|Lunar 354-Day Gentile||1/12/4265|
|Lunisolar Modern Hebrew||6/3/3793|
|...that reach 6000 years on 12/06/1933|
|Favour to Nations||subscriber access|
|Man (360-Day)||subscriber access|
|Man (Gregorian)||subscriber access|
|DANIEL'S PROPHETIC PERIODS|
|Daniel's 70 Weeks (1st run of 70th Week)||subscriber access|
|7 Times of the Gentiles (Israel)||subscriber access|
|7 Times of the Gentiles (Jerusalem)||subscriber access|
|Lunisolar Year Starts|
|Lunisolar Autumn Start Last Year||23/9/32|
|Lunisolar Spring Start This Year||19/3/33|
|Lunisolar Autumn Start This Year||12/9/33|
|Lunisolar Spring Start Next Year||9/3/34|
|Astronomical New Moons|
|Last New Moon (Jerusalem)||15/5/33, 6:19|
|Next New Moon (Jerusalem)||13/6/33, 16:17|
|Autumn Equinox Last Year||22/9/32, 22:44|
|Spring Equinox This Year||20/3/33, 18:23|
|Autumn Equinox This Year||23/9/33, 4:22|
|Spring Equinox Next Year||21/3/34, 0:12|
In these notes
What really happened at Pentecost
In Acts 2:1-21 the apostle Peter related the events at Pentecost to a prophesy in Joel 2, and we find a description of events on that day and the words which He spoke to those present:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs - we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the Great and Glorious Day of the Lord shall come. and it shall be that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.’
Peter explicitly tells us that his words were addressed to the Jews. He tells us that he declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words". According to Joel, in a prophesy addressed to ISRAEL, a series of events will occur before the Great and Glorious Day of the Lord shall come:
- God will pour out His Spirit on ALL mankind;
- ISRAEL'S sons and daughters will prophesy;
- ISRAEL'S young men will see visions and their old men will dream dreams;
- Bondslaves, both men and women, shall prophesy;
- There will be wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood;
- Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved - we know from elsewhere that this will be all Israel.
To what extent had these events already been fulfilled or were fulfilled as prophesied on the day of Pentecost?
- God only poured out His Spirit on the believers present, not on ALL mankind. We are specifically told that suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. The reference to “wind” is significant. The word for “Spirit” (pneuma) is related to pnoe, the word translated “wind” here. Both nouns - “spirit” and “wind” - are from the verb pneō, “to blow, to breathe.” The noise like the blowing of a violent rushing wind points to the power of the Holy Spirit;
- There was no record of ALL ISRAEL'S sons and daughters prophesying, only those present;
- There was no record of ISRAEL'S young men seeing visions or their old men dreaming dreams;
- There was no record of bondslaves, either men or women, prophesying;
- There were wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below when the sun was turned into darkness for three hours and the moon into blood at the Crucifixion - astronomical calculations indicate that there was a lunar eclipse producing a red moon in Israel at that time;
- Everyone who called on the Name of the Lord was saved, but not all Israel.
Other events took place which were NOT prophesied by Joel:
- And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. The tongues of fire meant one thing to the Jews whom Peter was addressing - judgement. When the Holy Spirit only fell on the believers and not on all Jews, it was a sign of coming judgement upon Israel who had rejected Jesus as Messiah.
- They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. The Jews living in Jerusalem were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. We shall see in a moment that the believers were already filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit, but this was a sign of the Holy Spirit endowing the believers with power.
In Acts 2:16 which is quoted above, Peter said:
...this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel.
Did this refer to the events that had taken place that day or did it refer to the words spoken by the prophet Joel which Peter read out? We have clearly shown that the events that had taken place that day did not fulfil the prophesy of Joel 2. Peter was telling the Jews to listen to the words of Joel 2 which had not been fulfilled that day because they had not accepted Jesus as Messiah.
Peter was telling the Jews to listen to the words of Joel 2 which had not been fulfilled that day because they had not accepted Jesus as Messiah
The Holy Spirit was given on the Day of the Resurrection at Firstfruits
John 20:19-22 tells us that when Jesus appeared to His disciples after He had been presented to the Father on the day of His Resurrection, He breathed the Holy Spirit on them and they received the Holy Spirit:
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Less than a week earlier, Jesus had promised that this would happen. In John 16:5-20 we read:
"But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged... A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” Some of His disciples then said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy."
