The Equinox – A Man-Made Calculation?

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.

Enter Heathenism

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.

Zion-centered Truth

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’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 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.

by Donald Mansager

What is a new moon in the Bible

What is a Biblical New Moon?

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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.

We find many references to the new moon or beginning of months in the Scriptures, including the obligation for True worshipers to observe them, Numbers 10:10; 28:11-15; 1Chronicles 23:31;2Chronicles 2:4; 8:13; 31:3; Ezra 3:5; Ezekiel 46:1, 3, 6; Colossians 2:16.

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 Biblical Calendar

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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’s  2320, 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 Exodus 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. 

gezer calendar, gezer bib, gezer aviv, aviv calendar, 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. 

arch of titus, arch of titus jewish, arch of titus temple,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 zodiac in synagogue, jewish calendarcountries 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 how  Satan 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: 

Equinox, pagan, Persian, calendar,• “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 

sphinx equinox. pagan equinox calendar,• “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 not  after 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. 

barley, aviv, calendar, harvest,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 to  start 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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Biblical calendar equinox or barley

The Calendar- Equinox or Barley?

All of Yahweh’s seven annual Feasts or moedim (appointments) revolve around the harvest cycle of cereal grains and other produce. This is clear with the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, which occur at the barley harvest (Ex. 9:31). Then comes the Feast of Firstfruits, also known as Pentecost in the New Testament. This special time occurs seven weeks after Unleavened Bread and represents the firstfruits of the wheat harvest made into two loaves of bread that were waved (Lev. 23:17). Then in the seventh month we come to the Feast of Tabernacles, otherwise known as the Feast of “Ingathering.” (Ex. 23:16). Tabernacles represents the general harvest at the close of the growing cycle when everything is “gathered in”– from grains to vegetables, melons, nuts, and fruit.

Clearly, the various harvests are central to Yahweh’s Feasts and are key to them like nothing else is. The harvests prophetically point to the harvest of souls in Yahweh’s great salvation plan — from the firstfruits, which indicate His first chosen people, to the general harvest of souls later. Even the first month of the sacred year is named Abib, which in Hebrew means “tender, green ears.” The “ears” refer to barley grain, the only grain mature enough at the time of the Passover to be green and in the head (Ex. 9:31, “And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled” [bolled=podded, BDB No. 1392, Heb.gibol]. “32: But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.). Therefore, Yahweh says, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you,” Exodus 12:2. “This day came you out in the month Abib,” Exodus 13:4.

The state of the crops, especially the barley and flax grain, is the only criterion that Yahweh gives for establishing the timing of the first month of the year. Nothing in the Bible explains how to establish the first month of the year in any other fashion than the developing green ears of barley grain.

In the spirit of maturing crops, we are to establish and observe the first month – when the barley grain is green, Leviticus 23:14 (note the words “parched” meaning roasted, and “green”). Baking or parching the green barley dried it. This was not ripe barley, it was young and green barley. We cannot establish Abib if the barley head is not developed or if the barley seed is dry, ripe, yellow and ready to harvest; by then it would be too late. The barley must be green and this occurs in a specific month.

Can I Look in My Locale?

Can we look at the barley crop growing in our own vicinity to establish Abib? Naturally we will find a difference of many weeks between barley that is ripening in southern Texas and barley that is growing in North Dakota. The same is true of barley that may be grown in Brazil compared with the grain growing in Russia. Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator. Therefore, whether a small or a great difference in distance, Abib would occur at widely varying times depending on where one lives.

The only way to reconcile this discrepancy in growing seasons is to look at the barley that is grown in or around Israel. It was to people living in that area of the world that Yahweh gave the command to keep the Passover and Feast during the green ear month of Abib. It is that area of the world that will give us the proper and accurate time of maturing barley, when Yahweh commanded Israel to keep the first month.

Interestingly, barley originated in the Mediterranean region. How appropriate, then, that we look at the barley maturing in Israel, and not barley grown in North Dakota, Texas, or Australia to establish Abib.

What About 1999?

Two different sources confirmed that the barley had green ears in the head by wave sheaf time in Israel this year, or April 4. One report claims the barley was green even by March 18. Not believing these reports and choosing to rely on barley growing in the United States, some observed Passover on April 29 this year, making the wave sheaf day May 2.

The law provides that the wave sheaf  be of the firstfruits of the barley. Whatever barley field produced green ears first, from that crop the wave sheaf was taken. Once the wave sheaf was offered to Yahweh, the harvest could begin. Harvesting of barley typically begins in early April near Jericho and in early May in the mountains around Jerusalem.

We find a serious flaw with the keeping of an April 29 Passover and a May 2 wave sheaf this year based on barley:

The firstfruits barley would have been past Abib stage by May 2. In other words, these would not be “green” ears, but brown, ripe ears. Agriculturalists maintain that only a couple of weeks elapse between the time of barley green ears and mature and yellowing ripe ears. Therefore, waiting an additional FOUR more weeks would be far too long for green-ear firstfruits.

Note this astounding report about barley grown in the Middle East, from the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges(Exodus 9, p. 76): “In Egypt, according to a farmer living in the Delta (cited by W.R. Smith, Journal of Phil. xii. 300), flax blossoms and barley ripens in Jan.; but, he adds, the seasons vary, and so the travellers cited by Kn. mention mostly Feb.: wheat and spelt are ripe, in any case, about a month later.”

In light of this information, the argument that an April 4 wave sheaf was too early to be seen in Israel this year has no validity whatsoever.

The explanation of why only the barley and flax were damaged by the plague of hail in Egypt (Ex. 9:31) brings up an important confirmation point many miss: “…for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.” “Bolled” is from the Hebrew gibol and means swollen, podded, in the bud. Therefore, one can use the flax as a second witness to the month of Abib if the flax shows to be in the pod at that time.

Why Not Use the Vernal Equinox?

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 people take as the definition of the beginning of spring.”

Those who employ the vernal equinox point to Genesis 1:14, claiming that the sun, moon, and stars set the Feasts. It is true that the sun divides day from night and establishes the seasons, while the new moon sets the beginning of months. Yet, nowhere in the entire Bible can one find where the vernal equinox establishes Abib. We can go even further and say unequivocally that 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 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 inExodus 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 the crops, not by a purely astronomical reckoning known as the vernal equinox.

The vast majority of  Jews gradually got away from actually 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.

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 appropriately 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 o “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 ConcordanceNo. 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:

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

Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon 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 attached to the growing of crops, not to the vernal equinox.

If all truth seekers would realize that the Feasts have profound significance in the plan of Almighty Yahweh, and that His year as well as His Feasts are closely tied to the harvest, then greater truth would be known and Yahweh and His salvation plan for man would be far better understood.

Passover in the Bible

Life Lessons in the Passover

Significant lessons about Yahweh’s plan and your life can be found in the Passover and Feast.

Seeking signs and wonders to get closer to Yahweh and His Word is not the way to acquire more Bible truth leading to life everlasting. Yet, that is how thousands believe they can find sal­vation.

When True Worshipers do great miracles they will not flaunt their successes or sing their own praises on television or radio. Scripture plainly tells us, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips” (Prov. 27:2).

Unholy “miracles” will be so con­vincing, however, that even the very elect would come close to being de­ceived, said our Savior inMatthew 24:24. Signs and wonders by them­selves are not absolute proof, and He warned that they can in fact be Satan’s masterful deceptions.
Acts 3:20-21 foretells of a return to Bible truth in the days before the appear­ance of the Messiah. “And he shall send Yahshua the Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

We at YRM are dedicated to returning to the teachings and practices of Yahshua and the Apostles that have been neglected for 2,000 years. Truth is much more than an emotional response to miracles and great acts of wonder, healings, and unexplained phenom­ena. It involves changing lives to conform to the life of Yahshua the Messiah.

