Archive for category Vernal Equinox
In our previous discussion, Beginning the New Year – Pt. 1, we addressed the issue of the Hebrew terms תקופה (tequphah) and תקופת (tequphath).
We learned that a tequphah is a solar event and is a point in time that could be an equinox or a solstice.
It was also recognized that a tequphath represents a season of the solar year. The two seasons for calculating Festival Days being spring-summer and autumn-winter.
With this in mind we will continue in Part 2 with an examination of the Festival of Tabernacles and the Festival of Ingathering. What we will discover is how they both relate to the determination of the scriptural New Year.
Khag of Tabernacles
We must next be cognizant of the difference between the use of the labels “the Khag (Festival) of Ingathering” and “the Khag of Tabernacles,” the latter forming only a part of the former. The instructions from Deuteronomy and Leviticus for the seven-day Khag of Tabernacles state:
When all of the window dressing is removed, we discover that the entire issue about when to begin the year rests with the instructions regarding the Khag of Ingathering and its tequphath (season of the year).
The late Jews tell of four תקופת (tequphath) of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), each calculated as a period following one of the days of a תקופה (tequphah): the vernal equinox, the summer solstice, autumnal equinox, and winter solstice.1
It is also important for us not to confuse the occurrence of a tequphah (i.e., equinox or solstice) with the season (tequphath) although the same word is sometimes used in common speech for both.
To begin with, a tequphah (equinox or solstice), as spoken of by Scriptures, is a solar event, marking a point of passage of the earth around the sun. It represents a day wherein one of two visual effects occur.
1. A solstice day is a day when the sun, as seen along the earth’s horizon, reaches its furthest point of rising or setting either on the north or south.
2. On the day of an equinox, on the other hand, the rising and setting of the sun lies on the horizon precisely in the middle between the two solstice points. As a consequence, the length of the periods of daytime and nighttime on that day of the equinox are almost exactly equivalent.
The Hebrew word תקופת (tequphath)—various transliterated as tekufath, tequfoth, tequfath, and so forth—is a form of the term תקופה (tequphah)—tekufah, tequfah, and so forth. Tequphah is itself derived from the word קופ (quph), meaning to, “go round.”2 The term תקופה (tequphah) more precisely means, “a revolution, i.e. (of the sun) course, (of time) lapse:—circuit, come about, end”;3 a “circuit,”4 “orbit of the sun . . . circle of the year.”5
In Part 2 of our discussion we will delve deeper into the Pharisaic influence on many, especially among the Sacred Name groups of today, regarding the practice of considering the maturity of barley to determine the month of Abib and the scriptural New Year.
Picking up from where we left off in Part 1, the month-name ha-Abib was next connected by the Pharisees with the day of the omer wave offering. An עמר (omer) is a dry measure or gathering of “newly cut grain,”32 as in “a heap.”33
Omer Wave Offering
The omer wave offering of newly cut grain was a requirement under the Torah of Moses as a gift to Yahweh, being the first-fruits from each year’s harvest. The offering occurs in the spring at the time of Unleavened Bread and is directly connected with the Promised Land. This offering is described in detail by the book of Leviticus.
When you come into the land (of Promise) which I am giving to you, and have reaped its harvest, and have brought in this omer, the beginning (first-fruits) of your harvest, to the priest, then he will wave this omer before Yahweh for your acceptance. On the day after the Sabbath the priest will wave it. (Lev. 23:9-11)
Technically, the instructions from Scriptures do not specifically mention which first-fruits from which harvest. It only indicates in a subsequent passage that the Israelites were not permitted to eat bread, קלי (qali; roasted whole grains),34 or כרמל (karmel; fruits and produce)—all indicating a variety of produce—derived from the new year’s crops until after the omer wave offering had been made.35
Several questions that are usually brought forward by those concerned regarding the New Year are:
• What is the definition of a scriptural New Moon?
• Is a visible crescent of the moon required to begin the month?
• From what location does one need to determine the New Moon?
• Does one use the spring equinox to determine the month of Abib?
• Does one only use the “green ears of barley” formula for the month of Abib?
• Can one use only calculations for the New Moons?
• Does one use both the spring equinox and barley for the month of Abib?
• What group today has Yahweh’s truth and authority to proclaim the true New Year?
• Can we rely on the current Jewish Calendar for the correct dates?
As you can surmise, there can exist much confusion as one tries to sort out the actual truth of the matter.
In previous articles, we have already discussed the issues of visible new moons and calculations as they relate to Yahweh’s sacred calendar.
