Scripture gives us instruction in Exodus 12 & Numbers 9 for those baptized who were unable to keep the Passover due to being unclean by contact with a dead body or on a long journey. (Hopefully, only the latter.)
Either way, YRM will be rebroadcasting this year’s Passover service online the evening of April 19th at 8 p.m CT. Those who need to partake of the emblems will be required to get themselves some matzo (unleavened bread) and grape juice (not wine). Simply follow the service and partake when the time comes. If you are with someone else, remember that we are commanded to partake in the foot washing as well. If you are by yourself, this is not a requirement. We pray that this is a blessing to those few who need it.
May Yahweh bless everyone on their journey to deeper understanding and appreciation of Him and His Word.
The rebroadcast will be linked on Youtube and Facebook.
Yahweh sounded a trumpet to gain the people’s attention whenever He wanted to speak to them. The first time the Bible speaks of Yahweh’s sounding a trumpet was in offering His covenant to Israel. “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled” (Ex. 19:16).
The trumpet continues to play an important part both in Israel’s history and in our future. The trumpet warns of danger and is a call to arms.
The trumpet was sounded as Israel broke camp and began their march. Blowing the trumpet felled the walls of Jericho, Joshua 6:4-13.
The trumpet sounded at the coronation of King Solomon (1Kings 1:39-40), pre-picturing Yahshua the Messiah.
The Messiah will return at the trumpet blast and bring in the greatest Jubilee, the ultimate and highest Jubilee of gladness, joy, plenty, healing, peace and righteousness.
The Victorious Blast
The seventh biblical month begins with the day of Trumpets, one of the annual holy days. Notice: “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have an holy convocation; you shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you” (Num. 29:1).
The trumpet blast heralds an important event that is to take place, the greatest of which Yahweh foretells in biblical prophecy. We must pay special attention to the trumpet’s role in the prophecies of the latter days. Perhaps the functions of the trumpet will be brought forth again in the latter days.
That Conquering Sound
Joshua and his band of 300 sounded their trumpets to bring the downfall of Jericho: “And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day you shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat,” Joshua 6:4-5.
Whether there was an earthquake to flatten the walls of Jericho we are not certain. Jericho was devastated and Joshua conquered by the blowing of the trumpets as Yahweh had prescribed.
A similar circumstance will take place in the future. Notice what happens when our Savior returns: “For Yahshua himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Yahweh: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first” (1Thess. 4:16).
The sounding of the trumpet and the shout of victory heralds the Savior’s return to this earth. Yahshua takes vengeance upon those who destroy the earth while gathering those who have died believing in Him, 1Thessalonians 4:14.
Evidence shows that our Savior may return on the day of Trumpets when the last trumpet is blown. This first day of the seventh biblical month is in the Jewish calendar the first day of the civil year, which they call “Rosh Hashana,” meaning the “head of the year.” According to the Bible, the religious year begins in the spring on the first of Abib (Nisan).
Trumpet Marks Solemnity
It is in the spring of the year, in the month of Abib (meaning “green ears of grain”) that Passover occurs. This is the start of our spiritual trek to the Kingdom when we accept the shed blood of the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world.
We then straighten out our beliefs, making sure they are in accord with the Bible as we feast upon the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Following that, we celebrate the Feast of Weeks, which commemorates the giving of the Law at Sinai and the coming of the Holy Spirit to enable us to keep the law.
Then comes the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh scriptural month when the trumpets are blown, followed by the day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. Trumpets begins the most solemn part of the scriptural year, for the next holy day is the day of Atonement, which is followed by the joyous Tabernacles.
Sabbatical Rest Cycle
Dedicated believers rightly keep the weekly scriptural Sabbath which Yahweh blessed and set apart for mankind’s worship in Genesis 2:2-3. We know the seventh-day Sabbath will again be kept when the Kingdom of Yahweh is set up on this earth, according to Isaiah 66:23, and which has not been changed or abrogated in spite of the teachings of churchianity.
A most ignored part of the covenant made with Israel at Mount Sinai was the observance of the seventh or Sabbatical year, Exodus 23:10-11. It is a year to let the land lie fallow and not to prune the olive tree or the grapevine, Leviticus 25:4. Note that this verse says that it is a Sabbath rest unto the land and a Sabbath for Yahweh! The Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle is an extension of the weekly Sabbath and also of the annual Sabbaths.
A New Testament command to keep the Sabbath even today is found in Hebrews: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of Yahweh” (Heb. 4:9). This “rest” is not limited to the seventh day. Verses 5 and 10 speak of entering into “His” rest, and “His” rest goes beyond even the Sabbatical every seven years and the Jubilee every fifty.
Many competent Bible scholars contend that Yahweh has allotted to mankind 6,000 years in which man attempts to rule himself by his own standards. Man is to work six days, and Yahweh says to Him a thousand years are as a day: “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4).
Six is man’s number. He was created on the sixth day. Six days man is to labor and do all his work, but the seventh day is Yahweh’s day when we honor Him.
666 as Opposed to Seven
The ultimate fulfillment of all that represents the worst in man is bound up in the number 666, found in Revelation 13. It is the number of the beast, or the “man of sin.” Without Yahweh’s laws and precepts man will ultimately record 6,000 years of utter failure in trying to establish a man-made Utopia on this earth.
While a modicum observe the seventh-day Sabbath, even fewer keep the annual Sabbaths in today’s world. The seventh-year land Sabbath is hardly kept anywhere today. It has been ignored and forgotten and uncertainty marks its keeping. The land we have control over is to be given a rest to Yahweh, Leviticus 25:4. It was also a time of release for Israel.
The Jubilee every 50 years, however, was to be proclaimed to all inhabitants of the land. Certainly there is much here which is overlooked by churchianity today. Why Israel first and the rest of mankind later? Why the special promise to those who attain the first resurrection? (Rev. 20:6) Is Israel still singled out as the channel of blessings to all the earth?
The similarity between the Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle and the anticipated return of our Savior should thrill the student of Bible prophecy. Many prophecies of the Messiah’s return and the Jubilee year could easily be mistaken for the other.
Perhaps this is the way Yahweh reveals to His obedient children a secret kept from the foundation of the world. Surely Yahweh Elohim will do nothing, but He reveals his secret unto His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). If we are His children, His servants who obediently do what He has commanded, then the Scriptures will not be a mystery or an enigma to us.
By keeping His commandments, doing what pleases Him, we follow closely in the footsteps of His Son. We conform our minds and will to His, and continue to study to show ourselves approved, striving to have the mind of the Messiah.
Jubilee a High Point
Leviticus 25:9 reveals that the trumpet was to sound on the day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month. This was to start the year of Jubilee, which came in the fall of the year just before the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast commemorated the harvest of the fruit, the oil, and the good things of the fall harvest. The Jubilee, we read in Leviticus 25:8, followed a Sabbath year. It was the seventh Sabbath year, following 49 years, and was held the fiftieth year, Leviticus 25:10-11.
The day of Atonement is a day of fasting and a very solemn occasion. No work is to be done. This was a hallowed time throughout the land. It was a time for proclaiming liberty to the captives. Every man was to return to his possession. Every man was to return to his family. No work was to be done in the fields for an entire year.
Because the Jubilee came every 50 years, the average Israelite would observe at least one Jubilee in his lifetime. If he celebrated his first one before he was 20, he would enjoy another when he lived his allotted three score and ten years (Ps. 90:10). A true blesing was to celebrate two Jubilee years. The year of Jubilee was a high point in the culture of Israel and was eagerly anticipated by Yahweh’s people.
We on this side of Golgotha should take a close look at the portent in the Jubilee year. The similarities to ancient Israel and to the Ekklesia are astounding.
Many analogies, types, and truths are found in the days that Yahweh has set apart for His worship. Keeping His Sabbaths as well as the annual holy days and becoming aware of the Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle keeps us in constant reminder of His great plan of redemption.
Keeping our hearts and minds on heavenly things helps correct our attitudes and behavior so that we forego worldly pleasures and allurements to seek the Kingdom and enter His rest.
Observing Yahweh’s Sabbaths helps us to keep His commandments as we walk in His truth. From the Saturday Sabbath we set apart a day each week to enter His rest. In fellowship with others of like faith, we joyfully study the Bible, reviewing and learning more of His way of life.
Yahshua’s Ministry a Sabbatical
Following His testing by Satan, Yahshua went into the synagogue and read a most poignant verse:
“The Spirit of Yahweh is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the evangel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of Yahweh. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him” (Luke 4:18-20).
The “acceptable year of Yahweh” is recognized by scholars as a Leviticus 25 reference to the Jubilee year. Every seventh year was a “year of release,” when a Hebrew who had become a bond servant could go free (Ex. 21:1-11). Possessions were returned to the original owner. At the Jubilee, freedom was restored to all.
In the Hebrew text of Isaiah 61, the “acceptable year” and the “day of vengeance” are combined. The first coming of Yahshua made available Yahweh’s favor and acceptance through His Son Yahshua. The second coming warns of coming judgment when the Messiah returns to judge the world and set up Yahweh’s Kingdom on earth.
That rest includes the preparation of this earth for the coming Kingdom as well as sanctifying a special people by releasing us from the cares of this mundane world. We become more attentive to things spiritual and walk on higher ground, seeking the refreshing of life to come.
Restoration of All Things
Before that happens there is to be a revival and turning back to Yahweh by a people who will seek to learn more of His ways and seek His truth in the Bible and apply it to their lives. This is our goal now, to seek His truth diligently and be guided thereby.
“Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of Yahweh; And he shall send Yahshua Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Yahweh has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).
It is our understanding that the year 2015-2016 will be the next Sabbatical year, beginning on Atonement and ending on Atonement. This is based upon the year 69-70 C.E. as the Sabbatical, the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Evidence indicates that Yahshua began His ministry in the year 27-28 C.E. when He “preached the acceptable year” (Luke 4:19).
Strangely, it works out that even using our secular calendar, the Sabbatical years are divisible by seven. The years 28, 70 and 2016 are evenly divisible by seven.
What Can We Do Today?
During a Sabbatical year we do not plant or prune, but allow the ground to yield self-seeding plants such as lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and of course the perennials such as strawberries, rhubarb, and fruit trees. These we can pick and consume but not freeze or store, which applies to any food that grows of itself.
Not planting a garden may be a small thing in this busy, bustling country of plenty, but almost every day of the Sabbatical year we are reminded that this is a special year, the ground we rely on for our produce is to have rest, just as Yahweh’s people have weekly Sabbath rest.
During the Sabbatical we do not plow or till the soil.
Not planting a garden would take real dedication for ancient Israel when the entire nation was not growing any crops. Yet, Yahweh had made provision for this by commanding the sixth year to bring forth food for three years:
And if you shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And you shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in you shall eat of the old store (Lev. 25:20-22).
Jubilee Year Question
Exactly when the Jubilee year falls in today’s calendar is an enigma. After the return of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people were so determined to be obedient to Yahweh that He would bless them and they would not have to sell any of their land to redeem it on the Jubilee.
They believed that Yahweh would not allow them to become impoverished, and therefore there would be no need for a Jubilee, a year of release. The exact day of the Jubilee, therefore, had been lost.
It is our goal to restore these truths, which will be the norm in the coming Kingdom. May you turn your heart in full obedience to Yahweh so that you will better understand the deeper truth of the Sabbaths and not be caught unaware when that last great Trumpet sounds and Yahshua takes control of this earth.
Keeping Yahweh’s Feast Days Yahweh specifically commanded Israel and all His people today to keep seven Feasts to Him throughout the year. These seven Feasts were in addition to the weekly Sabbath.
The purpose of the Feasts was to keep Yahweh always in the minds and hearts of His people so that they can align with Him. Observing the Feasts also brought people together as a family and helped unite them as a nation under Yahweh. The Feasts lay out the plan of salvation and show prophetically where we are in that plan today.
With all that the Feasts embody, and as central as they are in scriptural law, it is nothing short of stunning that they have been completely disregarded and ignored by churchianity for 2,000 years! Most churchgoers would never deliberately go break the Ten Commandments. Yet the Feasts, which were also commanded at Sinai along with the Commandments, have all been deliberately broken for millennia by denominational worship claiming an otherwise dedicated faith.
Feast Days : Key to the Future
It is as much a sin to break the Feast commands as it is to break the Ten Commandments. Each violates Yahweh’s law. The only defense is ignorance. But once you know you are then responsible to make them a key part of your life or else stand guilty of lawbreaking. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin,” James 4:17.
It is time we learned more about Yahweh’s sacred Feasts. In addition to the Feast of Tabernacles, two other convocations are also known as “Pilgrim Feasts.” These are the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks.
We are expected to leave our homes and travel to attend these “appointed times” (Hebrew moed, moedim, plural). These three Feasts depict our journey through life as pilgrims and travelers seeking a better country, the city Yahweh has prepared for us (Heb. 11:16).
We aspire to the Kingdom of Yahweh, which will come to this earth. His Feasts help us understand that future Kingdom and how it will be administered.
These three great Feasts celebrated the three times fruits of the earth were gathered; the barley harvest at Unleavened Bread; the wheat harvest at Pentecost, and the oil, honey, and grapes at Tabernacles.
Just as Israel tabernacled in the wilderness, Yahshua the Messiah “tabernacles” with His people today. This is one of the many lessons we learn from the Feast of Tabernacles and other Feasts observed by True Worshipers.
The Feasts are also reminders of Israel’s historical events. Passover in the first month of the year (March or April) memorializes the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Fifty days later Pentecost marks the ratifying of the Law (making a Covenant) at Sinai.
Tabernacles and the Wilderness
Tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month commemorates Israel’s establishment in the Land of Promise. Now they were home and finally at peace under King Solomon. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness they at last possessed the land.
