Christian Churches of God

No. 173





The Omer Count to Pentecost

 (Edition 3.0 19960803-20031006-20090117)

In the twentieth century, the Churches of God went awry in their determination of Pentecost from the wrongful implementation of the Hillel Calendar and through Judaisers in the Churches of God. This text explains the errors and the process that was followed originally. It replaces the paper Pentecost: Comparing Leviticus 23:11-22 in the Septuagint (No. 173).




Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 1996, 2003, 2009 Wade Cox)


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The Omer Count to Pentecost



There has been confusion in the Churches of God in the twentieth century over the determination of Pentecost. The problem came into being due to the failure of the Hillel Calendar. This calendar, introduced in 358 CE, determines the New Moons by the putative sighting of the crescent moons which were reduced to specified postponements of the New Moons according to a system of rules determined by rabbinical traditions and a fixed date for the Wave-Sheaf offering.


The obvious error with the fixed date system resulting in a Sivan 6 Pentecost, and the historical understanding of the Church as always having Pentecost on Sunday even into Catholicism, and the clear wording of the Texts, made it impossible to follow the Hillel system in this aspect.


The Churches of God, through error, commenced to adopt the Hillel system in the middle of the twentieth century. This error came in through the The Radio Church of God, later Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Their changes in 1974 resulted in a series of errors being propagated in their offshoots.


Contrary to popular belief the RCG/WCG did not introduce the Holy Days to the Churches of God in the 20th century. That was done by the Caldwell Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day). They kept the Calendar and all the Feasts according to the Conjunction and they had the correct nature of God doctrines, which is the reason they were allowed to keep the correct calendar. CCG has in effect taken over from them.


There are two definitive errors being followed by the Churches of God, and three if the Samaritan system is accepted as being followed by some isolated individuals, rather than any serious church system.


The three erroneous systems used to determine Pentecost are:

(1) Nisan 16, as a fixed date, which is supported by most modern Jews (the rabbinical successors to the Pharisees), and certain Judaisers coming from the Churches of God.


(2) The Sunday after the Sabbath that falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the pre-1974 Worldwide Church of God teaching. It is supported today by some Messianic groups who keep a Sunday, or a Monday Pentecost.


(3) The Samaritan count from the New Moon following the Equinox and commencing from the Sunday within the Feast of Unleavened Bread even though it is kept in what is correctly the Second month.


The Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread is now supported as the correct historical Wave Sheaf by the Worldwide Church of God since 1974, and several of its major breakaway groups, even though they do not observe the Wave Sheaf as required by Leviticus 23. They are nevertheless in error, often because of the postponements, as are all the alternatives above, including the Samaritans who have effected the postponement of the entire month in approximately fifty percent of cases. The errors all centre on the Hillel system introduced from 358 CE or the Samaritan error concerning the post-equinox New Year.


The WCG now keeps the Easter dates and no longer keeps the Feasts, which includes the correct Pentecost sometimes being out by a week.


The Historical Positions

The Churches of God, historically, at least until the errors of WCG, firstly in trying to keep a Sivan 6 and then a Monday Pentecost prior to 1974, have always kept Pentecost on a Sunday and the Temple system always kept Pentecost on a Sunday. Even when the Roman Church split with the Churches of God over the Quartodeciman disputes in 192 CE they saw no reason to alter the way of determining Pentecost. The problem they faced was simply that it had changed by the determination of Easter alone (see the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277)).


The historical positions are also examined in the paper The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170).


The Sadducees ran the Temple during the period of its operation and they always kept Pentecost on a Sunday.


The Temple in Egypt followed that system also as we see from the text of the Septuagint (LXX) which was the official Greek translation of the OT, and which had been commissioned and translated in Egypt for the Egyptian diaspora by the Pharaoh there.


The same situation also ran for the Samaritans. Their Pentecost was on a Sunday but differed only in the fact that they had introduced a post-equinox commencement for the New Year, always following the New Moon after the Equinox and not nearest to it, as was the case with the Temple system. In this way at least half the time they were a month late with the Passover, often keeping the second Passover as the first. Thus their intercalation was out of sequence also with the Jewish system. They thus kept the feast in the eighth month which was the mistake made by Jeroboam for which he was condemned by God through the prophets (see the paper Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar (No. 191)).


