acts 5:34-39; 26:5; Php.3:5).
Paul, speaking about his Pharisaic training, said, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted LOSS for Christ.... and do count them but DUNG" (Phil. 3:7-8). Was he referring to the SIVAN 6 Pentecost? Christ said, "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye SHUT UP THE KINGDOM of heaven AGAINST MEN ... ye make (a proselyte) ... TWOFOLD MORE the CHILD OF HELL than yourselves.... ye BLIND GUIDES ... Ye SERPENTS, ye generation of VIPERS, how can ye escape the DAMNATION OF HELL?" (Matt.23:13-33). Yet some men want us to follow the Pharisees today. Even the Pharisees admit that PENTECOST used to fall on OTHER DAYS of the month beside Sivan 6 (The Biblical & Hist. Background of the Jewish Holy Days by A. P. Bloch, pp.179-181).
We keep Pentecost the way the Saduccees did, supported by the Boethusians, Karaites, Samaritans and even Quartodecimans, but WE DON'T FOLLOW THE SADDUCEES. It's just that they were SOMETIMES RIGHTdoctrinally. For example, they DIDN'T believe in FATE (Ant.13:5:9), DIDN'T believe in an IMMORTAL SOUL and DIDN'T believe in the Pharisees' ORAL TRADITIONS (Talmud) (Ant.13:10:6; 18:1:4; Wars 2:8:14). But "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?" (John 7:48). The implied answer is "No." Even though the Pharisees were largely in control at the time of Christ (Ant. 13:10:5-6), we still find that Luke 6:1 records the SADDUCEAN WAY of reckoning Pentecost by naming a particular Sabbath the "SECOND-FIRST Sabbath." Each group had a separate celebration in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Sivan 6 would fall on a Sunday in some years, so the Saduccees and Pharisees were occasionally IN HARMONY and Paul's desire to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16) could have been for either reason.
Eighth, God has a particular PATTERN he uses over and over again. Notice it. We count seven complete DAYS from the FIRST DAY of the week to end a week. We count seven complete WEEKS from the FIRST DAY of the FIRST WEEK to come to Pentecost. We count seven NEW MOONS from the FIRST DAY of the FIRST MONTH to arrive at Trumpets. We count seven NEW YEAR'S DAYS from the FIRST DAY of the FIRST AGRICULTURAL YEAR to arrive at the land sabbath. We count seven complete WEEKS OF YEARS from the FIRST DAY of the FIRST WEEK OF YEARS to arrive at the Jubilee.
Notice that we don't count seven days from MONDAYor FRIDAY. We don't count seven moons from the FIFTH day of the NINTH month. We don't count years from the FOURTH month of the THIRD year. Why, then, should we count seven weeks to Pentecost from ANY DAY of the week OTHER THAN the FIRST DAY of the week? SIVAN 6 DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. It doesn't fit the pattern. The Bible clearly says, "seven sabbaths (weeks) shall be COMPLETE: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath (day) shall ye number fifty days" (Lev.23:15-16 Deut.16:9). How can a week be COMPLETE or a COMPLETE WEEKLY CYCLE if it is from MONDAY to MONDAY or FRIDAY to FRIDAY?
The JUBILEE is COUNTED the same way that PENTECOST is COUNTED. Seven times seven is forty-nine plus one is fifty. The fact of the fifty-day count doesn't alter the seven-day weekly cycle or prevent a new cycle from beginning at the end of forty-nine days (not fifty). It is just a one-time calculation and has no effect on figuring the next Pentecost. In the same way, a new Jubilee occurs after every forty-nine years because the FIFTIETH YEAR is also the FIRST YEAR of a NEW CYCLE just as the FIFTIETH DAY is the FIRST DAY of a NEW WEEK.
Ninth, critics argue that Christ, the apostles and Paul quoted from the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament (LXX) in most of their New Testament references to the Old Testament and the Septuagint says "On the morrow of the FIRST DAY" of Unleavened Bread (Lev.23:11). Therefore, it is argued, they gave their approval to a Nisan-15-Sabbath type of reckoning. The Septuagint translation was probably made from 285 to 150 B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt because the Jews returning from Babylon and elsewhere had forgotten their Hebrew language. Greek was the common tongue of these Jews from many lands. TheSeptuagint put the scriptures into the hands of the people. Thus a majority of O.T. quotations found in the N.T. are from the Septuagint. Much terminology of the Greek N.T. has its basis in the Septuagint also.
There are MANY QUOTATIONS in which the HEBREW, SEPTUAGINT, and the N.T. AGREE.
There is a LARGER number of quotations where the SEPTUAGINT is FOLLOWED -- NOT the HEBREW. Such, for instance, is the case in Hebrews 1:6, where the quotation "let all the angels of God worship Him" is quoted word for word from the LXX of Deuteronomy 32:43, but this is entirely absent from the Hebrew text of that passage. Again Matthew 19:5 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh," is from the LXX of Genesis 2:24, not from the Hebrew. Also Hebrews 10:5 says, "A body hast thou prepared Me" which is taken from the LXX of Psalm 40:6. The Hebrew reads "ears hast thou digged for Me, " as in the margin of the Revised Version.
There are still a LARGER number of cases where the New Testament quote DIFFERS FROM BOTH the HEBREW and the SEPTUAGINT. Thus, Romans 11:8, "God gave them a spirit of stupor" is neither from the Hebrew nor from the LXX of Isaiah 29:10, each of which has "the Lord has poured upon you the spirit of slumber." Again, Ephesians 4:8, "When he ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men" is from neither the Hebrew nor the Greek of Psalm 68:18.
