Understanding the Times and Seasons
Table of Contents
Bereshith 1:16 - Signs
For the Times
When is the Sabbath Day?
The New Moon Controversy
Psalm 81:3 -
Support for the "Concealed Moon"?
When is the Beginning
of the New Year?
New Moon After the Spring Equinox" Theory
Sheaf of the First Grain Harvested
Counting to Shavuot
The Set-Apart Days of
The Seventh Month
If we wish to
understand the times and the seasons as described and discussed in the
Bible, our common
Gregorian calendar which is used by most of the world is very little help to
Gregorian calendar is based on the cycle of the earth around the sun.
One such cycle is a year. The year is divided randomly into twelve
parts we call months. And each month is given approximately the
same number of days. Thus, most months consist of thirty or thirty
one days, with February being the only exception, having 28 or 29 days,
depending on the need to add another day to adjust for the completion of
the cycle around the sun.
The biblical times and seasons
of Scripture, however, are based on a different method of tracking time. The
biblical Hebrew calendar uses a lunar system consisting of the moon's cycles in addition to
the course of the sun. One complete cycle of the moon constitutes
one month. The reckoning of the year is from the first month in
the spring to the next first month of spring (not one complete cycle of
the sun). Thus, the moon
cycles add an important element in the time markers in the biblical
Hebrew calendar while the sun regulates the markers of time in the
wrong with the Gregorian calendar? Nothing, as long as you have no
interest in knowing when Elohim is going to accomplish his works of
redemption. The Gregorian calendar works perfectly fine for the
world to keep track of time. But if you want to know Elohim's
schedule of events, you must come to an understanding of his calendar
and way of tracking time.
moving on - a word of
warning to truth seekers and Messianic believers who have already made numerous changes to their
beliefs and practices: As you continue your quest to find the
forgotten truths of Scripture, you do not have to "reinvent the wheel"
with every teaching, doctrine and detail of the Bible. We who have
come out of the Christian churches to walk with the Master and obey the
commandments and truths of the Torah have a tendency to become obsessed
with changing everything we think and do. It can be a thrill to discover the errors we have been taught by our forefathers and
find and embrace the truths of the Scriptures. But, we can also get caught
up in making more and more changes (as many have) just for the sake of change
and just for the thrill of "coming into more truth."
everything we have been taught in the Christian churches is wrong.
Most of us came into a knowledge of our need for the Master and Savior
while sitting in a Christian church. Furthermore, not all of the changes which are being suggested and taught in the
Messianic world are good nor Scriptural. Some of those proposed changes,
which are based in faulty methodology and misinterpretation,
are being hoisted upon us by people who seek recognition and adulation.
Be careful about the things which you embrace as truth, and make sure
that you don't embrace something just because a Messianic rabbi or
teacher presents it. But carefully and thoroughly study the Word of Elohim for yourself
before you change the way you walk and worship the Creator of the
Bereshith 1:16 - Signs
For the Times
The way Elohim keeps tabs on time is not by the clock on the wall, or by
the half life of uranium or by an "atomic clock." The Creator of
heaven and earth placed into our universe the objects which mark times,
days and seasons. These things are revealed by the words which
Elohim has spoken and give the details we need to know to understand his
set-apart days, times and appointed seasons.
At creation, Elohim established the method by which time would be
And Elohim said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to
separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for
seasons and for days and for years, and let them be lights in the
expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so.
Elohim made two great lights-- the greater light to govern the day and
the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
Elohim set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to
govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And
Elohim saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was
morning-- the fourth day. (Bereshith 1:14-19)
The two great lights are, of course, the sun in our solar system and the
moon which circles the earth. These two lights provide light upon
the earth, and separate day from night. When the sun rises in the
east, bringing forth abundant light, it is "day". Then after it
sets in the west and mostly darkness advances, it is night. It's
not complicated at all. One only needs to observe what Elohim has
That Scripture says, "let them be for signs and for seasons and for
days and for years." A quick glance at the Hebrew terminology
will help us here. The purpose of the lights is to "be for signs."
The Hebrew word tAa (pronounced ōt),
has a range of meanings including sign, mark, token, ensign,
standard, miracle, miraculous sign, proof, warning. Probably
the most useful of these meanings for our context is standard.
That is to say, Elohim has established the standard by which time is
measured. And that standard is the movements of the sun and the
The second Hebrew term we need to know is
d[eAm (pronounced mō-ĕd). According to the Theological
Wordbook of the Old Testament, this word means appointed sign,
appointed time, appointed season, place of assembly, set feast.
This is the word which identifies the appointments of Yahuwah which are
set-apart times. Our word moed comes from the root word
d[y (pronounced ya-ad). Ya-ad
means appoint, betrothe, assemble, meet, set. The appointed
times are those days when Yahuwah wants to meet with his
betrothed people. The sun and the moon establish when those
The "days and years" need little explanation. The day is regulated
by the visibility and light of the sun. And the years are roughly
one rotation of the earth around the sun. The beginning point of a
year is a point of controversy which we will discuss in detail below.
And the beginning point of a month is also debated by students of
Scripture. But the first appointed time is the seventh day
When is the Sabbath Day?
Traditionally, the biblical Sabbath Day is the seventh day of every
week. The calendar merely cycles continuously with six working
days followed by the seventh day Sabbath of rest. However, in some
Messianic congregations, a new method of "calculating" the Sabbath day
is becoming popular. This new view maintains that the Sabbath day
is the seventh day of each week in the lunar month, but that the
"counting" resets at the beginning of each month.
How this works out is that the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of every month
is a Sabbath day. But each lunar month has 29 or 30 days. So
instead of counting - 29...30...1...2...3...4...5 - the 5th being the
seventh day in sequence and thus the Sabbath day, this lunar Sabbath
view resets the count on the first of each month. So, after the
Sabbath day of the 28th of the month, the next Sabbath day will be eight
or nine days later because of the resetting of the count on the first
day of the month!
Do the Scriptures teach the "lunar Sabbath" as the proper way to observe
the Sabbath commandment? Or is the traditional view the correct
interpretation of the Instructions of the Bible regarding the Sabbath
day? I believe the traditional counting to seven cycle is
the biblical way. I am not going to get into a great deal of
detail refuting the lunar Sabbath theory, but I will present a few
Scriptures and some basic reasons why the traditional way of reckoning
First, the seventh day Sabbath is presented very early in the Bible.
