Saturday, February 18, 2017

Red Heifer Sacrifice

Numbers 19: 13'Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.    

We have death all around us.  Cemeteries infest the hills and prairies.  Abortions and miscarriages are too numerous to count.  Murders and their network news portrayal occur everywhere daily.  Death, the consequence to the first sin, is ever present, contaminating us.  In Numbers 19, however, we are given a remedy to cleanse us from this defilement.  This remedy calls for a sacrifice of a red heifer, which has not been possible for approximately 2000 years, however the sacrifice of Christ still cleanses us today.  The following verse-by-verse account (NASB version, with the Hebrew name, Yeshua used instead of the English Jesus) shows how perfectly his sacrifice completed every detail.  [My commentary is in brackets.]

Numbers 19:  2"This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, 'Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.     [Yoke represents slavery, blemish represents sin.  Yeshua was without sin.  We are enslaved to sin.]
  • Luke 23:13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion.  I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.  Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us;”
  • Hebrews 4: 14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Yeshua the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 
  • Hebrews 9:  13For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
  • 2 Corinthians 5:   21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
3'You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.  [The priests brought him out of the city gates to be crucified.]
  • Mark 15:    1Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Yeshua, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. …    22Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 
  • Luke 23:     26When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Yeshua. … 33When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 
  • Hebrews 13:    11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.  12Therefore Yeshua also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
4'Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.  [He bled from seven parts of His body].
Nailed 2 Hands + 2 Feet::
  • Acts 2:    22"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Yeshua the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--  23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
  • Colossians 2:    13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,   14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
  • Luke 24:    39"See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."    40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
  • Psalm 22:          16For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
Scourged Back: 
  • Matthew 27:    26Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Yeshua scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
  • Mark 15:    15Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Yeshua scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
  • Isaiah 53: 5b     The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Beat & Pierced Head: 
  • Matthew 27: 29And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 30They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.
  • Mark 15: 17They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18and they began to acclaim Him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 19They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him.
  • Genesis 22:13: Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
Pierced Side:
  • John 19:    34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
  • Isaiah 53: 5a     5But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;
  • Zechariah 12:    10"I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
5'Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned.   [An uneaten sacrifice had to be burned on the 3rd day (Lev. 7:17, Lev. 19:6 – He descended into fiery Hell.]
  • Psalm 16:         10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
  • 1 Samuel 2:       6"The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
  • 1 Peter 3:18  For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
  • Revelation 1:    17When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,    18and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
6'The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.   [Wood, hyssop and scarlet were used in the crucifixion.]

  • Galatians 3:    13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"—
  • Philippians 2:    8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
  • Mark 15:    36Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down."
  • John 19:    29A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
Scarlet Material:
  • Matthew 27: 27Then the soldiers of the governor took Yeshua into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him.  28They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.
  • Luke 23:    11And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. 
7'The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening.  [The previously unbelieving priest, Nicodemus, believed that evening that He was the Son of God.  Notice he goes into the camp (one of the Jews).]
  • John 3:    1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;       9Nicodemus said to Him, "How can these things be?"
  • John 19:    39Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.   40So they took the body of Yeshua and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
8'The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening.  [The previously unbelieving centurion believed that evening that He was the Son of God. Notice he doesn’t go into the camp (not a Jew).]
  • Matthew 27: 54Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Yeshua, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" 
  • Luke 23:    47Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."
9'Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is purification from sin.  10'The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; … [Man who is already clean is a believer.]
  • Matthew 27: 57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Yeshua.    58This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Yeshua. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.    59And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,   60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.
  • Mark 15:    43Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Yeshua.    44Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead.    45And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.    46Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 
  • Luke 23:    50And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man    51(he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;    52this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Yeshua.   53And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.
… and it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns among them.  [It is forever (perpetual) for those who have circumcised hearts and have Yeshua as their Passover sacrifice.]
  • Exodus 12:48-49  But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to THE LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land.   The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.
11'The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. 12'That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.   [One is purified by faith by looking to the third day resurrection of Christ and to the seventh day return of Christ.  Furthermore, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Passover is on the third day and the Sabbath is on the Seventh day.  ]
  • Genesis 22:4-5: “On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.  Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
  • Hosea 6:2: “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.
  • Acts 10:  40"God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:    4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
  • Romans 6:    3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Yeshua have been baptized into His death?  4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.
  • Exodus 31:    16'So the sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.'    17"It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed."
  • Hebrews 4:    9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.    10For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:   16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.    17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
  • Revelation 20:    4Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Yeshua and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.    5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.  6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
  • Romans 4:   16For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,   17(as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.   18In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE."
  • Galatians 3:    7Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.  8The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU."    9So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
13'Anyone who touches a corpse, the body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from Israel Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.   [See commentary and scripture for verse 30 below.]

