Edited Sermon Transcript
Jon W. Brisby; 7-5-2003
This afternoon, brethren, I intend to finish this series that we have been covering on Fundamental of Belief of the Church of God, The Eternal number twenty-one concerning the subject of a Monday Pentecost. We’ve had five sermons on this topic; this will be sermon number six.
As you will recall, the first three sermons—half of the sermons that I gave on this topic—were on the spiritual aspects of a Monday Pentecost, the history of how we came to keep a Monday Pentecost, how God revealed that day to Mr. Armstrong, and the circumstances thirty-seven years later that caused the Church to walk away from the revelation of God and embrace the false day of Sunday. I gave you three sermons to emphasize how you can have confidence in the revelation of God, which has nothing to do with being a scholar or being knowledgeable about Hebrew and Greek. You don’t have to worry about the next paper that may be published by some former member of the Church who’s now trying to make a name for himself and telling you some new angle you’ve never heard before that’s going to convince you of a Sunday, a Tuesday, or a Thursday Pentecost, or whatever they might come up with. You don’t have to be concerned about those things, and you don’t have to have your faith shaken every time somebody comes up with a new trick. Why is that? It is because our confidence lies in the fact that Jesus Christ is the One who founded this Church.
It is the Church of God; it’s not the church of any man. That’s the name we use, is it not? It’s amazing to me that most of these groups that have sprung up from our parent organization, understand the principle that Mr. Armstrong taught about the true name of the Church—it is the Church of God. They all seem to have Church of God somewhere in the name. How many of them believe that it’s truly the Church of God? By what they teach, I can’t find a single one of them. They don’t believe that God is the One who founded it. They don’t believe it was His Church because they believe that it was founded upon false doctrine, which they attribute to Mr. Herbert Armstrong because he was, as they believe, ignorant of the technicalities of the Hebrew—he didn’t understand these things. And so, they believe that the Church kept the wrong day of Pentecost for almost forty years—the day which represents the very gift of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church. They think all of that was a big mistake. They fail to understand, brethren, that God is the One who founded the Church. It bears His name, and therefore, that Monday Pentecost was the day that God chose. It is through divine revelation that you can have confidence, regardless of whether or not you can understand a single technicality.
And yet, for the past two sermons, I have given you the technicalities of the count—both the count in Leviticus 23 and the count in Deuteronomy 16—so that you have seen the evidence of the right way to count in Hebrew. And guess what? It absolutely substantiates that which Mr. Armstrong initially taught us, even if his explanation for it, using an English exclusive count, was different than the inclusive count of the Hebrew. The day is absolutely the same and is corroborated because it was God who revealed the day, and He made sure that the Church was keeping the right day for Pentecost. That’s our confidence.
So, we understand that our real basis for confidence and faith has nothing to do with the technical, and yet how nice it is to understand the technical as well. Again, as I’ve mentioned to you before, brethren, I’ll be happy to show those technicalities to anyone. And I still find it incredibly interesting that not a single one of them that I’m aware of, will address the issue of that second mimohorat in verse 16 of Leviticus 23. They ignore it, and they will not address it. I think it’s because they’re afraid of it. They know it would absolutely undermine and pull the rug out from underneath their entire false premise on which they are founded.
Today, brethren, in this final sermon, we want to go through, what I’ll call, a number of other technicalities—tying up loose ends—on this topic of a Monday Pentecost. I’ll begin by reading our fundamental as it is published.
We believe that Pentecost always falls on a Monday—following a complete fifty-day count from the Sabbath occurring within the Days of Unleavened Bread. That this day pictures the receipt of God’s Holy Spirit and the beginning of the New Testament Church.
And so, brethren, to begin with, I want to focus on another important factor concerning that 1974 change to a Sunday. There were actually two changes that took place in 1974, based upon the scholarship of the so-called scholars of the Church, which they were not. There were two changes that they made in 1974 that affected when Pentecost was kept, and most are only aware of the first one, which was the change from Monday to Sunday. But there are very few who understand that there was a second technical change that also affected when Pentecost was kept in certain years. This is a factor that only affects the keeping of Pentecost in about one in six or seven years. What could that be? What was the teaching before 1974? Brethren, it has to do with deciding which weekly Sabbath we’re going to count from. Now, I’ve showed you that Mr. Armstrong always, from the inception, counted from the weekly Sabbath that falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread, even as I just read in the fundamental. It says, “. . . following a complete fifty-day count from the Sabbath occurring within the Days of Unleavened Bread.” That’s what we believe and teach. That’s what Mr. Armstrong originally taught us to do.
So, what’s the formula? You find the weekly Sabbath that falls within the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. How many Sabbaths can fall within that seven-day Feast? How many weekly Sabbaths can fall within any seven-day period? Only one. Within a seven-day period, there can only be one Saturday, one Sunday, one Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. So, within the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, there is only one weekly Sabbath that falls within that time. That is the Sabbath that’s going to be our benchmark. Remember, in the last two sermons, we went through the simplistic formula for counting. You’ve got to know the start date. We are talking about an issue with the start date. What was this change that took place in 1974 that very few are even aware of? They not only changed how they counted—to say that Pentecost now lands on Sunday instead of Monday—but they also changed the rule for determining which Sabbath. The reason it only becomes an issue about once in every six years, is because it happens to be when the first day of Unleavened Bread falls on a Sunday. Why is that the issue?
Well, when Passover, which we know is the 14th of Nisan, falls on a weekly Sabbath, the first day of Unleavened Bread is the 15th of Nisan, the day following. Now, tell me, when Passover falls on the weekly Sabbath and the first day of Unleavened Bread falls on a Sunday, which weekly Sabbath is it that falls within the seven-day Feast? The only weekly Sabbath that falls within the seven-day Feast would be the last day of Unleavened Bread. Passover day, that first weekly Sabbath, is not part of the seven-day Feast. Remember, we keep the Passover on the beginning of the 14th. We had one of these just two years ago, when we actually kept the Passover service on a Friday evening when the sun went down. That weekly Sabbath, then, was Passover day—the 24-hour period that is Nisan 14. When the sun went down Saturday night, the beginning of Sunday, that was the Night to be Much Observed—the beginning of the first day of Unleavened Bread, which was on Sunday. But is that weekly Sabbath that precedes the first day of Unleavened Bread, part of the Feast? No. When it falls in one of those years in which the first day of Unleavened Bread is a Sunday, when is the only time, then, that the weekly Sabbath shows up during the seven-day Feast? The very last day of Unleavened Bread.