In this passage, Jesus foretold the sorrow that His death, resurrection and immediate departure to heaven would cause the disciples. However, it was to their advantage that He would be away a short while because He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit. It is commonly thought that the promise in John 16 to send the Holy Spirit refers to the descent of the Holy Spirit on believers at Pentecost. However, the Gospels make it clear that Jesus ascended to the Father and then returned to the disciples on the day of His Resurrection and breathed on them telling them to receive the Spirit:
“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)
The use of the English word send in John 16 tends to make us think of Jesus in heaven despatching the Holy Spirit to believers on earth. In fact John's Gospel uses the Greek word pempo translated as send 24 times referring to God or Jesus doing the sending. The emphasis is on the sender, not on the remoteness or closeness of the recipient, and the word would apply equally well to Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to the disciples when in the same room as them on the day of His Resurrection.
John 20:19-22 makes it clear that all believers have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit since Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to them in fulfilment of His promise in John 16 on the day of His Resurrection at Firstfruits and the beginning of Weeks. The Holy Spirit was given to change the condition or state of believers so that the very life of Christ indwells them. But also, John 16:5-20 tells us that the Holy Spirit within believers convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
- concerning sin, because they do not believe in Jesus and receive God's gift of salvation through Christ's suffering and death on the Cross in our place;
- and concerning righteousness, because the risen Christ would go to the Father at the Ascension and the world would no longer see the righteousness of Jesus in person;
- and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world - satan - has been judged by God.
This is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so believers were now given the mission of preaching the Gospel through the Holy Spirit within them.
Believers were additionally anointed with the Power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
The Feast of Weeks ends at Pentecost
Two loaves of bread are baked from the grain of the harvest and presented to the Father at Pentecost which ends the Feast of Weeks. In Leviticus 23:5-20, the Lord gave Moses instructions concerning three feasts:
- Firstfruits - on the day after the Saturday sabbath which occurs during the seven days of Unleavened Bread. The priest waves a sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest before the Lord.
- Weeks - the fifty days starting at Firstfruits and ending at Pentecost on the day after the seventh sabbath.
- Pentecost - the day after the seventh sabbath from Firstfruits. Two loaves of bread are baked from the grain of the harvest and are waved by the priest before the Lord.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD's Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD...When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it...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. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath...You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering...The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering...
The first and last days of Unleavened Bread were times of sacred assembly during which no work was to be done, as on the sabbath. Some scholars have treated the sacred assembly on the first day of Unleavened Bread as a sabbath, and have therefore always treated the next day as Firstfruits and the first day of Weeks. It just so happens that in 33 AD the first day of Unleavened Bread is a sabbath.
However, the seven days of Unleavened Bread start on the 15th day of the 1st month, which could be any day of the week and will vary from year to year. This first day of Unleavened Bread doesn't usually conform to the requirements of Leviticus 23 that Pentecost would fall on the 50th day of Weeks and also on the day after the 7th sabbath of Weeks.
The following chart shows that the only scheme that works for the seven sabbaths of Weeks followed immediately by Pentecost is where Firstfruits, the first day of Weeks, falls on the day after the Saturday sabbath wherever it occurs during the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
FIGURE: The 50 days of Weeks starting at Firstfruits and ending at Pentecost according to the requirement of Leviticus 23
Israel - the Wife of Jehovah
Throughout the Bible, a distinction is maintained between Israel and the Church. One of the ways this distinction is made is between the Wife of Jehovah and the Bride of Christ.
The Book of Deuteronomy, which means repetition of the law, repeats most of the elements of the law contained in the previous three books to a new generation of the children of Israel who had not been born when the law was given nearly forty years earlier, in preparation for entering the promised land of Canaan. Moses presents the law in the form of an ancient marriage contract.
In Deuteronomy 5:1-3, Moses declares that God had entered into a covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai:
Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today."
The Old Testament prophets saw this covenant as a marriage contract. Moses and the prophets warned Israel against adultery by the worship of other gods. Then, in Jeremiah 31:31-33, we learn that the original marriage contract had been broken because of Israel's adultery, but that God will make a New Covenant with Israel:
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
After the division of the kingdom, in the period leading up to the Babylonian captivity, we see Israel separated from God. First we see God issuing a divorce from the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the Book of Hosea, then we see God issuing a divorce from the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the Book of Jeremiah:
Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 3:6-10)
The result of all Israel's adultery would be destruction by Egypt, Assyria and Babylon because Israel had worshipped their gods.
Jeremiah 31 told us that God will make a New Covenant with Israel and Ezekiel 16 tells us that this will be an everlasting covenant, one that is unconditional and will not be broken.
The Feast of Weeks and the Bride of Christ
Not only will the Father be reunited with His wife, Israel, but He has also provided a bride for Christ.
The fifty days of the Feast of Weeks was not a mystery - it was revealed in Leviticus 23. From the moment Jesus returned from heaven at Firstfruits, breathed the Holy Spirit on the believers and they received the Spirit, a Bride was being prepared for Christ. This bride is the body of Christ, with Jesus as the head of the body.