Tabernacles was a thankful and a holy remembrance of past wanderings in temporary dwellings. At that time Israel took boughs of palm and willows of the brook and made temporary huts. They sat under these succoth just as did Joshua when settling the land: “And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness” (Neh. 8:17).
During the time of Solomon (Heb. “king of peace”), Israel was at home and enjoyed peace and quiet throughout the land of Judea. “And Judah and Israel lived safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon” (1Kings 4:25).
Tabernacles and the Ark
The last vestige of wilderness life ended when the Ark of the Covenant was taken from the portable tent and placed in the magnificent Temple of stone in the seventh month. The event was further celebrated by observing the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month: “Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which [is] Zion. Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark” (2Chron. 5:24).
Finally, on the 23rd of the seventh month, Solomon sent the great congregation away, glad in heart for the goodness Yahweh had showed to David, Solomon, and His people Israel. Home at last! The Ark of the Covenant was now in the security of its Temple home. It was a wonderful event to associate with the Feast of Tabernacles. Take note, it was at the beginning of the seventh month after their return from Babylonian captivity that the Jews gathered under Ezra and Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 8:23 says, “And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that [was] before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people [were attentive] unto the book of the law.”
The returned captives were gathered in Jerusalem the second day of the seventh month to listen to Ezra the priest read from the book of the law. In it they learned that there was a convocation to be observed on the fifteenth of this seventh month: “And they found written in the law which Yahweh had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written” (Neh. 8:14:15). “Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of Elohim. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day [was] a solemn assembly, according unto the manner” (Neh. 8:18).
Just as the returning captives were unaware of the Feast of Tabernacles, many of our readers are unfamiliar with Yahweh’s Feast of Tabernacles. As soon as the Jews learned that they were expected to keep the Feast, they urged those in all their cities to prepare for the full eight days of the Feast.
Spiritual Meaning of the Feast Days
The Passover points to Yahshua as the true Passover Lamb Who was sacrificed for the sins of the world. Because we believe in the atoning work of His sacrifice, we are to keep the feast of Unleavened Bread: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth” (1Cor. 5:7-8).
• Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) is a memorial of the giving of the Law at Sinai, and the descent of the Holy Spirit to enable us to keep the Law. Having the Law written on our hearts is more effectual than having it written on stone. His law within us guides us day by day and we make His law come alive as we obey and follow it day by day: “Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Messiah ministered by us, written not with ink, but with Spirit of the living Elohim; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2Cor. 3:3).
• The day of Trumpets is announced by the thin crescent moon just after sunset, which ends the sixth and begins the seventh month, in our September or October. It is the beginning of the civil year in Judaism. However, the month of Abib in spring is Yahweh’s beginning of His religious year, usually March or April. The day of Trumpets calls our attention to the beginning of Yahweh’s seventh month. The sounding of the trumpet traditionally warned of an alarm, war or danger such as we find in Zephaniah: “A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:16). Trumpets is to prepare us for the return of the Messiah and His setting up the Kingdom. We keep our mind on heavenly things, being alert to signs of His return.
• Ten days after the day of Trumpets comes the day of Atonement. It is known in rabbinical writings as the holiest day of the year. From the day of Trumpets to Atonement is a time of deep introspection and self-appraisal.
It was the time when the High Priest emerged from the Holy of Holies to the people’s shouts of joy, knowing their sacrifice was acceptable. Atonement marks the day our High Priest Yahshua comes out from the heavenly Holy of Holies to assure us His atoning sacrifice for our sins was acceptable to the Heavenly Father.
You Shall Rejoice During the Feast Days!
There is much rejoicing at the Feast of Tabernacles, which starts on the biblical 15th of the seventh month, with the celebration ending with the Last Great Day on the 22nd (Oct. 10-17, 2014). “The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of Yahweh does valiantly” (Ps. 118:15).
The Jews of the captivity had not kept Tabernacles in their exile, but were now excited over the command to observe it: “And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Yahshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness” (Neh. 8:17).
Those Yahweh is calling out of this world to keep His Feast of Tabernacles and the Feasts of the seventh month should make every effort to do so. If Yahweh’s Spirit has sparked an interest in your heart to start keeping His Feasts, do not quench that desire. The entire family is expected to keep and enjoy the Feasts together. Once you do you will never go back to the superficial, empty, and pointless holidays of the world.
The Bible also speaks of a second tithe that we set aside throughout the year so that we have the means to keep the Feasts. This second tithe is to assure Yahweh’s people that if they are diligent they can enjoy the Feasts to the fullest. It is retained by the individual at home and is often called “the Festival Tithe.”
“You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your com, or of your wine, or of your oil, or the first-lings of your herds or of your flock, nor any of your vows which you vow, nor your freewill offerings, or heave offering of your hand: But you must eat them before Yahweh your Elohim in the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that [is] within your gates: and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim in all that you put your hands unto” (Deut. 12:17-19).
Of the three annual Sabbath celebrations known as “Pilgrim Feasts,” the Feast of Tabernacles still awaits complete spiritual fulfillment.
A Deeply Moving Time
Those who start attending Feasts of Tabernacles clearly remember their first time. Some newcomers arrive not fully knowing what to expect. But soon the experienced Feastgoers help their new neighbors get settled and ready for the eight wonderful days of fellowship, messages, and Bible studies. Friendships come easy as the brethren unite in purpose and goal, as Israel did.
Having once attended a Feast, one looks with great anticipation to the next one. It soon becomes a family reunion as spiritual brothers and sisters gather as Yahweh’s obedient to worship Him and study His Word.
The word feast is from the Hebrew moed, meaning appointment, a fixed time or season, specifically a festival. The sense or meaning is that these special times have been ordained by Yahweh and set aside for His worship.
Another word translated feast is chag (Strong’s No. 2282), meaning a festival and is from chagag meaning to celebrate, dance, keep or hold a feast and holiday. Chag is a joyful time.
We are reminded of Yahweh’s admonition as we at-tend these annual feast days, “And you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite that [is] within your gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which Yahweh your Elohim has chosen to place his name there” (Deut. 16:11).
We come to the Feast days with great expectations, with the intent and attitude that above all we are going to enjoy Yahweh’s special times. We look forward to the good things of this life, yet with a greater anticipation of better things and joys to come. Gathering with others of like faith, the anticipation is strengthened as it is built on better and better memories. Join Us for the Feast Days!
Feasts of Yahweh are primarily centered on learning more of Him. Great fellowship, food and fun are an added benefit. The Feasts are an appointment we make with Yahweh. We meet where His Name is placed. Yahweh is the One Who reveals His Name to His people and places it in the hearts and minds of His people.
We are to gather in convocation as a body to worship Him and fellowship with others of like mind and heart. Staying at home alone in a backyard tent does not satisfy Yahweh’s command. We are expected to join with others wherever He places His Name and observe all the Feast Days, Deuteronomy 14:23.
Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry keep the Feast Days at our facilities. We do so for several reasons. First, we are commanded to “come out” and keep a Feast, just as Israel had to leave Egypt to keep a Feast to Yahweh “in the wilderness,” Exodus 5:1. Camping is inexpensive and we urge all to stay at the facility where families can enjoy the Feast days to the utmost. (Contact us for more information.)
We Seek Another Kingdom
We are thankful that Yahweh has shown us His Name that we may call upon Him as our Father. He has shown us His Feast Days and Sabbaths that we might be sanctified (set apart) and that we might know Him through His days set apart: “Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I [am] Yahweh that sanctify them” (Ezek. 20:12).
We are but sojourners on this earth, seeking the coming Kingdom of Yahweh. All those of good will are invited to join us in observing the Feast Days. We hope that this year will be your year.
There has been a recent trend with members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church coming to the knowledge and acceptance of the biblical Feast days. Examples of these days include the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, a.k.a. Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Not only are many realizing that the Messiah and apostles observed these days in the New Testament (Mark 14:1; John 7:2, 37; Acts 2:1-4; 12:3; 20:6, 16; 1Cor. 5:8), but they also offer incredible insight into our Creator’s plan of salvation for mankind. For instance, not only did the Passover bring redemption to Israel through the death of the Passover lamb, but the Messiah through His death also brought salvation to mankind. A similar connection is found with the Feast of Weeks. This Feast represents the giving of the Law in the Old Testament and also the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
Even though the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not officially recognize these days, Ellen G. White, a predominant founder of this movement, spoke to the value of these days: “Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship. To these holy convocations the children of Israel came, bringing to the house of God their tithes, their sin offerings, and their offerings of gratitude. They met to recount God’s mercies, to make known His wonderful works, and to offer praise and thanksgiving to His name. And they were to unite in the sacrificial service which pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Thus they were to be preserved from the corrupting power of worldliness and idolatry. Faith and love and gratitude were to be kept alive in their hearts, and through their association together in this sacred service they were to be bound closer to God and to one another.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 39)
While Ellen G. White never officially endorsed the keeping of the annual Feasts, she nonetheless saw the value of these days. Perhaps with more time and study she would have come to this understanding, as she correctly did with the seventh-day Sabbath.
If you are a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and desire more truth, consider exploring these and many other insights that the Bible clearly teaches. Let us not be unprepared when our Savior returns by ignoring portions of His Word, but search out what He says with an open and unbiased mind. “But sanctify Yahweh Elohim in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” 1 Peter 3:15.
Understanding the seven annual observances of the Bible is to grasp the plan of salvation. These appointed times offer a wealth of “insider” knowledge that includes keys to when Yahshua will return and who will be chosen for salvation.
These decreed observances are also a covenant promise between Yahweh and His people. They teach us of a coming heavenly Kingdom on earth, where the chosen will have positions of authority under Yahshua.
Our lives are a preparation to rule with the Messiah when He returns. His annual feasts are a time of gathering to rejoice, celebrate the blessings Yahweh has given us, and to focus on the awesomeness of eternity with the King. The Feasts unlock the future.
Yahweh’s holy times begin with Passover in the month of Abib when green ears of barley appear and the first fruit of the grains is harvested. Fifty days later is Pentecost, when the wheat harvest begins. In the seventh month are four High Sabbaths, which complete the harvest season and end with the Last Great Day of the Feast.
Yahweh’s plan of redemption is all about spiritual harvesting. Yahshua is the Firstfruits of the resurrection. Yahweh’s people are also a type of harvest, which is clear from James 1:18.
Passover commemorates the deliverance of His physical people Israel from the bondage of the Egyptians. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us that Israel lived in tents or booths before they were brought into the Promised Land. As with Israel, we face a future of virtual slavery and tribulation before He steps in to deliver His people.
Duality of Harvest
Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits points to the harvest of those called out of the world now to help Yahshua rule for a thousand years. Also known as the Feast of Weeks, this time commemorates the giving of the law at Sinai, which Israel ratified under the Old Covenant.
In the New Testament the Holy Spirit was sent to the earth to help us be obedient and keep the law. This became known as the New Covenant. On this day the called-out people entered the New Covenant.
In Acts 2:39 Peter confirms that the chosen will be heirs in the Kingdom. The ekklesia (improperly rendered “church”) is being called out of the world now to become a kingdom of priests under the coming rulership of the Messiah. We are not yet in the Kingdom, but those in the ekklesia are heirs of the Kingdom, joint heirs with Messiah, and are in training now to help rule in the righteous government of the heavens brought to earth.
Many prophets were given visions of the latter days and the future deliverance of Yahweh’s people, which will be far greater than the deliverance of the 2-3 million Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Jeremiah gives the reason:
“Wherefore has Yahweh pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our sin that we have committed against Yahweh our Elohim? Then shall you say unto them. Because your fathers have forsaken me, says Yahweh, and have walked after other deities, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken Me, and have not kept My law; and you have done worse than your fathers; for behold, you walk everyone after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto Me,” Jeremiah 16:10-12.
The ‘Easy Way’ Teaching
When people today read Jeremiah’s prophecy they get the idea that it refers in the modern context to someone else. Christians do not realize this prophecy is directed against perverting Scriptures today and forsaking Yahweh by walking after other deities and serving mighty ones called G-d and L-rd (Baal, Jer. 23:27).
Most nominal churchgoers would declare that they indeed worship the Mighty One of the Bible. However, when clear, explicit verses are presented – such as Exodus 23:11-17, commanding Yahweh’s people to keep the Sabbatical years; to keep the seventh-day Sabbath; not to utter names of pagan deities; to keep the annual holy days – almost to a person they will quickly shrug it off and say that it does not mean me.
Seeking shortcuts is a common human failing. We tend to follow the path of least resistance. Preaching an easy road to salvation is a pastime of many ministries.
When it comes to pure worship, Yahweh does not offer shortcuts. His is a doctrine of self-discipline, of overcoming our sinful nature and viewing and living life from His perspective, no matter what the obstacles.
“Therefore thus says Yahweh, Elohim of hosts. O my people that dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian; he shall smite you with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against you, after the manner of Egypt,” Isaiah 10:24.
Hebrews 12:22-24 clearly shows that the true people of Yahweh are referred to as those dwelling in Zion. These saints will undergo a future persecution and tribulation under the hand of the Assyrian as did ancient Israel. They will be delivered with a mighty hand just as were the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. It is during this time that the saints will be living in tabernacles just before Yahweh intervenes.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that Yahweh shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros and from Cush, and from Elam and from Shinar, and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth,’’ Isaiah 11:11-12. The gathering of His saints will be from the area around Jerusalem, and will include “the islands of the sea.”
And now read verse 16. “There shall be a highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt,” Isaiah 11:16. Note that it will be but a remnant of His people that will be left as He sets His hand to recover His people the second time. He will be known as the One who saved His people from the north country, not as the Elohim who saved His people from Egypt. This series of events will surpass anything that the world has ever seen prior to this time.
