The Date of Pentecost:
Another Factor to Consider
The date of Pentecost is determined by several factors. The first four factors were discussed in
part one of this study.
This page explores the fifth factor in correctly determining the date for Pentecost.
5. When is Pentecost? - It Depends on Whether the Word "After" Belongs in Lev 23:11, 15 and 16.
Here is the surprise factor in answering the question of when is Pentecost: The word "after" in the three verses above does not belong there! It is not even in the original.
First, let's recognize that there has been an effort in history to change the law of God. This was prophesied by the prophet Daniel:
"And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." (Dan 7:25)
One change that involved a change in both time and law was made by the early church (notably in the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine) when the sanctity of the seventh-day Sabbath was "transferred" to the first day of the week.
The law was (thought to be) changed in transferring the sanctity of the Sabbath day to the first day of the week as proclaimed by the fourth commandment of the law of God. Of course, this involved time as well.
The reason given for this change was to honor the resurrection, understood by the time the change was officially made (early in the fourth century AD), to have occurred on a Sunday. That the resurrection actually occurred on a seventh-day Sabbath is clearly documented in the book
In the Heart of the Earth: The Secret Code that Reveals What Is In the Heart of God
as discussed elsewhere on this website.
"It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord." (Msgr, Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today p213)
In order to move the resurrection from Sabbath to Sunday the wave sheaf (also called first fruits) offering had to be moved from Sabbath to Sunday as it would not look good for the type or shadow of the resurrection to be on the Sabbath and then attempt to say that its fulfillment took place on Sunday. To do that a few (very minor) changes (but changes nonetheless) were made in (at least the understanding of) God's word.
Evidence that something is not quite right can be seen in interlinear versions of the Bible. The On-line Bible shows:
"And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow <4283> after the sabbath <7676> the priest shall wave it." (Lev 23:11)
"And ye shall count unto you from the morrow <4283> after the sabbath <7676>, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:" (Lev 23:15)
"Even unto the morrow <4283> after the seventh <7637> sabbath <7676> shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD." (Lev 23:16)
Note that a Strong's number (4283) is given for the word "morrow" and a number is given for "sabbath" (7676) as well as, in verse 16, for "seventh" (7637) but no number is given for the word "after."
The Hebrew word, "shab-bawth" <7676>, means only "the Sabbath" and not "after the Sabbath." The idea of or translation "after the sabbath" cannot be coming from the word for sabbath.
There is a good reason for there not being a Strong's reference number with the word "after" as we shall soon see.
The Interlinear Bible by J.P. Green seems to be confused (the grammar is literally rendered so the order is different from proper English grammar but that is not the problem.) It shows:
"then he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah for your acceptance; on the morrow <4283> of the sabbath <7676> shall wave it the priest " (Lev 23:11)
"And you shall number to you from the day after <4283> the sabbath <7676> from the day you bring in the sheaf of the wave offering seven sabbaths perfect they shall be..." (Lev 23:15)
"to the day after <4283> the sabbath seventh <7676> you shall number fifty days and you shall bring a food offering new to Jehovah" (Lev 23:16)
So he has the wave sheaf offering happening on the sabbath in verse 11 and the final offering on the day after the sabbath in verse 15. This would result in 51 days inclusive between the wave sheaf day and the final day whereas, in the King James Version, the same period would be 50 days inclusive.
Others have realized these problems in the past. Here is how the Young's Literal Translation renders these verses:
"then he hath waved the sheaf before Jehovah for your acceptance; on the morrow of the sabbath doth the priest wave it." (Lev 23:11, Young's Literal Translation)
"And ye have numbered to you from the morrow of the sabbath, from the day of your bringing in the sheaf of the wave-offering: they are seven perfect sabbaths; (Lev 23:15, Young's Literal Translation)
"unto the morrow of the seventh sabbath ye do number fifty days, and ye have brought near a new present to Jehovah; (Lev 23:16, Young's Literal Translation)
Note that the word "after" is omitted because it is not in the original. There is no word with the meaning of after and it is not included in the meaning of the words for morrow or for sabbath.
In researching for my book about the resurrection
(In the Heart of the Earth: The Secret Code That Reveals What Is In the Heart of God,)
I would often refer to the concordance to find the original words, look at their meanings and where and how they were used in the Bible. I would try, as far as possible, to let the Bible define its own terms. When I found that, in these verses, there was no Strong's number listed for the word "after," I became suspicious.