14'This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean for seven days.   [This would be the equivalent of going to a wake or funeral.  This uncleanness only lasts for seven days.]

15'Every open vessel, which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean.    [We are open vessels, and Christ is our covering.]
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
  • Genesis 8:13b Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.  [God covered Noah in the open vessel to shield him from death.]
  • Exodus 26:14 You shall make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red and a covering of porpoise skins above.  [The tabernacle, a foreshadow of our bodies filled with the Holy Spirit, had a covering.]
  • Ruth 3:9 He said, “Who are you?” and she answered, “I am Ruth your maid.  So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a [kinsman redeemer].” 
  • Psalm 105:39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to illumine by night.  [He covered them with a cloud in the wilderness.]
16'Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days.  [Again, this uncleanness only lasts for seven days.]

17'Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the burnt purification from sin and flowing water shall be added to them in a vessel.
  • Jeremiah 2:13: “My people have committed two sins:  They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
  • John 19:    34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
  • John 7:    38”He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”.
18'A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave.   19'Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening.  [The water is sprinkled by preaching the gospel; by making disciples of Yeshua.]
  • Matthew 28:    18And Yeshua came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.    19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
  • Mark 13:    10" The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.
  • Ephesians 2:    18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
  • Acts 4:   33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and abundant grace was upon them all.
20'But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean.  [Without Christ, we cannot be clean, and we cannot enter into God’s presence.]
  • Matthew 22:    12and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless.    13"Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
  • 2 Chronicles 23:    19He stationed the gatekeepers of the house of the LORD, so that no one would enter who was in any way unclean.
  • Nehemiah 7:    64These searched among their ancestral registration, but it could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood.
  • John 14:6 Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
21'So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. And he who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. [At evening, they are clean.]
  • Ezekiel 36:     25"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
  • Hebrews 10:    21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,    22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • 1 Peter 1:1: “Peter, an apostle of Yeshua Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, but the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Yeshua Christ and be sprinkled with his blood:  May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”
22'Furthermore, anything that the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.'"  [Uncleanness is contagious.]
  • Haggai 2:    13Then Haggai said, "If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?" And the priests answered, "It will become unclean."   14Then Haggai said, " 'So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,' declares THE LORD, 'and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.
  • Isaiah 64:          6For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
  • Jeremiah 13:     27"As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, The lewdness of your prostitution On the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?"
What then shall we do? 
  • John 6:29  Yeshua answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
  • John 12:44 The Yeshua cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.
  • Hebrews 10:1 “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.  Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?  But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. … 9 then [Yeshua] said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will.’ He takes away the first in order to establish the second.  By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua Christ once for all.”
  • Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
  • Jeremiah 50:20: “’In those days and at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.’”

Sunday, January 15, 2017

More Evidence for Equinox Occuring Mid-month

I attended a synagogue during the Jewish reckoning of Sukkot this past fall.  Note that it was past the 15th of the 7th month.  While reciting the Amidah, I was surprised that they were still reciting the insert for Summer instead of Winter.  Even though I was aware that the Jewish practice to observe only Summer and Winter was still observed, I hadn't investigated when that transition took place.  At the time I learned this, I thought Summer was months 1-6 and Winter was months 7-12.  So that bit of information was still in my head, even though I am now convinced that the change from Summer to Winter and Winter to Summer occur at some point during Sukkot and Passover.  As soon as it was recited, I looked at the text again and saw an asterisk to a footnote:

