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New Year’s Day Dilemma

Because of the wide range of opinions prevailing among the various followers of Yahweh there seems to be no unified consensus regarding the truth as how to determine the beginning of the scriptural new year.

At the same time, all claim to possess the truth of the matter while insisting that they have derived their conclusions directly from Scriptures.

What we are left with are two possibilities:

1. One conclusion is correct.
2. All conclusions are wrong.

For the sake of simplicity let us proceed with the possibility that all are wrong. All we are trying to do is clear away the confusion to get at the heart of the matter. Once we are finished only Yahweh’s truth should prevail.

How then does one arrive at the correct and true day for the beginning of the scriptural new year? This day would also be a New Moon Day and be labeled Abib 1 (also called Nisan 1) being the first day of the month.

Man-made Decisions
As many are aware, there is a general consensus that the main criteria for determining the beginning of the year is twofold. First, the time of the year must be springtime based upon the visual inspection of the green ears of barley. Second, the first visible crescent of the new moon must be physically seen by someone during the time of the green ears of barley. Also, it should be noted that the location for the barley inspection and visual sighting of the new moon is another debatable issue.

As an attempt to end all possible confusion and debates, it seems that the so-called elders and teachers of Yahweh’s truth take it upon themselves to decide the truth of the matter, all the while claiming to derive their authority from Scriptures.

The following points regarding the determination of the New Year should prove to be interesting for those who place their faith in religious leaders:

The elders and teachers decide that barley is to be considered.
They decide where to look for the green ears of barley.
They decide if the barley is mature enough.
They decide if the visible crescent of the moon is required.
They decide when and where to look for the crescent of the new moon.
They decide the number of witnesses needed for observation.
They decide what witnesses are valid and who to exclude.
They decide what day is the correct day for the New Year.
They decide to have the authority to sanctify the day of the New Year.

Does any of this sound familiar? Well, it should.

The religious leaders, especially the Pharisees, were basically doing the same thing with their Jewish followers in the first century C.E. adding even more requirements for sanctification of New Year’s Day as time went on.

With that said, let’s begin our investigation into the matter of the scriptural New Year.

Two Seasons
Per Scriptures there are two divisions (seasons) of the year, summer and winter.

. . . you have made summer and winter. (Psalms 74:17)

. . . it shall continue in summer as in winter. (Zechariah 14:8)

When we apply these divisions (seasons) with today’s recognition of four seasons then the scriptural summer is equivalent to spring-summer and the scriptural winter is equivalent to autumn-winter.

Lunar-Solar Calendar
The next point to consider is the fact that the scriptural year is not purely a lunar calendar, for if that were the case there would never be a reason to intercalate a 13th moon every so many years, as was done in the time of Yahushua the messiah. There would only be 12 moons per lunar year without any reference to the seasons.

Yet, if there were only 12 moons a year, the timing of the three festival periods would quickly fall out of their commanded seasons. Nevertheless, we know that the Jewish leaders intercalated the year and that the messiah kept the festivals in the same season as did the Jewish groups. Therefore the scriptural year utilizes a lunar-solar calendar.

Then how is a scriptural season determined?

Seasons Are Solar
The cycle of seasons is regulated by the sun and therefore is a solar event. This solar event or season is identified by the Hebrew word תקופת (tequphath).

And you shall observe . . . the Khag of the Ingathering of the תקופת (TEQUPHATH, season, at the end/outgoing) of the year. (Exodus 34:22)

Which tequphath (season)? The season of spring-summer or autumn-winter?

You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the צאת (tzath, end, outgoing) of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. (Exodus 23:16)

The Greek Septuagint gives the following:

And thou shalt keep to me the Feast of Weeks, the beginning of wheat-harvest; and the Feast of Ingathering in the μεσόω (mesoo, MIDDLE) OF THE YEAR. (LXX Exodus 34:22)

Note the Greek word μεσόω (mesoo) which means “to form the middle, that is, (in point of time), to be half way over: – be about the midst (Strong’s Greek #3322).”

When we couple the fact that the Feast of Ingathering is to take place in the seventh month and is also placed at the end or outgoing of the year it is clear that the season is autumn-winter. The determination of a season is a solar event and corresponds to the solar year. What then are the solar events that mark off the seasons?

