God’s Calendar – Introduction:
Like most Messianic disciples I always believed the Hebrew lunisolar calendar today’s Jewish leaders use was God’s calendar. After all, they’ve been using it for thousands of years. But, while driving home after eight days of Sukkot camping I listened to Dr. Michael Heiser’s podcast teaching on Revelation chapter 11. Paraphrasing, he concluded that:
‘If you want to understand the numbers in Daniel (i.e., 1260, 1290, 1335, 2300) you must use the Zadokite solar calendar. It’s the only calendar that fits.’
Until I heard this statement I’d never seriously questioned the validity of the traditional Hebrew lunisolar calendar. A few months ago someone mentioned the Enoch solar calendar, but after looking into it I quickly dismissed it because it didn’t keep the weekly Sabbath day on Saturday, the 7th Day… I wondered how the Zadokite solar calendar was different.
Of course, I know of many minor lunar calendar disputes that constantly brew within Jewish/Messianic communities. For example, in my local fellowship, there is a discussion concerning what constitutes the new moon?
- Is the new moon when the moon totally disappears at conjunction? Or,
- Is the new moon when the first sliver is sighted by two witnesses?
- The answer determines when each month begins, which controls the dates for Passover, Pentecost, Atonement, etc., on the lunar calendar.
A Paradigm Shift
And so, Dr. Heiser’s statement was revolutionary, a potential paradigm shift, sending me on an investigative journey that resulted in this article.
If that’s true, it is still the calendar God uses—regardless of whether mankind uses it or not.
Ancient Witnesses to God’s Solar Calendar
Here is the body of evidence that convinced me God’s calendar is the solar Zadokite calendar. This evidence is from Genesis, Daniel, Enoch, Jubilees, Solomon’s Temple, and the Dead Sea Scrolls showing (explicit and inferred) proofs that—for thousands of years—YHWH’s ancient disciples used a solar 364-day calendar…not a lunar 354-day calendar.
The Book of Genesis says the flood waters prevailed 150 days over exactly five months. Since the lunar calendar has both 29 and 30-day months, it won’t tally 150 days in five months. Therefore, we can deduce from Genesis that Noah used a solar calendar with 5 months of thirty days each. Here are the details:
- The rain started on the 17th day of the 2nd month. (Genesis 7:11)
- The waters prevailed on the earth for 150 days. (Genesis 7:24)
- After 150 days the waters had gone down. On the 17th day of the 7th month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:3-4)
- Dr. Michael Heiser states that to understand the prophetic numbers in Daniel (i.e., 1260, 1290, 1335, etc.) you must use the Zadokite solar calendar. Heiser states, ‘If you want to make sense of the numbers, historically and eschatologically, the only way it makes sense within a Jewish/Old Testament/Second Temple Jewish context is if you use this calendar.’ NB-381 Transcript, see page 13
- Dr. Michael Heiser (MH) quotes Dr. Boccaccini, “Daniel 7:25 blames the iniquitous king, Antiochus Epiphanes, for “changing times” in Temple worship. According to A. Jaubert and J. C. VanderKam [MH: who are two experts on this chronology], this marks the occasion on which the Hellenistic lunar calendar definitively replaced the old Zadokite solar calendar, which Jubilees and [MH: the people at] Qumran would seek in vain to restore after the Maccabean revolt. (The Book of Daniel, Composition and Reception, Vol II, Pg 311)
Blessed are all the righteous, blessed are all those who walk in the way of righteousness and sin not as the sinners, in the reckoning of all their days in which the sun traverses the heaven, entering into and departing the portals for thirty days, with the heads of thousands of the order of the stars, together with the four which are intercalated, which divide the four portions of the year, which lead them and enter with them four days.
Owing to them men shall be at fault and not reckon them in the whole reckoning of the year: yea, men shall be at fault, and not recognize them accurately.
For they belong to the reckoning of the year and are truly recorded (thereon) for ever, one in the first portal and one in the third, and one in the fourth and one in the sixth, and the year is completed in three hundred and sixty-four days. (1 Enoch 82:4-6)
Note: A solar calendar produces a 364-day year, while a lunar calendar produces a 354-day year. Therefore, the reference to 364 above is solar, and 354 (“ten days too soon” in the following ‘Book of Jubilees’ quote) is lunar.
