The Amazing Truth about
Some observe Pentecost on Monday each year; some observe it on Sunday; some observe it on Sivan 6, the same day as the Jews. Who is right? Here is additional evidence to prove how and when the Worldwide Church of God erred, and why.
William F. Dankenbring
In my original article entitled "What Is The Correct Day to Observe Pentecost?", written in 1988, I presented astounding new truth -- completely new to the Church of God -- as to which day we should be observing Pentecost. I presented in that article several independent key proofs from the Bible, ancient history, and the tradition of the Jews, to reveal which day Pentecost should be observed. The article was, to say the least, not a bit appreciated by the Tkach administration, and at first the silence was deafening. It was obvious that they were not interested in change -- at least, not when it came to Pentecost. As the years went by, they changed many other doctrines -- and eventually jettisoned the Sabbath and holy days altogether, as commanded assemblies of God. But they never changed on Pentecost. Why?
Since that time, none of the off-shoot churches have changed, either. They all seem either mesmerized by the Armstrong mystique -- or they are afraid if they change, they will lose many members -- or both.
The question arises, how did error arise in the first place? And why? Those who observe Pentecost on a Monday each year insist that God would not have left His Church in error on this matter for forty years, from 1934 to 1974! Thus when the Worldwide Church of God switched to a Sunday Pentecost, some were horrified, and refused to go along with the change. Some left the Church, including evangelist Raymond Cole, and began another Church, called Church of God, the Eternal. From the beginning, however, not very many followed them. Why did they refuse to change in 1974 when the majority in the Church changed?
In their paper "The Plain Truth about Pentecost," they point out "Truth is a revelation from God," and then proceed to quote the first issue of the Plain Truth magazine, February 1934, "The real TRUTH is simple and plain, not hard and difficult." They go on to quote Christ when He told the disciples that God has hidden the truth from "the wise and prudent" but has revealed it "unto babes" (Matt.11:25).
Of course, I have no disagreement with the above statements. However, from that point on the paper begins to "beg the question," assuming that God revealed the truth to Herbert Armstrong during the formative years of the Church.
The paper states: "Was God's Church led into gross error in the matter of Pentecost? How was it that we came to keep Pentecost on Monday, when all 'scholars' -- whether they be Jewish, Protestant or Catholic -- disagree? Anyone could have picked up the Jewish Encyclopedia (published in 1905) or a Bible dictionary and found that mi-mohorat, by scholarly interpretation, would certainly place Pentecost on Sivan 6 or a Sunday, depending on which Sabbath was understood."
The author says later, "Was the truth . . . hidden for forty years?" In another paper entitled "The Faith Once Delivered about Pentecost," the writer asks, "Does it require 'much technical research' or a 'scholarly team of researchers,' to come to understand God's Truth? Has God allowed His Church to keep the wrong day of Pentecost for decades because it didn't have access to all the facts of modern scholarship?"
author quotes Herbert Armstrong as saying in a Bible Study,
Interestingly, therefore the author assumes that Herbert Armstrong had to be right in the very beginning -- God would not have allowed him to make an error on such a point. So when Herbert Armstrong admitted he had been wrong all those years, from 1934 to 1974, in summer of 1974, and confessed his error, the author of the paper -- Raymond C. Cole -- and many others denied him the opportunity to change his mind! They insisted he had been right all along, and was NOW going into error by changing! The author states, "Either he was inspired by Jesus Christ in the foundation of this Church, or he has not been God's servant all these years."
powerful sounding statements, of course, prove nothing, one way or the
other. They are mere opinions! It seems obvious to me that for hundreds of
years, perhaps throughout the Middle Ages, and into the early twentieth
century, God had allowed His Church to lose sight of the need to observe all
the festivals of God, including Pentecost.
During the Middle Ages, there is no historical
evidence that God's people observed Pentecost correctly -- or even at all -- or
any of the other annual Holy Days! The
Church of God Seventh Day, which Herbert Armstrong said was the "
Is it even true that God reveals His truth, all at once, at the foundation or beginning of the church? There is no precedent for such a claim, either in history or in the Bible! Rather, even the history of the Worldwide Church of God shows God reveals his truth one doctrine at a time, gradually, and we are commanded therefore to "GROW in grace and knowledge" (II Pet.3:18). Learning truth is a PROCESS. It does not happen instantaneously!
fact is that initially Herbert Armstrong erred on a few points, and had to
change! He did not always understand
about the identity of the
fact is, originally he followed the Jewish reckoning in counting
Pentecost. But about 1936-37, apparently
he stumbled onto the statement that the "Sadducees" controlled the
For a man to "err" in such a matter as "counting" Pentecost, should not be so surprising or unbelievable. It would be easy to do. As Herbert Armstrong himself has said, God revealed His truth "a little at a time," not all at once!