From which Sabbath, then, according to the way Mr. Armstrong originally taught us, are we going to count Pentecost? Which one is wavesheaf Sunday? The original teaching for thirty-seven years was that wavesheaf Sunday is the day following the last day of Unleavened Bread because the last day of Unleavened Bread, in such a year, is the only weekly Sabbath falling within the seven-day Feast. Now, why did this become an issue in 1974? Believe it or not, it was an afterthought. Ultimately, they decided that it is wavesheaf Sunday that must fall within the seven-day Feast, not the weekly Sabbath. With that change in thinking, what does that make you do? What is the only Sunday (which they consider to be wavesheaf Sunday) that falls within that seven-day period? It would be the first day of Unleavened Bread, would it not? That was the second change. The crucial change that happened in 1974 was not only to start keeping Sunday instead of Monday, but also to say that in those years when the Passover day falls on a weekly Sabbath, we’re going to count from that Sabbath and we’re going to assign wavesheaf Sunday as the first day of Unleavened Bread.
What does that do to your keeping of Pentecost? It moves it up an entire week. What that tells you is that since 1974, every time one of those special years comes along, our former brethren are not only keeping Pentecost one day off, but they’re also keeping it eight days off. Usually, in most years, they’re just keeping Sunday, and we keep the next day, Monday. Except, in those special years that come about once in every six years, they keep it not only one day off, but also eight days off! They’re keeping it an entire week and one day ahead of us because they changed the rule for when you start the count in those special years. I find it incredibly interesting that 1974 happened to be one of those years, believe it or not. And it is not lost on me, the fact that it probably happened that way for a reason in God’s plan. He knew they were going to go apostate, that they were going to reject Jesus Christ as the revelator of Truth. And so, what happened? They used their own human scholarship; they turned to the world’s scholars to be the authority for when and how to keep God’s Holy Days. When they did it, when they used their best human reasoning, it’s almost as if God was saying, “When you turn from me and you turn away from looking to me as the source of Truth, and you turn instead to your own minds, you’re not going to be off just a little bit; you’re going to be off by a mile.”
There is no such thing as just a small, little departure from the Truth. Any change, modification, or attempt to tamper with what God revealed will cause you to be severely wrong. You can’t stay just that close to the Truth when you reject Christ as the Revelator; you will separate yourself by a mile. It’s almost as if God intervened to create that very legacy in the history of spiritual Israel in the last days, because 1974 happened to be one of those special years. It was one of those special years when the Passover was kept on Friday evening, making Passover day, Nisan 14, a weekly Sabbath. The first day of Unleavened Bread, then, was a Sunday, and they considered that Sunday as being wavesheaf Sunday from where they started their count. The first year that they changed away from Monday, they were not off just one day; they were off eight days. They kept it eight days too soon the first time they corrupted it. It’s an incredible indictment to human beings who tamper with God’s Truth.
I remember that year. There was a similar year in 1981 because 1981 was the first year that I made that critical decision to leave the Worldwide Church of God. I was still eighteen years old, soon to turn nineteen, a student at Ambassador College in Pasadena, and I remember I made that decision when I knew and came to understand that they had corrupted the Truth. I joined this little remnant body, Church of God, The Eternal, and the very first Holy Day that I kept with this group was Pentecost in 1981. And guess what? That was one of those years. So, the first year that I kept Pentecost with this remnant group, I not only kept it one day different from all of my friends at Ambassador College and who I’d grown up with in the church, but I also kept it eight days later than everyone else I knew that was still in the Worldwide Church of God. I remember that it was a very interesting thing to me that they were off that far. And how excited I was to finally understand the Truth and to get myself in the right area and on the right path. It was later in the winter of that same year, 1981, when I made the decision to get baptized, and did so.
So, 1981 was one of those years—actually, there have been several. As I mentioned, 1974 was one; 1977 was one; 1981, and then it didn’t happen again until 1994. It’s unpredictable in that way, depending on how the Hebrew calendar falls, and the mix of those days with the weekly calendar. From 1994, the next one was 2001. So, there can be great gaps in between, and all of a sudden, you can have some that come within two or three years apart. The next one of these years that will come up, brethren, is in 2005, just two years from now. Then, there’s going to be one close on its heels, in 2008. I haven’t checked it beyond that, so I’m not sure how it falls beyond 2008; but those are the next years that are coming when the Passover is going to fall on the weekly Sabbath and this second part of the rule for determining the start date for Pentecost is going to come in to play.
Now, how is it that they justified this change in assigning the start date? Why did they decide that it has to be wavesheaf Sunday that must fall within the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, rather than the weekly Sabbath? For some reason, they got it stuck in their heads that wavesheaf Sunday must be part of the Feast. According to the way that Mr. Armstrong always taught us, and the way that we continue to observe, it’s the weekly Sabbath that must fall within the seven-day Feast. When the Sabbath is the last day of Unleavened Bread, that means that wavesheaf Sunday is not part of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Do we have a problem with that? Not at all.
They concocted this. You’re talking about a private interpretation of the scripture that was not inspired by the Holy Spirit. That’s exactly what it is. Somebody came along and decided, “Well, wavesheaf Sunday is so important and so critical because it represents Christ as the first of the firstfruits, that it must be part of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread—that period of time which represents being unleavened and free of sin. Christ was free of sin, and so His day, wavesheaf Sunday, must be part of the seven-day Feast.” Well, it sounds all well and good; I just wish it were part of that which God revealed to an apostle of the last days—and it wasn’t, so we categorically reject that argument. We don’t even have to have a better one; we just know it wasn’t what we were first taught. I don’t care how good it sounds. Brethren, we’re going to have to come to find out that if we’re going to be swayed by arguments which “sound good,” coming out of the mouths of human beings who are claiming to be ministers of Jesus Christ, you’re setting yourselves up to be led down the Tully trail, as Mr. Raymond Cole used to say, because there will be lots of very enticing ideas that humanly might make sense. But what is the standard that we were given in order to know the Truth and to avoid error? It is what was taught from the beginning through an authorized servant that God raised up to teach us. If it doesn’t match what we heard from the beginning through that authorized source—and I don’t care how clever it sounds—you can reject it and not have a single worry about it.
That’s how we differ, brethren, as a small remnant group, from all of these other ones out there. They are being led to and fro by all the whims of the different ideas that are coming up. And who knows when their minister is going to stand up next and say, “Guess what? I had a new vision from my Bible study, and God showed me this important fact, this new truth. Don’t fret because you’re going to have to stop doing what you’ve been doing for thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years. It’s new truth.” No, new truth—if it’s truth, brethren—never contradicts that which we had as truth from the beginning. It is the way that you can know the difference.