“And all the children of Israel will forget, and will not find the path of the years, and will forget the new moons, and seasons, and sabbaths, and they will go wrong as to all the order of the years. For I know and from henceforth shall I declare it unto thee, and it is not of my own devising; for the book (lieth) written before me, and on the heavenly tables the division of days is ordained, lest they forget the feasts of the covenant and walk according to the feasts of the Gentiles after their error and after their ignorance. There will be those who will assuredly make observations of the moon–now (it) disturbeth the seasons and cometh in from year to year ten days too soon.
For this reason, the years will come upon them when they will disturb (the order) and make an abominable (day) the day of testimony, and an unclean day a feast day, and they will confound all the days, the holy with the unclean, and the unclean day with the holy; for they will go wrong as to the months and sabbaths and feasts and jubilees. Therefore, I command and testify to thee that thou mayest testify to them; for after thy death thy children will disturb (them), so that they will not make the year three hundred and sixty-four days only, and for this reason they will go wrong as to the new moons and seasons and sabbaths and festivals, and they will eat all kinds of blood with all kinds of flesh.” (Jubilees 6:34-38)
Solomon’s Temple Designed for God’s Calendar
The Jewish Talmud tells us Solomon architected YHWH’s temple to reveal the exact times of the sun’s equinoxes and solstices at Jerusalem. This is because the vernal (spring) equinox controls the beginning of the year on the Zadokite calendar.
“The East Gate into the temple used to be called the Sun Gate or Sunrise Gate. The Sun Gate was used to record the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. Before the exile into Babylon, it was held to be of imperative necessity that on two days of the year the sun shone directly through the Eastern Gate and through all the Eastern Gates of the Temple arranged in a line, directly into the very heart of the Temple proper. The Eastern Gate, also called the Sun Gate, served not only to check the equinoxes, when the sun rises exactly in the east, but the solstices as well: a device on the Eastern Gate was designed to reflect the first rays of the sun on the summer and winter solstices, when the sun rises in the southeast and the northeast respectively.”The Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Erubim 22c
Dead Sea Scrolls
“The Qumran sect believed that God had entrusted them with the innermost secrets of the structure of the universe, including the secret of the true calendar and the exact dates of the festivals. They used a solar calendar, with the year consisting of 364 days. It was divided into twelve months of thirty days, with the exception of the third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth months, which had thirty-one days each. According to this calendar, the festivals always fell on the same day of the week: Passover on a Wednesday, the Festival of Weeks of a Sunday, and the Day of Atonement on a Friday.”(Pg34, The Bible in the Shrine of the Book, From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Aleppo Codex, Adolfo Roitman, The Israeli Museum, Jerusalem, 2006.)
The Lunar Calendar
- “The lunar calendar, which Judaism follows to this day, requires a large number of human decisions. People must look at the stars and moon and report on their observations, and someone must be empowered to decide on the new month and the application of leap years. By contrast, the 364-day calendar was perfect,” they write in the Journal of Biblical Literature. “Because this number can be divided into four and seven, special occasions always fall on the same day. This avoids the need to decide, for example, what happens when a particular occasion falls on the Sabbath, as often happens in the lunar calendar. The Qumran calendar is unchanging, and it appears to have embodied the beliefs of the members of this community regarding perfection and holiness.” (TheGuardian, 26 Jan 2018)
The Zadokite Calendar
- The Zadokite calendar was ‘the official temple calendar up to the Maccabean period.’ (The Book of Daniel, Composition and Reception, Vol II, Pg 326)
- Dr. Heiser said, “Do you realize that the calendar used today by Judaism (the lunar calendar) was viewed as an apostate, awful thing by the Jews who wrote Jubilees and who lived at Qumran (the Essenes) and the book of Enoch as well. Those are solar calendars. And those are the calendars they believed originated at the time of creation. Everything else was an inferior system…This is what led to the split that created the Qumran community. This was a big deal for them. Because now you’re using a human calendar, one that you have to adjust by arbitrarily adding a month every now and then, as opposed to God’s perfect mathematical calendar. This is an abomination. They never won that fight…Antiochus Epiphanes “changes the times” in the temple worship. They go back to the lunar calendar. They replace the solar calendar.” (NB-381 Transcript, see pages 8-9)
Book of Revelation
Dr. Heiser said, “The only ancient text that explicitly elaborates on the figure of Daniel [MH: this numerical figure] is the Revelation of John, and it is strikingly straightforward. The time of persecution is a period of “42 months” [MH: Revelation] (11:2; 13:5), or [MH: it’s described as] “1,260 days” (11:3; 12:6), or “a time, two times and a half time” (12:14).