In the account of creation, Elohim is separating and forming heaven and
earth, the sea and all that is in it, the land and all the vegetation
and animals on it. Then it tells us that after six days of
building our environment that Elohim ceased from all the work of his
hands on the seventh day:
Thus the heavens and the earth were
completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day Elohim had
finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested
from all his work. And Elohim blessed the seventh day and
separated it, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that
he had done. (Bereshith 2:1-3)
Elohim rested (ceased from labor) on the seventh day and
blessed and separated the day from the first six.
Now the pattern given in the
creation account is simple: Work for six days, cease from
work the seventh day. This is the pattern Elohim has given us.
Nowhere does it speak of the lunar cycle or the new moon having anything
to do with this pattern. It does not tell us that the first day of
creation was the first day of the month (the new moon). If so,
some could argue that the fourth day is actually the first day of the
month because it was on this day that the record indicates that Elohim
set the sun and moon in place for giving light on the earth.
Should we begin the counting to seven on the fourth day of each month?
No. The record indicates no such thing.
Secondly, the Sabbath is mentioned
in Vayiqra [Leviticus] 23 along with the rest of the annual set apart
times and appointments. All the rest of these moedim
(appointed times) are to be observed on a certain day of a certain
month. The Pesach, for example, is to fall on the 14th day of the
first month, the Feast of Matza (Unleavened Bread) runs from the 15th
through the 21st of the first month, and so on. But of the
Sabbath, this instruction does not indicate that the seventh day Sabbath
is to be calculated based on the new moon. So, what does it say?
Speak to the sons of Yisrael and say to
them: "These are my appointments, the appointments of Yahuwah, which you
are to proclaim as set apart assemblies. There are six days when
you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of set
apart assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a
Sabbath to Yahuwah." (Vayiqra 23:2-3)
This appointed time of Sabbath is not attached to a
new moon or a certain day of the month. It merely states that
the Sabbath is the seventh of seven days.
We could go on the recite every
place where the seventh day Sabbath is mentioned in Scripture. But
we would find the same thing that we've found in these two passages: the
Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week and it is not dependant on
the new month for a reset of the count. For all the reasons lunar
Sabbath proponents suggest for their point of view, they cannot escape
the simple and demonstrable fact that nowhere in the Bible is the
Sabbath day said to be dependant on the new moon.
The New Moon Controversy
Bible, the word translated into English as month or new moon
is the Hebrew vd,xo (pronounced
hōdĕsh). The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old
Testament (HALOT) tells us this word means new moon, month, mating
season. This word comes from the Hebrew root
vd;x which means renew, make
anew, repair. Thus the Hebrew word for new can also
mean new month, or just month.
the Bible speaks of the new month or new moon, it does not explicitly
tell us how the new moon is determined. It is easy to identify a
full moon. Just look in the sky and when the moon is a full
circle, its "full"! But, for some reason, there are several
different opinions regarding when the new moon and the new month begins.
Astronomers regard the new moon as that time when the sun illuminates
the exact opposite side of the moon that is visible from the earth.
This "astronomical new moon" is also known as the "darkened moon" or the
"unilluminated moon." It occurs at its conjunction with the sun as
seen from earth. At this time, the darkened side of the moon faces
earth, so the moon cannot be seen from earth. The astronomical new
moon is considered the "new moon" on most English calendars and
the Chinese calendar.
advantage of the astronomical new moon theory is that if we use this
method, we can always know in advance, using a calculation, when the new
moon will occur. It is neat and clean, and flawless, because the
Creator designed faithfulness in the skies. But, the calculation
to figure out the exact moment of conjunction is not so simple.
extremes people can go to to calculate the exact time of the
astronomical new moon is illustrated by the entry for "new moon" in
Wikipedia, where "an approximate formula" is given to calculate any new
The time interval between new moons—a
lunation—is variable. The mean time between new
synodic month, is about 29.53... days. An
approximate formula to compute the mean moments of new
between Sun and Moon) for successive months is:
d = 5.597661 + 29.5305888610 * N +
(102.026 * 10-12) * N2
where N is an integer, starting
with 0 for the first new moon in the year 2000, and that
is incremented by 1 for each successive synodic month;
and the result d is the number of days (and
fractions) since 2000-01-01 00:00:00 reckoned in the
time scale known as
Terrestrial Time (TT) used in
Well, that's pretty complex,
wouldn't you say? I'm quite sure the ancient Israelites didn't
have to pull out the slide rule to figure out when the next new moon
embraced this theory of reckoning the new moon. My reason for this
belief was based in large part on Psalm 81:
ram's horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our
Feast; this is a decree for Yisrael, an ordinance of the Elohim of
Ya'acov. (Psalm 81:3-4)
The Hebrew for the phrase
"the moon is full" is the word ceseh, which comes from the word
which means to cover. One way to read this scripture is to
see a parallel between New Moon and covering. So, it seems, the
New Moon is a covered or concealed moon.
reasoned that since each moon cycle is a little more than twenty nine days long, and
since Chag haMatzot and Chag haSukkot begin on the full moon of their
respective months which is exactly in the middle of the month on the
fifteenth of the month, and since the new moon must be exactly half way
between its surrounding full moons - or a little more than fourteen and
one half days before the full moon, then astronomically speaking,
exactly half way between full moons is the hidden moon! That's it.
We're done. Case closed?
quite. The problem with the astronomical new moon theory is not
that it's complicated. Though the mathematics may be complicated,
there is a more serious flaw with the "I can't see a thing!" theory. The major flaw in the theory is that the
hidden moon is no moon at all. In that view, the new moon purports
to be no
moon. But isn't there a fundamental difference between a "new
moon" and "no moon"? How can you call an unseen moon "new"?
In anybody's vocabulary, new does not mean or even imply
invisible, hidden, unseen or unilluminated.
Hebrew word for new, as we have already pointed out, is vd,xo (pronounced
hōdĕsh). And hodesh means to renew, make
anew, repair. To renew is the same as to restore to
existence, to regenerate, to rebuild, to replenish.
Certainly, the hidden moon has not yet begun to rebuild or to replenish.
But when the first sliver is seen in the evening sky, its easy to see
that the moon is regenerating and rebuilding.
commonly accepted view is that the new moon is the moon when first visible to the
naked eye following the darkened moon. In this case it is actually
"new" because it is being rebuilt before your eyes. It "wasn't,"
but now, when seen, it "is." The visible new moon
crescent is first seen low in the western sky chasing the sun near
sunset. This is the ancient understanding of "new moon" and this
meaning is embraced in modern times by the Muslim calendar, the Hebrew
calendar, the Hindu calendars and the Buddhist calendar.
