Pentecost – Shavuot Festival 2023

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The following are the festival sites so far announced: 

Nashville, Indiana     Venue : Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
United Church of God     May 26-28     Festival Information

Grand Rivers, Kentucky     Venue : Green Turtle Bay
Intercontinental Church of God   May 26-28     Festival Info

Rocheport, Missouri     Venue: YAIM – free campground.
Yahweh’s Assembly in Messiah     May 27-28     Festival Information

Knoxville, Tennessee     Venue & Visitor Info : Big Ridge State Park
7th Day Church of God     May 27-28     Festival Information

How and Why Herbert Armstrong changed from a Monday Pentecost

Herbert Armstrong, for the majority of his ministry, held to the view that God would not allow any of His annual holy days to be on a Sunday, as this is a day of pagan worship.

He taught that Jesus’s resurrection was on the Sabbath, negating any reason for celebrating a Sunday resurrection.

He argued that Pentecost should not be kept on a Sunday, but on a Monday, because:
“In ENGLISH, 50 days FROM a Sunday can be counted NO OTHER WAY than that ONE day FROM Sunday is Monday, and 50 days FROM Sunday always falls on a Monday.”

He held firmly to this view, despite many protests:
“Time after time, Mr. Armstrong refused to give up a Monday Pentecost. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the protests of half the Eugene church – over the counting of Pentecost – resulted in Emil Heibel’s leading off the dissidents, who formed a separate church believing in a Sunday Pentecost. There were many attacks, from all across the nation, leveled against a Monday Pentecost.” (The Doctrine of Pentecost, How and Why it was Changed, p.2)

Herbert Armstrong’s first argument, that the annual holy days of the Hebrew Calendar cannot be on a Sunday, holds true for the seventh month. One of the postponement rules does not allow Rosh Hashanah (Day of Trumpets) to fall on a Sunday, therefore the 1st day of Tabernacles and the 8th day cannot be on a Sunday either.

The 1st day of Unleavened Bread can, however, fall on a Sunday – although this had not happened since 1954, so those who joined the Radio/Worldwide Church of God after then (the vast majority) came to accept that none of the holy days would be on a Sunday.

It is surely no coincidence that plans to persuade Herbert Armstrong to change to a Sunday Pentecost should be laid when it was realized that the 1st day of Unleavened Bread in 1974 would fall on a Sunday. One of his two great pillars against Sunday holy days was about to crumble!

The evidence for a Sunday Pentecost in the Pentecost Study Material depends on acadenic interpretation of Hebrew grammar. The plain truth for a Sunday Pentecost is in the Bible and is much simpler.

Herbert Armstrong assumed that the way he counted was also the biblical way of counting. He used the modern ‘Hindu-Arabic’ numerals – 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 – in counting the days in Leviticus 23:15-16, starting at day zero on the first Sunday, thus reaching day 50 on a Monday – however the Hindu-Arabic numbering system was not created until many centuries after the Bible was completed!

In 525AD Dionysius Exiguus devised the Anno Domini (AD) method of counting years.
In 731AD the Venerable Bede published his ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’.
The events in his history were generally referred to as happening in BC years – Before Christ. (Bede did not coin the term BC – he, like Dionysius, would have used a Latin phrase.)
1AD was preceded by 1BC – no year zero.

In 1202 the Italian mathematician Fibonacci published Liber Abaci, which popularized the ‘Hindu-Arabic’ numerals in Europe. Although this offered a superior and easier method of calculation, it was not until the advent of the Industrial Revolution that it became the main form of counting.

Here are a couple of examples of Biblical counting, one from the Hebrew text and one from the Greek text.

In Samuel 20 there are references to three days and the third day, and there is a count of the days, demonstrating that the 1st day was included in the count.

Day 1 v.5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. v.12 And Jonathan said unto David … when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third dayv.18-19 Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself …
Day 2 (evening) v.24when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
v.25 David’s place was empty. v.26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him.
Day 3 (evening) v.27 And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day? v.34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month
Day 3 (morning) v.35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David.

When was “the time appointed”? – on the third day, when David had “stayed three days” (v.19).

Acts 10 shows how the Romans and the Jews were counting in the 1st century AD:

Day 1 v.1 Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion … v.3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him … v.4 … And he said unto him … v.5 … send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter.
Day 2 v.9 And on the morrow, as these are proceeding on the way, and are drawing nigh to the city, Peter went up upon the house-top to pray … v.17 Now while Peter was much perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate.
Day 3 v.23 Having called them in, therefore, he lodged them, and on the morrow Peter went forth with them, and certain of the brethren from Joppa went with him,
Day 4 v.24 and on the morrow they did enter into Cesarea; and Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his kindred and near friends
And Cornelius said, Four days ago till this hour, I was fasting, and [at] the ninth hour praying in my house, and, lo, a man stood before me in bright clothing.

Four days ago” – Cornelius did not count back from day zero – Day 4 was the 1st day in his count back.

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