Why should some people find it so difficult to believe that the Church was in error on the date of Pentecost for forty years, when history shows us the Church did not even realize the NEED to observe Pentecost for HUNDREDS of years?
Such "logic" I find personally baffling -- dumfounding.
I might point out that since from 1934 to 1974 was a period of "40 years," it may well be that God was actually "trying and testing" the Church for 40 years, before the change was made as to the day to observe it. But even in changing from Monday to Sunday, the Church still remained in darkness on the most important point of all -- and that is, from which SABBATH the "5O days" were to be counted!
As I showed in the original article "What Is The Correct Day To Observe Pentecost?", the Pharisees always calculated Pentecost by counting from the first annual Sabbath of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, right after Passover! And Jesus plainly told His disciples, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore what THEY bid you observe, THAT OBSERVE AND DO" (Matt.23:2-3). Notice! He said the "Pharisees" -- NOT the Sadducees!
Pharisees taught the entire congregation of
apostle Paul was a learned scholar, and a "Pharisee of the
Pharisees," he himself said. Thus
his practice must have been to observe Pentecost the same time as all the
Pharisees, and the whole nation of
If Paul, upon his own conversion, had to change the day he observed from the practice of the Pharisees, to that of the Sadducees, then why is there no mention of such a thing in all of his writings in the New Testament? If the customary day being observed by the Jewish nation, Sivan 6, was incorrect, then why does the entire New Testament neglect to inform us of that fact? And why didn't Jesus Christ not once rebuke the Pharisees for being in error on this vital doctrine? He rebuked them for many lesser things -- like being overly concerned about washing of hands, giving gifts, wearing extra-long "fringes" on their garments, choosing the chief seats in synagogues, but not once did He ever correct them on keeping Pentecost on the wrong day!
Strange, isn't it! In fact, it is utterly amazing! How could our Saviour have remained SILENT on such a vital point of truth, if, indeed, they were teaching error?
as Paul himself wrote, "What advantage then hath the Jew? . . . Much ever
way: chiefly, because that UNTO THEM (NOT HERBERT ARMSTRONG, or Herman Hoeh, or
Raymond C. Cole, or any other man, or the
Paul went on, "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (v.3). Even if the Jews were not true believers, Paul is saying, that did not negate the faith and truth of God, which the Jews were to preserve intact. And down through the centuries, even though they often disobeyed God, the Jews are the only nation or people who have PRESERVED faithfully the accurate "oracles of God" -- the Law and the Prophets, the sacred calendar, and the entire Old Testament!
It is too bad that Herbert Armstrong did not have the wisdom to consult the Jewish Encyclopedia, and to talk with various rabbis and Jewish and Biblical scholars back in 1936-37, before forsaking their date for Pentecost in favor of the Sadducees; but that is water under the bridge. Because of his neglect, he went off on his own, and did not consult others, and led the whole Church into error on how to count Pentecost -- and God permitted it! Why? Perhaps to teach us all the lesson of humility!
truth is simple: God doe not force us to be wise, or to do right. He lets us make mistakes -- many of
them. To claim otherwise is to ignore
all the record of human history, and even the examples of David (with
Bathsheba) and Solomon (who erred in his old age), and all the kings of
Unfortunately, Herbert Armstrong was one who himself admitted that he lacked "wisdom." Often he lamented this fact. He told me once in his office that none of the men under him -- his own son, Rod Meredith, Herman Hoeh, or any others -- had "wisdom." They were all deficient in this commodity, and so was he! The problems of the Church over the years, of course, would prove this to be true.
What is the key to wisdom? Solomon was inspired to write, "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established" (Prov.15:22). He also wrote: "Where no counsel is, the people fall (or, commit error): but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety" (Prov.11:14). Sadly, Herbert Armstrong never sought a "multitude of counsel," as wise king Solomon, under divine inspiration, recommended. He often went off on his own, and neglected, in particular, the Biblical and historical insights of the Jews, rabbis, and scholars!
In the paper "The Faith Once Delivered about Pentecost," the author admits, "Decades ago all the world's scholars stated, as they still do now, that Pentecost is either on a Sunday or on Sivan 6, depending on which Sabbath -- annual or weekly -- is intended in Leviticus 23." That is a very true statement. It is a shame, therefore, that in 1936-37 Herbert W. Armstrong never consulted them, for wisdom, and their knowledge of Hebrew! But instead he trusted to supposed "inspiration" by itself. Thus he set a pattern of error in the Church which was followed for 40 years, until 1974, when he admitted that all those years he had "counted" incorrectly!
