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By: Voy Wilks7/1/88
Assembly of Yahweh (7th day)
P.O. Box 509
Cisco, TX 76437

Part Two:

The Year
Does the Barley Harvest Start the Year?

Although barley ripens in the spring, the following considerations indicate the barley harvest does not establish the first day of the year.

1.For two successive growing seasons (the Sabbath and Jubilee years), no grain was to be planted and, therefore, no maturing barley was available to consult (Lev. 25:1-24). True, barley sometimes sprouts and grows voluntarily with no cultivation, but this was less likely in the second year. It was illegal to reap volunteer grain in the 50th year, so Israel probably allowed their flocks to graze the fields. This was legal (Lev. 25:7,11).

2.During the flood, Noah was apparently able to determine the first day of the year without consulting the barley harvest. 15

3.During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (a desert), Israel kept a careful record of the months and years - apparently without consulting the barley harvest in Canaan.16

Calendar Considerations

From the Vernal Equinox to the Autumnal Equinox equals approximately 186 days, (which leaves about 179 or 180 days between the Autumnal Equinox and the Vernal Equinox).

From one new moon to the next new moon (a synodic month) equals approximately 29.5 days.

From the first new moon to the seventh new moon equals 177 days (29.5 X 6 lunar month = 177 days).

Assume this a year in which a new moon falls 13 days before the spring equinox.

As noted above, from the first new moon to the seventh new moon equals 177 days. Since 6 lunar months is 9 days shorter than the 186 days between the spring and fall equinoxes, then it is a mistake to reckon the first of the year from a new moon which is seen (as indicated above) 13 days before the spring equinox. True, Passover will fall on or after the spring equinox, but what happens at the fall festivals?

Subtract the 13 days "spent" before the spring equinox from the 177 days comprising the six lunar months (177 days - 13 days = 164 days), then subtract the quotient (164 days) from the 186 days the circuit of the sun from spring equinox to the fall equinox. This brings us to a time which is 21 or 22 days before the autumnal equinox, placing most of the Feast of Tabernacles before the "turn of the year" (before tekufah).*


If we accept a new moon nearest but 13 days before the spring equinox as the 1st day of Abib, then the 177 days (which make up six lunar months) causes the 1st day of the 7th month to fall 21 or 22 days before the autumnal equinox, thus placing most of the eight days of Tabernacles into the summer season instead of the autumn, as a harvest festival (Lev. 23:39).

By Jeff Bell
36803 Brown Cone
Magnolia, TX 77355

*The equinox.

Now for the clincher.

4.The sun and moon determine days, months, years, and seasons [festivals] (Gen. 1:14-16).

Thus, it is not the green ears of barley, but sun and moon which determine the calendar and therefore the year. What signals the end of one year and the beginning of another, if not the barley harvest? The equinox and the new moon do this.

Equinox - Tekufah

The equinox occurs because of the (apparent) action of the sun. The earth, which is tilted 23.5 degrees, circles the sun, creating our seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter). The equinox occurs when the sun "crosses" the equator. The Hebrew word is tekufah, and refers to the solstices as well as to the equinoxes.

Tekufot (plural) means "seasons;" literally, "circuit, to go round." The four seasons in the year are called tekufot. More accurately, tekufot is the beginning of the four seasons. ... tekufah stands for the true, not the mean, equinox. 17

  • The tekufah (singular) of Nisan denotes the sun at the vernal equinox.
  • The next tekufah denotes the summer solstice.
  • The third tekufah denotes the fall equinox.
  • The fourth tekufah denotes the winter solstice.

Tekufah appears in the Scriptures four times, and relates to the calendar at least three times.

"And it came to pass at the end [tekufah] of the year, that the Syrians came up against him: ..." (2Chr. 24:23).

This refers to the end and, therefore, the beginning of another year, demarcated by the spring equinox and the new moon.

"And you shall observe the feast of weeks, even the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the years end [tekufah] (Ex. 34:22).

This refers to the fall equinox, the end of the summer growing season.

"In them [the heavens] he has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs it's course with joy. It's rising is from the end of the heavens and it's circuit [tekufah] to the end of them, and there is nothing hid from it's heat." (Ps. 19:4,5 RSV).

This speaks of the sun's daily course, or it's yearly circuit through the equinoxes and the solstices, or both.

"And it came to pass, when the time was come [tekufah] about, that Hannah concieved, and bore a son; ..." (1Sam. 1:20).

This may indirectly allude to the calendar year. In any case, the above Scriptures indicate that the saints of old understood the equinox and it's place in the calendar.

Which New Moon?
Nearest or After the Equinox?

It is common knowledge that the spring equinox usually occurs on 3/20 or 3/21 as reckoned by the Roman Calendar. Very rarely it occurs on 3/19 or 3/22. But could the ancient Israelites locate the equinox by the Roman Calendar? No. In early times the Romans were not yet on the scene. The irregularity of the lunar months (compared to the solar year) cause the spring equinox to fall on a different day of the month each year (sometimes in a different month), though always in the last month of the year.

