WAVE SHEAF DAY (Bible study)
Many in today’s world do not know the importance of wave sheaf day and what it pointed to, nor do they know there is an unbroken connection between the Days of Unleavened Bread and the day of Pentecost. Some, who claim to be the COG or were at one time within its realm, also do not seem to understand this connection. They in turn, have been deceiving others into a wrong approach to counting for Pentecost and being consistent about it. This wave sheaf day study deals specifically with this subject. Pentecost 2008 is another year that some are allowing to be confusing—and it need not be. (See “Parallels-Calendar” and its calendar to understand which day Pentecost came that year. As you can see, this Bible study is now almost seven years old, but the research to gather this material is much older. (Scriptural content NKJ throughout unless otherwise noted.)
It is the hope and desire of this author to reveal to our readers, the simplicity in counting for Pentecost, if you have not already come to it. This need not be as difficult as it seems to be for some. On the other hand, for those who rely on others, how do you know you are not being deceived? The simplicity of this is that we do not have to get into “DEEP” or real technical things, or go into many unrelated Scriptures to get this right. Simply believing the Word of God as it is written will do. Though God clearly commands us to “count”—which that fact alone should tell us that the day of the month for Pentecost can change and even the month also, depending on how early or late the Passover comes. This Holy Day might come in May or June and means we are not to keep this Holy time on a fixed day of the month from year to year. Yet many of the Jews began to do this in ancient times, and some who were once associated with the COG continue to do this today. HWA and the COG under his leadership also kept this day of Pentecost wrong for many years until the understanding was corrected in 1974. Some ministers at that time could not grasp that the change on this was from error to truth, and left the Church over it. Others are struggling with this even today because some COG group leaders have it wrong and are very sure they have it right. Still, aside from these confusing things for some, there is much simplicity to counting Pentecost, made that way by the examples of Christ. That simplicity is to believe the word of God and simply go by what it clearly reveals, not adding to or taking from it! (Deut.4:2, ch.12:32 & Luke 4:4)
For the sake of making this Bible study as clear as possible, it is imperative that we have something to use in comparison that seems clear to some, but actually is not, in order to show us how important it is to stick closely with what the wording of Scripture reveals. As true Christian Bible students always do, we let the plain and clear Scriptures guide us through the Scriptures that are not so clear on any subject we study. A deceived person, however sincere at heart, is still deceived even if he or she does not know it. Sincerity of heart, deceived or not, never nullifies the truth of God. Truth once is always truth in Scripture and God is consistent. Jesus Christ had John, under inspiration, record in ch.10:35 that “Scripture cannot be broken” and He also inspired Paul to write of those same Old Testament Scriptures, recorded in Rom 15:4 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Paul went on to write to Timothy that all Scripture is inspired of God, (2Tim.3:16) and of course Christ was the “ROCK” or the God of the Old Testament. (1 Cor.10:4, Deut.32:4,15 & 2 Sam.23:3, plus many more.) With these things in mind let us also remember we are told in Isa. 28 to study “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little”, which confirms God is always consistent, 100% of the time. That would most certainly apply to His own “appointed days” and certainly for Pentecost; which is a memorial today that reminds us of the giving of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled. That is to signify all of the potential first fruits that remain faithful will be born into His Family at the first resurrection, joined to Christ as His Bride! After all, Christ is first of those first fruits, accepted by the Father as such (Rom.8:29 & Col.1:15) which was done on Wave Sheaf Day.
So as we begin studying the Scriptures from that perspective of the simplicity of wave sheaf day and counting for Pentecost, we should note this Scripture—2 Cor 11:3 “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”—and as truly begotten children of God, let us not be deceived or confused on this issue any longer! Only those keeping Pentecost on a wrong day for their own agenda would want to keep doing this any other time than what Scripture tells us to. So, what is the importance of WAVE SHEAF DAY in counting for Pentecost, and does it have anything to do with being consistent 100% of the time? Would Christ have His Church only be consistent with the wave sheaf approx. 85% of the time? Why would God have the wave sheaf ceremony be done more than ¾ of the time inside the days of UNLB, and then change to being done outside the days for the rest of the time? Yet, that is in fact what at least one author and leader of one COG group would have you believe! WHY? Simply because he does not believe that the wave sheaf (which pointed to Christ) was as important as the weekly Sabbath. We will see this a little later.
