A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Pentecost 

A Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Pentecost 

Sermon: Pentecost, Consistency, and Honesty
The Basics of Counting to Pentecost
Given 26-Feb-05; Sermon #707; 77 minutes

John W. Ritenbaugh

Church of the Great God
PO Box 471846
Charlotte, NC 28247-1846

Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16), Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22), Feast of Firstfruits (Numbers 28:26), Festival of Fifty Days, Heptad, Feast of Heptads, Festival of Seven Heptads, Wave Sheaf, Omer, Shavuot, “the firstfruits of thy labors which thou hast sown in the field (Ex 23:16).”

See the source image
A Sheaf of Grains – is this the Omer offering?

This is a Critique of John Ritenbaugh’s Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Firstfruits). The Counting to Pentecost is an extremely important subject and we’ll follow it in every point discussed. Besides the main issue of when to start counting towards Pentecost is the issue of what the firstfruits meant. Does the sheaf represent humans or does it represent Christ?

Quoted are Ritenbaugh’s transcript “Pentecost, Consistency, and Honesty” posted on his website. They are indented, in PINK, and in block form so as to differentiate his from other comments. The Scriptures, in RED, must be our primary focus and guide, and sometimes the Scriptures, which include the Septuagint and the Targum and, often, say things very different from what we believe.

And so with that in mind, we’ll begin:

I am giving this message because there is much confusion within the Church of God regarding the subject of Pentecost. I do not know whether peoples’ salvation hangs in the balance because of disobedience, but at the same time I know that the subject is not unimportant.(The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

This is very true, the subject is extremely important. In Acts 2, had the disciples waited for the wrong day in Jerusalem when the rushing mighty wind came they would have missed receiving the holy spirits. Today, many churches ignore such significance to their own detriments. So identifying the right day is extremely important.

The year 2005 is a year in which Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath, and this always creates disputing because the Church of God is not unified as to the proper counting method for locating Pentecost. The result of this disagreement is that various groups will observe Pentecost one week apart. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

There is certainly unity in truth, but God’s enemies are usually scattered (Psalm 68:1 “let His enemies be scattered,” so this year 2021, some churches have Pentecost on May 16, others like CGG have it on May 23 despite supposingly all counting from the weekly sabbath) in different opinions.

The proper keeping of the Sabbath is a major sign giving direction. That is what a sign does. A sign gives direction by pointing to certain things. Most important in this case is that it points to the relationship between God and His people. In regard to Pentecost, the weekly Sabbath points to the proper day that the sheaf was to be waved, and thus to Pentecost—another Sabbath to be observed.

Leviticus 23:9-16 is the foundation of this particular doctrine.

Leviticus 23:9-11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD to be accepted for you: on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

The Septuagint, one that the NT writers most often used, translates “the day after the sabbath” as “on the morrow of the first day.” Obviously this “first day” is not the first day of the week, but the first Days of Unleavened Bread, which is the 15th. It is a high day, one of the annual Sabbaths. The day after the first Days of Unleavened Bread is obviously the 16th of Nisan. 

Exodus 31:13 “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘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 Lord who doth sanctify you.

The Hebrew translators of the Septuagint living around 300 BC knew that the omer counting began after the first Day of Unleavened Bread on the 16th of Nisan. Most New Testament writers had relied heavily on the Septuagint when quoting the Old Testament, and is a great testimony to clarify “the morrow after the sabbath” to mean the first Days of Unleavened Bread. Hence the Sabbath referred to in Leviticus 23:11 is always the 16th of Nisan.

Leviticus 23:11 and he shall lift up the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you. On the morrow of the first day the priest shall lift it up. (Septuagint, translated by Brenton)

The Septuagint is backed up by the Targum, whose existence was attributable to its founder, Ezra (480–440 BC), a high priest. Ezra led a large body of exiles back to Jerusalem, where he discovered that when he read the Torah in Hebrew, the exiles couldn’t understand him. The Targum was in oral form initially but later on it was written down in Aramaic. 

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

In another way of saying: When the Exiles returned to Jerusalem, the Law was read by Ezra, verse by verse, and each verse was followed by a recitation by the Levites from the Hebrew to the Aramaic version. 

