Chasing Pentecost 2020

Greetings to the watching community!

Pentecost is only a few weeks away and is a super high watch date, in my opinion!  The question is… When is Pentecost?  It seems like that should have an easy answer, but… as with all calendar questions… it’s a little more complicated than just saying “May 31, 2020”.

In my previous summary about Pentecost, I discussed how this feast, like the Feast of Trumpets, is one where we do not know its exact “day or hour” very far in advance.  This is because instead of God placing it on a certain date, it is based on a calculation.  The calculation is based on a few factors.  Fascinating, huh?  Its name as the “feast of weeks” stems from how it is to be calculated:  seven weeks after the waving of the Omer (Firstfruits sheaf of grain offering).

In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to “count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain” (Deuteronomy 16:9).

So, when is Pentecost 2020?

Well, first we have to determine the start of the Jewish year – Nisan 1.  In order to determine whether or not this will be a leap year, we need to examine the ripeness (or “abib” or “aviv”) of the barley.  I like to use Renewed Moon to check the barley reports:


Fortunately, this year, it seems very clear that no leap month (AdarII) needs to be added to the calendar.  The firstfruits of the barley were aviv (ripe).

Once the first day of the year is known, each Jewish sect has developed their own ways of calculating the feast of weeks.  Which sect is most accurate?  Which one does God go by?  We cannot know for sure, so I will calculate them all for you!

Pentecost 2020

Sadduccees:  May 31, 2020 (8 Sivan)

Pharisees:  May 29, 2020 (6 Sivan)

Essenes:   June 7, 2020 (15 Sivan)

Karaites:  May 31, 2020 (8 Sivan)

I personally believe the Karaites’ method is most likely to be the accurate one, as it is the only method that takes into account barley ripeness.  Thus, I will be high watching May 31, 2020 for Pentecost.

UPDATE MAY 29, 2020

There are a number of posts and YouTube videos floating around suggesting that we are to count 50 TWO or THREE times to arrive at “the true” Pentecost.  We can know that this is not true, from a plain reading of scripture.   Let’s review:

In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to “count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain” (Deuteronomy 16:9).

Notably, it is in this passage that we can show there are NOT two back-to-back day counts of 7 weeks as some have hypothesized from Leviticus 23:14-15:

You shall count seven weeks.  Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain.  Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you.  (Deuteronomy 16:9-10)

We shall count seven weeks, and this is how: begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain for the feast of Firstfruits.  Then, celebrate the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost).

Pentecost comes exactly 7 weeks after the first harvest of barley, which was waved as a Firstfruits offering to God during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

“You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:15)

How can we verify this?  The answer is found in Acts chapter 1 (bolding mine):

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,  until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me;  for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  …

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.  

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.” (Acts 1:1-5, 12-14, 2:1)

From scripture we know that:

    • Jesus was crucified on Passover, to fulfil this Feast literally – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29, 1:36, Revelation 13:8)
    • Jesus was buried and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
    • Jesus’ resurrection was literally on the feast of Firstfruits, to fulfil that feast (1 Corinthians 15:23)
    • Jesus ascended into heaven FORTY days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3)
    • During this forty day time period, He ordered the apostles not to depart from Jerusalem.  They were to WAIT for the promised Holy Spirit who would come *NOT MANY DAYS FROM NOW* (Acts 1:5)
    • As commanded, after Jesus’ ascension, the apostles returned to Jerusalem to the upper room where they were staying, and gathered.  And waited.  (Acts 1:12-14, 2:1)

Is ten days “not many days”?  What about ten plus another fifty?  Or ten plus another hundred?  My friends, it is plain that the apostles did not have to huddle together in the upper room for 60 or 110 days.  That would be too “many days”!  When the plain reading of scripture makes sense, do not look for any other sense… lest it might be nonsense (David L. Cooper).  Well, his golden rule of interpretation actually goes like this:

“When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at it’s primary, ordinary, usual meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”

Wise words.

Let’s carry on…  How did I get to these calculations?  Keep reading….

New Moon or First Sliver?

For all of you who have been following “high watch dates”, you are aware that there are calendar discrepancies.  Not only between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, but within the Hebrew calendar itself.  We have discussed the “missing years” in other posts, but for our purpose here – finding Pentecost – we need to look at establishing the correct months so we can start adding in our feasts.

As we learned from the Fall Feasts, the Hebrew calendar is heavily tied into the moon phases. The start of each month is determined by the new moon. It seems there is some uncertainty as to whether the start of the month was determined by the New Moon itself or by the First Sliver of Crescent Moon, and may have differed between Jewish sects. The viewing of the first sliver of crescent seems to be the most heavily referenced and documented. The teaching that the Hebrew months went by full moons instead of new moons seems to stem from Seventh Day Adventist teachings and is incorrect as far as I can determine.

What I have referenced in this post is the first sighting of crescent sliver as I believe this to be most accurate, but I will place dark new moon dates in brackets in case you are interested. The first sliver was determined by 2 witnesses visually sighting the first sliver of moon after the new moon by the unaided eye. I have estimated this at around 1% illumination, although some sources state it might be closer to 2.5%. Of course there are many factors other than illumination, including moonset and moonrise times, glare, humidity, fog, clouds, dust, etc that can affect first sighting.

(Reference data regarding new moon versus crescent sliver located at bottom of this post).

Chasing Pentecost

My goal this morning is to figure out the possible dates for Pentecost 2020 – what I personally believe is our highest watch day of the year. All dates listed here start at sunset Jerusalem time, which is the night before on the Gregorian calendar.


First, we need to find Nisan 1 and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover).

Nisan 1 – Sighting of The New Moon in Jerusalem:
March 25, 2020 (March 24 calculated 0.2% illumination; March 25 calculated 1.2% illumination) – Source (TimeandDate)

This result was confirmed visually on March 25, 2020 by Renewed Moon.

For these reasons I will base 1 Nisan as beginning the evening of March 25, 2020.  There is no secondary calculation required, as there is agreement by all sects this year that the leap month of AdarII is not needed.  Confirmation was made that Hebcal, Chabad, and AISH confirm Renewed Moon’s dates above.

Ok, so we have our head of the year (Rosh Chodesh) established.  Now let’s work to determine the dates of Passover and Pentecost!

“Unlike the other mo’edim given in the Torah, however, Shavuot has no explicit date but must be inferred from Leviticus 23:11 and 23:15: “And from the day on which you bring the omer offering – the day after the Sabbath – you shall count off seven weeks”. The key phrase is “the day after the Sabbath”. Does this phrase refer to Sunday or perhaps to the Sabbath of Passover?”


First we need to understand that the Jewish sects determine the date of Pentecost differently. So we’re going to calculate all of them here!


The Tzaddukim (Sadducees) believed that the word “Sabbath” was used in its regular sense, as the seventh day of the week, and therefore began the countdown on the first Sunday after Passover (Talmud: Menachot 65). Now since Shavuot occurs 7 weeks later to this day, this implies that it also fell on a Sunday. Moreover, since the day of the week for Passover varies over the year, the date of Shavuot would likewise vary.



[The Sadducees] agreed with the Essenes that Shavuot must be counted from a weekly Sabbath, but disagreed [with the Essenes] as to which one. The Sadducees believed the 50-day count must begin on the weekly Sabbath that falls out during the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. According to their reckoning, the counting towards Shavuot could begin anywhere from the 15th to the 21st day of the month, depending on what day of the week the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. If Unleavened Bread began on a Sunday, the count would begin on the 15th day of the month. If Unleavened Bread began on a Saturday, the count would begin on the 16th day of the month, and so on. Based on this counting, Shavuot could fall out from the 4th to the 12th of the Third Hebrew Month. Karaite Jews have accepted the Sadducee reckoning as the only one to be consistent with the plain meaning of the biblical text.


If we use the Sadducees method of calculating Pentecost:

March 25, 2020 – 1 Nisan [March 24 if New Moon used]

April 8, 2020 – 14 Nisan, Passover

April 12, 2020 – 18 Nisan, Firstfruits (Sunday)

May 31, 2020 – 8 Sivan, Pentecost [unchanged if New Moon used]


The Perushim (Pharisees), on the other hand, believed that “the day after the Shabbat” referred to not the weekly Sabbath but to the first day of Passover (which is a shabbaton or day of work restrictions), and therefore began counting the following day, that is, the day after Passover (which is also the second day of Unleavened Bread). This is supported in Joshua 5:11-12 when Israel first entered the land and ate of its firstfruits. Now since Passover always occurs on Nisan 15, this established a fixed date for Shavuot 49 days later on Sivan 6.

Historically, the Pharisee’s position prevailed in the Jewish tradition, and the modern Rabbinical calendar marks Shavuot on the fixed date of Sivan 6 (in May/June), exactly 49 days after the second day of Passover (Nisan 16). This accords with the testimony of first century historians Josephus and Philo, who both state that the “day after the Sabbath” meant the day after the holiday Sabbath.”


Note that Passover is Nisan 14 (not a No Work Day) and Unleavened Bread starts Nisan 15 (a No Work Day), so I disagree with Hebrew4Christians above.  The site Nehemiah’s Wall interprets Joshua 5:11 as supporting the Sadducees method of calculating the “morrow of the Passover”, as well.  However, the end result is the same in that, for the Pharisees, Pentecost / Shavuot always occurs on Sivan 6.