Equinox and Season
The answer comes with the Hebrew term תקופה (tequphah, equinox) used by the Pharisaic Jews in relation to the word תקופת (tequphath, season). For example the Babylonian Talmud states:

Now, which view do they adopt? If they hold that the TEQUPHAH DAY (equinox) is the completion (of the previous TEQUPHOTH CYCLE): then, even if it were not so, it will meet with the requirement neither of him who holds that the whole festival (must be included) nor of him who holds that only part of it (is necessary). One must say therefore that they both hold that the TEQUPHAH DAY begins (the new season). An objection is raised: (Yet) the TEQUPHAH DAY concludes (the previous TEQUPHOTH CYCLE)! This is Rabbi Judah’s view. Rabbi Jose maintains that it commences (the new TEQUPHOTH CYCLE). (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, 13a)

Anatolius of Alexandria (3rd century C.E.), after listing several early conservative Jewish writers such as Aristobulus, Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus, states:

These writers, in solving some questions which are raised with respect to Exodus, say that all alike ought to sacrifice the crossing-festival (Passover) AFTER THE VERNAL EQUINOX in the middle of the first month. (Anatolius, 3)

There is much more evidence that will be presented in a forthcoming publication by Qadesh La Yahweh Press but we should have enough at this point to get the essential points across. 

After the Tequphath
According to the instructions given in Exodus as listed above and the additional information given, the Festival of Ingathering must take place during the outgoing tequphath (season) of the solar year which corresponds to autumn-winter.

The beginning day of the outgoing tequphath (season) of the year is determined by the phenomena of a tequphah (equinox) which is a solar event. Because of the scriptural “part of” rule, the actual day of the tequphah (equinox) is the last day of the previous tequphath (season). For an explanation of the “part of” rule please refer to page six of “Rules for the New Moon.” Therefore the day following the day of the equinox is the first day of the next tequphath (season).

The Beginning of the Year
So far, we have concentrated much of our effort to proving that the Khag of Ingathering must occur at the outgoing of the year. More precisely, after the equinox which determines the season of autumn.

We will now focus our attention to the essential factors to be utilized when determining the beginning of the scriptural New Year.

There seems to be a formula that could possibly work. For instance, if one were to make sure that the day of Passover (Abib 14) was to always be observed after the vernal equinox one might be assured that this is the correct way to determine the date for the beginning of the New Year (Abib 1).

At first, this would seem to be a reasonable conclusion. But, upon closer examination of the facts, there is additional information to consider.

Here is why the above formula will not always work. If Passover was observed just one day after the vernal equinox, which technically is correct, then the Festival of Ingathering would not take place at the tequphath at the end or outgoing of the year per the instructions in Exodus 34:22 and 23:16. In other words, the Festival of Ingathering would occur before the tequphah (autumnal equinox). It would also be the wrong tequphath (season) of spring-summer!

Once it is recognized that Yahweh’s calendar is comprised of a lunar-solar year things become much more clear. It is simple. The moon controls the months and festival days. The sun controls seasons and years.

The Scriptural Formula
With these facts in hand it is now appropriate to reveal the long-held secret contained in Scriptures that was hidden by the Pharisees.

The key to the true and correct formula for the calculation of a new year is the Festival of Ingathering and its tequphath (season)!

Simply put, here is the foolproof method for determining the scriptural New Year:

The day of the Festival of Ingathering (Tishri 22, the Last Great Day) must occur during the tequphath (season) of autumn-winter.

The Festival of Ingathering must always occur after the tequphah (autumnal equinox).

Once Tishri 1 has been established then one is able to count back six moons or months to arrive at the month of Abib. The next simple step is to determine the first day of the new year (Abib 1).

Passover will always occur in the tequphath (season) of spring-summer.

Passover (Abib 14) will always occur after the tequphah (spring equinox).

For more information regarding the “New Year’s Day Dilemma” please refer to the articles by Qadesh La Yahweh Press: “The Beginning of the Year” and “Rules for the New Moon.”

That’s it for now. We didn’t get a chance to talk about the alleged requirement of the green ears of barley or the visible crescent of the new moon. Regarding the visibility of the new moon please reference our two posts listed above along with the following:

New Moons – Visibility or Calculation?
New Moon Clarity

For a complete discussion regarding the month of Abib and “green ears of barley” see the following two links:

The Abib and Barley Error – Pt. 1
The Abib and Barley Error – Pt. 2

For an in-depth investigation pertaining to Passover and Pentecost please see “The Festivals and Sacred Days of Yahweh.”

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