“The Levites … instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” (Nehemiah 8:7–8)

Nehemiah 8:7 NKJV and the Levites helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

John Gill comments on the above “they first read it in Hebrew, and then translated it into Chaldee, that the people might better understand it, being just come out of Babylon . . . not hereby how to read it, but chiefly to understand what was read, that they might clearly know their duty to God and men.” The action of Ezra narrated in Nehemiah 8:8 implied not only the reading of the Law, but also the interpretation of its language — its translation in fact from Hebrew to Aramaic, and that, further, this practice was long followed in all the synagogues among the returning Exiles in Judea. 

As a result, the Targum portion in Leviticus 23:9-16 is even clearer:

And the Lord spake with Mosheh, saying: 10 Speak with the sons of Israel, and say to them: When you have entered into the land which I give you, and you reap the harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest; 11-13 And he shall uplift the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you. After the first festal day of Pascha (or, the day after the feast‑day of Pascha) on the day on which you elevate the sheaf, you shall make (the sacrifice of) a lamb of the year, unblemished a burnt offering unto the Name of the Lord . . . (The Targum, translated by J.W. Etheridge)

Ezra was a man of God, and “the good hand of God is upon him” (Ezra 7:9). For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Why would any modern mere man doubt him? It is rather contemptuous to do so!

37 Nehemiah ideas | nehemiah, bible, old testament

The Encyclopaedia Britannica says: 

The status and influence of the Targums became assured after the Second Temple was destroyed in AD 70, when synagogues replaced the Temple as houses of worship. For it was in the synagogue that the practice of reading from the Old Testament became widely observed, along with the custom of providing these readings with a translation into Aramaic. When Scripture was read aloud in the synagogue, it was translated aloud by a meturgeman, or professional interpreter (hence the name Targum), for the benefit of the congregation. The translator tried to reproduce the original text as closely as possible, but since his object was to give an intelligible rendering of the biblical text, the Targums eventually took on the character of paraphrase and commentary, leaving literal translation behind. To prevent misconceptions, a meturgeman expanded and explained what was obscure, adjusted the incidents of the past to the ideas of later times, emphasized the moral lessons to be learned from the biblical narratives, and adapted the rules and regulations of the Scriptures to the conditions and requirements of the current age. The method by which the text was thus utilized as a vehicle for conveying homiletic discourses, traditional sayings, legends, and allegories is abundantly illustrated by the later Targums, as opposed to the more literal translations of the earlier Targums.

After the Babylonian exile, most Jews spoke Aramaic as their first language, so translation became necessary to understand the Biblical readings. Many of the Targum contained interpretations or explanatory notes in addition to the literal translation. Though the written Targums gradually came into being, it was the living tradition of the Oral translation and exposition that were recognized as authoritative throughout the Second Temple period and the early centuries of the Christian Era.

This waving, according to historical records, could be either of an actual cutting of grain (the sheaf), or the grain could be cut, with all of the berries shaken off it, and then an omer (a couple of quarts) was put in a bottle, and it was raised before God. That is all that was done. It was lifted up there as if it were being raised up for Him to see. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

THE OMER BARLEY OFFERING Leviticus... - The Temple Institute | Facebook
Only one-tenth has Oil and Frankincense added

The waving of the wave sheaf gives a false implication. It’s the omer that is waved. First, let’s understand the process from the wave sheaf to the omer, from the grains to a more finished product. 

First, let’s understand what the “wave sheaf” is. The wave sheaf as firstfruits must be reaped by three men, each with his own sickle and basket and each had his basket full. They then brought them to the courtyard of the Temple to be thrashed and parched (on a pan perforated with holes, so that each grain might be touched by the fire and exposed to the wind) and then to go through all thirteen sieves until they became clean, and only one tenth of the measure selected.

Oil and frankincense were added. Now known as the omer, it was offered early the next morning at about 9 AM, the time of the morning sacrifice in the Temple as a special offering waved before God.

The Wave Sheaf Offering, composed of MANY individual grains, representing the FIRSTFRUITS, but it’s only when only one-tenth taken, oil and frankincense added and processed into a final cake, is it the omer offering! But the “he lamb” in Leviticus 23:12, which the Blinds couldn’t see, representing Christ, wasn’t waved:

Leviticus 23:9 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying,

10 “Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them: ‘When ye 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.11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.

12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf a he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.

This Lamb wasn’t waved! Weird! Why wasn’t this Lamb waved if it were to represent Christ? These end-time CoG Communities have produced many insightful interpretations of the Scriptures, but have also had its share of nonsensical interpretations which have caused great delusions. Most of these Blind Guides didn’t even notice the Lamb there! It is nice to believe that Christ was waved before the Throne of God, but where are the evidence? Not a single one is given. 

