What Lunar Calendar Should We be Using?
Before I get into those topics of discussion, I need to explain in detail the Creator’s calendar system. Other names attributed to this calendar system would be the Hebraic calendar, the lunar calendar and lastly, the Jewish calendar.
Since both calendars are lunar and Hebraic, and for the purpose of simplicity, I will be comparing just two of them, that being the Creator’s calendar and the Jewish calendar. These calendars are different from the Gregorian calendar in that they are lunar/solar-based, and are based upon twelve new moon cycles around the earth, whereas the Gregorian calendar is a solar/lunar and is based upon the earth making a complete cycle around the sun in 354.24 days. The primary difference is that YHVH’s calendar is lunar-based while the Gregorian calendar is based on the sun.
If we are trying to line up Bible prophecy with the Gregorian calendar, then we will miss the prophetic boat completely! -Phil Richardson
The ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Indian, Mayan and Hebraic Civilizations all used a 360-day per year lunar moon calendar system. The Egyptians eventually switched to a solar calendar, but for hundreds if not thousands of years, these cultures observed the lunar-based 360-day per year calendar system. There are some clues in Scripture that indicate this system. The earliest account of this is found in Genesis 7:11, 24 and Genesis 8:3-4, whereby, it was recorded that 150 days had elapsed over 5 lunar cycles from the 17th day of the 2nd moon to the 17th day of the 7th moon, or 30 days per month. Additionally, 1 Kings 4:7 mentions twelve months in one year, thus Twelve times thirty giving us 360 days per year. It is This 360 days per year system that seems to coincide with Bible prophecy as well.
The Jewish Calendar System
The Jewish calendar follows the Hillel II calculated system that was established between 320 to 385 CE. It was Hillel II who held the office of Nasi of the Rabbinical Sanhedrin during that time. This calendar follows a nineteen-year cycle in order for the lunar calendar to realign with the solar cycle. An extra month, known as an Adar II, is added to each of the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and the 19th leap years. This extra Adar means that the typical 12th month becomes a 13th month in a one-year cycle roughly every three years. Before this calculated system was implemented, there had to be two witnesses that would confirm the sighting of the crescent moon on any given new moon. The most important sighting took place on the first month of Nisan just prior to the spring feasts of Passover. This determined the start of the year and not the seventh lunar month of Tishri. The second most important sighting was the crescent moon sighting on the 7th month of Tishri that would begin the Fall Feast Day Celebrations.
The Creator’s Calendar System
The Creator’s calendar system does not follow the Rabbinical Hillel II system. This astronomical calculated calendar determines the first month by the potential visible sighting of the crescent of the moon from Jerusalem based upon exact calculations of the moon in relation to the sun. The Creator’s calendar does not account for clouds, rain or smog that would impair the physical sighting of the crescent, thus throwing off the start of the first month. The first of the year is determined by the spring equinox that places month 1 of day 15 (unleavened bread) either on or after the spring equinox. This way the moon and sun determine the month and the year as stated in Genesis 1:14 and not necessarily the sighting of the crescent new moon that might be obscured by bad weather in Jerusalem at that time. This system eliminates man’s error that might be caused by bad weather.
The Abib Barley Calendar System
There is one other calendar system rising in popularity that is being used by a particular sect of Jews known as the Karaites. The Karaites do not follow the Hillel II system but rather traditionally still follow the visible sighting of the crescent new moon according to what is laid out in the Torah. To these Jews, the sighting of the crescent new moon known as Hodesh Ha-Aviv or the New Moon of the Aviv is especially important as this first month is based upon the sighting of the Abib Barley or ripened barley. The Karaite Jews go one step further and may observe a leap month based upon the confirmation of the barley being ripened or Abib (Aviv). In other words, instead of placing the Feast of Unleavened Bread on or after the spring equinox, they may move the start of the first month in advance by one month because the barley is not Abib. There is a growing movement within the Hebrew Roots Christianity crowd that follows this same system for declaring the first month.
The Karaite Jews find their support in basically 5 Scriptures; Exodus 13:4, 23:15, 34:18 and Deuteronomy 16:1 are the only verses in the entire Bible that mention the word Abib or Aviv. By using BlueletterBible.com as a reference, the word abib (Strong’s H24) means (I) fresh, young barley ears, barley and (II) Month of ear forming, of green crop, of growing green Abib, month of exodus and Passover. The definition of Abib in relation to these four verses is being used to describe the name of the month. The other Scripture that gives this idea credence is found in Leviticus 23:15, “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.” The reasoning behind this is that in order to officially begin the counting of the fifty days that leads to Shavuot, the First fruits offering must be made available.
I do not necessarily prescribe to this way of thinking regarding the barley needing to be ripened within the land of Israel. In doing so, this system becomes purely speculative dictated by the weather, the barley being ripened, and the opinion of two or three witnesses. In my opinion, this system is flawed because it places Genesis 1:14 in the back seat as the sun and the moon were created for signs (owth) and Appointed Feast (Mow’ed). If we are off one month in our calendar system because of the barley not being ripened, then we are going to miss His Divine Appointments. Additionally, there is no way to properly determine if feast days line up with biblical events such as Yahshua’s birth and death nor of future events.
According to the Karaite Jews, the sighting of the barley for 2015 was Abib. Thus, Passover was observed on the first month of Nisan 14 by all, inclusive of Hebrew Roots Christians, Jews and by Karaite Jews. This is particularly important for unification purposes as you will discover. I do agree with the viewpoint of Torah Calendar (pdf) regarding the Abib Barley dictating the start of the first month…
They state, “If people want to believe that the barley determines the Hebrew Year, then the Creation Calendar will be of no benefit for them. For they are logically inferring that it is impossible to precisely know exactly when certain events occurred in history, as there are no records of how the barley has developed for every year in history. For those who persist in this belief that barley is required to determine the Hebrew Year, it would appear sheer folly trying to understand the dates in the historical past that are mentioned in the Scriptures. From this perspective it would be impossible to determine the Hebrew Year, Month and Day of the Messiah’s birth, death and resurrection as an example, as there are no known existing records of how the barley had developed in those years.
In conclusion, a seeker of truth will spiritually deduce that an equitable method for determining the Hebrew Year for all time using both the sun and the moon must not only exist, but that such a method must be precise and uniform for every year of the 7000 Year Plan of Elohim if the elect – the chosen people – are to know where they are in time. Elohim teaches us that a Hebrew Year is not determined by a subjective “call” made by men, a call which is based solely on observance of the developmental stage of a plant seen at the end of Month 12 – a practice of which is nowhere to be found in Scripture. The Creator’s calendar is mathematically determined by both the sun and the moon, and will always under normal conditions provide for the existence of Aviv or Carmel grain in Israel on or before Day 16 of Month 1. The Creation Calendar meets every historical, astronomical and prophetic requirement of Scripture, and for this reason, it may be considered the calendar of Elohim.”
It is the Torah Calendar system that I use and seems to be the most accurate. If it were not for them. I would not be able to make the connections I have been able to make and should answer the question of what lunar calendar should we be using!