The Pharisees argued that Shavuot is to be counted from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which they designated a “Sabbath.” According to the Pharisees, “morrow of the Sabbath” means the “morrow of the 1st day of Unleavened Bread.” The ancient Pharisees and their modern day successor the Orthodox rabbis begin the 50-day count to Shavuot on the second day of Unleavened Bread, which is always the 16th day of the First Hebrew Month. As a result, the Pharisee Shavuot always fell out in ancient times from the 5th to the 7th day of the Third Hebrew Month (Sivan). After the destruction of the Temple, the Pharisees became the predominant surviving faction among the Jewish leadership and their interpretation is followed by most Jews until this very day. In 359 CE, the Pharisee leader Hillel II established a pre-calculated calendar and ever since the Pharisee Shavuot has always been observed on the 6th of Sivan.


If we use the Pharisees method of calculating Pentecost:

March 25, 2020 – 1 Nisan

April 9, 2020 – 15 Nisan, Passover

April 10, 2020 – 16 Nisan, Firstfruits

May 29, 2020 – 6 Sivan, Pentecost

**Since 359AD, the Pharisees have always observed 6 Sivan as Pentecost regardless of the day of the week it falls on.


The Essenes, who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, began the 50-day count to Shavuot on a different Sabbath from the Pharisees. In their reckoning, the Omer offering was to be brought on the morrow of the weekly Sabbath, in modern terms: “Sunday.” The Essenes began their count on the Sunday after the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As a result, they always began their count on the 26th day of the First Hebrew Month. The Essenes had a 364-day solar calendar, which began every year on a Wednesday and had fixed lengths for each month. Based on the Essene calendar, Shavuot always fell out on the 15th day of the Third Hebrew Month. The Essenes are presumed to have been wiped out when the Romans invaded Judea in 66-74 CE and only their documents survive today.


The main issue I see with using the Essenes method, is that it places Firstfruits after the 7 day feast of Unleavened Bread has concluded.  Why is that a problem?  Well… remember that Jesus died on Passover… was buried to fulfil Unleavened Bread… and rose again ON THE THIRD DAY to fulfil Firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  If Firstfruits comes AFTER Unleavened Bread, this would place Jesus in the grave for over a week!

If we use the Essenes method of calculating Pentecost:

March 25, 2020 – 1 Nisan

April 8, 2020 – 14 Nisan, Passover

April 9 – 15, 2020 – 15-21 Nisan, Unleavened Bread

April 19, 2020 – 25 Nisan, Firstfruits (first Sunday AFTER Unleavened Bread)

June 7, 2020 – 15 Sivan, Pentecost


The Karaites rejected both these methods but instead relied upon the sighting of the new moon (Rosh Chodesh) and the appearance of the first sheaves of barley to determine the month of Aviv and the festival of Firstfruits, respectively. After these observations, the wave offering of the firstfruits would then be presented at the temple on the day after the weekly Sabbath, and only then would the 49 day countdown to Shavuot begin. Therefore, since the appearance of the first barley sheaves is not constant, the date of Shavuot could not be foreknown with any certainty.



Karaite Jews have accepted the Sadducee reckoning as the only one to be consistent with the plain meaning of the biblical text.


The Karaites agreed with the Sadducees that the Sabbath in question for the Feast of Weeks was the weekly Sabbath that fell within the feast of Unleavened Bread.  The Karaites took into account the barley ripeness to determine if it was to be a leap year or not.  This year (2020) it was clear the barley was aviv (ripe) in March and thus it is not a leap year.  This makes our calculation a little easier.

March 25, 2020 – 1 Nisan

April 8, 2020 – 14 Nisan, Passover

April 12, 2020 – 18 Nisan, Firstfruits (Sunday)

May 31, 2020 – 8 Sivan, Pentecost




Moon Phase references:

From Chabad (Orthodox Jewish website):

The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles. Towards the beginning of the moon’s cycle, it appears as a thin crescent. That is the signal for a new Jewish month. The moon grows until it is full, the middle of the month, and then it begins to wane until it cannot be seen. It remains invisible for approximately two day—and then the thin crescent reappears, and the cycle begins again.

“The L‑rd spoke to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, ‘This chodesh shall be to you the head of months.’” (Exodus 12:1–2)

From the wording of this verse, “shall be to you,” the sages deduced that the responsibility of pinpointing and consecrating the chodesh, the crescent new moon, was entrusted to the leaders of our nation, the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical supreme court of every generation.