Winter was defined as Sh'mini Atzeret (the last great day, the day following Sukkot) until Passover.  Notice that this arrangement is consistent with the Biblical texts already mentioned in recent posts and with the Mul.Apin tablets.  Even though the current Jewish calendar uses the moon for months, I think this is an ancient remnant of reckoning from when the Dead Sea Scrolls calendar was in use.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Intercalation at the Feasts

Well, it has been over a year since my last post.  If you have not read “Dead Sea Scrolls Calendar Update”, please scroll down to the previous article and read it before proceeding here.  It introduces the basic mechanics of the Dead Sea Scrolls Calendar system.  Seeking to better understand how this calendar is intercalated, I have searched the scripture for terms translated as “end of the year”.  I have found several Hebrew words with this theme:

Yatsa – “go out” (Strong’s number H3318)
This term is a sense of the immediate leaving, as in Genesis 25:26 “And after that ‘went out (yatsa)’ his brother (Jacob) and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel…” Here we have the momentary “going out” of birth.  Exodus 12:41 “And it came to pass at the end (cutting off – qatseh Strong’s #H7093) of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day, it came to pass that all the hosts of YHVH ‘went out (yatsa)’ from the land of Egypt.”  Here we have a precise moment where the going out is a momentary event of the exodus.  In Exodus 23:16 this “going out” is specifically connected with the Feast of Tabernacles: “… and the feast of ingathering in the ‘going out (yatsa)’ of the year…”  The “going out” is the momentary turn from the year waxing full (summer half) to its waning (winter half).

Qatseh – “cutting off” (Strong’s number H7093 & H7097)
This term, already introduced in the paragraph above in Exodus 12:41, is used to show the end of a period of time.  One example is Genesis 8:6 “And it came to pass at the end (cutting off – qatseh) of forty days that Noah opened the windows of the ark which he had made.”  It is often used literally as the end (cutting off) of days, as in Genesis 4:3, 2 Samuel 14:26, 1 Kings 17:7, Nehemiah 13:6, etc.  It also describes the very edge, or extremity, of something, such as in Joshua 3:15, “… and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim (cutting off – qatseh) of the water” indicating the boundary edge of the river, and in Exodus 16:35 “…they did eat manna until they came unto the borders (cutting off – qatseh) of the land of Canaan” specifying the boundary edge of the Promised Land.  Just as the ‘going out (yatsa)’ of the year is to occur within the Feast of Tabernacles, so shall the ‘cutting off (qatseh)’ of seven years in Deuteronomy 31:10 “And Moses commanded them saying, At the end (cutting off – qatseh) of seven years in the solemnity of the year of release, in the Feast of Tabernacles.”

Tequfah – turning (Strong’s number H8622)
There are only four verses that contain this unique word.  The first occurrence is Exodus 34:22 “… and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end (turning - tequfah).  In Psalm 19:6, we see the sense of a circuit or cycle, in particular an extremity “His (the sun’s) going forth is from the end (cutting off - qatseh) of the heaven and his circuit (turning - tequfah) unto the ends (qatseh) of it…”  In a geometrical plane, a circle at some point will have four coordinate points where the slope of the tangent line will be either zero or infinity.  I think these geometrical points best describe the idea of tequfah/turning of the solar cycle.  In the case of Psalm 19:6, the circuit seems to be divided into only two points, one end of heaven and the other end of heaven, dividing the circuit into two parts.  Interestingly, the Septuagint translation of Exodus 34:22 says this: “… and a gathering feast in the middle of the year.”  Again, this translation shows tequfah to be understood as a turning point dividing the entire year into two parts (summer and winter), and it aligns with the feast of ingathering which occurs in the middle (not beginning) of the seventh month.  1 Samuel 1:20 says “Wherefore it came to pass at the tequfot (turnings - plural) of the days Hannah conceived and bare a son…”  Perhaps she conceived at a solstice and delivered at an equinox, or vice versa.  The final reference is 2 Chronicles 24:23 “And it came to pass at the end (turning – tequfah) of the year, the host of Syria came up against him…” 

Teshuvah – returned (Strong’s #H8666)
A similar thought is expressed in 2 Samuel 11:1 “And it came to pass after the year was expired (returned - teshuvah), at the time when kings go forth (yatsa)…”  Interestingly, whenever ‘teshuvah’ and ‘year’ are found together in a verse (return of the year), it is a verse about war (see also 1 Kings 20:22, 1 Kings 20:26, 1 Chronicles 20:1, and 2 Chronicles 36:10).  I think this is an expression specifically speaking of the beginning of the year in the spring, where the “return of the year” is at the opposite point as the “going out of the year”.

