Why I Keep Shavuot ... on Sunday
by: Tim Kelley
May 15, 2013
My first Shavuot, or – should I say Pentecost, was spent at the American Legion hall in Chattanooga, Tennessee back in 1968. I remember getting up early that Monday morning and riding with my two older brothers in our 1959 Ford Galaxie 500. All three of us were dressed up in suits and ties, headed to spend most of the day listening to sermons about . . . we’ll, I don’t really remember. This was in my early days of being a part of the World-Wide Church of God, and no, it was not Sivan 6, nor were we following the Sadducees, Karaites, or any other group. We were observing the day on what Mr. Armstrong, the church’s leader, believed was the correct day to observe Pentecost.
Back then I had no idea there was a question about when Pentecost should be observed. All I knew was that the little business-sized card we were issued said that this was the date. Little did I know that there were a lot of questions regarding the timing of Pentecost, but I found out about them in late 1973 when one of the big splits took place in the church. From what I understood then, the question was whether the word “from” as in “from the morrow after the Sabbath” meant that you included that “morrow” in your count or if you started the count with the next day. Apparently, Mr. Armstrong believed the latter, thus we kept Pentecost on Monday instead of Sunday. But the split apparently got Mr. Armstrong’s attention, and thus he listened to some people who knew Hebrew better than himself, and made the switch to Sunday. Whew!! . . . the calendar issues are over! Or so I thought . . .
In 1996 my wife and I left the Church of God system (not the walk) and began to meet in a home fellowship that was beginning to do Torah Studies. We were happily studying our Bible when one of the fellows (who I knew to have previously been a CoG member) got me off to the side and asked “which day do you observe Shavuot . . . Sunday or Sivan 6?” Not knowing what “Shavuot” was, but wanting to appear Hebraically intelligent, I popped off, “Same day as you! Doesn’t everyone?” . . . . . . not the right answer!
This was my introduction to what’s commonly called “calendar issues”. I soon realized that 1) not everyone relied on a little white card to tell them when the festivals were to be observed; 2) that there was not only questions about Shavuot, there was even a debate about when each month actually starts, and 3) even the CoG’s had questions about the timing of Shavuot in some years. Thankfully I had already determined that I had been keeping Passover wrong, and therefore, Passover was not an issue as well.
So when is Shavuot? And what’s more – when did Yeshua observe Shavuot? Why didn’t He address this very important question, one that was so prevalent in His day? My answer is an emphatic “I don’t know!”. I cannot prove - beyond any shadow of doubt – when Shavuot/Pentecost should be observed, and I don’t know why - when it could have solved so many problems down the road - Yeshua did not clear it up when He had the opportunity to do so. But I can tell you this . . . based on my studies, the evidence seems to indicate that the Wave Sheaf Offering is to take place on Sunday, and more precisely, the Sunday that follows the weekly Sabbath that falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread, the period that the Jewish people call “Passover”. Thus Shavuot is always on a Sunday.
Before getting into the details of why I do what I do, let me give some background that helps explain why I’ve drawn this conclusion. This background comes as a result of my studies into when Passover should be observed. Unless you are one of those who still depend on the little white card, you probably know that there is a problem trying to reconcile the “synoptic gospels1” (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) with John’s gospel2 in regards to Passover3. The problem is further exasperated when church leaders try to make the Torah fit the gospels instead of the other way around. Most everyone who has diligently studied the Passover question will agree that you have to determine Passover based on the Torah, then attempt to fit the New Testament into what the Torah says. It really becomes quite simple when you don’t try to force Torah into a New Testament box.
As a result of my Passover studies, I’ve come to see that God spoke His words directly to Moses, and Moses wrote them down, giving them to the priests for safe keeping.
NKJ Exodus 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
NKJ Deuteronomy 31:9 So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel
Therefore, the word of God in writing – the Torah – is the closest we’ll ever get to the true intent and meaning of His commandments. This is where truth is established. Yeshua came along 1500 years later and, for the most part, simply repeated the words that were written by Moses and the prophets, and clearly stated that it was His opinion that the written words of Moses were the only representation of TRUTH.
