The proper way to count the days to the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) has been a controversial subject for at least two thousand years. It was a divisive issue between the Pharisees and the Sadducees during Yeshua's earthly ministry. Even today the controversy continues to divide many groups.
It appears as though the majority of feast-keeping groups today lean toward counting from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the Feast of Unleavened. Counting fifty days from that time causes one to always keep Pentecost on a Sunday. The Jews have historically counted fifty days from the day after the high sabbath of Abib 15. Concerning this, the Jewish historian Josephus remarks in his work entitled 'Antiquities of the Jews,' "But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. . . .They also at this participation of the firstfruits of the earth sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to [Yahweh]." (Ant.,3.10.5). The reference to the firstfruits in this account refers to the "sheaf of firstfruits" that was waved "on the morrow after the Sabbath" (Lev.23:10,11). Josephus, incidentally, wrote this in the first century C.E..
Why do the Jews believe the "sabbath" of Lev.23:11 & 15 is the high sabbath of Abib 15 and others believe it is the weekly Sabbath? One reason is based on a superficial study of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew for "sabbath" is "shabbath" which is normally used in reference to the weekly Sabbath. Therefore, it is easy to assume the sabbath of Lev.23:11,15 is also the weekly Sabbath. However, an in depth study of "shabbath" will reveal that it is also used in reference to the Day of Atonement which is considered a high sabbath. In Lev.23:32, the Day of Atonement is called a "sabbath" (Hebrew "shabbath").
Those who believe in counting from the weekly Sabbath go to great lengths to show how "shabbath" refers to the weekly Sabbath and "shabbathown" refers to a high sabbath. Lev.23:32 clearly shows that a high sabbath can be called a "shabbath." If the high sabbath of the Day of Atonement can be called a shabbath, then the high sabbath of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened (Abib 15) can also be called a shabbath. In fact, that is exactly what the New Testament calls it in Jn.19:31; "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day , (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." The "high day" was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened (Abib 15). It is here called "the sabbath day" because that is what it is, as are all other annual sabbaths. The Greek word used for "sabbath day" is the same Greek word used for "sabbath day" in Mt.12:2 & 24:20.
Shabbath is also used in reference to the seventh year sabbath rest for the land. In Lev.25:4, the seventh year is "a shabbath for Yahweh." It is also called a "sabbath of rest" or "shabbath shabbathown." It certainly cannot be said that the seventh year is the weekly Sabbath simply because the word "shabbath" is applied to it.
We have seen how a high sabbath and a sabbath year can be called a shabbath. But can a weekly Sabbath be called a shabbathown which, supposedly, can only refer to a high sabbath? Ex.16:23 reads, "And he said unto them, This is that which Yahweh hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto Yahweh: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." The underlined phrase reads "shabbathown shabbath" in Hebrew. This verse clearly calls the weekly Sabbath a "shabbathown of the holy Sabbath." See also Ex.35:2 and Lev.23:3.
Not only can shabbath (spelled shin, bet, tau [SBT] in Hebrew) be used for the weekly Sabbath, a high sabbath and a sabbath year, but the same Hebrew letters without vowel points can be translated several other ways in English. In the KJV, for example, SBT was translated as; cease, ceased, celebrate, rest, rested, put away, put down, puttest away, fail,rid, still, and took away. Remember, there were no vowel points in the ancient Hebrew text.
The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament translates Lev. 23:11b as follows; "On the morrow of the first day the priest shall lift it up." This version was the only one available to non-Hebrew speaking converts who were called out by Yahweh. It was first translated about 250 B.C.E. during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus at Alexandria, Egypt. It was also quoted from by several writers of the New Testament.
Another reason for believing the count begins with the day after the weekly Sabbath is based on the meaning of Lev.23:15; "And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:" It is believed that "seven sabbaths shall be complete" refers to counting seven full weeks beginning with the first day of the week (Sunday) and ending with the weekly Sabbath. If you don't count from Sunday to Saturday it is not a complete week, they say. However, the word "complete" refers to the fact that seven full days must be counted. That is why the additional instruction of verse 15 is given; to make sure seven full weeks totaling 49 completed days are counted.
Once again, quoting from the ancient Septuagint Version, we read in Lev.23:15c,16a; "seven full weeks: until the morrow after the last week you shall number fifty days." So, at least as far back as 250 B.C.E., it was believed "seven sabbaths" meant seven weeks.
The Hebrew of Lev.23:15 uses the word "shabbath;" "seven shabbaths shall be complete." However, in Deut.16:9,10, which also directs us on how to count, the Hebrew uses "shabuah." Deut. 16:9-10, "Seven weeks [shabuah] shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks [shabuah] from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks [shabuah] unto Yahweh thy Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto Yahweh thy Elohim, according as Yahweh thy Elohim hath blessed thee:" As you can see in verse 10, this feast actually gets its name by counting weeks, not Sabbaths. Shabuah is never used in reference to the weekly Sabbath, however, shabbath is used when referring to weeks of years in Lev.25:8; "And thou shalt number seven sabbaths [shabbath] of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths [shabbath] of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years." Obviously, counting seven weekly sabbaths here will not suffice.
Consider also the following verses;
Ex.34:22 - "And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks [shabuah]"
Num.28:26 - "Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto Yahweh, after your weeks [shabuah] be out"
2 Chr.8:13 - "and in the feast of weeks [shabuah]"
Jer.5:24 - "he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks [shabuah] of the harvest.
The emphasis, when counting to Pentecost, is on seven weeks or 49 days, not on seven weekly Sabbath days.
Let us now consider Joshua 5:10-12. "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 on the morrow after the passover [Abib 15], unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land [Abib 16]; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year."
Proponents of a Sunday Pentecost have tried to use these verses to prove their case. They say, since the Israelites ate of the "produce" of the promised land on Abib 15, the omer or wave sheaf had to have been offered on Abib 14 (Lev.23:14 forbade eating the produce of the land until the sheaf was offered). In their mind, that would make Abib 14 a weekly Sabbath that year; for the omer had to be offered "on the morrow after the [weekly] sabbath."
First of all, their primary premise is wrong. It is assumed that since they ate the "produce" on Abib 15, the sheaf was offered on Abib 14. The truth is, in obedience to Yahweh's command, the Israelites offered the sheaf on Abib 16 but did not eat of the produce until after the sheaf was offered. According to the Mishnah, the sheaf was reaped just after the high sabbath ended and offered before 9:00 am. The Israelites were permitted to eat the produce anytime after the sheaf was offered. Therefore, they ate after approximately 9:00 am on Abib 16. That is when they "did eat of the fruit [produce - Heb. tebuwah] of Canaan" (verse 12). Once the manna had ceased on Abib 16 and the omer was offered, they ate from theproduce of the land.
If that is true, then what was it they ate on Abib 15? Josh 5:11 says they ate "old corn," "unleavened cakes," and "parched corn ." The word "corn" in "parched corn" appears in italics in the KJV which means it is not found in the Hebrew. "Unleavened cakes" is a translation of the Hebrew word "matstsah." "Old corn" is a translation of the Hebrew word "abuwr." The only use of abuwr in the scriptures is found in Josh.5:11,12. It is #5669 in Strong's Concordance and means, "passed, ie. kept over; used only of stored grain." Abuwr comes from "abar" meaning, "to cross over;" It is also translated as, "carry over, bring, pass over, send over." This seems to refer to old grain that lasted into a new season or “crossed over” into a new season. The Israelites also had "victuals" that Joshua commanded them to prepare for their journey across the Jordan in Jos.1:10-11. "Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals ; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which Yahweh your Elohim gives you to possess it." The Israelites were not eating any produce from the promised land on Abib 15. They were eating provisions that were carried over the Jordan from land that was not part of their inheritance as well as stored grain from the land itself.
In Lev.23:10-11, Yahweh makes it clear that the wave sheaf or omer must be from the harvest of "the land which I give unto you." The food that was prohibited in Lev.23:14 were foods from the harvest of the promised land. They could not eat "bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears" made from that harvest until they offered the omer. Josh.5:10-12 makes no mention of green ears [karmel], bread [lechem], or parched corn [kahlee]. It only mentions old corn [abuwr], and unleavened cakes [matstsah] that were parched.
One more point about Joshua 5:12. It states the manna ceased the day after they ate the old corn. The miracle of the manna in Exodus 16 taught the Israelites that manna would always cease on the weekly Sabbath. Sunday Pentecost keepers claim that Abib 14 was a weekly Sabbath that year. That would mean the manna ceased on a Monday. If Yahweh is consistent, the manna of Josh.5:12 would have again ceased on the weekly Sabbath. That means Abib 14 was, in reality, a Thursday.
There is a big problem associated with always observing the Feast of Weeks on a Sunday. The rule for counting from a Sunday says you must "count from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the Feast of Unleavened." First, where in scripture does it say that? Second, if Passover (Abib 14) coincides with the weekly Sabbath, then that Sabbath is not within the Feast of Unleavened. That would mean you would begin counting a full week later on Abib 22. Abib 21 would be the Sabbath that falls within the feast. That means the wave sheaf would not even be a part of the feast. The truth is, Yahweh commands the count to begin with one of the greatest events in Israel's history, the exodus from Egypt (Num.33:3).
Those who keep a Sunday Pentecost question counting from Abib 16 based on a tradition practiced by the Jews of today. The Jews always observe Shavout (Feast of Weeks) on Sivan 6. Therefore, some say, "If Yahweh had meant Pentecost to be observed on Sivan 6 every year, then why is this not mentioned, and why did Yahweh command us to count 50 days to establish the correct day?" The answer is simple. When the law was given to Moses a fixed calendar did not exist. Months began by the visual sighting of the new moon. Depending on whether there was 29 or 30 days in the first and second months, Pentecost could fall on either Sivan 5,6, or 7. The current fixed calendar of the Jews is unscriptural and should not be followed. We must still count 50 days, starting with Abib 16, to arrive at the correct date for Pentecost.
A final objection to counting from Abib 16 stems from the fulfillment of the wave sheaf in the New Testament. Yeshua's resurrection fulfills the act of reaping the firstfruit of the harvest. His ascension to heaven fulfills the offering of the firstfruits or wave sheaf. We all agree that he ascended sometime Sunday morning. It is believed he ascended after his meeting with Miriam in John 20:17. Those who keep a Sunday Pentecost point to this fact to prove the wave sheaf was offered "on the morrow after the [weekly] Sabbath" (Sunday). They say, if Yeshua died on a Wednesday Passover (Abib 14), then he would be lying in the tomb on Abib 16 (Friday) and therefore, could not fulfill the wave sheaf.
That assumption would be quite correct if, in fact, Yeshua died on a Wednesday. If, however, he died on a Friday as has been believed for hundreds of years, the Sunday he resurrected would have been Abib 16. That, indeed, was the case. Following is an in depth look at the issue of when Yeshua resurrected.
For many centuries it was believed that Yeshua died on a Friday and resurrected on the following Sunday. Out of that belief arose such venerated days as "Holy Thursday," "Good Friday," and "Easter Sunday." It also resulted in changing the weekly Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week in honor of Messiah's resurrection on that day. In recent years, however, a belief that Yeshua died on a Wednesday and resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath came to exist. The intent of that doctrinal change was to refute the veneration of Sunday as the "Christian Sabbath." If it could be proven that Yeshua resurrected on the seventh day, then there would no longer be a foundation for a Sunday sabbath.
Those of us who continue to keep the seventh day sabbath holy do not have to rewrite history in order to support sabbath keeping. Yahweh's commandments are immutable. If He, His Son, or the Apostles did not change the sabbath commandment, then it must continue to be observed on the seventh day of the week despite what others do.
The foundation of a Wednesday impalement and death is based on a literal interpretation of Mt.12:38-41; "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seek after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here."
Proponents of a Wednesday death say that the sign of the true Messiah was that he would be in the tomb exactly 72 hours, just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. They go on to say that anyone who believes in a Friday death and Sunday resurrection is believing in a false messiah. To understand the true meaning of these verses we must study all that the scriptures say concerning this event.
A parallel account to this encounter with the Pharisees is found in Lu.11:29-30; "And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation." Here Yeshua specifically tells us that the sign was Jonah himself. He also says that he, the Son of man, would be the sign to the current generation of Israel. The emphasis is not on how long those men were entombed in their respective prisons but on the men themselves and on the message of repentance that they preached. The Ninevites were quick to repent after hearing Jonah's message, however, the evil generation of Israel would not respond to the greater message of the greater messenger.