Scriptures do not tell us that the new moon is when you see the first
sliver. Opponents of this view point out this fact and conclude
that it must be the incorrect way of determining the new moon. And
they sarcastically ridicule this method. But the Scriptures don't
actually say anything to us about how to reckon a new moon. So, we
could throw back the same argument at the adherents of the "darkened
moon" theory. Really, we are left without an instruction in the
Torah about how to define a new moon. We are left to use a little
"first sliver" view
makes good sense where the astronomical new moon theory doesn't.
Here, the new moon is a real moon, visible in the sky. It is easy
to see by anyone who is looking for it. No calculations needed!
However, the astronomical new moon is "no moon" or a moon not seen.
It's difficult to understand how we can call the unseen moon a "new moon."
So, it stands to reason that the first thin crescent moon begins a cycle of the moon growing till
full, then shrinking until it is gone. The ancients were able to
see the new crescent sliver whether looking out of their tents, walking
in the desert, or anywhere else one might find themselves. In
short, it just makes good sense.
objection to the sighted new moon theory is that one can't really know
for sure when the month begins until he actually sees the sliver in the
sky. So we can't print and publish calendars in advance. OK.
How is that a real problem? Though it may remove some of the
convenience of knowing in advance when the month, and therefore when the
new year begins, it still makes perfect sense that a new moon is the
first visible part of the moon cycle.
objection to the sighted sliver new moon theory is that sometimes there
are obstructive clouds overhead prohibiting us from seeing the first
sliver in the evening sky. And what if there is heavy cloud cover
for several evenings in a row while we're looking for the first sliver?
Does that mean the previous month could be 31, 32 or 33 days in length?
solution to this dilemma is to simply use some common sense: if the
sliver is not visible in the sky on any evening 30 days after the
previous new moon, then the next evening is the new moon, whether seen
or not, because no month can have more than 30 days. Then, the
next month, the search of the skies for the crescent sliver may begin
again after 28 days.
Psalm 81:3 -
Support for the "Concealed Moon"?
little is said in Scripture which helps us understand how the ancients
reckoned the new moon. Psalm 81:3 does perhaps provide a clue. So,
therefore, proponents of both views cite it as supporting their view.
The verse (verse 4 in the Hebrew text), is as follows:
`WnGE)x; ~Ayæl. hs,KeªB;÷ rp"+Av vd<xoåb;
Literally, this reads, "You
(pl.) give a blow on new moon shofar; on full moon for the day of our
Proponents of the hidden moon theory insist that the word
hs,Keª (ceseh), here
translated full moon, actually should be translated something
like, "in its hiding." This, say they, makes ceseh parallel
in thought with chodesh (new moon) and indicates by this
parallelism that the new moon occurs when the moon is in its hiding.
The evidence for this comes in a study of the root word
hsk which can mean to cover, to
forgive, to conceal. Thus, they would translate the verse,
"You blow the shofar on the new moon, in it's hiding for the day of our
One Torah teacher draws this conclusion with absolutely no evidence to
suggest it. He says, "Does ... ba-keh-seh mean revealed moon or
concealed moon (conjunction)? Obviously it means concealed at
conjunction." Wow, really? It "obviously" means the
concealed moon? What biblical evidence do you have that makes this
so "obvious"? Then he repeats what we already know: "Gee willikers, you mean there’s not narry a verse in the whole bible about
sightin’ a crescent?
NOPE, not one!" - as if to shame us into believing his view - like
anyone who believes the "first crescent" view must be stupid!
Again, we could throw that right back in his face: "You mean there's not
narry a verse in the whole bible about the new moon being the concealed
moon? NOPE, not one!"
find out if its so "obvious" that the new moon is the concealed moon. Although
at first blush Psalm 81:3 seems to be a convincing argument for the concealed
moon theory, there are several points the open-minded interpreter needs
to consider before he rashly comes to this conclusion. First, if
to cover is really the meaning of our word in Psalm 81, the idea of
covering could actually support either of the two views. The
covering could be that of darkness or the covering of the moon could be
its cover of sunlight. Either way, the moon is covered.
there are many scholars who see in our word ceseh a connection to
words in the sister languages to Hebrew. Brown, Driver and
Briggs Lexicon (BDB) notes that ceseh is likely a cognate of
the Aramaic word "Kista" and the Assyrian word "Kuseu" which both mean
"full moon." Accordingly, nearly every lexicon and dictionary
lists the primary meaning of the form ceseh as it is here in our
text as "full moon."
reason, and the most important reason, why the "concealed moon" theory does not fit this passage is that
the ceseh is associated in the second half of the verse with "our
festival." The text reads, "...in the ceseh for our
Feast." Now we know that the new moon is never called a
festival in Torah. There are only 3 annual festivals in the Hebrew
calendar. The festivals of the first and seventh month
occur at the time of the full moon, and the Feast of Shavuot occurs
somewhere near the middle of the third month. It would make no sense if the
passage were translated, "Blow the shofar at the new moon; at the Hidden
moon for our Feast," because there is no Feast of Yahuwah at the time of
the new moon! So the only possible rendering of Psalm 81:3 is as
Blow the shofar at the new moon;
At the full moon (ceseh) for our Feast.
Therefore, the word ceseh is not describing the new
moon, it is describing the full moon.
This makes better sense because we know the shofar is blown at the new moon and
we know that the shofar is also blown on the first day of the Feasts of the
first and seventh months on the Hebrew calendar, which occur at the full
moon. Thus, ceseh in our verse is referring to the full
moon, or the covering of the moon with sunlight, because this is when
"our Feast" happens.
The "I can't see a thing, but trust me anyway, astronomical alignment,
no moon is a new moon" theory cannot be corroborated by Scripture.
Sure, its "scientific" and its convenient. But the moon
is actually visually being "renewed" when it appears in the sky in its
first sliver stage. Therefore, the sighted new moon theory is the
preferred view because of its clear advantage in the use of common
When is the Beginning of
the New Year?
Now that we know that any month begins with the sighted first sliver of
the moon following its phase of darkness, we can move on to the question
of when the beginning of the new year is. We will do this by first
examining what the Scriptures have to say about this important topic,
then we will proceed to answer objections and apparent "problems" the
scriptural method of determining a new year presents.
Getting the beginning of the year identified correctly is of paramount
importance. Since Elohim has given us specific days on the Hebrew
calendar that are designated as set-apart for his appointments with us,
appointments to accomplish the redemption, and since we do not want to
miss any of these appointments by even one day, then we must begin the
new year precisely at the right time as identified in his Instructions.