NKJ Psalm 119:142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.
NKJ John 17:17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Since we have access to the truth in the Law of Moses, it would seem reasonable that we should start our quest for understanding Shavuot in the Torah – just as we learned to do in regards to Passover. But before going through the passages in Torah that pertain to Shavuot, let’s notice something YHVH says is a characteristic of His law -
ESV Deuteronomy 30:11-14 "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
God’s law is not too hard. It’s not designed to be difficult to understand. You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to figure it out. Yes, a little understanding of the Hebrew language makes it more clear, but a person should not have to go outside the scripture, maybe not even outside the Torah itself to understand it. Think about it ... God didn’t give the Israelites Josephus, Philo, the Septuagint, and various commentaries in order to understand His law, instead He said –
ESV Deuteronomy 5:32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
The Israelites of the day should have been able to figure it out based on what Moses had given, and if they couldn’t, they could go to the judges. Thus they had all that was needed to properly understand and observe the commandments. “But”, you say “they had Moses right there with them to help them understand the details and the intent of the Torah”. Yes – that’s true. Moses spoke face-to-face with God, so he knew where to get the answers. But Josephus is not Moses. Nor is Philo or the translators of the Septuagint. Though all these resources are helpful, they (unlike Moses) all carry a certain amount of bias.
So let’s see what the Torah has to say. The pertinent passages are in Leviticus 23 as well as Deuteronomy 16. In addition, there is one verse in Exodus 3 that we’ll need to tie in as well.
The first thing we want to notice is that YHVH listed all the yearly festivals as well as the Sabbath in one place – Leviticus 23. This is important, because God defines the word Sabbath right here, just to make sure we know what He’s talking about.
NKJ Leviticus 23:3 ' Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
In this verse, God clearly shows that the Sabbath is the seventh day, and that the Sabbath and the six preceding days of work make one week. The Hebrew word that’s used for Sabbath in the phrase 'Sabbath of the Lord' is 'Shabbat' ( שַׁבָת - Strong’s 7676). God is very specific in regards to what he’s saying. He’s not indicating that this is just another Sabbath. He’s being very clear, the day that the Hebrew word שַׁבָת goes with is the seventh day Sabbath. Notice the vowel points4. Under the shin( שׁ ) is a short horizontal line. It’s a vowel point called a patah and it gives the shin an 'ahh' sound as in 'aqua'. The next letter is a beit ( ב ). Under it is a kamatz, which like the patah, gives the 'ahh' sound as well. We see this particular spelling of Sabbath a number of places in the Torah, and in every place but two, it refers to the seventh-day Sabbath. It never refers to any day or cycle of days that does not end on the day of rest.
The two places it does not refer to the weekly Sabbath is when it refers to the seventh year of a seven year cycle that God calls the Land Sabbath. Though this is not the weekly Sabbath, it is indeed a year of rest. It’s certainly not a cycle where the day or year of rest would be something other than the day or year that ends the cycle.
So what we’ve seen so far is that שַׁבָת always refers to a cycle that ends on a period of rest, and in all but two places in the Torah, it refers to the weekly Sabbath. Note that it never refers to a cycle that ends on any other day of the week, nor is it used to describe just any period of seven days.5
Now that we’ve defined the meaning of the Hebrew word שַׁבָת (Shabbat), and have determined that it never refers to any day of the week other than the weekly Sabbath, let’s move on down to the specific passages that deal with the Wave Sheaf offering and Shavuot. Since the Wave Sheaf is what determines Shavuot, we’ll discuss it first.
NKJ Leviticus 23:9-11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
According to the text, the grain must be gathered and refined, then on the day after the שַׁבָת (Shabbat), it is to be waved. The spelling of Shabbat in this passage is exactly the same as in the passages describing the weekly Sabbath with the exception that the Hebrew definite article hey ( ה ) precedes the other Hebrew letters thus emphatically stating that the Shabbat being referred to is “the” Shabbat ( הַשַׁבָת ) – the weekly Sabbath. Now think about it ... unless the word has changed its meaning from what it was just nine verses earlier (vs. 3), it is still the seventh day Sabbath. But there are some who claim that the word did change its meaning and now means the first day of unleavened bread, which is a day of rest, but it is not a Shabbat. Instead, it’s called a “yom ha’rishone” or first day. In fact, the scripture indicates that on this day (First Day of Unleavened Bread) some types of work are permitted whereas on Shabbat, no work is permitted.