Those who count Pentecost (meaning the churches of God, the Jews, and any Protestant group that still observes Whitsunday) are in unanimous agreement that it is a Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. This therefore narrows the choices to no more than 3 (three) Sabbaths: the first day of Unleavened Bread on the 15th, the last day of Unleavened Bread on the 21st, and the weekly Sabbath that always falls between those two holy days.

Remember that the count to Pentecost always begins the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the days of Unleavened Bread. The day that follows the weekly Sabbath within the days of Unleavened Bread will always be Wavesheaf day—the day the sheaf was waved. That is the rule arrived at from the information contained within Leviticus 23, and especially verses 15 and 16. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

Whitsunday, a pagan holiday that takes place 7 weeks after Easter Sunday, is a fallout from the Samaritans who were and are actually Sun-worshippers. The Sadducees followed suit, contended that the seven weeks from the first barley-sheaf-offering (“‘omer”) to Pentecost should, according to Lev 23:15-16, be counted from “the day after Sabbath,” and, consequently, that Pentecost should always be celebrated on the first day of the week (Meg. Ta’an. i.; Men. 65a). Then at the tail end, Sunday has been used as the focal point by the CoG Communities to determine when to start and when to end the count toward Pentecost.

Again, the above testimony runs contrary to the Targum in Leviticus 23:11-13 And he shall uplift the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you. AFTER THE FIRST FESTAL DAY OF PASCHA (OR, THE DAY AFTER THE FEAST‑DAY OF PASCHA) on the day on which you elevate the sheaf, you shall make (the sacrifice of a lamb of the year, unblemished a burnt offering unto the Name of the Lord . . . 15 and number to you AFTER THE FIRST FEAST DAY OF PASCHA . .  . (The Targum)

The word “Pentecost” does not appear in the Old Testament because it is a Greek word. Pentecost means “fiftieth”—the 50th day—the one on which the count ends. In the Old Testament it is called the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Firstfruits.

Here is another interesting fact that needs to be considered. This is part of the general understanding of this. If one begins counting after the first day of Unleavened Bread, which will always be the 15th, then you would begin counting with the 16th. You would have a Sabbath there, and the next day would be the 16th. But if you do that, then Pentecost will always end up on Sivan 6. Once you do that you have effectively removed the reason for counting, because, just like all the other holy days, it will be on a fixed date every year. This is the way that the Pharisees during Jesus’ day counted and the way that modern Jews count. But as I said, following that practice effectively eliminates God’s command that one count. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

Why do we count? We learn several lessons by counting. The foremost is that the count demonstrates our thrill for the impending occasion of receiving our spiritual blessings, celebrated on Shavuot. When the Israelites were in Egypt some 3400 years ago, they had assimilated many of the pagan ways of the Egyptians. 

A countdown is when we all have obstacles removed between our uncleanliness and our spiritual goal. When the days pass, our spiritual goal is becoming more achievable. Every year we are not counting down the days that pass. Rather, we are counting toward the end, climbing one step higher in our spiritual growth each day.

There are other Jewish groups that do not count the way the Pharisees did. There were the Essenes, who no longer exist, but we know the way that they counted. There were the Falashas. I do not know whether any of them still exist. They were Ethiopian Jews. Then there were the Karaites, who were never really an organized group. They were more or less independent. Those three groups all counted using the last day of Unleavened Bread. But if one does that, you always end up on Sivan 12, and that too effectively removes the reason for counting. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

False; this isn’t true. Very sloppy research everywhere! Nehemia Gordon is a prominent Karaite. He wrote that both the Essenes and Sadducees always begin their count “on the morrow of a weekly Sabbath.”

35 Nehemia Gordon & Keith Johnson videos:Collaborations on Jewish aspects  of the Bible | bible, scripture study, gordon
Nehemia Gordon, a prominent Karaite

Writes Nehemia Gordon on his “The Truth About Shavuot” website (May 22, 2020):

“The Sadducees and Essenes agreed that the 50-day count to Shavuot had to always begin on the morrow of a weekly Sabbath. They only differed as to whether this referred to the Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the Sunday following the Feast of Unleavened Bread.”

The Essene/Qumran has their own 364 day solar calendar totally at odds with the calendrics of the Sanhedrin. Their sacred year always began on the vernal (spring) equinox and is, by definition, Wednesday (because God Created the “lights in the firmament” for “signs and seasons” on the 4th Day), 1st day of the 1st month (Nisan or Abib). 