In this particular discussion we will address the validity of the so-called requirement of “green ears of barley” to determine the month of Abib and the beginning of Yahweh’s New Year.
Although all of the evidence from Scriptures unequivocally makes “between/among the arabim (evenings)” begin at sunset and end at dark, there is one challenge made by the advocates of
System B (the Hasidic position) which must be addressed: their interpretation of Leviticus 23:26-32.
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
Though the section begins by stating that “on the tenth day of this seventh month is a Day of Atonement,” a sacred convocation, and a day of humbling, i.e., fasting,1 it later gives a statement which is popularly translated to mean: Read the rest of this entry »
This Passover Series so far has endeavored to lay the groundwork for a much-needed and long-overdue discussion regarding the correct method for observing the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread.
What has been lacking from any previous discussions, especially among the various Sacred Name groups of today, is the history of the earliest Christians and their Passover practice during the first few centuries C.E.
One of the reasons for this oversight is the fact that there are many who are not even aware that such a history exists!
To counter the ignorance of historical evidence, this Series has brought the true Passover practice of the Quartodecimans to light along with the importance that it be included as a consideration in the ongoing quest for Yahweh’s truth of the matter.
Regarding the Roman construct (System E) of the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread, we will now address the protagonists of this Christian Hasidic practice who opposed the Quartodecimans (System A) and the Quasi-Quartodecimans (System D).
Irenaeus (c.140-202 C.E.), presbyter and bishop of the diocese of Lyons, Gaul (France),1 was a vital player in the formulation of this new Roman assembly view.
Though early in his life he lived in Asia among the Quartodecimans and personally knew Polycarp, in his adult life he helped direct the western assemblies toward their new path.2
Nevertheless, there was strong resistance by the Roman assembly.
The Quartodeciman (System A) and Quasi-Quartodeciman (System D) practice was made more difficult to overcome by the fact that they were both based upon the same apostolic authority (the apostle John).1
It soon became obvious that if the Roman assembly was to gain political dominance in the West, as well as over many of the eastern assemblies, a new strategy was required.
In response, during the last decade of the second century C.E., the western leaders and theologians developed a new approach: the Roman assembly Passover and, after the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E., canonized as the Roman Catholic Passover (System E).
Proof that the seven days of Unleavened Bread for the Quartodecimans extended from the 14th until the end of the 20th day of the first lunar month is established from records provided by their offshoots, the quasi-Quartodecimans of System D.
The most important source for their view is found in the records of Anatolius of Alexandria.
To his words we can add the statements provided by the Audians and several bishops representing assemblies located in different parts of Europe.
Anatolius of Alexandria
Like the Quartodecimans, those who kept System D observed the 14th until the end of the 20th for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
The most famous advocate of this system was Anatolius of Alexandria (c.230-283 C.E.).1
For the Quartodeciman practice (System A), being the original view of the early Christian assemblies, and its quasi-Quartodeciman offshoot System D (the early western view), these seven days began with the 14th and extended until the end of the 20th day of the first lunar month.
We begin to uncover this important detail by demonstrating three facts:
• The Quartodecimans observed the 14th of Abib as a high Sabbath (great festival day) and as the first of the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
• The quasi-Quartodecimans kept the same seven days of Unleavened Bread as observed by the early Quartodecimans.
• Both the early Quartodecimans of System A and the quasi-Quartodecimans of System D deferred to the apostle John as their ultimate authority for establishing which days were to be observed for the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
Of all the professed followers of Yahweh, few are aware that during the first four centuries C.E. support was very strong among the early disciples and assemblies following Yahushua the messiah for the Aristocratic system of keeping Passover (System A).
It may also come as a surprise to learn that this view was in fact the original practice of all the earliest orthodox Christians.
Its advocates and supporters were in later centuries referred to as the Quartodecimans (14th keepers).
In our posts dealing with the Quartodecimans we shall investigate the antiquity of the Quartodeciman practice, demonstrate that they observed the 14th day of the first moon for the Passover supper, and present their claim that they observed Passover according to both Scriptures and the examples set forth by the messiah and his apostles.
As we continue our discussion regarding the connection between Passover and Pentecost, we discover that there were three other requirements attached to the Festival of Weeks:
(1) appearing and being worthy, (2) rejoicing, and (3) remembering.
Our next effort in defining the Passover supper and the seven days of eating unleavened bread is to give an overall summary of the Exodus experience. This event was the first time in which a Passover animal was commanded to be sacrificed and eaten by the Israelites.
On its primary level, the yearly observance of the Passover and seven days of eating unleavened bread is meant to recall the Israelite Exodus out of Egypt.1
The history is as follows: