Thursday, June 4, 2009

WHICH BIBLICAL FESTIVAL CALENDAR DO YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW?

Throughout the congregations and assemblies, one of the major topics of contention has been the Biblical calendar. (And it is not today’s calendar of January to December.) It splits groups, divides brethren and the end result each time is more various dates for any given feast day in Scripture. Many who argue this issue have never taken the time to research and study the various ideas of what is a biblical calendar. They simply base their belief on what their leadership tells them or what their assembly does. They just follow along with the crowd.

Many have come through churches which insisted on, and continue to use, the Hebrew (or Jewish) calendar, and will consider nothing else. Before forging ahead, let’s take a little time to look at the Hillel II Jewish Calendar and see if that is the one we wish to pursue. How well does it meet with Scriptures? After all, Scripture is the basis of what we are doing.

THE CALENDAR USED BY JUDAISM?
Gates of the Seasons, edited by Peter S. Knobel –
Pages 7-8 – From the article “The Jewish Calendar, by Alexander Guttmann –
“The main purpose of the Jewish calendar is, and always has been, to set the dates of the festivals. Our present calendar has its roots in the Torah, but it has been modified by Jewish religious authorities through the ages. The principal rules were established by the Sages and Rabbis of antiquity and were supplemented by medieval scholars. In Talmudic times, the regulation of the calendar was the exclusive right of the Jewish leadership in the Land of Israel, particularly that of the Nasi (Patriarch). Since that time, such regulation has been regarded as a task of crucial importance for the observance of Judaism.”

“The point of departure in regulating the Jewish calendar is the Biblical law, ‘Observe the month of Aviv and keep the Passover to the Lord your God’ Deuteronomy 16:1. Passover therefore, must fall every year in the spring at the time of Aviv (specifically, the appearance of the ripening ears of barley). And so, each year the ancient Jewish authorities watched for signs of the approaching spring. If these signs were late, they added an extra month of 30 days (called Adar II) to the year, before the Passover month. Once the time of Passover had been established, the dates of all subsequent festivals would be determined based upon whether or not an extra month (a second Adar) had been added.”

“In the Bible, the Hebrew months are lunar (i.e., each month begins with the ‘birth’ of the new moon). However, since festivals such as Passover and Sukkot had to occur in the proper agricultural season (i.e., according to the solar year, it is obvious that the Jewish calendar must be lunar-solar. This means that the lunar year (approximately 354 days) and the solar year (approximately 365 days) had to be harmonized and adjusted to each other, a complex process that was meticulously refined by the ancient and medieval Rabbis.”

“The Jewish day has twenty-four hours and starts in the evening. The length of the lunar month is traditionally calculated as 29 days, 12 hours, and 793 parts of an hour (divided into 1080 parts). This is the time between one new moon and the next.”

“As Jewry dispersed, regular contacts with the Jewish leadership in the Land of Israel, which had the sole privilege of regulating the calendar, became more and more difficult. The most important step in this process of permanent calendar reform was the adoption in the eighth century C.E. of a nineteen-year cycle of ‘intercalation’ (i.e., harmonization of the solar and lunar calendars). The adoption of this cycle made the actual physical observation of the new moon and the signs of approaching spring unnecessary. This cycle of nineteen years adjusts the lunar year to the solar year by inserting into it seven leap years (i.e., the additional 30-day month of Adar) in the following order. Every third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth year.”

Page 60 – “Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot are collectively known as the Shalosh Regalim, the Three Pilgrimage Festivals. During the existence of the Temple, they were the three annual occasions for pilgrimage to Jerusalem with offerings of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest (Exodus 23:14). The eighth day of Sukkot, Atseret/Simchat Torah, while a separate festival is considered part of the Sukkot holiday. While the agricultural cycle of ancient Israel, each also commemorates an important event in the history of the Jewish people: Pesach – the Exodus from Egypt; Shavuot – the giving of commandments at Mt. Sinai; and Sukkot – the forty-year journey through the wilderness.”

“The dates for celebrating the Festivals depend on the seasons as they occur in the Land of Israel.”

Page 131 – “The Biblical verse (Leviticus 23:15) states that the counting of the fifty-day period from Pesach until Shavuot begins on the day after the Sabbath. According to the Talmud (B., Menachot 65 ab), the Sadducees (Boethusians) took the word Sabbath literally and began to count the day after the Sabbath which occurred during Pesach, which meant that the date of Shavuot varied from year to year. However, the Pharisees understood the word Sabbath to refer to the first day of Pesach and therefore began the counting on the second day of Pesach, thus establishing a fixed date for Shavuot.”
Now to see how one non-Jewish religious organization interpreted the Hillel II Jewish Calendar, look at these quotes:
The Hebrew Calendar: A Mathematical Introduction,
by John A Kossey, edited by Herman L Hoeh –

Page 1-2 – “DAY: Genesis 1:5 shows that the day begins in the evening. ‘And the evening and the morning were the first day’. Although each day begins at sunset, 6 PM is the arbitrary commencement of a new day for calendar calculations.”