Bibles Everywhere Go Unread

The abrupt return to the message of the Bible will likely be brought about by some significant event or discovery that will verify the truths of the Book that the world in general ignores. Most homes in this coun­try have at least one Bible and most all public libraries have multiple copies of the Bible. But the general population is ignorant of the Scriptures that reveal to man the very mind of Almighty Yahweh. Something will occur that will call worldwide attention to this Book of books.

It may be that more revelations unearthed in archaeological digs will attract even greater interest in the Bible. There could likely be more fascinating bits of information soon coming to light that will reveal facts about the dark period of history following the first hundred years after the Savior’s ascension to the heavens.

Very little is known about the second century following the days of the Messiah. Yet it was during this time that truth became corrupted and the early assembly became infused with heresies and paganism that would put the early “church” on an entirely different course.

Passover’s Revelations

Serious students of the Bible know that Passover was not something that just happened in Egypt. It was foretold and foreordained long before by Yahweh Himself. Passover is the beginning of the seven annual festal observances given to mankind by our Almighty Creator.

In the creation account in Genesis we read of the preparation that Yahweh made for Passover and the ensuing Feasts. “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 [Hebrew = moed), and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14).

The Hebrew “moed” means appointed times. Yahweh has set aside certain time periods throughout the year when He meets with His people. Many are unaware of these appointed times because churchianity has ignored them and left them untaught.

But to understand Passover and the other annual appointed days is to uncover our great Creator’s master design recorded for us in the Scriptures.

A Promise to Abraham

Abram is called the Father of the faithful. The Bible focuses on him and his family. It follows his progeny not only in the Book of Genesis but also through the entirety of the Old Testament in the his­tory of fleshly Israelites. In fact, the New Testament continues with the spiritual seed, the “called-out” spiri­tual Israelites. This fundamental truth, very basic to the Scriptures, is unknown by most today.

Abram lived in the worldly city of Ur in ancient Babylon. Ur means “moon-city” and was a great cosmo­politan center where worship of many deities and pagan teachings flourished. “Now Yahweh had said unto Abram, Get out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will shew you” (Gen. 12:1).

Then follows the wonderful prom­ise made to Abraham of making his progeny a great nation, filled with blessings, and in him all families of the earth would be blessed. Abram obeyed and departed with Lot his nephew, Genesis 12:2-4.

Paul writes in Galatians 3:8 that this was the evangel that was first preached on earth. Many preachers imply the “gospel” is the New Testa­ment teaching as opposed to the Old Testament’s teaching of Law and sacrifices. But Paul said the “gos­pel” began back with faithful Abram.

The blessings that would come through Abraham and his seed in­cluded the Israelite families, Moses the Law-giver and Yahshua the Mes­siah, Savior of the world. This is the true “Evangel” and is taught from Genesis to Revelation.

Passover, Abraham, and Israel

Passover was not just an event that occurred in Egypt and just “hap­pened” to be in the spring. It was foretold at least 400 years before that, and indications are that other events took place that were forerunners of these later occurrences. When Abram left Haran, he took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew and “all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Abram left Haran, the city of Ur of the Chaldees (called the city of the moon-deity) with his wife and nephew, along with their servants who were sheep-herders and cattlemen.

Some 400 years later the Israelites left Ramses of Egypt on Abib fifteen (Num. 33:3) and started for the Prom­ised Land with all their goods and families, including a “mixed multi­tude,” Numbers 11.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that Abram left Ur the very same day, the fifteenth of Abib, arriving at Shechem on the Feast of weeks, Gen­esis 12:6-7. There he built an altar unto Yahweh. Some scholars under­stand that the places where Abram stopped signify annual Feast days: Trumpets, Atonement and Taber­nacles.

Amazing Parallels

Genesis 12:20 tells of Abram, with his family, being thrust out of Egypt, just as were the Israelites 430 years later, Exodus 12:33. Both were increased with wealth as they left Egypt. Furthermore, Yahshua Him­self was taken to Egypt and then was called out of there also: “When [Joseph} arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of Yahweh by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son” (Matt. 2:14-15).

When Yahweh introduces His Covenant to Israel, note how He describes Himself: “I [am] Yahweh your Elohim, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Ex. 20:2). Not only did Yahweh bring Abram out of Egypt, Israel out of Egypt, and Yahshua out of Egypt, but through His Word He is also calling YOU out of the Egypt of this world! He is asking you to forsake the ways of the world and take up His way of life and follow in the footsteps of His pattern Son Who also was brought out of Egypt.

We may not all be the fleshly seed of Abraham, the “dust of the earth” (Gen. 13: 16), but we certainly strive to be the spiritual Israelites, the celes­tial “stars of the heavens” (Gen. 15:5). This we can be if we keep His Commandments and have the faith of Yahshua, Revelation 14:12. This in­cludes observing the Feast days of Leviticus 23.

When Yahweh made the Cov­enant with Abram in Genesis 12, He emphasized that He was Yahweh and that Abram’s seed would be strangers in a land that was not theirs, and afflicted 400 years.“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of Yahweh went out from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:41). The Israelites were not made slaves im­mediately; it took some time, likely a period of 30 years. Over this time the situation had changed. Jo­seph had died, and the Hyksos (“foreign rulers”) who knew not Joseph took over rulership of Egypt, Exodus 1:8.

Significantly, prophecy was ful­filled to the very day—the same day Abram left Ur and the Israelites left Egypt!

Spring and the Passover  

Passover marks the beginning of the Annual Holy Days in Yahweh’s program for mankind. It comes in the spring of the year. Passover always falls on the fourteenth of the month Abib (Hebrew,meaning “green ears” of barley grain). Abib begins the year in Yahweh’s plan when the northern hemisphere comes to life again after the winter season.

The grass greens, the trees bud and the leaves and fruit follow. The birds build their nests, animals are born, and the warming sun stirs the earth to life once again. Yahweh established spring to begin the new year, not January in the dead of cold winter.

The Feast Before Sinai

Yahweh’s plan for the redemption of mankind began with Abram. Abram was chosen by Yahweh and told to leave his family, leave his friends, leave the land he knew, and he would be shown a new homeland. Yet he would be a stranger in the land as he continued to seek the heavenly Jerusalem, Hebrews 11:8-10.

Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread had special significance for Abraham. Genesis 18 describes him as sitting in the tent door among the oaks of Mamre. When three celestial beings appeared, he recognized one of them as Yahweh Himself! Abraham quickly told Sarah to make unleavened cakes while he fetched a young calf and fed his guests; Genesis 18:6-8.

The Book of Judges tells of Gideon also preparing unleavened cakes for the Angel of Yahweh who appeared to him, Judges 6: 19. The appointed times (Hebrew: moedim) are a special time when Yahweh has met with His people and will commune in the fu­ture.

Isaac is promised to be born of Sarah at “this set time” (moed) in the next year, Genesis 17 :21. The prom­ise is given to Abraham that this Being (Yahweh) will return “accord­ing to the time of life” (Gen. 18:10), which is understood to mean in spring, when the earth comes to life.

The promise is repeated in .Genesis 18:14, “the time of life”is the Pass­over season and days of Unleavened Bread.

When the two angels contin­ued to Sodom, Lot met them and baked unleavened bread for them, Genesis 19:1-3. Lot’s family was taken out of Sodom and protected while the sinful city was destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Some 400 years later the land of Egypt was stricken with 10 plagues, each of which was directed against specific deities of Egypt. Yahweh showed that He is more powerful than all the deities of Egypt. The blood on the doors of the Israelites protected them while the Egyptian firstborn were slain.

