There is a lot of controversy regarding the determination of the beginning of the biblical year...but there is a simple solution to the problem that would bring harmony and uniformity to this important subject. Obviously, everyone can't be more than a single focal point for an astronomical event, i.e. when a year begins, therefore, Who makes that determination?
Where does scripture say it is okay to begin Abib in winter, or that it is okay to have two Abib 1sts in one year and none in the next? Where does scripture say that Abib is the beginning of the year? That will be examined thoroughly! Can New Moons and the barley harvest be determined locally? If New Moons are determined locally, why isn't the barley also? If Jerusalem is the source of the barley, is it also the source of the New Moon? If not, why not? Where does it say the Law can go forth from where ever anyone wants?
If the biblical method isn't the standard there are a number of problems, which arise when local determinations are used. Can you find barley in the Fall? Not likely, so what about the Brazilians, Australians or others which have their seasons reversed? They'd probably never see barley at the right time! Those in colder climates wouldn't see barley at all! Are there actual New Moon crescents in the Polar Regions? Certainly no barley! What if there is premature barley growth in warmer climates closer to the equator, resulting in 'green ears' as early as the later part of February? How could you start Abib that early? Would it be in harmony with the rest of the world? What if it isn't? Should there be two, three, or more sets of Holy Days? If Abib is before the end of the year for some, and after the beginning of the year for others, or new moons are seen as much as two days apart, which Passover or holy days will be correct, Messiah's, or someone else's?
The method that Messiah will be using the ancient method of establishing ... year - new moon - Passover ... in that order. However, using the Hillel method, the method presently used by most, periodically throws the holy days out of phase by a month. All CONFUSION is eliminated when YAHWEH'S simple instructions are followed ... Year (shaneh) - Month (kodesh) - Day (yom), i.e. Spring Equinox, New Moon of Abib, 14th of Abib. Simple as A-B-C!
This is Why!
What will YahwehShua say when He sets everything from His throne in Jerusalem? The truth is, when YahwehShua rules from Jerusalem, it won't matter what anyone does or doesn't see. Both new moon and green ears will be determined from Jerusalem, as it should be, because the Law & The Word proceed from Jerusalem (Isa 2:3; Micah 4:2).
However, those who are not using Jerusalem as the focal point will have to correct their errors, otherwise, they will not be observing the same set of Holy Days as Messiah. Determining Abib as a function of Passover is not biblical. Equinox - Passover - Abib... is not the correct order. That is, using the Vernal Equinox to determine the ending/beginning of the year, then determining Passover to be after the new year begins, then setting Abib in relation to that (as the last month in the old year before the vernal equinox, and in winter), rather than the first month of the year and in the spring, meaning after the vernal equinox, is clearly in error.
It would seem that observing Abib before the year begins will also cause problems for people coming to worship Him at His appointed times. Considering the punishment of such stubbornness, I don't think it will be repeated too often, do you? So, how were the 'green ears' in your neck of the woods? Many see the immediate problems of local 'green ears', thus using Jerusalem as the focal point for the 'green ears', but not the New Moon. Why not? Which New Moon is the right one?
First, let's ask the question... Why does Passover have to come after the vernal equinox? Isn't it because there can't be two Passovers in the same year? Of course it is! There is no clearer proof that the Vernal Equinox is the beginning and ending of the year! You can't have the first month of the year before the year has even started!
A Crucial Point
The year is an astronomical event determined by the sun! It is the point at which the revolution of the earth around the sun comes to, to complete it's cycle. The sun determines the year! And that returning point is the Vernal Equinox.
Determining Passover after the beginning of the New Year, i.e. after the Vernal Equinox, then setting Abib 1st before the Vernal Equinox would be allowing Passover to be in the New Year, but setting Abib 1st before the year ends, i.e. before the circuit of the sun is complete at the vernal equinox. This is still in the winter of the previous year, which isn't ABIB. That is the reason for intercallary years, i.e. the addition of an extra month, so that the first new moon after the year (shaneh) begins, i.e. after the Vernal Equinox, is ABIB, thus ABIB is OF THE YEAR and the beginning of months...not the beginning of the year.
The Gregorian calendar is part of the problem here. Is Julius Caesar (who accepted January 1st as the beginning of the civil year), or Hillel III (who changed Abib calculation), or Pope Gregory (who set January 1st as the beginning of the year...and Easter according to Hillel's unscriptural changes)... the arbiters of time? Starting the year on the first day of the first month is an inheritance from pagan Rome (both civil and ecclesiastical) influenced by Hillel's Talmudic changes to ancient biblical practices. These changes made Abib 1st completely dependent on Passover, rather than having Passover dependent on Abib.
For example, if the spring equinox is to fall on March 20th, then Abib can't be any earlier than March 7th. Why? Isn't it because Passover is first calculated and must be in a New Year? Absolutely! If, then, the Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of the "shaneh" (i.e. year), why is Passover calculated first (in relation to the new year) to determine which month is Abib? That is just wrong!