So the Wave Sheaf offering is made on the day after the weekly Sabbath, and Shavuot, according to the text, is 50 days later, or as it’s stated in the text “after seven Sabbaths are complete”.
NKJ Leviticus 23:15 ' And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
The word Sabbath appears twice in this passage. The first occurrence defines when you are to begin the count, which in this case is the day after the Sabbath. Here again the Hebrew word is haShabbat ( הַשַׁבָת ) – literally 'the Shabbat', and again, unless the meaning of the word has changed, it’s still the weekly Sabbath
The second occurrence is where we’re shown that you are to count seven Sabbaths. The Hebrew word here is shabbatot ( שַׁבָתוֹת ) which is simply the feminine-plural form of the Hebrew word Shabbat6. The root spelling has not changed, only the suffix. So God is simply telling us to count seven complete seven day cycles, all of which end on the Sabbath, which, of course, is the normal way of counting the seven day cycle.
Verse 16 repeats it again, and again it uses the Hebrew word שַׁבָת (Shabbat).
NKJ Leviticus 23:16 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.
What’s interesting is that those who would have you believe that שַׁבָת changed its meaning from being the weekly Sabbath (vs. 3) to being the First Day of Unleavened Bread (vs. 11), also want you to believe that it changed in meaning again in verse 15, this time to meaning “weeks”. So in the space of 13 verses, God changed the meaning of one of the key words to understanding the timing of Shavuot three times, then has the gall to tell us that the Torah is not hard to understand??? I would sure hate it if my father told me that one of my daily chores was to take the trash out before dinner, then change the meaning of dinner every so often.
Where does the concept of the seven weeks being different from the normal weekly cycle come from anyway? It comes from Deuteronomy, where Moses is reiterating the Torah to the next generation7. Deuteronomy is not a second law. It’s simply Moses retelling various aspects of the Torah. In his retelling, Moses sometimes adds detail to the Torah, but never changes the Torah. For instance, the law pertaining to tassels is given in Numbers 15 while Israel was wandering in the wilderness. In that law (Numbers 15:38-40) Moses directs the Israelites to wear tassels on the corners (actually – extremity) of their garments. Note that he doesn’t indicate how many to wear, but in Deuteronomy 22:12, he adds that they are to wear them on the four corners. What Moses said in Deuteronomy added to, but didn’t change anything that was said earlier.
In Deuteronomy 16, Moses repeats some of the instructions pertaining to the festivals. Here’s the passage that pertains to Shavuot.
NKJ Deuteronomy 16:9 " You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain.
The Hebrew word for weeks in this passage is shavuot which is the feminine-plural form of the word shavuwa ( שָׁבוּעַ ). Shavuwa simply means a period of seven days or years, and since there are seven days in a week, it can also mean weeks. Shavuot (Pentecost) is often called the “Feast of Weeks” because there are seven weeks involved in the counting to get to the festival. Notice that Moses, in saying to count seven weeks, didn’t really add anything new in regards to the timing of Shavuot, nor did he change anything. He just said it a different way. Whereas in Leviticus he said to count Sabbaths, in Deuteronomy you count weeks. No problem here! A shavuah (week) is seven days, and a typical week begins on the first day and ends on the Sabbath. Thus, the Deuteronomy passage fits nicely into the context of Leviticus 23. You don’t have to jump through hoops to make it work, it just does.
But it doesn’t fit if you try to force that week to start on any day other than the first day of the week! Why? Because to make that week start on say – a Thursday, means that the week will not end on the Shabbat ( שַׁבָת ) as defined in Leviticus. So just because the festival is sometimes referred to in the Torah as the Feast of Weeks, it doesn’t change the clear timing that is defined in Leviticus 23.
