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What is the Feast of Weeks? This question has already been answered to a large extent. Nevertheless, there are two aspects of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) that are of interest to those who marvel at the consistency of Scripture that goes beyond human understanding. First, the Mosaic Law is believed to have been given to the Israelites on the day of Pentecost counting 50 days from the morning after Passover (Nisan 15). Though there is some debate about this based upon the wording at Exodus 19:1, Jewish tradition, St. Augustine, and many commentators support this view. The Scripture reads, “In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt--on the very day--they came to the Desert of Sinai.” With the interpretation that the phrase “on the very day” means the first day of the 3rd month, this was exactly 45 days after leaving Egypt. (Passover happened in the first month on Nisan 14. The Israelites left Egypt on the morning of the 15th. They traveled 15 + 30 days and arrived at Mt. Sinai 45 days after leaving Egypt.) On day 46, Moses went up into the mountain, (Exodus 19:3) where God gave Moses the offer for a covenant with the people of Israel. On day 47, Moses went back up the Mountain with Israel’s consent to the proposed covenant (Exodus 19:8). At that time, God said in three days (Day 50) He would appear on Mt. Sanai and deliver the Law to the people with Moses as an intermediary. (Exodus 19:16; 20:1-26) Look at the symmetry. The Law of the Flesh was given on Pentecost some 1500 years before the Law of Grace was given, likewise on Pentecost, through the formation of the Church. The second aspect, indirectly involves the Baptism of the 3000 on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:41) It turns out that the Law symbolized by Stone Tablets, was given twice. The first time the Law was based upon a legal contract. However, the second time it was based upon God’s Grace. You know the story of the Golden Calf when the first stone tablets were broken just as the people had broken the Law. (Exodus 32:1-19) The Grace part comes when Moses offers his life for the people if God would not forgive them for their idolatrous sin. (Exodus 32:32) What you may not have noticed is that during the interim between the issuance of the two sets of The Law, 3000 rebels were slain. (Exodus 32:28) Is it a coincidence that on the Fulfillment of Pentecost in Christ, 3000 were saved? I don’t think so.
There are two more matters that must be added to the answers above to properly understand this feast. First, in the numbering systems in use in the Middle East before sometime very AD there is no zero. The concept simply did not exist anywhere in the world initially. I do not know just when the people of the Indian subcontinent began using it, but it was not brought west until the Arabs brought it long after the time of Christ. I have not looked it up for this writing, but if memory serves it was not used by the Arabs before the rise of Islam in 605 AD. Why is this important? No one started counting on day 0. The count for the Day of Wheat Harvest, or the Feast of Weeks began on the day after the Sabbath in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. If we say, then, that the count is started on Sunday with day 1, not day 0, the 50th day is a Sunday exactly seven weeks, or 49 days later. This also sets the pattern for the year of Jubilee, which is the 50th year of a Jubilee cycle, but that 50th year is also the first year of the following Jubilee cycle, and the cycle is 49 years, not 50 years as is normally taught. This is important for a large number of reasons that go beyond the scope of this post, but which must be mentioned because of the importance of the pattern set here. Secondly, the statute says the counting of the omer is to start the day after the Sabbath in the Feast of Unleavened bread, but most years there are TWO Sabbaths in that feast. The day of Passover is the first day of that week and is declared to be a Sabbath, no matter what day of the week on which it falls. Here again we run into difficulties of understanding because of differences between the biblical timing and the timing we use today. The new day started at sunset (evening) of the day in question.This is established at creation (the evening and the morning define the day, evening first.) The day we normally call Passover is the day of preparation for the Passover. The lamb was to be killed and cooked between the evenings (noon and sunset) on that day and its blood smeared on the lintel and door posts, and by sunset everyone was to be inside their house with no one leaving it before sunrise. The angel of death came during the hours of darkness, thus the day of Passover is the day after we normally consider it to occur. This is the first day of Unleavened Bread and is a Sabbath, but it is the 15th day of the month, NOT the seventh day of the week, Thus, most years have two Sabbaths that week, something that always caused confusion, and can cause timing issues in prophecies based on this cycle. There were two minds among the priests throughout the history of Israel and Judah as to which of these "day after the Sabbath" was to be used to start the count to Pentecost. Depending on whose timing you use this may or may not be important for determining the date on which the tongues of fire and outpouring of the spirit occurred. The standard timing for the Edict of Jerusalem places this time on a year on which these two Sabbaths fall on different days in the year of Jesus' crucifixion. However, a more precise timing was discovered by Stephen E. Jones in the late 1980s early 90's. There is the possibility of him manipulating the results for the desired outcome. That can be seen in many such studies, but after careful study of my own before I was introduced to his work, I am satisfied of his accuracy, though there are problems that leave the matter difficult to determine. If Dr. Jones treatment is accurate, in the year Jesus died the Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread and the weekly Sabbath fell on the same day, a matter which removes the ambiguity of counting the days to Pentecost in most years.
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