The Temple System

The Temple system was correct and followed the written law as we see carried out by the Sadducees. The Temple system has been examined in the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156).


There were no postponements operating in the Temple period. That is clear from the compilation of the Mishnah ca. 200 on which the Talmud was later compiled as commentary. There seems to be some quite spurious claims by pseudo-scholars of some Churches of God that seek to claim that postponements were operational in the Temple period according to the Talmud. However, that is a blatant false statement contradicted by the evidence of history and the Mishnah itself.


The Jewish authority (Judaeus) Philo, writing in Alexandria, shows that the entire Temple system and the diaspora had the one calendar, free of postponements, with the exception of the Qumran Community called Essene by some. Philo says quite clearly that the New Moons were determined by the conjunctions, which were calculated in the astronomical schools. The month was from one conjunction to the next conjunction. There were no postponements and there never had been any postponements ever recorded in the Temple period. This has been examined in the paper Commentary on UCG Doctrinal Paper: Should Christians Observe New Moons (No. 124).

Philo says:

"This is the New Moon, or beginning of the lunar month, namely the period between one conjunction and the next, the length of which has been accurately calculated in the astronomical schools." (Judaeus, Philo, The Special Laws, II, XXVI, 140, Treatise by F.H. Colson, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1937).


That is the known historical position and is the known correct position of the Temple system. There is no other evidence to suggest they even contemplated postponements until after the fall of the Temple, as we see from the Talmud, as the postponements did not come into effect until after the compilation of the Mishnah ca. 200 CE.


The incidence of the postponements has been examined in the paper The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195) and also in the various FAQs on the subject.


The Temple system as portrayed in the Septuagint (LXX)

The text concerning the Omer Count in the LXX was examined in the paper Pentecost comparing Leviticus 23:11-22 in the Septuagint, which this paper now replaces.


The Septuagint or the Seventy (LXX) translation is a translation of the Hebrew text into Greek completed in Alexandria. It should, therefore, follow the Hebrew text. Differences should highlight theological viewpoints in contention in later rabbinical thought. The translation of the LXX used here is that by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton (London, 1851, Hendrickson, reprint 1992). The Greek text is Romanised for the purposes of this paper.

Leviticus 23:15-17 And ye shall number to yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which ye shall offer the sheaf of the heave offering; seven full weeks: 16 until the morrow after the last week ye shall number fifty days, and shall bring a new meat-offering to the LORD. 17 Ye shall bring from your dwelling, as a heave-offering, two loaves: they shall be of two tenth portions of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven of the firstfruits to the LORD (LXX) [The KJV translates the last phrase as they are the firstfruits unto the Lord].

Kai arithmesete umin apo tes epaurion tõn sabbatõn, apo tes emeras es an prosenegkete to dragma tou epithematos, epta ebdomadas oloklerous, eõs tes epaurion tes eschates ebdomados arithmesete pentekonta emeras, kai prosoisete thusian nean tõ Kuriõ.

The KJV is essentially the same as the LXX in the remaining text and is quoted for comparison.

Leviticus 23:18-22 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a [whole, LXX] burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. 19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest [they shall belong to the priest that brings them, LXX]. 21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance [fully reap, LXX] of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. (KJV)

It is evident from the text of the LXX and Brenton’s translation that the text commences numbering the day after the Sabbath, seven full weeks.


There is no question that this count involves the First Holy Day of the Feast except where it falls on the weekly Sabbath.


The word in the Greek is Sabbatõn and this word translates the Hebrew Shabbath. It cannot be that the Feast Holy Day is meant, as the text in the Hebrew makes it quite clear in Leviticus 23 that there are three types of Sabbath days being referred to in the text. The three types are the Shabbath (SHD 7676) or weekly Sabbath, the Shabbathown (SHD 7677) or Holy Sabbatised day, and the Shabbath Shabbathown in the case of the Day of Atonement, which is a Sabbatised Sabbath or a most holy Sabbath. Atonement is clearly placed above all other days and identified under the term Sabbath.