It shouldn't be hard to understand that the great light that determines years is the sun, because years are made of days, and the sun obviously is involved. Nowhere does scripture mark the beginning of the year with the moon. The year is from spring to spring, from vernal equinox to vernal equinox. There can only be one Abib 1st and one Passover per year, so the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox is the New Moon of Abib. Remember, the law shall go forth from Jerusalem, so the (law of the) new moons as well as the barley harvest, shall also be set from that location, and will be when Messiah returns.
YAHWEH'S SACRED CALENDAR
YAHWEH plainly says that we are to us both the sun and the moon for determining the days, feasts and years. Those who truly love Yahweh will not blatantly disregard YAHWEH'S Holy Word!
Gen 1:14 And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
These "lights", ma'owr, correspond to the sun, the moon, and the stars (constellations). The question is, how are they used?
An in-depth examination of the above highlighted words will help make the meanings clear.
SIGNS indicate a signal or beacon. From Strong's #226. 'owth, oth; prob. from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (lit. or fig. ), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc. :--mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.
SEASONS indicate a returning point or gathering point. From #4150. mow'ed, mo-ade'; Mo'ed mo-ade'; or (fem. ) mow'adah (H2 Chron. 8 : 13), mo-aw-daw'; from H3259; prop. an appointment, i. e. a fixed time or season; spec. a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand):--appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).
DAYS 3117. yowm, yome; from an unused root mean. to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether lit. (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or fig. (a space of time defined by an associated term), [often used adv. ]:--age, + always, + chronicles, continually (-ance), daily, ([birth-], each, to) day, (now a, two) days (agone), + elder, X end, + evening, + (for) ever (-lasting, -more), X full, life, as (so) long as (. . . live), (even) now, + old, + outlived, + perpetually, presently, + remaineth, X required, season, X since, space, then, (process of) time, + as at other times, + in trouble, weather, (as) when, (a, the, within a) while (that), X whole (+ age), (full) year (-ly), + younger.
YEARS 8141. shaneh, (in plur. only), shaw-neh'; or (fem. ) shanah, shaw-naw'; from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time):-- + whole age, X long, + old, year (X -ly). Year: 365¼ days = 365 days (8760 hours) +5 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds.
While there are a wide range of meanings for the words individually, when used together in certain ways the choices become more focused. In the case of Genesis 1:14, it is clear that the sun AND the moon AND the stars or constellations are working in harmony for the establishing of the yearly cycle as well as the various seasons and the annual Holy Days, or "appointed times. " That certainly includes determining "shaneh", years, as well as "mo'ed", appointed time, which is also a time of assemblage or gathering.
What Determines When A New Year Begins?
We must remember that there are three things to observe:
a. The Sun
b. The Moon
c. The Barley
"As Yahweh set His calendar to begin in the spring (Ex.12:1-2) the vernal equinox is regarded as the beginning of the year. The days then begin to grow longer, the earth stirs to new life and the new year begins. " [Biblical vs Jewish Calendar p. 8, YNCA, 1994]
Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
We should stop and look at Exodus 12:2 because while it says [Abib] is the "beginning of months", it doesn't say it is the beginning of the year, but only that it is "the first month OF THE YEAR".
"Of" generally denotes "belonging to" rather than any sense of initiation. This is easily seen is phrases such as "face of the deep"... "the spirit of Elohim"... "the face of the waters"..."firmament of the heaven"...etc. where the subject is connected to the object of the preposition. So this should be understood in the sense that the month of the year belongs to the year. Since months are lunar observances, and years are solar observances, it is easily seen that lunar months do not determine solar years. What, then, is a year? Did the Hebrews know what a year was? Of course!
There is a beginning and ending of the year, as we see in Deu
It should be seen that-
>there is a definite beginning of Shaneh (year)
>there is a definite ending of Shaneh
>Abib is not mentioned as the beginning of Shaneh
>there is nothing to connect chodesh [months] to this determination of shaneh
The fact that Abib is not even mentioned in connection with the beginning and ending of the year is highly significant. Had Abib 1st actually been the beginning of the year, I.E. Shaneh, all ambiguity would be easily erased. Therefore, Shaneh is not determined by kodesh.
What is seen, however, is that while Abib is the beginning (roshe) of months (kodesh), it is not the beginning of the year (shaneh).
Ezekial also indicates that the marking point of the yearly cycle placing the
first month after the beginning of the year.
Clearly, the beginning of the year identifies the time period of the first month, thus the first month could not be at the ending of the year, i.e. before the vernal equinox.
Historical Evaluation of Ancient Calendars
A. From ancient Babylon and Summarian times, the Vernal Equinox marked the beginning of the year. The early Hebrews also borrowed this system.
VERNAL EQUINOX: When the Sun enters the northern hemisphere, about† March 21 (March 19-22) and when there is approximately equal amounts of day and night (cf. Jn. 11:9).
From an astrological viewpoint, this time is when the sun is in the constellation Aries.