Consequently, the Essene Passover will always begin at 6 PM Tuesday, 13 days later (Nisan 14). The key point being Essene Passover always began “Tuesday” evening, 13 days after the vernal equinox. To outsiders, the Essenes would appear to observe the vernal equinox and (regardless of whatever the previous day was) declare that day to be Wednesday 1 Nisan of their calendar. 

The Essene’s calendar had a year of 364 days. The first day of the first month always begins at sunset on Tuesday evening following the vernal equinox. Their counting — counted from the first Sunday after the Feast of Unleavened Bread — the offering of the wave sheaf (Leviticus 23:11) always fell on Sunday the 26th of their first month. Consequently after 50 days set the day of Pentecost on Sivan 15 of their calendar. Also Pentecost on the 15th, is always a Sunday in their third month on their calendar. 

Although the Karaites observe the new moon separately to establish their calendar in Jerusalem they were pretty united under Nehemia Gordon until he gave up in 2016. Other than establishing their calendar by observation, they start their count from the weekly Sabbath, like the Sadducees and Samaritans. Says Nehemia Gordon, “Karaite Jews have accepted the Sadducee reckoning as the only one to be consistent with the plain meaning of the biblical text.”

The day Passover falls on determines the date one must begin to count from. Therefore the count must begin on the day following the weekly Sabbath which, like Passover, is constantly changing. That is the day in which the sheaf is waved and the count begins. Since the weekly Sabbath always falls on a Saturday, the count to Pentecost always begins with a Sunday.

It may interest you to know that this is the way the Sadducees in Jesus’ day counted. In Jesus’ day the Sadducees still retained control of the Temple, and they determined when Pentecost was to be kept. That is one of the reasons why you will find no disagreement between Jesus and the Sadducees regarding the celebration of Pentecost. They were in agreement. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

The above is again false — all lies and bulls, all pure Speculations and Magics. First, Josephus states that “whatever they [the Jewish people] do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their [the Pharisees’] direction. Insomuch, that the cities give great attestations to them, on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives, and their discourses also,” (Antiquities 18:1.15); and that the Sadducees “addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees: because the multitude would not otherwise bear them.” (Antiquities 18:1.17; translated by W. Whiston).

And second, the Samaritans are SUN worshippers — they turn their faces toward Mount Gerizim whenever they pray, but during Passover on top of Mount Garizim, where at twilight, they turn West to pray at the setting down of the SUN. They infiltrated the Sadducees during the early era of the Second Temple period, and like the CoG Communities today, they would lie through their teeth that their beliefs don’t have anything to do with Samaritan SUN worship. 

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The Samaritans (and their various spinoffs) are SUN worshippers

The significance of the firestorm to Jerusalem 70 AD and should not be understated. Because of sin, the God of Heaven destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah during Abraham’s time. John the Baptist had given a stern warning about another consuming fire recorded in Luke 3:16-17 John said unto those who heard him:

“I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the straps of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with FIRE unquenchable.” Luke 3:16-17

The Blind couldn’t see the FIRE part. When we look back, one cannot avoid concluding that God deemed that the Sadducees and the Essenes were worthy of extinction during the 70 AD inferno like Sodom and Gomorrah. Everything about the Sadducees and the Essenes were destroyed (except perhaps the scrappy Dead Seas Scrolls). A large portion of the Shammai Pharisees also followed suit in the conflagration, but the Hillel branch limped off to Yavne and survived. If the 70 AD inferno were only a microcosm, how would the CoG Communities, who have similar beliefs as the Sadducees, escape John’s warning during the Last Days? And why is it so coincidental that the end-time Laodicean church was described as “wretched” and “blind” and “naked”?

I said I was going to give you absolute proof that the sheaf is to be waved on the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls within the days of Unleavened Bread. Believe it or not, it is in the New Testament. Let us go to John 20. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

Only one-tenth of an ephah finally accepted

Although the New Testament could add further meaning, the people during Old Testament times should be able to understand how to count during their days, rather than waiting one and a half thousand years later. During Ezra’s time, the returning Jewish Exiles understood this ambiguity when their Aramaic interpretation confirms the Septuagint translation “on the morrow of the first day,” as the day “after the first day of Pascha.” So is Ritenbaugh admitting he couldn’t prove it from the Old Testament?

