Sabbath 20/11/34/120A

Dear Friends,

This week we received an email from an officer of the Salem Conference of the COG (SD). This group does not take wine at the Passover but agrees with CCG on the nature of God and the Calendar. The officer had been refused admission to CCG because of the grape juice heresy. The thrust was that we should all be together and under the Salem doctrines.

I replied pointing out why we could not be unified as the doctrines of the groups were far too disparate. I had replied to all on the list which was a substantial body of officers of the Churches of God in their various branches. In the discussions we raised a series of serious errors that had entered the COGs from the US. In these matters we touched on a number of subjects. The first was Wine in the Bible; another was the Nature of God and the original doctrines of the Churches of God of Biblical Unitarianism and the advent of Binitarianism, Ditheism and Trinitarianism, and the last was the Monday Pentecost view which seems to stem from an area in Oregon.

We will deal with these views so that we understand what they were and from where the views and divisions of the Churches of God came. These topics are all important to the Passover season and we will deal with them. Firstly we will deal with the views of Monday Pentecost. It scarcely seems possible that they can corrupt the plain texts of the Bible and the Logic of Language to get to a Monday Pentecost. In fact some WCG officers have said exactly that to me in the past. They said words to the effect of: “We can scarce believe that we could even read a Monday Pentecost into the text now we look back on it.”

My comments over the seeming inability of the minister concerned with this topic were as follows. The church was similar to us in Doctrine and we both believed in the Original Biblical Unitarian Nature of God and the basic calendar with the exception of Pentecost. So also did the Salem Conference agree with us over the Nature of God and the Calendar but refused to take wine at the Passover. It seems amazing that that group would create a schism in the church and deny Christ Baptism in his own church. However, we will deal with that in a couple of weeks. Now we will examine the Monday Pentecost error.

The structure of God’s Calendar is explained in the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156).

Dear Pastor

I am intrigued by the logic of the Monday Pentecost argument as it runs counter to the logic of language and has no historical evidence for it whatsoever. No one has ever held that view until it appeared in the 1940s in Oregon and it exists only in two groups in Oregon to this day and the offshoot of the COG (Eternal).

It is clear that the fifty days commence from the Wave Sheaf which occurs on a Sunday the day after the Sabbath in the Feast.

There is then an injunction to count seven perfect Sabbaths from the Sunday for forty-nine days to the Seventh Sabbath. Then on the morrow after the Sabbath which is the first day of the week, which begins at dark on the end of the Sabbath Day, the offering is made. At the end of the Sabbath there are seven complete Sabbaths and the fiftieth day is the day after the Sabbath. So also is the Wave Sheaf 50 days from the 9 AM service on the Sunday to the 9 AM service on Pentecost.

Leviticus 23:9-21
[9] And the LORD said to Moses, [10] "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; [11] and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. [12] And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. [13] And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the LORD, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. [14] And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Note what is said in verses 15-16:
[15] "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, [16] counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the LORD.

Sunday =50 which is Pentecost.

The Hebrew sequence is:

And you shall number (5608) to you ( ) from the day after (4283) the Sabbath (7676), from the day (347) you bring in  (935) the sheaf of (6016)  the wave offering (8573) seven (7651) Sabbaths (7676) perfect (or complete cf. Soncino) they shall be (1961) to (5704) the day after (4283) the Sabbath (7676) Seventh (7637); you shall number (5608) fifty (2572) days (3117)  and you shall bring (7126) a food offering (4503) new (2319) to Yahovah (3068)

[17] You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the LORD. [18] And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their cereal offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD. [19] And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. [20] And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. [21] And you shall make proclamation on the same day; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work: it is a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

Note that the Hebrew authorities are all in agreement that the Hebrew refers to the Day after the complete or seventh perfect Sabbath.

The argument between the Church of God and the rabbis has always been concerning which was the Sabbath that was being referred to in the text? The church always held it was the weekly Sabbath in the Feast. The rabbis later tried to argue that it was the First Holy Day. That way they could then rotate Pentecost around Sivan 6. There was NEVER any disagreement that the day following the Weekly Sabbath or First Holy Day was involved. The decision was thus that the Wave Sheaf was either on the Sunday during the feast of Unleavened Bread or it followed the Holy Day as the rabbis later tried to claim. This argument is recorded in the Mishnah. It was NEVER suggested by anyone in the history of the church either in the Churches of God or any of the Trinitarian systems that a Monday was inferred in the wording of the text.

The first time this view was ever advanced was in Oregon USA when Herbert Armstrong and the RCG realised that the text did not and could not support a Sivan 6 and so they made a serious error trying to distance themselves from the Trinitarian systems and a Sunday Pentecost, not understanding the history of the Churches of God. They chose a Monday and they kept a Monday Pentecost from ca 1940 until the division caused by the adoption of a Sunday Pentecost in the early 1970s. From this time and the change of the D & R laws The COG (Eternal) split away, keeping with the Monday Pentecost error.

As can be seen the Hebrew text cannot and does not involve a Monday and was always linked to Sunday in the Temple period through the Sadducees who had control of the Temple and who kept the Sunday as the Feast of Pentecost or Weeks.

By 200 CE, at the compilation of the Mishnah, the rabbinical authorities who were the followers of the Pharisees corrupted Pentecost from a Sunday to Sivan 6 to allow their postponements and traditions (see the papers The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195) and Distortion of God's Calendar in Judah (No. 195B)).

The church did not agree with them as it was already well established and had no interest in their observations and postponement, and the wording of the text does not allow for the Wave Sheaf to follow the First Holy Day instead of the weekly Sabbath.

The reason this error persists in the Churches of God seemingly from Oregon is that they have no real idea of the doctrines of the early Churches of God and the doctrines up until the errors of the Twentieth Century stemming from the US.

These errors regarding God’s Calendar and the Nature of God and the self-righteous wowserism in the US and a desire to distance themselves from the Trinitarian system have resulted in one sector of error, and those who know nothing of the history and have a desire to be accepted make other Binitarian / Trinitarian errors that divide the Churches of God in other ways.

To be continued.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General