first day of the week

Timing of the
Wave Sheaf Offering Day

wave sheaf offering

Determining upon which day the sheaf was waved has given rise to some

The critical text;

    Lev   23:15  And you shall count for yourselves from the day
                 after the Sabbath, ...


Some have considered 'the Sabbath' was the annual sabbath of the 15th
of the first month. The 15th being a commanded day of rest, being the
first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, refer Lev 23:6-7.

Following this line of reasoning they then conclude the wave sheaf
offering was always observed on the 16th of the first month.

[ Those who follow this line of reasoning normally consider Christ was
  crucified on a Friday. The sequence being Christ a) crucified Friday
  14th, b) dead in the grave the 15th Sabbath(weekly & annual) and
  c) raised the 16th (wave sheaf day). ] 


This view is that 'the Sabbath' mentioned is a normal weekly Sabbath.

This perspective has the difficulty of then properly determining in
what 7 day period the weekly Sabbath was always to fall.    

[ Those reaching this conclusion are able to place the crucifixion
  of Christ upon Friday, Thursday or Wednesday; as the wave sheaf
  offering day is not fixed to any specific date in the first month. ]


The resolution to this problem lies in the following verse;

    Lev   23:16  Count fifty days to the day after the seventh
                 Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain
                 offering to the LORD.

This verse shows the 50th day (Pentecost) was to fall on a day
immediately following a weekly Sabbath. With this understanding it
becomes clear that for this to happen the 1st of the 50 days must
also always fall on a day immediately following a weekly Sabbath.
(Both the day of the wave sheaf (1st day) and Pentecost (50th day)
would always fall on what we call Sunday.)

This understanding eliminates the possibility that the Lev 23:15
'sabbath' could be the annual 15th sabbath, because the 15th sabbath
could fall on any day of the week.    

This understanding is further proved by examples of the wave sheaf
day falling on days other than the 16th of the first month.

[ NB: 1) Those who still cling to the view that the wave sheaf
         always fell on the 16th try to justify their view by
         claiming the Hebrew word for 'Sabbath' in Lev 23:16 can
         mean 'week'. Hence, they deny the different meanings
         of the two words. ]    


Having concluded that the 'sabbath' of Lev 23:15 is a reference to
a weekly Sabbath, it is necessary to determine the earliest and
latest allowable dates for the selection of this Sabbath. In other
words, the 7 day period (the week) of God's calendar which would
define the selection of the Sabbath day.

Since the wave sheaf day always followed a Sabbath day, then the
'week' of the allowable wave sheaf dates would always be similar
but offset by one day.    
Two examples in Scripture allow us to identify the wave sheaf 'week'.

First Example - Entering the Promised land

    Lev   23:14  You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain
                 nor fresh grain until the same day that you
                 have brought an offering to your God; ...

    Josh   5:10  Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal,
                 and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day
                 of the month at twilight on the plains of
            :11  And they ate of the produce of the land on
                 the day after the Passover, unleavened bread
                 and parched grain, on the very same day.
            :12  Then the manna ceased on the day after they
                 had eaten the produce of the land; and the
                 children of Israel no longer had manna, but
                 they ate the food of the land of Canaan that

In Leviticus 23:14 the children of Israel were commanded not to eat
of any of the produce of the Promised Land (including bread, parched
grain or fresh grain) until they had brought the required wave sheaf
offering to God.

Joshua 5:11 records that they ate 'stored grain' from the Promised
Land on the 15th day. This also being the first of the seven days
of commanded eating of unleavened bread. (The word 'produce' found
in verse 11 and 12 means 'kept over' and refers to the stored grain
of the prior year's harvest.)

In verse 12 on the following day, the 16th, the manna ceased and they
began to eat of the fresh grain, ie the new year's harvest.

This example illustrates that the children of Israel ate parched
grain, which had been grown in the Promised Land, on the day after
the 14th Passover, ie on the 15th of the first month. Keeping in mind
the requirement of Lev 23:14, it becomes apparent the first wave sheaf
ceremony had taken place that day, ie the 15th.

  [ NB: They did not also eat of the new year's grain on the
        15th day, as the 15th was a commanded annual sabbath!
        Since the 15th was a commanded day of rest they could
        not go into the fields and begin to harvest the fresh
        grain until the following day. ]

Second Example - Paul Preaching at Troas

    Acts  20:4   And Sopater of Berea accompanied him (Paul)
                 to Asia; also Aristarchus and ...
            :5   These men, going ahead, waited for us at
            :6   But we sailed away from Philippi after the
                 day (not 'days') of Unleavened Bread, and
                 as far as five days (not 'in five days')
                 joined them at Troas, where we stayed to
                 day seven (not 'seven days').
            :7   Now on the first day of the week, when the
                 disciples came together to break bread, Paul,
                 ready to depart the next day, spoke to them
                 and continued his message until midnight.

                [NB: The Greek  is sometimes
                     rendered 'days' and sometimes 'day'.]  

Paul and some other disciples travelled to Troas and spent the full
seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread there.

However, the writer and others departed after the 1st day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread and took 4 days(!) to arrive at Troas. They had
travelled for 4 days and arrived prior to what would have been the 5th
day of travel. This meant they spent the 6th and 7th days of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread in Troas. 

The writer and his companions had planned their trip to spend these
6th and 7th days in Troas because they were both sabbath days!

The 7th day being the 21st of the month, the seventh day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread, was an annual sabbath day (Lev 23:8). As this 7th
day was also described as the 'first of the sabbaths', the day prior
(the 6th day) was the weekly Sabbath.

The following day, the 22nd, they all departed from Troas.

Acts 20:4-7 is an example of the wave sheaf day falling on the 21st
day of the first month.

These two examples reflect the earliest (15th) and the latest (21st)
dates for the wave sheaf offering.

  [ NB: 1) The resurrection of Christ on the 17th provides an
           example of an interim dating.
        2) A study of the chronology of the Flood indicates
           a further 21st wave sheaf dating, refer the web page
           which discusses the Flood.) ]


The wave sheaf offering day always fell on a day immediately following
a weekly Sabbath.

From our biblical examples we can see the wave sheaf offering day fell
in the particular week delimited by the dates 15th - 21st of the month
of harvest. In other words, the wave sheaf offering would only fall on
one of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

By derivation therefore, the weekly Sabbath of Lev 23:15 would always
fall within the date range 14th - 20th of the first month. The Sabbath
would always fall within the seven day 'passover' period (alluded to
in Deut 16:2-3 and Ezek 45:21).

'first day
of the week'
- Wave Sheaf


Email contact
Bible Study Index page
Other Topics