Chasing Pentecost 2018

Another name for Pentecost is the Feast of Weeks.  This name stems from how it is to be calculated: seven weeks after the waving of the Omer (Firstfruits sheaf of grain offering).  In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to “count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain” (Deut 16:9 ESV).  Pentecost came exactly 7 weeks after the first harvest of barley, waved as a Firstfruits offering to God during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering.  You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath.  Leviticus 23:15 ESV

I’m going to place the summary here, and if you want to see how I got there, keep reading 🙂

Pentecost High Watch Dates 2018:

We may never be able to know for sure which date God sees as the true date for Pentecost.  Thus, it seems that Pentecost is also a contender, along with the Feast of Trumpets, for the “Feast of Unknown Day/Hour”.  Note, too, that even if Pentecost is “THE Day”, the actual date and time (hour) will vary for believers worldwide because of time zones :).  And we still don’t know the year. 😉

Possible Pentecost 2018 Dates, starting at sunset in Jerusalem on the Gregorian Calendar.  The Gregorian calendar dates are unchanged whether you use the new moon or the sighting of the first crescent sliver.  The Hebrew calendar dates may vary by 1 day based on moon sighting so 2 days are listed:

May 20, 2018  [4/5/6 Sivan*] – if Nisan 1 is March 18

May 27, 2018  [11 Sivan*] – if Nisan 1 is March 19 – CONFIRMED

June 24, 2018  [11-12 Sivan*] – small possibility that there should have been a leap month added, which would make this Pentecost

Personally, I believe the Karaites method of determining the Spring Feast Dates is most accurate.  I believe this because they base their determinations on the moon as well as the agricultural conditions.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years…” Genesis 1:14 ESV

From the data I have sifted through, it seems probable that Pentecost should occur on May 20, 2018.  There is a small possibility that there should have been a leap month added, pushing Pentecost to June 24, 2018.  I will update if I find information that would suggest otherwise.

*Actual Hebrew calendar dates will vary upon confirmation of the renewed moon for that month.

*** UPDATE ***

Based on data from Renewed Moon, the first sliver of moon wasn’t seen by witnesses until the evening of March 18 (the beginning of March 19 Jerusalem time).  This makes March 19 Nisan 1, which places Pentecost on May 27 if following the Karaite method.  The moon sighting confirmed by witnesses is a critical element.  Also on this website, it has been confirmed that the Barley was abib (ripe) enough for firstfruits offering on March 19.  This would eliminate the June 24 Pentecost possibility.

Source: http://www.renewedmoon.com/wall-calendar/biblical-month.htm?d=2018-2019-01

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New Moon or First Sliver?

As we learned from the Fall Feasts, the Hebrew calendar is heavily tied into the moon phases. The start of each month is determined by the new moon.  It seems there is some uncertainty as to whether the start of the month was determined by the New Moon itself or by the First Sliver of Crescent Moon, and may have differed between sects.  The first sliver of crescent seems to be the most heavily referenced and documented.  The teaching that the Hebrew months went by full moons instead of new moons seems to stem from Seventh Day Adventist teachings and is incorrect as far as I can determine.

From Chabad (Orthodox Jewish website):

The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles. Towards the beginning of the moon’s cycle, it appears as a thin crescent. That is the signal for a new Jewish month. The moon grows until it is full, the middle of the month, and then it begins to wane until it cannot be seen. It remains invisible for approximately two day—and then the thin crescent reappears, and the cycle begins again.

“The L‑rd spoke to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, ‘This chodesh shall be to you the head of months.’” (Exodus 12:1–2)

From the wording of this verse, “shall be to you,” the sages deduced that the responsibility of pinpointing and consecrating the chodesh, the crescent new moon, was entrusted to the leaders of our nation, the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical supreme court of every generation.

Originally, there was no fixed calendar. There was no way to determine in advance the exact day of a coming holiday or bar mitzvah, because there was no way to determine in advance when the month would begin. Each month anew, the Sanhedrin would determine whether the month would be 29 or 30 days long—depending on when the following month’s new moon was first sighted—and would sanctify the new month.

In the 4th century CE, the sage Hillel II foresaw the disbandment of the Sanhedrin, and understood that we would no longer be able to follow a Sanhedrin-based calendar. So Hillel and his rabbinical court established the perpetual calendar which is followed today.

When Hillel established the perpetual calendar, he sanctified every Rosh Chodesh until Moshiach will come and reestablish the Sanhedrin.

Source: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/526874/jewish/The-Jewish-Month.htm

What I have referenced in this post is the first sighting of crescent sliver as I believe this to be most accurate, but I will place dark new moon dates in brackets in case you are interested.  The first sliver was determined by 2 witnesses visually sighting the first sliver of moon after the new moon by the unaided eye.  I have estimated this at around 1% illumination, although some sources state it might be closer to 2.5%.  Of course there are many factors other than illumination, including moonset and moonrise times, glare, humidity, fog, clouds, dust, etc that can affect first sighting.

[T]he new moon began when the thin crescent of the new moon was first visible at sunset. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol 1, p. 266)

[T]he ancient Jewish calendar depended not on mathematical calculations and arrangements, but was set from month to month according to the physical appearance of the new moon. Witnesses who had seen the first sign of the crescent on the horizon after sunset were expected to report the fact to the authorities, who thereupon published throughout the country the fact that the new month had begun. (The Pharisees, by Louis Finkelstein, p. 601, Jewish Publication Society, 1938, Philadelphia., based on talmudic literature)

Until Hillel II instituted a permanent calendar based on calculations (ca. 360), the fixing of the new moon was determined by observation and the evidence of witnesses. During the earlier period, the practice of adding a second day to festivals … was introduced for communities lying at a distance from Palestine, because it was doubtful on precisely which of the two days the new moon occurred.” (Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion, p. 78; Massada-P.E.C. Press Ltd, 1965., based on talmudic tradition)

In old Israel the new moon—the day after the crescent was first sighted in the sky—was celebrated by sacrifices and feasting…” (Judaism, by George Foot Moore, professor of the history of religion, Harvard, vol 2, p. 22, based on talmudic literature)

[T]he ancient Jewish calendar depended not on mathematical calculations and arrangements, but was set from month to month according the physical appearance of the new moon. Witnesses who had seen the first sign of the crescent on the horizon after sunset were expected to report the fact to the authorities, who there upon published throughout the country the fact that a new month had begun. The year consisted of 12 months whose limits were determined by these observations. But, since the lunar year consists of only 354 days, eleven less than the solar year, it was necessary from time to time to “intercalate” a thirteenth month before the Passover, to prevent its being moved back into the winter. This intercalary month was a “second Adar” and was added whenever a consideration of the sun’s position in the heavens, the state of the crops, or the newborn lambs, made it appear necessary.” (The Pharisees, pp. 601–602, by Louis Finkelstein, professor of theology at Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Jewish Publication Society of America, 1938., based on talmudic literature)

“The phases of the moon could easily be recognized by everybody. The new moon indicated the beginning of the month.… Though the ‘new moon’ could be observed by every individual, to prevent any mistake or doubt the duty of fixing the new month was assigned to a rabbinical council in Jerusalem. Their decision was subject to the testimony of two reliable witnesses. As soon as their reports have been received and checked by astronomical calculation, an official message was sent out by chains of fire signals” (The Judaic Heritage, by Rabbi Dr. R. Brasch, pp. 22, 24, based on talmudic literature)

How Do We Find Pentecost?

My goal this morning is to figure out the possible dates for Pentecost 2018 – what I believe is our highest watch day of the year.  All dates listed would start at sunset Jerusalem time the night before on the Gregorian calendar.