The Torah of Elohim does present a very clear word regarding the
beginning of the year and the Hebrew calendar. For those who hold
the Bible as being the sure and faithful word of Elohim to mankind,
there can be no other criteria for determining the first month of the
new year than those which the Scriptures themselves reveal.
In the account of the ten plagues, simple and clear revelation was given
Yahuwah said to Mosheh and Aharon in Mitzrayim, "This month is to be
for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell
the whole community of Yisrael that on the tenth day of this month each
man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household." (Shemot
The month in which the Pesach was slaughtered and eaten and in which the
sons of Yisrael left Mitzrayim - that month is the first month of the
year. So which month was that?
The Torah identifies precisely what month this was:
Then Mosheh said to the people, "Commemorate this day, the day you came
out of Mitzrayim, out of the land of slavery, because Yahuwah brought
you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.
Today, in the month of the Aviv you are leaving. (Shemot 13:3-4)
The month in which Yisrael left Mitzrayim is called "the month of the
Aviv." In fact, the Torah tells us in four different places
that the month of the Aviv is the same month that Yahuwah delivered
Yisrael from Mitzrayim. The second passage where Mosheh is told
this is here:
Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread
made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time
in the month of the Aviv, for in that month you came out of Mitzrayim.
Again, for a third time, Mosheh is told which month is the month of the
Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread
made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time
in the month of the Aviv, for in the month of the Aviv you came out of
Mitzrayim. (Shemot 34:18)
And finally, for the fourth time, Mosheh is told that the month of the
Aviv is when Yahuwah brought the sons of Yisrael up out of Mitzrayim:
Observe the month of the Aviv and celebrate the Pesach of
Yahuwah your Elohim, because in the month of the Aviv he brought you
out of Mitzrayim by night. (Devarim 16:1)
It couldn't be clearer that the first month of the year is the month of
Next, we need to understand what the Aviv is. The BDB identifies the Hebrew
byIba' (pronounced aviv) as
1. fresh, young ears of barley; 2. month of ear-forming, or of growing
green, Abib, month of Exodus & passover.
TWOT translates our word
as barley, and has this to say about it:
Barley. This noun refers to barley that is already ripe, but still soft,
the grains of which are eaten either rubbed or roasted... Abib was also
the early name (later, Nisan) of the first month of the Jewish calendar
(the month of Passover). In that month the barley came to ear.
And the HALOT says aviv
is to be identified with
—1. ears (of corn) already ripe, but still soft, to be eaten either
crushed or roasted (Dalman Arbeit 2:245, 305), Ex 9:31 Lv 2:14;
—2. bbaÅa'h' vd,xo month of the ears
of corn, March-April;
These lexicons of ancient Hebrew are in agreement that aviv has to do
with the state of ripeness of the barley ears.
Wikipedia summarizes the meaning of aviv:
has several related meanings in
According to the Torah, Aviv is the
first month of the Hebrew calendar.
Historically, aviv literally
meant the stage in the growth of
grain when the seeds have reached full size and
are filling with starch, but have not dried yet.
During the plague of hail (Exodus
barley was aviv and the
flax was giv`ol.
"Aviv" accordingly also means
spring, one of the four
seasons. Thus the major modern
Israeli city of
Tel Aviv means "Spring Hill".
The month in the
Hebrew calendar when the
barley has reached or passed this stage (Exodus
13:4; 23:15) is called Aviv, or the
"month of the aviv": the seventh of the
Jewish civil year, and the first of the Biblical
ecclesiastical year. It begins about the time of the
vernal equinox (March 21). Since the
Babylonian captivity, it has also been called
2:1). On the sixteenth day of the month, harvest
was begun by gathering a sheaf of barley, which was
offered as a sacrifice to
23:4-11) when the
While we have given the Wikipedia definition of Aviv, we must understand
that Aviv as meaning spring is a modern definition, not
the ancient Hebrew definition. The word spring is not what
the word aviv meant when Torah was written. The word aviv
as used in Scripture refers to the ripening ears of barley.
In summary of the meaning of aviv, all sources are in agreement
that aviv has to do with the stage of ripeness of grain.
All but one of these sources specifically identify the barley as that
ripened grain. This is because the first grain crop of the year in
Yisrael is the barley harvest. As such, the new moon when the barley
become nearly ripe, that is, has green ears and is soft, is also called the
month of the Aviv. And because this month of the aviv
is near the time of the beginning of spring, although it has no
explicit connection (biblically) to the vernal equinox, the word aviv
later became associated with the word spring. Keep in mind
that aviv does not mean spring, it means green ears of
barley, but the barley becomes aviv at the time when the warmer spring season is dawning.
Next, let's examine the usage of aviv in the Torah. Our
Hebrew word occurs eight times in all of the Tanach, all of which are
found in the Torah. Six of those times we have already cited
above. These are those passages which identify the month of the
Aviv as that same month in which the sons of Yisrael departed from
Mitzrayim. The other two places where this noun occurs are these:
The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed
(literally, the barley was aviv) and the flax was in bloom.
If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to Yahuwah, offer crushed
heads of aviv (new grain) roasted in the fire. (Vayiqra 2:14)
Now the Shemot 9:31 occurrence of aviv is its first usage in the
Bible. Mosheh had just delivered his request to Pharaoh and then
pronounced the seventh plague to fall upon Mitzrayim - the plague of
lightening and hail. So, we're told that the flax and the barley
were destroyed because the barley was aviv (ripe) and the flax
was in bloom (although not yet ripe). Of course, the remaining
three plagues took place immediately after the seventh, the tenth
occurring just two weeks or more afterwards.
And the Vayiqra passage speaks in general about offerings of aviv
or new grain. But it makes no explicit reference to barley.
It applies to any grain offered to Yahuwah as a firstfruits offering.
It is to be roasted in the fire.
With the accumulation of the data from the biblical record regarding the
beginning of the year, we can make several definitive conclusions.
According to the instruction of Elohim's Word, the first month of the
biblical calendar is the month of the aviv, the same month the
sons of Yisrael exited Egypt. The month of the aviv begins
with the new moon when the barley in the field has green ears. It
is at the time of the year, after the cold months, when the weather is
beginning to warm and the crops are coming to ripeness.