Counting Pentecost and the Three Types of Sabbaths

Leviticus 23 is quite clear from its use of the terms in Hebrew that the method of counting Pentecost (lit. counting fifty) concerns seven perfect or complete Sabbaths. Leviticus 23 is most precise in the Hebrew text concerning the use of the terms for Shabbath, Shabbathown and Shabbath Shabbathown. The term Shabbathown occurs from Leviticus 23:24,39. Until that section of the text, the Sabbath is used specifically, referring only to the weekly Sabbath as distinct from the Holy Days, which are named holy gatherings (qodesh miqra’ SHD 6944, 4744). The Feast of Trumpets is a Shabbathown and identified as a qodesh miqra’ (pron. chodesh mikraw). The holy convocations of the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day are also the Shabbathown. There is thus a clear distinction between the Shabbath and the Shabbathown of the Feasts and also of the Shabbath Shabbathown of Atonement, which is the most holy of Sabbaths. Shabbath Shabbathown is thus used of the Sabbath and Atonement only (Lev. 23:3,32).


The LXX preserves the distinction between the Shabbath and the Shabbathown by using the Hellenised term sabbaton for Shabbath and the term anapausis or rest for Shabbathown where it is used in Leviticus 23 (i.e. vv. 24 and 39). The sense is to give rest (from SGD 373 anapauo, see Thayers, p. 40). The LXX thus preserves the distinction between the Sabbath and the Holy Days by using the terms sabbaton and anapausis both terms for rest for Shabbath and Shabbathown. This use shows clearly and deliberately that the terms used for the counting in relation to Pentecost concern the weekly Sabbath only and not the Holy Days. This is clear proof that at the time of the compilation of the LXX, 6 Sivan was not contemplated in the calculation of Pentecost and that it was understood as being from the weekly Sabbath.


At no stage concerning Pentecost is the term Shabbathown used. It is thus impossible for the Holy Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be referred to in the construction of the count, either at its commencement or at Pentecost itself. The Day of Pentecost is the next day after the seventh Sabbath and it is a holy convocation (SHD 6944; 4744; qodesh miqra’: see also Green, The Interlinear Bible). The term holy convocation here follows the weekly Sabbath and is consistent in this section to make the Holy Days clearly distinct from the Shabbath or weekly Sabbath. The LXX breaks up the text so that there is no confusion between the weekly Sabbaton (for Shabbath) and the holy convocation on the day following. The explanation of qodesh mikra’ is given at Trumpets (Lev. 23:24) where it is identified as a Shabbathown. The LXX uses anapausis for Shabbathown here in verse 24.


There is no basis whatsoever for asserting that the LXX differs in its method of determining Pentecost or that the Holy Days are concerned in the count, or that there are other than the weekly Sabbaths involved. There is no basis for asserting that the count does not begin and end on the day after the weekly Sabbaths. The day after the Sabbath is, and always has been, the first day of the week, the day known as Sunday in the Romanised system. The determination of 6 Sivan is a later Pharisaic misconstruction of the Pentecost system, based on the rabbinical traditions, so as to avoid having a continual double Sabbath system. Rabbinical Judaism seems to have wilfully misconstructed the calendar under Hillel II in order to preserve its traditions against the express biblical view. The development of the calendar is identified in the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156). The offering of the Wave Sheaf on 16 Nisan from the rabbinical misconstruction was noted by Josephus at the end of the first century CE (A of J, Bk. 3, Ch. 10, Pt. 5) and also by Philo (De spec. leg., ii 29 (162)) by c. 40 CE.


The defence of the rabbinical system by some Pharisaic Judaisers in the Churches of God ignores the entire evidence of history in the determination of Pentecost. The argument for 6 Sivan from the LXX is without basis. Moreover, the argument from history is conclusive.


Early Judeo-Christian History Regarding Pentecost

Pentecost was determined by all branches of the Christian faith from the early centuries as being counted from the Sunday of Unleavened Bread for fifty days and was declared on the Sunday after the seventh Sabbath by the entire Church. This point demonstrates that the early Church rejected the Pharisaic practice. Luke 4:16 and Acts 16:13 show complete weeks are involved. Even when the Quarto-deciman controversy was raging in the second century, it was never disputed that the Sunday of Unleavened Bread was the correct day for commencement of the count to Pentecost. It is clear that Pentecost was kept on a Sunday universally by all branches of the Christian faith for almost its entire history. It was only in the twentieth century that Pentecost began to be moved in the Churches of God and that was from pure ignorance of the historical position of both Judah and the Church.


The observance of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks in the first centuries before and commencing the current era evidenced sharp division in Judaism. The Pharisees celebrated Pentecost on 6 Sivan whereas the Sadducees celebrated it always on the Sunday fifty days after the Wave Sheaf, which they also observed on the Sunday of Unleavened Bread. Neither the Egyptian Therapeutae, nor the Palestinian Essene, of which the Therapeutae seem to be a branch, observed Pentecost, their major feast, on 6 Sivan. They termed it the Feast of Weeks or The Renewal of the Covenant. They had a year of seven fifty-day cycles each ending with an agricultural festival (Schürer, History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Vol. II, pp. 595-597).


The different observance of the Feast of Weeks by all of the Jewish sects stemmed directly from the interpretation of the word Sabbath in Leviticus 23:11,15. The Sadducees, and particularly the Boethusian branch, understood it as the Sabbath proper, i.e. the weekly Sabbath (see Schürer, ibid., Vol. II, p. 410), rejecting Pharisaic traditions for the literal texts (ibid., pp. 408-411). Thus the Wave Sheaf and Pentecost always fell on the first day of the week, or Sunday. The Pharisees understood the term in Leviticus 23:11 as referring to the first festival day of Passover week, 15 Nisan (Schürer, Vol. III, p. 312).


The Book of Jubilees predates the Mishnah and both Philo and Josephus interprets the Sabbath as the last day of Passover week, 21 Nisan (Schürer, ibid.). Schürer holds that the Pharisaic practice is supported by the Septuagint translation of Leviticus 23:11 [te epaurion tes prõtes] and that it prevailed in the time of Philo (De spec. leg., ii 29 (162), and Josephus A of J, iii 10,5 (248)). According to the DSS Damascus Rule, the Essene advocated the calendar of Jubilees (ibid.). The calendar of Jubilees seems to have originated from pre-Essene Hasidim in the first half of the second century, i.e. around 160 BCE (Schürer, Vol. III, p. 314).


The problem is thus clearly seen as a division within Judaism stemming from the second century BCE, which saw at least three divisions. Philo and Josephus support the Pharisaic view. The Sadducees were literalists who ridiculed the traditions of the Pharisees. They are alleged, by some early Church writers, to have extended pure canonic reverence only to the written Torah, because of the rejection of the Pharisaic traditions rejecting the prophets. This view is now dismissed by modern scholars. They accepted the prophets as canonical, rejecting only tradition (Schürer, Vol. II, pp. 407-408). No Jew or true Christian does not accept the Old Testament canon in entirety, and Christians place it with the New Testament.


Schürer is of the view that the Pharisees decided that the Wave Sheaf offering was made in the first festival day of Passover week, i.e. 15 Nisan from the translation in the LXX of Leviticus 23:11 which says:

...on the morrow of the first day the priest shall lift it up (Brenton tr. LXX, Lev. 23:11).


Schürer assumes this to be 15 Nisan if the morning of the first day is assumed to be the first Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.


However, Josephus clearly states that 16 Nisan is the date used for the Wave offering and thus the Pharisaic view cannot be the true meaning of the text here in the LXX. The first day is the day after the Sabbath, i.e. the first day of the week, or Sunday.


The first day of the week, or Sunday, is the understood meaning adopted by the Sadducees and also by the entire early Christian Church. Remember, the LXX translates the Hebrew text, which reads on the morning after the Sabbath he shall wave it. The pro-Pharisaic reasoning is thus circular. The Greek translation of a Hebrew text is thus used to re-interpret the plain meaning of the original text. The LXX translation confirms, by its use of the term first day that the first day of the week, i.e. the day after the Sabbath (Lev. 23:11, MT) namely Sunday, is involved. Nisan 16 is not the first day – it is the second day of Unleavened Bread and, in fact, the third day of the Passover/Unleavened Bread structure if the preparation time and the New Testament comments are taken into account based on Deuteronomy 16:6. The LXX was understood in that context by the early Christian Church. Moreover, Christ was the Wave Sheaf offering and he is shown without doubt to have ascended as the Wave Sheaf on the morning of the first day of the week, or Sunday (te de mia tõn Sabbatõn; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1). The text of Leviticus 23:15 confirms this view as we see from the various translations (see the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159)).