Assume we live in King David's time when astronomy and communication was not what it is today. We would first be obliged to locate the equinox, and only then could we with certainty choose the correct new moon to begin the new year. For this reason, we conclude the year should always begin with the new moon next after the spring equinox, rather than the new moon nearest.

If we hope to choose the new moon nearest (either before or after) the equinox, we may fail because of the uncertainty in the length of the lunar month. Suppose we choose a new moon 15 days before the vernal equinox on the assumption the month will have 30 days, but suppose it turns out to have only 29 days. We will not have chosen the new moon nearest the equinox, as there are 15 days before but only 14 days after. Once again, we must wait until the equinox is established, and only then choose a new moon - the new moon next after that event.

Abib - A Spring Month

The month of Abib should always start in the spring, never in winter. When does spring begin? At the equinox, when the sun (apparently) crosses the equator, never earlier than 3/19, as reckoned by the Roman Calendar. Is it reasonable tosometimes begin the year in spring but at other times in winter? Scriptures indicate the first month should always start in the same season of the year - spring. Please compare the King Jame Version with the Revised Standard Version.

"And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, ..." (2Sam. 11:1 KJV).

"In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, ..." (Ibid., RSV)

Since the old year expires in the spring, it is reasonable to assume that the new year begins in the spring as well. For more confirmation of this, please consult both versions in the following Scriptures: 1Kgs. 20:22,26; 1Chr. 20:1; 2Chr. 36:10 .

"It seems to have been understood all over the world, from ancient times until now, that the vernal equinox signals the arrival of spring and the autumnal equinox signals the arrival of fall. ... Wait until the sun signals the arrival of spring at the equinox, then select the first visible new crescent for the beginning of months: ... the first month of the year to you." 18

  • "The Scriptures state that the Passover occurs,
  • '... at the season' [Heb. = moed] (Deut. 16:6);
  • '... in his season [moed] from year to year' (EX. 13:10);
  • '... at his appointed season' [moed] (Nu. 9:2)

"[Since Passover is in the first month,] surely the new year begins in the same season [eth] each year, and not sometimes in the spring and sometimes in the winter. Many Scriptures seem to point to spring while none ... indicate another season. A new moon nearest but before the equinox would start some years in a winter month, causing the [festivals] to occur out of their seasons.

"... Look to the first new moon after the spring equinox and start the year. This will always keep Passover in spring and Tabernacles in fall. Since the festivals generally are harvest festivals how could it be any other way?" 19

Is There a 13th Month?

Some have been astonished upon learning that some years in Yahweh's calendar have 13 months. Since the lunar month consists of approximately 29.5 days, a year of only 12 months equals 354 days - 11 days short of the solar year. If there was never a 13th month in the year, the harvest festivals would soon be out of season. in less than 28 years they would rotate through all the months of the year. This is what happens with the Muslim Calendar.

If we truly accept the Scriptural calendar, then we will not have a problem arranging the 13th month, because Yahweh will do it for us. Always choose the new moon which comes next after the spring equinox and the 13th month will automatically fall in place in the proper year. It is interesting to note that there is a 13th month a little more than every third year.


  • The Hillel Calendar presently in use is by Jewish authorities admitted to be in error; that is, it is not the calendar used by Jewish people in 30 C.E.
  • Israel's calendar has seen three important phases: Months established by (1) visual sightings only; (2) both visual sightings and calculation, and (3) calculation only.
  • The word "day," depending on its use in a sentence, can refer to 12 hours of daylight, or to the 24 hour day, beginning at sunset (evening).
  • The week is seven days in length and owes its unalterable uniformity to the fact that it is niether an aliquot part of the lunar month, nor of the year.
  • The month is from one visible new cresent to the next, consisting of 29 or 30 days each; and begins, not with the conjunction, but with the visible new crescent.
  • All communities on earth should watch for the new moon, and the month should begin at whatever moment the new crescent is sighted, regardless of the location. New moons should not be ignored.
  • The date of the new moon cannot be reckoned accurately by visual observation of the full moon.
  • The year can be either 12 or 13 months in length.
  • Abib 1st must not be reckoned by the barley harvest. Noah (during the flood), and Moses (during 40 years in the desert), apparently did not consult the barley crops in Canaan, yet they faithfully noted the first day of each month and each year.
  • Abib is a spring month and should never begin in the winter season. This will always keep Passover in the spring and Tabernacles in the fall, as is proper for harvest festivals.
  • The sun establishes the equinox, and these with the moon establish the day, the month, the year, and the festivals (Gen. 1:14-16 NEB).