Having several verses that place this turning point of the year (autumnal equinox) within the Feast of Ingathering (Feast of Sukkot), how is some form of intercalation made to keep it there?  Possibilities include adding a day or two every year (which would cause the Sabbath to slide off of the modern day known as Saturday), adding a week every certain number of years, or adding a month even more infrequently.  I think the scriptures testify of at least one occurrence of a week-long intercalation, maybe two.

1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 5-7 recount the story of Solomon dedicating the temple.  In 1 Kings 8:2 “… all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto King Solomon at the feast (chag) in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.”  Searching the use of the Hebrew word, chag, through scripture the term is only used to describe the pilgrimage holy days (Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  So, if the people are assembling for a chag in the seventh month, they are assembling specifically for the Feast of Tabernacles.  In verse 65 it says “And at that time Solomon held a feast (chag) and all Israel with him, a great congregation … before YHVH our Elohim, seven days and seven days, fourteen days.”   

In the parallel account in 2 Chronicles 5:3, the scripture again says all of Israel is assembled for a chag in the seventh month.  Verse 11 is interesting, because typically, according to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the priests rotate in week-by-week by course.  This means that at any given point, only a small fraction of the priests are working in the Temple.  Verse 11 says that for this particular week “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy, for all the priests present were sanctified and did not wait by course”.  So in this week, the entirety of the priests were present. 

A few chapters later, a summary of the timing is presented in 2 Chronicles 7:9, “And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly for they kept the dedication (Chanukah) of the altar seven days and the feast seven days.  And on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents…”  If this were being counted traditionally, the first seven days should start on the 15th, the second seven days on the 22nd, ending on the 28th.  The eighth day would be the 29th, and the people would be sent away on the 30th.  However, this verse specifically says they were sent away on the 23rd, showing that not only was an extra week of festivities kept, but the dates duplicated over this time. 

Examining John 7-10, the order of observance of the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) and the Feast of Tabernacles are reversed.  In John 7:2 it says “Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.”  His brothers urged him to go to Judea, but Yeshua told them, “My time is not yet come, but your time is always ready.”  However, he did go up to the feast secretly.  At this particular feast, there is also the last great day (v. 37), appearing to be a regular account of the Feast of Tabernacles.  “And every man went to his own house” (v. 53).  However, Yeshua remained at the Temple teaching for several days.  John 10:22 explains that it was the Dedication/Chanukah and that Yeshua was on the porch of Solomon, suggesting that it was the Dedication/Chanukah of Solomon.  It also states that it was winter.  This means that the autumnal equinox had already passed.  The fact that John reports it is winter suggests that sometimes Chanukah doesn’t actually fall in the winter.  For instance, the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost) is always in the summer, so mentioning it would be redundant.  So, it seems that when the autumnal equinox occurs during the regularly occurring Feast of Tabernacles, the full eight days are observed followed by Chanukah.  But when the equinox will occur after the regular time of Tabernacles, Chanukah is inserted first and Tabernacles follows, but without an overall change in the calendar date so that people still depart on the 23rd. 

Another potential occurrence of intercalation is in 2 Chronicles 30:23.  This is the time of Hezekiah’s Passover.  Starting in verse 22, “And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of YHVH, and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to YHVH Elohim of their fathers.  And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days; and they kept seven days with gladness.”  The assembly being “counseled” to keep another seven days can be interpreted as those who understood the times (maybe Levites, since they were the ones already teaching) counseled them to add a week at this point in the calendar year. 

