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I have been composing my weekly lessons for decades and have written hundreds of them. Therefore, as I have grown in my walk with the Lord, some of my understandings have changed or improved.
An example was my understanding of the marking of the beginning of the Hebrew religious year. Apparently, the fall harvest was at one time considered to be the end of the year, and therefore, the beginning of the next year. In Exodus 12:2 the Lord told Moses that the current month, the month in which the first Passover occurred, would now become the first month of the year. (The Lord changed the beginning of the year from Fall to Spring.)
It is thought that Rosh Hashanah, the “head of the year” which occurs in the Fall, came about during the Babylonian Captivity. It is considered to be the beginning of the Hebrew secular year.
Each Hebrew month begins with the New Moon. I have written, more than once, that when the barley is determined to be ripe at the time of the New Moon, this marks the beginning of the year. This is Jewish tradition, and not Scriptural, but it made sense to me. In fact, the Biblical name for the first month is Abib, which means ripe (Strong’s H24).
I have been corrected.
There is an excellent website ( www.torahcalendar.com ) which explains the Hebrew calendar and its ties with the Lunar and Solar cycles. The author(s) are clearly familiar with Jewish thought, festivals, and writings. The author(s) are Believers in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus.
The website explains that the Hebrews were able to determine the New Year while they were wandering in the wilderness for forty years, even though there was no barley to inspect. During years of drought and famine, they were able to determine the New Year. Therefore, inspection of barley for ripeness is not the criteria for determining when the New Year begins.
The equinox is the date when the day and night are of equal length. There are Spring and Fall equinoxes, or solstices. The Spring Solstice, according to the author(s), is the starting point for determining the beginning of the Hebrew New Year.
The author(s) state that the requirement of the Lord for all Hebrew men to appear before Him three times a year shows us the criteria. Those three times are the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which includes Passover, Shavuot or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Spring New Moon that allows the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the 15th day of the first month) to fall after the Spring Solstice is the beginning of the Hebrew year. If the Feast of Unleavened occurred before the Spring Solstice, it would fall in the previous year, thereby violating the Lord’s requirement.
While the Bible does not specifically define the criteria for determining the beginning of the Hebrew calendar year, the Lord’s requirement of attendance three times a year narrows the criteria down.
This year, 2021 A.D., the Spring New Moon fell on March 13th, which is before the Spring Solstice. This has caused some to say that the correct beginning of the Hebrew year should be on the New Moon of April 12th. Based upon the criteria described above, this would be incorrect. Passover this year occurred on March 28th, after the solstice, and therefore meets the criteria.
I hope this lesson has achieved two things. First, to show that there is always room for increase of knowledge; and second, to encourage you to continue in your search for Bible knowledge. We will never have perfect knowledge of the Word of God until we arrive in the presence of the Lord in Glory. I look forward to the Day! Praise His name, always!