Class Notes: 3/22/2009
The day of our Lord's Resurrection was based on the Jewish Calendar that is based on the sun, the moon and the stars
Since we are approaching the Easter Season it is useful to begin a discussion on the Jewish Calendar and Holy Days that are Regulated by the Moon and Stars that are used to determine the time of our Lord's crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
We have seen in our previous study regarding the sacrifices of Cain and Abel that Gen 1:14; shows that the primary reason the sun, moon and stars were placed in the heavens was so that man could systematically calculate the times and days for the sacred observances to take place.
The order of the universe was designed by God to give mankind a repetitive cycle of celestial phenomena that would consistently identify the times of the sacred feasts and assemblies.
Job and Jeremiah refer to the precision of the heavenly bodies as the "ordinances of heaven."
Job 38:31; Can you bind the chains of Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?
v. 32 "Can you lead forth a constellation in its season and guide the Bear with her satellites?
v. 33 "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens or fix their rule over the earth?"
Jer 31:35; The word translated "fixed order" is the Hebrew word "chuqqah" that is the same word that is translated "ordinances" in Job.
The passage in Job 38:31; is the Lord's description of several constellations that He created in Genesis 1:1.
The first one He mentions is a cluster of seven stars in the constellation Taurus that rises in the east just before sunrise beginning around April 20th. The Lord asks Job, "Can you bind the chains of Pleiades?" The question God posed to Job asked if it was his power that brought these stars into such a compact cluster.
He then mentions the constellation Orion that rises in the west at sunset as winter approaches alerting the observer to the onset of colder temperatures.
The word translated "constellation" is the Hebrew word "Mazzaroth" that refers to the "constellations of the ecliptic" that systematically appear out of the south. The sun appears to pass through these twelve constellations during the course of the year, one each month.
The word ecliptic refers to the imaginary circle of the celestial sphere that is the apparent path of the sun among the stars. Mazzaroth refers to the procession of constellations that appear throughout the year within this orbit.
They are identified with each month of the year.
These are not to be confused with the "signs of the zodiac" associated with astrology. Astrology is satan's evil corruption of this system. Astrology is an invention of satan designed to deceive mankind into believing he can predict future events.
The "constellations of the ecliptic" are consistent indicators of the twelve months of the year and serve as a celestial calendar. Just as we can predict that the month of April follows March so the ancient Israelites knew that in their calendar, the month of Iyyar followed Nisan.
These are cyclical astronomical events whereby man may observe the procession of certain constellations and develop a consistent calendar.
Mazzaroth refers to the "constellations of the ecliptic" not the "signs of the zodiac."
The Bear with her cubs (satellites) is also mentioned. This is officially referred to as Arcturus or Ursa Major but called the Big Dipper by those of us in the Western Hemisphere. This constellation constantly makes a circle around the North Pole.
A summary of these celestial phenomena is found in: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 1: "Astronomy" is The regular changes in the appearings and position of the constellations constitute the "ordinances of the heavens," ordinances which Job could neither alter for the worse by holding back the delight of springtime, or for the better by breaking the bonds of winter cold.
But these "ordinances of the heavens" were not confined in their effects to the heavens; their dominion was established on the earth, which answered by the revival of vegetation when the Pleiades, then nearly in conjunction with the sun, appeared for a short time before sunrise; and by the return of the constraints of the cold and frost when Orion, in opposition to the sun, rode the sky the whole night long.
The Pleiades stood for the East, since by their rising just before daybreak, they heralded the beginning of the year and the "delights" of springtime.
Orion stood for the West, since his appearing just after nightfall heralded the end of the year, and the bands of winter cold.
Mazzaroth, the twelve constellations of the zodiac, called the "chambers of the south," each led forth its own "season." And the Bear "guided" in their unceasing course around the pole, stood for the North.
The movements of all of them in perfect obedience to the law of God are the ordinances of heaven and their dominion established upon the earth a constant succession of the seasons that are the response to the changes in the stars above.
North, South, East, or West, TLJC controls the universe. Col 1:17; Heb 1:3;
The cyclic pattern repeats itself in a systematic rhythm that the observer is able to chronicle and thereby successfully predict the recurrence of each sequential celestial phenomenon.
The omnipotence and immutability of TLJC insures that this orderly procession of the stars will continue uninterrupted.
He confirms this as a matter of divine integrity in: Jer 33:25; "Thus says the Lord, 'If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns (ordinances) of heaven and earth I have not established,
v. 26 - then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant …'"
This systematic rotation of constellations enabled the Israelites to calculate the year on a monthly basis and schedule the events on both their sacred and civil calendars.
As we have seen, the sun's purpose is to provide light for the day and measure time on a 24-hour schedule. The Israelites kept up with a seven-day cycle and each seventh day was a holy day known as the Sabbath. Exod 20:11;
The moon was central in the Israelites' development of a calendar because the moon was used to determine the beginning of each sacred year and its subsequent months:
The Hebrew word for month is " chodhesh " that means "new moon"
With this information, we are able to easily understand the Lord's use of the new moon as the starting point for the sacred year.
Exod 12:2; "This (month) new moon shall be the beginning of new moons for you; it is to be the first new moon of the year to you."
We see that the primary purpose for the creation of the moon was to show the times for the observance of the sacred feasts:
Psalms 104:19; - The Lord made the moon for the seasons; The word translated "seasons" is the Hebrew word "moed" that means " sacred feasts"
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 1, states on page 613: - Although this word properly means "new moon," it is commonly used as an equivalent to our word "month" because the month began when the thin crescent of the new moon was first visible at sunset.
The Hebrew calendar used a lunar month that is set into a solar year. This was done by adding an extra month approximately once every three years.
Unger's Bible Dictionary on pages 1097-1098 states: - The years of the Hebrews were lunar of 354 days, 8 hours and consisted of twelve unequal lunar months. They were compelled to add a month to coincide with the solar year of 365 days, 6 hours.
Whenever it became evident in the twelfth month (Adar), that the Passover, that was to be held in the following month (Nisan), would not occur at the time when the sun would be in the constellation Aries, an entire month was interjected between Adar and Nisan and called Second Adar.
As we have learned form Genesis 1:14 the "lights" aka the sun, moon, and stars were put in place in such a way that they served as indicators and identifiers of solemn assemblies or feast days that were to be observed systematically, first by our original parents and their children and subsequently by the Israelites as they observed the ritual plan of God as it was revealed in the Law that was given to Moses.
We see that for Adam and his wife, Ishah, that sunset was the time for daily Bible study under the mentorship of TLJC.
Gen 3:8; Adam and Ishah heard the sound of the Lord God habitually walking about (Hithpael participle of the Hebrew word "halak") in the garden in the cool of the day. (The Hebrew words "ruach plus yom" that mean evening or dusk).
The moon indicated the beginning of the year and the months of the year that were used to determine the seven major feasts of the year.
In addition to all this there is the doctrine of sevens:
In Genesis chapter one the Lord instituted a seven-day week for Israel in which work was to be done the first six days and the seventh-the Sabbath-was to be a day of rest. Gen 2:1-2;
The period of time between the Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Pentecost was seven weeks and thus Pentecost that is also called the Feast of Weeks.
The Feast of Trumpets was held on the new moon of the seventh month (Tishri), that was also the first month of the civil year.
There was also the Sabbatical Year, that came every seventh year. During that year no work was to be done by the people of Israel and all debts were forgiven;
Lev 25:3; - Six years you shall sow your field and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, v. 4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.
Deut 15:1-3; States that in that same year all debts were to be forgiven.
Then there was the Year of Jubilee. After 49 years in which there were seven sabbatical years, the fiftieth year was called the Year of Jubilee.
During this year all real estate in the land went back to its original owner; every business went back to its original owner. In fact everything reverted back to where it was at the beginning of the 49-year cycle. Lev 25:13;
This was a major test of grace orientation and It leveled the economic playing field and enabled every family to started over economically every 50 years.
The same could be said for the "lights" ( the sun, moon, and stars).
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol.1 "Astronomy" states: -
This period of 49 years was astronomically a period of restitution, for the sun and moon returned nearly to their original positions relative to each other, since 49 solar years are 606 lunar months with an error of only 32 hours. So though the Jubilee period is not a perfect lunar cycle, it was exact enough to guide the Jewish priests in drawing up their calendar.
The beginning of a new cycle of 49 years was marked by the Jubilee, the loud trumpet called the shophar was used to announce this. The cycle of the Jubilee made symmetrical, completed, and welded together all the festivals of the Lord. The two great lights (the sun and the moon) were set "for seasons" or as we have noted the festivals or sacred assemblies.
Western Christianity even uses the lunar cycle to determine when it celebrates Easter that is more properly known as Resurrection Sunday. Remember that the Lord was crucified on Passover which falls on Nisan 14th and is a full moon.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition states the following regarding "Easter": - Western Christians celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs upon or next after the vernal equinox that occurred this year on March 20, 2009.
If the full moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter is the Sunday after the full moon. Given this relationship with the vernal equinox that occurs on March 20, Easter, therefore, can fall between March 22 and April 25.
With this information we can determine the date of this year's Resurrection Sunday. The vernal equinox fell on Friday, March 20th. The first full moon after that is on Thursday April 9th so Resurrection Sunday is set for the following Sunday that is April 12th.
The seven Feasts of the Lord are established for Israel in Lev 23;
Lev 23:1; - And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, v. 2 - "Speak unto the children of Israel and say to them, 'The Lord's appointed times, which you shall proclaim as holy convocations-these are My feasts'"
The phrase "appointed times" is the plural of the Hebrew noun " moed "which is translated "seasons" in Gen 1:14; and refers to the "sacred feasts."