I soon found considerable evidence that "after" is a supplied word. It is found in Lev 23:11, 15 and 16 in most translations of the Bible but not in the original manuscripts. It seems that it was inserted in order to make it appear that the Wave Sheaf offering and Pentecost were both on Sundays.
The Question is Over the Meaning of the Word Translated as "Morrow."
Let's look more closely at what is happening here. "Morrow" is translated from the Hebrew "mochorath" <4283>. The Hebrew meaning of the word is: "it followed that," "the following," "the next" or simply "next." It does not include the meaning of "after."
The Hebrew word for "after," achar <310>, appears 709 times in the OT, and over 186 times in the first five books of the OT which Moses wrote. If Moses had meant "after the Sabbath" surely he would have used the word for "after" which he had used many other times. An example would be:
"And the LORD spake unto Moses after <310> the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died;" (Lev 16:1)
In English, we understand the word morrow as in "tomorrow" to mean "the next morning," the next period of light or wakefulness. If I wake up at three am and say "good morning" to my wife, she will say "its not morning yet - go back to sleep." We do not regard sunset as the morrow. "Morrow" does not correspond to the point where the next day begins which is, Biblically, at sunset.
So how do we explain the translation of "mochorath" as "morrow after the sabbath" and how should it be translated?
Compare the following:
"And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the Lord in the tabernacle of witness. And it came to pass, that on the morrow <4283> Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds." (Num 17:6-8)
Verse eight should be translated as:
"And it followed, that <4283> Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds." (Num 17:8)
It could have been a few minutes later or a month later. The idea that it happened the next day is not implied by the word "mochorath" or the context of the sentence. It may very well have been the next day but that is an assumption; the words used do not indicate that.
Here is an example of "mochorath" correctly translated:
"And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next <4283> day <3117>, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp." (Num 11:32)
In the verse above, the word "next" <4283> still does not have the meaning, on its own, of "the next day" and therefore the word, "day" is included (in the original) to give it that meaning. If "mochorath did have the meaning of "on the morrow" then it should have read; "and all that night and on the morrow day and they gathered quails ..." which does not make sense.
Here is another example:
"And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father." (Gen 19:31-34)
In this verse, the phrase "on the morrow" is from the Hebrew "mochorath" and it is a reasonable translation because it is obvious from the context that it was the following morning. Even "on the next day," while not a word-for-word literal translation, would be valid, again, from the context. Another example:
"Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water." (Jud 6:37-38)
Again, in this passage, it is obvious from the context that it was the next morning.
If every use of "mochorath" is considered (and I have done this) it can be seen that is can be understood to mean essentially "the next period of wakefulness." There have been suggestions that it designates a time period starting at sunset but there are examples that show this cannot be.
"And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next <04283> day <3117>, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp." (Num 11:32)
The verse says the people stood up:
all that day
and all that night (beginning at sunset)
and all the next (mochorath) day.
If mochorath designates the next day starting at sunset this verse would not make sense.
So the true meaning of the verses in Leviticus (23:11, 15 and 16) is a reference to the Sabbath and not to some time past it. While the word for "after" does not appear in the original manuscripts, the meaning had crept into the minds of the translators of, for instance, the King James Version and they probably assumed that the word "mochorath" must include the idea of "after" at least in those verses.
The verses in question could have been translated:
"And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted, for you: and on the following (or next) Sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Lev 23:11, modified)
"And ye shall count unto you from the next sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering seven sabbaths shall be complete." (Lev 23:15, modified)
"Even unto the following seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD." (Lev 23:16, modified)
So there is considerable evidence that both Pentecost and the preceding wave-sheaf offering were both on seventh-day Sabbaths. In my mind, that is the most-easily resolved of the questions about the date of Pentecost.
There, unfortunately, are many differences among feast-keepers on how to determine the date of Pentecost and over when to keep the other feasts.
I believe there is good evidence that, perhaps through some
the clock may be reset so that it is again simple to determine the timing of the feasts. Then we will more easily be able to determine the correct dates of the feast days. However, any such celestial event would not change the order of the days of the week. The question raised here regarding the timing of Pentecost is a question of which day of the week is used and therefore must be considered from that angle.