We are going to answer (By doing this study) these questions by comparing simple Scriptural revelation to the writings and conclusions of two other COG authors, (One dead-one living) both of whom I have never personally met, and I am going to assume their sincerity of heart, but they both have made mistakes in counting for Pentecost, none-the-less. However, before going any further, let me make it clear that this is not an attack on either of these authors or any COG organization for that matter, nor is it a “fault finding mission” with their writings, however deceptive they may be or have been! Our purpose is simply to reveal the truth through Scripture by focusing on the key words to understand, hoping to dismiss any confusion that some may have. We view these examples that we are using as mistakes that these particular individuals have made, or are making and have chosen to use these writings only as examples. The truth is what will make us free from any confusion. (John 8:32)
What caused the problem with certain writings of these two particular authors in counting for Pentecost? One, who is still alive and heads a COG group, simply began to or perhaps always has, focused on the wrong day to count from, and still does for this year 2008! In doing so, he gets the day for Pentecost right only about 85% of the time, and seems to lose sight of the importance of WAVE SHEAF DAY and how it relates to Pentecost! We will get some quotes from his writings, taken from his web site. The other author, HWA and leader of the Philadelphian era, who has been deceased for 22 years,(at the time of writing) misinterpreted two words, and thereby kept Pentecost on Monday for many years, and wrote about it being on Monday. However, he corrected his mistakes on this before he died and even apologized for misleading the Church. We will begin with quotes from a three year old article written by the author still living, the title of it given below and with our (inserted in italics) comments in this same font/type.
Pentecost, Consistency, and Honesty
“This year, 2005, is a year in which the church of God is divided (The true COG was not divided in 2005, as it counted right and kept the right day.) regarding the count to Pentecost. Why is there confusion? (The True COG was not confused on this in 2005, nor is it in 2008.) Is it because some are failing to allow plain and clear scriptures to guide and interpret those that may be vague? (This seems to be the problem this author has.) Is it because scriptures that should be used to determine some elements of this issue are not even being considered? (Perhaps clear Scriptures are not being believed as they are written?) Is it because some stubbornly prefer to remain loyal to a wrong tradition (What about his “tradition”??) or to resist yielding to truth because of pride or fear of "rocking the boat"? Perhaps it is combinations of several of these possibilities. (One should never have been afraid of “rocking the boat” for the sake of getting the truth, or holding fast to it.) Whatever the case for others, this author does not believe this issue is vague in the least.”
As anyone can see from our inserted comments, we have what some would class as a “difference of opinion” from that author’s statements above, but the truth of it is—we have a different understanding of Scripture and the importance of wave sheaf day that starts the count for Pentecost! Notice this quote from later in the same article quoted from above: “Even though the count does not actually begin with the Sabbath, the Sabbath's location is of primary importance, not the day after. The day after would never be located without first locating the correct Sabbath.” (To me, this is false reasoning pure and simple as will become apparent later on. Below is another quote from the same article, and we are going to see that the truth of Scriptures indicate that his very statements contradict the very Scripture he uses and he also diminishes the importance of wave sheaf day as it relates to Christ, in the same article.)
“There is no command or example anywhere in Scripture that the sheaf must be waved during the Days of Unleavened Bread. (even he agrees that most of the time it is during the days, which we will see later.) Instead, the implication of Leviticus 23 is that the weekly Sabbath's location within the Days of Unleavened Bread is of primary importance, as the instructions in verses 10-11, 15-16 show.”
This study will reveal these two opposing views, between this one author and the true COG, so that you the reader can see it from both perspectives. HWA was not confused on the wave sheaf day, knowing that it would always occur on the Sunday during the days of Unleavened Bread and that Christ fulfilled it on that very day! However, HWA made the mistake of counting exclusively from that day, starting the count for Pentecost with Monday. (We will give a quote on this a little later, written and published by him in 1957) Christ, being the same yesterday, today and forever, (Heb.13:8 & Mal. 3:6) and as God never changing, would He ever be inconsistent in showing Israel how to count for Pentecost and which day to start with? We will use a copy of the live author’s own calendar replicas, copied from the article quoted from to clarify this a little later, but right now, let us read another statement from this same COG group, headed by this author, found in their FAQ section just recently. (Emphasis of bolding and underlining mine for clarity.)