Disobedience Carries a Price
The world is not obediently keeping the feast days as Yahweh commands. The result is judgment. “Howl ye; for the day of Yahweh is at hand: it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty … Behold the day of Yahweh comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine,” Isaiah 13:6.9-10.
Yahshua Himself spoke of this time in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24:29. Notice that He begins verse 21 stating, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Verse 24 shows that the elect, or chosen people, will still be on the earth, for He speaks of false mcssiahs and false prophets who will show great signs and wonders that will be so astounding and real that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived.
The Savior goes on to say in Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.” This prophecy is also seen in Joel 2:31. It is a time of Yahweh’s wrath upon a lawless and defiant world.
Many times Isaiah refers to the end of the age when Yahweh’s wrath is poured out on a sick, sin-filled world. Isaiah 59:18 shows that Yalweh will repay the sins of His adversaries with fury.
“So shall they fear the Name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of Yahweh shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgressions in Jacob, says Yahweh,” verses 19-20. Yahweh promises deliverance to His people who overcome and live for Him. But he does not promise a rapture from earth.
Fall Festivals Unfulfilled
Isaiah 60 tells of the re-gathering of His people from around the world. He promises untold glory for those who remain steadfast. In Isaiah 61 we find the same verse that Yahshua quoted when He began His public ministry.
“The Spirit of Yahweh is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of Yahweh,” Luke 4:18-19.
Yahshua stopped in the middle of the second verse. But it is obvious that He was speaking of the sabbatical year in this prophecy. Yahweh always brings events about according to His timetable. Passover has been fulfilled twice, as has Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. But the Feasts of the seventh month have never been fulfilled. Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles are awaiting fulfillment and Yahweh un-doubtedly will be right on schedule.
His feast days help us remember His plan of redemption, which we are reminded of at three harvest times during the year. The fall moedim begin a time of tribulation and foreshadow the deception of the false prophet and the iron grip of the man of sin. These festivals go on to remind us of the coming Kingdom of Yahweh where His law and government will rule the world.
Temporarily dwelling in succoth or shelters, as we are commanded of Yahweh at Tabernacles, reminds us that we are but sojourners and travelers in this world. Our real goal is to be in that Kingdom wherein is righteousness and where the entire world will be keeping His Sabbaths and His laws, Isaiah 66:23. We are merely passing through this present veil of tears, knowing that a tabernacle represents our temporary dwelling on earth.
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err: and they that are led of them are destroyed,” Isaiah 9:16.
We today have the greatest opportunity ever to worship Yahweh in spirit and in truth. We have more study resources to prove the truth of the Bible than did any generation before us.
In spite of these advantages, most are more ignorant of the Scriptures than those of Jeremiah’s time. Few desire to search out the truth of the Bible as they should. The difficulty comes when they ignore or work their way around the plain statements of obedience.
Almighty Yahweh is not pleased with His creation of humans when they refuse to do what He expects. What a disappointment man must be to Him –defiantly insisting that he doesn’t need to obey the precepts Yahweh established for man’s own protection and happiness.
Knowing and loving Yahweh means doing what He asks, just as a child shows love and respect to his parents by obeying them – and they love him all the more in return.
By obeying Yahweh’s commands, including the observance of the seventh-month festivals, we show that we indeed want His awesome blessings. We want the awesome promises of rulership with Him in His Kingdom that come only by proving that we first will obey Him.
John wrote. “But whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him,” John 2:5.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a taste of the Kingdom on earth. You can have a foretaste of that joyous Kingdom today. Decide right now to be closer to your Heavenly Father. Join us for the Feast of Tabernacles. Find out what happiness comes in living for Yahweh, rather than just talking about it!
Yahweh has a different plan for the planet, which will begin with the return of Yahshua to wrest global control from a Beast empire that will be in power for only a few years.
The perennial prize, Jerusalem, will not be his for long before Yahshua returns, which is exactly where He will return to: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…” (Zech. 14:4). Once He takes control, Yahshua will immediately implement His righteous rule and Yahweh’s holy laws will be enforced from Jerusalem. Notice the first thing that is required of all people everywhere on earth once He takes the earthly throne: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (14:16).
Feast or Famine – the Coming Choice
But what if the world’s masses refuse to comply, just as vast millions today choose not to keep Yahweh’s Feasts in obedience? “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain” (v. 17).
Those who resist the commandment to keep His Feasts will soon discover that Yahweh will, by force, change attitudes. “And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith Yahweh will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Everyone, including the heathen, will be required to attend His Feasts!
Yahweh could not be more serious. He is so adamant that we observe His Feasts that He is willing to punish with starvation and death those who refuse.
Yahshua’s first millennial act as earthly King is to enforce the keeping of Yahweh’s Feasts. Clearly His Feasts are not optional now and will not be optional when He is in control. His directive is not a casual one. He expects us to put Him first and make time for His Feasts! He expects us to put aside a tithe in order to attend His Feasts, (Deut. 14:23). He expects us to take off work and school to attend His Feasts. He expects us, His people, to be examples of true obedience to the rest of the world.
Yahweh’s Feasts are part of His royal laws, and are just as obligatory as the Ten Commandments. Law is law. We don’t decide which laws of His we will keep and which we will ignore, anymore than we decide which laws of society we will abide by and which ones we will not obey. All laws are in full force and effect at all times. In the same way all of Yahweh’s commands are obligatory for those who seek life everlasting. In Matthew 19:17 Yahshua said, “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Break One, Break Them All
Believers faithfully keep the weekly Sabbath holy because it is part of the law. For some reason, however, they don’t see that the Feasts are just as binding as His Fourth Commandment. They were all given at Sinai! They have not come to terms with the fact that the Feasts are just as essential as the clean food laws and just as important as revering and calling on His revealed, true Name.
Implicit in the Sabbath command is the command to keep ALL Sabbaths – weekly and annual.
Because with Yahweh there is no difference when it comes to His laws, ignoring the Feast commands is no different from working on the Sabbath. This means that even fastidious weekly Sabbath keeping can be voided out by nonobservance of the Feasts.
Knowing the Truth means living the Truth or else it means nothing. We are not given to understand His great statutes and judgments and then not apply what we know.
Yahshua reminded us, “Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23. Iniquity is anomia and means “the condition of being without law.”
Imagine the utter shock on the faces of those who thought that they had an automatic “in” with Yahweh because they thought they were blessed in their lives as believers – only to find out that their lackadaisical attitude when it came to Yahweh’s laws barred them from the Kingdom!
Yahweh’s Feasts, Not Jewish Feasts
We live in the time of the great falling away when all of Yahweh’s commandments and laws are being cast aside wholesale. Only a few, known as the Chosen, will be obedient to all commanded observances.
In an attempt to excuse themselves from keeping His commanded days, many will call His Sabbath and Feasts “Jewish.” Yet, Yahweh defined these observances in Leviticus 23 as “My Feasts.” They transcend every religion and race because they don’t belong to any one people. They are Yahweh’s and therefore are commanded for all people on earth in every era of man’s entire history.
Yahshua knew all of this, of course, and kept the Feasts all His days on earth. In John 7:14-16 we find Yahshua observing the Feast of Tabernacles. His example is for us. He said in John 12:26, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Just as ancient Israel was called out of Egypt to keep His Feast in the wilderness (Ex. 3:18; 5:1; Hosea 11:1), so Yahweh is calling out a people from the world today to observe His Feast days. He has grand plans for those who obey. We read of them in Revelation 1:6, “And has made us kings and priests unto Yahweh his Father.”
For those who still think His Feasts are optional, Yahshua gave a pointed lesson about His own expectations in the parable of five wise and five foolish virgins in Matthew 25. The wise had oil in their lamps and were prepared for the Bridegroom when He came for the wedding Feast. The five others were foolish because they were not ready. They didn’t take their responsibility seriously. Obedient preparation meant little to them initially.
But when it finally dawned on them that the Bridegroom was really coming they begged oil of the five wise virgins. Suddenly it became very important to them that they be ready and found worthy because they realized it meant the difference between being accepted and being rejected by the Bridegroom.
Will you be prepared? Will He reward you with a position in His Kingdom because you proved your worthiness by your obedience to His commands? Only you can answer that question. Rest assured, though, that question is being answered for you right now in whether you honor His commands to obey and follow the Savior’s examples, including joining the saints each year at His commanded Feasts. (Biblical Holydays)
One of the most striking truths we find in Yahweh’s Word pertains to His days of worship. Not only do these days serve a practical purpose, but they also reveal Yahweh’s plan for mankind; each day represents a significant part in Yahweh’s design for His Creation. Those who disregard these days suffer a two-fold loss.
Choosing not to observe Yahweh’s set-apart days not only relinquishes the natural and spiritual blessings, but also forfeits the prophetic insight that these days offer. It is the intent of this article to show in detail the prophetic truths in the observances found within Yahweh’s inspired Word. (All references are taken from the Restoration Study Bible (RSB)
The Apostle Paul states, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Messiah,” Colossians 2:16-17.
Some have understood Paul to say here that we should not be judged for ignoring or dismissing the Old Testament days of worship. However, a close examination of Paul’s words will show the opposite to be true; Paul is admonishing New Testament believers not to allow the disobedient world to judge or condemn them for their faithful obedience to the days that Yahweh established.
In verse 17 Paul states that these days are a shadow of things to come. Some modern translations render this as, “were a shadow.” The correct word is “are,” placing the context in the present and future. The phrase, “shadow of things to come,” points to the prophetic nature of these days. As noted, these are not only days of worship, but also days of future importance.
Within the Word we find seven appointments that Yahweh established for His people: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. The first three of these observances have been fulfilled in both Old and New Testaments, with the latter awaiting future fulfillment. Let’s begin with Passover.
In Exodus 11:4-6, Yahweh revealed to Moses what would happen on Passover evening. “And Moses said, Thus saith Yahweh, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.”
When the death angel went through Egypt on the 14th of Abib at midnight, all the “unprotected” firstborn of Egypt died. Those spared were those who did as Yahweh commanded through Moses; those who placed the saving blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes were spared. As the root word for Passover expresses, the death angel “passed” or “skipped over” those homes. As such, Passover for the Israelites will always be remembered as the night that Yahweh released Israel from Egyptian bondage.
In the Old Testament the Passover lamb was a token of salvation. Through its blood Israel was saved or spared from the wrath of the death angel. In the New Testament we find another Passover lamb. Paul, in 1Corinthians 5:7, identifies this lamb as Yahshua the Messiah: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us.”
Yahshua, through his own death, fulfilled the role of the Old Testament Passover lamb. The Old Testament lamb brought to Israel freedom from the death angel and their later release from the sin of Egypt. Yahshua did the same spiritually. When Yahshua died and shed His blood, He justified, or freed us, from our previous sin; he removed the shackles of death by purging our iniquities. Yahshua’s death was the prophetic fulfillment of the Passover or the shadow that was to come.
Week-long Lessons from Bread
The next observance in the Biblical calendar is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This celebration immediately follows the Passover, beginning on the 15th of Abib: “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein” (Lev. 23:6-8).
Unlike the Passover, which is a one-day memorial, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day observance. Another difference between the Passover and this Feast centers on agriculture, as most of Yahweh’s Feast Days are agriculturally based. This truth must be understood if one is to comprehend the significance of these days.
This Feast commemorated the barley harvest, which was the first grain harvest of the year. During this Feast the priest would wave the omer offering of barley, representing the firstfruits of the harvest, to Yahweh. Leviticus 23:9-11 explains this process:
“And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
There are different views on what is meant by “Sabbath.” Some interpret this as the first high-Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and others as the weekly Sabbath. The word “Sabbath” in verse 11 is shabbath and refers exclusively to the weekly Sabbath (except for Atonement). For this reason, the Sabbath mentioned here most likely refers to the weekly Sabbath.
This places the waving of the sheaf on the first day of the week within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Once the sheaf was waved, Israel could commence with the barley harvest, again depicting the agricultural im-portance of this observance.
In the New Testament we find that Yahshua fulfilled this Feast through offering up of Himself as the Firstfruits. Before we consider this, however, it is expedient to review the timing of his death. Luke 23:50-56 offers a chronology of this event: “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of Elohim. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Yahshua. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
Let’s review the events in chronological order. On Wednesday evening, Joseph took Yahshua’s body and laid it in a new tomb, vv. 50-54. The next day, Thursday, was the Sabbath or first high-Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, v. 54. On Friday, the women prepared the spices and ointments and on the next day rested on the weekly Sabbath, vv. 55-56. Luke 24:1 states, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” According to the RSB: the word “‘week’ is a mistranslation of the Greek te mia ton sabbaton, and should have been rendered ‘first day of the Sabbaths.’
Leviticus 23:15-17 shows that this ‘first day’ is the first of the Sabbaths in the count of the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost. On this day, therefore, the ‘Savior’ became the firstfruits of ‘Yahweh’s’ resurrection harvest…” (p. 1376). Based on this explanation, the day that the women came back to the tomb was the same day that the priest sacrificed the omer offering.
From John’s evangel, Miriam saw Yahshua on this day: “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Yahshua standing, and knew not that it was Yahshua. Yahshua saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:14-15).
Why would Miriam suppose that Yahshua was the gardener in this passage? The answer may be that he was waving the firstfruits to Yahweh. Yahshua became the firstfruits of those who would be resurrected. “But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1Cor. 15:20).
Feast of Weeks (Firstfruits)
The latest Feast to be fulfilled in both Old and New Testaments is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. According toLeviticus 23:15-16, this day was observed fifty days from the wave sheaf offering: “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh.”
The Feast of Weeks is exactly seven complete weeks plus one day or fifty days from when the priest waved the omer offering. Since the sheaf was waved on the Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks is always observed on the first day of the week. Similar to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, this Feast commemorated the wheat harvest. As wheat was more valued than barley, this was an important harvest for Israel. On this day Israel was told to make two loaves with fine flour or wheat and have the priest wave them before Yahweh, analogous to the omer offering: “Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh…And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before Yahweh, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest” (Lev. 23:17, 20).