The word Hebrew word " moed" is even translated "feasts" at the end of Lev 23:2;
The phrase "holy convocations" is the Hebrew word " miqra" and means "holy assembly."
These "sacred feasts" and "holy assemblies" were all announced by the blast of trumpets and included the weekly Sabbaths, the new moons, and the seven feasts that are discussed in detail in Leviticus 23. These feasts occur in two groups, The Spring Feasts, and the Fall Feasts.
The Spring Feasts relate to the First Advent of TLJC they are:
Passover (Pesach): Nisan 14, 5769. Wednesday (April 8, 2009)
Unleavened Bread: Nisan 15, 5769. Thursday (April 9, 2009)
First Fruits: Nisan 18, 5769. Sunday (April 12, 2009)
Pentecost (Shabuoth): Sivan 6, 5769. Sunday (May 31, 2009)
This year the days line up exactly as they did in the year of the crucifixion with Passover on a Wednesday, Our Lord's burial in the tomb just before dusk Wednesday evening and the resurrection at dusk on Saturday evening that was not discovered by Mary and the disciples until early on Sunday morning when they went to the tomb before dawn and he was missing. John 20:1-9;
There is an elapse of four months, from the Hebrew month of Sivan 6th until the Civil New Year on the first day of the 7th month that is the Hebrew month of Tishri that separates the feasts related to the First Advent from those related to the Second Advent that are as follows:
The Fall Feasts relate to the Second Advent and are:
Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah): Tishri 1, 5770. (September 19, 2009)
Atonement (Yom Kippur): Tishri 10, 5770. (September 28, 2009)
Tabernacles (Sukkoth): Tishri 15, 5770. (October 3-10, 2009)
Let's examine the Feasts Related to the First Advent:
The Passover was established by the Lord as a memorial to His deliverance of the Israelites' first born from the 10th plague that he sent upon Egypt that resulted in the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
Lev 23:4;'These are the appointed times ( sacred feasts ) of the Lord, holy convocations ( holy assemblies ) which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. v. 5 - 'In the first month ( Nisan ) on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight ( between 3 and 6 o'clock pm ) is the Lord's Passover.'
The Jewish priesthood determined the beginning of the sacred year by observing the lights in the heavens, primarily the moon but secondarily the sun and the constellations of the ecliptic.
The sun was the first to be observed in their calculations. When it reached its vernal equinox, which on our calendar is always around March 20, then the next new moon constituted the first day of the new sacred year.
The first month was named Nisan and the designation of New Year's Day occurred when the priesthood could first make out the thin crescent of the new moon at sundown.
Using the Lord's instructions they developed a lunar calendar. The moon's revolution of the earth takes 29 and one-half days. Therefore, the Jewish calendar has 6 months of 30 days and six months of 29 days.
This adds up to 354 days and is 11 days short of a solar year.
To correct this the priesthood added a thirteenth month every two to three years. The device they used as an indicator was the constellation Aries, the Ram and the greening of "the Abib" or the barley harvest that we have studied previously.
When, during Adar, the last month of the year, it became evident that the Passover feast that was to be held in the upcoming month of Nisan, would occur before the vernal equinox, then an intercalary month was added and called Adar Sheni or "second Adar."
The "constellation of the ecliptic" that coincided with Nisan was Aries. However, because the lunar calendar was 11 days short of a solar year, the constellations gradually pulled ahead and by the second or third year Aries would appear in Iyyar that is the second month of the Hebrew calendar.
By inserting the extra month the calendar was corrected and the delay put Aries back in the first month of Nisan.
The Israelites eventually learned that if they inserted seven intercalary months in their lunar calendar every 19 years the calendar would maintain consistent accuracy with the earth's rotation around the sun.
The Passover observance was initiated with the tenth plague that God imposed upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians that resulted in the sudden death of every first-born child from Pharaoh's down to the lowliest slave and also that of the animals.
A destroyer angel administered this plague during the night hours of the 15th day of Nisan.
Exod 12:23; "The Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you."
The word for "destroyer" is the Hebrew word "mashchith" that means "exterminator." During this event the demons who had succeeded in corrupting the Egyptian people were also judged.
Exod 12:12; 'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments, I am the Lord.
The word for "gods" is elohim which is the plural form of "el" that is the Hebrew word for "god".
When referring to members of the Trinity it is capitalized and refers to the concept of three in one. Deut 6:4;
However, the context of this verse indicates that these "gods" are those that the Egyptians worshipped in the Egyptian pantheon, Ra, the sun god was chief among them.
Idolatry is always associated with demonism through both demon influence and demon possession. The entire nation of Egypt was saturated with this corruption and it led to its centuries long mistreatment of the Israelites.
The tenth plague brought judgment on almost every household in Egypt, imposed restrictions on the demons that empowered their idols, and enabled their first born who were under the age of accountability to escape from satan's kosmos into Paradise.
Virtually every household was punished because of its members' failure to believe in Christ during the period it held the Israelites captive.
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