Another point to consider is the pattern God established elsewhere in the Torah. In Leviticus 25, just two chapters down from where the festivals are discussed, God describes the Land Sabbath and the Jubilee year. The land Sabbath is one of the two exceptions we find in the Torah where שַׁבָת (Shabbat) does not refer to the seventh day of the week. Instead, it refers to the land resting in the seventh year of a seven year cycle. Going down to vs. 8 we see that we are to count seven Sabbaths (shabbatot) of years, in other words, seven land Sabbath cycles, then the year after the completion of the seventh cycle is the Jubilee year. So just as Shavuot (Pentecost) is the day after the conclusion of seven seven-week cycles that end on the day of rest, the Jubilee year is the year after the conclusion of seven seven-year cycles that end on the year of rest. The pattern is clear – when God establishes a cycle of seven, He ends it on the day, year, or millennium of rest.
Some have said that we should observe Shavuot according to the traditional way of counting (starting on the day after the First Day of Unleavened Bread) simply because it’s the Rabbis who determined that the count starts during the Passover festival. ‘Sounds logical ... after all, the Torah nowhere tells us what weekly Sabbath to start with, or does it?
Going back to Leviticus 23, we see that the Wave Sheaf offering is positioned, at least in regards to how it’s listed in the text, after the days of Unleavened Bread and before Shavuot, which itself is positioned just before Yom Teruah – the Feast of Trumpets. How do we know that when Moses said “on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it” (vs. 11) that the Sabbath mentioned has anything to do with the spring festival of Passover? The answer can be found in Exodus 3.
Moses was talking to God who had manifest Himself as a burning bush. He obviously had a lot of questions, especially since he’d just been instructed to go tell Pharaoh to let two million Israelite slaves go free. Then God offered a sign. He told Moses that after the king of Egypt has heeded your word and let Israel go, the sign that Yahwey would give Moses was that they would serve Him on the same mountain He and Moses were currently on – Mt. Sinai.
NKJ Exodus 3:12 So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain."
Ponder this for a moment . . . after all the great works God was getting ready to do in order to secure the freedom of the Israelites – turning the Nile into blood, killing the firstborn of Egypt, parting the Red Sea, sending manna from heaven – after all these, the SIGN that Moses had been sent by YHVH was that they would return to the mountain. Somewhat anti-climatic, unless you understand what was going to happen on the mountain when they got there.
In Exodus 6 God told Moses to tell the children of Israel that He was going to do a number of things for them very shortly.
NKJ Exodus 6:6-7 "Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 'I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Verse seven is the clincher. In it He told Israel that He would take them as His people. In other words, He was going to enter into covenant with them and take them as His wife. In the culture of the day, that would have meant that this great god, the god who could perform all these miracles, was going to pick Israel out from all the nations of the earth, set her on a pedestal, promise to protect and provide for her, and make her His wife. THEN they would know that He is YHVH, the covenant keeping God.
When did that take place? When did they begin to serve YHVH on the mountain? Exodus 19 gives us a close answer –
NKJ Exodus 19:1 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai.
It is now the third month, though not necessarily the first day of the month. Israel began their journey out of Egypt on the 15th day of the first month, so it’s now been at least 45 days since they left Egypt. God then had the Israelites go through a 3 day period of preparation (vs. 11) before He descended on the mountain and officially entered into a marriage covenant with them. So we have at least 48 days, and if the day they came to the mountain was say – the third day of the month, we have at least 50 days. Because the festivals of Leviticus 23 are memorials of things YHVH has done for Israel, we can safely assume that God descended on the mountain on Shavuot - the Feast of Pentecost. And since Pentecost is 50 days after the Wave Sheaf offering, we know that the Wave Sheaf offering took place during the Passover season. This is the connection we have between Passover, the wave sheaf offering, and Shavuot. We don’t need Jewish tradition to make this connection.