Consider, however: That itself was a major admission, and confession of error, for a man who had taught error for forty years, and who was already in his eighties! I have to give Herbert Armstrong credit. He may have indeed found it very difficult -- but when proved wrong, and when he "saw" it, he was always willing to change!
How many of his supposed "disciples" and the ministers whom he ordained, can say the same thing -- and have proved it by their "fruits"? I don't know of any!
How can we know, I ask you, whether any "inspiration" we receive is from God or not? Should we merely assume it is? Should we proudly boast of God's "inspiration," even when we may be in the process of making an egregious error? If we did, we would be the laughingstock of the world! I am sure that even Christ and God the Father sometimes laugh at the antics, foolishness, and silly comportment of men on this earth, including sometimes their own "representatives" who are only human, after all!
The author of the paper goes on, "Yet God REVEALED to Mr. Armstrong that Pentecost is on Monday. If he had relied on 'flesh and blood,' he would never have come to a Monday Pentecost."
Flesh and blood? It appears to me that he only relied really on his own "flesh and blood" -- his own mind, which God says, is "deceitful and desperately wicked above all things" (Jer-17:9). The apostle Paul says we are to "prove all things" (I Thess.5:21). Therefore, before we jump on board the bandwagon, and ASSUME THAT God "revealed" to Herbert Armstrong a Monday Pentecost, in 1936-37, despite all the evidence of Biblical scholarship and Jewish practice and tradition, let us patiently search all the evidence, get all the facts, and QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT God really did any such thing!
To assume, and blindly follow a man, is dangerous! It is the height of folly!
This reminds me of the story of a group of blind people that went out hiking in the treacherous mountains, along a precipitous trail. The leader was partially blind, but his entourage was composed of completely blind people! At one point, he ascertained that he was leading the group in the wrong direction, and changed direction, and began to go along a different path. Some in the group, however, still blind, refused to change direction, and insisted that his original course was right. So they continued to grope along the pathway leading to a sheer precipice. The others, who changed direction, had come part of the way back to the right path. But, to come all the way back, they would have to make one more significant change.
Unfortunately, the partially blind leader died before that final change could be made! It was left to his successor whether or not to come all the way out of error, or not!
of course, in this parable, the blind leader whose blindness was partially healed was Herbert Armstrong; the group who remained blind and stubbornly maintained their original path is those who cling to the Monday Pentecost, despite the fact they have no real proof or evidence to support it! The "new leader" who must decide whether the group will repent, and come all the way out of error, was Joseph Tkach, and Herman Hoeh. Since the death of Joseph Tkach, and the split up of the Worldwide Church of God into many churches, it is left up to the various leaders who remain to get back on the right trail! To this point, they are still stumbling around in the darkness!
What few have realized is that the observance of a Sunday Pentecost, based on counting from the "weekly Sabbath" that falls within the Feast of Unleavened Bread, leads to many difficulties and embarrassments. For example, sometimes the weekly Sabbath occurs on the last day of the Feast, and the first day of the Feast is Sunday. What happens then? Does the Church count from the Sabbath that occurs before the Feast, thus beginning with the Sunday which is the first day of the Feast, an annual holy day? Or since the Feast ends on a weekly Sabbath, does the Church count from that Sabbath, beginning the count from the Sunday after the Feast?
In 1995 this head-scratcher posed difficulties for the off-shoot Churches. One, Church of God International, decided to follow the second method. But someone pointed out that Worldwide was counting from the Sunday which was the first day of the Feast, so CGI changed its mind, and conformed to Worldwide's thinking!
How would you decide? Since there is not one word in the Bible addressing this difficulty, does God just leave it up to each church to figure out their own method? Or could the problem be that they are all counting from the wrong day -- Sunday -- and should be counting from the day after the annual Sabbath, as the Jews have done for the past 3,400 years?
Think about it!
On the other hand, we should give credit to where credit is due. The Monday Pentecost people, despite their own error, have done a creditable job of pointing out some of the errors of the present position of the Worldwide Church of God on changing to a Sunday Pentecost. In particular, they point out that in 1974 the Passover fell on a weekly Sabbath. What happened that year?
Illustrating the problem cited above, in 1974 we had the following interesting and unusual state of affairs:
Pentecost Dates of Various Church Groups
Worldwide COG COG, The Eternal Sadducees Pharisees Essenes
May 26 (Sunday) June 3 (Monday) June 2 (Sunday) May 27 (Monday) June 9 (Sunday)
The Worldwide Church of God, which bases its "Sunday" observance and counting from the weekly Sabbath on the Sadducee tradition, departs from them when Passover is on a Sabbath and observes Pentecost one week before the Sadducees would have!