In conclusion, it seems that the regular course of intercalation to keep the autumnal equinox during the Feast of Tabernacles occurred at either the spring or fall feasts, depending on how many excess days had accumulated.  As mentioned on the previous post, the MUL.APIN tablets list the celestial objects to track: “On the 15th of month I, on the 15th of month IV, on the 15th of month VII, on the 15th of month X, you observe the risings of the Sun, the visibility time of the Moon, the appearance of the Arrow, and you will find how many days are in excess” (Brack-Bernsen p. 8).  Given that the phase of the moon and the position of the stars as recorded in the scrolls will vary from the given dates as each year passes and excess days acrue, it is possible that the positions mentioned are for target years immediately following intercalations.  One final note – by the texts mentioned above, the equinox must occur during the seven days of the feast (chag), not including the eighth great day.  The equinox will occur this year on September 23rd, a Wednesday.  This is on the eighth day of the regular count, so the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah) would be added first with the Feast of Tabernacles beginning on the 23rd. 

Brack-Bernsen, Lis. “The ‘days in excess’ from MUL.APIN On the ‘first intercation’ and ‘water clock’ schemes from MUL.APIN.” CENTAURUS 2005: Vol. 47: p1-29.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dead Sea Scrolls Calendar Update

Biblical Calendar
The Bible records a calendar system that has characteristics of twelve months evidenced by the twelve companies of men to serve the king month by month (1 Chronicles 27), the twelve deputies over all Israel each serving a month (1 Kings 4), and the tree of life produces first fruits according to its months (Ezekiel  47:12) numbering twelve (Revelation 22:2).  The Biblical calendar also has thirty days a month indicated in the account of Noah’s flood (Genesis 7-8), Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 12), a prophecy  in Revelation (Revelation 11:2).  There is an equinox described as being part of the circuit of the Sun where the Sun reaches the ends of heaven (Psalm 19:6), which is also the timing of the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 34:22).  Those who divide the heavens and see the stars are those who know the months (Isaiah 47:13).  The cycles of the moon, however, are not excluded in the Biblical calendar.  Such cycles, called yerach (derived from the word for moon, yareach), are mentioned thirteen times in the Old Testament, but do not represent calendar months.  The Biblical calendar and its configuration conflict with the Rabbinic calendar system in modern Judaism, which does not have a system of regular 12 months, 30 days, equinox aligned feasts, or stars determined months; however the MUL.APIN does have these elements, plus the lunar cycles.  

MUL.APIN Calendar
The MUL.APIN tablets are ancient astronomical and calendrical records found in Babylonia and Assyria.  Nearly 40 copies survive, with two having dates on them: one from 687 BC and the other from the Hellenistic period, although the data on the tablets is believed to be of astronomical events from much earlier (Steele p6).  The tablets record months with the familiar names of Nisannu, Ajjaru, Simanu, etc., which some will recognize as the source of modern Jewish month names.  However, unlike the modern Jewish months that are determined by the recurrence of the new moon, the MUL.APIN months are determined by the division of the stars in the heavens.  In the fourth section of the tablets, the helical risings of stars are given for specific days of the months throughout the year, which requires the months to be determined by the stars, not the moon.  Additionally, there are only 12 months in MUL.APIN, unlike the 12 to 13 months of the lunar Jewish calendar.  Although these tablets indicate months determined by the stars, nearly all academically published articles that I have found claim that the Babylonians used a lunar calendar.  Why would so many copies exist if that wasn’t how the Babylonians reckoned their time?  Maybe MUL.APIN wasn’t theirs.

Babylonia and Assyria were known to conquer other nations, remove the inhabitants from their lands, and bring them to live in the captors’ countries.  This is attested to in the Bible in the books of Kings, Chronicles, Isaiah, and others as the way that these two nations dealt with Israel.  I have been persuaded that these tablets either belonged to Israel or were the result of the wise men of Israel teaching them to their captors.

Enoch Calendar
The book of Enoch is attested to directly in the Bible (Jude 1:14-15) and shares common material with at least two passages: 2 Peter 2:4-5 and 1 Peter 3:19-20.  Many other allusions to the Book of Enoch have been observed by various Biblical scholars.  Fragments of Enoch were recovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient documents which were recovered in the Caves surrounding the Dead Sea in Israel and dated from before Christ.  Enoch was clearly known and accepted by those who wrote and adhered to the writings in the Bible.  The Enoch calendar describes the path of the Sun traveling through twelve gates taking 30 days each with an extra day at the end of each set of three gates for an equinox or solstice.  Totaling 364 days, Enoch’s calendar is in agreement with the calendar system recorded in detail in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the MUL.APIN.