What about some of the arguments there are for other days being the day of the wave sheaf offering and that the Hebrew word שַׁבָת could mean the First Day of Unleavened Bread as well as mean weeks? Joshua 5 is one of the most common texts used in the quest to substantiate that theory. Unfortunately, Joshua 5 adds nothing to the argument. Reading the text, you’ll notice that the wave sheaf offering is never mentioned. You’ll also see that the day of the week on which Passover (Nisan 15) fell is not mentioned and could have just as easily been on Saturday as any other day of the week, which if that’s the case, and if there had been a wave sheaf offering, it would have been on a Sunday.
You might ask “How could it be that they would not have had a wave sheaf offering before they ate the grain?” Quite simply, the grain that they would have reaped would not have been grain they had sown, and it seems to me that when we are to offer up an offering, it is to be something that comes about as a result of the combined efforts of the offerer and YHWH. This is just my theory and has little bearing on the Joshua 5 question. The bottom line in regards to Joshua 5 is that we don’t know what day of the week this all takes place, so it is inconclusive at best.
A case that’s sometimes made is that the Septuagint makes clear the intent of Leviticus 23 by stating that the offering shall be made on the morrow of the first day.
LXE 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.
But this is obviously a misrepresentation of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew words for first and day are nowhere to be seen in the Hebrew text of this verse. No other translations that I know of draw this conclusion, not even the Stone Tnakh or the JPS Torah Commentary.
When using the Septuagint, one must remember that it is a translation, just like our King James translation, and thus carries with it a bias. It is likely that many of the 70 priests who did the translation did indeed observe Shavuot on the day after the first day, but that doesn’t make it right. The Jews of that day introduced a number of practices into their worship that we know were not correct. Certainly, we don’t believe that just because some of the second century BCE Jewish priests8 taught something a certain way, it is automatically right! For example, the book of Nehemiah records how the Jews who were returning to The Land from Babylon were again becoming acquainted with the Torah. Ezra the Priest stood up to read and explain the scriptures to the assembled people, and as the text shows, he understood there to be five species of plants to be used during the Feast of Tabernacles instead of the four listed in the Torah.9 He also believed that these five species were to be used to build booths, whereas the Jews of the first century believe they were to be put into a bundle and waved at the festival. If a person believes that just because the 2nd or 3rd century BCE priests were always correct, he should stop waving lulavs at Sukkot and instead, use the five species of Ezra to build a sukkah.
Tim Hegg wrote a paper presenting the various arguments both for and against the three main Shavuot timing methods. The paper is entitled “Counting the Omer – an Inquiry Into the Divergent Methods of the 1st Century Judaisms”10. In this in depth study, he includes quotes from Josephus, Philo, the Mishnah, and various commentaries. One point that I thought to be quite interesting is where he brings out the theory that the Hebrew word שַׁבָת actually took on the additional meaning of “week” in the first century. He asks this question:
“How did the Pharisees understand this in light of their view that the “day after the Sabbath” meant the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread, and not the weekly Sabbath?”
“The answer lies in the fact that in the 1st Century the Hebrew word “Sabbath” was also taken to mean “week.” In this way, “after the seventh Sabbath” was understood to mean “after the seventh week.”11
So basically what he’s saying is that the current traditional view of the timing of Shavuot is to some degree dependant on the meaning of the word Shabbat changing after the time that Moses penned it. This theory that Shabbat can mean week is based on the phrase “Sabbaths shall be complete” (Lev. 23:15). According to Hegg, in the mind of the Jewish sages, it would have been impossible to have an incomplete week if that week ends on the Sabbath, therefore since the text requires “complete” weeks, the week must not end on the Sabbath. But when is a week not a week? Quite obviously, it’s when that week is not 168 hours long (24 x 7). You cannot accurately call a period of time a week if it’s only 6 days long, and it doesn’t matter what day you end it on, it is still not a week.
Obviously, the sages were grasping at straws because if seven Sabbaths can mean seven weeks, and a week is any period of seven consecutive days, then any week is complete as long as it’s seven days long. But is a complete week the actual intent of what Moses was saying, or is there something else? I submit that the sages missed the point altogether.