Obviously, from the above chart, everybody seems to have their own opinion on how to figure and count Pentecost! But since Jesus said the Pharisees sat in Moses' seat, and told the disciples therefore to do as THEY commanded in such matters (Matt.23:2-3), it is obvious that if we obey Christ Himself, then we will be observing Sivan 6, which is 50 days from the First Day of Unleavened Bread!
Remember, to sit in "Moses' seat" means to have the authority that Moses had. Moses was the "lawgiver" for ancient Israel. He received the Law from God and gave it to the nation. Even so, then, the Pharisees had authority from God to expound and explain the law and pass it on to the people, as the legal representatives occupying the office of Moses!
The Problem of Counting
Perhaps the most humorous aspect of this "Pentecost Problem," is how mixed up and confused people get when it comes to "counting" fifty days. It is really hilarious! It would really be funny if it were not so tragic.
Originally, Herbert Armstrong thought that when you count "from" a particular day, the first day of the count would be the next, or following day. Thus one day "from" Sunday would be Monday. Seven days "from" Sunday would be the next Sunday! This is commonly referred to as "exclusive" counting, since the day you are "counting from" is not included in the count. On this basis, Herbert Armstrong originally decided that in counting from Sunday, fifty days, brought us to a Monday.
What was wrong with that conclusion?
The Hebrew expression in Leviticus 23:15, "from the morrow after the sabbath," is mi-mohorat ha-shabbat. it occurs 28 times in the Bible. On 26 out of 28 times, it is translated "on the morrow" and "unto the morrow." Dr. Herbert G. May of the committee on The Common Bible, and all the world's most renown translators, feel that in Leviticus 23:15 the expression mi-mohorat ha-shabbat should have been translated "beginning on the morrow after the sabbath." This would have alleviated much confusion!
In other words, the expression refers to "inclusive" counting, where the day which you count from is also the first day of the count! Thus, if I tell you to count from one to ten, you would begin with "one," and go on to "two, three, four, five," and so forth.
The same Hebrew word is used in Leviticus 23:11, where we read that the wave-sheaf offering was waved "on the morrow after the sabbath." Here, as everywhere else where this expression is used in the Bible, to translated it "from the morrow" would distort and violate the meaning.
Obviously, the men who translated the word mi into the English word "from" understood it to mean counting from one to fifty, beginning with the number "one." Why did it take Herbert Armstrong forty years to wake up to this fact? This is one of the riddles of modern Church history.
Interesting, isn't it, that it took the leadership of the Worldwide Church of God FORTY YEARS TO LEARN HOW TO COUNT!
If only Herbert Armstrong back in 1934 hadn't trusted to his own resources, and own mind, and had checked and researched other leading authorities, he might well have corrected this error in counting before it ever got started! But as the old expression goes, "If wishes were horses then beggars could ride!"
An Astonishing Confession
The Worldwide Church of God's "Pentecost Study Material," page 73, makes the amazing admission: "We have to face the fact that ALL HISTORY IS AGAINST US." This was a candid admission that in all history, there is no evidence whatsoever of anybody keeping a Monday Pentecost, except the Worldwide Church of God! Interestingly, however, the Church of God, The Eternal, which maintains the Monday Pentecost today, doesn't seem to care that all history is now against them!
If Raymond Cole and others want to truly get back to "The Faith Once Delivered about Pentecost," as their article title claims, then they must go back much farther than 1934; they must go back 2,000 years, and more -- to the time of Christ, Paul, and even back to the time of Moses!
What is really so interesting to me, however, is the incredible paradox that today, both those who observe Monday as Pentecost, and those who observe Sunday -- both groups -- understand and agree that the counting is to be "inclusive," "beginning with" the day of the wave sheaf offering. That is to say, both begin counting with the same day -- Sunday -- the day after the weekly sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread -- and yet come out to TWO DIFFERENT DAYS!
Hilarious! Marvelous! In other words, now we come to the whole crux of the matter -- the real issue. According to the Church of God, The Eternal, we are to finish counting fifty days, and THEN -- THE NEXT DAY after we finish counting -- is PENTECOST! In other words, Pentecost is the FIFTY FIRST DAY! Considering the fact that the word Pentecost itself, in Greek, literally means "FIFTIETH DAY," that is indeed a very strange conclusion! In other words, they claim that the fifty-first day is Pentecost, not the fiftieth day! And yet the word Pentecost itself means "fiftieth day" -- not "fifty-first day"!
Every Biblical authority says that Pentecost is the fiftieth day after the offering of the Wave Sheaf! But the Church of God, The Eternal claims that Pentecost is the fifty-first day after the Wave Sheaf offering! I must confess that I find this incredible -- yet I have read it with my own eyes!
To attempt to rationalize and justify this kind of reasoning, the author points to Leviticus 15:13. Notice! "And when he that hath an issue is CLEANSED of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY he shall take to him two turtledoves and come before the Lord" (Lev.15:13-14).
Here we see seven days "counted." Then on the eighth day, an offering is brought to the Lord God. But what on earth does this example have to do with Pentecost? Here we are plainly told the person counts seven days, and THEN THE EIGHTH DAY brings an offering. No such command is given relative to Pentecost! There God merely says, "Count fifty days." He does not say, "Count fifty days, and THE NEXT DAY is Pentecost," or "bring an offering the fifty-first day." Not at all!
The author also claims Leviticus 25 shows the truth of a Monday Pentecost. Notice this passage. "And thou shalt number (Heb., "count") seven sabbaths (weeks) of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years" (Lev.25:8). Here, exactly forty-nine years are numbered or counted. Verse 10 then states, "And ye shall hallow the FIFTIETH YEAR."
Here the "Jubilee" year is the year following the forty-nine year "count" -- or the fiftieth year. Why? Because God here plainly says so! But no such command, or remark, is made in the commandment of counting Pentecost! They are two entirely separate things. If God had merely said, "Count forty-nine years," then the Jubilee year would have been the forty-ninth year. But He plainly said Jubilee was the fiftieth year, not the forty-ninth!
Why do people get so mixed up on counting? It defies human explanation! Here we have normally reasonable, rational, intelligent human beings -- both counting "fifty" from the same day -- and both winding up on two different days!
Obviously, there is more to this question than merely lack of mathematical ability. Human emotions come into play, personal feelings, angers, resentments, feelings of betrayal, self-righteousness, and a whole gamut of human emotions. This is why God says, "The carnal (human, fleshly) mind is ENMITY against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom.8:7). Jeremiah wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer.17:9).
The Real Problem with Sunday Pentecost
In studying the papers of the Church of God, The Eternal, on Pentecost, I found a most remarkable thing: They brought out salient, powerful objections to the Sunday Pentecost of the Worldwide Church of God. In particular they point out that Pentecost, or Whitsunday, is "the Sunday that marks the 50th day after Easter" (Encyclopedia Britannica).
They point out that Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, article "Pentecost," says, "Pentecost is traditionally represented as Sunday . . . Wieseler plausibly suggests that the festival was fixed on Sunday by the later Western Church to correspond with Easter. Among the Jewish Christians observance of the Hebrew feasts continued doubtless with fresh significance derived from the new revelation."
The apostate Roman Catholic Church changed the celebration of the Passover, replacing it with Easter Sunday, thus celebrating the ancient pagan festival of the sex goddess Ishtar, or "Easter." They then corrupted Pentecost, and put it on a Sunday, 50 days following Easter.
Interestingly, in 1975 the Worldwide Church of God and the Roman Catholic Church both celebrated "Pentecost" on the very same day -- May 18th! They both celebrated Pentecost on the same day in 1976, also -- June 6th! In 1979, again, the pagan Roman Catholic Church and the Worldwide Church of God again celebrated Pentecost the very same day -- June 3rd!
Is this mere coincidence?
In 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984, again, the Worldwide Church of God and the Roman Catholic Church both celebrated Pentecost on the same day!
Notice the following table of dates:
Year Jews Worldwide Church of God Roman Catholicism
1975 May 27 May 18 May 18
1976 June 4 June 6 June 6
1979 June 1 June 3 June 3
1980 May 21 May 25 May 25
1981 June 8 June 7 June 7
1982 May 28 May 30 May 30
1983 May 18 May 22 May 22
1984 June 6 June 10 June 10
Is the Worldwide Church of God now beginning to endorse Roman Catholicism? Why do they observe the same day Rome observes? You figure it out!
Almighty God thunders to His people: "For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with and infidel? And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I will dwell with them, and walk with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
"WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD, AND TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Cor.6:14-18).
God says further, of this Satanic system, which observes Pentecost on the wrong day: "COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, THAT YE BE NOT PARTAKERS OF HER SINS, AND THAT YE RECEIVE NOT OF HER PLAGUES" (Rev.18:4).
Do you want to be partaker of the sins of this Babylonish system? Do you want to receive of her plagues?
If you follow the present Sunday Pentecost reckoning of the Worldwide Church of God, then you are laying yourself open for all the plagues of Almighty God, and will be judged right along with her for her detestable, filthy, abominable sins!
Think about it, you who are so smug and secure and content with your affiliation with the Worldwide Church of God! Think about it, too, those of you who belong to various off-shoot churches that came out of Worldwide, but still endorse these errors of Worldwide! And think about it, you Messianic Jews, and other groups, who also go along with a Sunday Pentecost!
It's time to WAKE UP!
Notice what God Almighty says about those who observe His festivals on the wrong day, and incorrectly -- "Your new moons, and YOUR appointed feasts MY SOUL HATETH: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them" (Isaiah 1:14).
It is not the prerogative of any human being to change, alter, diminish, cancel out, abolish, or move, any holy day ordained by Almighty God! God Himself set them and established them in their seasons. He Himself ordained them, an He set the Jewish people, with the Levitical priesthood, as their divinely appointed guardians (Rom.3:1-2). No man and no "Church" has the right or the authority to change or alter that which God Himself has established!
God warns us against those who would rise up, and who would "think to change times and laws" (Daniel 7:25).
Those who observe Pentecost the same day, many years, as the Roman Catholic Church does, have been duped by Satan the devil into embracing one of the "holy days" of Rome!
God says for His people to COME OUT of the Roman system and partake not of her sins! To observe Pentecost on a wrong day is a SIN in the sight of Almighty God! It is plain and absolute disobedience to His divinely ordained commandment!
Isn't it time to WAKE UP?
The Pharisees and Pentecost
The Jewish historian Josephus of the first century, himself a Pharisee, plainly shows in his Antiquities of the Jews that the Pharisees reckoned Pentecost by counting from the day after the first Annual Sabbath of the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Louis Finkelstein in his book The Pharisees -- The Sociological Background of Their Faith, writes of them:
"Despite this variability in the monthly date of Shabuot (Pentecost), the Pharisees
considered the festival the anniversary of the Revelation on Mt. Sinai. The festival,
they held, always occurred 'in the season' of the Revelation, and was intended to
celebrate that most important event in human history. There was some disagreement,
even among the later Rabbis, regarding the precise date of the Revelation. But this
disagreement did not involve any question regarding the nature of Shavuot. ACCORD-
ING TO ALL PHARISEES, THE REVELATION OCCURRED ON THE FIFTY-
FIRST DAY AFTER THE EXODUS; AND THAT ANNIVERSARY WAS
MARKED BY SHAVUOT (PENTECOST)" (p.642, emphasis mine).
Here is perfect confirmation that Pentecost, the anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, was calculated from the day after the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is exactly 50 days, counting from the wave sheaf offering, on Nisan 16. That brings us to Sivan 6.
Nisan 15, the "First Day of Unleavened Bread," is the day the Israelites began their Exodus from Egypt. "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" (Num.33:3).
Pentecost is the 50th day from Nisan 16; and the anniversary of the Revelation, marked by Shavuot (Pentecost), according to the Pharisees, who were all in agreement on this, was 51 days from Nisan 15.
What could be more perfect?
Devout Jews, today, observe Pentecost on Sivan 6. They have no question about it. It is a very meaningful day to them. They keep it on the very same day the ancient Pharisees kept it. This was the commonly observed day in the time of Jesus Christ, when the Pharisees were in charge of the religious affairs of the people of Judea, most of whom highly respected and looked up to the Pharisees. The Essenes, on the other hand, were a small sect dwelling in the desert and remote regions and never attracted much attention. The Sadducees, meanwhile, were primarily a political-religious "modernist" party which traced back to the secular priests who bought and bribed their way into the job of "high priest" during the days of the Maccabees. They later were cohorts of Herod and allies of Rome, and did not believe in an after-life or resurrection. They had few followers among the mainstream of the Jewish nation.
Jesus Christ and His disciples observed Pentecost on the same day as the great majority of Jews of that time. If they had observed a different day, it would certainly have been so indicated in the Gospels and book of Acts, and Paul, himself a former Pharisee, would certainly have mentioned this change in his epistles. But the New Testament is totally silent about any such thing, although it mentions the Feast days many times.
In Acts, chapter 2, we read: "And when the DAY OF PENTECOST WAS FULLY COME, they (the apostles) were all of one accord (they all had the right day!) in one place" (Acts 2:1). Notice! The New Testament Church of God knew which was the right day of Pentecost. They were all together on that day!
The Jews in Jerusalem also knew -- for they also were celebrating Pentecost on the same day.' "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven" (verse 5). Why were these devout Jews from every nation gathered in Jerusalem at that time? Obviously, they were celebrating Pentecost on the same day as the apostles and early Church!