There are SOME cases where the HEBREW is PARTLY followed and PARTLY the LXX and PARTLY NEITHER. This is the case , for instance, in Matthew 12:17-21, which chiefly follows the Hebrew of Isaiah 42:1-3, departs from both Hebrew and LXX in the clause "Till he send forth judgment unto victory," and finishes by following the LXX. Hebrews 10:30 says, "Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense" and is neither altogether from the Hebrew nor from the LXX of Deuteronomy There are a few where the SEPTUAGINT has been ALTERED IN QUOTING, in accordance with the HEBREW, as for instance in 2 Timothy 2:19, where the words "The Lord knoweth them that are His" are from the LXX of Numbers 16:5, but the title "God" is changed to "the Lord" as in the Hebrew.
In some cases the HEBREW has been FOLLOWED and NOT the LXX, as in Matthew 2:15, from the Hebrew of Hosea 11:1 (the LXX has "out of Egypt did I call his children") and John 19:37, from the Hebrew of Zechariah 12:10, with the exception of "Him" for "Me" (i.e. interpreting the Hebrew).
Sometimes ONE N.T. writer ADOPTS the HEBREW and ANOTHER ADOPTS the GREEK. Matthew closely follows the Hebrew in Matthew 8:17, "Himself took our infirmities, and bear our diseases," from Isaiah 53:4,5. Peter in 1 Peter 2:24 follows the LXX (pp.82-85, Divine Inspiration of the Bible by W.E. Vine).
Matthew's gospel seems to be INDEPENDENT of the SEPTUAGINT entirely (P.E.O.T.B. 5:346). Papias (c.130 A.D.) said that "Matthew wrote the sayings (of Jesus) in Hebrew, and each one translated them as he was able." (Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 3:39). The SEPTUAGINT'S books of Proverbs and Job are "inadequate" beside the Masoretic Text. Job is "one sixth shorter" than it should be. The text of Jeremiah is "markedly different" from the Masoretic and Isaiah is a "very free" translation compared to the Masoretic (Interpreter's Dictionary 4:276-277). Therefore, using these facts and the New Testament as our guide, we must SOMETIMES QUOTE FROM, and SOMETIMES DEPART FROM, the SEPTUAGINT. Furthermore, Leviticus 23:11 is NEVER QUOTED in the New Testament.
First-Fruits Are One-Sixtieth of Entire Produce
On Pentecost, farmers would bring the FIRSTFRUITS of the harvest to the priest. As God said in Numbers 18:12, "the FIRST FRUITS of them which they shall offer unto the Eternal, them have I given thee. And whatsoever is FIRST RIPE in the land, which they shall bring unto the Eternal, shall be thine ... EVERYTHING that OPENETH THE MATRIX (womb) in all flesh, which they bring unto the Eternal, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine; nevertheless the FIRSTBORN of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the FIRSTLING of unclean beast shalt thou redeem ... for ... five shekels." A silver shekel was .367 troy oz. and would be worth about $2.20. Thus, five shekels would be about $11.00.
As Nehemiah 10:34-37 says, "we cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people ... to bring the FIRST FRUITS of our ground, and the FIRST FRUITS of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the Eternal: Also the FIRST-BORN of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the FIRSTLINGS of our herds and
of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests who minister in the house of our God; And that we should bring the FIRSTFRUITS of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the TITHES of our ground unto the Levites." "And the FIRST of all the FIRST FRUITS of all things ... shall be the priest's; ye shall also give unto the priest the FIRST of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house" (Ez.44:30).
"Thou shalt take of the FIRST OF ALL THE FRUIT of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Eternal thy God giveth thee, and shalt PUT IT IN A BASKET, and shalt go unto the place which the Eternal thy God shall choose to place his name there (at Pentecost bring an extra offering of money to church or synagogue). And thou shalt GO UNTO THE PRIEST (Christ is our high priest) who shall be in those days, and say unto him (in silent prayer), I profess this day unto the Eternal thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Eternal swore unto our fathers to give us (America). And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Eternal thy God. And thou shalt speak and say before the Eternal thy God (in prayer), A Syrian ready to perish was my father (Jacob -- Gen.25:20), and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians evil entreated (badly treated) us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage; And when we cried unto the Eternal God of our fathers, the Eternal heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labor, and our oppression.
And the Eternal brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness (awe-inspiring terror), and with signs, and with wonders; And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land ("My country, 'tis of thee"), even a land that floweth with milk and honey ("amber waves of grain" and "the fruited plain"). And now, behold, I have brought the FIRST FRUITS of the land, which thou, O Eternal, hast given me. And thou shalt SET IT BEFORE the ETERNAL thy GOD, and WORSHP before the Eternal thy God. And thou shalt REJOICE in every good thing which the Eternal thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger who is among you" (Deut.26:2-11).
Bikkurim 1:6 and 1:10 say that FIRSTFRUITS can be brought any time from PENTECOST to TABERNACLES -- not just once.
This scripture must be RECITED SILENTLY by every Jewish Christian on the Feast of Firstfruits after he has brought his monetary offering to the minister or rabbi. According to B.T. Hullin 137b, firstfruits amounted to ONE SIXTIETH of the entire produce. So perhaps 1.67 PERCENT of a year's income would be comparable. Give this money to some worthy Biblical cause. God holds each Jewish Christian responsible for making sure his money is not given to any unworthy cause. Ask how the money will be spent.
How could the FEAST of PENTECOST be abolished when it HASN'T even BEEN FULFILLED yet? It pictures both PAST and FUTURE events. It is a MEMORIAL and a SHADOW at the same time. It also describes part of the on-going PLAN of SALVATION which certainly isn't abolished -- not just the giving of the law (TB Shabbat 86b) or the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit back then.
Next Lesson: How to Observe the FEAST of TRUMPETS
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