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This page was last updated on 25 June, 2016.
Pentecost


Introduction
I’ll start with the conclusion about how many days the Pentecost count is. Count 7 weeks = 51-53 days and after you are done counting those weeks count another 50 days. Making a total of 101-103 days. Why 51-53 instead of 49 will be explained later

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Josephus

"In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of the year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians, and law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. (249) The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month and continued seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread… But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day, they do not touch them. ... They take a handful of ears, and dry them, then beat them small and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to Elohim; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire they leaven the rest for use of the priest; and after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest."
The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 10, section 5

There is much debate about on which Sabbath Unleavened bread (ULB) and the Pentecost count starts. Weekly Sabbath or the annual Sabbath. Obviously, on the luni-solar calendar the annual Sabbath is always on the weekly Sabbath day. Josephus confirms that. He shows the fist day of ULB is the day immediately following Passover. Immediately followed by First Fruits. No gaps. That aligns perfectly with the arrival at mt. Sinai. He also mentions it’s based on a lunar month; ruling out any type of solar calendar.


Dates on the Gregorian calendar
Because different calendars are never in sync which each other it’s impossible to give dates on our Gregorian solar calendar that are always correct. They vary each year just as Easter varies each year. To give an indication I’ll list the dates for the year 2015.
- First Fruits: 5 April 2015.
- Last of the 7 complete Sabbaths: 26 May 2015.
- Last day of the 50 days: 15 July 2015

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The journey to mt. Sinai

Exod 19:1 In the third month after the sons of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

→ 30+30=60 days.

or

→ 30+30+30=90 days.

Exod 19:1 Exactly two months after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai.

→ 30+30=60 days

Exod 19:1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

→ 15+30+30=75 days

Translations  vary quite a bit, but they all prove my point. Many claim mt. Sinai was the first Pentecost experience. Many claim Pentecost is 50 days after Passover. But as the verses clearly show the trip to the mountain was at least 10 days longer. If you read the rest of the chapter you will see the trip was followed by preparation days and Moses being on the mountain for 40 days. That’s over twice the generally assumed duration of 50 days.
The real Pentecost count is 101+ days.


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Looking deeper into Leviticus 23:16

Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Lev 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
Lev 23:7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
Lev 23:8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
Lev 23:9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 23:10 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:
Lev 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
Lev 23:15 And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
Lev 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.


The usual translation reads something like:

Lev 23:16 Ye shall number fifty days, even to the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, and ye shall offer a new meal-offering to LORD.

It looks like most English translations left out the word in the red box.

Lev 23:16 Ye shall number fifty days, from the morrow after the seventh Sabbath, and ye shall offer a new meal-offering to LORD.

Finding the correct translations obviously is largely about how different a translation can be without breaking the rules of translation. One of the things that break translation rules, is using doctrine as a (main) guide. Translation isn’t about math either. But math did slip in because the reasoning goes like this 7x7=49, so 50 must mean the next (to/unto) day. Is the translation only correct if Sabbath means 7? I’ll give a few examples:

Lev 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh month shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.

Lev 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh year shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.

Lev 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh time it rained shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.

See what I mean? None of those changes affect the translation rules. The first two examples obviously are much longer than 49 days. The third translation can be 49 days but just as well 10, 23 or 96 days. The rain example is the best example, because as you will in the next section, 7 Sabbaths have a variable length.

That brings me back to ‘from’ instead of ‘to’ or ‘unto’. From is a correct translation found in many literal interlinears. It does work perfectly with all my examples. For example count 7 rainy days and after that counts 50 days.

But let’s take the middle ground. All translations (from, to, unto) are correct. In that case we have to be honest and just admit that the isolated verse simply doesn’t give conclusive proof for any view. In those cases we have to find our proof elsewhere. For example in the next section :-)


50 days is impossible
Look at the calendar halfway down this page.
7 sabbaths = 7 weeks = 7x7 = 49 days.
Those 7 weeks always include 2 new moon days. A total of 51 days.

Depending on the year, the months Nisan and Iyar have 29 or 30 days. Adding 0, 1 or 2 extra days to the count; a total of 51-53 days.

The verses are clear that at least 1 day should be added after the 7 Sabbaths. A total between 52 and 54 days.
That means that the absolute minimum of days to Pentecost is 52 days.


“morrow after the Sabbath”
I’m aware there is disagreement on the exact date of that Sabbath.
I’ll use 15 Nisan as my starting point, because  as this site shows, God’s true calendar leaves no room for another conclusion.
Besides of that, this page is mainly about how the count is done, not from which point it starts.


“Count from the morrow after the Sabbath”
The Sabbath was on the 15th.
Lev 23:11 instructs to make an offering the day after that Sabbath. 16th.
Lev 23:15 informs us the count starts on 16 Nisan.