Here, then, is further proof that Pentecost is the dame day which the Jews have always customarily observed -- the preponderance of the Jews -- the date of Sivan 6. If this were not the case, and if they were celebrating Pentecost 50 days after the weekly Sabbath which falls during the Festival of Unleavened Bread, then they would not in most cases have even arrived in Jerusalem for Pentecost yet since they would have been celebrating it later! And even if they had arrived, they would have no business being at the Temple that day, which was a Friday, if they didn't observe Pentecost until the following Sunday!
But no, we read that devout Jews were gathered in Jerusalem from every nation, on the very day the apostles celebrated Pentecost. This is strong evidence that they, too, were celebrating it the very same day!
In Acts 20:16, we read: "For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at JERUSALEM THE DAY OF PENTECOST." Again, there is no hint that Pentecost was any other day than the one commonly observed by the Jewish people!
A Significant Admission
It is interesting to note that the "Pentecost Study Material" of the Worldwide Church of God in 1974 admitted without any sense of contradiction, the following fact:
"We know that Jesus Christ observed Pentecost WITH THE JEWS (Luke 4:16).
. . . All the Jews were apparently observing Pentecost ON THE SAME DAY!"
Since the vast, overwhelming majority of the Jews observed Pentecost on the same day as did the Pharisees, their most highly esteemed religious teachers, and since the Pharisees observed it on Sivan 6, then how can the Worldwide Church of God, after making this shocking, candid confession, possibly justify a Sunday Pentecost?
If the Jews all observed Pentecost on the SAME DAY, and Jesus did the SAME, and the commonly observed day was counted from Nisan 16, and was Sivan 6, then how on earth can the Worldwide Church of God even begin to attempt to explain their coming up with a date counted from the weekly Sabbath and which
always occurs on a Sunday, the day of the pagan sun-god Baal?
Final Clinching Proof
The real issue is not in the "counting," although it seems people continue to have great difficult with that aspect of Pentecost. The crux of the issue, however, is which Sabbath to count FROM -- is it the weekly Sabbath, as the Worldwide Church of God maintains, and which gets them into such incredible difficulty; or is it the ANNUAL SABBATH, the First Day of Unleavened Bread, as the Pharisees, the Jews today, the Jews of the time of Christ, and the Jews of 200 years before Christ, during the Septuagint period, all observed?
The original Hebrew expression in Leviticus 23:11 says the wave sheaf shall be waved on the morrow after "the sabbath" -- ha shabbat. The definite article is used, indicating this is not just any Sabbath, but "the" Sabbath. This itself suggests that the weekly Sabbath is not at issue here, but the Annual Sabbath. Otherwise, the Law would have said "after the weekly Sabbath," to avoid confusion.
Now notice Joshua 5, when Israel first crossed the Jordan river into Palestine. "And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and KEPT THE PASSOVER on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the OLD CORN OF THE LAND (Hebrew mi-abuwr meaning, "out of the kept over, or stored, grain") on the morrow AFTER the passover (which was eaten at the beginning of the 15th of Nisan, or First Day of Unleavened Bread), unleavened cakes, and parched corn IN THE SELFSAME DAY" (that is, on the 16th of Nisan) (Josh.5:10-11).
"And the manna ceased ON THE MORROW AFTER (Nisan 17) they had eaten of the OLD CORN of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat the FRUIT OF THE LAND OF CANAAN THAT YEAR" (verse 12).
Now notice this time sequence! First, Passover was observed, being killed on the afternoon of Nisan 14, and eaten the evening (beginning portion) of Nisan 15. Then, on the next day, the 16th of Nisan, they waved the wave sheaf offering, and then ate of the grain of the land, the recently harvested grain -- called the OLD CORN, meaning that which was "kept over, stored grain." That refers to grain which they had obviously obtained from the grain stores of the kingdoms they had just conquered on the east side of the Jordan, which they brought across the Jordan. It was the produce of the harvest!
But notice, now. Then, the NEXT DAY, which was the 17th, the morrow after the wave sheaf offering, when they began eating the grains of the land, the manna stopped coming -- they no longer had a need for eating manna! So they ATE GRAIN OF THE LAND OF CANAAN THAT YEAR" -- the new year's harvest, which was just beginning!
But before they could eat of the new harvest, they had to offer the wave sheaf (Lev.23:11, 14). They could not partake of the new harvest, the "GREEN EARS" (Lev.23:14) until after the wave sheaf! This passage in Joshua 5, then, plainly shows us that the day of the wave sheaf offering had to be on Nisan 16 -- the day after the first high day and annual sabbath of the Passover! The "weekly sabbath" could have been as many as seven days later! In that case, according to the weekly sabbath enthusiasts, the wave sheaf would have been offered a whole week after Passover! Yet here we see if was offered the very next day after they celebrated the Passover!