>ARIES: An astronomical division of time corresponding to about March
20/21 to April 19/20
>The first sign of the Zodiac (i.e. the first on or after the vernal Equinox)
While the Hebrews didn't possess a highly developed astronomical calendar of their own, they were familiar with the calendars of those around them, making them knowledgeable of certain astronomical regularities, such as the equinox and solstice.
Although it is obvious from numerous OT passages that the ancient Hebrews possessed at least a roughly calculated calendar (or calendars), they have nowhere given us a complete account of their system.
It was the highly developed astronomical and calendrical science of the Babylonians which opened the way for a more accurate and refined calendar among the Hebrews.
1. The lunar-solar calendar. In all likelihood the early Israelites followed a Canaanite calendar. . . . Calendars combining both solar and lunar reckoning were, however, widely used throughout the Near East even in very ancient times, and the Hebrews probably always had a lunar-solar calendar. . . . The Babylonians gave Semitic names to the months, but in most other respects this calendar was substantially the Summarian calendar of Nippur as observed in the third dynasty of Ur (ca. 2180-1960BCE). This calendar reckoned the year from one vernal equinox to the next, while counting months from new moon to new moon, with an added month when this was needed to make up the discrepancy.
2. The year. It is fairly certain that in historical times the Israelites determined their year, not by the fluctuating agricultural and pastoral cycles, even though these natural phenomena must have influenced them deeply, but by observing the annual circuit of the stars and the sun. . . . We do know that the new year began at one of the equinoxes, at the dividing point between winter and summer or between summer and winter. The Babylonians chose the vernal equinox as the beginning of their year, since spring is the time of new growth. The Hebrews, however, appear to have observed at different periods two new-year dated, one at the spring and another at the autumn equinox.
It is striking that wherever the Hebrew months are mentioned by number - and this is the predominant method used in the OT - they are always counted from the first month in the spring.
It was the observation of the Vernal Equinox, the demarcation between winter and spring, which determined the beginning of the New Year; thus, the next new moon was the beginning month of Abib, thus always occurring in the spring. If the 12th month of the year (Adar) fell early enough to allow another new moon to occur before the Vernal Equinox, it necessitated adding a 13th month and waiting until the vernal equinox was observed as the beginning of spring and the new year. This addition of an intercallary month always kept the 1st month of the year on or after the Vernal Equinox!
How was it determined? By OBSERVATION!! Since inaccuracies of calendars cause the Vernal Equinox varies as much as four days, it was impossible to establish the new moon of Abib prior to the Equinox because of the possibility of misjudging the Equinox and having Passover before it.
When there are deviations from this method of reckoning the beginning of Abib there arises confusion and conflict.
Eusebius wrote of the mathematician Anatolius of Alexander's condemnation of the changed Jewish calendar:
"Hence, also, those that place the first month (Abib) in (Pisces) [ie. BEFORE THE VERNAL EQUINOX] and that fix the fourteenth of the month by it, commit, as we think, no little and no common blunder. But neither is this our opinion only, but it was also known to the Jews anciently, and before [Messiah], and was chiefly observed by them, as we may learn from Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus; and not only from these, but also from those still more ancient, i. e. the two Agathobuli, commonly called the master, and of Aristobulus, that most distinguished scholar, who was one of the seventy that translated the holy scriptures from the Hebrew. These. . . say that all ought to sacrifice the Passover alike after the vernal equinox, in the middle of the first month." Ecclesiastical History Popular Edition. p. 313
It wasn't just whether Passover should fall after the vernal equinox, but whether the New Moon of Abib came before or after the vernal equinox! Anatolius said that at the time of Messiah and before, THE NEW MOON OF ABIB was never allowed to occur BEFORE the vernal equinox! Once deviating from this biblical directive it then became possible to observe Passover before the vernal equinox, unless other rules were created.
Regarding the use of a calendar during this Biblical period, the Jewish Encyclopedia says, ". . . rested purely on the observation of the sun and moon...." Note that in determining calendrical partitioning BOTH sun and moon are observed!
This is also confirmed by The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (vol I, p. 541) speaking of the original or "pre-exilic" method of determining their calendar, ". . . rested on observation merely. . . . In the first period the priests determined the beginning of each month by the appearance of the new moon and the recurrence of the prescribed Feasts FROM THE VERNAL AND AUTUMNAL EQUINOXES. "
While the Jewish civil year may have had to do with the autumnal equinox, it was the biblical Sacred Year, which was determined from the vernal or spring equinox! Think about it! Would Yahweh have the second month being the first new moon after the beginning of a new year?
"With regard to the year, the Jewish historian Josephus stated that Israel had two New Years—the commercial New Year, which began in the fall (seventh month), and the religious New Year, which began in the spring (first month)" [Biblical vs Jewish Calendar, p. 22]
Note that the "religious" New Year begins in the spring. . . not winter! The first month necessarily begins AFTER the YEAR BEGINS. i.e. the vernal equinox which marks the beginning of spring. This does not say that the first month of Abib begins the new year, but rather the "religious New Year", i.e. the new moon of Abib! Nowhere does Yahweh say that Abib is the beginning of the year! Abib is the beginning of MONTHS which occurs in the spring (i.e. after the vernal equinox) of the new year!