According to the book of Revelation, therefore, Daniel would have known a solar calendar of twelve 30-day months, which makes a year of 360 days. In fact, such a calendar allows us to establish a sensible relationship among the three calendrical references in Daniel 12. A consistent and proportioned series links the “half week” (1,260 days) to the 1,290 days ([MH: by virtue of] the addition of one 30-day month), which in turn becomes 1,335 days with the further addition of one 30-day month and a half [MH: 30-day month]. (NB-381 Transcript, see page 10)
How Israel Transitioned from God’s Solar Calendar to a Lunar Calendar
In view of the clear evidence that the Zadokite solar calendar was (and is still) God’s calendar, what caused the Jewish religion to change from the solar calendar to a lunar calendar?
Overview of the Jewish Transition from Solar to Lunar Calendar
- Onias III was the last faithful high priest in Israel. He was a son of Zadok, descended from both Aaron and Levi. His tenure ended in 175 BC.
- When the gentile Antiochus Epiphanes assumed Seleucid rulership over Israel in 175 BC, he replaced Onias III with Onias’ brother Jason. Unlike Onias, Jason was a Hellenist who favored Greek culture.
- Within three years Antiochus replaced Jason with the totally corrupt Menelaus, of the tribe of Benjamin, who sold precious temple vessels to purchase the position of high priest. He then murdered Onias III after Onias exposed him.
- Antiochus and Menelaus changed the calendar from solar to lunar (The Book of Daniel, Composition and Reception, Vol II, Pg 326)
- In 167 BC Antiochus defiled the temple with pig blood, erected a statue of Zeus, forbade the Sabbath, circumcision, etc.
- These abominations caused the Maccabean revolt, which the Maccabees won
- Following their victory over Antiochus in 164 BC, Hellenist Jewish leaders compromised with their Seleucid (Greek) rulers by (1) keeping Menelaus as high priest, and (2) keeping the Gentiles’ lunar calendar.
- As a result of this compromise, from 167 BC until today the Jewish religion still uses the lunar calendar.
- From Menelaus (172 BC) until the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 AD, Gentile rulers sold the high priesthood to the highest bidder.
- The Jewish religion is without a temple or priests since 70 AD, fulfilling Yeshua’s prophesy, “Your house is left unto you desolate.”
Details of the Jewish Transition from Solar to Lunar Calendar
This section expands on the summary version above, providing more details and dates.
Onias III, 199-175 BC
Before Antiochus Epiphanes became king, Onias III was the last faithful Aaronic ‘son of Zadok’ to serve as Jewish high priest. Second Maccabees chapter 4 chronicles the betrayal and intrigue of his downfall.
Jason, 175-172 BC
In 175 BC, the new Seleucid ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, forced Onias III to yield his office to Jason, his brother. Jason was a Hellenist sympathizer who only occupied the position for three years until 172 BC, when Menelaus deceptively ousted him.
“Jason forthwith brought his own nation to Greekish fashion.”2 Maccabees 4:10
Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175-163 BC
After more than 7 years as ruler over the Jews, in 167 BC the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes did two things: he
- Desecrated the Jewish temple in an ‘abomination of desolation,’ and he
- Changed the Jewish calendar from solar to lunar, thereby changing God’s moedim–His ‘appointed times.’ (1 Maccabees 1:41-50)
Antiochus polluted the temple with pig’s blood on God’s altar and erected a statue of Zeus, whose face resembled Antiochus’ own likeness. Antiochus also outlawed circumcision and Sabbath observance, making violations punishable by death.
These abominations resulted in the Maccabean revolt in 166 BC. The Maccabees finally defeated Antiochus’ army, cleansing and rededicating the temple in 164 BC.