What does this do to the Sunday wave sheaf offering theory? It blows it to pieces --it annihilates it! It blows it completely out of the water, like a nuclear bomb explosion!
What could be more clear than that?
Which Day Will YOU Observe?
Now you have the facts. The facts are clear.
The fact that the Worldwide Church of God's day for Pentecost has the uncanny knack of occurring on the same say, year after year, as the Roman Catholic "Pentecost," is further proof of the error of the Worldwide Church of God, and their plunge -- either knowingly or unknowingly, wittingly or unwittingly -- into the worship of BAAL, the pagan deity whose worship God Almighty vehemently condemns throughout the pages of the Old Testament!
The prophet Elijah thundered 2,700 years ago to the people of Israel, "HOW LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? IF THE LORD BE GOD, FOLLOW HIM; but if BAAL, then follow him" (I Kings 18:21).
"LET US REMOVE HENCE!"
There is historical evidence that the early apostolic Church fled Jerusalem to a place of safety on the Feast of Pentecost! Is it possible that also in our day Christ will protect His own people -- those observing Pentecost on the correct day -- as He did His New Testament Church?
In his classic book Wars of the Jews, the Jewish historian Josephus of the first century wrote:
Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night
into the inner court of the Temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred
ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a
great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a GREAT MULTITUDE,
saying, "Let us remove hence."
History records that the Jewish Christians, the Jewish Church at Jerusalem, fled the city before the final Roman attack by Titus in 70 A.D.
Jesse Lyman Hurlbut in The Story of the Christian Church, wrote: "In the fall of Jerusalem, few if any Christians perished. From the prophetic utterances of Christ the Christians received warning, escaped from the doomed city, and found refuge at Pella, in the Jordan valley" (p.42-43).
When the Roman legions, with their ensigns with their images of the Caesar at Rome, approached the city, the Christians knew the desolation of Jerusalem was nigh at hand. Jesus had warned them in the Mount Olivet prophecy, "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (the Temple), (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea FLEE INTO THE MOUNTAINS: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them who give suck in those days! But PRAY YE that your FLIGHT be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt.24:15-21).
These words of Christ were given great heed by the early Church at Jerusalem. They were also very aware of Jesus' command in Mark, "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:37).
They were watching diligently. They believed Christ! And when the Roman armies appeared in Judea, and the words of Jesus were fulfilled, they fled to safety in the Judean hills, and then settled in the small town of Pella for the next two hundred years.
It is very possible that on Pentecost, the very day on which God began the New Testament Church (Acts 2:1), Christ also gave His people final warning, and they fled, saying, as Josephus records, "Let us remove hence!" What other group, or great multitude, would have been leaving the city at that juncture? No other group believed the warnings of Jesus, or knew what to look for!
But if the message to move out, to "flee," to escape, came to the Church on Pentecost, what would have happened to any who were not present -- who might have been observing Pentecost on the WRONG DAY?
They would have missed out on the final warning, the instructions on where the Church was fleeing, and other vital information they would have needed!
The implication here is that God would not save anyone who was not observing His Holy Day correctly, on the right day, with others of like mind!
The Jews, of course, were observing Pentecost on Sivan 6, fifty days after the 15th of Nisan, (tho First Day of Unleavened Bread). Josephus himself, a priest and historian of the Jews of the first century, wrote in his Antiquities of the Jews, that Pentecost was counted from the "morrow after" the annual Sabbath (counting beginning with the 16th of Nisan). When he says this flight of people from Jerusalem occurred ON PENTECOST, he obviously means the festival he himself as a Pharisee called Pentecost -- on the 6th of Sivan!
When the time comes for God's true people to be protected during our end-time generation, will we also get God's final warning on Pentecost, the 6th of Sivan?
It is something to think seriously about!
Comparison of Worldwide Church of God and Roman Catholic Pentecost (Whitsunday)
1976 June 6 June 6
1977 May 22* May 29
1978 June 11* May 14
1979 June 3 June 3
1980 May 25 May 25
1981 June 7 June 7
1982 May 30 May 30
1983 May 22 May 22
1984 June 10 June 10
1985 May 26 May 26
1986 June 15 June 15
1987 June 7 June 7
1988 May 22 May 22
1989 June 11* May 14
1990 June 3 June 3
1991 May 19 May 19
1992 June 7 June 7
1993 May 30 May 30
In the nineteen years shown above, the dates for Pentecost as observed by the Worldwide Church of God and the Roman Catholic Church are IDENTICAL in 16 out of 19 dates! Has the Worldwide Church of God, by adopting a "Sunday Pentecost," begun the inexorable return to Babylon? Are all its off-shoot churches doing the same thing?