Good question there Rob.
Again, we have to look at what Yahuweh says in the Torah regarding His seven feasts, although concentrating on the second, third, and fourth feasts, as the times for each of them is reliant on the other.
First is the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Lev 23:6-8: And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Yahuweh; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a set-apart assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work. But with the adoptive mother you shall be near to Yahuweh for seven days. On the seventh day is a set-apart assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.
So, the Festival of Unleavened Bread is to start on the fifteen day of the first month of ‘Abiyb, and to end on the twenty-first day, both these days (15th & 21st) being days where we’re not to do any work. But take note of the following: Yahuweh hasn’t call these two days/dates (15th and 21st) “Sabbaths” in this instruction. Whilst they would certainly be “sabbaths”, in that like the seventh day of the week we don’t do any work on them, Yahuweh hasn’t used the word to refer to these days of rest. This is really important when it comes to the next few verses.
Lev 23:9-11: And Yahuweh spoke to Moshe, saying, “Speak to the people of Yisra’el and say to them, ‘When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the Firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before Yahuweh, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath (ה שבת = ha Shabbat) the priest shall wave it.”
So here, we can see that the “sheaf of the Firstfruits” is to be waved “before Yahuweh” on the day “after the Sabbath.” Notice that Yahuweh doesn’t say “on the 16nd day of the first month”, the specific days and dates which he declared for Passover (14th day of the 1st month), and the start of the festival of unleavened bread (15th day of the 1st month). If Firstfruits always happened on the 16th day of the first month, why hasn’t Yahuweh specified it as such? He did specify the specific days for Passover and the first day of unleavened bread, yet He decides not to do so for the feast of Firstfruits? He also specifies the specific day for the feast of trumpets (1st day of the seventh month - Leviticus 23:24), the Day of Reconciliations (10th day of the seventh month - Leviticus 23:27), and for the Festival of Tabernacles (15th day of the seventh month - Leviticus 23:34), but not for Firstfruits, which, if we were to agree with popular opinion, always happened on the day after the first day of the festival of unleavened bread, the day after the festival of unleavened bread always being the 16th day of the first month.
But this is not what Yahuweh says. He specifically says the waving of the sheaf was to be done “on the day after the Sabbath”. If this was to be a reference to the 16th day of ‘Abiyb, then Yahuweh would’ve said so.
The fact of the matter is this: As the festival of Unleavened bread was always a week long, during the week there would always be a Saturday, or the seventh day of the week, which as explained to us from Exodus 20:8-11 is referred to as “the Sabbath”, or in Hebrew - ה שבת = ha Shabbat (and repeated in Leviticus 23:3). If the 14th day of the first month (Passover) was, let’s say, on a Monday, then the first day of the Festival of Unleavened bread, the 15th day of the first month, would happen on a Tuesday, and then end the following Tuesday. During this week, there would be a Saturday, which is always a day of rest/the Sabbath, and never changes. So during the festival of Unleavened Bread, as long as it didn’t fall on a Saturday, there would be three days where we weren’t to do any work - the first day of the festival, the Saturday Sabbath that fell during the week of the festival, and the final day of the festival.
But Yahuweh doesn’t refer to the first and last days of the Festival of Unleavened Bread as “the Sabbath”, so what can He be referring to when He says that the priest is to wave the sheaf “on the day after the Sabbath”, if not the day after the Sabbath - a Sunday in our reckoning. If Yahuweh had wanted the waving of the sheaf to happen on the 16th day of the month of ‘Abiyb each and every year, He most certainly would’ve said so. But as it happens, He has stated that He wants the waving of the sheaf to happen on the day after the Sabbath, which will always be a Sunday.
There’s even further proof if we look to the timing of the Feast of Weeks as mentioned in Leviticus 23.
Lev 23:15-16: You shall count seven full weeks (Hebrew = Sabbaths) from the day after the Sabbath (ה שבת = ha Shabbat), from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath (in Hebrew literally “the Sabbath the seven” = the seventh Sabbath). Then you shall be near the renewed gift of Yahuweh.
Not only does this repeat what we found out above - that the waving of the sheaf was to happen on the day after ha Shabbat/the Sabbath - but it also tells to count “seven full weeks/Sabbaths”, the word translated as “full” being the Hebrew tamiym meaning “complete, whole, full, and entire”. So we could translate the first part of the verse as “You shall count seven complete Sabbaths”. Why is this important?
It is important because Yahuweh tells us that we are to count “fifty days”, up until the day after the “seventh Sabbath”. This therefore means that there has to be 6 more Sabbaths before the seventh Sabbath. As the Sabbath day always marked the end of a week (as you know, the Sabbath day is always on the seventh day of the week), asking them to count seven Sabbaths is an easy way of keeping time. Also, as the Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, and we were to count seven Sabbaths in order to keep the Feast of Weeks, 7x7=49, and then the day after the seventh Sabbath (day number 49) would day number 50, the Feast of Weeks, which again would fall on the first day of the week, as it fell after the seventh Sabbath. The Feast of Firstfruits then would make the 1st of the 50 days that led up to the Feast of Weeks.
If we were to take it that the Feast of Firstfruits always happened on the day after the first day of the Festival of Unleavened bread, on the 16th day of the first month of ‘Abiyb, then we’re going to be off in our counting in about 5 of every 6 years.
Let’s take my example from above: Passover in a certain year falls on a Tuesday (Monday evening to Tuesday evening), the 14th day of the first month. The first day of the Festival of Unleavened bread would therefore fall on a Wednesday (Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening), the 15th day of the first month. The Feast of Firstfruits would therefore fall on a Thursday (Wednesday evening to Thursday evening), the 16th day of the first month. We are then to count seven full Sabbaths, starting from this day, the 16th day of the first month. We’re already on Thursday, so the first full Sabbath falls 2 days later on the Saturday (Friday evening to Saturday evening). As Yahuweh has told us in Leviticus 23:15, the first day of the 50 days that lead up to the Feast of Weeks, is also the same day that the Feast of Firstfruits takes place. So in this year that we’re looking at, Thursday is day 1, Friday is day 2, and so Saturday, the first full Sabbath, is day number 3.
Remember, we’ve got seven full/complete Sabbaths to count, so if the first full Sabbath is day number 3; the second full Sabbath would be day number 10; third would be 17; fourth would be 24; fifth would be 31; sixth would be 38; and the seventh full/complete Sabbath day would be day number 45. In this year, taking Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits happening on the day after each other, our Feast of Weeks would be taking place 46 days from the Feast of Firstfruits - we’re off by four days!
We’d be off every single year, apart from the years that Passover ended up being on a Friday, and so Firstfruits ending up being on a Sunday. If Firstfruits fell on a Monday, we’d be out by 1 day; Tuesday by 2; Wednesday by 3; Thursday (as seen) by 4; Friday by 5; and on a Saturday by 6.
For the Feast of Weeks to fall on the day after the seventh Sabbath, then the Feast of Firstfruits has to fall on a Sunday, or, as Yahuweh tells us, “the day after the Sabbath”.
TWTY website and forum Administrator.
Please respect everyone, and try to not get too heated when discussing one's point of view