While there is much debate as to what these two loaves represent, it’s been suggested that they may symbolize Jew and gentile. In addition to the agricultural connection, it is also speculated that at this time Moses received the Law from Sinai. Exodus 19:1 offers indication of this event: “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.”
Israel was at Sinai in the third month, the same month as the Feast of Weeks. Based on this, it is probable that Moses received the commandments on this Feast. In addition to Scripture, Jewish tradition also holds to the law being delivered on this day.
Furthermore, almost all major events in the Old Testament were connected to a Feast observance. It would seem rather strange or out of place to find no connection with the giving of the Law at Sinai and an Old Testament Feast.
Assuming that the commandments were received on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, an interesting parallel is found in the New Testament.
In Acts 2:1-4 we find the outpouring of Yahweh’s Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Yahweh’s Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. As confirmation of this momentous event, through the Spirit those gathered received the gift of tongues or the ability to speak in other languages. As a matter of fact, it was through this Spirit and gift that led to the saving of the 3,000 souls in verse 41.
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit completes the Law. While the law defines the morality and truth of Yahweh, the Spirit helps believers to distinguish and rightly apply the Law. The two complement one another. From the evidence it is reasonable to conclude that the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost was fulfilled through the Old and New Testaments by the giving of the Law at Sinai and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Jerusalem. As seen, the two loaves may also depict the grafting in of the gentiles with Israel, see also Romans 11:11-24.
In part 2 in this series, we will ex-plore the remaining fall feasts, which foreshadow events connected with Yahshua’s Second Coming, Yahweh’s Millennial Kingdom, and the Great White Throne Judgment.
Don’t Be Left Out
Don’t be left out, it is not too late. Make plans now to join Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry for these prophetic days of worship! Your life and your Bible understanding will never be the same as you receive Yahweh’s blessings for your obedience.
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Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh” (Lev. 23:24-25).
The Jews call this day by many names, including Zikhron Teru’ah (a memorial of blowing of trumpets), Yom Teru’ah (day of the awaking blast) and Rosh Hashanah (head of the year). While the first two names are rooted in Scripture, the third is not. Rabbinical teachings state that the Feast of Trumpets begins the civil year. Such a conclusion cannot be supported by Scripture. The Word speaks of one year and that is Abib (Deut. 16:1), which occurs in springtime and is determined by the early barley.
Unlike Rosh Hashanah, the first two names are biblically grounded and speak both to the meaning and fulfillment of this day. The first, Zikhron Teru’ah (as found in Lev. 23:24), refers to this day as a memorial of blowing trumpets. In ancient Israel the trumpet or shofar held special significance. It was used to gather the assembly for travel, war, and worship (Num. 10:1-10). In the context of this Feast, the trumpet was used for the calling together of worship.
In addition to the Old Testament meaning, this name also expresses the likely prophetic fulfillment of the Messiah’s Second Coming. At this time Scripture speaks of trumpets sounding. Paul in 1Thessalonians 4:15-18 provides a description of this momentous event:
For this we say unto you by the word of Yahweh, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Master shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Master himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Yahshua’s return will be announced with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of Elohim. Such a declaration will not go unnoticed. Once the trumpet sounds, Yahshua will descend from heaven and the saints will be resurrected to be “caught up” with Him in the air.
Many theologians claim that this passage refers to the rapture. As noted in the Restoration Study Bible, “This phrase is derived from the Greek harpazo and means, ‘to seize or catch away.’ It does not refer to a rapture, but to the Second Advent of Yahshua the Messiah (1Thess. 5:2)…The word ‘meet’ is apantesis and is used only three times in the NT (Matt. 25:1,6; Acts 28:15). It means ‘to join with and continue on to the destination,’ not reverse course and go back where one came from….”
The mention of the trumpet here and in other passages, e.g. 1Corinthians 15:51-21, offers strong evidence that Yahshua’s Second Advent will occur on the Feast of Trumpets. As described by the Hebrew Yom Teru’ah (day of the awaking blast), this day will offer a deafening wakeup call to mankind.
The Day of Covering
Next Feast is the Day of Atonement or as it is often called, Yom Kippur (day of covering). “And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before Yahweh your Elohim. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath” (Lev. 23:26-32).
On this day Israel was commanded to abstain from work and to afflict their souls. The word “afflict” is from the Hebrew ‘anah and means, “to browbeat or depress.” The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines ‘anah: “to afflict, to oppress, to humble, to be afflicted, to be bowed down.”
In addition to these prohibitions, this was a day of dealing with the people’s sins, as found in Leviticus 16. On Yom Kippur the high priest selected two goats, one for a sin offering and the other for a scapegoat (Heb. azazel). The sin offering was for atonement for sin.
While many biblical commentators apply the scapegoat to the Messiah, it is more likely that this goat symbolizes the father of lies. To understand this view, one must carefully consider the roles of the two goats and the parallels between the Azazel in Leviticus 16and Satan in Revelation 20.
Azazel Not Messiah
For starters, it was not the Azazel goat but the goat of the sin offering that atoned for Israel’s sins, a role that befits the Messiah and no other. Another reason for this inference is found in the many parallels to these passages. Leviticus 16:21-22 provides the necessary building blocks for understanding:
“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”
Why does the high priest lay his hands on the other live goat and confess the sins of Israel again? As representative of our own High Priest, Yahshua, who took all our sins away by becoming sin for us (2Cor. 5:22) so the Israelite high priest took the collective sin and dispensed with it on the head of the Azazel.
Why didn’t the other goat of the sin offering obliterate the sin? Because Hebrews 10:8 says the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, only cover it. It takes the blood of Yahshua to eliminate it. Yahshua, who does take away sin, will return it back on the head of father of lies and originator of sin.
After Aaron confessed and transmitted Israel’s sins to the live Azazel goat, that goat was not sacrificed but taken alone into the wilderness by a “fit man.” The word “wilderness” comes from the Hebrew midbar and refers to a pasture; by implication, a desert.
The primitive root of midbar is dabar, which means, “to arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue” (Strong’s Concordance). By placing debar into the proper context we learn that the fit man subdues the live goat by taking it into the wilderness or desolate place.
This last point again makes it unlikely that the live goat or the Azazel symbolizes the Messiah. Yahshua offered atonement only through the shedding of His blood, not through His removal to a forgotten place. It is much more plausible that this goat refers to Satan the devil.
In Revelation 20:1-3, John of Patmos provides an ominous description of Satan’s defeat: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
Now we can compare the similarities between Leviticus 16 and Revelation 20. Both passages depict a being that is taken by a “fit” being; in the case of the Azazel, it was a fit man, while in the case of Satan, it will be a powerful angel. Also, as the live goat was taken without harm, Satan will likewise. Lastly, as the Azazel was taken to a desolate place, Satan will suffer a similar fate.
It is for these reasons that the scapegoat probably depicts the defeat of Satan and the transference of the world’s sins back to their originator — haSatan. In addition, it should also be noted that Messiah’s death and atonement is symbolized in the Passover; removing the need for a second fulfillment through the Day of Atonement.
Also, if the Feast of Trumpets symbolizes the return of Yahshua, then the fulfillment of this day must occur after this event. In the instance of Satan’s defeat, this immediately follows the Messiah’s Second Coming.
The Coming Kingdom
The next Feast on the biblical calendar is Tabernacles: “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field” (Ex. 16:23).
As the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of Weeks marked the two grain harvests, the Feast of Ingathering or Feast of Tabernacles marked the end of the agriculture cycle by the gathering in of the fall crops. It is imperative to recognize the agricultural significance. Not only does this impact our basic understanding of Old Testament worship, but also the theme and culture that continued into the New.
Many of Yahshua’s parables were agriculturally based, including those pertaining to the resurrection of the saints. For example, inMatthew 13:24-30 Yahshua provides the parable of the wheat and tares: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In verses 36 to 43 Yahshua explains the meaning of this parable. The one who sows the good seed represents the Messiah; the one who sows the tares represents Satan the devil; the reapers represent the angels of heaven; the wheat represents the resurrected saints; and the tares represent the sons of the Evil One. Yahshua again illustrates the first resurrection through agriculture.
It is important to note that while Tabernacles does not specifically symbolize the resurrection, it is through the resurrection that Yahshua will establish the Millennial Kingdom.
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
The Bible speaks of two resurrections. We find the first mentioned here. Scripture promises that those who are found worthy of the first resurrection will rule with the Messiah for a thousand years. This time is called the Millennium (from the Latin mille, thousand, and annus, year) and is the fulfillment of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles.
The last annual Feast is the Last Great Day. Ironically, many believers gloss over or combine this with the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a separate Feast in its own right. In the law this single day marked the end of Yahweh’s annual Sabbaths: “…on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein” (Lev. 23:36).
As this marked the end of Yahweh’s sacred season, it is likely that this time prophetically symbolizes the end of an era through the Great White Throne Judgment. This prophetic event is the final judgment for mankind.
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
At the end of the Millennium all of mankind will be judged based on their works. The word “works” is from the Greek ergon, referring to the actions and deeds of man. Those who lived a life of virtue will have an opportunity for everlasting life. Howbeit, those who purposely defied Yahweh will face judgment and eternal destruction (which is different from eternal torment).
It is for this reason that the Last Great Day symbolizes the end of one era and the beginning of another. Immediately following the Great White Throne Judgment, there will be a new heaven and a new earth with the coming of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2).
Yahweh’s Plan Revealed
From the death of the Messiah through the completion of an era, Yahweh’s annual Sabbaths clearly reveal His plan of salvation for mankind. It is not enough to simply understand this truth. To recognize the fullness and receive the blessings of these days, one must embrace and observe them as we find in the Old and New Testaments.
Yahshua the Messiah kept the Feasts while He walked this earth. He is our example. So did His apostles, including the Apostle Paul. These days commanded Israel of old continue to be in effect today and will be observed on into the coming Kingdom.
We welcome you to join Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry in honoring our Heavenly Father through obedience to His appointed days of worship! No other annual days are commanded in the Scriptures for His people.
When Yahshua the Messiah returns, where will He descend? To whom will He return? To Christians who keep Sunday? To Muslims who keep Friday? To Jehovah’s Witnesses who keep all days? To the U.S. Naval Observatory to confirm the day of the week and the equinox? Or to those who keep the Biblical Sabbath and Feasts – just as He did Himself?
Bible prophecy tells us that world conditions indicate that the return of our Savior is drawing ever nearer. He could return at one of the Feast days of the seventh month – at year’s end – because He is prophesied to return at the last trumpet sound. When Yahshua returns, only the believers are raised to an incorruptible state.
The New Testament deals with the end times and moves step by step through the chapters of Revelation and the sounding of seven trumpets of Yahweh. A number of verses corroborate the return of the Messiah, stating that it is at the seventh and last trumpet that our Savior returns. One such is lCorinthians 15:52: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (ICor. 15:52).
The Apostle Paul also wrote, “For Yahshua Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Yahweh: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first” (1Thes. 4: 16).
While we are assured that Yahshua will return at the last or seventh trumpet, we are also told that He will return to Jerusalem to the mount of Olives: “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zech. 14:4).
Atonement and the High Priest
Many believe that the Savior will return at one of Yahweh’s Festivals — perhaps the Feast of Trumpets.
There is also justification for the belief that the Day of Atonement may be the time of His return. Leviticus 16 gives a detailed account of the high priest’s duties on Atonement day. None of the Israelites could enter that holy place at any time, and the high priest entered the Holy of Holies only on the day of Atonement.
Our Redeemer is pictured in type as having gone to the heavens where He as our High Priest is also our advocate or mediator between His ekklesia (Assembly) and the Heavenly Father.
The populace waited outside with baited breath for the return of the high priest, knowing that when he emerged, the sacrifice for himself and the people was then accepted by Yahweh. Had he been struck dead in the Holy of Holies, the message was clear that the Atonementsacrifice was rejected, and the people were still in their sins.
So it is with us. When we see the returning Messiah, we will know that we are among the redeemed and our sins have truly been forgiven. We can now stand in His presence: “So Messiah was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28).
True Roots Soon Lost
In preparing for the coming birth of the Savior to Bethlehem, Yahweh under Ezra and Nehemiah had brought the exiled Jews back from Babylon. The Temple was rebuilt and Jerusalem was again occupied by the Jews. Under the Romans, the Levitical priesthood wasallowed to function.
The community of Jews in the Holy Land was the only composite witness to the world that Yahweh was indeed the Mighty One of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yahweh sent His Son as His prophet to a people now restored in the land, but they received Him not,John 1:11-12.
Dr. Ethelbert Bullinger’s Companion Bible notes that had the people back then accepted Yahshua as the Messiah, the Kingdom could have been established at that time. However, their rejection of Him brought tragedy upon the whole Jewish nation. A number of Jews along with some Gentiles did accept the Messiah, which was the beginning of the early ekklesia or Assembly of believers, erroneously called “the church.”
Yahshua had spent three and a half years teaching and preparing His twelve Apostles concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. They were to be His witnesses, proclaiming His truth after His return to the Father in heaven. These and other Jewish converts to the Messiah made up the early believers and were known by the world as “Jewish Christians.”
However, soon after the Savior’s death and resurrection the Jewish converts died off and were replaced by Gentiles. The ekklesia(known as the early “church”) for the most part became “Gentile Christianity” and lost its Israelite or Jewish roots. Paganism was adopted wholesale.
The church soon was composed of unconverted pagans who continued in their heathen customs. Pagan doctrines began to supplant the Savior’s New Covenant teachings and perverted His message. Sunday replaced the Sabbath.