We can also note that the Bible says nothing about the springtime and
autumn equinox, nor the winter and summer solstice. Although there
is an obvious correlation between the earth's position with reference to
the sun and our weather, these alignments are not even mentioned by the Bible for
any purpose. The new year, according the Bible, begins on the day
when the first sliver of the new moon is seen and the barley is visibly
aviv in the field.
New Moon After the Spring Equinox" Theory
an interesting theory about the biblical new year which is circulating
in Messianic circles. This theory states that the new year is to
be declared on the first new moon following the spring equinox.
Perhaps its most attractive feature is that this view removes the need
for observing the barley in the field for verification that the new moon
marks the first month of the Hebrew calendar year. It is easy
enough to know precisely when the spring equinox occurs, and so that
first new moon afterwards is the new year, in this view.
benefit of this reckoning is that we can know in advance when the new
year is going to begin so that we can predict all of the feast days and
appointed times on the Creator's calendar. As a result, festival
observers can request time off from the workplace well in advance for
these set apart times and travel plans are more easily arranged.
benefit of this theory is that we can be more assured that all of the
harvests will be completed in time in order to bring the tithes of those
harvests to present before Elohim in obedience to the command.
"first new moon after the spring equinox" theory has several legs.
I list them here and afterwards we'll evaluate them in full:
Spring, by definition, begins at the sun's spring equinox.
Barley is a "spring crop" and therefore could not possibly be aviv
before spring which is "defined" (using the modern, not the
ancient meaning of aviv) as beginning at the spring equinox.
The barley, even in different parts of Yisrael, doesn't ripen at the
same time. There is as much as one month difference in the
ripening time from the south to the north (this is their contention, not
mine). If the aviv barley is the condition which marks the
beginning of the year, then in what part of Yisrael? If the barley
is declared aviv in southern Yisrael, northerners may not have any of
their crops ready for harvest before the festivals.
Since Elohim requires the tithe of each harvest to be brought to
Yerushalayim at the three annual feasts, if the new year is declared too
early, the fall crops won't be ready in time for harvest for bringing
their tithes to the Feast of Tabernacles.
Elohim would certainly have set a condition for determining the
beginning of the new year which everyone around the world can observe at
the same time. The spring equinox is that condition which everyone
around the world can observe at the same time. But the ripening of
barley does not occur at the same time across the world. Even in
the land of Yisrael, the barley is not aviv all at the same time.
Therefore, the aviv barley can not be that condition which signals the
beginning of the new year.
Kings 20:22, 26 speaks of the "return of the year" or "Teshuvat HaShanah"
(Hebrew, hn"ëV'h; tb;äWvt.).
This "return of the year" is speaking about the spring equinox and
indicates that the year begins following the spring equinox.
7. As one
Torah teacher said, “in 1st Samuel 20:5…How did David know that the New
Moon would be ‘tomorrow’ if it had not yet been sighted?” Clearly,
in their view, David must have known this because he knew when the
astronomical new moon would occur.
"first new moon after the spring equinox" theory will almost always
produce the same beginning of the year as the "sighting of the aviv
barley" method will produce, and will produce a very high likelihood that
all the harvests will be ready in time for the required festival
offerings. However, there will be occasions when the two methods
won't result in the same starting time for the new year.
of the two methods should we follow? In my opinion, the sighting
of the aviv barley method is thoroughly scriptural and is therefore
preferable. The theory involving the spring equinox is not based
on scriptural revelation but is purely reason-based. In fact, it
seems to stand in defiance of the clear instructions of Scripture.
Here are some of the inherent problems with the 6 legs (as I have
presented them) of the "first new
moon after the spring equinox" theory:
to #1. The first leg of the theory says that
spring, by definition, begins at the spring equinox. However, this
is an arbitrary, man-made definition. For anybody who is watching,
there is no one single day on which the "spring" season begins every
year. The weather patterns are different and variable all the
time. "Spring" begins about the time when the weather begins to
turn warmer than it was in the "winter." None of the seasons can
be realistically defined as starting on one particular day and ending on
another, every year the same. It is only for convenience that our
modern day calendars divide the four seasons into four parts equal in
number of days based on equinoxes and solstices. We all know when
the seasons change by looking outside!
to #2. Barley is a spring crop. However, it grows and
develops toward a ripened state mostly in the "winter." Is it
possible for barley to be aviv before spring; that is, before the spring
equinox? Of course, its possible. And it happens more often
than most people realize. Quite recently, in the year 2005, the
barley was aviv all around Yisrael nearly two weeks before the spring
equinox! That year, the equinox was on March 21st, but very
large patches of aviv barley were observed all around the land of
Yisrael on March 10th. This caused a large uproar among Messianics
because they didn't expect the new year to start until the following new
moon (in April). Those who observed the barley that year included
Avi Ben Mordecai and his wife Dina, some Karaite Jews and other
Messianic Jews living in Israel.
again, in this year (2010), the barley was found aviv before the spring
equinox. On Friday, March 12, aviv barley was seen by several
witnesses in several locations in Israel. Then again, on Tuesday,
March 16, and on Wednesday, March 17, more aviv barley was found.
The evening of March 17, the first sliver of the new moon was sighted,
and the new year dawned. The vernal equinox then occurred on
Sunday, March 21. But according to the "vernal equinox" theory,
there could not be any aviv barley before March 21. So it must be
pretty self evident that the "first new moon following the spring
equinox" theory has to be in error.
the ripening of the barley has an obvious connection to the position of
the sun in the sky, there's nothing magical about the "spring equinox"
which signals the barley that it can now become ripe. When the
conditions are right - sufficient rain and sunlight - the barley will
ripen when its ready. The argument that barley cannot be aviv
before the spring equinox is simply untrue, and is easy to disprove by
observation and just a little bit of common sense.
to #3. Is it true that there can be as much as one full month
from the ripening of the barley in southern Yisrael to that in northern
Yisrael? Hardly. Yisrael is a very small country, as they
say, about the size of New Jersey. While there may be differences
of a month in the growing seasons from, let's say, Illinois in the north
to Louisiana in the south, there is little difference from southern
Illinois to northern Illinois, or southern Yisrael to northern Yisrael.
Again, those who actually observe the barley is Yisrael know this to be
true, but those espousing theories, who don't live in the land, can make
any claims they want, but there is no actual experience of observation
to back such claims.
to #4. The fourth leg of the argument says that if the new year
occurs too early, then the other crops, particularly the late summer
crops, might not be ready to harvest by the Feast of Tabernacles.