As part of the path of the Sun through the gates, Enoch relates that the length of day and night is a total of 18 parts.  These parts at the equinoxes are 9 parts day and 9 parts night.  At the solstices, the parts shift to 6 parts of one and 12 parts of the other, a 2 to 1 ratio.  This same ratio exists in the MUL.APIN tablets in the shadow length charts.  This is especially significant since scholars who have tried to reproduce such data note that the 2 to 1 ratio does not pertain to the Babylonian latitude (Steele p5).  

Head of the Year
Since Enoch 74:6 says that the first part of the path of the Sun, which is in the 4th gate/portal, is in the first month, I originally thought that the length of time in the 4th gate (30 days) was identical to the first month.  According to Enoch, the day before the Sun enters this gate is the spring equinox.  However, MUL.APIN Section I reveals that the spring equinox is on the 15th of the first month, Nisannu, and the autumn equinox is on the 15th of the seventh month, Tishru (Ben-Dov p 174).  This interesting phenomenon causes the first half of the first month to be before the equinox and the second half after.  This arrangement still has the Sun starting in the 4th gate in the first month – just not at the start of the month.  Note how the year starts in “darkness” – the winter half of the year.  Also note how the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread and the first day of the feast of Tabernacles occur at equinoctial points in the year, complying with Exodus 34:22. 

Similarly the day, which is a parallel model of the year, also begins with “darkness” being in the night.  The portion before sunrise and its mirror after sunrise comprise what I think is referred to as “morning”, which begins before sunrise in several verses of the Bible.  Additionally, this seems to be the range that the morning stars are visible before sunrise to after sunrise, depending on their location relative to the Sun.  Likewise, evening begins shortly before sunset and lasts to the same point after sunset.  Between the evenings, I suppose, is then precisely at sunset.  An interpretation of the story of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20 indicates the laborers who worked until evening only worked to the end of the 11th hour, leaving one hour until sunset.  A similar concept is in Nehemiah 4:21 where the laborers worked from the rising of the morning until the stars appeared.  Evening stars begin being visible up to an hour before sunset and disappear up to an hour after sunset depending on their location relative to the sun.

Just like the start of the day is signaled by stars, the start of the year is signaled by stars.  MUL.APIN says that the star known as the agrarian worker (LU.CHUN.GA) is visible.  The identity of most of the MUL.APIN catalogued stars continue to cause debate among scholars.  For a copy most of the MUL.APIN text, as well as interesting commentary and speculation, see Andis Kaulins’ work at .

Quarters of the Year
Enoch 76 and 77 are dedicated to the division of the year in quarters.  In the schematic diagram, these are identical with the areas marked “Path of Anu” (twice), “Path of Enlil” and “Path of Ea”.  The same quarter divisions of the months are indicated in the MUL.APIN Gap A 1-7 writing: “From of the 1 of Adar to the 30 of Iyar, the Sun travels in the Path of Anu; breeze and warm weather. From the 1 of Sivan to the 30 of Av, the Sun travels in the Path of Enlil; harvest and heat. From the 1 of Elul to the 30 of Arachsamnu, the Sun travels in the Path of Anu; breeze and warm weather. From the 1 of Kislev to the 30 of Shevat, the Sun travels in the Path of Ea; cold weather” (Ben-Dov p. 162).

Because of the association of Anu, Enlil and Ea with particular seasons when the sun is in a particular location along the ecliptic, Anu likely represents a celestial band straddling the celestial equator, Enlil likely is another band extending from Anu up to the celestial Tropic of Cancer, and Ea is likely a band extending from Anu down to the celestial Tropic of Capricorn.

Enoch 75:2 teaches that when reckoning the year to not count the extra quarter days (i.e. use 360 days a year – as in the day totals in Daniel and Revelation for prophecy).  However, Enoch 82 also instructs that some fail to count the four additional days in the WHOLE reckoning of the year.  Ancient documents reckoning the year as 360 and 364 days has generated many academic journal articles speculating if two different systems were at play.  