So, these men came up with this argument that wavesheaf Sunday has to fall within the seven-day Feast. It sounds good, but it’s not consistent with what we were first taught. It’s not the way the Church kept Pentecost for the first thirty-seven years, so we reject it. How do they substantiate it? Well, first, what I think is very interesting is that this was almost an afterthought. We actually have copies of the original letters and some of the ministerial memos that came out, because when they announced the change in Pentecost from Monday to Sunday in February of 1974, they really had not even addressed this issue about the start date in these special years.
And so, they came out and announced to the Church their scholarship that had showed them that they needed to make this change to Sunday, but then the question came up after the fact: “Well, what about these days when the first day of Unleavened Bread is a Sunday?” Because they appealed to the Sadducees of the first century for their initial justification for changing to Sunday, they said, “You see, the Sadducees were in charge of the temple, and it was the Pharisees [supposedly] that God really criticized; but He didn’t really criticize the Sadducees, and because they were in charge of the temple worship, we can assume [big mistake] that the Sadducees were still keeping Pentecost and the other Holy Days correctly. God wouldn’t have allowed them to be wrong”—which isn’t true, but we’ll talk about that in a few minutes. “And so, we have some historical writings [They’re secular writings from the Talmud and others; they’re not authoritative at all.], which show that the Sadducees, in these special years, were counting wavesheaf Sunday as the day following the Passover.” And because they appealed to the Sadducee orientation for keeping Sunday, then they also adopted what is attributed to the Sadducees as far as counting wavesheaf Sunday as the day following Passover in these special years. So, because they elevated the Sadducees on this pedestal, then they also adopted their reasoning for assigning the start date when Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath.
It’s interesting that it was an afterthought. There were ministerial memos that came up afterwards in which the question was asked, “What about when Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath?” And all of a sudden, this doctrinal committee had to scramble and get their heads back together and come up with a solution for when they were going to have it. I think there was even something that went out to the Church, saying, “Okay, we’re going to resolve this, so don’t worry. We’ll get an answer to this as soon as we can.” In other words, “Pentecost isn’t until late May or early June, so we’ve got time to resolve this issue, since it’s only February.” It was going to affect that year’s Pentecost. That’s why they had to get a solution to it. So they appealed to the Sadducee reckoning, and that’s how they decided to make that second monumental change in how to count. What was their justification for this? Joshua chapter 5 and verse 10. Let’s turn there very quickly. Joshua 5 and verse 10 describes a Passover. It was concluded that this particular Passover was special and that it fit the scenario of one of these years where Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath. How did they come to that conclusion? Let’s read it.
And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month [We know the Passover is always the 14th day of the month.] at even in the plains of Jericho.
So, they had already crossed the Jordan River. Now, these are the children of Israel after their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. God has finally allowed the children, those who were twenty years and above, plus Joshua and Caleb, to enter in. They’ve miraculously crossed the Jordan River where God dried it up for them and they walked across, and now they’re camped near Jericho.
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. [Verse 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.
So what do we know? There was a Passover. Whatever day of the week this Passover was, the day that followed it, was a day in which the Israelites ate old corn and unleavened bread. That day was followed by the ceasing of the manna, at which time they had to begin eating from the crops that were in the field in the land of Canaan that they were just coming in to take. What was the conclusion that was made by these that were trying to justify this perverted teaching in 1974? They said, “Aha! This day on which the Israelites ate old corn and unleavened bread must have been the first day of Unleavened Bread.” Why did they say that?
Turn quickly to Leviticus 23 and verse 14. We read:
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.
Here’s a command that’s part of the instructions for the count to Pentecost and for wavesheaf Sunday. What was it that God commanded the Israelites to do? Now, here they had this early crop, this firstfruits harvest of barley and of the later wheat as well. All of these things were growing, and before they began to harvest, what did they have to do? They had to perform the wavesheaf. They had to perform the wavesheaf ceremony, taking those small stalks out of the general harvest and waving them before God, which, as we’ve already seen, pictured Jesus Christ as the first of the firstfruits, the first to be born out of that harvest—given eternal life. So that had to happen before they could eat anything out of the new crop. In a normal year when the Israelites were growing their own food, they couldn’t eat anything out of that new harvest in the spring until this wavesheaf ceremony took place. What were they eating up until wavesheaf day was over? They were eating stored grain from previous years. That’s the old corn—or barley, or whatever the grain might have been. So not until wavesheaf Sunday and that wavesheaf offering was completed did they begin the general harvest of all that was new in the field, and were able to eat of that new crop in the field. Until wavesheaf day took place, they were not allowed to eat of that new crop, and that’s what this command is talking about here.
Therefore, the assumption—back to Joshua 5—is that here, they say, is an example showing that the Israelites, on this day following the Passover, were eating old corn; but then the day following, they were able to eat the new crop. They’re saying, “See, that matches up perfectly with the command that God gave concerning wavesheaf Sunday. This day following the Passover, on which they still had to eat the old corn, must have been wavesheaf Sunday.” Do you see where they get that? “It was the next day after wavesheaf Sunday where God said, ‘Now you can eat of all that’s new in the field.'” If that’s true—that this was wavesheaf Sunday that followed the Passover, as we see here in Joshua 5—this, they say, must have been one of those years where Passover fell on a weekly Sabbath, and the following day was Sunday, and because they were eating the old corn and they were eating unleavened bread, that must have been wavesheaf Sunday. “Aha!” they say. “This proves that wavesheaf day in that year was not the day following the last day of Unleavened Bread; it was the first day of Unleavened Bread, following the Passover that fell on a weekly Sabbath. It is proof from Joshua 5 that, in those years, we should count from the beginning of the days of Unleavened Bread, and not the end.” Sounds pretty convincing, doesn’t it? What’s the problem with it?
Our articles go through this in detail. Here’s one that I’m going to call “option number one,” which is the most likely answer. There’s more than one that kicks this whole notion in the head completely, and the one that we’ve published certainly has great merit. Option number one: This was not the first month of the new year. The Israelites, very likely, brethren, weren’t even keeping the regular Passover in the first month on the 14th. More than likely, the Israelites were keeping the second month Passover. I can’t go back and give you all that information, but you’re aware that if there were a legitimate reason why the Israelites were incapable of keeping the Passover on the 14th of the first month as commanded, the Passover was so important and so critical, God provided for a second month Passover, which is the 14th day of the second month of the new year.