According to 2 Maccabees 5:14-15, Antiochus (guided by Menelaus) killed 80,000 Jews and sold 80,000 others into slavery.
Antiochus Epiphanes died horribly in 164 BC, with every bone broken in a chariot accident and his flesh swarming with worms.
Menelaus, 172-161 BC
In 172 BC Antiochus put the high priest’s office up for auction and Menelaus, a Benjaminite, outbid Jason, deposing him as high priest.
Menelaus didn’t have the money he bid for this sacred office, so he stole sacred temple vessels to raise the sum he needed.
When Onias III heard of this, he publicly accused Menelaus of robbing the temple. To quiet him, Menelaus sent assassins who killed Onias III.
Menelaus was the high priest during the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes.
Changing the Calendar from Solar to Lunar
According to II Maccabees, Menelaus is responsible for persuading Antiochus to Hellenize Jewish worship, including changing the Jewish calendar from solar to lunar in 167 BC.
After the Jewish Maccabee victory over Antiochus and the recapture of Jerusalem in 164 BC, Maccabean leaders made a political decision to keep the corrupt Menelaus as high priest in the restored and cleansed Jewish temple.
“Despite their firm opposition to the Hellenists, the Maccabees retained the newly-introduced lunar calendar.” (The Book of Daniel, Composition and Reception, Vol II, Pg 327)
The corrupt Menelaus occupied the high priest office for 11 years, from 172 BC until his execution by Antiochus’ successor in 161 BC.
Divided Jewry, from 164 BC to 73 AD
Following the Jewish Maccabees’ victory over Antiochus in 164 BC, Jewish leaders compromised with their Seleucid rulers, keeping the lunar calendar. This compromise caused a split between Hellenistic and traditional Jewish religious groups.
- Hellenist Jews mixed Greek culture with Jewish traditions. As a result, they adopted the lunar calendar, liberalized Torah observance, elevated ‘oral traditions,’ and canceled God’s requirement that high priests be descendants of Aaron, i.e., Menelaus.
- In contrast, traditional Jewish leaders believed in keeping the solar calendar, following the Torah, and restricting the priesthood to the sons of Levi/Zadok.
- But, with Judah under Seleucid rulership, this party lacked any political support to exist.
- As a result, they left Jerusalem, ‘shaking the dust from their feet’ to form a monastic community in the desert wilderness at Qumran.
- In Qumran, the ‘Zadokites’ saw themselves as the ‘sons of Zadok’ in Ezekiel’s apocalyptic temple prophecy.
The ‘Sons of Zadok’ Prophecy in Ezekiel
The Zadokites in Qumran considered the Hellenists in Jerusalem to be apostates from YHWH, while they considered themselves to be the prophetic ‘sons of Zadok’ in Ezekiel’s prophecy.
The prophet Ezekiel lived 400 years before the events of 167 BC. Within his end-time temple prophecies, Ezekiel prophesied explicitly about apostate priests versus the sons of Zadok, “who kept charge of My sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from Me.” (Ezekiel 44:15)
About the apostate priests Ezekiel wrote:
Surely the Levites who wandered away from Me when Israel went astray, and who wandered away from Me after their idols, will bear the consequences of their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and ministering there. They shall slaughter the burnt offerings and other sacrifices for the people and stand before them to minister to them.
Because they ministered before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I swore with an uplifted hand concerning them that they would bear the consequences of their iniquity, declares the Lord GOD. They must not approach Me to serve Me as priests or come near any of My holy things or the most holy things. They will bear the shame of the abominations they have committed.Ezekiel 44:10-13
Ezekiel then proceeded, writing:
But the Levitical priests, who are descended from Zadok and who kept charge of My sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from Me, are to approach Me to minister before Me. They will stand before Me to offer Me fat and blood, declares the Lord GOD. They alone shall enter My sanctuary and draw near to My table to minister before Me. They will keep My charge…In regard to their inheritance, I am their inheritance. You are to give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.Ezekiel 44:15-16, 28
The Zadokites in Qumran applied Ezekiel’s ‘sons of Zadok’ prophecy to themselves, believing the Jerusalem Hellenizers were “the Levites who wandered away from YHWH.”