A sign is something that is visible to the sign seeker. The Jews wanted a visible sign that was even more convincing than the miracles that Yeshua performed. The question is, "In what way was Jonah's journey in the fish's belly a sign to the Ninevites?" According to Jonah 2:10 - 3:3, after he was vomited out of the fish's mouth he was to go to Ninevah. No one from Ninevah saw Jonah being spewed out of the fish, nor did he tell them of his encounter with it. Since they did not know or see what had happened to Jonah, it could not have been a sign to the Ninevites. Jonah himself, as a preacher of repentance sent from Yahweh, was the sign, not his three days and three nights in the fish. In the same way, Yeshua himself, as a preacher of repentance sent from Yahweh, is the sign to the evil generation of Israel. The emphasis is on the man and his message, not on the time element involved.
Concerning the Hebrew word for "night" and the phrase, "three days and three nights," we read the following from, "The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament," by Harris, Archer and Waltke, pages 478 & 479; "Instructive, in this connection, are three days and three nights of 1 Sam 30:12. Verse 13 plainly says, 'Today is the third [day].' Therefore it may be concluded that the expression is a stereotyped formula which applies when any part of three days is involved, not an affirmation that seventy-two hours have expired." In other words, it is an idiom, an expression peculiar to the Hebrew language. An example of an English idiom is, "It is raining cats and dogs." If someone unfamiliar with English idioms read that phrase he may think cats and dogs were literally falling from the sky. The phrase, "three days and three nights," is a Hebrew idiom that is not to be understood literally.
This type of counting, that would include any part of a day as a whole day, is called "inclusive reckoning." An example of this is found in the counting of the days to Pentecost. Lev 23:16 specifically says to "number fifty days," however, the feast begins as soon as the fiftieth day begins, not after the fiftieth day is ended. The count of sabbatical years leading to Jubilee is also inclusive reckoning. The "Jewish Encyclopedia," Vol.4, pg.474, confirms this method of reckoning time. It reads, "A short time in the morning of the seventh day counted as the seventh day; circumcision takes place on the eighth day, even though, of the first day only a few minutes remained after the birth of the child, these being counted as one day."
According to the Rabbis who lived close to the time of Messiah, "A day and a night make an "Onah" (natural day), and a part of an "Onah" is as the whole" (Rabbi Eliezar Ben Azariah). Rabbi Ismael also computes part of the Onah for a whole. Therefore, Messiah may truly be said to have been in the grave three Onoth, or three natural days, even though the greatest part of the first day had expired and the greatest part of the third day was yet to occur. For "a part of an Onah" is, according to the traditional way of reckoning time in Israel, considered a whole day.
Forcing Mt.12:40 to have a literal meaning results in forcing many other clear scriptures to say something they don't. For example, one Sacred Name group tries to prove the visit to the tomb in Mk.16:2 took place just after sunset ending the weekly sabbath. The KJV translates the Greek word "anateilantos" as "rising," in reference to the sun, implying the event took place on Sunday morning. They, however, go to great lengths to prove "anateilantos" means "setting." If that were true, all verses using that word, or a form of it, should be translated the same way. Judge for yourself whether the following verses warrant a translation of "setting" (Mt.5:45; Ja.1:11; Lu.12:54; Mt.4:16; 2 Pe.1:19).
This same group tries to prove Lu.24:1 occurs after sunset ending the weekly sabbath. They say the Greek word "batheos," translated "very early in the morning" in the KJV, means "earliest dawn" or "the dawn of a new day." Since days begin at sunset, that would mean the end of Sabbath. This group, however, fails to translate "orthrou," meaning "the time before daybreak, in the morning early." The same word in various forms was used in Acts 5:21, Jn.8:2, and Rev.22:16. Again, judge for yourself what the meaning of "orthrou" is in these three verses.
According to historical sources, the keeping of Sunday began as early as the middle of the first century (150 C.E.). People at that time believed the resurrection took place on Sunday and honored it as Israel had honored the Sabbath. They concluded a Sunday resurrection based on oral accounts passed down from one generation to another and by the Greek copies of scripture. They were not influenced by the KJV which was not yet published. Therefore, arguments about specific Greek words are irrelevant since people back then knew their true meaning, and yet, still observed Sunday.