It is very likely, brethren, that this is precisely what the Israelites were doing here. Why?
Notice Joshua 4 and verse 19:
And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month [Okay, now here, we know we’re in the first month—the month of Abib, or Nisan.], and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
Now jump forward to Joshua 5 again, and verse 2, and notice what God commanded the Israelites to do.
At that time the [Eternal] said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise . . .
Why was it necessary to circumcise all of these young men—and some, by this time, who weren’t so young?
. . . All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.
What we find out, brethren, is that all of the males of Israel were circumcised when they came out of Egypt because, remember, that was one of those signs between God and His people—the sign of circumcision. After they wandered forty years in the wilderness, and I don’t know the answer to this, but obviously, they were not circumcising their newborn sons—all of those that were born in the wilderness throughout that forty-year period. And so now, that first generation that had all been circumcised were the ones that were unfaithful. They wouldn’t trust in God. They got up to the edge of the Jordan River, but they didn’t have the faith to walk over and take possession of it, like God promised to give them; so God made them wander in the wilderness until their carcasses fell—all of them—except for Joshua and Caleb. All of those circumcised males actually died in the wilderness, and it was their children, ages twenty and older, that actually inherited the Promised Land. None of them at this time had been circumcised. And so now, they cross the Jordan River with this great miracle that takes place, but before God allows them to actually begin to possess and inherit the land, He requires them to go through this physical ritual of circumcision. Now, we already saw that they came up out of the Jordan River on the tenth day of the first month, which we saw from Joshua 4:19, and now God makes the command through Joshua that they are to be circumcised. What else do we know? For an adult male, that is incredibly painful, especially on the third day after the surgery. How do we know that?
Genesis 34, verse 25, tells the story of what happened when the son of this Canaanite king defiled one of the daughters of Jacob, Dinah. Jacob and his sons were very wroth about this heinous act that had taken place by this man named Shechem, who was a prince. And, of course, here the Canaanites were trying to entice Jacob and his sons—God’s chosen people, the Israelites—into this allegiance, this political alliance. So he said, “Oh, it’s not a big deal. Let him take her for his wife. You marry our daughters; we’ll marry your daughters. We’ll come into a league together.” What happened? Well, the sons of Jacob were, for the most part, just like he was. Remember, Jacob was quite a deceiver. His name meant, “heel catcher, deceiver, supplanter,” and so his sons took after him in the same way. The sons of Jacob said, “Aha, we’ll show these filthy Canaanites.” So they feigned to go into an allegiance, an agreement, with them, and said, “Oh, well, see, we could never form an alliance with you and let you marry our women, and we marry yours, unless you were circumcised like we are.” Of course, this Canaanite king and his son said, “If that’s what it takes in order to come into an alliance with the Israelites, we’ll be happy to do that.”
So, not only the king and his son, but also all of these great princes of this kingdom agreed to be circumcised. What did Simeon and Levi do? Now, here’s Levi who was picked as the one from whom the high priest of God’s people was going to come, and he was one of the greatest deceivers of all. Simeon and Levi waited until the third day, when the Canaanites were incredibly sore after this surgical procedure—when they could hardly move—and they took swords through their city and slew all of the men while they were incapacitated. Now, that story tells us what the physical state of an adult male is on the third day after he is circumcised. They’re pretty much totally incapacitated. These men couldn’t even defend themselves in order to save their own lives. They were sitting ducks.
Now, then, if this is exactly what we find happened after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River—when God commanded, from the tenth day, that they were going to be circumcised immediately—what was going to be the third day after circumcision? The 13th of the first month. When is the Passover? The day after, the 14th of the first month. The question is, brethren, would all of these men of Israel have been in any condition whatsoever to appropriately prepare for and to partake of the Passover one day after the most difficult time, physically, of this surgical procedure? How would it have even been possible? Was this not a situation, then, that absolutely justified postponing the keeping of the Passover for one month, according to the command of God, and keeping it one month later in the second month? Absolutely. Notice, brethren, that in Joshua 5 and verse 10, it says: “. . . the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month . . .” It did not say that they kept it on the 14th day of the first month, did it? No, it did not specify in which month they kept the Passover. It just says the 14th, but it didn’t say whether it was the 14th of the first or the second month.
So, although we cannot know absolutely for sure, it is our strong contention that this Passover was a second month Passover. If it were a second month Passover, then the day that followed the Passover could not have been wavesheaf Sunday. Why? Wavesheaf Sunday always happens in the first month; it doesn’t happen in the second month. The count for Pentecost always comes from the days of Unleavened Bread, not from the second month at all. If it’s true, brethren, the point about trying to overlay this analysis of the old corn versus the new corn and when the manna ceased, is totally moot. There’s no substantiation from Joshua 5 that this was wavesheaf Sunday. In fact, there’s no substantiation that the Passover referenced here was a weekly Sabbath. That is derived only from the assumption that the following day was wavesheaf Sunday, therefore making the previous day the Sabbath; but if it wasn’t wavesheaf Sunday, there is nothing in Joshua 5 that tells you what day Passover fell that week. There just isn’t.
Now, there’s a second option, which we don’t take credit for, but we’re very thankful for the information of a former Worldwide member who still keeps a Monday Pentecost. I believe he is independent or is not associated with any group, but he did write a very interesting and enlightening paper on this subject of Joshua 5. We don’t automatically accept or concur with every conclusion in this or any other paper; but we have copies of his paper, and I know that he has given us permission to give copies to anybody who’s interested in having it. But even if it’s true that this was a first month Passover, this individual says that there’s no way that it could’ve been wavesheaf Sunday that’s being referred to here. Why? The Israelites were not allowed to offer the wavesheaf ceremony from anything but their very own harvest.
Let’s notice Leviticus 23 and verse 10:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest.
What could the Israelites legally offer before God on wavesheaf Sunday that represented Jesus Christ? Here they march across the Jordan River into Canaan, and take possession of all of these fields of crops that the Canaanites—these pagans—had planted. Now, could they go out and chop out some of this pagan-grown barley and offer it before God as a wavesheaf ceremony? Absolutely not. It had to be their own harvest.
Notice Exodus 23 and verse 16—in case there’s any confusion about what “your harvest” refers to and what would be accepted by God. “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field . . .” What did God consider an Israelite harvest? Was it just a harvest that they may have taken away from a pagan people? No. “. . . which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.”