Originally, there was no fixed calendar. There was no way to determine in advance the exact day of a coming holiday or bar mitzvah, because there was no way to determine in advance when the month would begin. Each month anew, the Sanhedrin would determine whether the month would be 29 or 30 days long—depending on when the following month’s new moon was first sighted—and would sanctify the new month.

In the 4th century CE, the sage Hillel II foresaw the disbandment of the Sanhedrin, and understood that we would no longer be able to follow a Sanhedrin-based calendar. So Hillel and his rabbinical court established the perpetual calendar which is followed today.

When Hillel established the perpetual calendar, he sanctified every Rosh Chodesh until Moshiach will come and reestablish the Sanhedrin.


From other Jewish resources:

[T]he new moon began when the thin crescent of the new moon was first visible at sunset. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol 1, p. 266)

[T]he ancient Jewish calendar depended not on mathematical calculations and arrangements, but was set from month to month according to the physical appearance of the new moon. Witnesses who had seen the first sign of the crescent on the horizon after sunset were expected to report the fact to the authorities, who thereupon published throughout the country the fact that the new month had begun. (The Pharisees, by Louis Finkelstein, p. 601, Jewish Publication Society, 1938, Philadelphia., based on talmudic literature)

Until Hillel II instituted a permanent calendar based on calculations (ca. 360), the fixing of the new moon was determined by observation and the evidence of witnesses. During the earlier period, the practice of adding a second day to festivals … was introduced for communities lying at a distance from Palestine, because it was doubtful on precisely which of the two days the new moon occurred.” (Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion, p. 78; Massada-P.E.C. Press Ltd, 1965., based on talmudic tradition)

In old Israel the new moon—the day after the crescent was first sighted in the sky—was celebrated by sacrifices and feasting…” (Judaism, by George Foot Moore, professor of the history of religion, Harvard, vol 2, p. 22, based on talmudic literature)

[T]he ancient Jewish calendar depended not on mathematical calculations and arrangements, but was set from month to month according the physical appearance of the new moon. Witnesses who had seen the first sign of the crescent on the horizon after sunset were expected to report the fact to the authorities, who there upon published throughout the country the fact that a new month had begun. The year consisted of 12 months whose limits were determined by these observations. But, since the lunar year consists of only 354 days, eleven less than the solar year, it was necessary from time to time to “intercalate” a thirteenth month before the Passover, to prevent its being moved back into the winter. This intercalary month was a “second Adar” and was added whenever a consideration of the sun’s position in the heavens, the state of the crops, or the newborn lambs, made it appear necessary.” (The Pharisees, pp. 601–602, by Louis Finkelstein, professor of theology at Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Jewish Publication Society of America, 1938., based on talmudic literature)

“The phases of the moon could easily be recognized by everybody. The new moon indicated the beginning of the month.… Though the ‘new moon’ could be observed by every individual, to prevent any mistake or doubt the duty of fixing the new month was assigned to a rabbinical council in Jerusalem. Their decision was subject to the testimony of two reliable witnesses. As soon as their reports have been received and checked by astronomical calculation, an official message was sent out by chains of fire signals” (The Judaic Heritage, by Rabbi Dr. R. Brasch, pp. 22, 24, based on talmudic literature)

“The sighting of the lunar crescent within one day of New Moon is usually difficult. The crescent at this time is quite thin, has a low surface brightness, and can easily be lost in the twilight. Generally, the lunar crescent will become visible to suitably-located, experienced observers with good sky conditions about one day after New Moon. However, the time that the crescent actually becomes visible varies quite a bit from one month to another. Naked-eye sightings as early as 15.5 hours after New Moon have been reliably reported while observers with telescopes have made reliable reports as early as 12.1 hours after New Moon. Because these observations are exceptional, crescent sightings this early in the lunar month should not be expected as the norm.” (Source:

Further Resources:

Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt?  Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape?  If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.

Moon Phase / Calendar Resources:

Jewish Calculation Reckoning Resources:

Calculating FirstFruits and Shavuot (Teshuva Ministries)

The Truth About Shavuot (NehemiahsWall)


Everything You Need to Know About Pentecost, the Feast that Ties It All Together For The Church

Shavuot – Revelation and the Fruit of the Spirit (Hebrew4Christians)

The Rapture of the Church – Our Blessed Hope

Main Menu

The Bible is infallible.  I am not.  I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture.  I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly.  I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!

2 thoughts on “Chasing Pentecost 2020

  1. This is well done and wonderful information. I’m waiting and watching – especially now in 2020. Isn’t it
    amazing to see us now in “perilous times.” But everything is adding up to the soon return of our LORD with
    the book of truth open to us for a better understanding of Matthew 24 – Rev 6 & 7 – Daniel 11 (plus many more verses).
    Thanks for writing and allowing me to post.


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