The Hebrew word used in verse 15 that is translated complete is the Hebrew word tamiymot, the feminine-plural form of tamiym ( תָמִים ). This word has a number of uses in the scripture, and is often translated as “without blemish” and “perfect”. It is said of Noah that he was “perfect in his generations” and Abram was told to “walk before me, and be thou perfect”. God created the first week, and everything that God created that week was call “good”, so we could assume that the week God created was good. You might even say that the week was perfect.
Thus when God speaks of a series of tamiym Sabbaths, He’s talking about weeks that start and end just as He created them – starting on the first day and ending on the Shabbat. This is not too difficult, unless of course, we want to make it difficult.
Overall, Hegg is quite fair in presenting the three predominate views that existed in the first century. In his summary he shows that there is no conclusive evidence as to which one of the three ways were the “correct” way, and that any of them could be possible. I appreciate his candor, but would have to take issue with the conclusion that any of the methods are possible. If the Pharisee’s view is dependent on the above mentioned fact that in the first century, the view of the word Shabbat had changed, we have a problem. If the changing of word meanings impacts the intent of the Torah, then the Torah is nothing more than a scroll with letters written on it. It becomes a fluid document that changes with the culture. This view is akin to the current view here in America that the Constitution changes as words change, something we’re experiencing today with the push to change the meaning of the word “marriage”.
One other point that comes to light in Hegg’s article is the fact that in the first century, there were at least three clearly defined views as to the observance of Shavuot. By having three well-known possible dates to observe it, it’s easy to see how Yeshua could have observed any of them and still remained “under the radar” so to speak. Keep in mind, Yeshua was not a priest, nor was he a farmer. Thus the timing of the Wave Sheaf had no great impact on Him.
Though it is imperative that we don’t attempt to force our understanding of the Torah into a picture or a type that we might see in the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua, it’s interesting that once we do understand the Torah, Yeshua does seem to fit into it quite well. Such is the case of the Wave Sheaf offering and Shavuot.
Though in the first century there were different views as to when the Wave Sheaf was to be observed, it’s likely that since the Pharisees were the dominate force in first century Judaism, the Temple followed their pattern. It’s also clear that the wave sheaf was offered within days of Yeshua’s crucifixion. Though it’s quite unlikely that there were multiple wave sheaf offerings at the Temple, it is quite likely that those who believed it to be on Sunday staged their own “wave sheaf” just to keep them in remembrance, something that many Hebrew-minded people do today . It is also noteworthy that no purpose is served by God telling us on which day of the week Yeshua was resurrected if He doesn’t also tell us on which day of the week He was crucified. Never-the-less, God does tell us that the stone over His tomb was supernaturally removed sometime prior to the women arriving at the tomb on Sunday morning. Thus Yeshua was in effect “cut from the earth” at about the same time those “Sunday wave sheafers” were cutting their grain as well.
Maybe Yeshua did address this controversy after all!
1 The gospels that tend to agree with each other in most cases vs. John’s, that shows some things from a different perspective;
2 I don’t like to use the term “gospel” for the letters written by these fellows, but since it’s the common term, I give in.;
3 I don’t think there is a problem with what they wrote. There’s just a problem with our understanding. I believe that as we get closer to understanding the 1st century Jewish culture, all four gospels will align not only with each other, but with the Torah as well.;
4 Vowel points were not a part of the original Hebrew text, but were added by the Masorites at about 1000CE in order to preserve the pronunciation of many Hebrew words.;
5 FYI – this holds true throughout the Tnakh;
6 The Shabbat is considered to be a feminine word and is often called in Jewish writings “Queen Shabbat”;
7 All of Leviticus was given at Mount Sinai during the first year of the Exodus.;
8 I use the term “Jewish priests” only because they were considered part of the southern kingdom, which in the Tnakh is labeled “Judah”.;
9 Compare Nehemiah 8:14-15 with Leviticus 23:40.;
11 Ibid; page 5 under heading “The Term ‘Sabbath’ in the 1st Century”;