Is it the biblical new year? Yes!

We are going to proclaim that the biblical new year has arrived based on reports of aviv (or abib) barley being found and the new moon sighting in the land of Israel (see https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=devorah%27s%20date%20tree and https://www.facebook.com/HaleviTeacher). Based on this report, Passover (Pesach) will occur on Sunday, March 28, 2021 with the first high holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread occurring on the following day (Monday, March 29, 2021). We will now discuss the reasons for our decision.

To be sure, some people may consider this to a borderline call this year, but the preponderance of evidence, in my opinion, is that this is the month of the aviv barley. (For more info on the biblical calendar and the biblical definition of “the month of the aviv/abib [barley]”, see my articles on the subject at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast). Here are the reasons that we have chosen to call this new biblical month the first month of the new year:

  • As far as we know, Devorah Gordon and her team are the most experienced aviv barley searches currently operating in the land of Israel, and have been at this for some 20 years. We know and trust Devorah (along with her former husband, Nehemia Gordon), and were privileged to be part of their team in 2008. So we have a sense of how the barley search system works as well as the integrity of those involved.
  • Based on my extensive understanding of the Scriptures on the subject of the biblical calendar (see my articles on the subject at the link provided above), for the first month of the biblical calendar to be called the month of the aviv, aviv barley must be found in the land of Israel at the beginning of the month. According to the above referenced reports, aviv barley has been found. True, there is not a lot of it, but it is there. Moreover, by the time Wavesheaf Day occurs in about three weeks, it is highly probable that there will be much more aviv barley.
  • In the past, other people have proclaimed the new month based on the potential of aviv barley being found by Wavesheaf Day. We have rejected this notion for several reasons. First, it is our belief based on our study of the Scripture that for the month to be called “the month of the aviv” (a biblical term), aviv barley must already be present in the land of Israel by the first day of the first month. Second, if there is no aviv barley to be found by the first day of the first month, then there is no guarantee that it will be found in time for the Wavesheaf Day two or three weeks later. Maybe there will be enough aviv barley, may be there will not be. It is anyone’s guess. Why is this? Because the ripening of the barley depends on the weather, and no one can predict what the weather will do. If it is warm, then the barley will ripen; it it is cold, it will not ripen. This is why there needs to be aviv barley by the first day of the first month for it to be the month of the aviv barley. For example, in 2008 when we were in the land of Israel, we did not find aviv barley when we searched for it. Yet, there was a man who proclaimed that month to be the first month of the year based on the notion that the barley might be aviv by the middle of the month and in time for the Wavesheaf Day. As it happened that year, the barley was still not aviv when he thought it would be, and so his proclamation was false. For this reason, it is important that there be aviv barley by the first day of the first month for that month to be proclaimed the month of the aviv and, hence, the first month of the biblical new year.
  • Why is it important for there to be aviv barley by the first day of the first month of the new year? Simply this. In ancient biblical times and according to Scripture, the Israelites were commanded to go up to Jerusalem (or wherever YHVH chose to place his name) to celebrate the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. They had to walk there. Depending on where they were coming from, this journey may have taken anywhere from several days to more than a week to make. If the new month was declared based on potential sighting, and not on the actual occurrence of barley at the beginning of the month, then there was the potential for a major problem for the Israelites. What if they prepared for the journey to Jerusalem, left their farms, made the journey only to find out that the barley still was not aviv? What then? They had to make the trek back home by foot, only to turn around a short time later and make the trip all over again when the barley was finally aviv. Such a situation is not an issue in our day of modern transportation, but in biblical times, this would have been a major economic inconvenience if not a debacle for many people. For this reason, the barley had to be aviv by the beginning of the first month.
  • In ancient Israel, the Mishnah records that there was a whole process that occurred to determine whether the barley was aviv or not. This process was officiated over by the religious and political leaders of Israel. It involved many people and important protocols were followed to insure accurate information. Today, we do not have such resources at our disposal. Most of us are not in the land of Israel. We have to trust those who are there for accurate information. That is my wife and I went to Israel in 2008 to experience this process ourselves and to meet the people involved.