Enoch 82:11 lists the leaders of each division of the calendar.  “Their four leaders who divide the four parts of the year enter first”, which are the leaders who start off the spring Path of Anu, the summer Path of Enlil, the Autumn Path of Anu and the Winter Path of Ea.  “After them the twelve leaders of the orders who divide the months”, which would be the head of the 12th month.  “And for the three hundred and sixty there are heads over thousands who divide the days”, which naturally are next looking at the schematic diagram. “And for the four intercalary days there are the leaders which sunder the four parts of the year.”  I actually had to look up the definition of “sunder” – it means to break apart, divide in two.  Notice that the equinox truly does “sunder” the four parts exactly.  

Verse 13 gives four leaders’ names, one for the beginning of each season, which occurs in different gates throughout the year.  However, in verse 14, only three names are given for the equinox and solstice leaders, likely because the equinox leader is the same star – located exactly between gates 3 and 4.  Similarly, the Path of Anu title is used for both the Spring and Fall because it is the same stretch of heaven from mid 2nd gate to mid 5th gate.

Intercalation is the adding of a day(s), week(s) or month(s) to keep a calendar in sync with the agricultural seasons.  In the Bible, there is possibly an intercalation of a week during the dedication of the Temple (2 Chr. 5:3, 2 Chr. 7), since it seems that the people gathered at the feast, yet two weeks of dedication and feasting passes in a one week period of time.  Enoch doesn’t allow any intercalation in an eight-year span of time (Enoch 74:13-14), which would lead to at least a one week long intercalation occurring in year nine or later.   The MUL.APIN tablets mention intercalation at the equinox and solstice points: “On the 15th of month I, on the 15th of month IV, on the 15th of month VII, on the 15th of month X, you observe the risings of the Sun, the visibility time of the Moon, the appearance of the Arrow, and you will find how many days are in excess” (Brack-Bernsen p. 8). Notice that the excess is plural “days” instead of “day”.  If we are making observations at the quarter points of the year, we would never need to add more than one day at a time to account for the 1.24 days a year the solar year exceeds the calendar year of 364 days.  However, since we are observing the accumulated days, it seems logical that we are adding them in larger groups at specified times.  Reasoning that since there is no historical record of the days of the week being altered when calendars have changed, there is probably intercalation inserted in groups of a whole week(s).  

The Barley
Many are concerned about sighting the barley to determine when to start the year, and therefore decide when to start the year based on the ripeness of the barley in Israel.  This is based on the need to have the first cutting of barley to wave as an offering for the feast following Unleavened Bread (see Leviticus 23).  I have some objections to that.  In Genesis 1, on the fourth day of creation, Yah created the luminaries to determine the years, not the barley.  If the start of the year is determined relative to the equinox, then the barley will be ready at the appropriate time.  I found a detailed barley growth guide for Scotland.  Clearly substantially further north than our discussion area, notice that the point that barley comes ripe is a consistent date relative to a solar calendar:

I am also not convinced what constitutes “aviv/abib”, a stage of growth that people are trying to determine for the barley.  The word is supposed to indicate “green ears”, yet Nehemiah Gordon in the Karaite Korner Newsletter #615 sent out on March 4, 2014, reporting that the barley was green five times, said it was not aviv.  He further noted that a professional agronomist said the barley was 2-3 weeks away from reaching the stage of Aviv.  Therefore, the decision was made to intercalate a lunar month, placing Passover in mid-April. 

The Moon
I do not have time to share what I have seen regarding the inclusion of cycles of the moon in scripture, MUL.APIN and Enoch, but hope to get it coordinated soon.  Please have patience with me. 

Ben-Dov, Jonathan. Head of All Years, Astronomy and Calendars at Qumran in their Ancient Context. Brill. 2008.
Brack-Bernsen, Lis. “The ‘days in excess’ from MUL.APIN On the ‘first intercation’ and ‘water clock’ schemes from MUL.APIN.” CENTAURUS 2005: Vol. 47: p1-29.
Steele, J. M. “Shadow-Length Schemes in Babylonian Astronomy”. SCIAMVS 14 (2013), 3-39.