How could it be possible to set the New Moon of Abib back in the previous year, and in winter, and then be concerned about whether Passover should do the same?
The answer is simple. Yahweh said to OBSERVE! When man attempts to calculate he has changed Yahweh's rules, then becomes confused. Usurping Yahweh's authority and headship in this way is sin.
The simple observation of the vernal equinox which is the beginning of the new year tells us that the next new moon is the head, the beginning, the first new moon of Yahweh's sacred calendar. If calculation could not be achieved with absolute accuracy, then observance was the only guarantee!
Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of a sundial can easily determine the vernal equinox because it is easily observable. Calculating the event in advance, however, does take considerably more mathematical skills. When the vernal equinox is observed, the next new moon begins Abib.
The carnal mind may fight against this simple understanding. There are many "what if's" that may cloud a person's judgement. Like, "what if the new moon falls an hour after the calculated equinox? How can you know?"
The sincere seeker of truth will follow Yahweh's directives. First, the equinox is observed, then the new moon is observed. We must remember that today it is possible to calculate with exact precision both the vernal equinox and the "new moon". But the calculated new moon is about a day in advance of the visible new moon. New moon observers have no problem with disregarding the scientifically calculated new moon in favor of the visible sighted new moon. Why can't the same procedure be used for the vernal equinox? Or is it that human reasoning is interfering with Yahweh's scriptural directives?
In the YNCA publication, Biblical vs Jewish Calendar, it is observed that it was during the era of the Bar-Kochba rebellion, circa 132-135 C. E. , that "The proper calendar dates for the annual Feasts were in question. It was at this time that the Jewish calendar underwent a change".
This "change" was the abandonment of Yahweh's command to use the lights for determining years, thus the observed vernal equinox in relation to determining Yahweh's scriptural first month, permitting the new moon of Abib to occur during the winter of the previous year! So you have two new moons of Abib occurring within the same solar year. . . and NO new moon of Abib in the following year!!
"The ancient Jews could only have celebrated the season AFTER the equinox." (YNCA) Why? because they were correctly OBSERVING the vernal equinox to determine the beginning of the year, and maintaining the proper monthly order of a single Abib 1st per solar year!
It is recognized that the calendar followed during the time of Yah'shua Messiah was regulated by the priestly linage, the Sadducees, who scrupulously adhered to the AFTER VERNAL EQUINOX reckoning of Abib. (For proof please refer to When is the New Moon of Abib & the Real Passover? page 14)
THE HEAVENS DECLARE. . .
The scriptures themselves point to the combination of the heavenly bodies for the establishment of the appointed times, as we have previously seen in Genesis 1:14.
We see also in the 19th Psalm that there is more to determine the proper observation of time than just the new moon.
Psa 19:1-6 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of Elohim; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The question of exactly what the connection is between the times and the seasons may well be understood in the term for line, which connotes connection, and certainly would include more than a simple sunrise/sunset repetition, particularly in the light that is Their line, the line of the heavens and firmament, not just the line of the sun.
While the daily rotation of the earth provided the smaller connecting circuit, the returning of the sun each year to the same point at the vernal equinox was the greater connecting circuit. From the earliest times there was an understanding of the geometry of the earth, and that the sun in its transit across the equatorial line created the equinoxes'. This astronomical event precludes any artificial man-made directives.
This prevented YAHWEH'S Times from receding through the seasons. They foretold of the coming of the One Who was to crush the serpent and restore righteousness. That an elaborate method of recounting this theme of Salvation may be surmised in the naming of the stars and constellations. Once, however, this theme was set down in writing about 1500 BCE by Moses, there was no longer the need to continue the verbal traditional teaching as handed down for more than 2500 years! The special observance of Annual Sabbaths became a codified ritual apart from the knowledge they originally imparted.
Is observing the new moon of Abib in relation to the vernal equinox a mistake?
First of all, the vernal equinox does not determine Passover! A fundamental problem that arises concerning the determination ofPassover is that the Sun determines the length of a year (completing its circuit [at the vernal equinox]), and has nothing to do with any direct determination of Passover.
The "tkufah", or a revolution, a course, a circuit" shows that there is a definite beginning and ending point for determining the measurement of a year in relation to the sun. (Psalm 19:6) Therefore, there must be a single astronomical event that marks this event, and can be readily observed. We also know that this event has a connection to the month of 'Green Ears', i.e. Abib, which occurs in the spring. Therefore, the completing of the sun's cycle in the spring does have a direct effect on determining the first month, Abib. This astronomical event is what we call the "vernal equinox". Understand that it is not the 'definition' of 'vernal equinox', or spring equality, that determines anything, but the observance of the completion of the sun's circuit that marks the beginning and ending of the year.