MONTH: A lunar month is the time needed for the moon to revolve around the earth. Even though this period varies from month to month, 29 days 12 hours 793 parts is the traditional average used for calculation. Actual calendars cannot be based on 29 ½ days, so the Hebrew calendar incorporates months of 29 and 30 days.”

YEAR: The Hebrew calendar has two basic types of years, common and intercalary. An intercalary year will have 30 additional days, so it can also be called a leap year.”

Page 2-2 – “Why do you need to be concerned with the molad of Tishri? The answer is that you must know when it occurs before you can determine the date of the Festival of Trumpets. And all other holy days within a Roman year (January-December) are ultimately referenced to that holy day. The molad of Tishri is prerequisite to most calculations involving the Hebrew calendar.”

“Tishri is the seventh month of the sacred calendar. The computed time for the conjunction of the sun, moon, and the earth is called a molad, from the Hebrew moled (plural, moledoth). This word means renewal, or rejuvenescence.”

Page 6-2 – “At the outset, you should understand that a conjunction of the earth, moon, and sun takes place completely apart from man’s doings. The molad cannot be postponed by human enactments! Tishri 1, the civil New Year in the Hebrew calendar, is what is postponed.”

(Author’s note: in the following quotes, use the following explanations to understand: d = day of the week; h = hour of the day; p = parts of an hour. Also there are pages and pages of mathematical calculations and charts to try to find the information to determine when the festival days should fall).

“Here are the four postponement rules, prefaced by a general statement of the case where there is no postponement:

When the molad Tishri occurs at a time of the week that’s unaffected by the four postponement rules, the Feast of Trumpets is on the same day as the molad.
  • Rule one: When the molad of Tishri occurs at noon or later (12 h 0 p or more in your calculations), the Feast of Trumpets is postponed until the next day.
  • Rule two: When the molad of Tishri or a postponement occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, the Feast of Trumpets is postponed one day, to a Monday, Thursday or Sabbath, respectively.
  • Rule three: When the molad of Tishri of a common year occurs on a Tuesday, at or after (3d) 3h 204p the Feast of Trumpets is postponed to a Wednesday, and by Rule two, further postponed to a Thursday.
  • Rule four: When the molad of Tishri of a common year immediately following an intercalary year occurs on a Monday, at or after (2d) 9h 589p the Feast of Trumpets is postponed to a Tuesday.”
Here a modern-day Jewish writer discusses the Hillel II Jewish Calendar:
Dictionary of Ancient Rabbis, by Jacob Neusner, editor –

Page 199, regarding Hillel II, who lived from 330-365 C.E. – “Tradition ascribes to him an enactment which proved of incalculable benefit to his coreligionists of his own and subsequent generations. To equalize the lunar with the solar year, and thereby render possible the universal celebration of the festivals on the days designated in the Bible, occasional intercalations of a day in a month and of a month in a year were required. These intercalations were determined at meetings of a special commission of the Sanhedrin. But Constantius, following the tyrannous precedents of Hadrian, prohibited the holding of such meetings as well as the vending of articles for distinctively Jewish purposes.”

Page 200 – “Almost the whole Diaspora depended for the legal observance of the feasts and fasts upon the calendar sanctioned by the Judean Sanhedrin; yet danger threatened the participants in the sanction and the messengers who communicated their decisions to distant congregations. Temporarily to relieve the foreign congregations, Huna b. Abin (doubtless with the approval, or by the order, of Hillel) once advised Raba not to wait for the official intercalations: ‘When thou art convinced that the winter quarter will extend beyond the sixteenth day of Nisan declare the year a leap-year, and do not hesitate’ (R. H. 21a). But as the religious persecutions continued, Hillel determined to provide an authorized calendar for all time to come, though by so doing he severed the ties which united the Jews of the Diaspora to their mother country and to the patriarchate.”
Why would various groups and assemblies today use something that was constructed by man and changed from time to time? Who made these men responsible for it? By what authority? People commonly cite the following verses to show why.
Romans 3:1-2 1-What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2-Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Elohim.
It is assumed that since the oracles were committed to the Jews, then we must follow what they say. But why would we follow only the calendar? Why wouldn’t we also need to be in the synagogues if we are to be following all the oracles committed to the Jews?

What is an oracle? It is the Greek word #3051, logion, meaning an utterance (of God). But exactly to whom were these oracles given?
Acts 7:38-39 38-This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: 39-To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt
Judah (the Jews) was not the only tribe of Israel standing and listening at the foot of Mount Sinai. The oracles were given to all Israelites. So how can just a few claim to have the authority?
Matthew 23:1-3 1-Then spoke Yahshua to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2-Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3-All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
According to this, then, are we to look to Judaism and follow all they bid to be done? If not, why not? How can we just pick the calendar and just ignore the rest of what they teach? Do we choose just the one thing or none?