Israel was brought out of Egypt, while Pharaoh and his armies—who were in the worldly opposition­—were destroyed in the Red Sea.

Significant Season

We see a pattern here. Spring is the time when the earth comes back to life in this northern hemisphere. It is the time when Sodom and the sister cities were destroyed and only Lot and his family were led out of harm’s way. Neither Sodom nor Egypt could interfere with Yahweh’s plan for His people.

Abraham’s son Isaac was born to him at this time of year, Genesis 21:2. Passover season is the starting point of our walk with Yahweh. We accept the shed blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Then we keep seven days of unleavened bread therewith (in addi­tion to Passover), Deuteronomy 16:3. We feed on the “Bread of Life” seven more days, learning of Him and walk­ing in His ways. We overcome the temptations and meet the trials of life and help others along the way.

Spring is a time of coming alive. Just as the foliage brings forth fruit, we are to bear much fruit. The Feast of Taber­nacles in the fall of the year is the time for the ingathering of fruit and sym­bolizes the coming Millennial King­dom with Yahshua ruling with a rod of iron, Revelation 2:26-27.

Watching What We Ingest

Passover begins on Abib 14. Paul cautioned us not to gorge ourselves at this time, but to take a token amount of the fruit of the vine, and a token amount of unleavened bread as a memorial of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood.

Then follow the seven days of Unleavened Bread where we examine all the doctrines we believe, making certain all are based on the Bible and not teachings of men. It is much like a spring housecleaning. We cannot partake of the emblems of the Saviour’s death and continue our sinful ways.

Unleavened Bread reminds us to check everything we eat to make certain it is proper food for the remnant of Israel. We become “label-readers” as we confirm the food we take is in accord with Yahweh’s Word.  In a spiritual sense we are to do the same thing. We are to verify that those things we believe are not leav­ened with “hypocrisy or formalism; erroneous doctrine or teachings; political religion or worldliness,” as noted in Dr. Bullinger’s Bible comments on leaven, page 1338.

If you have not kept the Passover and days of Unleavened Bread, we urge you to seek Yahweh’s truth seriously. Start calling on Yahshua’s Name, the only name in Scripture that promises salvation, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The Choice Is Yours Now

Yahweh is still working with His people, calling certain ones out of the world to keep the days that He Him­self ordained. These annual observances will be kept and taught in the Millennial King­dom, Ezekiel 45:21-25; Zechariah 14:16-18; Hosea 12:9. They were never abolished, and neither are they just for Jews.

One can elect to keep the weekly and annual Sabbaths in this life, learning what to do, when to do it, and have a closer walk now with the Savior. Remember, He also kept these days in His earthlysojourn. He likely will return at the time of one of Yahweh’s sacred ap­pointments (moedim) at the sound of the trumpet, 1Thessalonians 4:16.
Become a part of the kingdom of priests who will be teaching others in the sovereignty of Yahweh (Rev. 5:10; 20:6). Those who resist will be forced to keep these days in the kingdom under severe penalties. You have a choice now. Choose life by obeying Yahweh and conforming to His Word.

by Donald R. Mansager

A Night to Be Much Remembered

Israel was commanded to observe the special days listed in Leviticus 23, which included the weekly Sabbath as well as the seven annual Sabbaths. Significantly, these times are for many more people than just Israel. The Feasts will be kept by everyone worldwide in the coming Millennial kingdom. It’s no wonder— Yahweh com­manded them forever.

In addition, Exodus 12 speaks of a special night to be observed. Notice: “It [is] a night to be much observed unto Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this [is] that night of Yahweh to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations” (Ex. 12:42).  The Jewish Tanakh reads a bit differ­ently: “That was for [Yahweh] a night of vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that same night [Yahweh’s], one of vigil for all the children of Israel throughout the ages.”

A Night to Leave?

Some have understood this verse to mean that the night to be much ob­served was the night Israel left Rameses in Egypt to begin their trek to the Promised Land. That is, the beginning of the 15th of Abib, the High Sabbath, the first of the days of Unleavened Bread.

The setting sun, which ended Abib 14, saw all Israel gathered at Rameses with all their belongings, their live­stock, and all their family including children and the aged. This first High Sabbath was to be a memorial for leaving Egypt. They were prepared for the march to the Promised Land. The last day of Unleavened Bread is marked by the Israelites’ crossing over the Red Sea and being com­pletely free of Egypt. Thus, the seven days of Unleavened Bread memori­alize Israel’s exit from bondage.

The Israelites kept Passover prop­erly at the beginning of the 14th just after the setting sun, doing so until the captivity.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica reads, “The Feast of Passover consists of two parts: the Passover Ceremony and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Originally, both parts existed sepa­rately, but at the beginning of the exile they were combined” (Vol. 13, “Passover,” p. 169).

Today the Jews keep a Seder ser­vice with the family at home on the 14th of Abib, and on the beginning of the 15th they gather at the synagogue to observe what they call “Passover” on the first day of Unleavened Bread.

Israel left Egypt by night ­the next night after Passover, Deutero­nomy 16: 1. The first annual Sabbath during Unleavened Bread com­memorates leaving Egypt. However, the verses dealing with this first high Sabbath nowhere mention a special night of watching, or a vigil during normal hours of sleep. Nor do we find examples of Yahweh’s people remembering this preservation-night of Yahweh.

Preservation and Beginning

Just as ancient Israel kept vigil the night the destroying angel was about, Yahweh’s people were to observe a night of vigil on Passover night as well. Evidence is clear that the Pass­over night is the “night much to be remembered.”

Keil and Delitzsch agree that this speaks of Passover night, and state, “Because [Yahweh] had preserved the children of Israel that night from the destroyer, it was to be holy to them, i.e. to be kept by them in all future ages to the glory of [Yahweh], as a preservation” (Old Testament Com­mentaries).

A brief review of the situation will help us gain a deeper perspective of this momentous occasion.

This event is really the birth of the nation of Israel. The first three plagues came upon everyone in the land of Egypt. Yahweh sequestered the land of Goshen (where the Israelites were) from Egypt. Henceforth Israelites were not affected by any more than the three plagues.

The Israelites had been told to take a yearling from their flock and kill it at the going down (Heb. bo) of the sun, ending the day. At sunset the 13th ended, and the next day, Pass­over, the 14th began.

Throughout Goshen preparations for the Passover were well under way. The lamb had been set aside since the 10th of that month. Firewood collections and roasting pits were ready. Some of the Israel­ites with small families arranged to join neighbors,Exodus 12:1-4.

The lambs were killed between the evenings (of sunset and dark) and the blood collected in a basin and smeared on both the lintel and door­posts. The lamb was then roasted whole over the glowing coals in the pit already prepared.

Several hours later the blackened carcass of the lamb was placed on the table in their houses as the Israelites gathered to eat of its flesh with unleavened bread.

Everything was done hurriedly, with trepidation and fear. At midnight the destroying angel would come and kill all unprotected first­born of the land, both man and beast.

They WOULD Remember!

The night of the Passover was a very solemn, somber night of abject fear and trembling. The Israelites knew judgment was com­ing and were praying they would be “passed over” by the destroying an­gel and allowed to survive the night. Huddled in their houses, the Israel­ites prayerfully trusted that the de­stroying angel would see the blood at their door and spare them by “pass­ing over” their houses.