The Zadokites dwelt in Qumran for more than 100 years until the Romans destroyed their community between 68-73 AD.
The Jewish Religion from 73 AD to Today
For more than 1800 years after the Romans destroyed the Qumran community (until a boy discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946) the world forgot everything about the Zadokites’ beliefs, their writings, and God’s calendar.
In the meantime, since 167 BC all Jewish religious sects continue using the lunar calendar. That is, each month starts with a ‘new moon’ and when this calendar gets ‘out of sync’ with the four seasons a 13th month is added to compensate.
The Bible, Talmud, Mishnah, etc.
As Winston Churchill famously said, “History is written by the victors.”
Regarding God’s calendar, the historical victors (so far) are the proponents of Hellenistic Judaism.
- The Zadokites fled from Jerusalem in 167 BC, becoming a marginalized Jewish sect in the desert under the Seleucids. Then, the Romans completely destroyed them around 67-73 AD and they disappeared from history—until a boy discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1946.
- Meanwhile, Hellenistic Judaism continued in the Jerusalem temple under the Seleucids and then the Romans, until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and exiled surviving Jews from their land in 70 AD. But, even as exiles among the nations for almost two millennia, their version of Hellenistic Judaism still survives today.
Therefore, since before the Pharisees and Sadducees existed, and 1600 years before Gothenburg invented the printing press, the world has only known the Hellenistic version of Judaism—which uses the Gentiles’ lunar calendar.
Fast forward to today… all Jewish and Christian writers, Bible translators, and publishers assume the Jewish religion’s 2100-year-old lunar calendar is correct. Since it’s so ancient, all our Bible translations and seminaries have this perspective.
What is God’s Calendar?
This section briefly describes the Zadokite calendar and its benefits. Use the hyperlinked resources at the end of this article for more-detailed study.
- In the Zadokite calendar the year always contains 364 days.
- Each year consists of twelve months of thirty days each, plus four additional days, one of which is intercalated (added, inserted) at the end of each three-month period.
- For example, the first and second months are 30 days long, while the third month totals 31 days; then the pattern repeats.
- Each three-month period is 91 days long.
- Four 91-day quarters combine in a 364 day year.
- New Year’s Day and the first day of each quarter always falls on a Wednesday.
- Wednesday is the day mandated as the first day by the creation order, since the heavenly lights – sun, moon and stars, the basis of all calendars – were created on the fourth day (Gen. 1:14-19).
- A particular day of any given month will always fall on the same day of the week every year.
- Festivals occur on the same day each year, and never on a (Saturday) Sabbath, thereby avoiding conflicts about sacrifices.
- A great advantage of the Zadokite solar calendar over the lunar calendar is that it results in fixed dates for the major festivals.
- This calendar guarantees that a particular day of any given month will always fall on the same day of the week every year.
- The 364-day year is divisible by 7, which fits God’s pattern of time keeping.
- God created the heavens and earth in 7 days
- 7 days x 52 weeks = 364 days in a year
- 7 years in a shmitah period
- 7 x 7 years in a 49-year Jubilee cycle
- There are 7000 years in God’s plan for this creation (2 Peter 3:8)
God’s Calendar Template
Sabbath Days on God’s Calendar
In God’s calendar the 7th-day Sabbath repeats on the same days each year. For example, in the diagram below read across from left to right to see the red Sabbath dates are the same in months 1, 4, 7, and 10. Then, read across to find the blue dates are the same on months 2, 5, 8, and 11, and they’re the same for green months 3, 6, 9, and 12.
You can verify this pattern in the calendar template on the next page.
Since God created the sun, moon and stars on the 4th day of creation, the Zadokite solar calendar starts on the 4th day of the week (Wednesday) after the spring equinox.
Sorry for the small text; please zoom-in to see the details more clearly.
‘Appointed Times’ on God’s Calendar
God’s appointed times (see Leviticus 23) are highlighted in yellow or green in the template above. These appointed times occur on the same days each year:
- Passover – 14th of 1st month
- Unleavened Bread – 15th to 21st of the 1st month
- Firstfruits of Barley – 26th of 1st month
- Shavuot or Pentecost (firstfruits of wheat) – 15th of 3rd month
- Trumpets – 1st of 7th month
- Day of Atonements – 15th of 7th month
- Sukkot (Tabernacles) – 15th to 21st of 7th month, and the 8th Day on the 22nd of 7th month
Resolving My Own Arguments Against the Solar Zadokite Calendar
Before accepting the Zadokite solar calendar as God’s calendar I had to overcome these three major objections.
1. Doesn’t the Bible talk about the new moon, including a new moon celebration?
Here are the only verses that mention “new moon.” Quotes are from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English:
- Numbers 10:10 And in the day of your joy and of your meetings and of the beginnings of your months, sound with the trumpets for your burnt offerings and for your peace offerings and they shall be to you for a memorial before your God; I AM YHWH your God.”
- Isaiah 1:13 You shall not continue to bring to me worthless savor offerings. It is disgusting to me. At the first of the months and on the Sabbath you assemble an assembly.
- 1 Chronicles 23:31 And to offer up sacrifices to YHWH on the Sabbaths, and on the first of the months, and at feasts by their number…
- 2 Chronicles 2:4 Even now I am building a house for the name of YHWH my God, to hallow it and to bring before him censers of sweet incense and to light a lamp constantly, and to bring sacrifices at dawn and in the evening, and on the Sabbaths in the first of the month, and at the feasts of YHWH our God for eternity…
- 2 Chronicles 31:3 And the King gave some of his slaughtered ones, sacrifices of oxen of the dawn and of the evening, and offerings of Sabbaths and of the beginning of the month, and of the feasts…
- Nehemiah 10:33 For the bread of the offering, for the continual offering and for the continual sacrifice of the Sabbaths, and of the beginning of months, and of the feasts…
New Moon or First Day?
I chose quotes from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English because it consistently translates ‘new moon” to mean the 1st day of the month, or the 1st day of the year, without any reference to the moon. Here are the underlined portions from the six references above:
- the beginnings of your months
- the first of the months
- the first of the months
- the first of the month
- the beginning of the month
- the beginning of months
The Hebrew word chodesh can either mean moon or month, so most translators assume that more than 2100 years of rabbinic tradition is correct when they choose to translate chodesh as ‘new moon’ instead of ‘beginning of the month.’
As you see on the image below, the Hebrew word for moon ‘yarach’ isn’t found anywhere in the Hebrew manuscripts where it says, “new moon.”
Also, the image below shows another possibility for ‘new moon’ events mentioned in scripture. Perhaps they were the first days of the months following the quarterly ‘intercalary’ days. Asherit explains this concept starting at the 5:36 minute mark in this video. To better understand these technically complicated topics, click the hyperlinks I’ll provide at the end of this article.
2. Why is Firstfruits of Barley on Aviv 26 in God’s Calendar?
Most Messianic disciples believe the ‘Firstfruits of Barley’ should be celebrated on the Sunday within the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the Sunday when Yeshua appeared to Mary and the disciples after His resurrection as the ‘firstfruits of the dead.’
On the Zadokite calendar image below, this Sunday is the 19th day of the 1st month. However, the Zadokite calendar places the Firstfruits of Barley event on the following Sunday, the 26th day of the first month. What’s up with that?
I emailed Asherit from the YouTube Asherit Dead Sea Scrolls channel, asking this question:
“I recently listened to a podcast by Dr. Michael Heiser in which he asserted that the Zadokite calendar is the only one that fits the numbers in Daniel’s prophecies. As a result, in researching the Zadok calendar I discovered your YouTube series. I’ve watched all 5 parts, and they’re very good, but I have a hang-up about the dating of Firstfruits that (I see) others have also asked you.
Basically, I don’t understand why Firstfruits can’t be on the Sunday within the feast of Unleavened Bread (ULB). Why does it need to be after ULB?
In your YouTube Discussion page (2 years ago) Anne Fallible asked you about this and you said you’d email her a lengthy response. If you can find it, please send me this response. Or you can send me a more current explanation if that’s more convenient.”
Asherit gave me this response the same day:
‘So, this was a source of debate among my group of friends before I discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and the First Fruits of Barley date on Abib 26 and it actually served as confirmation that whoever wrote the DSS knew the Torah very well.