The New Moon for Jerusalem was:
March 17, 2018 (March 18 1% illumination; March 19 4.3% illumination)
April 16, 2018 (April 16 0.3% illumination; April 17 2.6% illumination)

“The sighting of the lunar crescent within one day of New Moon is usually difficult. The crescent at this time is quite thin, has a low surface brightness, and can easily be lost in the twilight. Generally, the lunar crescent will become visible to suitably-located, experienced observers with good sky conditions about one day after New Moon. However, the time that the crescent actually becomes visible varies quite a bit from one month to another. Naked-eye sightings as early as 15.5 hours after New Moon have been reliably reported while observers with telescopes have made reliable reports as early as 12.1 hours after New Moon. Because these observations are exceptional, crescent sightings this early in the lunar month should not be expected as the norm.”

Source: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/crescent.php

For this reason I will base 1 Nisan as March 18, 2018, in which it may have been possible for 2 witnesses to sight the first sliver of crescent moon.  Now, of course, this depends on clouds and other considerations which we are not able to verify.

As a secondary possible date I will base 1 Nisan as April 17, 2018.  Why a secondary date, you ask?  Great question…

Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow

Ok, I don’t know about oats, peas, or beans, but the barley is the one we are interested in.  In my article on Pentecost Part 5 – The Counting of the Omer – Day and Hour Unknown?, I discussed how the Jewish sects determine the date of Pentecost differently.  So we’re going to calculate all 3 here!

“Unlike the other mo’edim given in the Torah, however, Shavuot has no explicit date but must be inferred from Leviticus 23:11 and 23:15: “And from the day on which you bring the omer offering – the day after the Sabbath – you shall count off seven weeks”.  The key phrase is “the day after the Sabbath”.  Does this phrase refer to Sunday or perhaps to the Sabbath of Passover?” (Source: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html)

Sadducees

The Tzaddukim (Sadducees) believed that the word “Sabbath” was used in its regular sense, as the seventh day of the week, and therefore began the countdown on the first Sunday after Passover (Talmud: Menachot 65).  Now since Shavuot occurs 7 weeks later to this day, this implies that it also fell on a Sunday.  Moreover, since the day of the week for Passover varies over the year, the date of Shavuot would likewise vary.

Source: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html

The third faction, the Sadducees, agreed with the Essenes that Shavuot must be counted from a weekly Sabbath, but disagreed as to which one. The Sadducees believed the 50-day count must begin on the weekly Sabbath that falls out during the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. According to their reckoning, the counting towards Shavuot could begin anywhere from the 15th to the 21st day of the month, depending on what day of the week the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. If Unleavened Bread began on a Sunday, the count would begin on the 15th day of the month. If Unleavened Bread began on a Saturday, the count would begin on the 16th day of the month, and so on. Based on this counting, Shavuot could fall out from the 4th to the 12th of the Third Hebrew Month. Karaite Jews have accepted the Sadducee reckoning as the only one to be consistent with the plain meaning of the biblical text.

Source: https://www.nehemiaswall.com/truth-shavuot

If we use the Sadducees method of calculating Pentecost:

March 18, 2018 – 1 Nisan  [March 17 if New Moon used]

March 31, 2018 – 14 Nisan, Passover (Saturday/Sabbath)  [March 30 if New Moon used]

April 1 – 7, 2018 – 15-21 Nisan, Unleavened Bread  [March 31-April 6 if New Moon used]

April 1, 2018 – 15 Nisan, Firstfruits (Sunday)  [unchanged]

May 20, 2018 – 6 Sivan, Pentecost  [unchanged if New Moon used]

Pharisees

The Perushim (Pharisees), on the other hand, believed that “the day after the Shabbat” referred to not the weekly Sabbath but to the first day of Passover (which is a shabbaton or day of work restrictions), and therefore began counting the following day, that is, the day after Passover (which is also the second day of Unleavened Bread).  This is supported in Joshua 5:11-12 when Israel first entered the land and ate of its firstfruits.  Now since Passover always occurs on Nisan 15, this established a fixed date for Shavuot 49 days later on Sivan 6.