That's like saying Elohim may be able to bring the barley to ripeness on
time, but he may not be able, following his own timetable, to bring the
fall harvest in on time. Elohim might not be able to pull it off,
so we should give him a little extra time before WE declare the
beginning of the new year!
an argument from unbelief and lack of trust in the Almighty!
I would hope that, upon further reflection, those who want to use this
as an excuse for not following Yahuwah's instructions about marking the
beginning of the year by the observation of aviv barley would speedily
withdraw this specious claim.
to #5. Is it true that Elohim would most certainly have chosen
some other method of observation that everyone in the world could have
plain evidence of besides the state of ripeness of the barley in
Yisrael? Is the spring equinox a phenomenon that everyone
around the world can observe at the same time? And is the state of
ripeness of barley a condition which is unreliable for determining the
let's consider the contention that the spring equinox is something that
everyone around the world can observe with their own eyes, but that the
aviv barley is not. Certainly, with modern technological and
astronomical advances, we can know down to the second when the sun comes
into conjunction with the equator (this is the exact moment of the
spring equinox). But could the ancients do the same? Can we,
with just our own eyes, observe and know the exact moment of the
equinox? How about the exact day? How about getting it right
within a week? And could the ancients have been able to do the
Obviously, without the aid of sophisticated scientific instrumentation,
no one can observe with his eyes and know when the spring equinox
occurs. And without calendars based on these observations and
calculations which tell us when the equinox
occurs, how could we possible know when this phenomenon occurs.
Truth be told, the spring equinox is not something that can be
pinpointed in time by anyone on earth by simply looking into the sky - not even someone in Israel.
This is because, except for at the equator, the sun is never directly
overhead at the spring equinox.
forefathers of antiquity could not possibly have been able to look at
the sky and tell when the spring equinox was occurring - not even in
Israel! It is not
possible now, and it has always been impossible by simple observation,
to know when the sun in directly over the equator. What the spring
equinox theorists cite as a problem for the observers of the aviv barley
is an even greater problem for their theory. It is impossible for
them to really know when the spring equinox is by just looking in the
then ask ourselves the question: does it make more sense that Elohim
would have the agriculturally minded Israelis of ancient times figure
out when the spring equinox is to know when the new year could begin, or
to simply look outside at their fields to see if the barley is aviv?
Somehow, when you think about the absurdity of deciding which of these
two may be true - that the farmers
in Israel could have known which day the sun was directly over the
equator, or that the farmers could simply look outside at the barley in
the field - it becomes easy to see which
of the two methods would be an effective and logical way to know when the new year
thought that Elohim would have surely chosen a more sure way of
determining the new year than the state of the ripeness of the barley in
Israel doesn't make sense, either. Such reasoning is baseless,
having no revelation of Scripture in its support. The reason why
this argument is spurious is that Elohim has called his people to live
in the land of Yisrael. The inheritance of his people is eretz
Yisrael, not Ephesus, not Tokyo, not New York and not North
Carolina. The Torah specifically gives instructions to be obeyed
by his people while they live in the land. What does Elohim say
about the Torah he was giving his people? Regarding the Pesach, it
enter the land
that Yahuwah will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony"
Regarding the harvest, it
"Speak to the
sons of Yisrael and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am
going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf
of the first grain you harvest'" (Vayiqra 23:10).
Regarding any food the land
produces, it says,
"Speak to the
sons of Yisrael and say to them: 'When you enter the land to
which I am taking you and you eat the food of the land, present a
portion as an offering to Yahuwah" (Bemidhbar 15:18).
And regarding all of the
commandments of the Torah, it says,
"You are about
to cross the Yarden to enter and take possession of the land Yahuwah
your Elohim is giving you. When you have taken it over and are living
there, be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting
before you today." (Devarim 17:14).
And regarding many other
things, the same is said.
was given to the sons of Yisrael to observe when they are in the land.
Many of these instructions of the Torah were not observed while they
traveled for forty years through the wilderness, but they were observed
after they entered the land. This is not to say that we who are in
the exile should not care to be keeping the Torah. We who seek to
serve Yahuwah with all our heart, soul and strength should be obedient
at every point and to every commandment which we can in the Torah while
living outside the promised land. But what I am saying is that
there are some commandments which are impossible to keep outside of
Yisrael and without a temple and priesthood.
many commandments of the Torah which can only be obeyed and guarded
while living in Yisrael. All of the temple service and the keeping
of the Appointed days with all their instructions can only be kept and fulfilled in the land and in
Yerushalayim and in the presence of Yahuwah. The observance of the
conditions which signal the first month of the year (sighting of the
aviv barley) is one of those instructions which we cannot correctly
make in the exile without a little help, so we are dependant upon those
in the land who can tell us when these conditions exist. So the
argument that Elohim would certainly made it easy for every around the
world to see the signs of the new year falls flat on its face in the
light of Scripture.
to #6. Is the Teshuvat HaShanah ("return of the year") a reference
to the spring equinox? If so, doesn't this indicate that the
beginning of the year is controlled by the spring equinox? 'Fraid
not. The Hebrew term merely refers to the renewal of the year when
the weather begins to turn warm and the barley is becoming ripe.
In fact, biblically speaking, the ripening of the barley is the
indicator that the new year is beginning, not the moment the sun crosses
the equator! There is no mention anywhere in Scripture about the
equinoxes of spring and fall or the solstices of summer and winter.
Is it completely artificial to suggest that the "return of the year"
must be referring to the spring equinox. No such definition or
indication comes from the Scriptures.
to #7. 1st Samuel 20:5 does indicate that David knew that
"tomorrow" would be the new moon day. How could he have known this
if he wasn't using the hidden moon, astronomical alignment method?
It's quite simple, really. We know that every month has 29 or 30
days. No month goes beyond this. Therefore, David could have
easily known that "tomorrow" was to be the new moon day if he spoke this
on the 30th day of the current month and the crescent was still not
visible. "Tomorrow" had to be the
first day of the new month!
ripening of the barley in the land is Yisrael is the condition to be
observed for the declaration of the new year as commanded in the Torah.
It is simple for anyone and everyone to see. The "first new moon following the spring equinox" theory is purely a
postulation based on human reasoning and the human need for easy answers
and predictable timetables. While this new theory would make our
calendars easy and convenient, the "first new moon following the spring
equinox" theory is not the correct way Scripture tells us to know when
His new year begins. Those who wish to remove man's traditions but
instead walk the Torah walk should accordingly embrace the sighting of
the aviv barley to mark the beginning of the Hebrew calendar in
order to celebrate and observe Yahuwah's appointed times and festivals
at their correct times.