In the New Testament

The New Testament is built on the foundation of the Old Testament, and not the other way round. Whenever the concept of firstfruits (G536 aparchē) is used in the New Testament context it could mean principally as (1 and 2) produce of the land and (3) firstborn, or person of superior excellence.

Should Moses have any question or doubt he had full access to God who sits between the Cherubim in the inner Sanctuary to make an inquiry. Also the High Priests, should they have any doubt, they could inquire from the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30, Numbers 27:21) if they want to seek clarification of anything? 

In ancient Israel the Urim and Thummim were entrusted by the LORD, first to Moses and through him to the high priest as the representative of the LORD and as the mediator between God and the nation whose decisions, through the Urim and Thummim, even kings were expected to obey.

Josephus maintained that the Urim and Thummim continued to be used until the Maccabees, if not then, perhaps during Ezra’s time (Ezra 2:63, Nehemiah 7:65). All those decisions made knowledge gained would form the foundation and collection of what eventually emerged as the Oral Law.

So exactly seventy-two (72) hours after He was put into the grave, He rose from the dead and came out of the grave. Seventy-two hours from the time He was put into the tomb on Wednesday as the sun was setting, the sun was setting on the weekly Sabbath—Saturday—when He walked out of that tomb. This brings us to Matthew 20:1 in the time element. On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene showed up at the tomb. She found it empty. Christ had already been resurrected, probably somewhere close to ten hours by that time. We will pick up the story in verse 11.

Matthew 20:11-17 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. And seeing two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. And they said unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She said unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him. [She thought He was still dead.] And when she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus said unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener said unto him, Sir, if you have borne him hence, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said unto her, Mary. [And she melted, because she recognized the voice.] She turned herself, and said unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus said unto her, Touch me not; [It actually says, “Do not cling to Me.” She had already grabbed Him.] for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Remember, the sheaf was raised up before God. Jesus is the Firstfruit of God’s spiritual harvest. You can see this in I Corinthians 15:20 where Paul calls Him that.

I Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

And so Jesus, as the first of the Firstfruits, was the reality of the Wavesheaf. Everything else was a type and a symbol. The reality had to ascend to the Father, and He did. He just ascended to the Father and was accepted on our behalf by the Father. When did this occur? The reality occurred on Sunday morning—the day after the weekly Sabbath. That nails it down. (The Basics of Counting to Pentecost)

In Leviticus 23:12: And if the he lamb represents Christ, which He is, then the sheaf of firstfruits couldn’t be Christ. Hence the logical conclusion drawn from the Old Testament is that the sheaf as firstfruits should represent human beings. And in parables, Christ was the husbandman, the sower, a landowner, the true vine, the good shepherd, etc, but never was He portrayed as a firstfruits in the sense of a produce of the land. It is a heresy to infer that Christ was part of a harvest.

The Omer Offering | Holy temple, Third temple, Priest
The Grains sifted through thirteen Sieves, and only one-tenth Accepted

We can conclude from these observations is that Christ after He had fulfilled being a sacrifice for us as the Lamb at Passover, presents Himself as the High Priest, interceding for His younger brothers to the Father. But He was never the sheaf of firstfruits in the OT context. He was the Lamb and the Lamb wasn’t waved, only the sheaf of many grains did, known as the omer, was waved.

Second, the “wave sheaf” is also a mistranslation. It is “omer” in Hebrew, a finished product, not some freshly cut grains from the field. 

And this is from the Jewish Encyclopedia:

Manner of Waving the Omer.

After the grain had been gathered it was brought to the courtyard of the Temple, where it was first thrashed and then parched (dried and roasted over a fire). The grain was ground into coarse meal and then sifted through thirteen sieves until it became very clean, after which the tenth part was taken, the measure of the ‘omer, and given to the priest. The priest proceeded with the ‘omer as with any other meal-offering: he poured oil and frankincense over the meal, “waved” it, and then burned a handful of it on the altar; the remainder was eaten by the priests (Men. vi. 4). The “waving” was done in the following way: The offering was placed on the extended hands of the priest, who moved them backward and forward and then upward and downward. As soon as the ‘omer ceremony was completed the people of Jerusalem were permitted to eat of the newly harvested grain; people of towns far from Jerusalem might not do so until after noon, when it was certain that the ceremony at Jerusalem had been gathered (Men. vi. 7).

The other nine-tenth rejected!