Historically, the Pharisee’s position prevailed in the Jewish tradition, and the modern Rabbinical calendar marks Shavuot on the fixed date of Sivan 6 (in May/June), exactly 49 days after the second day of Passover (Nisan 16).  This accords with the testimony of first century historians Josephus and Philo, who both state that the “day after the Sabbath” meant the day after the holiday Sabbath.”

Source: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html

Note that Passover is Nisan 14 (not a No Work Day) and Unleavened Bread starts Nisan 15 (a No Work Day), so I disagree with Hebrew4Christians above.  However, the end result is the same in that Pentecost / Shavuot always occurs on Sivan 6 per the Pharisees.

The Pharisees argued that Shavuot is to be counted from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which they designated a “Sabbath.” According to the Pharisees, “morrow of the Sabbath” means the “morrow of the 1st day of Unleavened Bread.” The ancient Pharisees and their modern day successor the Orthodox rabbis begin the 50-day count to Shavuot on the second day of Unleavened Bread, which is always the 16th day of the First Hebrew Month. As a result, the Pharisee Shavuot always fell out in ancient times from the 5th to the 7th day of the Third Hebrew Month (Sivan). After the destruction of the Temple, the Pharisees became the predominant surviving faction among the Jewish leadership and their interpretation is followed by most Jews until this very day. In 359 CE, the Pharisee leader Hillel II established a pre-calculated calendar and ever since the Pharisee Shavuot has always been observed on the 6th of Sivan.

Source: https://www.nehemiaswall.com/truth-shavuot

If we use the Pharisees method of calculating Pentecost:

March 18, 2018 – 1 Nisan  [March 17 if New Moon used]

March 31, 2018 – 14 Nisan, Passover (Saturday/Sabbath)  [March 30 if New Moon used]

April 1 – 7, 2018 – 15-21 Nisan, Unleavened Bread  [March 31-April 6 if New Moon used]

April 1, 2018 – 15 Nisan, Firstfruits (Sunday) OR April 2, 2018 – 16 Nisan if ancient count used  [March 31 if New Moon used; April 1 if ancient count used]

May 20, 2018 – 6 Sivan, Pentecost  OR May 21, 2018 – 7 Sivan if ancient count used [May 19, 2018 if New Moon used; May 20 if ancient count used from New Moon]

**Since 359AD, always observed 6 Sivan regardless of day of week.

Essenes

The Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls began the 50-day count to Shavuot on a different Sabbath from the Pharisees. In their reckoning, the Omer offering was to be brought on the morrow of the weekly Sabbath, in modern terms: “Sunday.” The Essenes began their count on the Sunday after the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As a result, they always began their count on the 26th day of the First Hebrew Month. The Essenes had a 364-day solar calendar, which began every year on a Wednesday and had fixed lengths for each month. Based on the Essene calendar, Shavuot always fell out on the 15th day of the Third Hebrew Month. The Essenes are presumed to have been wiped out when the Romans invaded Judea in 66-74 CE and only their documents survive today.

Source: https://www.nehemiaswall.com/truth-shavuot

If we use the Essenes method of calculating Pentecost:

March 18, 2018 – 1 Nisan  [March 17, 2018 if New Moon used]

March 31, 2018 – 14 Nisan, Passover (Saturday/Sabbath)  [March 30, 2018 if New Moon used]

April 1 – 7, 2018 – 15-21 Nisan, Unleavened Bread  [March 31-April 6, 2018 if New Moon used]

April 8, 2018 – 22 Nisan, Firstfruits (Sunday)  [unchanged]

May 27, 2018 – 13 Sivan, Pentecost  [unchanged]

Karaites

The Karaites rejected both these methods but instead relied upon the sighting of the new moon (Rosh Chodesh) and the appearance of the first sheaves of barley to determine the month of Aviv and the festival of Firstfruits, respectively.  After these observations, the wave offering of the firstfruits would then be presented at the temple on the day after the weekly Sabbath, and only then would the 49 day countdown to Shavuot begin.  Therefore, since the appearance of the first barley sheaves is not constant, the date Shavuot could not be foreknown with any certainty.