To insist that the vernal equinox determines Passover, rather than the new moon of Abib, creates total confusion! Confusion is also created when insisting that the new moon nearest the vernal equinox is the only criterion for establishing the beginning month.
The mistake of the early Passover is easily seen when "the new moon ‘closest to the vernal equinox’ is evident. A prime example is 1981 where the vernal equinox is reported to be at 12:03 p.m. E.S.T. on March 20, according to the Farmer’s Almanac." This would place the Passover on March 29th.
Let us ask the question...If Abib [i.e. the moon - not the sun] determines the 'beginning' of the year, how do we know? What is the FOCAL POINT for making that determination ('green ears' not withstanding)? Let me see if we understand this correctly....
First, we must determine THE EQUINOX, then "Abib" and the date of Passover to see whether "Passover" might fall before or after THE EQUINOX! This shows us which new moon is closer to THE EQUINOX. If Passover falls after THE EQUINOX then the new moon of Abib must be the new moon closest to THE EQUINOX, but if Passover would occur on or before THE EQUINOX then it would be too early and the new moon after THE EQUINOX would then become the new moon of Abib. So we first discover Passover in relation to THE EQUINOX, then set Abib by it.
Or the shorter version
First we must determine THE EQUINOX and calculate which new moon is closest to THE EQUINOX (without placing Passover before THE EQUINOX), and the one closest to THE EQUINOX allowing the Passover to be after THE EQUINOX will be the new moon of Abib.
The confusion is easily swept away when we understand:
What heavenly light is used in determining a year? – The Sun. Used for signs, including astronomical events, the division of seasons, that incorporate a full year.
What is the astronomical event determining the beginning and ending of the year? – The Vernal Equinox
What heavenly light is used in determining a month? – The Moon.
What is the astronomical event determining the beginning of the month? – The first visible (Jerusalem) sighting of a new crescent. - It ought to be apparent that ‘lights’ refer to luminations. Therefore, a visible lunar sighting is what is seen for the establishing of a new moon.
There can never be any question or confusion regarding an early Passover if the first new moon after the vernal equinox is the new moon of Abib! Moreover, there is also no question whether there will be grains of barley for the wave sheaf offering by always keeping Abib 1st after the vernal equinox because this always places the barley season in its proper place. [see "Barley" below]
Again, let us note that even anciently that those who observed Abib 1st before the vernal equinox were in error.
"Hence, also, those that place the first month [Abib] in [Aries**: the zodiacal sign before the equinox-now Pieces] and that fix the fourteenth of the month by it, commit, as we think, no little and no common blunder. But neither is this our opinion only, but it was also known to the Jews anciently, and before Messiah, and was chiefly observed by them, as we may learn from Philo, Josephus, and Musaceus; and not only from these, but from those still ancient, i.e. the two Agathobulus, that most distinguished scholar, who was one of the seventy that translated the holy scriptures from the Hebrew."(**note: at the time this was written Aries was in the time slot that Pisces holds today, Feb 20 to Mar 20, the displacement which now places Aries after the equinox is due to the astronomical phenomenon called ‘The Procession of the Equinoxes’).
That the learned men of old understood that Abib 1st always fell AFTER the vernal equinox is crystal clear. The debate of when Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were properly kept hinged on this single event.
"’Peter, the Bishop of Alexandria, mentions that the Jews had kept the
Passover properly up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. But after the
destruction of the city they ‘err in reckoning the beginning of the month,
which is first amongst the months of the year, on the fourteenth day of
which, being accurately observed, AFTER the equinox, the ancients celebrated the
Passover according to the Divine Command: whereas the men of the present day now
celebrate it BEFORE the equinox, and that altogether through negligence and
error, being ignorant how they celebrate it in their season…"
Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VI, p. 280.
This required the visible new moon to at least coincide with the equinox! But more importantly, it clearly shows the error was in setting Abib 1st BEFORE the vernal equinox, not in determining Passover. How could this occur?
Those who fail to recognize the scriptural importance placed on new moon observance, which was on a par with Sabbath and Feast Day observance, would also fail to see the significance of keeping Abib 1st in it’s proper yearly position as head of months, and always in the spring - never in the winter which ends at the equinox. Once confusion sets in, it is easy to believe that the first month of spring, i.e. Abib, could actually begin in the winter of the previous year, i.e. before the vernal equinox! This, of course, causes a two-fold dilemma: in one year (vernal equinox to vernal equinox) there may be TWO Abib 1st’s, followed by a year where there is NO Abib 1st!
This is a case of the tail wagging the dog! If determining Passover in relation to the equinox (i.e. either before or after) sets Passover, then Abib 1st is determined by the setting of Passover, i.e. would Passover occur before or after the Vernal Equinox, and not the other way around! Let’s look a bit closer. If we calculate that Passover might be one minute before the equinox, we say ‘no, the new moon that has already occurred is not the new moon of Abib’. If we calculate Passover to be one minute after the equinox, we say ‘yes, the new moon of Abib was indeed two weeks earlier’. So you see, Abib 1st is not directly determined to be in relation to the equinox, but rather Abib 1st is totally dependent on determining Passover, which is in violation of Yahweh’s command to first determine Abib 1st, then Passover. The same holds true for determining which Passover date is closest to the equinox. If one is 1 minute close than the other then Abib 1st is chosen in relation to Passover!