Pagan days such as Christmas, Hallowe’en, Lent, and Easter soon displaced the holy days of Leviticus 23. False teachings like going to heaven and the immortal soul idea were baptized and woven into the fabric of “Christian” worship. Pagan worship continued on pagan days, but was now syncretized with a new meaning supposedly adapted to the Bible.
The “gentile church” now claimed the promises made to Israel. Christianity no longer looked to the Jews to learn when Passover was to occur, but turned to the worship of Ashtoreth at the time of the vernal equinox, calling it “Easter.”
Pagan worship revolved around the movement of celestial bodies, and the solstices and equinoxes were the standards for heathen holidays. Xmas came at the time of the winter solstice. The term Easter was derived from the pagan deity Eostre which was the name of the goddess of spring. “In her honor sacrifices were offered at the time of the vernal equinox,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 6, “Easter.”
The celebration in honor of Eostre (Ashtoreth) was adopted by the church and changed to honor the resurrection of the Savior, an observance nowhere commanded in the Bible. We are never told to remember His resurrection, but to remember His death.
Yahshua clearly states, “Salvation is of the Jews,” (John 4:22), referring to Himself as the ultimate Savior Who would spring from Judah. Paul emphasizes the important role the Jews had in preserving Yahweh’s Word: “What advantage then has the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles (Greek logion, utterances) of Yahweh” (Rom. 3:1-2). It is the Jews who have meticulously copied and maintained the accuracy of the Old Testament for us.
Notice that Yahshua Himself made His presence known at the Feast of Dedication in December (John 10:22- 23), a memorial of the cleansing of Ezra’s Temple after its defilement by Antiochus Epiphanes. This was not a commanded observance, but has great historical significance to Israelites.
The Old Testament speaks of the final deliverance of Yahweh’s people as taking place in Mount Zion and Jerusalem where the Jewish nation is presently recognized: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Yahweh has said, and in the remnant whom Yahweh shall call” (Joel 2:32).
During the Sabbatical year of 69-70 C.E., the Temple was destroyed and the Levitical priesthood ceased to function. The Jews were soon driven from the Holy Land following the Bar Kochba rebellion in 135 C.E. Few returned.
For almost 2,000 years Yahweh has not had a “showcase” witness on this earth as was the nation of Israel in the time of David and Solomon, of whom the world could attest to blessings of obedience from Yahweh.
Pagan customs and worldly influence continue to hold sway in churches as corruption of Bible teaching proceeds apace. However, sincere Bible students reject traditions and practices not found in the Bible but seek the Bible’s admonition and example to return to the pristine truth of Scripture as closely as we are able.
It was only in this century, after 2,000 years, that in 1948 Yahweh saw fit to reestablish Israel back in the Holy Land. Israel is the only nation in the world where the seventh-day weekly Sabbath is nationally acknowledged as the day of rest (but not necessarily observed by everyone). While His personal Name, Yahweh, continues to be disguised and avoided, His feast days are tolerated and even respected by most Jews in Israel today.
Once again Yahweh has a viable, visible showcase where His laws and ways are acknowledged (but not always observed).
This tiny nation called Israel, with some 4 million people, has been preserved and spared by Yahweh in spite of repeated attacks from the Arab coalition sworn to push the fledgling country into the sea. It has not happened, and will not happen, because Yahshua Himself will yet intervene at Israel’s darkest hour: “Yahweh also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah” (Zech. 12:7).
Israel was given the Torah and a priesthood to educate them in Yahweh’s ways. Each of the priest’s activities in some way symbolized the redemptive work of the Savior. The Sabbaths have special significance in carrying out Yahweh’s grand design for mankind. Yahweh set apart special days and times for the worship of Himself. These days are prophetic, Colossians 2:17.
These special days are in harmony with the harvesting of crops in the Holy Land. Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread mark the beginning of the barley harvest, followed by the Feast of Weeks for the wheat harvest, and Tabernacles for the general harvest.
Savior to Return to Zion
When Yahshua returns, He will go to the Holy Land and stand on the Mount of Olives, Zechariah 14:4. He will then establish Jerusalem as the bright and shining beacon of light showing His truth to the whole world.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:2-4).
Yahshua will rule with a rod of iron from Jerusalem with the resurrected saints. All His Sabbaths will be strictly honored and kept, “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says Yahweh” (Isa. 66:23).
All Feast days will be observed as well, Ezekiel 45:21-25; also Zechariah 14: 16-18. His Name Yahweh will be revered by all and they will gladly serve Him in the Kingdom: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of Yahweh, to serve Him with one consent” (Zeph. 3:9).
Passover and the Equinox
Because we know that the Sabbaths and Feast days will be observed in the Kingdom, it is incumbent upon us as the Elect of Yahweh to learn as much as we can of these special times.
By keeping these sanctified days now, we will understand and comprehend their deeper spiritual lessons.
Yahweh teaches us spiritual truths through physical actions. We keep the weekly Sabbath to be reminded every week, 52 times a year, that Yahweh is our Creator, the One we serve and obey. We are reminded weekly that Yahshua came to show us how we are to walk in His footsteps and live the truth He teaches.
In the year of His death, history records that the Savior kept the Passover at the same time as did the Sadducees. John 18:28shows that some Jews had not yet partaken of the Passover, but Yahshua and His disciples had done so in John 13. His disciples raised no question about their observing Passover before the Jews who followed Rabbinic Judaism.
Historians agree that while the Temple was standing the Jews kept Passover BEFORE the equinox. Because Yahshua kept Passover as determined by the Sanhedrin before the equinox during Temple times, then we are on safe ground to do likewise. Nothing is said about having to observe a NEW MOON that appears after the vernal equinox before keeping Passover. Historians point out that the vernal equinox often comes during the month Abib.
McClintock and Strong’sCyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 3, p. 13, under Easter states: “Many of the Church fathers are of opinion that, according to the original calculation of the Jews up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, the 14th Nisan had always been after the spring equinox, and that it was only in consequence of a miscalculation of the later Jews that the 14th of Nisan occasionally fell before the equinox. They therefore insisted that the 14th of Nisan, which for both parties within the church determined the time of Easter, should always be after the equinox.
“As the year of Jews is a lunar year, and the 14th of Nisan always a full-moon day, the Christians who adopted the above astronomical view, whenever the 14th of Nisan fell before the equinox, would celebrate the death of [Messiah] one month later than the Jewish Passover. As the Christians … had to make their own calculations for the time of Easter … These calculations frequently differed, partly from reasons already set forth, and partly because the date of the equinox was fixed by some at the 18th of March, by others at the 19th,by others at the 21st of March.”
Man Sets His Own Rules
Notice that the Christian “Church fathers” established their own rules by relying upon the vernal equinox as did the pagans, instead of the green ears of barley as the Bible requires (Abib = “green ears,” Deut. 16:1).
Another authority writes, “That the vernal equinox occurred in Nisan [Abib] is attested by Josephus (Ant. 1. x. 5) and also in cuneiform literature (Muss-Arnolt p. 77) Nisan corresponded to the first zodiacal sign (Aries) in which the vernal equinox fell. The sacred year was determined by the annual festivals and the first of these festivals was henceforth fixed by the Passover moon.” “Equinox and the Calendar,” Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings, p. 765.
Notice that Hastings says, “The vernal equinox occurred in Nisan Abib.” That is to say, sometime during the month of Abib, after the new moon of Abib, the vernal equinox took place. Thus, the equinox came AFTER the new moon of Abib! This counters those who erroneously cling to the idea that the new moon must occur AFTER the equinox.
Nothing is mentioned here about letting the equinox determine the month of Nisan. The vernal equinox fell within the month of Nisan [Abib] -which means the new moon of Nisan came BEFORE the equinox! That is, the new moon came establishing the month of Nisan (Abib), then came the equinox, then the Passover. Therefore, those who insist upon keeping the Feasts a month later are out of harmony with Yahweh’s calendar.
Fausset’s Bible Encyclopedia, under “Year [Hebrew year] reads, “They began it with the new moon nearest to the equinox, yet late enough to allow of the firstfruits of barley harvest being offered about the middle of the first month. So Josephus (Ant. iii. 10,5) states that the Passover was celebrated when the sun was in Aries” (p. 727).
Many authorities and Bible dictionaries corroborate the fact that the Passover was kept AFTER the equinox, but that the new moon of Abib, which began the new year, was that which was nearest the vernal equinox. Some even declare that the equinox came in the month Abib-Nisan, which is AFTER the new moon. Therefore, history confirms the fact that the idea is from paganism that the new moon of Abib must come AFTER the vernal equinox. Often it precedes the equinox. .
Savior Likely to Come at Feast
Because the return of Yahshua will have wide repercussions, many serious Bible students anticipate that the Messiah may well return on one of Yahweh’s prophetic annual Feast days. Trumpets may be a likely time, for this festival has not yet been fulfilled and we read that the Savior will return at the sound of a trumpet: “For Yahshua Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim, and the dead in Messiah shall rise first” (1Thess. 4: 16).
We also read that the Savior will return to the land of Israel: “Then shall Yahweh go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of ittoward the south” (Zech. 14:3-4).
At Last, a Return to Truth
Almost all great Bible events have taken place upon special days that Yahweh has set aside for His worship. Still not fulfilled are the four annual Sabbaths of the seventh month.
The Hebrew tekufah (Strong’s No. 8622) is assumed by a few to be the spring equinox. It appears four times in the Bible with the following literal meanings: Exodus 34:22; at the year’s end (marg.: revolution of the year) 1Samuel 1:20; when the time was come about(marg.: in revolution of days) 2Chronicles 24:23; at the end of the year (“in the revolution of the year” – margin) and Psalm 19:6[concerning the sun] “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.”
Tekufah means at the end of a complete circuit and not the vernal equinox at the beginning of a year.
Before the Savior comes there will be a movement of New Testament believers who will diligently seek the ancient paths and return to keeping Yahweh’s Torah in preparation for Yahshua’s return. The union of Judah and Ephraim will surely come as the latter rain when Yahweh’s Spirit is poured out on His people.
The Savior will return to the mount of Olives, which is in the land of Israel. It will most assuredly be on a Feast day (perhaps Trumpets?). Would not He honor His people by returning when they are obediently keeping the feasts of the seventh month?
Because the Jews were given the oracles of Yahweh, their observance of His holy days would certainly be in the right season, in the correct month, and not a month later as determined by an unbiblical “new moon after the vernal equinox.”
This practice would delay the Feast Days one whole month. Furthermore, observing the signs of the heavens such as the equinoxes and solstices was the practice of pagans who gave us Easter and Xmas. We are better off to be in harmony with the Jews than attempt to observe another month through worldly customs outside the Bible.
Remember the words of Yahshua: “You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews,”John 4:22. Keep the days Yahweh has commanded, in the time that is appointed, not according to the notions of man.
Yahweh in His wisdom has given us a calendar in the sky for all to see. He uses the sun and moon to establish days, months, years, and also His appointed observances, Genesis 1:14. A critical component to His calendar is the new moon, which starts each Biblical month. Yahweh commanded special offerings on each new moon, and one special new moon is even a Feast day called the Feast of Trumpets,Isaiah 66:23.
Yahweh uses the new moon to establish moedim, or commanded observances, Psalm 104:19. Special offerings were also given on the new moons, 2Chronicles 2:4; 8:13; 23:31.
Apostolic Believers, who remained true to His Word, continued to honor new moon days as well as observe Feast days in the New Testament, Acts 18:21; 27:9; 1Corinthians 5:7-8.
Further, we learn from Ezekiel’s prophecy (46:3) that new moon days will be kept in the coming Kingdom: “The people of the land shall also worship at the doorway of that gate before Yahweh on the sabbaths and on the new moons.”
Make no mistake. The Biblical admonition to observe the new moon as a special marker in the Biblical calendar is not a pronouncement about worshiping the moon itself. Yahweh prohibits worshiping any celestial body: “And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which Yahweh your Elohim has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven” (Deut. 4:19). At the same time He commands us to watch for and observe the new moon each month so that we honor and follow His unique calendar and the setting of His special holy days.
What Constitutes a New Moon?
What exactly is a new moon according to the Scriptures? The Jewish calendar creates some confusion because it uses the conjunctions of the moon (Hebrew molad) in setting the beginning of each month. Also somewhat confusing, a certain verse of Scripture seems to equate the new moon with the full moon.
If you are baffled about what the new moon is, we hope this study will settle the issue for you.
Let’s first look at the astronomical conjunction. A lunar conjunction is when the sun, moon and earth are directly in line. Because the sun is behind the moon, no sunlight is reflected from the lunar face. The moon is a total blackout during a conjunction. No part of the moon can be seen in an astronomical conjunction.
The average wall calendar portrays the conjunction with a large black dot and calls it a “new moon.” But in reality it is a “no moon.” It is invisible, and a “no moon” conjunction is not what the Bible means by a new moon, which we will see.
The Bible uses the same Hebrew word for both “new moon” and “month.” Therefore, the new moon is linked to and sets the beginning of the month. But on our Gregorian wall calendars the “no moon” conjunction floats all over the 12 calendar months. Modern calendars completely ignore the Biblical way of setting the first day of the month by the visual new moon, even though the word “month” is derived from the word “moon” and should be oriented to the moon as it was intended by the Creator.
Historically, new moon spotters in Israel watched for the thin crescent to establish the beginning of each month. Once seen they reported their sighting to the calendar court authorities of the Sanhedrin. Note what one authority says, “Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculation, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon,” Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 12, p. 1039.
The switchover from watching for the first visible crescent to calculating conjunctions to determine the month’s beginning came with Hillel II’s calendar revisions in the 4th century C.E. “By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued” (Ibid).