So, what do we find? In order to be able to perform the wavesheaf, the Israelites had to have their own crop that they planted themselves, that they raised to maturity, and that they harvested themselves. That was the only thing that God was going to accept as the wavesheaf. Therefore, could this be wavesheaf Sunday that’s being talked about when the Israelites marched across the Jordan River as an invading army? They were in the land that they were going to possess. They were not in control of it yet. It was going to take them several years, in fact, to gain full possession of the Promised Land; but as they went, they were taking over land and territory, including the fields with food. And so, after forty years of feeding them with manna, God stopped the manna at this time because now they had the food that had been grown, yes, by the pagan Canaanites, but they could eat and sustain themselves and their families with these crops. Manna was not necessary anymore. Does that mean they had a wavesheaf ceremony that year? Absolutely not. It was not until they planted their own crops, grew them, and harvested them that they could even offer a wavesheaf ceremony according to the law.
What was this old corn they were eating? We won’t turn to it, but it goes back to a command in Joshua 1, verse 11. Before they crossed over the Jordan, God gave them a command and said, “Have the Israelites prepare victuals.” Now, God has been feeding them with manna. They haven’t had to go out and gather. They haven’t been planting. They haven’t been getting food the normal way. They’ve been fed miraculously for forty years with bread that has been coming out of the sky every single day, like clockwork, except for the weekly Sabbath. It was absolutely dependable, and that was what they had been eating. Now, all of a sudden, a number of days before they cross the Jordan River, God commands Joshua to tell them to gather food for this crossing. Obviously, then, they must have gotten this old corn from crops that were on the east side of the Jordan River where they had come in and invaded. They didn’t even understand at the time why God was commanding them to do this, but all of a sudden they were told to put food stores together. That couldn’t have been manna because manna didn’t last, did it? If they tried to hold it one extra day, it rotted and turned wormy, didn’t it? So this doesn’t mean they were setting aside extra manna to take with them across the Jordan River. It means that they must have been putting together grain out of crops that were already planted on the east side of the Jordan, and that’s what they brought across with them.
That’s what they were eating this day after Passover. After that, the manna stopped, and they began to eat the grain out of the fields that were already there which they had just acquired. Nothing in this story, brethren, tells you that there was a wavesheaf Sunday—that this was a Passover that fell on a weekly Sabbath. It just is not there; and in fact, according to what we know about the laws for wavesheaf, it could not have been wavesheaf Sunday, even if it was in the first month. I still think it is more likely that this was a second month Passover; but even if it was a first month Passover, it absolutely couldn’t have been wavesheaf Sunday, which means this whole argument for counting Pentecost from the day following Passover in those years, absolutely falls flat.
So that’s a summary, brethren, of the second part of the Pentecost change that took place in 1974, which very few are even aware of. In just two more years, another one of those years is going to come up, and you’re going to find that you are going to be keeping the day of Pentecost not only a day differently from most of all your former brethren, but again, eight days differently. When men pervert God’s Truth and they turn away from divine revelation, they don’t do it just a little bit; they miss it by a country mile, and that’s exactly what we find in this decision.
What are some of the other principles we want to cover this afternoon to bring to a close this topic on a Monday Pentecost? Many claim that the disciples were observing Pentecost at the same time as all of the Jews were observing it in the first century. And because the Sadducees were in charge of the temple—and we know by secular writings that they apparently were keeping a Sunday Pentecost—that means that even Jesus and His followers must have been keeping it in concert with the Sadducees, and that’s why we should appeal to the Sadducee reckoning to determine when Pentecost is. For their proof, they will turn to Acts 2 and verse 1. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” The natural assumption is that this must have been the same day that the entire nation was keeping Pentecost together in concert. Is there any basis for that assumption whatsoever?
What people absolutely do not realize is that in the first century, the Jews were not unified in their keeping of anything, except maybe acknowledging the weekly Sabbath. But the idea that they were all consistently keeping the Holy Days in the same way, including Pentecost, is naive. Do you think human beings were any different then, among the Jews, than so-called Christians are in the world today? How many different sects of Christianity do we have in the world today? Why is there not one major world Christian church? Because they don’t agree with each other in doctrine. Oh, they have certain major things in common, like the trinity, born again, and worshiping on Sunday—things of that nature. But then it all departs, and from there on, they have all of these divergent ideas about different beliefs, which means they can’t feel comfortable being together, and so they have to have their own separate organization. And so, you’ve got hundreds and thousands of different denominations that call themselves Christian, and they don’t keep anything the same at all. And yet, there’s the idea that in the first century, the Jews were totally harmonious in their keeping of God’s law, and they were all doing the same thing. Is that the way human nature works? Do you think that really makes sense?
We know that there were many, many sects, divisions, and splits within the Jewish faith at the time that Jesus Christ walked on the earth. Their divisions were so great that, obviously, they were great competitors. Now, the idea is that they put all of that aside and kept Pentecost the same way. And yet, we know, even from secular writings, that the Pharisees counted Pentecost one way (they kept Sivan 6), the Sadducees apparently kept a Sunday, and the Karaites did something totally different. But the idea is: “Yes, but the Sadducees controlled the temple; and because they controlled the offerings and the sacrifices, that forced the others to do it their way.”
What about the idea that, in spite of all of these competing factions, there was tolerance one for another? Why did they crucify Jesus Christ? It wasn’t because He had a strange, new doctrine; they were willing to accept a strange, new doctrine as a new sect among the Jews, if He had accepted theirs alongside His as well. You see, the Jews at that time were tolerant to these other sects who didn’t all teach the same thing. Probably as long as you kept the weekly Sabbath and held at least to certain fundamental doctrines, then you could be different on whether you believed in a resurrection of the dead, or not—like the debate between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, among other things. But see, they were tolerant, one of another. They maybe didn’t like each other, like political parties vying for power, but they tolerated each other’s divergent religious beliefs. What was it that got Jesus Christ in trouble? He would not accept anything but what He was teaching. He said, “I’m the Way; I’m the Truth. You’ve got to do it my way. Anybody who doesn’t do it my way is absolutely separated from God.” That made them furious. So it wasn’t because He had a separate doctrine, that He was teaching something different from them. They would have accepted that. He just had to make room for them—this idea: “You’re okay; I’m okay. We’re all kind of seeking God along a different path, but God accepts us all.” If Christ had taught that kind of an idea, He would have been accepted.