The most common expression Yeshua used concerning his resurrection was "the third day." Yeshua gives us a clear example of what he means by "the third day" in Lu.13:32; "And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." Yeshua refers to "today" as day 1, "tomorrow" as day 2, and "the third day" as day 3. Regardless of how much time remained in day 1, it was still included in Yeshua's count. In Yeshua's mind, the third day is the day after "tomorrow." "Tomorrow" is the day after "today," and"today" is the day he was speaking. The day Messiah died, Abib 14, was "today." Abib 15 was "tomorrow" and Abib 16 was "the third day." With that in mind we can understand some other references to three days.
In Lu.24:13-35, we read of the encounter between Cleopas, his companion, and Yeshua. The meeting takes place on the same day the women came to the tomb and found it empty. Verse 29 shows it was late in the day, therefore their conversation must have taken place during the daylight hours of Sunday, or as Lu.24:1 states, "the first [day] of the week."
The conversation with Yeshua begins in verse 17. "And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Yeshua of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before Yahweh and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have [impaled] him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done."
The last sentence is very important. The day they were speaking was the third day since the things they were speaking about took place. What were they speaking about? Cleopas began his account of past events with the arrest of Yeshua and ended them with Messiah's death. Cleopas said "today is the third day since these things were done." Therefore, Sunday was the third day or day 3; Saturday was the second day or day 2; and Friday was the first day or day 1. Referring to Yeshua's understanding of counting days in Lu 13:32, we see that day 1 was counted as one day regardless of how much time remained in that day. That Friday was Abib 14, Passover. Yeshua was killed at the same time the Israelites were killing their Passover lambs, 3:00 in the afternoon. Even though only about three hours remained in that day, it was still day 1.
If we try to apply a full 72 hours to Yeshua's entombment we create problems with this text. Saturday, at approximately noon, would comprise one 24 hour period; Friday, at noon, the second 24 hour period; and Thursday, at noon, the third 24 hour period. Cleopas ended his account of "these things" with Yeshua's death which did not take place on Thursday afternoon. There are no scriptural grounds to end "these things" that were done with the sealing of the tomb on Thursday.
In fact, a review of the following 13 scriptures clearly shows the count of three days begins with the death of Messiah, not his entombment (Mt.16:21; Mt.17:23; Mt.20:18,19; Mt.27:63,64; Mk.9:31; Mk.10:34; Lu.9:22; Lu.13:32; Lu.18:33; Lu.24:7; Jn.2:19-21; Acts 10:39,40; 1 Cor.15:3,4).
What about Mt.27:63 and the phrase "After three days?" Can a Sunday resurrection be considered "after three days" if Yeshua died on Friday? The Pharisees were referring to Yeshua's statements in Jn.2:19-21, when they were speaking with Pilate. In John's account Yeshua said "in three days." This shows that "after" can be an idiom for "in." We see this in 2 Chr. 10:5-12 as well. In verse 5, the people are told by king Rehoboam to return "after three days." In verse 12, the people return "on the third day." It appears as though "after," "on," and "in" are all used interchangeably. Therefore, "after three days" does not necessarily mean "after the third day ends." It most likely means "after the third day begins," which is in keeping with the Hebrew way of counting part of a day as one day.
Another problem is created by a Wednesday impalement. Proponents of that belief quote Mk 16:1 which states the women bought spices after the sabbath ended. They believe that sabbath was Abib 15, Thursday, a high sabbath. Then they quote Lu.23:56 to show the women prepared the spices before the sabbath, which they say refers to the weekly Sabbath. Thus they have two separate sabbaths, one on Thursday and one on Saturday. This forces them to place two entire days betweenverses 55 and 56 of Luke 23. They say verse 55 occurs on Wednesday and verse 56 occurs on the weekly Sabbath. A careful reading of those verses will show that the women "returned" from watching where and how Joseph laid Yeshua's body. There is no break in time between verses 55 and 56. The women already had spices on hand when they returned from the tomb on Friday. They prepared what they had and then rested on the weekly Sabbath. When Sabbath ended they obviously felt more spices were needed so they bought more spices on Saturday night. They prepared them that same night and returned to the tomb Sunday morning.