Sleep was hard to come by that Passover night because of the an­guished cries in many Egyptian houses upon discovering their dead firstborn. All Israelites were warned to remain within the protection of their blood-marked houses the entire night. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” (Ps.30:5).
What a night to remember!

The “Watch” Word

The command we wish to focus upon is found in Exodus 12:42:

“It [is] a night to be much observed (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance No. 8107) unto Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this [is] that night of Yahweh to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.”  Strong’s No. 8107 isshimmur, from No. 8104; an observance. Strong’s says of No. 8104 shamar: “A prim. root; prop. to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e.guard; gen. to protect, attend to, etc.: -beware, be circumspect, take heed, keep, mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save, sure, wait, watch.” Clearly the meaning is watchings.

The Tanakh on Exodus 12:42 reads, “That was for [Yahweh] a night of vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that same night is [Yahweh’s], one of vigil for all the children of lsrael throughout the ages.

The Passover night’s activities made up the key events leading to the release of Israel from Egypt. It is much observed because it was the death of the firstborn that caused Pharaoh to release Yahweh’s people, bringing them out of Egypt.

Watching at Passover in the New Testament

Following the celebration of the Pass­over with His disciples, the Savior went with His disciples to Gethsemane to pray. It was the night of the Passover. “And when they had sung a Psalm, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Mat. 26:30). It was the custom at Passover to sing the Great Hallel (“praise”), Psalms 113 to 118.

When they came to Gethsemane, the Savior asked the disciples to sit there while He went a bit further with Peter, James and John to pray. He then says to them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry here, and watch with Me” (Mat. 26:38).
Then we read, “And He came unto the disciples, and found them asleep, and said unto Peter, What, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mat. 26:40-41).

This happened three times. Yah­shua expected His disciples to stay awake and watch with Him. But instead they slept.

Was it not on this night, the 14th, when an­cient Israel had been afraid to go to sleep while the destroying angel was going about Egypt slaying all the first­born of man and beast?

How fitting that the Savior should ask His disciples to watch with Him so they could recall at a later time the agony He went through in preparing for the excruciating ordeal and the final victory that followed.

Be Awake, Alert

The underlying Greek word trans­lated “watch” in both the Complete Biblical Library (CBL) and Strong’s is gregoreo, (CBL No. 1121) and (No. 1127 in Strong’s, from No. 1453). The word means to be vigilant and wide awake; to be alert: be or stay awake, to keep awake, be alert, i.e. watch. It is translated be vigilant, awake, be watchful.

Yahshua wanted His disciples to be alert and watchful that night after they celebrated the Passover. It was the same night some 2,000 years ear­lier that Israel kept vigilant all night, fearing the destroying angel. It was a night much to be remembered, for on this night the world under Satan thought it had triumphed by taking prisoner “Yahweh’s Lamb that takes away the sins of the world.”

Instead, the Jewish authorities and the Romans played right into Yahweh’s hand. Within twelve hours He would be nailed to the tree at Calvary and put to death.

People, People Everywhere

A question arises as to why there were so many prominent people about this late on Passover night. Was it only because there was a scheme afoot to get rid of the Nazarene? Or was there another reason that even the young damsels were up and about? Notice the Bible’s account:

“Now Peter sat without in the pal­ace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, you also were with Yahshua of Galile.”  (Mat. 26:69).

• “And when he [Peter] was gone out into the porch, another [maid} saw him, and said unto them that were there, This [fellow] was also with Yahshua of Nazareth” (Mat. 26:71).

• “And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there came one of the maids of the high priest: And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And you also were with Yahshua of Nazareth” (Mark 14:66-67).

• “And a maid saw him [Peter] again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is [one] of them” (Mark 14:69).

• “But a certain maid beheld him [Peter] as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with Him” (Luke 22:56).

• “And after a little while another saw him, and said, You are also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not” (Luke 22:58).

• “Then said the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Are not you also [one] of this man’s disciples? He said, I am no” (John 18:17).
It is apparent that this was an extraordinary night.

Why Were Young Girls Out Late?

John 18: 16-17 shows that young girls were up and about, even the respon­sible porter (one who kept charge of the door of the palace of the high priest). Why were these young girls up at this time of a chilly night?

Why the one charged with keeping the door of the high priest was still up we can perhaps understand. But what about the oth­ers? The Savior had just celebrated the Passover with His disciples some 12 hours earlier and had asked them to keep a vigil while He prayed.

Was this not the shimmurim, the night of watchings?

Customarily those observing Passover would stay awake all night long. Many would sing songs to keep awake out of respect for those an­cient Israelites who had huddled in their houses in Egypt for fear of the destroying angel.
Whenever one of the party fell asleep, the atmosphere of the vigil was broken, the group broke up, and everyone retired.

The New Testament supports the Passover as “the night to be much remembered,” especially when viewed through the activities of the Savior. Going to the Mount of Ol­ives, as their leader, Yahshua evidently sang the last part of the Hallel. He sang the lines ofPsalms 114 through 118, and the disciples re­sponded with “HalleluYAH!”

He thus promised to keep His vows; ultimately to triumph despite rejection, and call all nations to praise Yahweh. (Expositor’s Bible Commen­tary, Vol. 8, p. 539)

A Time for Us Today

Passover is an important one of the annual observances. It was observed in the Garden of Eden, it was kept by Israel, by the prophets, by Yahshua, by His Apostles after He rose from the dead, and will be kept in the Kingdom, Matthew 26:29. Shouldn’t we also be keeping it today?

May future commemorations of the Passover lift us to new heights as we rejoice in the reassurance we all have in Yahshua as we keep the “Night to Be Much Remembered.”

by Donald R. Mansager

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Keeping Passover at the Right Time Is Critical

Passover is so important that if one is unable because of uncleanness or travel to observe it on the 14th of the first month, it is to be kept on the 14th of the following month, Numbers 9:10-14 As Yahweh began to prepare His people Israel to be released from the bondage of Egypt, He told Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you,” Exodus 12:2.

Deuteronomy 16: 1 reveals this month as Abib, the beginning of the year and first of the months in Yahweh’s calendar. Abib in Hebrew means“Green Ears” of barley. Abib comes in the spring when the warming sun brings vegetative life back to the earth in the northern hemisphere. Pass­over falls in this month, reminding us of the renewal of our life as portrayed by the time of our Savior’s sacrifice.

Because the Passover season ushers in the holy times of Unleavened Bread, Satan continues his attempts to influ­ence well-meaning people to follow teachings and practices outside the Bible. Not only does the Adversary confuse us as to the proper month, but he attempts to delay the proper day Yahweh’s people should observe.

By listening to those who ignore the plain teaching of the Bible, some are led astray to keep a day the Scriptures do not honor. Surely the Word will tell us plainly which day we are to keep for Passover! Yahweh would not make the proper time difficult to figure out.

First Biblical Passover

The seven Annual Holy Days were al­ready programmed early in Yahweh’s grand plan for mankind back at cre­ation. He 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” (Gen. 1: 14).

The word “seasons” in this verse does not refer to the four seasons’ of the year – spring, summer, fall and win­ter – but is from the- Hebrew moed. The word moed (Strong’s No, 4150) means “appointed time,” and is connected with Yahweh’s Feasts, His spe­cial times of the year. On the other hand, the Hebrew word eht means seasons of the year as we see in Deuteronomy 11: 14 andLeviticus 26:4.

There are those who contend that we should follow the Jews and keep the same days they do, as they have been observing the Feast days for some 4,000 years. The problem is that the Jews no longer follow the Bible in the special times that they observe. They have written their own rules missing from Scripture, and to­day they keep Passover a day late. However, they do have a “Seder” service that they keep at home with the family at the start of the 14th. They then go to the synagogue on the 15th for a supper, which they call “The Passover,” even though a day too late.

It would be well to review chapter 12 of Exodus to get the story flow of the first Passover. All Passovers must conform to the first example given us. Exodus 12:3-5 tells us that a lamb without blemish was selected on the tenth day of Abib and was to be kept until the 14th. Verse six reveals that each family was to slay its lamb: “And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”

Between the Evenings: Dusk

When the 14th came the lamb was to be slain. Scripture shows that the day begins at evening (dusk, sunset), when the previous day ends (Genesis 1:5; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32), not at midnight as in our Roman-Gregorian calendar. Numbers 9: 1-5 is clear that every­thing pertaining to Passover is to be done on the 14th: “In the fourteenth day of this month, at even [between the evenings], you shall keep it in his ap­pointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the cer­emonies thereof, shall you ‘keep it. And Moses spake unto the children of Is­rael that they should keep the Pass­over. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: accord­ing to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel” (Num. 9:3-5). The 15th is nowhere men­tioned in connection with the Passover.

The Hebrew term “even” or “evening” referring to Passover fre­quently is ben-ha-arbayim, explained as “between the evenings” and understood by the Samaritans and Karaites as be­tween sunset and dark. The Jewish Tanakh published by the Jewish Publi­cation Society translates this as “twi­light.” Other Bibles follow suit or trans­late it “dusk.” The first evening is sun­set, the second is darkness. The majority of today’s translations (like the NASB) read twilight, dusk or after sunset – literally between the “evenings” of sundown and complete darkness.

Attempts at a different understanding have been made by those quoting vari­ous Rabbinical philosophies of the Pharisees who later reinterpreted the meaning of ben-ha-arbayim to mean “be­ginning at noon (or later) until sunset.”

Temple Practice

When the Jews returned from Babylon under Ezra, they first observed two days, the first for Passover and the sec­ond for the first day of the Feast. But in a later shift, they merged Passover and Unleavened Bread. There were legitimate changes made by Ezra after the Jews returned from Babylon. For Passover they no longer had their staff at hand, their shoes on their feet, nor packed for a journey. They were now in the Holy Land and lounged on benches. Four cups of drink were added, which Yahshua uti­lized in His symbols of His body and blood, the “cup of blessing.”

Records during the time of the Mes­siah and before show that the Sadducees were in charge of Temple worship and set the Feast days until 70 C.E., when the Temple was destroyed. The annual Sabbaths were set by the Sanhedrin when Yahshua walked this earth. The Savior, along with Mary and Joseph, kept the Feast days according the set times of the Temple, the calen­dar of the Sadducees: “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the cus­tom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Yahshua stayed behind in Jerusa­lem …”  (Luke 2:41-43).

He obviously continued observ­ing the Feast days according to the Sadducees while on earth, as He went to the Temple for Tabernacles, John 7:14. He had no quarrel with the Sadducees and their calendar.

Passover Clearly on the 14th

Following are passages that clearly state that the 14th is Passover:

“These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s Pass­over” (Lev. 23:4-5).

“Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, you shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it” (Num. 9:2-3)

This is an especially significant verse, as it clearly states that every­thing dealing with the Passover is to be done on the 14th, which is the appointed time (twilight, NIV), the rites and ceremonies (rules and regu­lations, NIV) pertaining to it. Noth­ing pertaining to Passover was to be done on the 15th.

“And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that Yahweh com­manded Moses, so did the children of Israel” (Num. 9:5).

“And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of Yahweh. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten” (Num. 28: 16-17).

“And the children of Israel en­camped in Gilgal, and kept the Pass­over on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jeri­cho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow af­ter the Passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day” (Josh. 5:10-11).

“Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of Yahweh” (2Chr. 30: 15).

“Moreover Josiah kept a Passover unto Yahweh in Jerusalem: and they killed the Passover on the fourteenth [day] of the first month” (2Chron. 35:1).

“And the children of the captivity kept the Passover upon the fourteenth [day] of the first month” (Ezra 6:19).

Unmistakable Sequence

The above verses distinctly state that the 14th is the Passover, and the 15th is the Feast (of Unleavened Bread). The follow­ing verses are a real problem for those who mistakenly insist upon a 15th Pass­over. Note the similar wording describing when the Passover and the Feast of Tab­ernacles will be observed in the Kingdom:

• “In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall’ have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleav­ened bread shall be eaten” (Ezek. 45:21, note the similar wording, keeping it on the 14th).

• “In the seventh month, in the fif­teenth day of the month, shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, accord­ing to the sin offering …” (Ezek. 45:25).

If keeping the Passover at the end of the 14th is the correct time, then one should observe Tabernacles at the end of the 15th as the 16th begins and keep it seven days! This is an important compari­son, for the wording about both is almost exactly duplicated. If this means that Passover in the Kingdom will be kept at the end of the 14th just as the 15th begins, then Taber­nacles also will be kept a day later, at the end of the 15th as the 16th begins. But the Bible says that Passover is on the 14th of Abib and Tabernacles begins on the 15th of Tishri.

The sequence of events given in Yahweh’s Word is clear and logical. All verses dealing with Passover harmonize with a 14th Passover and 15th as the High Sabbath, the first day of Unleavened Bread. After sunset ending the 13th, the 14th would begin, which signaled the time to slay the lamb and smear blood on the doorposts and lintel. The lamb was roasted and eaten that night before mid­night when the destroyer came over.

On the morning of the 14th, the re­mains of the lamb were taken out, and the people began gathering their fam­ily, flocks, and herds and assembling at Rameses some 30 miles from Goshen (Num. 33:3) and spoiled the Egyptians. From Rameses they left Egypt as the 14th ended and the 15th began, which Deuteronomy 16:1 says was by night. This took time, as an estimated total of 2-3 million Israelites left, Exodus 12:37.

“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto Yahweh your Elohim: for in the month of Abib Yahweh your Elohim brought you forth out of Egypt by light” (Deut. 16: 1).

Once gathered at Rameses, Israel prepared themselves in marching order with their families and livestock to­gether and prepared to leave Egypt on the full moon night of the 15th.

“And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow af­ter the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians” (Num. 33:3).

Yahshua Observed It Properly

Yahshua kept the Passover at the proper time and fulfilled all righteous­ness right up to the time of His death. Even by that time the Jews were keep­ing Passover a day later, just as they do today, John 18:28. Notice that the dis­ciples were not confused about when He was keeping the Passover, Matthew 26: 18-19; Mark 14; Luke 22:8-14; John 13. All Evangels say Yahshua was entombed on the preparation day: Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54, John 19:31, 42. This in itself shows that Yahshua kept the Passover as the 14th began; was on trial that night, and was impaled as morning came.

Yahshua kept the Passover with His disciples and shortly afterward was taken prisoner and then severely beaten and scourged, His flesh ripped open. By His stripes we are healed. If He kept the lawperfectly, should we not also keep Passover on the beginning of the 14th?

We are told we should follow the practice of the Jews in observing the Passover on the 15th. Today, far too much credence is given to the practice of the Pharisees, who already in Yahshua’s time kept Passover a day late.

Beware of Jewish Custom

The Jews freely admit that the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread were at one time two separate festivals. However, following their return from Babylon, the two were merged into one observance .and Passover is now kept by Jews on Abib 15. That they kept Passover a day late is clear from John’s Evangel:

“Then led they Yahshua from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover” (John 18:28).

The Encyclopedia Judaica admits that the Jews have fused the two obser­vances and now keep Passover a day late on the 15th, observing it along with the first day of Unleavened Bread: “The feast of Passover consists of two parts: the Passover ceremony, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Origi­nally, both parts existed separately; but at the beginning of the exile they were combined” (Vol. 13,“Passover,” p. 169).