Because on the most commonly used calendars the 15th doesn’t fall on the same weekday there is a lot of discussion on when the count starts in the years when the day  Wave Sheaf offering  (Lev 23:8) doesn’t fall on a weekly Sabbath day. The calendar proven on this site doesn’t have that problem. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that:

"...You shall count seven complete Sabbaths from the day of your bringing the sheaf of the wave-offering. You shall count until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath. You shall [then] count [fifty] days. You shall bring a new grain-offering.....it is the feast of Weeks and the feast of Firstfruits, an eternal memorial"
Temple Scroll -- 11QT -- XVIII-XXI. - The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In English, by Geza Vermes).


That morrow is always the sixteenth.

It is customary to delay the evening service until dark to make sure that the Kiddush will be chanted after the stars have emerged. Thus we fulfill the biblical command that “seven complete weeks” elapse from the sixteenth of Nisan.
Powell, The Unfinished Gospel, pp. 157–198


“Seven Sabbaths shall be complete”
This simply instructs us to keep waiting until we celebrated 7 weekly Sabbaths. As shown above that’s between 51 and 53 days. On the example calendar below it’s 52 days. 8 Sivan.


“shall you number fifty days”

Lev 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.

The day after the seventh Sabbath day (8 Sivan in this example) we start another 50 day count. God didn’t say the day after the seventh Sabbath is the fiftieth day; He said we should number fifty days. As in start a new 50 day count. This count is always 50 days. Length of the months, new moon days etc have no effect on it. Because months can be 29 or 30 days the calendar date is different each year. (Between 101 and 103 days for the total count)
















Click on the picture for a larger view


That puts Pentecost on…
28 or 29 Tammuz.
For a detailed explanation why the date varies click here.
The short explanation is that once in a while the calendar needs a leap day to stay in sync with the moon. The month (Sivan) preceding this month is such a month. If Sivan has 29 days Pentecost is on 29 Tammuz. If Sivan has 30 days, Pentecost is on 28 Tammuz.


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Why didn’t God just give a fixed date?
For other feasts God gives a day and month for celebration; but this feast involves counting. God likely has several reasons; one of them seems to be that 7 weeks and 50 days are more important to Him than exact dates. I can only guess why.

There are 2 ways most people start a Pentecost count.
a] Start counting on a fixed date of First Fruits. On their calendar the day of the week is different every year. So the perfect Sabbaths are not so perfect anymore when the count starts on for example Monday or Friday.
b] The other method is waiting for the first Sabbath day and then start counting. That solves one problem but it breaks the Exodus pattern. Israel left Egypt the day after Passover. They didn’t wait a few days before leaving.

Finally: When God put a Feast on  a fixed date, He just mentions that settles it. Except for Pentecost. In that case He did not give a fixed date, and ordered to count days. That are two clues Pentecost isn’t celebrated on a fixed date.


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The parallels between the Pentecost count and events at mt. Sinai

Num 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

Exod 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.
Exod 19:2 For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
Exod 19:3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;

Rephidim = “rests” or “stays” or “resting places” → Strongly hints to a Sabbath.

Israel left Egypt 15 Nisan and arrived at mt Sinai 15 Sivan.
That’s 7 days after the 7 complete Sabbaths.

 7 days after 7 complete Sabbaths. Pentecost celebrates the giving of the law.

Historically, it celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and is also known as Hag Matan Torateinu (the Festival of the Giving of Our Torah).
Click here for the full article.

Shavuot was originally a festival for expressing thankfulness to the Lord for the blessing of the harvest. And because it occurred at the conclusion of the Passover, it acquired the name "Latter Firstfruits." The celebration is also tied to the giving of the Ten Commandments and thus bears the name Matin Torah or "giving of the Law." Jews believe that it was exactly at this time that God gave the Torah to the people through Moses on Mount Sinai.
Click here for the full article.

Pentecost "the fiftieth [day]") is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai. This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot. Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ (120 in all), as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31.[1] For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some Christians today as the "Birthday of the Church".
Click here for the full article.


The commonly accepted date of Pentecost is 6 Sivan because that’s 50 days from 15 Nisan. That’s wrong because the Bible clearly states they arrived at mt Sinai on 15 not 6 Sivan.

So Pentecost is celebrated 9 days before Israel even arrived at mt Sinai.

Exod 19:10 And the LORD said to Moses, Go to the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
Exod 19:11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people on mount Sinai.

So they arrived and on that day Moses went up the mountain. God told him that Israel should prepare themselves on that day, still the fifteenth, and the next day. On the day after that God will come down the mountain.

Two days of preparation follow. God arrives in Ex 20:18-21 but the people are afraid and ask Moses to speak on their behalf.
That’s 9+2=11 days after 6 Sivan.

Exod 24:18 And Moses went into the middle of the cloud, and got him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
Also see Deut 9:9-12

Moses comes down from the mountain 40 days later with the 10 commandments.
That’s 11+40=51 days after 6 Sivan.

6 Sivan is just counting 50 days without taking NMDs and 30 day months into account. That makes the count 53-55 days wrong. Even if one would argue that Moses received the Torah the first day he went up the mountain and came down 39 days later the commonly accepted 6 Sivan is still 13-15 days wrong.