“We keep the day of Pentecost on the 50th day following the Sabbath that occurs during the Days of Unleavened Bread (see Leviticus 23:15). However, once in every nine years (on average) an unusual phenomenon occurs. The Sabbath that occurs within the Feast of Unleavened Bread falls on the last day of Unleavened Bread. On these years, many churches count Pentecost from the first day of Unleavened Bread (a Sunday), even though the Sabbath from which they count occurs on the day of the Passover, which is not part of the Feast. In these years, we count from the next Sabbath, which does fall within the Feast of Unleavened Bread, causing Pentecost to occur one week later. This method of counting to Pentecost is in accord with all the biblical instruction regarding Pentecost, its counting, and the requirements for the wave sheaf offering. This phenomenon happens again in 2008.” (The line of thinking above is false and human reasoning, actually showing where he misses the mark on this subject for these few years that Passover comes on the weekly Sabbath. He seems to think that God-who became Christ, did not know this was going to happen and therefore this “phenomenon” caused God to alter the consistency! The same procedure of counting is not ever changed for true Christians.)
Let us now evaluate and analyze what we can see in the statement above before moving on to this author’s and his COG group’s calendar examples, which are given below. We have bolded and underlined the words above, in order to show that their focus is on the wrong day to count from during the days of Unleavened Bread. His focus is very clearly on counting from the weekly Sabbath that falls during the days of UNLB, as seen above, instead of the wave sheaf day, which is always on a Sunday, the “morrow after the Sabbath”. We have bolded “first day” above, (a Sunday) which is the day the COG counts from, the correct wave sheaf day according to Scripture and it is inside the days of UNLB, part of the feast, just as Christ’s example when this was fulfilled. (Later, we will show why this is important) The last bolded and underlined words “WE”-“from” and “Sabbath” was done in order to bring the reader’s attention to the fact that with one’s focus on that Sabbath which ends the festival of UNLB, the wave sheaf offering ceremony would no longer be during the festival, but after it and outside the days of UNLB, as the author admits! Also, the stated fact from his own words show that this author counts from the weekly Sabbath and that he also counts exclusively from the Sabbath, (the same way HWA counted from wave sheaf Sunday for many years) and not inclusively from (inclusive) the morrow after the Sabbath, as Scripture instructs us to do. Let us read in the NKJ, the Scripture at this point that the author himself gave above, and we will put emphasis on those key words for clarity. Please note the wording: Lev 23:15 “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.”
Now let us examine the author’s four calendar replicas below, before going on.
You will notice that in the above 4 calendars, there is consistency with there being a weekly Sabbath during the days of UNLB in all four, which is the authors admitted focus! He believes that Sabbath consistency during the days is more important than placement of the wave sheaf, as he counts “from” that Sabbath for Pentecost. Here is what he stated about the wave sheaf’s importance to the days of UNLB: “Wavesheaf Day is only indirectly attached to the Days of Unleavened Bread due to the count often beginning within them.” (We saw above where he stated that the Sabbath was of “primary importance” showing he puts greater emphasis on the weekly Sabbath during the days than the wave sheaf day itself!) Yet three out of four of the calendars above have the wave sheaf day come on the only Sunday during the days. So concerning the wave sheaf, the day to start the count, only three of calendars have consistency and the 4th is outside the days of UNLB, skipping the only Sunday during the days. Examine these things closely along with the actual wording of Scripture, as we are doing in this study!
LET US BE CLEAR ON THIS! WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO GOD?
The first three calendars, as already stated, all have used the only Sunday to occur inside the days, which is compatible with Christ’s actual example of fulfilling this. However the 4th calendar has ignored the only Sunday during the days and went outside the days for wave sheaf day, one full week later. But what we see in the Scripture given above is that the focus was not the Sabbath at all, but the day after a weekly Sabbath, which is Sunday, the wave sheaf day to start the count and pointed to the future resurrected Christ being received by the Father. The consistency for that is broken in the last calendar. It should have also been on the 15th of the last calendar, the only Sunday to occur inside the festival, instead of one outside the days and on the 22nd, a complete week later!