It is clear that the Bible knows noth­ing about Passover’s being observed on the 15th. Bible references show that Pass­over is to be on the 14th of Abib, which has to be in the evening when the 13th ends at sunset, and the 14th begins. Those who anchor their Passover to the Jews ignore the plain statements of Scripture that Passover is on the 14th. They depend upon a  misunderstanding ofMatthew’s statement. “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 you after their works: for they say, and do not” (Mat. 23:1-3).

Yahshua is telling us that when the scribes and Pharisees read the Old Tes­tament as Moses did, they will be quot­ing these same verses. These teachings, when from the Bible, we are to obey. We are not to DO what the Pharisees do, however, for they say one thing and do another. They tell us from their reading of the Bible to keep the Pass­over on the 14th. But in their practice they keep Passover on the 15th. “Do not after their works,” says our Savior. He also so much as says that the Phari­sees will not have everlasting life, Mat­thew 5:20. Why should we want to fol­Iow a custom of those who were fatally wrong in their practices?

Yahshua is telling us not to follow Jewish custom. We are to keep Pass­over on the 14th as Moses wrote, not as the Jews do today.

There is not one verse in the Bible telling us to keep Passover or any rite or ceremony thereof on ANY day except the l4th! We find no saints keeping Passover as the 14th ends and 15th starts. Yahshua kept the Passover at the beginning of the 14th, and we are to walk in His steps.

His Later Practice

The four Evangels show that the Sav­ior and His disciples were prepared to eat the Passover (Mat. 26:17-20; Mark 14:12-17;Luke 22:7-18; John 13:1-2). Not one of these references shows the disciples questioning why the Savior is preparing to partake of the Passover early (or late).

In both Matthew and Mark the dis­ciples asked Yahshua where they should prepare for Him to eat the Pass­over. The disciples knew when Passover was to be held. They had no problem with keeping this special time correctly and went to make ready the Passover.

A Fabled ‘Memorial Supper’

Nowhere do we find any disciple keep­ing Passover a day later with the Jews, who apparently observed the 15th. The question is, why did the Jews keep Passover a day later than the Savior?

The Savior had already kept the Passover in John 13, five chapters earlier. Somehow a fable has arisen that Yahshua kept a sort of “memorial sup­per,” separate from the Passover. “Memorial Supper” nowhere ap­pears in Scripture. A careful reading of the four evangels shows that Yahshua and His disciples did indeed keep the Passover on the “preparation day,” which is the 14th of Abib. Further­more, the Bible says Yahshua ate the Passover meal with the Disciples.

“Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and be­gan everyone of them to say unto him, Master, is it I? And He answered and said, He that dips his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me” (Mat. 26:21-23).

Some historians and Bible dictio­naries admit that Passover was held on two consecutive dates in the year 31 C.E., including The Dictionary of the New Testament.

Passover is not a “Sabbath” or Shabbathown. It is a time to prepare for the ensuing week of Unleavened Bread. That is baking the “bread of affliction,” and ridding our domiciles of all leav­ening. Passover is for those immersed into the Savior’s Name and is to be ob­served religiously as a Feast Day every year in the spring:

“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your gen­erations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Ex. 12:14).

If the Savior kept the Passover early and at the wrong time, as some allege, then He sinned and did not keep the law perfectly! He also made His dis­ciples to sin by misleading them to keep Passover on the wrong day!

Night of Watching

As He kept the Passover, Yahshua observed a much neglected command along with His disciples, given back in Exodus 12. We read little about it, but scholars con­tend that the following Passover verse tells those keeping Passover to go back to their tents in the morning after keep­ing a Shimmurim or all-night vigil, a “Night of watching”: “And you shall roast and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose: and you shall turn in the morning, and go unto your tents” (Deut. 16:7).

This command is found where the Passover is first mentioned: “It is a night to be much observed unto Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of Yahweh to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations” (Ex. 12:42).

Yahshua and the disciples kept the correct Passover on the 14th and fol­lowed it by keeping the “Night of Watching” when they went out to the garden. There Yahshua asked the dis­ciples to stay awake and pray: “Then said Yahshua unto them, All you shall be offended because of me this night: for it is writ­ten, I will smite the shep­herd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad … Then said He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry here, and watch with me” (Mat. 26:31-38).

Matthew clearly states that the disciples were asked to “watch” with the Savior that night. Three times He came to them, and they were sleeping. Reading the Evangels, we learn there were many Jews, priests, and even young maidens up and about in this chilly “night of watching” when Peter warmed himself outside.

Yahweh watched out for Israel dur­ing the night the destroying angel was about, and now His people are to keep a watch for Him.

by Donald R. Mansager

Passover Communion easter

Passover or Communion?

“So you keep the Passover?” the young man asked. “I thought that observance was just for Jewish people.”  I then asked him, “Do you practice ‘Communion’”?  “Yes,” he responded.  “Every week.” “Then you yourself keep a vestige of the Passover,” I told him. “The difference is that what you observe has become disconnected from the original truth of the Passover Memorial.”

Passover as the original event is an annual observance, not a weekly, monthly, or semiannual event. It com­memorates the slaying of the Passover lamb on the 14th of Abib, the lamb Yahshua was to become as He fulfilled what the Passover lamb foreshadowed. He provided new meaning in the symbols of the unleavened bread and cup, as now our sins could actually be paid for and removed and not just covered over as they were with animal blood. (Heb. 10:4) Just as He kept the Passover annually, so do His people.

Saved Through the Passover Blood

Why do Yahweh’s people continue to keep the Passover once every year and the Feast that follows? The answer is rooted in the first Passover recorded. In Exodus 12, the families of Israel were to take a lamb and at the start of the 14th day slay it and put its blood around the doors of their homes. That blood would protect the firstborn of the Israelite families from the death angel to come at midnight. Firstborn are firstfruit offspring of their parents. Yahweh’s people are typi­cally referred to as firstfruits in Scrip­ture. The firstfruit sheaf of grain be­longed to Yahweh and was presented to Him during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Yahweh told Israel that unless they kept the Passover and protected their houses with the blood of the lamb, their firstfruits would die, Exodus 12:13.When the angel sees the blood he will “pass over” that house, Yahweh said.

Hence the name Passover

The lesson is clear. As firstfruits, Yahweh’s people must have the protec­tion and salvation that Passover blood of Yahshua provides. For salvation, the Passover is not an option, it is essential! Unless they keep the Passover, ap­plying the blood of the Lamb where they live – meaning to their personal lives – ­they will not be protected from the everlasting, second death. This is the significance of the death angel and sacrificial blood.

Passover is filled with significance directly relating to salvation. Church­ianity has lost that meaning by replac­ing the sin-cleansing of Yahshua’s Passover with the Easter resur­rection observance. It has ripped the memorial of the bread and cup from the Passover and used it in a hybrid observance, complete with new times and its own meaning. How can we find blessings in making up our own worship?

Proper Timing is Essential

As important as the observance itself is, the timing of the memorial is also critical. Had any Israelites kept the Passover a day late, the death angel would have already struck their firstborn dead. Keeping the Passover daily, weekly or monthly would have done them no good. Yahweh would not have honored it. Passover had to be kept at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month of the year as the law specified. Any other times or substitute observance constitutes adding to the Word and is a fruitless, even fatal act (Rev. 22:18; Deut. 4:2; 12:32).

passover salvation lesson

Passover and Salvation

A key to Yahweh’s salvation plan is found in the timeless Passover

Many today have the idea that Yahshua’s plan of redemption was finished when He was impaled on Passover day. His death, they believe, marked the end of the old Jewish system, the virtual end of Israel as the chosen of Yahweh, and the end of the laws of the Old Testament. They firmly believe that Yahshua’s death on the tree, followed by His resurrection, marked the beginning of the Christian era. Along with that assumption is that the New Testament Scriptures, and only those Scriptures, are in effect today.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Yahshua as the Passover lamb held the key role in a continuation of Yahweh’s design for His human creation.

The Passover is the first of the yearly observances of Yahweh and in the New Testament represents the beginning of the rest of Yahweh’s plan, not the complete scrapping of everything He had done up to that point. Granted, the original hopes for an exclusive, special people who would follow and worship only Him had now changed. Because of Israel’s continual rebellion, Yahweh opened His calling up to all who would repent and turn to Him, Israel included. Romans 9:27 is clear that a remnant of Israel shall be saved. Yahweh is certainly not finished with Israel. Therefore, when we look at the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread that follows, we see a progression — and not an ending — of a salvation plan that was established at creation itself.

Passover is a memorial of an actual event that occurred long ago in Egypt. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are also shadows of events to occur later in the New Testament. What Yahshua did by becoming the Passover Lamb was fulfilled only in part. He spoke of a yet another fulfillment of Passover in the future. Throughout history we see the importance of this special observance. From ancient days to the Kingdom, the Passover is key to Yahweh’s blueprint for salvation of His creation. When the Egyptian firstborn from every house died, Yahweh sent a clear message of obedience to all of mankind. It was the firstborn that got twice the family inheritance, which was known as the birthright.

With the death of Egyptian firstborn, Yahweh dramatically demonstrated that those not covered by the blood of the lamb will have no life or inheritance in the Heavenly Father’s Kingdom. The other lesson we learn is that we are covered by that blood only if we follow Yahweh’s instructions explicitly. If anyone in Israel had not done exactly as Yahweh commanded, not putting the blood on the top of the doorpost but only on the sides, for instance, he would have faced the same consequences as the Egyptians. Yahweh had to see the blood on the lintel, as well as on the doorposts, Exodus 12:23. The entire door frame had to have a blood covering, symbolic of a complete protection from death by the blood of the lamb. For us, it means that if we aren’t totally covered by the blood of Messiah, we face everlasting death. Rather than having less meaning for us today, the Passover and Feast have much more serious implications than they ever had for ancient Egypt and Israel.

The physical consequences anciently for disobedience now translate into serious spiritual consequences for us if we are not in obedience.

Looking back in history, we see that Yahweh began a re-calling of His people at the Passover, ultimately to take them out of the Egypt of sin and unto Himself. He does the same today in the New Covenant observance of the Passover. It is an annual reminder for all who would be His elect not to get involved in the sin of this world or it will enslave us, just as Israel was enslaved in Egypt because they had repeatedly refused to obey their Heavenly Father. Passover offered a chance to rededicate their lives to Him, to turn back again in sincerity.

Exodus 12:19-20 is a warning against anyone who would not take the Feast of Unleavened Bread seriously as well. Therefore, each time that we participate in the Passover and Feast that follows, we undergo a renewal with Yahweh. That is why it is so important to keep these annual set times. Most important of all, they are called His. They honor Him. And they are central to the redemption of His people. At that time of year we rededicate our lives to the Father as we recount the sacrifice of the Son, and remove leaven from our lives in the seven-day Feast that follows Passover. Yeast is only one substance that we are to refrain from consuming during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Other leavening agents include: cream of tartar, baking powder, baking soda, and calcium phosphate. Any chemical that causes fermentation would be classified as leavening. What leavening symbolizes is what is important. Leavening in the Scriptures pictures hypocrisy, false teachings, and wickedness. When leaven is removed, these evils that it represents are symbolically removed as well. His people are called peculiar in Titus 2:14 and we should be different. The context of this verse is of Yahshua’s sacrifice at Passover and what it does to renew our dedication to Him. If you are not seen as “peculiar” by the world around you, then you need to reassess your walk with Yahshua. Yahweh’s people should be a light of righteousness to those around them. And the further this world sinks into the abyss, the more your light should stand out in the darkness.

Yahweh’s people should be vastly different from the world. Yahweh’ standards are right and true and stand forever. And if we don’t meet them, we face our own personal judgment. The insidious, moral collapse occurring everywhere is nothing less than the action of leavening. It permeates and works slowly to induce a change. And spiritually, it spells corruption of the heart. Leavening induces a chemical change. In a chemical change, the nature of the substance itself is altered. To be constantly exposed to the leaven of hypocrisy, false teachings and wickedness of the world will eventually create a spiritual change in a person, not unlike the chemical change brought on by leavening.

The lesson of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to make us aware that influences exist and are real and can change us if we are not circumspect. To be unaware of leaven is to be unaware of the Satanic influences that will destroy us spiritually.

You cannot constantly be bombarded by trash day in and day out and not expect to get some of it on you, to be influenced by it, and even come to consider it normal. That is what we see in our society today. Many are searching for meaning today, but in all the wrong places. Yahweh says here is the way, walk in it. The Passover was a night when Yahweh executed judgment on the false religion of Egypt, and hence the false religions of the world. The lessons remain for us. Revelation shows that Many of the same plagues unleashed on Egypt will again be loosed on this earth in the last days. To keep the Passover correctly and on the right day is a serious matter. Salvation itself is tied to this observance. That is why Yahweh’s people will not ever neglect it. Many think of Yahweh not as a Heavenly Father, but as a kindly old Grandfather, who would never harm anyone and who puts up with His spoiled children forever. But Yahweh punished even believers in the New Testament with sickness and death for observing Passover carelessly, 1Corinthians 11:27-31.

Come out of a world deceived by traditions and practices that are not in the Scriptures. Come to truly know your Heavenly Father by keeping the only days commanded in His Word. The seven annual Feasts and Sabbaths of Leviticus 23 are the real Scriptural holidays that the True Worshiper should be observing.

passover or communion; is the communion the passover; should we do communion; Leavening; puffed up

Passover: The Original and Exclusive Memorial

“So you keep the Passover?” the man asked. “I thought that was just a Jewish holiday.”

Then I asked him, “Do you happen to practice communion?”

“Yes, every Sunday,” he responded.

“Then you keep a trace of the Passover,” I told him. “The problem is that what you and many others observe has become disconnected from the original truth and meaning of the death memorial of Yahshua.”

The Passover as the original event of His death is an annual observance, not a weekly, semimonthly or monthly event. It commemorates the slaying of the Passover lamb on the 14th of Abib, which looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Yahshua the Messiah. He fulfilled what the lamb only foreshadowed. He provided the greater sacrifice that not just covered the sin, but also removed its penalty for those who trust in Him.

He as our example kept the Passover annually, as did His earthly parents and His ancestors before that. The Passover is a New Testament observance every bit as important as it was in the Old Testament. Even more so, considering the ramifications for sin.

The Passover is not an option but a necessity for our salvation. Anyone in Israel who did not observe it was cut off, Numbers 9:13. Yahweh’s people require the protection and payment for their sin that Yahshua’s blood provides.  Without it we must pay our own penalty of eternal death. That is why the Passover is essential for us today.

His blood was foreshadowed by Israel’s placing the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, which protected them from the death angel. Similarly, Yahweh’s “Israel” today must be protected from everlasting death through His shed blood. Passover is filled with meaning directly related to our very salvation. Churchianity lost that significance when it traded the Passover observance for the Easter celebration allegedly honoring His resurrection. But there is no command in Scripture to keep a memorial to His resurrection. No one in the Bible ever did.

