The Wave Sheaf Offering
The timing of the Wave Sheaf Offering is often cited in support of the Lunar Sabbath Calendar. The timing is important because the Counting of the Omer begins on this day and reckons the timing of Pentecost.
History of the Wave Sheaf Offering Debate
The interpretation of the phrase "the morrow after the sabbath" has been the subject of debate for thousands of years. The Talmud and the Mishnah, written by Pharisees, oppose the opinion of the "Boethusians" (Sadducees) who observed the Wave Sheaf Offering the day after the weekly Sabbath. The Pharisees instead reckoned the "sabbath" of Lev 23:11 to be the First Day of Unleavened Bread. This controversy is explained well by Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish author who converted to Christianity and is here defending the "Day after the 15th" method of reckoning:
The expression, 'the morrow after the Sabbath' (Lev 23:11), has sometimes been misunderstood as implying that the presentation of the so-called 'first sheaf' was to be always made on the day following the weekly Sabbath of the Passover-week. This view, adopted by the 'Boethusians' and the Sadducees in the time of Christ, and by the Karaite Jews and certain modern interpreters, rests on a misinterpretation of the word 'Sabbath' (Lev 23:24,32,39). As in analogous allusions to other feasts in the same chapter, it means not the weekly Sabbath, but the day of the festival. The testimony of Josephus (Antiq. iii. 10, 5, 6), or Philo (Op. ii. 294), and of Jewish tradition, leaves no room to doubt that in this instance we are to understand by the 'Sabbath' the 15th of Nisan, on whatever day of the week it might fall.
Today, mainstream Judaism continues to abide by the Talmudic interpretation of Lev 23:11, while Karaite Jews and Israelite Samaritans continue to interpret it as the day after the weekly Sabbath.
The Lunar Sabbath Wave Sheaf
When using the Lunar Sabbath Pentecost calendar to reckon the date of the Wave Sheaf Offering, there is no conflict between the interpretation of the Pharisees and the interpretation of the Sadducees. This is because the fifteenth of the month is always the seventh day of the week (a Sabbath), and so the day after the first Sabbath after Passover (the 16th) is also always the day after the First Day of Unleavened Bread (the 16th). See the Pentecost page for an example of how this is calculated.
- Jaubert, The Date of the Last Supper, pg23
- Hagiga 2,4
- Menahot 10,3
- Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, Ch 13