Source: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/Shavuot/shavuot.html

The Karaites agreed with the Sadducees that the Sabbath in question was the weekly Sabbath that fell within the feast of Unleavened Bread.  If we use the Karaites method of calculating Pentecost:

If Barley Sheaves Ripe:

March 18, 2018 – 1 Nisan (**IF moon sliver sighted, which is questionable at 1% illumination; otherwise March 19 would be 1 Nisan)

March 31, 2018 – 14 Nisan, Passover (Saturday/Sabbath) (if March 19 is 1 Nisan, then Passover would be April 1, 2018)

April 1 – 7, 2018 – 15-21 Nisan, Unleavened Bread (if March 19 is 1 Nisan, then Unleavened Bread would be April 2-8, 2018)

April 1, 2018 – 15 Nisan, Firstfruits (Sunday) (if March 19 is 1 Nisan, then Firstfruits would be April 8, 2018)

May 20, 2018 – 5 Sivan*, Pentecost (if March 19 is 1 Nisan, then Pentecost would be May 27, 2018)  [unchanged if New Moon used, but it seems the Karaites used the first appearance of the crescent]

*Based on the moon illumination, I believe May 16 (1.4% moon illumination) would mark the start of Sivan

If Barley Sheaves Unripe:

Adar II would be inserted before Nisan as a “leap month”.

April 17, 2018 – 1 Nisan based on moon sighting

April 30, 2018 – 14 Nisan, Passover

May 1 – 7, 2018 – 15-21 Nisan, Unleavened Bread

May 6, 2018 – 20 Nisan, Firstfruits

June 24, 2018 – 11/12 Sivan (depending if 1st moon sighted June 14 or 15; Gregorian calendar still June 24), Pentecost  [unchanged if New Moon used, although it seems Karaites used the first appearance of the crescent]

The new moon (Rosh Chodesh) occurred before the spring equinox, which seems to be one of the critical criteria for determining leap years if not using the Metatonic cycle to precalculate it.  This would indicate a leap year should NOT be added.

The question therefore is whether the barley seems to have been abib, or ripe enough, to wave a firstfruits offering on April 1.  There were Jews in Israel who harvested a firstfruits offering for April 1.  The article is here, from Breaking Israel News – April 2, 2018: Barley Harvested in Preparation for Third Temple Wave Offering.

However, I have seen several articles contending the adequacy of the ripeness of the barley for the firstfruits offering at that time.  Thus, it’s possible a “leap month” of Adar II should have been added.  I will continue investigation into this possibility.

 

*** UPDATE ***

Based on data from Renewed Moon, the first sliver of moon wasn’t seen by witnesses until the evening of March 18 (the beginning of March 19 Jerusalem time).  This makes March 19 Nisan 1, which places Pentecost on May 27 if following the Karaite method.  The moon sighting confirmed by witnesses is a critical element.  Also on this website, it has been confirmed that the Barley was abib (ripe) enough for firstfruits offering on March 19.  This would eliminate the June 24 Pentecost possibility.

Source: http://www.renewedmoon.com/wall-calendar/biblical-month.htm?d=2018-2019-01

 


Moon Phase / Calendar Resources:

https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/israel/jerusalem
https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/israel/jerusalem?month=3&year=2018

http://renewedmoon.com/

Jewish Calculation Reckoning Resources:

Calculating FirstFruits and Shavuot (Teshuva Ministries)

The Truth About Shavuot (NehemiahsWall)

pentecost


Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church

 

 

Shavuot – Revelation and the Fruit of the Spirit (Hebrew4Christians)

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

God’s Mosaic – A Whole Scripture Overview of Things To Come

Main Menu – God’s Mosaic Prophecy Model

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

 

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