(Incidentally, this year, 2008, the wave sheaf offering—though we no longer do this ceremony in the COG because Christ fulfilled it—would rightly occur on Sunday, 20th April and the Group using the calendar above will begin to count “from” the Sabbath and on Sunday the 27th, the same scenario as the 4th calendar above, and one week too late.)
Another thing we have now seen about this by examining the 4th calendar closely, is that 8 Sabbaths are now complete, starting from that Sunday during the festival and counting to Pentecost, instead of seven, since the day after a weekly Sabbath, Sunday during UNLB should have been wave sheaf day and day one of the count, as in the other three calendar replicas! Let us notice Scripture again, this time from the NIV: Lev 23:15 'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks”.
Here it is again from the NAS translation: Lev 23:15 'You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths.”
(To have a complete week or 7 Sabbaths to be complete, one has to start with the first day of the week, during the days of UNLB and when the sunset occurs at the end of that next Sabbath, that Sabbath and the week are both complete. This is where HWA got off track from Scripture, for so many years, as he counted from Monday and when the first Sabbath was complete, a full week was not—only six days had gone by—not a complete week! We will see how he explained around this a little later, but he was in error as he later admitted.)
If the Sunday after a weekly Sabbath, the one that came during UNLB had been used in all the calendars above, as these Scriptures clearly indicate should be done, they all four would be 100% consistent in counting for Pentecost, and only seven complete Sabbaths would have occurred in all of them from that Sunday, instead of eight Sabbaths on the last one, letting the entire week of UNLB go by, one complete week, before starting to count to Pentecost “from” that last Sabbath and the Sunday outside the days of UNLB. Therefore in this last calendar, the entire festival was over when the count was started. The connection to a time frame symbolizing sinless-ness or coming out of sin would also be broken for the first of first fruits. (More explanation on this point later)
HWA knew that wave sheaf day was always on Sunday during UNLB and that this connection was essential because it pointed to Christ as the now resurrected Messiah and His “newness” of an eternal life! Notice this quote from the 1957 edition of “Pagan holidays—or God’s Holy Days—which?” (Emphasis, by underlining and bolding, ours.)
[From page 30]
“Then, on the day following the weekly Sabbath, in a solemn ceremony of the Levitical priesthood (the rituals were mere substitutes and therefore not practiced today), the first sheaf of grain was cut.”
(The day following a weekly Sabbath is always Sunday, or the first day of the week! This was fulfilled by Christ. John 20:1, 17)
[Now from page 31]
“This fulfillment of the wave-sheaf offering actually occurred on Sunday, the morrow after the Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread.”
(This shows those with eyes to see that even when HWA counted Pentecost wrongly, he still understood that the wave sheaf would always be on a Sunday after a weekly Sabbath and during the days of UNLB, as Christ’s fulfilling example in the NT. Many other statements from him on this prove that was his understanding from the wording of Scripture. Below is another quote from the same page of the 1957 version.)
“Notice the properly translated plain instruction beginning Leviticus 23:15: "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths [weeks] shall be complete: even unto the morrow after the seventh week shall ye number fifty days." And that fiftieth day is Pentecost!”
This is not that hard to grasp, and Herbert Armstrong never lost the perspective on this aspect of it, as he believed and went by the Scriptures on this. However, he did not stick to Scripture on this verse; Lev 23:16 (RSV-which he sometimes used says) “counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh Sabbath;”-- and it is very obvious by this Scripture that Pentecost would be on Sunday! What HWA did do was to misinterpret the word “from” (he put it in italics in the above quote) to count exclusively from wave sheaf day, which means he started with the next day, just as the author in his quote admitted he did with the Sabbath. The next day from Sunday, of course is Monday, and that is why HWA had the COG keeping Pentecost on Monday for so many years. He never counted from a Sabbath, but always from a Sunday and during the days of UNLB! Here are two more quotes from the same 1957 edition, word for word, as proof of what this study is saying: (1) “The New Testament Church of God was not founded on Sunday. But it did start on the annual Sabbath day called “Pentecost” or “Feast of Firstfruits.” Also called the “Feast of Weeks.” (Page 29) #(2) “This is the way to count PENTECOST. It’s always on a Monday!” (Page 34) This was corrected in 1974.