We realize that well-meaning people will have different opinions on some of the points mentioned above. This is where love and respect comes in. There is no need to criticize, slander or libel others who have different opinions. We are all doing the best that we can to live up to the light of truth that has been given to us. Truth is being restored to YHVH’s people in these last days (see Acts 3:21 and Mal 4:4–6) and this is a process that takes time involving one heart and mind at a time. As such, everyone is at a different place on the truth-restoration trajectory. So let us love and respect one another, even if someone has a different opinion than ours. At this point, I am reminded of Paul’s instructions in Romans 14,

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things…Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Elohim is able to make him stand.…But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Messiah.…Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.…Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Messiah in these things is acceptable to Elohim and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. (Rom 14:1, 4, 10, 13, 16–19)

 

17 thoughts on “Is it the biblical new year? Yes!

  1. This is a thorough explanation. Also, several groups have observed Aviv barley so by the witness of two or three, Deuteronomy 17:6, you are on solid ground.

    • No, they’re not siblings. DG is NG’s ex-wife. She just kept her married name and continues the work that they did when they were married. We know them both and have spent time with them.

      • Natan, was this experience what was alluded to in Nehemia’s book “Shattering the Conspiracy”? I often wondered about that. I loved the book; it is so good.

    • Don’t know. No one knows for sure when it is according to ancient biblical timing. Many suppose to know. The present nation of Israel has its own system, but whether it lines up with the actual ancient biblical shemitah is hard to say.

      • If it is? How does it apply to us? Should farmers let the land rest here? Or is it for the land of Israel? Thanks!

      • Julie, consider Leviticus 25:2. I have rested our garden in the past, but it seems it is not required for those of us who are living in foreign lands as the scattered Children of Israel.

      • The land Sabbath may not technically be required outside the land of Israel, but it is a good principle horticulturally to allow your land to rest. Our family has been doing this for 60 years with its vegetable garden. During our shemitah year, we build up the soil through mulching and fertilization, plant a overcrop of nitrogen building legumes, which capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and then locks it up into the soil through their root nodes. We then till the legumes back into the ground at the end of the season as a green mulch. This is how one allows the land to rest and builds up the soil. This is one aspect of tending and keeping the garden as per YHVH’s instructions in Genesis 2:15 as opposed to endlessly taking from (exploiting) the earth without giving something back. This honors YHVH and his creation, even as resting on the seventh day Sabbath does.

        I’m very opposed to the idea that YHVH’s Torah commands are for the land of Israel only. True, some of his commands may be, but most are applicable universally to one degree or another. People take this idea and use it to justify violating the seventh day Sabbath, not observing the biblical feasts, not tithing, etc., etc. In the process, they fail to grasp the larger, eternal principles contained in these commandments and, thus, they fail to reap the physical and spiritual blessings that come from adherence thereto.

        I refuse to be a minimalist when it comes to obedience to YHVH. I want to be a maximalist. This approach helps me to stay in YHVH’s river of life!!!

  2. Our Messianic friends held their Passover about 4 weeks ago, following the advice of a lady who is in strong disagreement with Devorah Gordon. I tried to explain that Pesach is a spring time event and not in winter. I suppose, everyone has to follow their own conscience.
    John

    • Also, there are many who refuse to use the crescent moon to determine the Holy Days. Even after showing Biblical evidence.

    • This is why I have written several articles on the biblical calendar and new moon giving the best evidence from biblical, linguistic and ancient Jewish sources with scholarly references. Articles like these have helped to alleviate a lot of confusion among those returning to the Hebraic biblical Truth roots of our faith. Notwithstanding, many people choose to remain confused and follow after various winds of doctrines. I guess it makes them feel special to be different from everyone else. Who knows?!?

      • Yes, it seems many on their spiritual journey hit a road block on the path and stop learning. Much like the parable of the sower. The winnowing of the wheat continues.

  3. Thank you Nathan. So just to confirm, based on this the 14th Nissan this year is on Sunday 28th March? Shabbat Shalom, Helen

Share your thoughts...