What is plain, brethren, is that the Jews did have these different, competing sects, but they lived side-by-side together and tolerated one another. Why is it impossible to believe, therefore, that in spite of the fact that the Sadducees were in control of the temple, they were not making allowance for offerings and sacrifices for the Pharisees and the other sects at the time that they needed them on different days? I just haven’t heard anybody come up with that. Why is there an automatic assumption that the Jews were doing everything consistently and harmoniously together in Jerusalem in the first century? Human beings just don’t do it that way. What they do is make tolerances and exceptions for one another. Now, I don’t know. The only point I want to make, brethren, is that no one knows. We do not have any authoritative literature from that time. All of the things that are written about the first-century Jews were written 200 or 300 years later. How accurate is that going to be, especially with these Jews who wrote different parts of the Talmud and who have their own political agenda for rewriting history? Are we really going to trust those things? I don’t think so. So, how accurate is it to claim that all of the Jews were keeping the Holy Days the same, and that Jesus Christ and His followers must have been keeping Pentecost at the very same time as the Sadducees who had control of the temple? Does that make any sense? Are you going to stake your salvation on that? Not me. It’s totally inconsistent with human nature.
Acts 2:1 says, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Now, there’s one commentator named Lightfoot, from the 1600s, who actually comments on this Greek phrase, “fully come.” His interpretation is that the earliest Christians probably weren’t keeping Pentecost when everyone else was, because of the emphasis here about it being “fully come”; whereas, because the Sadducees were likely keeping it on Sunday—in most years, one day too early—this may be a direct, inspired reference to the fact that those followers of Jesus Christ were actually keeping it later than the others in that year. Now, we can’t conclude that either, and that’s just another man’s commentary, so we’re not going to put weight in that. Again, that’s not where our confidence comes from. But this Greek word, interpreted “fully come,” is the word sumplerousthai, which I’ll butcher if I try to pronounce again, so I won’t. It was taken, at least by this one commentator, Lightfoot, in the 1600s, to signify that the Christian Pentecost did not coincide with the Jewish. Of course, we believe that’s absolutely true. If it’s true that the Sadducees were keeping a Sunday, and we know by revelation that Monday is the day of Pentecost, then we know that the first-century Christians were keeping a day different and distinct from that which may have been kept by the rest of the Jewish community.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states this, in its article entitled, “Pentecost”: “The Karaites explained the shabbath of Le 23:15 as pointing to the Sabbath of the paschal week and therefore always celebrated Pentecost on Sunday. But it is very uncertain whether the custom existed in Christ’s day, and moreover it would be impossible to prove that the disciples followed this custom, if it could be proved to have existed.” Even The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia casts dispersions on this idea that the early Christians were doing precisely what the Jews were doing when it came to keeping the Holy Days, especially Pentecost.
What’s the next argument? The next argument we hear, brethren, is that Pentecost has to be the fiftieth day. We know that in Leviticus 23, according to that count (the fifty-day count), we count fifty, and the fiftieth day has to be all the way included, mimohorat, and then Pentecost comes. Well, according to their reasoning, we’re keeping the fifty-first day, and they’re saying that we can’t be right because Pentecost has to be the fiftieth day. Some people actually claim that the word Pentecost means “fiftieth day.” Is that true? Not at all. Pentecost does not mean “fiftieth day.” We’re still here in Acts 2, verse 1: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come . . .” That is the Greek word Pentekoste. Pentekoste simply means “fiftieth.” The concoction that its name refers to a particular day, is absurd. It does not mean “fiftieth day;” it simply means “fiftieth.” The New Testament does not instruct us in how to count Pentecost; it’s not there. God provided the means to count Pentecost in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. He didn’t repeat those instructions for counting Pentecost in the New Testament. It wasn’t necessary.
It’s the same kind of argument that people use to justify doing away with the Sabbath. “Well, there’s no command in the New Testament to keep the Sabbath, so the Sabbath isn’t to be kept by Christians.” No, Christ didn’t do away with all of the laws that embody His very being. They were all written down and codified in the Old Testament; those things are still applicable to all Christians today. There’s no need to rewrite those commands in the New Testament. The Old Testament wasn’t done away. Why repeat what’s there?
The Greek text in Acts 2:1 should, and could accurately, be translated: “And [during the accomplishing of the day of Pentecost], they were all with one accord in [the same] place.” Meaning, during the time that they were counting down to Pentecost, they were all there together. That’s an equally accurate translation.
What did Mr. Armstrong say about it? From The Good News Co-Worker Letter, June 8, 1943, this is what Herbert Armstrong wrote: “The word ‘Pentecost’ is a GREEK word. It was not used in Old Testament times. It signifies ‘Fifty’ . . .” Mr. Armstrong understood that it meant “fifty,” not “fiftieth day.” Continuing the quote: “. . . because this day was determined by COUNTING fifty days FROM the morrow after the weekly Sabbath which falls during the days of unleavened bread. Literally, the Greek word ‘pentecost’ means ‘fifty-count.’ Count fifty. Count fifty FROM a certain day.” Mr. Armstrong understood that it means “fiftieth.” It means “fifty-count,” and it is referring specifically to the Leviticus 23 command for counting fifty days. That’s where the Greek word came from.
Now, as I showed you in past sermons, the original name of that Holy Day was the Feast of Weeks, as we find in Deuteronomy. It wasn’t originally called Pentecost by the Israelites. That’s a Greek word. In the Hebrew, they called it the Feast of Weeks, and they took that directly from the count in Deuteronomy. Remember what we found out about that count? Is that a fifty-count in Deuteronomy? No. It’s a count of seven full weeks. How many days are in seven weeks? Forty-nine—not fifty at all. And so, I went through and showed you that God gave two separate counts to point to His Holy Day of Pentecost. One of them is a fifty-count in Leviticus 23, and the other is a separate, totally distinct count of forty-nine only, found in Deuteronomy chapter 16. There are two different counts that lead to the same day, which tells you they must start one day apart at the beginning because they both end at the same point.
That brings me to the next contention, brethren. Is the exclusive English count that Mr. Armstrong used holy? Mr. Armstrong understood it in a simple fashion. Again, he went to the banking system to find out how you count money, and that’s how he understood it. That’s how God allowed him to understand how to arrive at the right day, even though it didn’t have anything to do with the original Hebrew language or understanding the Hebrew enumeration rule; and yet, Mr. Armstrong arrived at the right day, which is an absolutely phenomenal miracle. It shows you that God was the one guiding it.
Mr. Armstrong counted exclusively—away, out of, the first day—and he was consistent. This is the good thing. He counted exclusively on the front end and the back end, which you must do if you’re going to count correctly. You’ve got to be consistent. And when you count exclusively, the last day of your count really isn’t included; it’s excluded. That’s what an exclusive count means. He counted away, out of, the first day. Day forty-nine ended up on Sunday, and then he kept Monday, which, according to that kind of an English count, was day fifty. So, in a number of places in his writings, he referred to Pentecost as the fiftieth day. Why? According to the way he counted it, that’s the way it came out, and so he understood it as being the fiftieth day. And yet, I’ve already showed you that he never claimed that the word in the Greek meant “fiftieth day.” It means “fifty-count.” But there are those who came up years later and said, “We’re only going to keep Pentecost the way Mr. Armstrong taught it. Mr. Armstrong used an English count, and that makes the English count holy. Therefore,” they say, “if the way you count Pentecost doesn’t come out with Pentecost being the fiftieth day, you may keep Monday, but you’re still wrong.”
There was a minister who left our fellowship in 1991, after a number of years with us, and that was his rationale. His justification for leaving was that Church of God, The Eternal was wrong on the Pentecost count. He still kept Monday; we still kept Monday, but he said we were apostate and had been apostate—separated from God—from the very initiation of our separation from the Worldwide Church of God in 1975. Why? Even though we kept Monday, which was the right day, the method we used to get to Monday was a Hebrew count, and it made Pentecost the fifty-first day, and not the fiftieth day. And it had to be the fiftieth day, or else God didn’t accept it. How convoluted is that? But that’s what he claimed, and there were some few that went along with it. There are not many of them left anymore today.
What I’ve showed you, brethren, is that God gave two different ways to count Pentecost. One is a forty-nine-day count; the other is a fifty-day count. Now, how can Pentecost be forced to be either the fiftieth day, or the thirtieth day, or the sixtieth day or any particular day, when God gave two different methods to get there? When you use the two different methods, Pentecost ends up being a different day. It’s always the same day of the week, but if you’re counting days, it turns out to be different.
When you use the fifty-day count in Leviticus, day fifty is Sunday, according to the Hebrew count. And so, if you’re going to keep counting, Pentecost is day fifty-one, for argument’s sake. I’ll allow that for now. But in Deuteronomy, the count is forty-nine. That last Sunday turns out to be day forty-nine. And guess what? The day of Pentecost, Monday, is the fiftieth day. If somebody is going to be accurate about what we’re teaching, they’re going to have to admit that the day we keep, depending on whether you use the Deuteronomy or the Leviticus count, is either the fiftieth day or the fifty-first. We call it both because we accept both counts as coming from God. In one count, Pentecost is the fifty-first day, and in the other count, it’s the fiftieth. So how can one, and only one, be holy? That shows you somebody who does not acknowledge the fact that God gave two different counts, which means that a single count cannot be holy. They’re both holy when you count it God’s way, and He gave two different methods to point to His Holy Day.
As I showed you before, one of them focuses on Jesus Christ as the wavesheaf—the first of the firstfruits—and the other count, by comparison, focuses on all of you, brethren, as that fall harvest that is going to follow in Christ’s footsteps as a part of the first resurrection when He returns as a conquering King. It’s a beautiful picture, and no one understands that unless they recognize the two different counts in Leviticus and Deuteronomy—both pointing to that Holy Day. But that rules out the possibility that Pentecost can only be the fiftieth day. It just can’t be.
Those claiming that we’re apostate because we understand how to count in the Hebrew, quote from Mr. Armstrong’s 1943 The Good News Co-Worker Letter entitled, “How to Figure Pentecost.” And here’s what they pick on: “And if it is counted any other way, we nullify the very NAME of the festival.” They use this statement by Mr. Armstrong in this 1943 article, and say, “See, Mr. Armstrong said that if it’s counted any other way . . .” What was the method Mr. Armstrong used? The English exclusive count. So they’re saying, “See, he’s saying that if you use anything else but the English exclusive count, ‘. . . we nullify the very NAME of the festival.’ Mr. Armstrong said it was the fiftieth day. If you count it any other way, you’re not keeping it as the fiftieth day; you’re keeping it as the fifty-first day.”
Does that hold water? Is that what Mr. Armstrong was really emphasizing in this 1943 article? He made a reference to the name. What is the real name of the Feast? The Feast of Firstfruits—the Feast of Weeks. Weeks comes from the method of counting in Deuteronomy 16, as I’ve already mentioned. Pentecost just means “count fifty.” Let’s read some more of this quote from 1943. Mr. Armstrong, himself, explained what he was emphasizing.
“It is IMPORTANT that we figure the RIGHT DAY!” That makes it pretty clear what he was concerned about, doesn’t it? Was he concerned about saying that there was a holy count in the English, or was he concerned about making sure that the people understood which was the correct day for keeping Pentecost? That’s exactly what the intent is. He continues: “It is IMPORTANT that we figure the RIGHT DAY! Suppose the disciples and the ‘Jews, devout men out of every nation, had figured only 49 days, by counting the first Sunday as one day FROM Sunday—or had figured to the morrow after seven SATURDAYS instead of seven WEEKS numbered from a Sunday, as we are SO PLAINLY directed? They would have assembled, NOT on the day of Pentecost at all, but on a PAGAN SUNDAY, and they would have waited all day IN VAIN—and WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT. . . . Yes, it is IMPORTANT we figure the right day.”
What is Mr. Armstrong’s emphasis here? He gave it by the very example. What would have happened if the disciples had been there on the wrong day in the first century? They wouldn’t have received the Holy Spirit. His emphasis, brethren, was to show us that we’ve got to keep the correct day. God allowed him to use the exclusive English count in order to understand and to find the correct day for keeping it.
Was Mr. Armstrong opposed to the Hebrew count that Raymond Cole understood later? Not at all. The idea is pitched that somehow Mr. Armstrong accepted only his English reckoning method and that he absolutely rejected this Hebrew enumeration rule that Raymond Cole understood. Not true. I’ve already told you that back in the early 1950s, in the early Radio Church of God days, these problems were surfacing in Eugene, up in Portland, out in Tulsa and in San Antonio. Those churches had men who were rising up, arguing and debating over Pentecost, and based upon this very technical Hebrew word in Leviticus 23, mimohorat, they wanted to change it to Sunday.
