Update from Natan: Here is an update on the article below that I wrote a few days ago. Since then, some interesting developments have occurred, which greatly confirm my conclusions below. It is this: What was purported to be abib/aviv barley was actually wheat. Yes. It was wheat, NOT barley.
What disturbs me greatly is that when the person who reported to have found abib barley in the land of Israel, he posted pictures of abib grain in his hand on the internet, and he represented it as being abib barley. Then when a couple of people pointed out the fact that what he was holding was not barley but was actually wheat, he admitted that it was wheat, but that it didn’t matter. He said it could have been corn or any other grain that had been abib and it didn’t matter if it was actually barley or not. What I’m asking myself???? Where is this in the Bible? Apparently, his reasoning is that since he found a small patch of some abib wheat, this is positive proof that the barley will come abib sometime in the next month in time for First Fruits Day, even though it’s not currently abib. Based on this false report, many people will be keeping the biblical feasts this year a whole month early!
After this, the same person then went on to publicly and viciously attack the other person who identified it as wheat and not barley. Yes! Instead of admitting that he had made a mistake in calling wheat barley, he attacked the other person calling them demonic, a deceiver, a tool of the devil, etc., etc. He then went on to give a bunch of unbiblical, man-made reasons why he was right…yet still no abib barley.
What’s the bottom line? Simply this. You can believe if you want that we’re in the first month of the new biblical year, but it’s based on a false report that the barley was abib when it was not. It seems that this individual is either an unrepentant deceiver, a false Bible teacher or a a very naive person who doesn’t know the difference between wheat and barley. He’s also not a very nice person in that he attacks people who respectfully disagree with him in a non-attacking manner. He’s not accountable to anyone and is a lone wolf, loose canon. As such, this person is not in a position to have people be looking to him to be determine when the new biblical year is to start based on the abib barley.
Alternate title: Was Abib/Aviv Barley Just Found in the Land of Israel?
We vote that the new biblical year will be in another month. A little further below, we’ll discus the reasons why.
But first, I want to bless all of my Christian and Jewish brothers and sisters who are actively participating in the process to help restore biblical truth. Both the prophet Malachi and Peter the apostle of Yeshua talked about this process. It’s helping to speed up the coming of the Messiah.
Remember the Torah-law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of YHVH. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Mal 4:4–6)
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Act 3:19–21)
Both of these passages are speaking about the same thing: a restoration of biblical truths, which have been forgotten or sublimated by the unbiblical traditions of men. Truth has suffered at the hands of religionists in both the Jewish and Christian camps. Many of YHVH’s people are beginning to awake from their spiritual slumber (Rev 3:3, realize that they’ve often been lied to (Jer 16:19), and now it’s time come out of spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4).
But the restoration of truth is a process that takes time. Issues have to be worked through. Discoveries have to be made, truths uncovered and then tested to see if they really are truth. This process can messy and, at times, divisive.The restoration of truth is not for the faint of heart. Sadly, while this is occurring, charity in all things often gives way to the darker side of human nature: angry outbursts, offense, bitterness, attacks, gossip, slander and so on.
Most people will prefer to stay in the safe comfort zones of their religious traditions and denominations instead of stepping into the no-go zone between opposing camps—a veritable battlefield that is encircled with barbed wire, planted with land mines and rigged with booby traps, where the various sides are constantly shooting at each other. What biblical personage of note didn’t find himself or herself in this spiritual war zone in their efforts to lead people into the bright light of fuller truth? Welcome aboard the troop carrier.
Now let’s talk about this year’s biblical calendar. Has the new biblical year started or do we still have another month to go? Knowing this will determine when we will observe the spring and fall biblical feasts in 2019.
Many people prefer to keep peace and unity in their respective religious camps by not rocking the boat, but rather sticking to religious traditions some of which are biblical and some of which are not. These folks will often follow the modern calculated rabbinic calendar, which is not the calendar that the mainstream Jews of Yeshua’s era followed. The modern Jews clearly admit this (to learn more on this subject, see https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/new_moons.pdf). What is my opinion on what is commonly called the the Rabbinic Jewish or Hillel 2 calendar? Charity. My grandparents came to an understanding of this calendar in the early 1950s, when they started keeping the biblical feasts. At least folks who follow this calendar were and are making an effort to keep the biblical feasts. This is more than can be said for the majority of Christians, much less the rest of the world. I was on the rabbinic calendar until age 40. This is because I knew nothing about any other calendars.
Then in 2000, my wife and I met Michael Rood and learned about what he was presenting as the original biblical calendar of the New Testament era. At first I rejected the idea, but after studying what the Bible had to say about the month of the abib/aviv (barley) and the new moon, we then accepted this restoration of truth and began observing the biblical feasts accordingly. We were one the first, if not the first, congregations and ministry on the West Coast of the U.S. to do so. (To learn more about the biblical new moon, abab/aviv barley calendar go to https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/cal_demyst.pdf and https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/vis_moon.pdf.) It was about this time that we met Nehemia Gordon of Israel and began corresponding with him over the calendar. It was also at this time that my wife began publishing biblical calendars—the first ministry to offer printable biblical calendars for free. This is still a service that we provide (https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/calendars.html).
As truth seekers who desire to be part of the restoration of all things, so that Messiah can return, my wife Sandi and I went to Israel in 2008 to be part of the abib/aviv barley search team sponsored by Nehemia and Devorah Gordon. We wanted to learn how it was done and to be part of the process. This was an incredible educational experience. At that time, Team Gordon was the main group searching for abib barley in the land of Israel.