When we read Leviticus 23 it was clear that the First Fruits of Barley could not occur within the 7 days of Passover and Unleavened Bread because the 7 feasts were divided into separate sections and First Fruits was not within the section for Passover and Unleavened Bread. First Fruits of Barley and the 50-day count to Shavuot were together but separated from the earlier 7 days of Passover and the later feast of Yom Teruah/Trumpets. There were basically two different camps: 1) First Fruits must be the day following the first Sabbath after the 7 days ends and 2) After the weekly Sabbath during the week of Passover you must count 50 days to the Barley harvest and then another 50 days to the Wheat harvest.
Option 2 never made much sense to me but I thought option 1 was the best answer. After I found the DSS and saw that over 2,200 years ago they wrote it was the 26th which is the Sunday following the first weekly Sabbath after the end of Passover/Unleavened Bread I was thrilled to have a definitive answer instead of just a guess.
Then when I read in Jubilees that the feast of Shavuot was in the middle of the 3rd month, it was another confirmation that it lined up with Torah. I had always argued that starting the 50-day omer count during the 7 days of Unleavened Bread would never get you into the middle of the 3rd month when Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai according to Exodus, the closest you could get was a full week BEFORE the middle of the 3rd month…so how could Shavuot commemorate arriving at the holy mountain of Yah?
(Here she inserted the text of Leviticus 23:1-22, which I’ve removed. It’s available in your Bible.)
Reconciling the Dilemma
So, I understand that a lot of people have been taught that Yeshua had to be resurrected on First Fruits of Barley because He is called the First Fruits of the resurrection later and if He didn’t rise from the dead on First Fruits then He didn’t fulfill the feasts properly. This has been a popular Torah movement teaching which was based more on the lunar calendar tradition of the Rabbi’s who routinely mix and overlap their feast days and Shabbats.
Understanding the Background
So where did the idea come that He would be the First Fruit if He didn’t resurrect on that feast day? Isaiah 53. This is also where we get the understanding the He was to be our Atonement as it states in Hebrews although He didn’t die on Day of Atonement. Yeshua was the first to resurrect to ETERNAL life out of land that was dry, devoid of the living water needed for life. Because He was the first to resurrect with eternal life, He can now impart this to us as the Day of Atonement sacrifice.
If you will recall the part of His trial when Barabbas (Son of the Father) was placed next to Him and the people chose Yeshua as their sacrifice and that Barabbas would be set free.
The first Adam destroyed eternal life and until Yeshua there was no eternal life imparted to anyone, only the expectation of eternal life in the future Messiah which it says that Abraham saw and rejoiced over. This is why Yeshua is called the 2nd Adam/the Last Adam. But the association doesn’t dictate that He must be resurrected on the feast of First Fruits to be the First Fruit, just as He didn’t have to do it all over again in the 7th month just so He could be called our Atonement. It simply means that He fulfilled or filled up with meaning, those specific roles during His ministry.
I hope this helps…Shalom!’
3. A year isn’t 364 days, it is 365.25 days!
Yes, that’s correct. So, just as in our ‘leap year,’ where we add a compensating day (February 29th) to our calendar every 4 years, the Zadokite solar calendar adds days to the end of a year after every five or six years, depending on the vernal (spring) equinox.
Simply put, the Zadokite calendar’s calendar-adjustment rule is that whenever the spring equinox would extend past day 364 at the end of a year, add up to seven days to start the next year’s cycle on the following Wednesday.
For example, look at the diagram below:
- The calendar numbers the days of the year from 1-364. In the Zadokite calendar Day 1 is always on a Wednesday, Pentecost (Day 75) is always on a Sunday, and Yom Kippur (Day 192) is always on a Friday, etc.
- Red dates are Biblical festival dates, which never vary.
- Solid Red boxes are equinoxes and solstices
- Green boxes are Sabbath days (Saturdays)
- Blue boxes are the 91st day of each quarter, and intercalation days at the end of the year.
As you can see, the Spring equinox at the top beginning of the year (solid red box) was on the 3rd Day of the week (Tuesday), but at the end of the year the Spring Equinox falls on Wednesday, which would be day 365. Therefore, add seven days (after day 364) to start day 1 of the following year on the next Wednesday (after Day 7 in the blue box). This resets the Zadokite solar calendar, just as adding February 29th resets the Julian calendar during a leap year.
Then, at the end of the year following the year depicted in the diagram above, the Spring equinox will occur on day 359, so that year can end on Tuesday, day 364 and the year after that can start the next day. Another intercalation adjustment won’t be necessary again until the spring equinox occurs after day 364, after five or six years.
4. Does Psalm 104:19 support a lunar calendar?
Psalm 104:19 says, “He made the moon (yarach) for times (moedim, appointed times) and the sun knows the time of its settings.” This verse seems to support a lunar calendar for setting the dates of YHWH’s ‘appointed times.’
I emailed Asherit about this, writing:
Asherit, I have a quick question that you might be able to help me with. Psalm 104:19 says, “He made the moon (yarach) for times (moedim, appointed times) and the sun knows the time of its settings.”
This verse explicitly says God created the moon for the moedim. However, in the Zadokite calendar the moon is not associated with the moedim, so how should we understand this verse?
Asherit emailed her response to me, saying:
I believe that this verse is referring to the appointed times of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes when the moon serves as a witness to the season as established by the sun alone.
Enoch 1 tells us that two times a year the moon changes its course to set with the sun through the same gate. I have a video on my YT channel of the sun and moon setting together through the same gate on the equinox. In other words, the sun knows it’s going down, it precise location through the new gate, and the moon acts as a faithful witness.
I believe that because we are so far removed from understanding the motion of the heavens like the ancients knew them that we don’t understand references that would have been clear to them at the time it was written. I hope this helps!
Understanding Ps 104:19
Her response makes sense to me. Here’s how I now understand Psalm 104:19:
- The psalmist wasn’t endorsing the lunar calendar. He was referring to the two times per year when the moon synchronizes with the sun in an equinox. They are the ‘two witnesses’ of each equinox.
- The Spring equinox (when the moon passes through the same ‘gate’ as the sun) is used to establish all 364 dates for the entire year that follows, including the dates for all the ‘appointed times’ in Leviticus chapter 23.
- The image below is from her YouTube video demonstration of the moon serving as a witness to the sun during the Spring and Autumn equinoxes. It starts at the 14:38 minute point in Zadok Calendar In The Dead Sea Scrolls Part 3.
Why Does It Matter What Calendar We Use?
A person could argue that since Jesus celebrated the feasts according to the Pharisees’ calendar, it doesn’t matter to God whether we use a solar or lunar calendar.
But when God steps in to end the age at the end of 6000 years since Adam, which calendar do you think He will be using?
Conclusion: the Zadokite Priestly Calendar is God’s Calendar
The solar Zadokite calendar is God’s calendar.
- For more than 2000 years, from Noah’s flood in 2348 BC until Antiochus IV Epiphanes changed it in 167 BC, historical evidence proves God’s covenant people used the Zadokite calendar.
- If that’s true, it is still the calendar God uses—regardless of whether mankind uses it or not.
To Learn More About God’s Calendar
1. Calendar Dead Sea Scrolls by Professor Rachel Elior of Hebrew University This fascinating 2-hour 20 minute video includes three parts.
- From the start to 1:06:15 The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Zadokites and the Essenes, the covenant and the sacred calendar, Enoch, angelic priestly ministries, angelic Melchizedek
- Question and Answer period: 1:06:18 to 1:22:55 includes the history of how the ancient rabbis forbid Jewish people from reading books outside the Old Testament canon, such as Enoch, Jubilees, etc.
- From 1:23:00 to the end: The Zadokite Solar Calendar is God’s calendar. Rosh Hashanah isn’t a legitimate Jewish New Year; how the lunar calendar displaced the solar calendar.
2. Asherit’s Zadok Calendar in the Dead Sea Scrolls 5-part series on YouTube:
- Part 1 Introduction and Overview of the Zadokite solar calendar
- Part 2 How the Zadokite solar calendar operates from year to year; intercalary days, vernal equinox
- Part 3 The luminary cycles of the sun, moon and stars; how to observe the equinox
- Part 4 Comparison of various lunar and solar calendars. Intercalation. How the solar calendar changed to lunar.
- Part 5 Continuation of Part 4. Why the Zadok calendar is superior to other calendars, and how to establish Day 1.