As we can see, Mr. Armstrong believed the count was from (out & away of) the wave sheaf Sunday and therefore a Monday. The other misinterpreted word for HWA was what we see above in his quoted statement from Lev.23:15 &16, after Sabbath he put in [weeks] and then in the next verse he replaced the word “Sabbath” with the word “week”. In this particular passage V.16 given above, he changed the word Sabbath to “week” in order to support his way of counting and for his readers to understand his consideration of Monday to Monday as being a week of seven days. He used a couple of pages in that booklet to explain this interpretation and these details. But this was all incorrect and really not according to Scripture as we have explained above, and he later came to understand, and corrected both of these mistakes in 1974. At that time he also revised his booklet, dropping out those wrong explanations, and in the 1976 edition he also made this statement: “This event (Wave sheaf day) always occurred during the days of unleavened bread (see Joshua 5). The sheaf was then brought to the priest. The priest solemnly waved it before the Eternal to be accepted for them.”
About the wave sheaf day being during the days of UNLB, Mr. Armstrong never deviated from, and he never counted from the Sabbath during the days of UNLB for Pentecost, but always counted from Sunday, even when counting exclusively. However, there are many places in those earlier writings about this that many have misinterpreted even what he wrote. This sort of thing happened with an early apostle and Peter makes note of it in Scripture. (See 2Pet.3:15-16) It is so sad when we see leading men in the ministry who obviously have never gotten the truth on certain subjects like counting for Pentecost. I do not judge the living author that we have quoted from, but we have to test all things and hold fast that which is good, (1Thess.5:21) and we also have to follow the instruction from 1John 4:1 and test the spirits to see if they are from God or not. Below we give a more recent quote from the same author, this time from his article, titled Pentecost revisited-part two, found in the Jan./Feb. issue of his magazine. (Emphasis mine)
“Scripture contains no alternative counting method when Passover occurs on a weekly Sabbath, so we are, in effect, adding to God's Word when we alter the count in these infrequent years. This article will focus primarily on Joshua 5, the historical incident that many use to say that the count should be modified when a Sabbath Passover occurs.”
Once again, let me remind you readers of THIS STUDY that the true COG never “modifies” the count for Pentecost, as it always counts beginning with the Sunday inside of the days of UNLB week according to Scripture, even when that day is the first High Day—it is still the “morrow” after the weekly Sabbath and during the days. However, it should be clear to all who have studied these Scriptures and examined the calendars above, along with the quotes I have given herein, that the author who created them is the one who modifies the count and goes outside the days to count when the Passover comes on the weekly Sabbath. Sad to say— the author of the quote above does not grasp that the count never starts from a Sabbath as he claims, but always from the day after a weekly Sabbath, which is Sunday! We should sincerely hope he gets it before it is too late, because he rightly said above that they are adding to God’s Word by altering the count for Pentecost! We encourage you again to read these Scriptures carefully and you will see he is wrong and should not be followed into disobedience to God.
What is the importance of the wave sheaf day always being during the days of UNLB? Simply because it was a ceremony in the plan of God that pointed to the future resurrected Messiah going to God for acceptance as the first of first fruits. Before God and Christ together could begin to harvest the rest of the early harvest that would make up the bride, the FIRST of FIRST FRUITS of the Kingdom of God had to be secure. It is an exact duplicate of what ancient Israel was commanded to do upon entering the land He had given them, and is very important for several reasons. (Note that the context is the wave sheaf and its day, and not the weekly Sabbath, as the author was quoted saying earlier.) Lev 23:10-14
10 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
11 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; (Just as Christ was for all humanity) on the day after (Emphasis on Sunday, not Sabbath!) the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 'And you shall offer on that day, (That Sunday) when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, (Same as Passover lamb) as a burnt offering to the LORD.
