Dearly Beloved in Yeshua!
God’s calendar begins in the Book of Genesis (Bereshith) when He, the Creator of all, separated the light from the darkness and called the light day and the darkness night. “Then God, said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years’.” ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 1:14″ display=”Genesis 1:14″]) Then God made two great lights: the sun to rule by day , and the moon to rule by night. He also made the stars.
Right at the beginning of creation, the Lord includes the concepts of “signs and seasons.” The Hebrew word used for seasons is moedim, which literally means “appointed times.” It is the same word used for the feasts of the Lord in Leviticus chapter 23. The word moed also occurs in Psalm 104:19 which states, “He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knows its going down.”
This month as we enter the High Holy Day season, we want to explore God’s calendar, His appointed times, and how we can live according to His plans and for His glory.
Lunar or Solar?
The calendar that most of the world follows is the solar or Gregorian Calendar. This calendar which began in 46 BC was originally called the Julian calendar in honor of Julius Caesar. Upon discovering that the earth took 365.25 days to circle the sun, a 365 day year was established with an extra day added every fourth year. In the year 730 AD, it was discovered that the calendar was off by 11 minutes a year. By 1582 it was off by 10 days. Pope Gregory XIII ordered the adoption of our current calendar. The ten days were adjusted by having people go to sleep on Oct. 5 and wake up the next morning on Oct. 15. To avoid the problem in the future, the first year of each century is a leap year only if it is divisible by 400!
The Jewish people use a different calendar, based on the moon’s rotation around the earth every 29.5 days. A 354 day year consists of 12 months with alternating 29 or 30 days each. Each new month begins with the appearance of the new moon. Up until the year 359 the arrival of the New Moon was announced by the Sanhedrin each month based on the testimony of two trustworthy eyewitnesses and the mathematical and astrological calculations of the Sanhedrin. When a decision about the New Moon was reached, the Sanhedrin would send torch signals from mountain top to mountain top to notify everyone that the New Moon had officially been sighted.
In the year 359 C.E. the Jewish Calendar was put in its present form. It was deemed necessary to add extra days or months to the Jewish calendar in order to harmonize it with the Gregorian calendar, primarily because the Jewish holidays were based on the solar cycle and had to be observed at their “appointed times” as specified in the Bible.
The annual eleven-day discrepancy between the two calendars was reconciled by adding an extra month (Adar 2) every two or three years. Also a day was subtracted or added from the months Cheshvan and Kislev each year, as needed (29 days some years, 30 in others).The months of the Jewish Year
Nisan is the month in which Passover occurs. It is the first month of the Jewish /Biblical calendar and always falls in the spring. Iyan is the month in which Israel celebrates its independence (Iyar 5, Israel Independence Day). Shavuot or Pentecost is celebrated in Sivan, Hanukkah in Kislev, and Purim in Adar. Elul is the month preceding the High Holy Days and is a traditional time of preparing the heart. The month of Tishrei beginning on September 27 this year, is a busy holiday month, with Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShanah) falling on the 1st day of the month, Yom Kippur on the 10th day, and Sukkot-Simchat Torah from the 15th through the 23rd days of the month.
Heshvan is the one month of the Jewish year that contains no Jewish holiday or festival. It is sometimes “bitter Heshvan.”
Tishri–God’s Big Party Month
Tishrei 1 (September 27, 2003)– The Biblical name of this holiday is Yom Teruah (“day of the blast of the shofar”). Tishrei is not the first month of the year. It is the 7th month (see [biblegateway passage=”Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1″ display=”Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1″]). Save your “Happy New Year” greetings for the spring (Nisan)! The seventh month is the holiest month on the Jewish calendar, a month of ingathering and harvest. (Tishrei came to be associated with Rosh HaShanah, “the head of the year,” in Babylon. Tishrei was the first month in the Babylonian calendar; the Jews gradually also came to view it as such.)