There seems to be a touch of hypocrisy in ignoring the basic issue of whether Abib 1st fell before or after the equinox, while stressing the importance of keeping Passover after it. If the vernal equinox is not important then it shouldn’t make any difference when Abib 1st occurs as long as ‘green ears’ are evident. This doesn't even take into consideration severe drought conditions that could delay the barley harvest far beyond it's intended window, or perhaps destroying it altogether. What happens if there is no barley?
Therefore, the inclusion of the equinox as a valid reference point in determining either a before or after Passover is evidence of it’s critical importance! The hypocrisy is blatant in that those who reject the scriptural evidence of Abib 1st always occurring after the equinox and condemning those who follow this well established truth while also using the same equinox for critical verification in determining Passover! Shifting the debate from Abib 1st to Passover completely confuses the issue! However, once the shift was made, the rules changed, becoming complicated and confusing, and this is the mire that opponents of Yahweh’s truth wallow in.
The plain and simple truth of the scriptures is that once the year begins, being determined by the vernal equinox, the next visible new moon is Abib 1st, and the 14th day is Passover.
The Problem of Intercalation
The calculation of months was from the newly observed crescent moon to the next newly observed crescent moon, a varying period of about 29 to 31 days, with the calculated new moon occurring about ever 29¼days. This evidently creates about an 11 day shortage per year, or approximately 33 days every three years. This meant the insertion of an additional 13th month periodically to prevent the fixed feasts from rotating around the calendar.
f. Intercalation. As has been mentioned above, a cycle of twelve lunar months (354¼ days) falls short of the solar year (365¼ days). It is obvious, therefore, that in any lunar-solar calendar there has to be a system of intercalation by which the shortage of more than eleven days can be adjusted. The Babylonians inserted an extra month every two or three years, whenever observation showed it to be needed, and this also became the method used by the Hebrews. . . . Because the spring Passover-Mazzoth festival, beginning the cycle of agricultural feasts, needed to be kept at a set time in the year, it can be understood why the intercalary month came to be inserted after Adar, the last month before the beginning of spring. . . . WeAdar ("and Adar"). Rabbinic custom set this to be 7 out of every 19 years.
It was necessary to peg the beginning of months to a solar event to keep the months in their correct time. Without doing so, there would be no way to determine when the new year began, causing a regression of months through the seasons.
We should also ask from what vantage point should the New Mood be observed?
What if a person lives in an area where the new moon can't be seen? Should there be confusion with some observing one day, and others another? This would mean different Passovers and different High Days for the Days of Unleavened Bread in many localities, plus, It could also mean different fall Holy Days as well. Should there be confusion over this? Of course not... "For Elohim is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all assemblies of the saints." [1 Cor 14:33]
The solution is simple: Where does YAHWEH SAY His Law shall be administered
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YAHWEH, and to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of YAHWEH from Jerusalem. [Mic 4:2]
If we correctly observe scriptures, we will understand that the laws pertaining to the Holy Days, and hence the New Moon observances, are set from Jerusalem, not from our heart, or where ever someone happens to be. Yahweh has chosen Jerusalem! [1Kings 11:36; 2Kings 21:7; 2Chron 6:6; Zech 3:2] And even though He has temporarily turned His back on His people, thus fulfilling 2Kings 23:27, make no mistake...when YahwehShua returns, He returns to... and rules the earth from Jerusalem! This clearly shows that everyone is expected to be observing the same New Moons, and the same Holy Days that YahwehShua is observing! If it will be wrong to set the law from every locality after He returns, it is wrong to do so before He returns. Observing YAHWEH'S laws correctly means not being wrong when He returns! Today, it seems that every person is right in his own eyes...or his own locality!
Obedience to Yahweh's command to observe the lights, including the sun, not just the new moon's, provides the solution to the problem, thus creating peace.
WHERE DID JANUARY 1st COME FROM? Did you know that England and the United States continued using the Julian Calendar well into the 20th century? Or that the New Year did not begin with January 1st on this calendar? Incredible? Absolutely!! We have Rome to thank...! Take a look...Click Here!
Next - The Barley Harvest...
Barley (Harvest) Season:
While one may make an argument for the 'green ears' of barley, a careful study of the Palistinian barley growing cycle and what is necessary for the wavesheaf offering reveals that the barley harvest always began after April 4th and as late as early May! Except, of course, in years of drought when there may be no barley to harvest. But I imagine that would make it rather difficult to find 'green ears' to begin Abib, wouldn't it? No 'green ears', no Abib? The opposite problem may also occur. That would be an unusually warm winter and unseasonably early rains that might cause 'green ears' to occur in late February or early March. How would one determine 'green ears' in February?