14 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day (Again—this is a Sunday) that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
(This cutting of the wave sheaf was commanded, never considered “harvesting”, as it only amounted to an OMER, probably not much more grain than the disciples picked and ate on the Sabbath with Christ present. (Matt.12:1-5) For these annual Holy days, the Israelites were allowed to work to prepare food to eat. (Exo.12:16) So considering they were commanded by God to do this cutting of the wave sheaf on that day, and it was that day used to start the count for Pentecost, the morrow after the weekly Sabbath—it made no difference if it was occasionally the first high day!) Sometimes even the called and chosen ones today tend to forget that God had the Israelites marching out of Egypt on that first high day. They did not sit there in Egypt and wait for that Sabbath to pass before moving. God was with them and did not consider this a violation to that high day, no more than cutting a few strands of wheat to obey a command.
The start to count for Pentecost would always start during the days of UNLB because Christ was a sin-free being, having given His life for the reconciliation of mankind, then being offered to the Father in a sin free environment, during the days of “putting sin away”! He was also the first of first fruits to reach maturity to be harvested from the human realm, symbolized by the wave offering and that lamb without “blemish” offered with the wave offering. (Lev.23:12) The newly resurrected Christ during the days of UNLB, represented to the Father a sinless being from the human realm, (The lamb of God) the captain of our salvation, (Heb.2:10-11) and after His resurrection, presented, still during the days of UNLB, (a symbolically sin free time frame) which also symbolizes for us the coming out of sin and to walk in “newness” of life! (Rom.6:4-5) It is this sin free Spirit life, now living in us that helps bring us to salvation, (Rom.5:10 & Gal.2:20) through the working of the Holy Spirit. It is during the days of UNLB that pictures the power of sin being broken, crushed or conquered by Christ, just as the Egyptian army being drowned in the sea was a type! That signaled for Israel their beginning to walk in total freedom from their bondage, and for all of us, freedom from sin to walk in newness of life! Christ, as the fulfillment of the wave sheaf during the days of UNLB is far more important to us than just a weekly Sabbath during the days, which has no special significance over any other weekly Sabbath and occurs 51 other times throughout the year! Christ Himself said to them, "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." (Luke 6:5) so the Sabbath during the days had no real significance as compared to the once and for all fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering did. The GREAT significance of Christ as the wave sheaf, was the first of first fruits that started the process of gathering in all of the other first fruits for the early harvest, which would begin to occur 50 days later!
That is why those in the COG today eat the UNLB every day for those seven days, showing God that they are willing to strive to walk in newness of life, also striving to become completely free of sin, to be like Christ and receive Spirit life. Christ had no sin to come out of, but he became sin for us, (2Cor.5:21) and the Father turned away from Him as he became laden with our sins at His death! He was buried in the tomb just as UNLB started, so he was in the grave and now free of sin when the days of putting sin away started. (Rom.6:7) He was then resurrected and “Waved” or went before the Father during the days of putting sin away and coming out of sin, as new, mature and pure, so that He could mediate for us who would also have to strive to become mature and sin free! The two wave loaves of bread offered on Pentecost were baked with leaven, showing that all other first fruits have had sin- “leaven”- in them to conquer, (Lev. 23:17 & Rom.3:23) but the first of first fruits in the form of the wave sheaf offering symbolizing Christ going to the Father as a freshly harvested mature, perfect and pure Spirit being from the human realm, who had no sin.
This was symbolized by the wave sheaf being offered during the days of UNLB, when no leaven or “sin” was present. Simple logic and intelligent reason should have kicked in by now, along with everything else, to convince us that if the wave sheaf was offered most of the time during the days—then it most likely was offered that way all the time! Christ set for us the perfect example of being sinless and consistent in both examples that He fulfilled—the Passover AND the wave sheaf offering! What a beautiful analogy and a wonderful symbolism of an unbroken connection from the days of “coming out of sin” to the receiving of the Holy Spirit! The wave sheaf is offered as first of first fruits, so the other first fruits (The early harvest) could begin. These are the ones who would have also diligently come out of sin and walked in newness of life, all the way to the return of Christ. 100% consistency must be found in this all the way through, so even the count must be done properly! It reveals to us that only those who accept Christ as our Passover sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins to reconcile us to the Father, then walk from that day on with the heart and mind set on being made right before God, will be accepted. Those also have to be in acceptance of the reality of Christ’s fulfillment of wave sheaf day on Sunday during the days of UNLB, in order to keep Pentecost on the right day! This makes it possible for His sin free life to come into us and live in us to bring us completely out of sin. For this very reason He would have never gone to the Father outside the days. Those believing and obeying the word of God in all these matters will be in the first resurrection! What a marvelous and merciful plan God has set in motion for those who will simply believe and obey, and it is a plan with Great Order, not confusion and lack of consistency!