Had Israel accepted Jesus as Messiah, Pentecost would have been fulfilled on the last of the fifty days and two loaves of bread baked from the grain of the harvest - Jew and Gentile - would have been presented to the Father in heaven by Jesus as His bride, the body of Christ.
Because Israel has not accepted Jesus as Messiah, Pentecost will instead be fulfilled at the Rapture of the Body of Christ, and the prophecy of Joel will be fulfilled when Israel accepts Jesus as Messiah and He returns to establish His Kingdom.
Pentecost will instead be fulfilled at the Rapture of the Body of Christ
The Mystery Age - One New Man, the Church, the Bride of Christ
During the period until Israel does accept Jesus as Messiah to bring about His return, the time of preparation of a bride for Christ has been extended and the mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues.
However, a new mystery people, the Church, has been created since Pentecost in whom both believing Jews and Gentiles are one body, the body of Christ who is the Head. Ephesians 2:11-3:10 tells us that Christ's purpose in creating this mystery one new man is:
- To create in Himself one new man out of the Gentiles and Jews, thus making peace,
- To reconcile both Gentile and Jewish believers to Himself in one body,
- So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places, in other words the glory of God's Plan of the Ages might be made known to the entire angelic realm:
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity... By revelation there was made known to me the mystery... which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel... so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:11-3:10)
Before Israel accepts Jesus as Messiah and once more becomes the Wife of Jehovah through entering into the New Covenant, God is providing His Son Jesus with a Bride - the Church. During the Church Age, the Church is betrothed or engaged to Christ. The Book of Revelation sums up the Church Age in the first three chapters, and then describes the marriage of Christ to His Bride in heaven during the seven years of Tribulation on earth before Christ returns with His Bride to establish His rule on the earth.
Israel did not accept Jesus as Messiah at His First Coming and Pentecost was not fulfilled as prescribed in Joel 2. Believers, not Israel, were anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to continue the work of Christ in the new Church Age from Pentecost onwards, which had not previously been revealed. Ephesians 2:11-3:10 tells us that in addition to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ for which the Holy Spirit was given to believers after Firstfruits, a new purpose was now added - that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. In other words, that the glory of God's Plan of the Ages might be made known to the entire angelic realm:
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity... By revelation there was made known to me the mystery... which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel... so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
For this purpose, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, a new mystery people, the Church, was created. Instead of Joel 2 being fulfilled, this new people were anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to accomplish their mission during the Church Age. Like Jesus, we are to do His works by the power of the Holy Spirit anointed upon us at Pentecost. John 14:12 tells us:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
Like Jesus, we are to do His works by the power of the Holy Spirit anointed upon us at Pentecost
Believers, as the body of Christ being prepared as His Bride, received the Holy Spirit at Firstfruits and they were additionally anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Their mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues, and they are now to demonstrate the wisdom of God's Plan of the Ages to bring redemption through Christ Jesus by the victory of His sacrifice and death at Calvary and His resurrection.
The Solar Julian Calendar became the current Bible Calendar
The Lunisolar Spring Calendar was the current Bible calendar during the period from the Exodus to the death and resurrection of Jesus. We can see from Scripture that the current Bible calendar then changed to the Solar Julian Calendar at the beginning of the Mystery Church Age that started at Pentecost which followed the Jewish Feast of Weeks.
In Acts 11:15-16, Peter indicates that Pentecost was the beginning of the Church Age:
And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
The paradox of Acts 20
We sailed from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and came to them at Troas within five days; and there we stayed seven days. On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.
- Paul left Philippi AFTER the end of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Then he took five days to sail to Troas, so he arrived at Troas FIVE DAYS AFTER the end of Unleavened Bread.
- He stayed at Troas for seven days, so he left Troas TWELVE DAYS AFTER the end of Unleavened Bread.
- He met the disciples on the sixth day at Troas, which was ELEVEN DAYS AFTER the end of Unleavened Bread, and preached until midnight.
- He broke bread just after midnight, when he had raised Eutychus from the dead, at the start of the seventh day at Troas which was TWELVE DAYS AFTER the end of Unleavened Bread. This was the first day of the week according to Acts 20:7, when once more we read of breaking bread without wine.
In 1Corinthians 11:26, Paul instructs Christians to take the Lord's Supper in order to proclaim His death until He comes. The Lord's Supper is an ordinance for the interim Church Age, when instead of sacrifice we take the bread and the wine. It takes the place of the annual Feast of Passover until Jesus returns and re-introduces Passover as an annual feast:
But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom. (Matthew 26:29)
We should therefore expect the interim ordinance, the Lord's Supper, to be celebrated at least once a year. Christians today are not just looking back at an event 2000 years ago because Hebrews 10:19 tells us that now:
We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus...