When a man sat in Moses’ seat, he was limited in what he could do. He did not preach or make decisions or give opinions – he only read Scripture from a scroll. So Yahshua said, in reference to the Pharisees, that what they bid you from Moses’ seat – what they read from the Torah – that observe and do. But we are not to follow what the Pharisees did – their traditions and interpretations of Scripture. And Yahshua goes on for the remainder of the chapter condemning what the Pharisees did and taught. So if the Pharisees’ calendar did not come directly from Scripture read from Moses’ seat, should we follow that calendar?
  • Thinking back on what we read about the Jewish calendar, is that what Yahweh had in mind?
  • Where in Scripture are the postponements?
  • Where is the intercalary year?
  • Is there a leap year? If there isn’t, then where do we go for information?
  • The word “calendar” does not appear in Scripture. But are there any hints of what Yahweh meant?
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YEAR

What is a year?
When does it start?
How many months does it have?

Genesis 1:14-16 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: 15-And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16-And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
In verse 14, the word “seasons” is the Hebrew #4150, mow`ed. It means an appointment; a festival; an assembly; a season.

With today’s modern calendar, what designates the various seasons? It is the sun as it travels through to equinoxes and solstices. Spring begins with the vernal equinox in March and autumn with the autumnal equinox in September. The sun’s position at these two times causes day and night to be of equal length. Then summer begins with the summer solstice in June – the day of the year with the longest daylight period. In contrast, the winter solstice in December is the beginning of winter – the day with the fewest hours of daylight.

Our modern calendar starts with January 1, during winter. Did Yahweh have anything to say about when a year started?
Exodus 12:1-2 1-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2-This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
He stresses that the month they were just starting was to be the first one, the start of the year. But in what season?
Exodus 9:31-32 31-And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. 32-But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
This took place during one of the plagues in Egypt, shortly before the Israelites left. At what time of the year is the barley “in the ear”? In the spring! The barley was planted shortly after the fall feast but before the winter rains, to grow through the winter. Then something happens that causes the grain heads to appear. That something is called vernalization. It occurs around the vernal equinox. The nighttime temperatures are not as chilly, but the nights remain warmer. It is safe enough for the grain to survive, so the plant pushes the grain heads out the ends of the stalk and they begin developing.

What does “in the ear” mean? It is the Hebrew #24, aviv. Most define this word simply as green, tender ears of grain. So as soon as they find a few green heads of barley, they declare that’s all they need to begin the festival cycle.

But those first green, tender ears won’t produce any food. Even if roasted or parched, they cannot be ground into flour. If a person breaks open the seed heads at that time, they are simply like a little blister filled with liquid. The grain must be more developed before it can be used. As it develops, the grain slowly fills out and hardens.

The word aviv comes from a Hebrew root that is no longer used – avuv. It simply means hollow, like a tube, a flute, or straw. When the barley is aviv, it is not totally green; it is beginning to ripen. The plant pushes the grain heads out of the stem, which is left hollow, and begins to stiffen.

In Exodus 9:31, it is said that the barley that was smitten was aviv. That was because the hollow stems were stiffening and they broke when the hail hit them. They were not still tender and green and resilient. If they had been it would have been possible for them to recover and stand up again.

By the way, the word aviv appears only 8 times in Scripture, and, at the time of the Exodus, it was not the name of the month. Yahweh did not give names to the months, only numbers, such as first, fifth, seventh, etc. Where it is translated (5 times) as “in the month Aviv”, it is not translated correctly. Each time there is a word left out. It should read “in the month of the aviv”, meaning, in the month in which the barley reaches the aviv (stiffening, drying, ripening) stage. The translators ignored the word “the” and totally changed the sense of the sentence. They put a name to a month that Yahweh never gave it.
Deuteronomy 16:1 Observe the month of the Aviv, and keep the passover unto Yahweh your Elohim…
This is what is found in most English translations, the name of a month, leaving out “the”. But in the Tanach, the Hebrew Old Testament, it is translated as “Observe the month of springtime”.

So Yahweh’s year is to begin in the spring – and that starts with the vernal equinox. The first month cannot begin until the equinox; either after it or on the same day that it occurs. Compare it to a race that is run in a circular pattern. Once the runners leave the starting line, they do not complete the race until that start/finish line is crossed and the circuit complete.

It is the same way with the year. The year starts with the vernal equinox and ends with the next vernal equinox. One year cannot start until the old one has completed that circuit. If a year starts before the equinox, then it will be starting in the winter.