Waving the Sheaf
of the First Grain Harvested
great controversy and issue of dispute on the Hebrew calendar is that of
when the sheaf of the first grain is to be presented, which marks the
beginning of the "counting of the omer" to Shavuot. We read
this about the counting:
to Mosheh, "Speak to the sons of Yisrael and say to them: 'When you
enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to
the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave
the sheaf before Yahuwah so it will be accepted on your behalf; the
priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.'" (Vayiqra 23:9-11)
The word translated sheaf
in our text is from the Hebrew rm,[o
(pronounced ōmĕr). This word means,
n.m. sheaf (swath, row of fallen grain); fig. of food (abs.);
(pg 771). B7436 II. rm,[o
n.m. omer; a measure; itself; amount measured; = 1/10 ephah.
The omer is the first
sheaf of the spring harvest which is brought and waved before Yahuwah.
text immediately follows the instructions regarding the Feast of
Unleavened Bread and its set-apart observances. So, the question
which is frequently debated is that of when this sheaf is presented and
waved before Yahuwah. In the first century, various sects such as
the Sadducees, the Boethusians and the Essenes (who lived in the Dead
Sea / Qumran area) and later the Karaites had a disagreement with the
Pharisees (who are traced today to Rabbinic Judaism) on when this day of
the waving of the omer was. The Boethusians were considered a
sect of the Sadducees. They received their name from Simeon b. Boethus
who was appointed high priest by Herod the Great in 24 B.C.E [Josephus,
Sadducees, Boethusians and Karaites maintain that the counting of the
omer should begin the first day following the weekly Sabbath. The
Essenes believed it started on the Sunday after the end of the entire
eight day festival (one week later than the Sadducees, Boethusians and
Karaites.) The Pharisees (Rabbinic Judaism) maintains that the
counting should begin on Aviv / Nisan 16 which is the day following the
first day of Unleavened Bread. So, who is right?
argument hinges on the meaning of Shabbat, since the waving is to
occur on "the day after the Shabbat." The Pharisees and their
successors - the Rabbinic Jews - propose that "the Shabbat" can refer to
the seventh day Shabbat or to the "high" set-apart days or to a set of
seven years. Therefore, they believe that the first day of
Unleavened Bread is this "Shabbat," the day after which the offering is
to be presented and waved.
problem with this theory is that it is not supported by Scripture (but
then, there are a lot of teachings of the Rabbis that are not supported
by Scripture!) The form of our word in Vayiqra 23:15 is
tB'êV;h; (haShabbat, or "the
Sabbath"). In this form, haShabbat occurs 17 times in the
Torah, including in our text, and every time this word is used in
this form it is referring to the weekly seventh-day Sabbath day (Exod.
16:29; 20:8, 11; 31:14, 15, 16[twice]; 35:3; Lev. 23:11, 15, 16;
24:8[twice]; Num. 15:32; 28:9; Deut. 5:12, 15). In the rest of the
Tanach, the same is true - a total of about 40 times haShabbat is
used in the Tanach - haShabbat always refers to the
Furthermore, the word shabbat without the definite article also
always refers to the weekly seventh day Sabbath, except where there are
other modifiers to further define its meaning. An example of when
shabbat does not refer to the seventh day Sabbath is here:
seven sabbaths of years-- seven times seven years-- so that the seven
sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. (Vayiqra 25:8)
Here, the word shabbat
is in the plural (shabbatot) and it explicitly calls this time
period sabbaths of years. The modifier of years lets
us know that these shabbats are not the weekly Shabbats but are
referring to a different kind of shabbats.
modifier used to give shabbat a different meaning is in the
expression !AtïB'v; tB;’v; (Shabbat
shabbaton), which means a sabbath of complete rest.
This phrase is used specifically only of the following set apart holy
days - the seventh day Sabbath, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom HaKippurim, and
the first and eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles, and of the land in
the seventh year which is to enjoy a complete rest. But the phrase
shabbat shabbaton is never used of the first and seventh day of
Unleavened Bread, because preparing of food was allowed on those days
(they were not a "complete rest").
phrase shabbat shabbaton is never used of the first day of
Unleavened Bread, why would the word shabbat or haShabbat
be referring to the first day of Unleavened Bread? The answer to
this rhetorical question is: haShabbat does not refer to the
first day of Unleavened Bread, it refers to the seventh day Sabbath.
So, except where there are modifiers to let us know that a different
meaning and context is intended, every occurrence of Shabbat in
the Scriptures is used exclusively as a designation for the seventh day
next question that needs addressed is: Which Sabbath?
Vayiqra 23:9-11 is a little vague to identify which Sabbath the sheaf is
to be waved:
He is to wave
the sheaf before Yahuwah so it will be accepted on your behalf; the
priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
Of the more common views, the
Essenes believed the Sabbath after the conclusion of the Feast of
Unleavened Bread was the time of this offering. The rest believe
that the Sabbath being referred to is the one which, the day after is
one of the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
several reasons why the Sabbath being referred to must be the one which,
the day after the Sabbath falls on a day during the Feast of Unleavened
Bread. First, the order of the Times and Seasons as given in
Vayiqra 23 is sequential. Each of the annual set-apart days and
Feasts are given to us in order of their timeframe on the Hebrew
calendar. So, the waving offering must occur sometime during or
after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but never before the Feast.
the explicit command of Scripture is to bring the first portion - the
tithe - of all the produce of the land to the presence of Yahuwah at one
of the three annual Festival holiday seasons:
Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast,
as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abib,
for in that month you came out of Mitzrayim. No one is to appear
before me empty-handed. Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the
firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the
Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your
crops from the field. Three times a year all the men are to
appear before the Adonai Yahuwah. (Shemot 23:15-17)
Three times a
year all your men must appear before Yahuwah your Elohim at the place he
will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and
the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before Yahuwah
empty-handed. (Devarim 16:16)
These instructions make it
clear that everyone is required to bring the first fruits of the crops
of the field to present before Yahuwah during the three annual Festival
seasons. No other time of bringing this offering was allowed.