Since that time, many groups have either broken off of Team Gordon or started their own search teams. This has, at times, been a divisive issue. But overall, it has been a good thing: the more eyes searching the better.
Over the years, many issues have arisen that, thanks to social media, are being worked out. Many questions have arisen with regard to the abib/aviv barley such as: Do we declare the new year and project the wave sheaf offering based on the anticipation that the barley will be aviv, or do we wait for it to actually be abib/aviv before the new year is declared? How much abib/aviv barley does there need to be to be declared abib/aviv? Does the aviv barley have to be in the land of Israel? When you find abib/aviv grain, is it actually barley or is it really wheat (since they’re similar in appearance)? Does the barley need to be ancient strains of barley or modern hybridized barley? Does the barley need to be found in artificially cultivated fields (where it’s under the influences of irrigation, fertilization, plant growth regulators that will induce it ripen more quickly), or growing wild (where it’s not under human influences)? Can it be found abib in artificial microclimates along roadways where it will often ripen earlier, or does it need to be in an open field where it will ripen more slowly and naturally? How far from Jerusalem can the barley be found growing? Does abib/aviv barley need to be found growing all in one spot (as Alfred Edesheim indicates in his book, The Temple, pp. 203–204) or can it be scattered in various field? These are all questions that have to be answered, and how these questions are answered will determine when the biblical new year will start and on what dates the biblical feasts for that year will fall.
Due to how different people may answer these questions, it is obviously inevitable that there will be differences of opinion, and hence different calendar dates for the biblical feasts. This means some people will be observing the biblical feasts on different days. What is my opinion on this? In an ideal world, it would wonderful for us all to be on the same page. But we are not. We’re all doing the best that we can in our effort to help to restore truth. So let’s agree to disagree charitably, all the while keeping an open mind. Someone is obviously wrong; it could be me.
Now how about this year? Has abib/aviv barley been found in Israel yet? When does the biblical new year begin? Will this year be only a twelve month year, or will we have a thirteenth month (called an Adar Bet)? (For those of you wondering why on earth we might need a thirteenth month and where this idea its found in the Bible, please see the links to my articles above, where I explain this.) So now, let me give you a quick overview of the finding for this year with regard to the state for the barley in late winter 2019.
In the land of Israel this year, there were several abib/aviv barley search teams. One team found barley which was not yet abib/aviv, but they anticipate that it will be abib by the time First Fruits Day comes around in two to three weeks. Because of my professional horticultural background, I can’t subscribe to the idea that the barley might be abib in several weeks, because there are climatological factors that could occur between now and then that would prevent the grain from ripening (e.g. the weather turns cold and rainy and the grain stops ripening). In 2016 on this blog, I wrote a detailed article listing in detail my reasons for not proclaiming the new year based an anticipating ripe barley, which some people did in that year as well (https://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2016/03/13/is-there-aviv-barley/).
As a case in point, when Sandi and I were in Israel in 2008 searching for barley, one individual who was not part of our search team found barley that he anticipated would be aviv in several weeks, so he declared the new year. Well, in fact, the hot weather changed to cold weather and the development of the barley slowed down and it wasn’t aviv in several weeks as he had hoped. Therefore, his declaration was in error. For this reason, we don’t declare the barley to be abib/aviv before we actually see it abib/aviv. Moreover, for it to acceptable abib, there has to be enough in one area to gather one omer’s amount of grain (i.e. about two liters worth) as the Torah prescribes.
This year, there was also a team or two that found a few stalks of abib/aviv barley in several scattered fields, but there wasn’t enough to make an omer’s amount of barley. It appears that these stalks were located in mini-mircroclimates (such as a raised mound of earth like a raised bed garden) that happened to ripen faster than the still very green and immature surrounding barley fields.
In another instance where one abib/aviv barley searcher claimed to have found abib/aviv barley, with photos as supporting evidence, there were two things wrong. First, the supposed barley head or sheaf was just laying in the palm of his hand. He hadn’t bothered even to open up the barley grain it to examine its state of maturity. This is important, because the grain has to be parchable (i.e. be able to be roasted over a fire), so that any remaining moisture in it can be cooked out of it, so that it can be ground into fine flour as the Torah commands. If any moisture remains in the barley, it will gum up the grinding stones and instead of flour, you get a gummy goo. On First Fruits Day, the Torah requires that the priests offer up fine flour to YHVH, not goo (Lev 23:9–14). Second, it has been reported that this individual is actually holding a stalk of ripe wheat, not barley. (This is reported to the case with another abib/aviv barley searcher who put up a video claiming to have found a whole field of abib barley, when it may actually be wheat.
Now I am a professional horticulturist and a Certified Aborist with a background in nursery, fruit and vegetable production with a deep knowledge of plants, but I’m not a grain expert. Barley and wheat look very similar, but experts can tell them apart. I cannot. I, like those reading this blog, have to rely on the reports, expertise and credibility of those giving us the reports from the land of Israel. Some will choose to follow one opinion, and some will choose to follow another. Based on my understanding of horticulture and the Bible, we are NOT choosing to accept the current reports of “abib/aviv” barley because the evidential proof seems sketchy, presumptive and inconclusive to us. Others may view the same evidence differently. We respect their opinions, but disagree charitably.
So what is the conclusion of the matter? We are pleased that so many people are seeking to help restore lost biblical truths, to learn more about these truths, and then to apply them to their spiritual walk. This may mean that we’re on different calendars, but you know what? We’re all heading in the same direction—the path of truth. For that we will rejoice and give glory of YHVH Elohim. HalleluYah!
Here are some of the main the resources that we have found most helpful in determining whether the barley was aibb/aviv in the land of Israel yet or not this year.