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MONTH

Now, when does the first month of the year begin? What determines it? Where were the Israelites coming from? Egypt. Do we have any idea how they counted time there?

http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Egypt/ptolemies/chron/egyptian/chron_eg_cal_lun.htm “Lunar dates are extremely rare in Egyptian records. In most cases where they do occur, only a lunar day number (or name) is given. However, the existence of an actual lunar calendar, in which lunations are organised into a named and repeated sequence of months, is absolutely certain, having being established by H. Brugsch (ZÄS 10 (1872) 1) from two double dates in the temple of Edfu that explicitly named both civil and lunar months:

Ptolemy VIII Year 28, IV Shomu 18 (civil) = III Shomu 23 (lunar) (= 10 September 142)
Ptolemy VIII Year 30, II Shomu 9 (civil) = Hb jnt 6 (= 2 July 140)”

“The Egyptian lunar month began (at least notionally) on the day of lunar invisibility -- functionally, if not completely accurately astronomically, the new moon. Each month had 29 or 30 days. The days of the month had individual names as well as day numbers, as follows (from R. A. Parker, The Calendars of Ancient Egypt, 11):

Egyptian month:
  • DAY: 1 NAME: PcDntyw (Original Text) MEANING:New moon
  • DAY: 2 NAME: Abd (Original Text) MEANING:New crescent day
The area they were coming from – where they had been living for over 400 years – had months starting with the conjunction. They acknowledged that the crescent could appear on the next day. Notice the name of the second day of the month listed above. When Yahweh spoke to them, He apparently did not stop to tell them that the way they had been doing it was wrong and give them new information. The people knew when a month started, and He simply said “this month.”
Exodus 12:1-2 1-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2-This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
The moon’s phase determines the new month. It is referred to as the “new moon”. But how does it appear in Scripture? It can be confusing because of words being so similar.

Hebrew #2320, chodesh, is defined as the new moon; by implication a month. It is translated sometimes as new moon and sometimes as month. The word "chodesh" comes from the Hebrew 2318, chadash, defined by Strong’s Concordance as to be new; causatively, to rebuild or renew.

The word chadash simply means new, such as a new house, a new covenant, a new hat, etc. It is an adjective that describes the noun to which it is referring.

In a concordance, when there is more than one definition assigned to a word, some people simply pick and choose the one they want, or one that best fits their ideas, but that method does not always work. With the word chadash, they say it is not a new moon, but a renewing or rebuilding moon. But that is incorrect. For the word chadash to carry that meaning, it must be a verb, not a descriptive adjective. The verb form that means “to renew” appears only 10 times in Scripture. Let’s look at each one and see how it refers to the moon.
I Samuel 11:14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew (piel verb form of chadash) the kingdom there.
2 Chronicles 15:8 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed (piel verb form of chadash) the altar of Yahweh, that was before the porch of Yahweh.

2 Chronicles 24:4,12 4-And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair (piel verb form of chadash) the house of Yahweh. 12-And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of Yahweh, and hired masons and carpenters to repair (piel verb form of chadash) the house of Yahweh, and also such as wrought iron and brass to mend the house of Yahweh.

Job 10:17 You renew (piel verb form of chadash) your witnesses against me, and increase your indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim; and renew (piel verb form of chadash) a right spirit within me.

Psalms 103:5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed (hitpael verb form of chadash) like the eagle's.

Psalms 104:30 You send forth your spirit, they are created: and you renew (piel verb form of chadash) the face of the earth.

Isaiah 61:4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair (piel verb form of chadash) the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

Lamentations 5:21 Turn thou us unto you, O Yahweh, and we shall be turned; renew (piel verb form of chadash) our days as of old.


That’s it. Those are all the references with the verb form of chadash that carry the definition to renew or rebuild. But wait! Where was the moon? It isn’t there! Even in looking at every reference in Scripture using the word chadash, new, it never appears with the word moon! In reference to a new moon or the beginning of a month, chodesh is the only word used and not with the word for moon.

There is another word for the moon specifically as an object in the sky (such as “the sun, the moon, and the stars”). It is the Hebrew #3394, yereach. It never appears with the word chadash or chodesh to say “new moon”.

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CONJUNCTION OR CRESCENT


It is clear that chodesh refers either to a month or the beginning of a month. So what exactly is meant by “new moon”? There are on-going debates as to whether the new moon is a conjunction or a crescent; whether or not the moon is hidden or visible; whether the new moon day is declared on the day the new moon occurs, or a day later; etc.

The moon travels in an orbit around the earth, just as the earth travels around the sun. It is not a perfectly circular orbit, so the time of the orbit varies a little each month on its circuit around the earth. At a particular time each month, the earth, sun and moon come in direct alignment. At that time, the moon isn’t visible – the night sky is dark. That is called the conjunction. During that time the moon is not visible to the naked eye. (Exception: at a solar eclipse or just before the conjunction, on the morning preceding the day of conjunction, immediately before sunrise, the outline of the moon may be seen just before the sun rises to obscure it).

The people of the Scriptures were far more familiar with the movements of the heavenly bodies than we are today. The buildings and trees, as well as city lights, block and hinder our view. Instead, we depend on clocks and modern calendars.

The ancient farmers and shepherds would have seen the moon growing smaller each night. Upon seeing the last smallest sliver, they knew it would be about three days before they saw a small sliver again that would begin to grow. The conjunction occurred about the middle of this period of darkness. That’s how David and Jonathan I Samuel 20:5, 18) knew how long it would be until the new moon.

The full moon is considered the opposite of the new moon. If that is true and one is totally full, wouldn’t the opposite of that be absolutely nothing visible? How can a sliver be the opposite of a full moon?

Remember the circuit we talked about for the equinox and the year; that one complete circuit must be complete before the next can begin? It is the same with the moon. Since the circuit varies each month, the sliver seen each month would not be exactly the same. And since people rely on seeing it visibly, then there can be several different calendars across the country. At the time of the conjunction, it starts the new month at the same time worldwide.

As for which day to declare the new moon day, would it be the day it happens, or the next day? For example, if something happens on a particular day, why would you wait until the next day to declare it? For example, a child is born on the third of the month. Would you say that you should wait a day and claim that as the next day as the birth date of the child? Or if you married on the fifth of the month, would you say that you needed to wait until sunset and claim your wedding date on the sixth? If the new moon occurred on the first day of the week, then the first day of the week would be the new moon day. Why delay it? Is there a Scripture for delaying it?

Where is the conjunction time determined? From Jerusalem, Israel. Why? Upon leaving Egypt, the Children of Israel were scheduled to go to Israel and obey Yahweh’s commands. And many of those commands began with “when you come to the land….” Also, that is where the law will come from in the future.

Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come you, 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.


When Yahweh told Moses that the month at that time would be the first, He didn’t give Moses details on what was meant by a new moon. Why? Because they already knew! Is there any Scripture that could give a clue?
Psalms 81:3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
In the King James, it says, “in the time appointed”. That is the Hebrew word #3677, kece. The Strong’s definition is fullness or the full moon; and that’s what many translators use. The root word for this is #3680, kacah, defined as plump, i.e. to fill up the hollows; by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy).

Some translators say this means the full moon because it is covered with light. A Hebrew linguist – not a rabbi or other religious teacher – said that kece means hidden; not seen. For example, the Modern Hebrew word for pocket comes from this root as well. Why? Because things in a pocket are hidden.

Looking back again at Psalms 81:3, is there any festival day at the time of the conjunction, at the hidden moon? Yes.
Leviticus 23:24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your Elohim: I am Yahweh your Elohim.
People assume the trumpet must be blown on the Feast of Trumpets because of its name. But not necessarily – the trumpet is also blown on the first day of the month – the beginning of the month.

There is no Scripture that in any way designates the crescent as the new moon. Hebrew has a word #7720 saharon (saharonim in plural) that is rendered as crescent in some translations. Its definition is a round pendant. It only appears three times in Scripture.
Judges 8:21, 26 21-Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments (saharonim) that were on their camels' necks. 26-And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments (saharonim), and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.

Isaiah 3:18 In that day Yahweh will take away the beauty of the ankle bracelets, and the headbands, and the crescents (saharonim).
That’s it. None of these reference the moon in any way nor for the month’s beginning.

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FESTIVALS


So what does the moon have to do with the feast days?
Psalms 104:19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down.
The moon designates the seasons. “Seasons” is #4150, mow`ed. It has several meanings: an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically, the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand).

The moon is what gives the start of each month. The Scriptures then tells us which month and which day the feasts are to be. The festivals we are to observe are found in Leviticus 23.
Leviticus 23:2, 4 2-Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts (mow`ed) of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts (mow`ed). 4-These are the feasts (mow`ed) of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons (mow`ed).
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WEEKLY SABBATH
Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of Yahweh in all your dwellings.
This mow`ed is not difficult to place on the calendar and it is not dependent upon the moon. It is simply the seventh day of each week.
Exodus 20:8-11 8-Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9-Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10-But the seventh day is the sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: 11-For in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 31:12-17 12-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, 13-Speak you also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am Yahweh that does sanctify you. 14-You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15-Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh: whosoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16-Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17-It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
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PASSOVER
Leviticus 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s passover.
There is not much information here except the date. And even with the specific date, there is plenty of contention and debate as to which day this means.
Genesis 1:5 And Elohim called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Yahweh’s days are different than ours. Today the days begin and end at midnight. In Scripture, it is all based on sunset to sunset. For example, look at the next verses.
Leviticus 23:27, 32 27- Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh. 32-It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
Notice that this festival day is on the 10th day of the month. But it starts with the evening (sunset) ending the 9th and lasts until the evening (sunset) on the 10th.

It is the same with the Passover. It is on the 14th of the month. That means the day begins with the sunset that ends with the 13th and ends with the sunset at the end of the 14th.

There were more details for Passover found elsewhere.
Exodus 12:1-14 1-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2-This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3-Speak you unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4-And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5-Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6-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. 7-And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8-And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavens; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9-Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10-And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire. 11-And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh’s passover. 12-For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh. 13-And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14-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.
There are many heated debates about a whether these ordinances were done at the beginning of the 14th or at the end of the 14th.

Let’s think this through. All the events described here were to happen on the 14th. Notice here in verse 11 it says, “it is Yahweh’s Passover.” The part the people had was in selecting a lamb, killing it, cooking and eating it. What was Yahweh’s part in this? The passing over of the homes with the blood on the door. And He would do that when? On the 14th. Remember that the days were from sunset to sunset, as seen in Leviticus 23:32. Now if those Israelites had waited to kill the lamb at the end of the 14th, what would have happened? At sunset it would become the 15th. Their first-born would have already been dead!

The Israelites began their chores at the beginning of the 14th, in the evening. They were in their homes when Yahweh passed over – on the 14th. If He had passed over after the 14th ended, then the 15th would have been called the Passover. But it isn’t. It is another, different festival day.

So how do we keep this today? And at what time? Our example is Yahshua. He and His disciples kept the Passover. They ate a meal that was followed by Yahshua instituting the new symbols. Today we do not kill the lamb and place the blood on the doors – there is no death angel passing over. We eat a meal together in memory of that Passover meal they had and then we carry through the new symbols that Yahshua put in place that night. Because He said, “This do in memory of me” (Luke 22:19, last part).

Sometimes this becomes confusing in the New Testament because of the words used. Not all the verses distinguish between the Passover and the Days of Unleavens. We will see more of this a little later. It is all wrapped up into one and all of it is called either the Passover or called Unleavens. Notice the following verse as an example of this.
Luke 22:1 Now the feast of unleavens drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
Some question whether or not Yahshua participated in that Passover.
Luke 22:8, 14-15 8-And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 14-And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15-And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.
And on what day did they do this?
Luke 22:7 Then came the day of unleavens, when the passover must be killed.

Mark 14:12 And the first day of unleavens, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where will you that we go and prepare that you may eat the passover?
What was the date for doing this? The 14th, the same as it was in Exodus 12. Notice: he did not die at the time the Passover lambs were killed, as many teach. The lambs were slain at the beginning of the 14th, at evening and He died the next afternoon, during the daylight portion of the 14th. Then they hurried to remove Him from the stake and bury Him before sunset ending the 14th. Why? Because it was a Friday and sunset would start the Sabbath? No. Because the sunset would begin a festival day – the first day of Unleavens.
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
But the argument continues -- saying that He kept the Passover a day early, all because of one verse.
John 18:28 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.
Did this mean the Passover itself or was it something else? Remember, Yahshua had His disciples prepare the Passover on the day the lambs were killed. They were doing the Passover at the same time as all the nation did it, and not earlier.

We’ve also seen that they called the whole eight days Passover. The reason these men were concerned about being defiled was for the sacrifices done on the 15th, the first day of Unleavens. Of those offerings, the priests were allowed to eat. But they had to be ritually clean in order to do so. And they believed that going into the judgment hall of a Gentile would make them defiled. They had already eaten the Passover, at the same time Yahshua and the disciples ate theirs.

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DAYS OF UNLEAVENS


(For clarification, the Hebrew Scriptures referring to this festival do not use the word unleavened “bread”. The people were not supposed to eat anything leavened, so this paper is not adding the word “bread” to that festival name.)
Leviticus 23:6-8 6-And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavens unto Yahweh: seven days you must eat unleavened. 7-In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 8-But you shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
This seven-day festival immediately follows the day of Passover. As we saw in the New Testament – and as it is today – this was referred to as the Passover. But it is a distinctly different festival.
Exodus 12:15-20 15-Seven days shall you eat unleavened; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eats leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16-And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17-And you shall observe the feast of unleavens; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall you observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. 18-In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, you shall eat unleavened, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19-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. 20-You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened.
People will point out what they sometimes consider a contradiction in Scripture. They are comparing the Passover instructions in Exodus 12 with instructions found in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 16:1-8 1-Observe the month of the Aviv, and keep the passover unto Yahweh your Elohim: for in the month of the Aviv Yahweh your Elohim brought you forth out of Egypt by night. 2-You shall therefore sacrifice the passover unto Yahweh your Elohim, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Yahweh shall choose to place his name there. 3-You shall eat no leaven with it; seven days shall you eat unleavened therewith, even the bread of affliction; for you came forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that you may remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4-And there shall be no leaven seen with you in all your coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificed the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5-You may not sacrifice the passover within any of your gates, which Yahweh your Elohim gives you: 6- But at the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose to place his name in, there you shall sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came forth out of Egypt. 7-And you shall boil and eat it in the place which Yahweh your Elohim shall choose: and you shall turn in the morning, and go unto your tents. 8-Six days you shall eat unleavened: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to Yahweh your Elohim: you shall do no work therein.
By this time, the people were already referring to the whole spring festival season as Passover. Can that make a difference?

Notice verse 2 – it mentions sacrificing from the herd. Huh? The instructions from Passover contain only a lamb or kid of the goats. Why would this say herd? The people were in the place where Yahweh placed His name. They would have brought animals with them. There were some sacrifices they would offer which the people could take a part of and eat after the priest took his share.
Leviticus 7:30-34 30-His own hands shall bring the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, the fat with the breast, it shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave offering before Yahweh. 31-And the priest shall burn the fat upon the altar: but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons'. 32-And the right shoulder shall you give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. 33-He among the sons of Aaron, that offers the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part. 34-For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 18:3 And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
This is the “passover” that was being referred to in John 18:28.

In verse 5-6 of Deuteronomy 16, it is clear that they were not to kill these at their homes, but at the festival site. And in verse 7, the word roast is the Hebrew #1310, bashal, meaning to boil and often translated as seethe (in liquid). But what was said regarding the Passover?
Exodus 12:9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
So these verses in Deuteronomy cannot be referring to the Passover itself, but to the following Days of Unleavens.

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WAVE SHEAF OFFERING


The next festival listed carries controversy as well because it is not assigned a specific day of the month, just a day of the week.
Leviticus 23:9-14 9-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, 10- Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11- And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12- And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto Yahweh. 13- And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Yahweh for a sweet savor: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14- And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering unto your Elohim: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
This is listed between Unleavens and the Feast of Weeks. It does not say exactly what week this is to be done – during Unleavens or after. It is taught by some that it can be after, depending upon the ripening of the grain and the harvest.

But wait! We saw in Exodus 23:15 that the people were not to appear before Him empty at the Feast of Unleavens. If it were a harvest festival, what would they have been bringing? They would have brought the barley during that week as the first fruits of the harvest.

It is to be done “on the morrow after the sabbath.” Is that the weekly Sabbath? Or is it the annual Sabbath (festival day)? In the Hebrew, the statement is ha-shabbat, meaning the Sabbath. This spelling appears 31 other times in the Old Testament and in every instance it always refers only to the weekly, seventh day Sabbath, not to an annual festival day.

So if the wave sheaf is to be done the day after the Sabbath, then it will always be done on the first day of the week, the day we call Sunday.

The barley could be harvested before the festival so that the people could bring this offering with them. But they could not eat of it until the wave sheaf was done (verse 14).

What if for some reason the harvest wasn’t ready on time? Why would that happen? If the people were closely obeying Yahweh, then He would have made sure they had the offering that He commanded them to bring.

But let’s consider something. The next festival day, Pentecost, is dependent upon when this wave sheaf is done. If the grain were to ripen at various times, especially after unleavens, when would they take the offering to the priest? From which day would the count for the Feast of Weeks start? Would it be the same throughout the country?

Yahweh commanded that they appear before Him 3 times a year. So if the grain weren’t ready to take with them for Unleavens, would they have to make another trip? When? There is no command or provision for that. Remember, Unleavens is a harvest festival. All of them are.

Some insist that the Sabbath is the important day and that it must be IN the Days of Unleavens. But the day after the Sabbath is the marker – that is the starting point for the count, not the Sabbath.

For example, what if the day of Passover (the 14th) is on a Sabbath? The next day, the 15th, would be the day after the Sabbath and the first Day of Unleavens. Wouldn’t the count start there? That would be in the Days of Unleavens. But a few say no, they would have to wait till the following week and offer the wave sheaf outside the Days of Unleavens. Then the harvest offering for the festival would be done after the festival. But He said not to appear empty!

The answer to this will come after discussion of another question arises, because the answer can apply to both situations.

We saw that Leviticus 23 said to count the days beginning with the wave sheaf, the first day of the week. Then what about this one?
Deuteronomy 16:9 Seven weeks shall you number unto you: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn.
From the time the sickle is put to the corn (grain)? When would that be? How does this fit?
Joshua 5:10-12 10-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. 11-And they did eat of the old corn (grain) of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. 12-And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn (grain) of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
They kept the Passover on the 14th as had been commanded. In verse 11, it says they ate parched grain the next day, the 15th, the first day of Unleavens. Only fresh grain is parched, not the old grain. So, based on Leviticus 23:14, they must have done a wave sheaf offering on the morning of the 15th. Why? Because they could not eat of the new grain until they had done so!

This must have been the case of a Passover on the weekly Sabbath with the first Day of Unleavens and the wave sheaf both the next day.

The ones who say no argue that they would not have offered that grain because they did not plant it. But was that absolutely necessary?
Psalms 105:44 And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labor of the people.
Yahweh gave them the land and the grain. They were not going to throw that back in His face, but would do the offering to thank Him for what He had given. Also, Joshua had already wandered with these people for 40 years. Do you really think that he would have come to the border of the land once again and be turned back by Yahweh because he neglected to do what had been commanded? He would have been very careful to obey every word of every command.

The people with Joshua crossed the Jordan River on the tenth day of the month. The males were circumcised and needed a little time for recovery. While they healed, the women would have been cutting grain (barley) for their families to have a meal or two and for the wave sheaf offering. Remember, they could cut it but they could not yet eat it.