Going by the calculated lunar conjunction contradicts the command in Deuteronomy 16:1: “Observe the month [chodesh, new moon] of Abib and keep the Passover…” Here, the word “observe” in the Hebrew is shamar and also means “look narrowly for, search” (No. 8104 in Strong’s). The Holladay Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon defines it as watching in the sense of looking. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words includes the definitions “mark, watchman, wait, watch, look narrowly.” The command is to look for, wait for, watch and mark the new moon.
The problem is that you cannot see a moon that is completely black or dark, as it is during a conjunction. It would be lunacy sending out new moon watchers on the night of a conjunction to look for a moon they cannot see. To visually confirm the new moon there must be something to identify. Obviously, the invisible conjunction is not that something.
Another predicament is created by the use of the conjunction because during the period surrounding the conjunction there are as many as two or even three nights when no moon is visible. This leads us to wonder which three invisible moons are we commanded to “look narrowly for”? On which of three invisible starting points does the month begin? Yahweh’s calendar is based on observation. Man’s calendars are based on calculation.
No U.S. Naval Observatory existed in the time of the prophets or Apostles. The ancients had to have something tangible to go by that was visible on only one day each month. They needed to see the first thin crescent of a moon as it began its building or waxing phase.
Philo was a prominent Jewish leader who lived in Alexandria from about 20 B.C.E. to about 50 C.E. and was a contemporary of both Yahshua the Messiah and Paul. He was aware of what the Savior and His followers considered was the new moon. In his Treatise on the Special Laws, Book II, XI (41), Philo discusses the Biblical observances. Note how he describes the new moon:
“[It] is that which comes after the conjunction, which… [is] the day of the new moon in each month.” In his detailed discussion of the new moon, Philo describes what constitutes a new moon: “…at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders.”
As Philo noted, the new moon follows the conjunction but it is not the conjunction itself. His observation reveals to us what was considered the new moon in Yahshua’s day and what the Savior Himself also observed as the new moon. That is all we need to know to realize what still constitutes the Biblical new moon today.
Does ‘New’ Mean ‘Full’?
Some read Psalm 81:3 and conclude that the new moon is a holy feast day, and also (because of mistranslation) that the new moon is the full moon and not the first light of the moon. The KJV reads, “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.” Time “appointed” is the Hebrew kacah and means “to plump, i.e. fill up hollows” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). This appointed time is a full moon totally filled with light and on which a solemn Feast day occurs. Does that mean that the new moon is the full moon?
The New King James and some other translations add to the confusion by not translating Psalm 81:3 precisely enough: “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day.” One immediate problem we note is that nowhere in Scripture is the regular monthly new moon referred to as a Feast day, nor is it a full moon, as we shall see.
Other translations clear up the problem by showing two completely different and separate observances in this verse: “Sound the ram’s horn at the new moon, and when the moon is full, at the day of our feast” (NIV).
In Psalm 81:3 Yahweh is speaking of a new moon as well as another observance or appointed time that comes at a full moon. During each of these separate times the trumpet was to sound.
The Hebrew in fact reveals two distinct clauses in this passage, making a definite division of thought. The first is the trumpet as applying to the new moon. The second is the trumpet as it applies to a solemn feast day, which is by Biblical definition different from a regular monthly new moon.
From the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, one would translate Psalm 81:3 this way: “Blow the trumpet at the new moon, and in the fullness of our festival day.”
The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament also makes a differentiation between the two clauses of verse 3: “Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast.”
The Complete Jewish Bible reads: “Sound the shofar at Rosh-Hodesh [new moon], and at full moon for the pilgrim feast.”
The Psalms for Today: A New Translation from the Hebrew into Current English translates the verse: “Sound the trumpet at the new moon, and at the day of our festival, when the moon is full.”
These Hebrew-based translations show that the new moon is different from the full moon and different from a Feast day. The Hebrew shows that the new moon and the full moon are not synonymous. The first is barely visible, the second totally visible. Different words are used for each.
The Hebrew word levanah meaning white, occurs three times in the Hebrew text and poetically refers to the white brilliance of the full moon (see Song of Solomon 6:10; Isa. 24:23; 30:26). And the Hebrew word kehseh, meaning fullness, is twice translated full moon (Ps. 81:3; Prov. 7:20). Chodesh, on the other hand, refers to the new moon and is never used for full moon.
Counting Backward from the Full Moon?
Some postulate that all that is necessary is to wait for the full moon and then count back two weeks for the beginning of the month.
First, such a method ignores Scriptural mandate and practice. Why would one need to “narrowly look for” and diligently search for a full moon? A full moon is in plain sight all night long.
Second, by this reckoning there would historically have been no need for special moon watchers to search the evening sky and report their findings to the Sanhedrin.
Third, those moons immediately preceding and following a full moon have nearly full lumination and are difficult to distinguish from the actual full moon without side-by-side comparison and an expert, discerning eye. This is not the case with a new moon crescent that is either seen or not seen, as by a shepherd boy like David out in the sheep fields.
Fourth, the astronomical full moon does not consistently fall at the exact midpoint between two lunar conjunctions. The full moon may follow the lunar conjunction by as little as 13 days, 21 hours and 53 minutes, or by as much as 15 days, 14 hours and 30 minutes. That is why months vary in length between 29 and 30 days. This anomaly is because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular.
Fifth, this method is based on the conjunction, which we have shown is not the Scriptural new moon.
Consequently, determining the new moon by counting backward from the full moon is anything but scripturally ordained and at times quite inaccurate. And in one special case doing so would even be out of the question: the Feast of Trumpets, itself a new moon and the first day of the seventh month, would be two weeks past by the time the full moon arrived and the backward count is made.
Scimitar-shaped New Moon
Scholars who know the Hebrew language also know that the new moon is defined as a thin, crescent moon. Vine’s says, “Chodeshmeans ‘new moon,’ ‘month.’ The word refers to the day on which the crescent reappears.” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testamentsays of (c)hodesh, “Although this word properly means ‘new moon,’ it is commonly used as an equivalent to our word ‘month’ because the month began when the thin crescent of the new moon was first visible at sunset.”
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says hodhesh (chodesh) means “‘new,’ ‘fresh.’ As the Hebrews reckoned their months from the actual first appearance of the young crescent, hodhesh is most frequently translated ‘month’ ” (Vol. 1, p. 303).
The verb form of (c)hodesh is hadash, a primitive root meaning to rebuild, renew, repair, refresh. This gives us additional proof as to what constitutes a new moon. A full moon is not in the rebuilding or renewing stage. It is already rebuilt, complete, and as full as it will get before waning back down to nothing, where it starts to re-grow from complete blackness once more.
According to Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon the word hodesh derives from a word which means to be new, or to polish a sword. Etymologists have observed that the basic sense is that of cutting and polishing. And the significance of newness relates to a polished sword. The new moon resembles a scimitar or curved sword.
The New Brown Driver Briggs Gesenius says chodesh is rooted in the meaning of conceal, as in “to conceal behind a curtain.” A full moon is anything but concealed. A crescent, on the other hand, is nearly all concealed by a curtain of darkness except for just a curved sliver of light along the right edge.
An Act of Worship
Looking for the new moon crescent each month is, above all, an act of worship. It is axiomatic that we cannot let our worship be done by someone else. James tells us, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only…” 1:22. Do we have the dedication to go out and search the evening sky for a sliver of moon that is often very difficult to locate? Or do we just rely on others in our area or in some other part of the world to do it for us?
As we learn through hundreds of lessons in the Scriptures, True Worship takes effort and self-sacrifice to search out Yahweh’s ways in order to honor Him. It takes no effort or sacrifice to see a full moon or follow computer calculations.
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The Bible’s yearly calendar of feasts is based in agriculture and Israel was an agrarian culture. The Feasts are also agriculture-based. Salvation itself is awarded to those spiritually called firstfruits. They will be resurrected first in a harvest of faithful ones to serve in His coming Kingdom. “These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto Elohim and to the Lamb,” Revelation 14:4. The importance of firstfruits in the biblical calendar cannot be over-stated.
The series of seven annual Feasts begins with the month Abib, a name describing the first green grains of ripening, firstfruits barley. In the Hebrew Scriptures it is designated “the Abib” (haAbib), a definitive term for a specific stage of barley growth. It was in the new-year month of Abib when Israel kept the Passover just before coming out of Egypt, Deuteronomy 16:1. All the annual feasts are set by the critical first month of Abib, the month of green barley ears, Exodus 12:2. To establish Abib as the first month we must find the ripening firstfruits of barley grain. This beautiful harvest calendar is a lesson for in faithful obedience and reliance on Yahweh’s mercy and blessings and not fixed, calculated dates for personal convenience.
Calendars are as common as wristwatches and you probably see at least one every day. Odds are, the calendar you see is the Gregorian calendar, named for Pope Gregory XIII, who updated the earlier Julian version in 1582 to align it more closely with the spring season. Gregory added rules for leap years, which insert an extra day in February. His rules have kept this calendar synchronized with the solar year to within one day in over 3,300 years.
Other calendars are in use today as well. Two of these are very important to those who observe biblical feast days. The Bible specifies exactly which days of the year the feasts are to be observed – and it does not use the Gregorian calendar.Without a proper calendar keyed to the Bible it is impossible to observe the feast days on the correct days of the year, and the Bible stresses that having the correct days is very important for proper worship.
This study examines the original calendar of the Scriptures (the biblical calendar), and the modified calendar derived from it (the calculated Jewish calendar).We will actually address three calendars: the biblical calendar (based on natural observations), today’s Jewish calendar (based on calculations), and the transition between these two – a calendar that started with observations, began supplementing them with calculations, and after 2,000 years finally metamorphosed into today’s Jewish calendar.
Keeping the Right Day Is Paramount
Of all calendars, the true biblical calendar is one of the easiest to understand and the one True Worshipers follow today in observing scriptural days. It is so logical that any rational person can easily comprehend its structure. It requires no complicated calculations or arbitrary rules to keep it aligned with the seasons of the year. It is a lunisolar calendar, which means that both moon and sun play a part in its construction.The rules for that construction come entirely from the Bible and are so simple that after reading them for yourself you should be able to understand and explain them to anyone.
Without an accurate understanding of His biblical calendar, Yahweh’s people would be unable to obey Him. Yahweh told His people they were to assemble at certain times of the year to observe His Feast days, and He did not mention “April” or “October” or any of our other Gregorian calendar months. He used words like “the tenth day of the first month” and “the first day of the seventh month” to pin down Feast day observances (moedim in Hebrew).He says, “But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbears to keep the Passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of Yahweh in his appointed time, that man shall bear his sin” (Num. 9:13).
We learn that Yahweh instructs us to observe all His feast days at precise times (Lev. 23:2), not holidays of our making at times we choose. We sin if we don’t observe them at the commanded day and time. If True Worship means keeping Yahweh’s commands, how do we determine when the fifteenth day of the seventh month is (Feast of Tabernacles)? There are varied arguments among various Feast keepers about the correct day for Passover and Pentecost, and it is certainly prudent to prove what is right (as any good Berean would), rather than blindly accept the opinions of others.
Yahweh tells us rather plainly how to deduce the correct days from a “calendar” in the sky. Note Genesis 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.”
How Would YOU Create a Calendar?
Calendars record the days of the year, laid out in a format that usually spreads them over months and weeks (not all calendars use 7-day weeks, incidentally). A basic calendar relates four time elements: day, week, month, and year.Of these elements the day is foundational. How does Yahweh determine the length of a day? “In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth… And Elohim said, Let there be light: and there was light.And Elohim saw the light, that it was good: and Elohim divided the light from the darkness.And Elohim called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:1-5. The New International Version reads, “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.”)
One evening and one morning equal one day. Why did Yahweh start His day at the “end” of it?We are so accustomed to starting our days at midnight that we think it illogical to start a day at any other time.What could be more illogical than midnight?
If you were living in ancient times and interested in creating your own calendar, at a time unencumbered by our modern society’s need to define and calculate everything exactly, would you not start your days at an easily observable time? What would you use as a starting point for the day?Noon is no good because it is hard to tell when noon is. Midnight is even worse. Sunrise is okay, but most people are asleep then, and even if not, determining just when the sun peeks over the horizon is much harder than determining when it drops below it because you can see it in the process of going down but not coming up. So sunset is a natural time to start, as well as end, the day.
Now isn’t that a coincidence? The Bible tells us exactly that: “The evening and the morning were the first day.” In many places, including the first part of Genesis, Scripture tells us that days begin and end at sunset. Evening is metaphor for night, morning means daylight in Hebrew.
How many of these days do we string together to make a week? Why do we count off seven days, then, and call them a week?The Hebrew word translated “week” is shabua, and it signifies completeness, or perfection.The week was also introduced to us early in Genesis (2:3): “And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which Elohim created and made.”The word translated “rested” here is from the Hebrew root word shabath, Strong’s Concordance No. 7673 – the Sabbath. That Yahweh uses a seven-day week is clear throughout the Bible (Lev. 23:15).
How many days would you put in a month?Remember, you are an ancient observer and you are observing a couple of heavenly bodies for extended periods. The sun rises and sets and the days go by.The moon is doing something a little different.It also rises and sets but the amount of it you can see varies – sometimes it is not visible at all. But it does follow a cycle.
You notice over time that the moon starts as a very thin crescent on one side, gets fuller and brighter, then recedes to a very thin crescent on the other side. Then it disappears for a little while, only to repeat these phases. You count the number of days from one point to the next identical point and you notice there are about 29½ days for the moon’s cycle to complete itself. But when do you start your moon cycle count?
You conclude that starting with the first crescent sighting makes the most sense and sidesteps unnecessary calculations. You decide to use this moon cycle for your calendar because just marking off solar days one at a time doesn’t seem to be of much practical use.
You also notice something interesting from watching the moon. From the time you can just barely see the new crescent until the moon is at its brightest (full moon) takes 14 days.Each quarter (first, second, third, fourth) marks a seven-day period.You decide this is handy – you can count days in a package of seven by looking closely at the moon.Surprise!That’s the way Yahweh created it!
Does Yahweh include months in His calendar? Again, as with weeks there are many biblical references – but three are sufficient, starting with Deuteronomy 16:1: “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto Yahweh Elohim: for in the month of Abib Yahweh Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.”In Hebrew, the word translated “month” is Strong’s2320, chodesh, which means “the new moon; by implication, a month.”
Yahweh not only includes months, but He also starts them with the sighting of the new moon. This verse literally says, “Look for the new moon of Abib, and keep the Passover.…”The Passover is to be observed on Abib 14 (Ex. 12:6): “And you shall keep it (the paschal lamb) up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”
The second reference to months and their timing is Psalm 104:19:“He appointed the moon for seasons.”The third reference is also in Psalm 81:3: “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.”Here the only feast that begins on the first day of a month (Ethanim) is mentioned – Trumpets.Other “chodesh” verses abound in the Bible (over 200 of them), all meaning “new moon.”
As you observe about a dozen moon cycles, you notice that the sun seems to be moving along the horizon at its setting time, going from south to north and back to south. As soon as you realize this, you pick out an object on the horizon near the setting sun, and in a few days you begin to get an idea about how fast it is moving away from your object.Over time you also notice the world around you is getting warmer, then cooler, then warmer again.
You count the days from the sun’s position at your marker object until it returns there, going in the same direction. Your count is 365 days. This number, representing the cycle of the sun, and the number representing the cycle of the moon (29½), are not evenly divisible.A little basic math tells you a solar year will not exactly equal 12 lunar months. The difference between 12 months of 29½ days (354 days) and the length of a solar year (365) will cause the four seasons to move around through the year.
This may be of no importance to you whatsoever – why should you mind if spring comes in the first month or the second month or the third month?But Yahweh minds. Yahweh told Moses in Genesis 12:2, “This month (Abib) shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Abib is the Hebrew name for this month, and it means “green ears” of grain. It is the month in which green ears of grain appear. But which grain? Turn to Exodus 9, where we read of one of the plagues Yahweh visited upon Pharaoh.
“And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and Yahweh sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and Yahweh rained hail upon the land of Egypt. … And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field…And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up” (vv. 23, 25, 31-32).
The grain that Abib refers to is barley, the one crop already “in the ear,” and the month in which the first Passover took place is Abib, the green ears of barley month.The month of Abib and the state of barley are tied closely together. If barley is not in the proper stage at that month, that month cannot be Abib.
Turn to Leviticus 23. Here Yahweh explains the concept of firstfruits to the Israelites, and tells us what shape barley must be in during the month of Abib: “And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your Elohim: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings” (Lev. 23:14). The Israelites were not permitted to harvest their crops of barley until the firstfruit sheaf was waved before Yahweh by the priest.
Barley is planted in November and takes about four months to mature. It must be in the green ear stage during the first month, and at least some of it ready for harvest by the time of the wave sheaf offering that occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.We know it occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread because these verses explain how to count forward from the wave sheaf to the Feast of Weeks. Yahweh keeps the seasons aligned with the months by having us observe the maturing barley.
An interesting find in Israel called the “Gezer” calendar shows that the Israelites were an agrarian society that based its months from agriculture.
In the March-April 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review on page 45 we read, “A different clock governed everyday life in ancient Israel. The society was agrarian— virtually everyone was a farmer— so people naturally regulated their daily lives by the rising and setting sun. Likewise the yearly calendar was defined by seasonal activities related to farming and herding. This small limestone tablet, found in 1908 at Gezer and called the Gezer Calendar, associates the months of the year with activities like sowing, pruning and harvesting, and gives us a glimpse into a way of life very different from ours— a life strongly tied to the earth and it’s natural rhythms.”
Written in Paleo-Hebrew, the Gezer Calendar dates from the 10th century BC, the time of the construction of Solomon’s Temple. It contains the following text:
“Two months of harvest
Two months of planting
Two months are late planting
One month of pulling flax
One month of barley harvest
One month of harvest and feasting
Two months of pruning vines
One month of summer fruit”
This calendar lays out the fundamental importance of the agricultural cycle in King Solomon’s day, this can be seen in the temple festivals of Shavuot (“Feast of weeks”) or First Fruits in early summer (the “month of summer” fruit in line 8), and the Feast of Ingathering (the harvest) in the fall which culminates to the Feast of Tabernacles. The mention of feasting reflects the pilgrimages festivals which involved feasting.
Yahweh’s Calendar – Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4
We have worked our way through the rules for the biblical calendar and discovered that they are simple and logical:
1.Start and end days at sunset (Genesis 1:5).
2.Start weeks at day one and end on day seven, the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16).
3.Start months with the sighting of the new moon (Deuteronomy 16:1).
4.Start years in the month barley will be harvestable by the middle of that month (Leviticus 23:4-14).
These rules require you to observe Yahweh’s creation – sighting a sunset or a new moon and looking at a barley crop. Psalm 33:8 says, “Let all the earth fear Yahweh: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.” Is there a better way than to get outside and look at some of these awesome, timekeeping sights of creation?
The ‘Original’ Jewish Calendar
That the biblical calendar given by Yahweh was with us from creation seems logical, but Yahweh’s revelation of it to Moses took place just before the exodus, about 3,500 years ago, as Yahweh explained the Passover, its significance and timing. In the first five books of the Bible, the Torah (all written by Moses), the rules for the “original” biblical calendar were given by Yahweh to the people of Israel by oral and (later) written instructions.
Today’s modified Jewish calendar, however, is one of the more difficult to comprehend. It has added and revised rules that move dates without biblical authorization. The original Hebrew calendar was the biblical calendar of the exodus. For over 40 years in their journey from Egypt to the Jordan River crossing the Israelites in the desert determined their years exactly in accord with the four rules declared by Yahweh through Moses. What happened from then until now?
To answer that we will need to consult non-biblical sources.Be careful!Unlike the rock-solid Word, there are many sources of “fact” written by men, and where there is man-made “fact” there is man-made counter-fact.
The Talmud is a combination of fact, teachings, traditions, analyses, ideas, opinions, and in some cases outright prejudice – which are considered “facts” by many Jews today.During the Talmudic period, observation of the moon and crops evolved toward calculation.First, the Israelites would have noticed that the new moon appeared either every 29 or 30 days – never shorter, never longer.Simple counting, then, gave them the ability to anticipate the actual observation.
After settling in the Promised Land they would have noticed something about the year, also. The maturation of their crops of barley could be correlated with the position of the setting sun on the horizon. The seasons are very important to agrarian peoples. Knowing proper planting times is crucial to survival, and fixing the beginning of a season, particularly spring, is advantageous.
Yahweh decreed that the year was to begin in the month when barley would be ready for harvest. The Israelites quickly noticed this happened very near or in the spring season, and that the beginning of spring could be determined from the sun’s setting position on the horizon. Over time the observation of the sun’s position replaced the observation of barley. The pagan Egyptians and later the Romans also observed a solar calendar.
Today’s Calculated Jewish Calendar
Beginning with their possession of the Promised Land, the Israelites became more scattered and communications with Jerusalem’s priests (who observed moons and waved grains) became increasingly difficult. Later, the Israelites of the Dispersion generally took up the civil calendars of their conquering countries and were informed by messengers from Jerusalem of coming feasts. Certainly by the end of the Talmudic period, and most probably hundreds of years before, the Jews had accumulated sufficient knowledge to convert a calendar based on observation to one based on calculation alone.
According to the Apostle John, Yahshua’s Passover meal was eaten the night before the Passover meal was eaten by His Jewish accusers – this indicates that two ways of determining dates existed at the time of the impalement. That the new moon of Abib could have appeared on two different days is, of course, impossible.
In any case, the separation of Israel’s peoples made it increasingly difficult for those not residing in the Holy Land to stay in synchronization with their brothers.Indeed, after the failed Bar Kochba revolt in 132-135 CE the Sanhedrin – the post-exile Jewish supreme council – was barred from meeting. Something had to be done to preserve holy day observance, and about 359 CE patriarch Hillel II revealed a method of Jewish calendar calculation that contained many elements obviously learned from places like Babylon.According to Hillel, and to the many Jews and others who believe that the methods of calculating this calendar were divinely presented to the Israelites, this calendar was in place from the very creation.
Here are some facts about the calculated Jewish calendar:
• A month is determined by the calculation of the conjunction of the moon (Hebrew molad, a point in the moon’s orbit exactly between the earth and the sun – and invisible to us), not new moon sighting; hours are added to the molad to determine when the new moon should or should not be visible.
• The first molad occurred 5 hours and 204 chalokim (3 1/3 seconds) after sunset at the beginning of day 2.
• Every molad is calculated from this point by adding 29 days, 12 hours, and 793 chalokim.
• A nineteen-year cycle of months of 29 and 30 days is employed, together with leap months inserted in seven of the years, to keep the seasons in line with the solar year; the cycle consists of regular and leap years as follows: R-R-L-R-R-L-R-R-L-R-L-R-R-L-R-R-L-R-L.
• The cycle is not exactly the length of nineteen solar years – it is a little over 2 hours longer; every 216 years this adds up to a whole day, and there are no corrections in the calculations to prevent spring from moving away from Abib; if the calculated Jewish calendar had existed at the beginning, this error would have already moved the seasons 26 days away from Abib – one entire month.
• The year begins with the seventh month (Ethanim), not Abib; the first day of Ethanim is Rosh Hashanah.
• Postponement rules for Rosh Hashanah are required such that an annual Sabbath is never juxtaposed with a weekly Sabbath (prevents two consecutive non-work days); these rules are not simple – here is one of them: if the molad of a year following a leap year which begins on Tuesday is later than Monday, 15 hours and 589 chalokim, Rosh Hashanah of the second year is postponed from Monday to Tuesday.
• The calculated molad can sometimes start a month before the new moon is visible, and the postponements can actually cause a month to begin the day after the new moon is sighted.
• The entire calendar, from the beginning to any point in the future, is fixed by its starting point, the length of a molad, and the postponement rules; no observation is necessary.
No Biblical Basis for Changes in the Calendar
All these rules and calculations keep the seasons and the solar year rather closely aligned, without a single observation of a new moon or a series of sunsets. They are very handy for Jews but not a single bulleted item we’ve noted is mentioned in the Bible, and using this calendar means you will be celebrating feast days at times different from those the biblical calendar specifies.
Did the perversion of the biblical calendar start in Talmudic days, or was it later, around Hillel’s time? Yahweh confirmed the importance of the biblical calendar at the beginning of the Exodus (Lev. 23), and that is the time Satan began his work to pervert it.Isn’t it amazing howSatan has twisted everything in the Bible to his advantage?Yahweh gave us laws to live by while Satan tells us they are just for ancient Israelites.
Because His Feast days are important to Yahweh’s plan for mankind, Satan replaces them with those important to his plan. He also derails Yahweh’s inspired calendar by man-made calendars.
If we must have a Messiah to be saved from sin’s death penalty, then the adversary causes churchianity to refute Him by convincing them to celebrate Easter! They take the very first inspired time of the sacred year and celebrate it with sunrise services, egg-laying rabbits, and leavened hot-cross buns. To top it off, Satan puts it on the wrong day.For those who escape this trap, he lays another one.When Numbers 9 says observing Passover on a particular day and at a particular time is very important, Satan confuses time itself.
If the bulleted items on pages 12-13 seem a bit convoluted and confusing compared to the four rules Yahweh originally gave the Israelites, it is because they are.Whenever Satan works, things always get complicated.
Why Not Use the Vernal Equinox to Start the Year?
Some ignore barley altogether and set Abib 1 according to the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox is that instant when the sun is directly above the earth’s equator while going from the south to the north (for inhabitants of the northern hemisphere). It is the time that most consider the beginning of spring.
Those who employ the vernal equinox point to Genesis 1:14, claiming that the sun, moon, and stars set the year’s beginning. It is true that the sun divides day from night and inaugurates the seasons by the earth’s tilt, while the new moon sets the beginning of months. Yet, nowhere in the entire Bible can one find that the vernal equinox establishes the first month Abib. Nowhere in the Bible is there even any mention of the vernal equinox. To say that Genesis 1:14 refers to the vernal equinox is reading into Scripture what simply isn’t there.
Passover is related to spring through the growing cycle of crops. First and foremost, it must occur in the month of Abib. And Abib is a condition of grain as much as it is a time of the year.
The King James Version has led some astray in the way it translates moed in Exodus 13:10, Num. 9:2, 3, 7, and 13. The KJV uses “season” in these verses, causing some to believe that the command is specifically for springtime, and therefore must involve the vernal equinox. In reality, the Hebrew moed simply means “set time” or “appointed time.” Yahweh has set Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread by the criteria of ripening crops, not by the vernal equinox.
The vast majority of Jews gradually got away from actively looking for the green ears of barley, going instead by a calculated calendar that involved the vernal equinox. This was done for the sake of convenience. But Yahweh tells us that His growing cycle reveals the proper month for His Feasts. The first month of the year, Abib, means a green ear (of grain), not vernal equinox.
McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 3, p. 13, under Easter states: “Many of the Church fathers are of opinion that, according to the original calculation of the Jews up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, the 14th of Nisan had always been after the spring equinox, and that it was only in consequence of a miscalculation of the later Jews that the 14th of Nisan occasionally fell before the equinox. They therefore insisted that the 14th of Nisan, which for both parties within the church determined the time of Easter, should always be after the equinox.
“As the year of Jews is a lunar year, and the 14th of Nisan always a full-moon day, the Christians who adopted the above astronomical view, whenever the 14th of Nisan fell before the equinox, would celebrate the death of [Messiah] one month later than the Jewish Passover.”