Another aspect concerning the first century Church is that the Feast of Weeks is referred to in Acts 16:12-13 in that Sabbatõn is rendered in the plural as Sabbaths by Marshall in the Interlinear Main Text. From the wait, it is thus inferred that there is a distance between the Sabbath and Pentecost. This does not follow from the text. The wait was until the time of the Sabbaths if the plural is indeed a reference to Pentecost. Thus they went to the place of prayer on the Sabbath and were arrested and imprisoned for what would be Pentecost. The term Sabbatõn refers to the weekly Sabbath in the Greek as we have seen and the weekly Sabbath alone may be referred to here, but in any case the wait was for that event – either the Sabbath or the weekend of Pentecost, whichever was the case. The same term is used in Luke 4:16 (see Marshall). It indicates a grouping rather than separate events and would also indicate Pentecost followed the weekly Sabbath.


There is thus no view that supports a 6 Sivan Pentecost from Scripture. It rests entirely on the Oral Traditions of the Pharisees, as the views of the Sadducees and the early Church show. Moreover, it should be noted that in every other case where a specific date of the Hebrew Calendar is meant, then the festival is expressed in terms of the specific day of the specific month. That this does not occur with Pentecost is another indication that a set date is not meant or to be inferred.


The Bread and New Corn

Another problem that arises from the misuse of the LXX is that of the eating of bread and grain (from Lev. 23:14). Brenton translates the text:

And ye shall not eat bread or the new parched corn, until this same day, until ye offer the sacrifice to your God: it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

This text translates the MT, which reads:

Leviticus 23:14  And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (KJV)

The text refers to the new parched corn as we see from the Hebrew word (SHD 3759) karmel meaning full green ears from the field. Green translates the word as new grain (The Interlinear Bible). The term for bread (arton) translates the Hebrew (SHD 3899) lechem, meaning food (for man or beast) especially bread or grain. Taken literally then no grain products, or even food, could be eaten until the Wave Sheaf. This view is contradicted by biblical law and, even in the same text, in regard to the meals and offerings of the Passover or first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 12:18; Lev 23:6; Deut. 16:8).


The text in Joshua shows the meaning. Coupled with the text here meaning new grain, we see that it is the new grain and all products made from the new grain that are prohibited. The unleavened bread and meals up until the Wave Sheaf are made from the stored grain of the previous years until the Sunday morning when the new grain may be used.


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. 11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. 12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (KJV)

Here on the morning after the Passover, namely on the 15 Nisan, the old corn was eaten. It was not the new corn. Thus the old corn is used until the Wave Sheaf and then the new corn may be used. This simple error is made because the Pharisees wish to follow tradition rather than the Torah, and that is the reason they are punished (Prov. 26:2).


Other Misreading

One bizarre misconstruction (but perhaps more plausible than the 6 Sivan argument) concerns the premise that Pentecost is on a Monday. This is derived from the premise that the count is acknowledged to have commenced with the Sunday following the weekly Sabbath in Unleavened Bread and follows the seventh weekly Sabbath. The argument is somehow construed that the fifty days includes the Sunday but the Holy Day of Pentecost is not commenced until the evening of the Sunday, thus making the Holy Day a Monday. The text clearly states that on the morning after the last week (hebdomados, LXX) i.e. on Sunday you shall bring a new meat offering to the Lord. The LXX shows here that the week is seven days and that seven seven-day periods (hepta hebdomadas; see also Ps. 118[119]:164; Prov. 24:16 for structure in LXX and Thayers, p. 247) are involved. The Monday Pentecost view was advanced by Herbert Armstrong of the Radio Church of God in his early years but later rejected as spurious by him and the Radio (later Worldwide) Church of God board. Some diehards could not accept the fact of the simple error in the thinking process and this view surfaces occasionally. It has no basis in fact or in history, and is logically and linguistically false.


When the Hillel Calendar was accepted in 358 CE from its introduction from Babylon commencing from about 344 CE, the Christian Church had been keeping the correct day for so long that it considered the rabbinical position not only incorrect but also irrelevant.