The 14th of the month was on a Sabbath. They would have observed the Passover on what we would call Friday night, and then rested on the Sabbath.

The 15th of the month was on the first day of the week. It was also the first Day of Unleavens and the day of the wave sheaf. The families brought their sheaf offering that the women had gathered and then they ate of that grain they had gathered and set aside for themselves. They could have eaten it parched. Or they could have parched it, made flour and baked unleavened bread. After all, it was the Days of Unleavens.

Yes, that does involve work, not to be done on Sabbaths. But food preparation is permitted on annual Sabbaths.
Exodus 12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
So the Scriptures in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16 do not contradict one another.

Also in Leviticus 23:10, in the Hebrew, it says, “when you come to the land.” It doesn’t say “when you come in, get rid of the inhabitants, settle in, divide the land and plant your fields” and then do the wave sheaf. If they had waited, they would never have done it because they never got rid of the inhabitants!
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PENTECOST

Leviticus 23:15-21 15-And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16- Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh. 17-You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits unto Yahweh. 18-And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto Yahweh, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savor unto Yahweh. 19-Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20-And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before Yahweh, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest. 21-And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
The wave sheaf is on the first day of the week. The count of 50 days to the Feast of Weeks starts with that day as day #1. There will be 7 weekly Sabbaths counted and the 50th day, the day after the Sabbath, will be the festival day. Simple. The count starts and ends on the first day of the week every time.

This harvest festival was for the wheat. It always ripened later than the barley.

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FEAST OF TRUMPETS


Leviticus 23:23-25 23-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, 24- Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25-You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh.


There is very little information on this festival day. Actually the word “trumpet” does not appear here in the Hebrew. Where the King James says, “blowing of trumpets” the Hebrew #8643, teruwah, appears. The definition is clamor, i.e. acclamation of joy or a battle-cry; clangor of trumpets, as an alarm.

The day is a memorial. It recalls the times the people were told to shout, as well as the sounds of the trumpet and shofar blasts.

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DAY OF ATONEMENT

Leviticus 23:26-32 26-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, 27-Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh. 28-And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before Yahweh your Elohim. 29-For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30-And whatsoever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31-You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32-It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
This is referring to the Day of Atonements, or Yom Kippurim, a day of coverings. This is a day of fasting – no food or drink for 24 hours, though the word fast does not appear here. But there are numerous references in Scripture where people afflicted themselves with prayer and fasting. Also there is to be NO work, which would mean no cooking.
Leviticus 16:29-34 29-And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you: 30-For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before Yahweh. 31-It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and you shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. 32-And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: 33- And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. 34-And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as Yahweh commanded Moses
The first 28 verses of this chapter describe what went on during this day. It was a solemn day and a busy one for the high priest. It was the ONLY day of the year that he could enter the holy of holies. At any other time, he would die (verse 2). As a side note – don’t you believe that this calendar date would have been very important to him?

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FEAST OF TABERNACLES

Leviticus 23:33-43 33-And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying, 34-Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto Yahweh. 35-On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 36-Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. 37-These are the feasts of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38-Beside the sabbaths of Yahweh, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give unto Yahweh. 39-Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast unto Yahweh seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40-And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your Elohim seven days. 41-And you shall keep it a feast unto Yahweh seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42-You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43-That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am Yahweh your Elohim.
This was a joyful time of year. The harvesting for the whole year was done and food was stored for the winter. The people came to Jerusalem with their tithes of their grain, wine, oil, and firstlings of herds and flocks. For eating they probably brought of their own stores of those things as well as nuts, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, etc. They came to share their bounty before Yahweh and thank Him for what He had provided for them, blessing the work of their hands.

No matter how long we have been keeping the weekly Sabbath and the festival days, we do not really grasp the significance of the calendar. It is simple today. We just look at the dates on the calendar on the wall and that’s it. Even the ones who are farming today do not totally understand in the way early Israel did. The lives of the ancient peoples totally centered on this calendar. It was based on the agriculture – when to plant and when to harvest. All the farming was done by hand. The people were in the fields to witness what was going on with the seasons. Keeping up with it could mean life and death – if they did not get the planting done at the right time so it would produce when it should – it determined whether or not they would be eating for the next year. Today we simply go to the store and buy what we need. They did not have that option.

When they returned home from the Feast of Tabernacles, they sowed their grains in the fields to await the winter rains. They knew how important those rains were. If they waited till later to plant, the ground would be too wet. By the time it dried enough to plow and sow, the grain would miss out on the needed rain and they probably would not be reaping what they could have been.

We simply look at the calendar to see when it is time to go to one of the festival days. Israel did not look at a calendar on the wall to see how long it would be until the next festival. They watched the sky and counted the months, and kept watched the fields to see how the crops were doing and when the harvest was nearing.
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1 comment:

Bob Widmer said...

I just read your calendar article and find it just amazingly accurate. You have done a great job addressing all of the issues and variations of what has most of the believers using something other than what Yahweh has set in place to observe the appointed times.