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New wine, grapes and wheat puts Pentecost in the summer

Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

According to some speaking in tongues sounded like someone being drunk on new wine. For new wine to be available there must have been a grape harvest a few weeks earlier (fermenting time). Grapes are not ready for harvest on the commonly assumed date of Pentecost. 6 Sivan/24 May. But they are 50 days later. Present day grape harvest starts late June early July. Click  Click


All verse combined, and agriculture, wine (grapes) and oil (olives) are part of the  summer harvest. Those harvests aren’t ready on the commonly accepted Pentecost date (but are 50 days later).
Joel and Acts link those summer harvests to wheat and outpouring of the Spirit (Pentecost)
Some claim Acts 2:3 is about last year’s wine but that doesn’t make sense in connection with wheat still being processed on the threshing floors and overflowing vats. Near the next harvest both wine and oil vats will be nearly empty. Besides of that Nehemiah shows they were still threading the wine presses.


John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat that falls into the ground dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.

Jesus is comparing Himself to grain that dies (crucifixion) and later brings forth a great harvest (Pentecost). Spring wheat was sown around Jesus’ death and harvest about 4 month later. There isn’t any type of grain/wheat that matures in 50 days. Winter wheat is harvested in spring, around the 50 day Pentecost, and sown 6-7 month earlier. While the harvest date seems correct the sowing date certainly doesn’t the set the pattern of Jesus.
Conclusion: July Pentecost.


New vs old wheat

Lev 23:16 until the day after the last week you shall number fifty days, and shall bring a new grain offering to the Lord.
Lev 23:17 You shall bring loaves from your dwelling places, as a heave offering, two loaves: they shall be of two tenth portions of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven of the firstfruits to the Lord.

The key word in this section is “new”. What does new mean? And more importantly how does it help us to figure out the correct Pentecost date?

To keep this page readable I’ve put the quotes on this page.
The quotes aren’t the most easy to read because the (ancient) Jews are tangled in a contradicting doctrine.

The solution to this problem would be a summer Pentecost. And they also confirm summer wheat harvest.

You might say by now “What has that to do with Pentecost. I’m not a Jew following Jewish rules.”
True, but keep in mind Christianity has Jewish roots and all those Jewish customs pointed to Jesus and/or something Jesus did. Those contradicting Jewish doctrines have an origin. By the looks of it those doctrines are Biblical but they only contradict if there is no summer Pentecost. Spring wheat is sown and harvested in the current year. And therefore is new grain as Lev 23:16 demands.


Planting wheat in the Promised Land

Exod 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the first fruits of your labors, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labors out of the field.

Josh 4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

Jordan crossing: 4 days before Passover which varies on our calendar between 20 March - 15 April. Click.
Only spring wheat is sown at that time. → Harvest starts mid-July. → Calculated Pentecost 15 July. Click.
Winter wheat matures a month after Passover and obviously was not sown by Israel 7.5 months before they arrived. Click.
The ‘Feast of ingathering is’ also known as ‘Sukkot’, ‘Tabernacles’, ‘Booth’, started 15 Tishri at the very end of the harvest which itself started 2-3 months earlier. 15 Tishri is somewhere between 15 Sept - 19 Okt on our calendar.
Conclusion: July Pentecost.

 

7th plague - Hail

Exod 9:25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
Exod 9:31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.
Exod 9:32 But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they were not grown up.


It’s often claimed that winter wheat is harvested at the end of the 50 day Pentecost. It’s true that winter wheat would be mature around that time. The problem with that view is that there was no winter wheat. Winter wheat grows a few inches before it gets really cold. Click Click
The plant would have been destroyed by the hail; but it wasn’t because as the verse states it wasn’t grown up yet. Or in Hebrew it was still dark. As underground. There was no winter wheat only recently sown spring wheat which takes about 110-120 days to mature. And that’s, you guessed it, at the 7 weeks + 50 days Pentecost.

More details can be found on this page - click.
Conclusion: July Pentecost.


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Four seasons or just two seasons; does it really matter?

Philo, a Jewish scholar, who lived 25BC-50AD knew about 4 seasons.

“And in addition to the four elements the seasons of the year are also four, which are the causes of the generation of animals and plants, the year being divided into the quadruple division of winter, and spring, and summer, and autumn. The aforesaid number therefore being accounted worthy....” Philo, On the Creation, XVI (52), XVII (53)

Christian Pentecost is always in what we and Philo call spring, click, because summer starts on June 21, click.

Philo may have had ‘modern knowledge’ about seasons Joel, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and Isaiah didn’t have. Those ancient perhaps only knew two seasons, winter and summer, or 4 seasons is simply not a Scriptural thing (Ps 74:17). That could all be true. But it doesn’t change much, because plants just mature the way God designed them. Grapes and olives mature in what we and Philo call summer. Long after the commonly accepted Pentecost of 50 days. There are many verses that directly link wheat harvest with olive(oil), grape/wine(presses) and drunkenness. Some verses give a hint toward that. But I yet have to find a verse that states there was a wheat harvest around the 50 day Pentecost. The argument from silence.

Ps 74:17 Thou have set all the borders of the earth. Thou have made summer and winter.


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The journey of Paul

Paul’s trip from Philippi to Jerusalem mathematically proves, the Pentecost count is (far) more than just 50 days. Click here.