In determining the month of Abib we must understand a few things about the ancient agricultural practices pertaining to Barley. When was barley planted and harvested, and were the ancient Israelites harvesting barley in early to mid-March?
The Semitic name was derived from the word for "hair," probably because of the long awns which project from the seeds to form the characteristic beardlike heads.
Barley ripened earlier than wheat. (Exod 9:31)
The barley harvest began as early as late April (especially in the lowlands; Josh. 3:15) or early May, preceding the wheat harvest by ca. two weeks (Ruth 2:23). The beginning of the barley harvest was marked by the bringing in of the FIRST FRUITS as a consecration of the harvest (Lev. 23:10).
The Israelite farmer could look forward to a hot, dry season from the middle of May to the middle of October. . . .
It (ie. wheat) was planted in the fall when the winter rains had started, sometime in late October or early November, and harvested in May-June. Barley was also widely grown but may have been at times considered a second-class food. . . . Barley was planted at about the same time as the wheat but harvested about a month earlier.
By reckoning the first new moon after the Vernal Equinox to be the new moon of Abib, the ancient Israelites were always in harmony with the season as well as having sufficient grains of barley for the wave sheaf offering during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Scriptural Reference Proves It!
Exo 9:31 And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.
We should note that the etymology of the word "barley" indicates something course or rough. This would be a mature plant rather than a green sprout!
8184. se'orah, seh-o-raw'; or se'owrah, seh-o-raw' (fem. mean. the plant); and (masc. mean. the grain); also se'or, seh-ore'; or se'owr, seh-ore'; from H8175 in the sense of roughness; barley (as villose):--barley.
The term, in the ear, also denotes "grain" as well as "ears", as shown in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
24. 'abiyb, aw-beeb'; from an unused root (mean to be tender); green, i. e. a young ear of grain; hence the name of the month Abib or Nisan:--Abib, ear, green ears of corn.
In Exodus 12:2 YAHWEH points out that Abib is to be the beginning of months.
Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Deu 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto YAHWEH thy Elohim: for in the month of Abib YAHWEH thy Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
Shamar, or "observe", has the general connotation of protecting. From #8104. shamar, shaw-mar'; a prim. root; prop. to hedge about (as with thorns), i. e. guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc. :--beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).
While Exodus 12:2 states that it is both the head month and the first month, it does not say that it determines the yearly cycle itself. Abib is the "head" month because of its importance in determining the proper sequence for the Annual Holy Sabbaths. In addition, it is the "first" month of the year in the yearly cycle. The importance of correctly preserving the month of Abib cannot be underestimated. What is it that we should guard and protect about this very import month of the year?
Exo 23:15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:). (cf. Ex 13:4 & 34:18; De 16:1
Leviticus is even plainer in its language!
Lev 2:14 And if thou offer a meat offering of thy firstfruits unto YAHWEH, thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full ears.
Plainly there is sufficient mature grain in the "green ears", ie. Abib, to be "beaten out of full ears", ie. the mature pod!
The account of Ruth and Naomi also confirm the fact that "green ears" is a mature and ripened grain.
Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
Ruth 2:2-3 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.
Ruth 2:17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
Ruth 2:23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.
Ruth 3:2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
Ruth 3:15-17 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she wentinto the city. And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
It is clearly evident that what was being harvested at the beginning of the barley harvest was fully matured grain that required winnowing. We should be reminded that the usual barley harvest occurred in late April to early May. This is evidently ONE of the things we are to be carefully guarding. Can there be a month of "Green Ears" in the Winter?
Abib In Winter?
Suppose we look at an example of what might occur when the new moon is too
Adar 29 March 7 Conjunction 12:01 am
Mar 7 Visible New Moon 6:05 pm
Abib 1 Mar 8
Abib 2 Mar 9
Abib 13 Mar 20
Abib 14 Mar 21 Passover after sunset (the 13th) 8:00 pm Mar 20
>>>Equinox 8:00 am on the 21st
Abib 15 March 22nd
The next new moon occurs:
Apr 6 Conjunction 5:59 am
Apr 7 The earliest possible sighting is 18 hours after conjunction
11:58 pm, well past sunset & therefore not visible
April 8 Visible moon - sunset [18 days AFTER equinox]
Using the guideline that the New Moon closest to the vernal equinox begins the month of Abib we have the following problems:
a) Spring begins at the vernal equinox, thus you have the beginning month
taking place in Winter
b) Two Passovers are observed in one solar year
c) No Passover is observed the following solar year
d) The Barley harvest doesn't begin until late April or early May
e) It is highly unlikely there is mature barley in March to offer the wave sheaf offering; yet even if there may have been a few grain of barley that may have sprouted, how can that confirm the new moon of Abib while the sun is still in the constellation Pisces, placing Passover BEFORE the equinox?
When is the New Moon of Abib & the Real Passover?
The question of when to determine when the New Moon of Abib actually occurs can be observed in the year 31 CE, the year in which Yah'shua was executed, and an intercalary year. The question is... Is the New moon of Abib 8 days before the equinox on March 13th, or 21 days after the Equinox on April 11th? In 1994 the same conditions existed and many were observing an early Abib/Passover. Was that correct?