Believing the women bought spices after a Thursday High Sabbath creates further problems. Mk.16:1,2 says the two women bought spices after the Sabbath ended and then came to the sepulchre "at the rising of the sun." Luke's use of "orthrou" in Lu.24:1 also shows this visit to be in the morning. John's account suggests a morning visit as well. Despite these three morning accounts of the visit of these two women, those who believe in a Sabbath resurrection try to prove Matthew's account is a different visit occuring "late on the Sabbath." If the women found the tomb empty while it was still Sabbath, why did they return the next morning and say, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?" There is no doubt that this was said in the morning. The fact is, Matthew's account also takes place in the morning. Translating Mt.28:1 to read "late on the Sabbath" forces one to translate the other three evangels so as to have an evening visit.
Finally, how does all this relate to the "wave sheaf" and Pentecost? Let's take a quick review. The day the sheaf was waved is day #1 in the count of 50 days to the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Lev.23:15). Groups that always keep Pentecost on Sunday point to Yeshua's resurrection and ascension as the fulfillment of the wave sheaf. That is because they believe the "sabbath" referred to in Lev.23:11 and 15 is the weekly Sabbath. Therefore, the wave sheaf would always be offered on a Sunday. The Jews of Messiah's day and certain groups of believers today understand the "sabbath" of Lev.23:11 & 15 to be the high sabbath of Abib 15. Therefore, wave sheaf day would always be Abib 16 to them. This belief, combined with a belief in a Wednesday impalement, means Abib 16 fell on a Friday the year of Messiah's death. This makes a fulfillment of the wave sheaf impossible since Yeshua was still dead at that time. If, however, Messiah died on a Friday, Abib 16 would be Sunday, thereby providing a fulfillment of the wave sheaf with Yeshua's resurrection and ascension on Sunday.
Yeshua's death at exactly 3:00 pm on Abib 14 fulfilled the Passover sacrifice perfectly. The wave sheaf was also fulfilled perfectly as we shall see. According to the Mishnah, the sheaf was reaped shortly after the sun set ending the high sabbath of Abib 15. This reaping was fulfilled by Yeshua's resurrection from the dead. He was the first of the firstfruits of the spiritual harvest of souls. On the morning of Abib 16, the sheaf was offered by the High Priest. That took place no later than 9:00 am. That offering was fulfilled by Yeshua's ascension to heaven and his acceptance by Yahweh as the first of the firstfruits. That took place early Sunday morning, after Yeshua's meeting with Miriam in Jn.20;17.
Finally, the most conclusive proof that a Wednesday death is impossible is this;
Wednesday proponents say that Wednesday was Abib 14, Thursday was Abib 15 (an annual sabbath), Friday was Abib 16, and Saturday was Abib 17 (a weekly Sabbath). That would make Abib 10 a weekly Sabbath as well. John 12:1 says, "Then Yeshua six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead . . ."
When John refers to Passover in his evangel, he means the entire festival of seven days which began on Abib 15. Both the Hebrew and Greek words for "Passover" can refer to the seven day festival or the lamb itself. Ezekiel 45:21 calls the Passover , "a feast of seven days." This is the sense in which John understands Passover as can be seen in John 19:14; "And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!"
This was spoken on Abib 14. Abib 14 was the preparation or day before Passover. The same is true of the preparation day of the Sabbath, it is the day before Sabbath. Therefore, John's reference to six days before Passover means six days before Abib 15. That would take us back to Abib 9. Abib 9 is when Yeshua came to Bethany in John 12:1.
John 12:12, 13 then says, "On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Yeshua was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of Yahweh."
That "next day" was Abib 10, a weekly Sabbath according to Wednesday death proponents. Now let's read Matthew's account of what happened that day.
" And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahweh; Hosanna in the highest."
If these people were cutting down branches from palm trees on a weekly Sabbath, there would have been a major uproar by the Pharisees. We certainly know that merely gathering sticks that were on the ground was punishable by death (Nu 15:32-36). How much more were these people transgressing by not only gathering branches, but first having to cut them off.
This, however, was not a weekly Sabbath. Six days before a Saturday, Abib 15 would be Sunday, Abib 9. The "next day" would be Monday, Abib 10, on which cutting branches is lawful.
The Jews have always been correct as far as when to observe Sabbath, Passover, and Pentecost. The Christian churches and many Sacred Name groups have been keeping these days at the wrong times because they misunderstand the scriptures. A correct understanding of the wave sheaf and how to count to Pentecost will not only help in understanding when Yeshua died, how long he was in the tomb, and when he resurrected, but it will also assure us of observing the Feast of Weeks on the correct day.