"The new moons and equinoxes are the natural calendar made by the Creator (YHWH). That calendar can't be tampered with by man. It is always there, and was certainly understood by those who wrote the Scriptures (Ex. 34:22; Ps. 19:6). The new moon starts the month and the sun starts the year by appearing to move from solstice to solstice, passing through the equinoxes. How simple. How beautiful." 20

Respectfully submitted,



Objections and Other Views Discussed
The Equinox

Some have expressed reluctance to involve the equinox the calendar because the pagans also used it in their calendar. But did the pagans create the equinox? No. The Mighty Yahweh made it, evidently when he tilted the earth to its present 23.5 degrees. Please consider:

Yahweh's calendar is solar/lunar. So was the pagan's.

Yahweh's day begins at sunset. So did the pagan's.

Yahweh's month begins with the visible new crescent. So did the pagan's.

At one time all the earth's peoples knew and used Yahweh's calendar. For many centuries, evidently, the pagans retained some portion of the true calendar. We should not fault them for this.

Equal Day & Night

To begin the year, some sincere persons note when day and night are of equal length, then take the new moon which falls on or after that date. There are flaws in this method, however.

In the spring, day and night are equal several days before, and in the fall several days after the true equinox (the moment when the sun "crosses" the equator). Equal day and night (by the clock) is only the apparent equinox, because of the refraction of sunlight in our atmosphere. Once again:

  • Equal day and night is not the true equinox (the moment when spring begins). 21
  • Ancient saints did not have the trusty clock and so had no way of determining when day and night were exactly equal in length. Therefore this calendar method can be forever laid to rest.

The Moon of Equal Horns

Usually the new moons are "standing" so that one "horn" is much more elevated than the other;  [  ]. It has been suggested that only once each year are the horns of equal height [ ]. When this occurs the new year begins. This is a mistake, however. in the spring of 1988, there were three new moons with equal horns. Which of the three began the year?  This calendar method, too, can be laid to rest.

Green Ears (Deut. 16:1)

There is certainly a close relationship between the ripening of the barley and the new crescent of the first month (Abib = green ears). However, Scriptures do not support starting the new year by "green ears," but by the returning sun, which causes the green ears to grow and ripen. It might be claimed that Deut. 16:1 should start with the wording: "'Watch for the new crescent (during which you see) green ears (of barley);' rather than, 'Keep the month of Abib.' [It can] ... be shown that the former Is legalistically Incorrect _" Please review H. Solinsky’s discussion. 24

Every Month Equals 30 Days?

Scriptures tell us the flood of waters were upon the earth for 150 days, from the 17th day of the 2nd month to the 17th day of the 7th month. Some have understood this to be exactly five months of 30 days each. This is a mistake, however. Instead, this Is five months and one day, because the 17th day of both months are Included. Please ask for our detailed paper explaining this. Box 509, Cisco, TX 76437.


In several places the prophets speak of the end of the age, giving details of future events in days (1,260 days - Rev. 12:6; 11:3); and in months (42 - months - Rev. 11:2; 13:5). This same period of time is spoken of in Rev. 12:14 (and possibly Dan. 7:25 & 12:7), where it is called "time, times, and half a time" (or the dividing of time). "Times" cannot in any way be considered as exact as "42 months."

By the same token, "42 months" is not as exact AS "1,260 days." I conclude, then, that all these terms are speaking of the same period of time, but the ones numbered in "days" are exact, while those numbered in "months" and "times" are approximate. Since the lunar month averages 29.5305883 days, it must of necessity sometimes contain only 29 days.

The Law will Go Forth From Zion

The law will go forth from Mount Zion, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3), but what will this law tell us? It will tell us that sun and moon determine days, months, years, and the festival dates (Gen. 1:14-16; Isa. 66:23). For hundreds of years the people of Israel kept the festivals and the new moons before Jerusalem was declared a place of worship. Did Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, and Samuel ask for reports from Mount Zion and Jerusalem (a Jebusite town) when determining the new moons and the festival dates?

For hundreds of years before the chosen people occupied the land of Canaan, the ancient saints, including Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham (Gen. ch. 5-8), determined the months and years without consulting any one in the land of Canaan. How was this done? Obviously, by seeing the new moons locally - wherever they were. The International Date Line is barely more than 100 years of age. For thousands of years, the saints made out without it. How? By establishing each month by local sightings. If local visibility is accepted, an International Date Line is not needed for observance of the festivals. To ignore the new moons locally is to ignore and to contradict Scriptures (Gen. 1:14-16; Ps. 103:19).

This years Calendar of Feasts and SetApart days.

Back to Almost Current Calendar of Feasts and SetApart Times.



Here is an interesting New Moon study from a slightly different Perspective:

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon)

UNEEDA: thought Provoking ShaBBaT Study!

15. The Calendar G-d Gave to Moses, by Solinsky & Anderson; 1982, p 49.

16. Ibid.

17. Encyc Judaica, Vol. 5; Article: Calendar, p 46.

18. A Paper, "Does Close Count?," by Henry Wylle

19. A Paper, "Horns of the Moon," by Terry McKee

20. Ibid.

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