In the communion they have also torn the memorial of the cup and bread away from Passover and created a hybrid to add additional spiritual dimension to the mostly secular Easter observance, complete with its own time and meaning.

Keeping the Passover daily, weekly or monthly would have done Israel no good. Yahweh would not have honored it because He had told them exactly when to keep it, and He never allowed anyone to fiddle with His laws. His command is the same for us today:

“These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Yahweh: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein,” Leviticus 23:4-8.

Substituting other rites and times for what is commanded is a fatal act. Revelation 22:18-19 warns, “For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Yahweh shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yahweh shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Yahshua and His disciples all kept the Passover religiously, and He even said He would keep it again with them in the Kingdom,Matthew 26:29. Clearly this is an observance that has not gone away. This is one of the seven annual observances that are appointed in the Bible.

None of the world’s holidays have any Scriptural sanction. None of them were kept in the days of the Bible. None of them are commanded. But Yahweh’s holy days were commanded, kept and promised for a future fulfillment.

Which are you going to keep?

Passover Observed In the New Testament

∙ Yahshua ordained Passover
Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20

∙ Yahshua observed Passover
Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:15; John 2:13, 23

∙ Yahshua’s family attended the Passover annually
Luke 2:41-42

∙ Yahshua impaled at the time of Passover
Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1,2; John 18:28

∙ Yahshua is even called “our Passover”
1 Corinthians 5:7

∙ Passover continues after Yahshua
1Corinthians 10:16-17

Lessons in Leavening

Eating nothing but flat bakery goods for a week may seem strange in modern society. But is it any stranger than people dressing up in rabbit suits, coloring eggs supposedly laid by rabbits, and hiding them all over the house and yard and telling children to go search for them—all to celebrate the resurrection of the Savior? Where is there any possible connection between the ritual and the observance?

Yahweh’s people have a solid Scriptural basis for what they observe. Churchianity cannot say the same when its celebrations like Easter are rooted in ancient practices of heathens and their fertility deities, then rewrapped, relabeled and inconceivably tied to a supposed Biblical holiday.

It is the Father’s Decree

Following the Passover Yahweh commanded, “You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread.” (Exodus 12:20) Yahweh tells us to remove what is leavened and eat only what is unleavened in an effort to teach us significant lessons.

“Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15).

It takes some diligence to do this as there are different kinds of leavening to watch for (see listing below).

But why does Yahweh have us avoid leavening? Why not hot sauce? Or meat? If leaven strictly represented sin, obviously it would not have been placed in other offerings presented before Yahweh (Leviticus 7:13).

We must look closely at the characteristics of leaven, its typology and metaphor to get the real teaching.

How Leavening Works

The main thing leavening does, and it does it quite well, is to spread rapidly throughout a substance.

In Matthew 13:33 Yahshua used this process to describe a parable about the Kingdom. Here His symbol of a woman refers to the assembly of believers. The truth grows as the leavening is placed in different areas. We see it at work when a believer learns of the truth and then tells friends and relatives, who in turn do the same. And thus the truth can grow exponentially.

Specifically, Yahshua was emphasizing the action of leavening – how it works and how it increases.

Yahweh’s Kingdom will grow in the same way. We are the firstfruits among many brethren. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:7).

Matthew 13:31-32 shows how small it starts and how large it grows.

“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Yahweh hath prepared for them that love him” (1Corinthians 2:9).

We haven’t even fathomed what is designed for our future. If you have ever had the experience of traveling and coming around a bend and seeing a magnificent panorama of mountains and valleys open up before you – it takes your breath away. Perhaps that is what it will be like when Yahweh’s plan is revealed. No human experience will be able to compare to what Yahweh will one day show us!

We look through a dark glass now. We can only see shadows and images of the real thing. It is not always clear but we do the best we can. Once everything comes into sharp focus by the revealing of Yahweh, we will see why Yahweh has us doing what we do now in simple obedience.

Now let’s look specifically at what leaven represents. In Matthew 16:5-12 Yahshua discusses how the doctrine of these religious men was compared to leaven and how leaven spreads.

In Mark 8:14-15 we have the same analogy but directed at yet another type of leaven. What is the leaven of Herod? Actually it refers to the Herodians. They were members of an aristocratic Jewish group who supported the Roman government and favored the policies of Herod Antipas. They tried to trap Yahshua in not paying taxes to Rome (Matt. 22:15, 21 – “give unto Caesar”).

The leaven metaphor here deals with an evil disposition that these who were trying to entrap Yahshua had: hypocrisy, malice and wickedness. In fact, Paul talks about the same in 1Corinthians 5:6-8.

Take note how flat bread even looks humble. The opposite of prideful glory.

Verse 2 – These Corinthians were proud of themselves. “Puffed up” comes from a Greek word meaning to swell up. Leaven can refer to several things: bad doctrine; hypocrisy, malice, wickedness; self glory, insincerity; and falsity.

Why would Yahweh command leaven in the peace offering and the wave loaves for Pentecost? Certainly not because of what leaven represented, but for what leaven can do. It starts with just a little and grows. The baker would keep back a little sourdough to leaven the next batch. The use of yeast in breads is a more recent practice.

We are used in the same way by Almighty Yahweh to create a new batch of believers. The Word spreads by the influence of one or two and then grows by infusion of right teachings and good examples of living. This Feast teaches on many levels the ways and designs of Almighty Yahweh.

Get the Leavening Out

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Yahweh commands that no leavening be eaten or found on our premises: “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread,” Exodus 12:19-20.

A leavening agent (sometimes called just leavening or leaven) is a substance used in dough and batter that causes them to rise. Nearly all breads, rolls, doughnuts, and cakes are made this way and are leavened. Some pies are, too.

Included here is a list of common leavening agents found in a variety of foods that must be used up or removed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Incidentally, it is not acceptable to remove leavening from your property only to bring it back once the Feast is over, Exodus 12:15, 13:7. The lesson is to remove corrupting activity entirely from our lives, which leaven represents here. To bring it back at the end of the Feast confounds the purpose of the lesson.

Here are leavening agents in products to avoid during the Feast of Unleavened Bread:

yeast
baker’s yeast
active dried yeast
baking powder
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)
sourdough
ammonium carbonate
ammonium bicarbonate
potassium carbonate
potassium bicarbonate
dipotassium carbonate

Also on the list:

Beer/wine/alcohol (leavened by yeast)
Preparation H (contains yeast)
Cat and dog foods with yeast
Toothpastes with baking soda

False Leavening

The following are foods or ingredients not leavened, although they may be mistaken for leavening or leavened food. They pose no problem for Unleavened Bread:

  • Puffed cereals Some food products are “puffed up” by mechanical means but cannot be used as a contact spreading agent.  They are just puffed up by air and are not chemically leavened.  They include: popcorn, beaten eggs, and air puffed cereal like puffed rice or wheat.
  • Brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an inactive yeast, meaning the yeasts have been killed and have no leavening ability. This is the yeast remaining after beer making. It is used as a nutrient supplement to increase the intake of B vitamins.
  • Yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract When yeast cells die, they automatically break up, a process called autolysis in which the yeasts’ digestive enzymes break their proteins down into simpler compounds. What remains is a collection of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer.
  • Soda pop Although its name says “soda,” soda pop is not leavened as if with bicarbonate of “soda.” It is made with carbonated water, which has been infused with carbon dioxide in a non-leavening process.

The lesson of leaven is clear. Remove the corrupting influence that leads to sin. Become pure and unleavened in a world of impurity and corruption.