There is no reason why the Lord's Supper may not be celebrated more frequently. However, it should be noted that 1Corinthians 11:23-27 makes it clear that the Lord's Supper must be celebrated with both bread and wine, and nowhere in the book of Acts does the Greek word for wine appear. The references in Acts to the breaking of bread do not mention wine and are references to fellowship meals celebrating the risen Lord Jesus, not the Lord's Supper.
Nowhere in the book of Acts does the Greek word for wine appear
This absence of references to the Lord's Supper in Acts suggest that it was celebrated only occasionally, maybe only once a year on the anniversary of the first celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Acts 20:7 tells us that the disciples came together to break bread on the first day of the week. There is no mention of wine, so they must not have been celebrating the Lord's Supper which must be celebrated with both bread and wine.
From the way this passage is translated into English, it sounds as though the first day of the week refers to the day the disciples came together, ie the day ending at midnight, but the original Greek could just as easily mean that the first day of the week was the day when they actually broke bread, ie the following day starting at midnight. As we shall now see, it has to mean the latter.
There is a paradox here which is normally concealed by a mistranslation of the original Greek. The paradox is that when Paul left Troas, it was twelve days after the end of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the first day of Weeks. The original Greek text does not say the first day of the week, but the first day of the sabbaths (plural of sabbaton), which was a reference to the Jewish Feast of Weeks that ran for seven sabbaths from the day after the sabbath of Passover week to the Feast of Pentecost:
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD's Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread... When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD. Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 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. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:5-16)
There are two important things we need to know about Weeks from this passage in Leviticus 23:
- verse 15 tells us that Weeks starts on the day of the wave offering of the sheaf referred to in verses 10 and 11, known as the Feast of Firstfruits.
- verses 11 and 15 tell us that Firstfruits occurs on the day after the sabbath, which verses 5 and 6 indicate is the sabbath of Passover week.
Passover week was the seven days starting on the day of Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the seven days starting on the day after Passover. Passover could fall on any day of the week. So, the sabbath of Passover week might fall on any day of Passover week, and the day after the Sabbath of Passover, which was Firstfruits, might fall on any day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
According to Leviticus 23, Firstfruits, the first day of Weeks, had to fall on one of the seven days of Unleavened Bread. However, going back to Paul's diary in Acts 20, Firstfruits, the first day of Weeks, was twelve days after the end of the seven days of Unleavened Bread - a difference of between twelve and eighteen days!
Here is the Paradox. It is concealed in most translations by rendering the plural Greek word sabbaton as the singular week. How can the apparently contradictory practice of Acts 20 be consistent with the instructions of Leviticus 23?
The answer is found by looking at the other occasions in the New Testament where the plural of sabbaton occurs. As we have seen, these are all associated with the resurrection of Jesus, although again we find that most translations use the singular week for sabbaton.
Christian ordinances are celebrated on their solar anniversaries
Now we can unravel the paradox of Acts 20. The references to the first day of Weeks and Unleavened Bread must have used different calendars. This is the vital evidence that Christian ordinances are celebrated in a different calendar than the one used for their feasts by Jews who do not accept Jesus as Messiah.
The mention of Unleavened Bread in Acts 20 must refer to the Jewish feast, whereas Paul and the Christians at Troas must have celebrated the Feast of Weeks on its anniversary in the Gentile solar calendar in use at the time rather than in the Jewish lunar calendar in which the Jews celebrated Unleavened Bread.
The Christians could be celebrating nothing else than the solar anniversary, in the Gentile solar calendar, of the resurrection of Jesus at the moment just after midnight when the first day of Weeks had commenced nearly thirty years before.
Far fetched? Look what happened in Acts 20. They were not breaking bread to celebrate the Lord's Supper. There is no mention of remembering the death of Jesus or of wine. Instead, specific mention is made of an incident at midnight. Eutychus fell out of a third floor window, was killed and was raised from the dead! Then they broke bread. Was this a coincidence?
This was the eighth resurrection other than that of Jesus Himself to be mentioned in the Bible. The Hebrew and Greek languages differ from our own in that their characters all represent numbers as well as letters, so all texts can be read numerically as well as alphabetically. Eight is the Biblical number of resurrection. What a celebration - Jesus is alive!
Paul tells us in 1Corinthians 15:20...
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
The paradox of Acts 20 tells us that Weeks is a feast which applies to the Bride of Christ after the start of the Church Age at Pentecost.
Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®
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Used by permission