A Tishrei 1 party is mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah chapter 8. God’s people had returned from captivity and were gathered together in unity in Jerusalem. Ezra the scribe brought the Book of the Law of Moses before the congregation of Israel, read from it in front of the Water Gate, and blessed the Lord. All the people bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. When the people wept upon hearing the words of the Law, their leaders told them
not to mourn nor weep because the day was holy to the Lord. Their exhortation is recorded inNehemiah 8:10: “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” THIS IS ALSO GOD’S YOM TERUAH WORD FOR YOU!
Tishrei 9 (October 5, 2003)– Erev Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. “It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath. ([biblegateway passage=”Leviticus 23:32″ display=”Leviticus 23:32”])
Tishrei 10 (October 6, 2003)– Yom Kippur. “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall affect your souls, and also do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who sojourns among you.” ([biblegateway passage=”Leviticus 16:29″ display=”Leviticus 16:29″])
Tishrei 15 (October 11, 2003)– Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work, and you shall keep a feast to the Lord seven days.” ([biblegateway passage=”Numbers 29:12″ display=”Numbers 29:12″]) “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” ([biblegateway passage=”Leviticus 23:40″ display=”Leviticus 23:40″])
Days of the Week
There are seven days in a week, but on the Jewish (Biblical calendar) only one of these days has a name. The other six are known by their numerical names:
Yom rishon (yom ree-SHONE) literally, first day (Sunday)
Yom sheni (yom she NEE) second day (Monday)
Yom shlishi (yom shlee SHE) third day (Tuesday)
Yom r’vi’i (yom re vee EE) fourth day (Wednesday)
Yom chamishi (yom ch meesh EE) fifth day (Thursday)
Yom shishi (yom she SHE) sixth day (Friday)
Shabbat (sha BAHT) seventh day (Saturday)
Yeshua followed the Jewish Calendar!
Our Messiah’s life was a series of moedim, appointed times, planned by His Father from the beginning of time.
Passover, age 12– Yeshua astounds the rabbis with His wisdom and understanding. ([biblegateway passage=”Luke 2:46-47″ display=”Luke 2:46-47″])
Passover, Nisan 14, age 33– Yeshua died as the eternal Passover Lamb for the sins of all mankind ([biblegateway passage=”1 Corinthians 5:7″ display=”1 Corinthians 5:7″]).
Nisan 15– Yeshua, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, was buried during the Feast ofUnleavened Bread ([biblegateway passage=”1 Corinthians 5:7-8″ display=”1 Corinthians 5:7-8″]).
Nisan 16– Yeshua rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits. He is the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” ([biblegateway passage=”1 Corinthians 15:20″ display=”1 Corinthians 15:20″]).
Sivan– Fifty days after Passover on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), Yeshua sent His Spirit upon His waiting disciples. The Brit HaDashah (New Covenant) in His blood, was engraved on tablets of the human heart. ([biblegateway passage=”Jeremiah 31:33″ display=”Jeremiah 31:33″])
Tishrei 1– Yeshua has not yet fulfilled this feast. We have every reason to believe that He will when He comes again.
Could the Rabbis be wrong?
When God was about to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage, He changed their calendar, saying: “This month (Nisan) shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” ([biblegateway passage=”Exodus 12:2″ display=”Exodus 12:2″]). God told His people to reckon time itself from the Exodus. Did they? No. The authority of the rabbis has superseded the authority of the Torah, so the new year is celebrated in Tishrei (in the Fall) instead of Nisan (in the Spring). Our people have accepted the authority of the Rabbis over the Bible with regard to the calendar. The same is true of Yeshua. The rabbis say that Yeshua is not the promised Messiah. The Bible says otherwise. Whom will you believe?
We love the fact that God gave His people a new calendar when He freed them from Egyptian slavery. We have been given a new calendar as well, Jamie on July 25, 1973 and Neil on September 2, 1973, the days on which we received Yeshua as our Messiah, the One who freed us from the bondage of sin. Have you accepted God’s offer of a new calendar yet? The Bible
speaks of the new beginning that is available to you: “If anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” ([biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 5:17″ display=”2 Corinthians 5:17″]) Even better than a “new year” – a “new life!”
May you receive this, the greatest of all gifts through Yeshua the Messiah this month: HAPPY NEW LIFE!
Neil and Jamie