The omer is an end-product made from the sheaf, a bundle of grains, MANY STOCK OF GRAINS. The grains (or the stock of barley) are all the same, it would be derogatory to infer that Christ is on the same level as other humans. Christ was and is always referred to as the Lamb. Even before Christ was born, He was already the Son of God, divine (Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the Lord (Father) hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee). Before each one of us humans were born we were dust. It is a heresy to think we are of the same level of the Son of God. Christ was YHVH (Psalm 110:1,5) before He was born.

In a brief summary, from the Old Testament: (1) Christ isn’t the firstfruits of Leviticus 23:10, only humans are; (2) The Lamb symbolizes Christ but He wasn’t waved, only the firstfruits were waved.

In Hebrew, the wave sheaf is h6016 `omer (Leviticus 23:10); and firstfruits are h7225 re’shiyth (Leviticus 23:17,20).

Exodus 23:19 The first H7225 of the firstfruits H1061 of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. — the firstfruits from, perhaps, the Old Testament times (Leviticus 23:10) to New Testament times, at Pentecost (Leviticus 23:17, 20; Acts 2).  Note, both were produce of the land. But Christ was the Lamb.

The New Testament is built on the foundation of the Old Testament. Whenever the concept of firstfruits (G536 aparchē) is used 8 times in the New Testament context it could mean principally as Strong indicates:

(1) & (2) firstfruits as produce of the land Rom 8:23; Rom 11:16; Rom 16:5; 1Co 16:15; Jas 1:18; Rev 14:4.

(3) firstborn, or person of superior excellence.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits G536 of those who slept. — only category (3) applies above.

1 Corinthians 15:23 but every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits G536; afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. — again, only category (3) applies above.

As Christ is the firstborn as in Acts 26:23 “the first G4413 protos who should rise from the dead,” and a person of superior excellence, the King James version and many related translations as “firstfruits” above are misleading: 

However other translations listed below give a more accurate concept of Christ being the first person to rise from the dead or the firstborn, the first to be born from the womb. 

1 Corinthians 15:20 

But now Christ has come back from the dead. He is the very first person of those who have died to come back to life. GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

But the glorious fact is that Christ did rise from the dead: he has become the very first to rise of all who sleep the sleep of death. PHILLIPS

But the fact is that Christ did actually rise from the dead and has become the first of millions who will come back to life again someday. Living Bible (TLB)

But now Christ has come back from the dead. He is the very first person of those who have died to come back to life. Names of God Bible (NOG) 

But Christ has truly been raised from the dead—the first one and proof that those who sleep in death will also be raised. New Century Version (NCV)

But Christ really has been raised from the dead. He is the first of all those who will rise from the dead. New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

But it is true! Christ has been raised from the dead! He was the first One to be raised from the dead and all those who are in graves will follow. New Life Version (NLV) 

1 Corinthians 15:23 

This will happen to each person in his own turn. Christ is the first, then at his coming, those who belong to him will be made alive. GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

But the glorious fact is that Christ did rise from the dead: he has become the very first to rise of all who sleep the sleep of death. PHILLIPS

Each, however, in his own turn: Christ rose first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will become alive again. Living Bible (TLB)

This will happen to each person in his own turn. Christ is the first, then at his coming, those who belong to him will be made alive. Names of God Bible (NOG) 

But everyone will be raised to life in the right order. Christ was first to be raised. When Christ comes again, those who belong to him will be raised to life. New Century Version (NCV)

But here is the order of events. Christ is the first of those who rise from the dead. When he comes back, those who belong to him will be raised. New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

This is the way it is: Christ was raised from the dead first. Then all those who belong to Christ will be raised from the dead when He comes again. New Life Version (NLV) 

But each one has his turn. Christ rose first. Then those who belong to Christ will rise when he comes again. Worldwide English (WE)

But Christ really has been raised from death. He was the first one to rise of all who have died.  Worldwide English (WE)

The evidence from the above is clear. If not, the three main questions to ponder are: 

See the source image

(1) If the wave sheaf in Leviticus 23:11 represents Christ, then what did this “he lamb” without blemish of the first year in verse 12 represents?

(2) And if this he lamb in verse 12 represents Christ, then why this “he lamb” wasn’t waved?

. . . and (3) if waving means going up to heaven and back, then why the 3000 on Pentecost (Acts 2) didn’t similarly go up to heaven as they were also waved (Lev 23:20), each should be warning the others “don’t touch me” along the way up and back from heaven on that day of Pentecost, wouldn’t they?

There is a saying which goes, “one swallow doesn’t make a summer.”


~ by Joel Huan on April 10, 2021.

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