Even the Jews knew that wave sheaf day was during the days of UNLB, but they chose to count (Inclusively) from the first day after the first annual Sabbath, keeping their day of Pentecost on Sivan 6, a set day of the 3rd month. There is no need to count as commanded to determine the day and it would not always come on the day after a weekly Sabbath—therefore Scriptural command would not be fulfilled. It is an interesting fact that the Jews that counted this way and those who also joined with them in the observance of Pentecost on the year of Christ’s crucifixion when the COG was begun, were only two days apart, and these people were still in Jerusalem! YES that is correct, and this year, 2008, the true COG will keep Pentecost one day before they do, using that method! In 31 AD, with the crucifixion on Wed; that first annual Sabbath was a Thursday, (April 26, Julian calendar) making the day (16th Abib/Nisan-Sacred calendar) they counted from a Friday, April 27th. This means that they had kept their day for Pentecost on the Friday (Sivan 6 or June 15th) just two days earlier than Christ’s disciples! That Sunday recorded in the book of Acts, was June 17th-Julian calendar. They had kept a Friday Pentecost, then the weekly Sabbath, and were most likely still breaking camp or packing to leave when the disciples gathered that morning for Pentecost. This might explain why they were so bewildered by what they witnessed; knowing God had not given them anything like this miracle they were now seeing, nor had He ever, on the day they claimed was Pentecost; Sivan 6! Acts 2:12 “So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
No one had spoken with tongues two days earlier, (At least we have no record of it) nor was there any display of tongues of fire or sound of a rushing wind when they kept it, but here were these simple folk they knew to be followers of Christ, the one who did all kinds of miracles, and they have had the Holy Spirit poured out on them! No doubt this was one of the things that helped convince many of those Jews that they were wrong, and had to repent! For those who had counted for this Pentecost from the Sunday Christ fulfilled the wave sheaf ceremony, knew for sure that they had counted correctly, and it has been counted that way ever since that time among true followers of Christ, using Scripture and the teachings of the true COG! This particular information may have been lost in understanding to the majority—but never in Scripture and it was restored for us through HWA in 1974. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will & do go by these simple instructions given in Scripture, without trying to reason around them.
Even though what we have already revealed on this should be enough for true converts, we do not want to leave anyone in the slightest doubt, so let us notice another Scripture on this, showing that it also is in the context of during the days of UNLB that the counting begins: Deut. 16:8-10 (RSV) “For six days you shall eat unleavened bread; and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God; you shall do no work on it. 9 "You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 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 was the cutting of the wave sheaf, or first of first fruits because it was always the first grain cut in the new year and pointed to its final fulfillment in a newly resurrected Messiah, Christ, during the days of UNLB. Notice the definition below for “first” of first fruits.)
The phrase "the first of the first-fruits" <Exo 23:19; 34:26;-->, Hebrew re'shith----(Which means “ the first, in place, time, order or rank. (specifically, a “first” firstfruit) etc.) --- The priest waved a re'shith of corn (Barley or wheat-actually, Josephus says it was wheat, but barley was harvested first.) before the Lord on the morrow after the Sabbath (Sunday) in the week of unleavened bread <Lev 23:9-11>. (And Deut.16:8-10, seen above)------ (from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)
Some stubbornly want to hold onto their own interpretation of statements like the ones given above, and insist that the meaning is the Sabbath during the days, but the clear wording of Scripture and what we see above shows that it is the “morrow after” a weekly Sabbath that is meant to be “IN” those days! We have seen clear Scriptural accounts that the wave sheaf was offered on the “morrow” or day after a weekly Sabbath, Christ was the fulfillment of that wave offering and He went to the Father on the “morrow after” the Sabbath, the Sunday during UNLB, after His resurrection at sunset the previous evening. This was during the time the COG, as the rest of the first fruits, are commanded to be coming out of sin, typified by those days!
1 Cor 15:20, 23 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.” (The first resurrection, Rev.14:1-4)
In conclusion, let us examine two more passages of Scripture, noticing a little bit of the similarity of wording and its possible meaning. This may or may not relate to the subject, as this is a little bit of speculation, but you will notice the similarity of phrases. Mark 16:2-4 “Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. (John20:1 says it was still dark) 3 And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away-- for it was very large.”
This was done by a Holy angel sent by God, exposing the empty tomb and that the one who died for our sins now had newness of life, everlasting life, removing our reproach from us by not only reconciling us to God through His death, (Rom.5:9) but was now about to be accepted by the Father as the first of first fruits, our pioneer leading the way, and could now live that same sin free life over in us who were committed to come out of sin, pictured by the days of UNLB! We are saved by HIS sin free life! (Rom.5;10) We keep the days of UNLB year after year as a reminder that we cannot be in sin and acceptable to the Father. Christ would never set us that example of going to the Father for acceptance in an environment that is not symbolically “sin free”! Satan will be bound and put away before the kingdom of God is begun, which these things all point to. We see a similar thing played out physically by ancient Israel when they actually entered the Promised Land. They kept the Passover on the 14th and entered into the land on the 15th, but they also ate of the grain on that same day, so it appears to have been the same type of scenario that we see this year, where the Passover falls on the weekly Sabbath, and wave sheaf day is the very next day, the first day of UNLB! Josh 5:10-11
10 So the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho.
11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day.”
They could not do this until a wave sheaf offering had been made, (Lev.23:14) so that wave offering was made first and then they were able to eat some parched grain with the unleavened bread! I know that someone will try to confuse others by taking some Scriptures out of context in order to “technically” try and prove this is not true, but as we have said before, Scripture cannot be broken! God does not lie! (Titus 1:2) Notice this phrase from verse 9, and this is where the speculation comes in: “Then the LORD said to Joshua, "This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you." Egypt and leavening, of course during the days of unleavened bread were symbols of sin, and God had finally “rolled away” the reproach of Israel’s sin from them as they entered into the Promised land. This was after keeping the Passover and during the days of unleavened bread, the putting away and “coming out of sin”! This is the same thing we need to do today, those who are really the true COG and desiring to be in obedience to our Great God! By striving to obey God in all things and come out of sin, He will “roll away our reproach” just as the angel rolled the stone and exposed the resurrected Messiah! God only gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him, (Acts 5:32) and those who may have had it at one time will lose it eventually when they stop obeying God! Let that not be you or I, as we march toward the return of Christ and the fulfillment of Pentecost, to be the first fruits of Christ’s harvest at the first resurrection! Let us acknowledge the true wave sheaf day, the importance and consistency of it as we count off the days and Sabbaths to Pentecost, and keep Pentecost on the right day every year, in obedience to the Great God of heaven and earth, the creator of all that there is! Do not be followers of men and human reasoning to end up in disobedience to the LIVING GOD who promises to give us eternal life through Christ our perfect Master and example! (Heb.3:12-14)
Again, the conclusion is very simple for the count to Pentecost, because we simply believe the word of the Lord and His example, paying no attention to nonsensical arguments against clear Scripture and the example of Jesus Christ. True followers of Christ know there are no contradictions in the original Word of God and therefore follow His example. Lev.23:10-16 clearly tell us the priest is to wave a sheaf of the first of first fruits to be accepted by the Lord on our behalf, which pointed to Christ’s example. This was to be done on the day AFTER the weekly Sabbath—it was on the day the sheaf was waved that the count was from, which is Sunday not the weekly Sabbath—and the context of this and Deut.16:8-9 is for this to be done inside the days of UNLB! This is exactly what Christ did, and that is the way His true followers do it, with complete consistency on every year, no matter what! Christ would never set us an example that would not be good for us to go by 100% of the time! (Heb.13:8) God is not the author of confusion, but Satan the devil will use any means he can to deceive the elect, if that is possible! Who do you want to believe, Gods clear word or the ideas of men?
(Written and edited for educational purposes and use on tcogmso, please feel free to down load a copy for your files.)