All the way back then, Raymond Cole understood the Hebrew, and he had consultations with Mr. Armstrong about it. Mr. Armstrong did not have a problem at all with Mr. Cole going out and, based upon his understanding of the Hebrew enumeration rule, squashing those rebellions. That’s how he did it back in the early 1950s. So this whole idea that Herbert Armstrong considered the Hebrew count some apostate, Satanic thing is just garbage. He was very happy with whatever method Mr. Cole was able to use in order to vanquish this false doctrine that was coming out of these men. So he was very aware of it. It wasn’t the way he explained it. Not being a Hebrew scholar, he probably wasn’t as comfortable with it, but he was happy for any of those methods to be used that substantiated that which he had received from God as divine revelation.
The change to a Sunday Pentecost denied the revelation of God. But revelation, brethren, is truth, and so it is always supported by accurate technical scholarship, which I hope I have been able to provide. When those supposed experts attempt to deny revelation with their scholarship, we can reject it without a single worry in our minds. Brethren, you don’t have to be a scholar in order to have confidence to the very end and to put your life on the line for the Truth. You don’t have to be a technical scholar with Greek and Hebrew; all you have to do is know that it was God who founded this Church, and not a man. And then you go back, and you know what the original teaching of the Church was, and that’s where you’re going to find an anchor. That’s where you’re going to find the Truth.
Turn with me to Exodus 31 and verse 13. I believe, brethren, that we have probably well underestimated in past years the significance of that which God said was going to be a sign between Him and His people. “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep . . .” Did He say Sabbath—singular—here? Is He just talking about the weekly Sabbath? Not at all. Sabbaths—plural. That means the weekly Sabbath and the annual Holy Days, which picture the plan of salvation. “. . . Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the [Eternal] that doth sanctify you.”
Brethren, it’s not just the weekly Sabbath that is the special sign between the faithful and their God. It includes the annual Holy Days. And yet, there are these other groups that supposedly have their worship services on the weekly Sabbath, and they take great comfort in claiming that they are God’s people because they have the sign, which is the Sabbath, they say. Does it make sense to you that God would allow the sign that identifies His unique, faithful people to also be shared by people who don’t have the Holy Spirit at all? Does that make any sense to you at all? Do you think the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Church of God (Seventh Day), and all of these other people who have their worship services on Saturday, are God’s holy people? Do you think they’re going to be a part of the first resurrection? I think, brethren, they’re part of the deceived masses of the world. Just because they’ve chosen to have their services on Saturday does not mean that they are part of the Church. Most of them are not even called. Most of them believe in Protestant doctrine, including the trinity, born-again, and all of these other things. How can they be part of God’s faithful people who are looking forward to the coming of Jesus Christ and being part of the first resurrection? If they don’t keep the Holy Days, brethren, they cannot be part of God’s special called-out ones.
We are talking about an expansive definition. It’s not just the weekly Sabbath; it’s the Holy Days. And, brethren, if we’re not keeping the Holy Days, and if we’re not making them as important as the weekly Sabbath, we do not have that sign. We are not part of that Body that God calls His special and priceless people.
Let’s turn to Ezekiel 20 and verse 12, just to repeat it. “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths . . .” That’s what He gave Israel. He didn’t just give Israel Saturday—the seventh day of the week—He gave them the Sabbath and the Holy Days, as confirmed in the first few verses of Leviticus chapter 23. ” Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them . . .” —not just the weekly Sabbath. All of God’s commanded Sabbaths make that singular sign between God and His people. “. . . that they might know that I am the [Eternal] that sanctify them.” What is it that sanctifies us as a special called-out people? All of God’s commanded observances—the weekly Sabbath and the Holy Days.
In closing, brethren, Malachi 2 and verse 3. This is a scripture I gave you four or five sermons ago. Malachi is a book written for the last days. It’s about the last-day Church, which we believe we’re a part of, and it was a prophecy that the Church would reject God’s Truth. They would go away from the original revelation. Beginning in verse 1: “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the [Eternal] of hosts . . .” How did they stop giving glory to God’s name? They turned to their own human scholarship, their own wisdom. They went out and got their degrees from their universities. They sought out the Jewish scholars, who were not a part of God’s Church, and that became their confidence instead of divine revelation.
. . . if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts . . .
Oh, they were going to continue keeping Feasts alright, but they were going to corrupt God’s Feasts. They were going to start doing it their own way, and not the way that God commanded, and God said it was going to be filth in His eyes.
. . . I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
What Feast, what Holy Sabbath was it, brethren, that took the Church into a state of separation from God? It was none other than the Day of Pentecost. This is very likely a prophecy concerning the change of Pentecost in 1974 by God’s last-day Church; and from that time forward, when they stopped keeping Monday, they gave up the sign between God and His people. Have you ever stopped to think about that? It doesn’t matter that they continue, in most part, to keep the weekly Sabbath. They have confidence, you see, that they’re still God’s people. “Oh, yeah, we don’t all keep the same doctrines, but we still have the Sabbath,” they’ll tell you. Some have the sacred name, and some don’t. Some do this, and some do that. “But we all have the weekly Sabbath, and that keeps us together. And we’re all God’s people.” Oh yeah? I don’t think so. In fact, brethren, I would be willing to say that, very likely, when they changed away from a Monday Pentecost, they gave up the sign that made them God’s people. They’re still His apostate people, but they are not under His protection and under His blessing.
Yes, the Sabbaths are the sign between God and His people, but I’m here to emphasize to you, brethren, that this Day of Pentecost, maybe because of that, has become most critical above all the others in the last-day Church. Not in its meaning in the plan of God—they’re all absolutely critical and phenomenal in their meanings. But because Pentecost was the one that was picked on to be changed according to human scholarship, which set the stage for the rejection of all of these other doctrines in the last twenty years—almost thirty years now—how critical was Pentecost in God’s eyes and in this unfolding story concerning the last-day Church? More so than we probably begin to realize.
Brethren, when you understand the right Day of Pentecost, and you’re keeping it with the right mind, along with all of the other commanded Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath, then you have the sign that makes you God’s faithful people. Those who have rejected a Monday Pentecost have put themselves outside of His protection and favor. Take it very seriously, brethren, and as we head into even more of these critical days in the future, leading up to the return of Jesus Christ, be prepared for an onslaught. Satan is incredibly active, and he is going to continue to attack the foundation of the faith once delivered, including these Holy Days. Pentecost may be just the first. We may see many others on the chopping block. If you have confidence in that which you were taught from the beginning, you have no reason to falter or to fail, and you can stand in that day and hear those glorious words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”