The actual Passover in 31 CE was April 25th...placing the New Moon of Abib on April 11th...21 days AFTER the vernal equinox!
As we can see, there is a glaring discrepancy in the setting the month of Abib and Passover in the years 31 CE and 1994 CE, even though BOTH have the same new moon dates.
In the year 31 CE, it is clearly evident that the New Moon of March 13 is the new Moon closest to the Vernal Equinox. Why doesn't it begin Abib in 31CE?
One explanation may be that there was a "late" winter and the barley was not yet ready to harvest. That may be so, but historically, the barley harvest always took place in late April or early May, just prior to the wheat harvest. This would indicate a usual reckoning for an after equinox new moon of Abib.
The assumption that the equinox could not be calculated by the priesthood is like saying that they couldn't keep time. Yet records abound with precise astronomical and time calculations within biblical and secular records. Many ancient monuments were used to accurately pinpoint both equinox and solstice. Even so, the fact remains that the vernal equinox was easily observed, thus fixing the new moon as Abib 1 (our April 12).
As we have seen previously, Eusebius and others contend that both the new moon of Abib and Passover occur after the vernal equinox. It was insufficient that Passover alone should occur after the equinox (until the 4th century when Hillel III revised the Hebrew calendar) while the new moon could occur before the equinox due to the fact that the barley harvest generally did not mature until late April or early May. To insure the proper timing for the wave sheaf offering there had to be mature grains of barley ready to harvest at the time of the new moon in order for that month to be designated "Abib".
One other problem arises, namely historical Passover events occurring later than normally allowed. As we have seen in 31 CE, for example, when Passover occurred on Wednesday, April 25th! Abib would have to have been observed on April 11th, or more than 22 days after THE EQUINOX. Clearly, a March 12th/13th observance would have placed Passover nearly a week after THE EQUINOX (March 26th/27th), which means that it should have been the correct time according to the NO equinox adherents.
Were there 'green ears' in March? It is possible, yet it should also be obvious that a later date was used and that Abib must have of necessity been reckoned after the equinox. This also shows the necessity of using the equinox for determining second Adar.
Understanding that Abib can not occur in winter before the year has ended always makes Abib the first month of the year falling in the spring. Having Abib before the equinox, i.e. in winter, and sometimes placing two Abibs in one point-to-point (365 day) solar cycle, followed by a year with NO Abib within that same solar period, negates Exodus 12:2 which indicates Abib is always the first month of the year. That is, in one year there will be an Abib in the spring, after the equinox, and again in winter before the yearly cycle is completed, but in the next solar yearly cycle there will be NO Abib at all because the winter "Abib" began that year, but does not conclude until 13 months later fter the next solar cycle in the next spring. This also shows that fixed intercallery reckoning without regard to the Sun determining the seasons and the yearly cycle cannot be relied on with certainty.
We may pause to ask what if the climate is not suitable for barley growth? The Israelites observed this in Egypt, which is on the equator, and later in Israel which is only about 30 degrees north of the equator (and 31 degrees east of the prime meridian). So, if there is no barley in the upper reaches of the northern hemisphere, or what is grown is not matured until late June or July, can one even pretend to go by local conditions, including local new moon sightings? What about the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are reversed and April is actually fall, not spring? Should Passover be in October or November when there is an actual barley crop? Should the Feast of Tabernacles be observed in April? Obviously not! It should be just as obvious that Jerusalem is the focal point for all the earth for setting standard times and seasons pertaining to Yahweh's Sacred Calendar.
All the confusion is remedied by simply acknowledging the sun as the determining factor for the year [shanah -of days - remember, it is the sun's job to determine 'days'], and the moon as the determining factor for the months, with the first month of the year always being determined as the first new moon after the completion of the solar cycle, the Vernal Equinox, in the spring.
Proper Intercalation of the Sacred Calendar
>YAHWEH'S Word states that His Law is administered from Jerusalem, and
that observing the New Moon of Abib is part of that law.
> The sun marks the beginning of the YEAR [Shaneh] at the Vernal Equinox
> If the new moon of Abib always follows the equinox, the barley is harvested well after the sun entering Aries†, ie the Vernal Equinox†-March 21, then the harvest is assured to produce grain by April 3rd, the earliest date for Passover, Because the barley IS IN THE EAR, ie kerneled, at the time of the new moon after the equinox, it is the month of Abib
> The earliest possibility that the wave sheaf offering could be held would be the 15th of Abib, when Passover would occur on a Sabbath.
>All nations are to observe YAHWEH'S Sacred Time as He determines, which is not adjusted for local conditions.
> Therefore, concern over Passover being too early, to late, at the wrong time of the year, or not at all...is totally eliminated if the New Moon of ABIB occurs when the Sun is in Aries, i.e. AFTER the vernal equinox, and the sighting is from Jerusalem, YAHWEH'S chosen city.
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