stands to reason that the "vague" reference in Vayiqra 23 to presenting
the new grain to Yahuwah is the first of these three commanded
presentations of first fruits which is to be waved during the Feast of
Unleavened Bread. Therefore, since the offering of the new grain
of the first fruits of the harvest was to occur during these three
annual feasts, it is clear that the Sabbath being referred to in Vayiqra
23:11 is that Sabbath which, the day after is the first day of the week
which sits somewhere among the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened
Bread. (I'm not talking about the first day of Unleavened
Bread, I'm talking about the first day of the week - "Sunday" as
depicted on the Gregorian calendar - which falls during the seven days
of Unleavened Bread.) It is that "Sunday" of the week of
Unleavened Bread when the new grain is waved before Yahuwah.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread falls on Aviv 15 through Aviv 21:
fifteenth day of that month Yahuwah's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins;
for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first
day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days
present an offering made to Yahuwah by fire. And on the seventh day hold
a sacred assembly and do no regular work. (Vayiqra 23:5-8)
This would mean that the
Sabbath will always be on one of the days between Aviv 14 through 20 -
whichever of those days is the seventh day Sabbath, that is the day
being referred to in Vayiqra 23:11. And the "day after the
Sabbath" falls on one of the days between Aviv 15 through 21, which are
the commanded days of celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the
authorized time for bringing tithes of the field to present and wave
The point of all this is that the waving must occur on the first day of
the week (the "Sunday") which lands during the Feast of Unleavened
Bread. And therefore, the Sabbath referred to in the expression
"the day after the Sabbath" can be the seventh day Sabbath which falls
between the day before the Feast begins (Aviv 14) through the sixth day
of the Feast (Aviv 20).
Additional support for this view is found in the testimony of Scripture
of the historical account of the crossing over into the land of Yisrael
when the new grain of the land was eaten during Unleavened Bread.
First of all, note the instruction of Scripture regarding the harvest of
the new grain:
You must not
eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring
this offering to your Elohim. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the
generations to come, wherever you live. (Vayiqra 23:14)
The sons of Yisrael were
explicitly commanded not to eat any of the new grain of the spring
harvest until they presented the first portion of grain to be waved
after they crossed over the Yarden into the Land, the sons of Yisrael
celebrated a Pesach and subsequently ate of the new grain of the land:
On the evening
of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains
of Yericho, the sons of Yisrael celebrated the Pesach. The day
after the Pesach, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the
land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. (Yehoshua 5:10-11)
Since the Pesach was
slaughtered on Aviv 14, then "the day after the Pesach" was Aviv 15 -
the first day of Unleavened Bread. Aviv 14 that year must have
fallen on the Sabbath day because on Aviv 15, the new grain was eaten.
Though not explicitly stated, it is implied that the new grain of the
land was waved before Yahuwah and then eaten, in accordance with the
instruction Yahuwah had given Mosheh while in the wilderness. This
agrees with our assessment above that the new grain was waved and eaten
on the first day of the week during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and
that the Sabbath being referred to lands somewhere between Aviv 14
through Aviv 20.
Counting to Shavuot
instruction regarding the Times and Seasons of Yahuwah is that of the
You must count
for yourselves seven weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day
you bring the wave offering sheaf; they must be complete weeks.
You must count fifty days--until the day after the seventh Sabbath--and
then you must present a new grain offering to Yahuwah. (Vayiqra
From the Sabbath, of which
the day after falls on one of the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
- from that Sabbath, we are commanded to count seven full Sabbaths.
And then the day after the seventh Sabbath, is to be the day of the next
Feast on the calendar - the Festival of Shavuot.
shavuot in Hebrew means "weeks". It is known as Weeks
because of the counting of the seven weeks to the day of the Feast.
Since the day of the presentation and waving of the new barley grain
always occurred on the day after the seventh day Sabbath, then
Shavuot will always occur on the day after the Sabbath, also.
This feast is also known as
Pentecost in Christian circles because the counting of the seven
weeks and then add "to the day after the seventh Sabbath" totals 50
Furthermore, the text here specifies that the counting begins on the day
after haShabbat, which is "one" in the count, and seven complete
weeks are to be counted. Verse 16 goes on to say that the count
continues "until the day after haShabbat," which is again the
first day of the new week. This continuous use of the designation
haShabbat affirms that the weekly Shabbat is the anchor day in
everyone will agree with my assessment of the "counting of the omer,"
but I invite dissenters to prove wrong my analysis of the usage of the
words shabbat and haShabbat. It may not be until
Messiah himself comes and sets everyone straight that all argument and
differences of opinion will end.
The Set-Apart Days of
The Seventh Month
the disagreements and debates and controversies regarding the correct
understanding and rendering of the Hebrew calendar, and therefore the
correct times and dates for the observance of all Yahuwah's appointed
times, there is some good news: there is little or no debate whatsoever
regarding the correct dates for the observances of the set-apart times
and Festival of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. When we
get correct the beginning of each new month and the start of the year,
the seventh month observations fall in line simply and without dispute!
Teruah, the day of the Awakening Blast, occurs on the first sighting of
the sliver of the seventh new moon of the year. It cannot be known
with absolute certainty when this day will occur, because it requires
the human element of observing the first visible sliver of the moon
following its hiddenness. Yom Teruah was accordingly also know as
"the Day that No One Knows" because no one knows in advance what day it
will happen until it happens.
Yahusha alluded to this as the day of his coming when he told his
disciple that "no one knows the day or the hour" of his coming.
knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it
will be at the coming of the Son of Man.... Therefore keep watch,
because you do not know on what day your Master will come.
(Mattityahu 24:36-37, 42)
Just as no one knows what day
will be Yom Teruah, but one must "keep watch" to know when the new month
begins, so is Messiah's coming. He will come at the appointed time
of which no one knows the day!
new moon is sighted in the seventh month, then nine evenings later (the
10th of the month) begins Yom haKippurim (day of atonements). Then
on the evening of the fifteenth day begins Chag haSukkot (Feast of
Tabernacles), ending on the 8th day which runs from the evening of the
21st to the evening of the 22nd.
vital to those who wish to faithfully comply with the directives of the
Almighty that we correctly identify when the new moon occurs, when the
new year begins, and when the first new grain is presented and waved
before Yahuwah to begin the counting to Shavuot. All the proper
observances and sanctifying of Yahuwah's special days depends upon
correctly identifying these important dates.
moon must be a moon that can be seen; otherwise it is no moon at all.
The sighting of the first sliver is the sign that the new month is
beginning. And the new year starts, according to Scripture, at the
new moon at the time of the ripening (aviv) barley crop in the fields.
The presenting of offerings of the first fruits of the field must be
done in Yahuwah's presence at the three prescribed annual Festivals in
Shaddai give every one of us who diligently seek after his truth and his
way the wisdom and insight to serve him faithfully and to be found
pleasing to him at his coming.
Written by David M Rogers
Published: January 2010