The Easter System

The fact is that the symbolism of the Wave Sheaf is not understood by mainstream Christianity. They have introduced the Easter or Ishtar symbolism of the Sunday resurrection of the spring fertility cult. Easter, the Anglo-Saxon form of Ishtar, is a pagan system of worship that penetrated Christianity in the second century. The symbolism stems from the death of Tammuz or Dumuzi on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday. This mirrors the grain and new shoot symbolism of the corn. The Easter bun is derived from the baking of cakes to the Queen of Heaven at the Ishtar festival because of her revival of Tammuz (Dumuzi is the Assyro-Babylonian equivalent). It is condemned by the Bible (Jer. 7:18; 44:19; SHD 3561 kavvan sacrificial wafers or cakes). The wafers are preserved in the symbolism of the Eucharist and the Monstrance. The weeping for Tammuz (Ezek. 8:14) refers to the mourning process of the death/resurrection symbolism of Easter.


The misconstruction of Passover and Unleavened Bread, in its confusion with the Friday/Sunday Easter system, does not do away with the biblical system or the requirement to observe the Wave Sheaf offering on the Sunday falling within the seven days of Unleavened Bread after the weekly Sabbath. The requirement to observe Pentecost on the Sunday after the seventh perfect Sabbath, or complete week, is a clear biblical direction (a perfect Sabbath is a sevened period, i.e. a week of seven days, see the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156), pp. 2-3).


The problem that causes the confusion in this aspect is the sequence when the Sunday falls on 15 Abib and the Sabbath is 14 Abib, which is normally a preparation day. Thus the First Holy Day is the Wave Sheaf also. This presents no problem for Judaism, however some consider the Sabbath as being outside of the Feast in this case and the Wave Sheaf should follow the last day, which is the Sabbath within the Feast. The fact is that the 14th is part of the Feast period and the Wave Sheaf was always seen as being within the Feast.


The 6 Sivan argument rests on deliberate misrepresentation of the biblical directive based on rabbinical Judaic misconstruction, with which it seems not even all Judaism agree. Its advocates in Christianity are prompted by a genuine desire to correctly adopt and follow the original system. They are to be commended for their enthusiasm but corrected for error.


The Samaritan Omer Count and Pentecost

The position followed by the Samaritans, whilst being incorrect in keeping the New Year on the New Moon always following the equinox, nevertheless agrees with the Temple system regarding the New Moons, and always follows the conjunction as they have done since the Temple period.


Nevertheless, Christ disregarded them as a system initially as he disregarded the Gentiles also, and sent the disciples to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and not to the Samaritans, who also claim descent from Israel and Joseph (Mat. 10:5-6). Thus their descent is seen as in question at the time. They did however have a Levitical priesthood up until recent times that was alleged to be of a pure lineage and more so perhaps than Levi in Judah.

Leviticus 23:15 of the Samaritan Torah states: "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."

The seven weeks of the Omer are counted from the Sunday within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is then celebrated on the First Day of the week, namely Sunday, of the eighth week. The names of the weeks as given in the Samaritan writings of their system (KS) are the following.

1. "Week of the crossing of the (Red) Sea" (Exodus 14:26-15:21);

2. "Week of the changing of the water of marah" [bitterness] (Exodus 15:22-26);

3. "Week of elim, where they found twelve water springs and seventy palm trees" (Exodus 15:27-16.3);

4."Week of the manna, which fell down upon them from heaven in the desert" (Exodus 16.4-36);

5. "Week of the welling out of water from the rock" (Exodus 17.1-7);

6. "Week of the battles against 'Amaleq" (Exodus 17.8-17);

7. "Week of standing at Mt. Sinai" (Exodus 19.1 ff.).

(cf. Sylvia Powels, The Samaritans, edited by Alan Crown).


The Omer Count sequence is also examined in the paper Pentecost at Sinai (No. 115).


The above arguments demonstrate that the Omer Count begins from the Sunday within the Feast of Unleavened Bread and ends with Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks on the 49th and 50th days being the Sabbath and the Sunday respectively as a two-day system. This has always been the system, and is still the system within most of the Churches of God, even those who erroneously follow the Hillel Calendar in other respects.