Christianity Sets Its Own Rules
Note that the Christian “Church fathers” established their own rules by relying upon the vernal equinox as did the pagans, instead of the green ears of barley as the Bible requires (Deut. 16:1).
Another authority writes, “That the vernal equinox occurred in Nisan [Abib] is attested by Josephus (Ant. 1. x. 5) and also in cuneiform literature (Muss-Arnolt p. 77) Nisan corresponded to the first zodiacal sign (Aries) in which the vernal equinox fell. The sacred year was determined by the annual festivals and the first of these festivals was henceforth fixed by the Passover moon.” “Equinox and the Calendar,” Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings, p. 765.
Nothing is mentioned here about letting the equinox determine the month of Nisan. The vernal equinox fell within the month of Nisan [Abib] which means the new moon of Nisan came BEFORE the equinox. That is, the new moon came establishing the month of Nisan (Abib), then came the equinox, then the Passover. Therefore, those who insist upon keeping the Feasts a month later are out of harmony with Yahweh’s calendar.
Fausset’s Bible Encyclopedia, under “Year [Hebrew year] reads, “They began it with the new moon nearest to the equinox, yet late enough to allow of the firstfruits of barley harvest being offered about the middle of the first month. So Josephus (Ant. iii. 10,5) states that the Passover was celebrated when the sun was in Aries” (p. 727).
Vernal Equinox and Historic Paganism
When the Roman church deliberately acted to separate Easter from Passover, it ruled in 325 CE in the Council of Nicaea that Easter would fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. This setting of an observance was entirely man-made, and it is appropriate that it applied to a man-made holiday called Easter. The Roman church on its own volition, therefore, bestowed a legitimacy on the vernal equinox as a calendar marker where it had none before – at least not in any kind of biblical context.
That does not mean, however, that the vernal equinox had no significance among historic pagans and their calendars. Note the following:
• “Easter, too, celebrates the victory of a god of light (J-sus) over darkness (death), so it makes sense to place it at this season. Ironically, the name ‘Easter’ was taken from the name of a Teutonic lunar goddess Eostre (from whence we also get the name of the female hormone, estrogen). Her chief symbols were the bunny (both for fertility and because her worshipers saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg (symbolic of the cosmic egg of creation), images which Christians have been hard pressed to explain. Her holiday, the Eostara, was held on the Vernal Equinox Full Moon. Needless to say, the old and accepted folk name for the Vernal Equinox is ‘Lady Day.’ Christians sometimes insist that the title is in honor of Mary and her Annunciation, but Pagans will smile knowingly.” – Lady Day: The Vernal Equinox, by Mike Nichols.
• “The vernal equinox has long been a significant event in the lives of agricultural peoples as it symbolizes nature’s regeneration, fertility, growth and bounty. The word equinox comes from Latin and means ‘equal night’ (Tag- und Nachtgleiche). On this day, night and day each last twelve hours. The Vernal Equinox used to be considered the beginning of the Pagan New Year. It was a time of joy called forth by the resurrection of the ‘Light of the World’ (sun god) from the underworld of the winter, from where he arose to join his goddess Eostre.” –by Ruth Reichmann, Max Kade German-American Center, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.
• “Babylonians and Assyrians placed greater importance on the Equinoxes than the solstices. The most important festival in Babylonia was the New Year, which occurred at the Spring equinox. This was the akitu, a twelve-day ceremony in which the King, as the son and representative of the divinity, regenerated and synchronized the rhythms of nature, cosmos, and human society.” –Tales of the Vernal Equinox, by Robin DuMolin
• “Modern Pagans also celebrate the universal principle of Resurrection at the Equinox – which is named for Eostre, a Pagan goddess. She is the goddess of Spring to whom the offerings of cake and colored eggs were made at the Vernal Equinox. Rabbits, especially white ones, were sacred to her, and she was believed to take the form of a rabbit. She is also said to be the goddess of the East, that being the direction of rebirth. Since the sun rises in the East, she is linked with the sunrise. Traditional Easter services stem from this association,” Ibid. “Easter is supposed to be derived from Anglo Saxon Eostre, the name of the Norse goddess whose festival is celebrated by the pagans at the vernal equinox.” – A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, p. 180.
• “Ostara, also known as The Spring or Vernal Equinox, the Festival of Trees, Alban Eilir, Ostara, the Rites of Spring, and the Rites of Eostre, occurs between March 19 and 21 and marks the first day of true Spring. Day and night are equal on this day, hence the name Equinox. It is observed by Pagans throughout the world.” –from The Witches’ Web
• “Pagans revere the G-d and G-ddess through rituals or ceremonies of various kinds. Pagans of the western traditions celebrate eight festivals or Sabbats each year. They comprise the four solar quarters i.e. the two solstices (longest and shortest days) and the two equinoxes (day and night are the same length) plus four Celtic seasonal festivals. All these mark important events in the cycle of life. They are: Ostara (Easter), the spring equinox, 21st March: Return of the sun from the south, springtime proper. Some celebrate a holy union between G-d and G-ddess.” –from What Do Pagans Do?
Vernal Equinox as the ‘Tequphah’?
The argument has been attempted that the vernal equinox corresponds to the Hebrew word “tequphah,” which is found several times in the Bible. The definition of tequphah (Strong’s Concordance No. 8622) is: “A revolution, i.e. of the sun course (of time) lapse: circuit, come about, end.” From the definition, we find it next to impossible to attach any firm connection of tequphah to a spring equinox. The evidence, in fact, points to the end of the year, not the beginning.
The following passages contain the Hebrew word tequphah as well as its meaning, as indicated by the quotation marks:
• Exodus 34:22 (Feast of ingathering at the “year’s end”)
• 2Chron. 24:23 (Syria attacked Judah at the “end of the year”)
• 2Chronicles. 24:23; 36:10 (“end of the year/year was expired”)
Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon defines the tequphah (Strong’s No. 8622) as: “coming round, circuit;–Ex. 34:22, adv., at the circuit (completion) of the year, so 2Chron. 24:23= pl. cstr. 1Sam. 1:20; sig. Sf. Of finished circuit of sun.” p. 880. This source says about the root of tequphah: No. 5362 naqaph: 1. An intransitive verb meaning to surround something… (Isa. 29:1, let feasts go around, i.e. run the round (of the year). 2. make the round, i.e. complete the circuit. Job 1:5 when the days of feasting had completed their circuit.
The closest we have in the Hebrew to spring as a season is 6779, tsamach, a primitive root meaning to sprout, bear, bring forth, bud, grow, cause to spring (forth, up). Yahweh again reveals that the time for His Feasts is based on the growing of crops, not to the vernal equinox.
Ancient Israelites were farmers and herders, not astronomers. It stands to reason that Yahweh would zero in on their crops as a starting point for their annual Feast calendar. The calculated calendar does not work with the command to give Yahweh the firstfruits.
Yahweh’s Calendar v. Jewish Calendar
Let’s sum up the differences between what Yahweh said about keeping time and what the Jews of today do with the calculated Jewish calendar.
• Yahweh said begin the year with Abib when crops are green and growing. Jews begin with Ethanim in the autumn.
• Yahweh said begin Abib by checking the barley crop. Jews check the date of the vernal equinox and add hours.
• Yahweh said begin months by sighting the crescent moon. Jews calculate from a molad (invisible conjunction).
• Yahweh said nothing about not putting two Sabbaths back-to-back.Jews create postponement rules.
• The rules laid down by Yahweh automatically adjust for what’s going on in the solar system.
The Jews’ calculations have built-in errors that must sooner or later be corrected. Yahweh never said that months should be 29 days long or 30 days long or
any exact number of days.He said new moon to new moon was a month, Isaiah 66:23. Yahweh never said how many months were in a year, either – just that they started with new moons, Ezekiel 45:17-18. The words for “molad” or “equinox” or even spring, when used as a season, do not appear in the Bible.
The critical difference between the biblical calendar and the calculated Jewish calendar is that they produce different days for observing the feasts. One is correct, the other is wrong. One obeys Yahweh, the other does not.
Keeping this in mind, let’s look at the major reasons offered by some for using the calculated Jewish calendar to determine feast days and times, and their counter-arguments.
• Yahweh committed the oracles to the Jews and we should follow their lead.
This argument comes from the Apostle Paul’s writings to the Romans. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Yahweh” (Romans 3:1-2). What were the “oracles”? The proponents of the calculated Jewish calendar include the rules for calendar-making in these oracles – but that logic could include anything they added, including the Talmud.In Acts 7:38 the same Greek word for “oracles” is used – (No. 3051), where it says, “This is he (Moses), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” Here oracles refers to the law given Moses on Mt. Sinai.The oracles or laws were all given to all of Israel as is recorded in Deuteronomy, not just to the Levites or to any one tribe.
•The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat, so we must obey them.
This argument comes from Yahshua’s words in Matthew 23:1-3: “Then spake Yahshua to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not after their works: for they say, and do not.” According to Yahshua, this metaphor means they read the law to the people on the Sabbaths, just as Moses transmitted the law.Reading the law and doing what it says are two different things, as Yahshua pointed out, but this argument usually omits the part about “do notafter their works: for they say, and do not.” Someone who says one thing and does another is a hypocrite. Did Yahshua follow the Pharisees’ interpretation of when the Passover should be observed (remember, they kept the Passover on the 15th)? Clearly He did not.
•The Jewish calendar is a complicated calendar, and although the rules for its construction are not given in the Bible, the Levites were given these rules in order for them to relay correct dates to the people.
That the calculated Jewish calendar is complicated is true.Its rules are not in the Bible, and it should not be logically concluded from this that they were given orally to the Levites. If the Levites were given the correct rules for calculating the Jewish calendar, then why do their calculation tables today use a solar year that is 365.25 days long? That figure is about eleven minutes longer than the solar year really is. Also, the 19-year cycle is longer than 19 solar years by over two hours.
If Yahweh gave the Levites the rules, why did He not also tell them the correct value for the mean length of a solar year, and also give them rules to adjust the cycle to prevent future problems with the months and the seasons, like adding a periodic 13th month? Why would a perfect Creator give us imperfect rules? And why would He have told only the Levites something so important? In just about every instance, when Yahweh spoke to Moses, He started out with a phrase something like, “Say to the house of Jacob,” or “Tell the people of Israel,” or “Speak unto the children of Israel.” If you read the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, where the feast requirements are laid down, this is particularly true.There is no place in the Bible that says that Yahweh told Moses to tell the Levites to in turn tell the people something.
Turn to Deuteronomy 1:3.Here, just before the people were to cross over the Jordan and into the Promised Land, Moses made his farewell speech to the Israelites. “And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that Yahweh had given him in commandment unto them.” Notice that he was not talking to the Levites alone, but to all the Israelites. Also notice the word “all” in this verse.It is the Hebrew kole, Strong’s 3605, “from 3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense):—(in) all (manner, [ye]), altogether, any (manner), enough, every (one, place, thing), howsoever, as many as, [no-] thing, ought, whatsoever, (the) whole, whoso (-ever).” The root word (3634) means, “to complete, make perfect.” The verse does not say Moses withheld words for the Levites’ ears alone.
In chapter 16 verse 1 of this book is the commandment for observing the moon of Abib, to keep the Passover. It is very significant that Moses gathered every tribe together and explained again everything they needed to know before possessing the land. No one tribe or person was to have this knowledge exclusively. They all started out equally in the Promised Land. They would not be able to blame any other person or tribe for their mistakes.
•Not everything Yahweh taught the Levites is recorded in the Bible.
It seems logical that Yahweh could have said and done things not recorded in the Bible. But is it logical that Yahweh would have omitted something so important to His worship, depending only on the instructions of a special group to relay His requirements? He never did that with any of His other instructions and commands.
•Postponements are not condemned in the Bible; the calculated Jewish calendar does not violate one Scripture.
In Deuteronomy Moses was making his wrap-up speech to the Israelites before they parted.Read Deuteronomy 4:2: “You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh Elohim which I command you.” See also Revelation 22:18-19. If we are told not to add anything to the Word, and doing so changes the very day a Feast is observed, and as a result I am cut off from my people, it is clear I have violated something in the Scripture.
• The Bible does not define what a new moon is, so we are not instructed how to watch for the new moon.
This argument is made in support of substituting the astronomical conjunction for the actual sighting of the new moon.
Let’s look again at Deuteronomy 16:1, paraphrased as closely to the Hebrew meanings as Strong’s dictionary allows. “Look narrowly for the new moon of the green ears of grain and keep the Passover.” Once again, Moses was speaking to all of Israel here. He told them to look for the new moon of Abib. He did not tell them to check with the Levites about molads. A molad (conjunction) as we have already learned, is when the moon is exactly between the earth and the sun. This argument substitutes the molad, a moon you cannot see, for the new moon crescent, which you can.
Imagine a desert-dwelling shepherd from the tribe of Dan trying to figure out when the molad of Abib would occur!He definitely would not have “looked narrowly for” a dark moon that he could not possibly see! Saying that we were not instructed in how to look for a new moon is ridiculous. Saying we are to look for a black moon is ludicrous.To equate the words “new moon” to “molad” is even more ridiculous. If I asked you to observe my “new car,” and I pointed to an empty parking space, what would you think? Apply the same logic to the phrase “new moon” and then go out and try to spot the conjunction. It’s impossible.
The biblical calendar can be projected, but it is confirmed only by observation of barley and the new moons. Just as Yahweh planned when He created the “lights” in the sky, Genesis 1:14, we are to establish His appointed times (moed) by the monthly lunar cycle and tostart at that particular time of year when the sun causes barley to grow and begin to produce grain in the ear.
When we follow the scriptural calendar, all the complications that calculated calendars try to overcome just disappear. And we rest assured that we are observing the days Yahweh commands – at the proper time He commands them.
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