The Jewish Calendar

Before we get into the intricacies of the Jewish Calendar, there is some more to say about passing through the Red Sea.

Passing Through the Red Sea

1 Corinthians 10:1–2,11 (NIV)
1For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

11These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

The passing through the Red Sea during the exodus from Egypt was a major milestone for Israel. This event is a picture our salvation. Egypt represented a sinful world. Like all of the Hebrew people who started the exodus were born in Egypt, we are all born with a sinful nature.

While the Hebrews were at the Red Sea, God placed a barrier between the Egyptian army (or the satanic forces) to prevent the Hebrews from being destroyed. Then God parted the waters so the people could pass through. After they passed through, the waters closed behind them thus cutting them off from their old lives. Now they had a new life to live. At this point, God separated His people from Egypt. Yes, they still made mistakes and fell back on their old ways on many occasions. But they were still His people.

Likewise, Jesus’ blood, is our “Red Sea“. He made a way for is to leave the old world and eventually reach our Promise Land. The blood of Jesus separates us from our Egypt, this current earthly world. Yes, we still make mistakes. And like with the Hebrew people, our enemies (temptation, doubt, fear) still live all around us. But, now we are set apart, separated, from the world and are under God’s protection. As God was with the Israelites every step of the way to the Promise Land, God is with us every step of the way in our lives as we travel through our Wilderness.

God’s Protection and Help

Another point, the Hebrews could not get across the Red Sea under their own power. God had to make a way for them to pass through the Red Sea. The same is for us. We cannot save ourselves. God, through His son Jesus, had to make a way for us. The waters of the Red Sea that saved His people also destroyed His enemies when the waters closed upon the Egyptian army. By the same token, we are protected by the blood of Jesus. As it was with the Hebrews/Israelites, we will still have times of trouble and storms in our lives. It is the blood of Jesus which was shed on Calvary that will protect us from utter destruction. Jesus will eventually lead us to our Promise Land where will live with Him.

The Last Watch

Job 7:4 (CJB)
When I lie down, I ask,
'When can I get up?’
But the night is long, and I keep tossing
to and fro until daybreak.

When we are worried, struggling with life, lonely, sick, heartbroken, etc. the worst time is between 3 AM and 5 AM. There is the saying that it is darkest just before dawn. Job experienced this in the above verse. There are other events that occurred during this time that tried people’s soul.

In the last blog, we read in Exodus 14:24 that during the last watch (3 AM - 6 AM) the LORD threw the Egyptian’s army into confusion. Our troubles seems to loom longer and larger at night, especially during the last watch.

Read the promise in Matthew 14:23–24,29–32 about how Jesus lifted up our “sinking Peter.” This event also occurred during the last (fourth) watch (verse 25). In verse 32 (AMP), “Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him“. Imagine what happened between verse 31 and 32. Jesus walked beside Peter on the water as the storm raged around them until they climbed back into the boat. Only then, did the winds calm down. What amazing protection and help in Peter’s time of need!

Was the “sinking Peter” incident a foreshadow of what was to become Peter!s worst night in his life? We are referring to the night Peter denied knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69–75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:55–62; John 18:16–18,25–27). Note, this event is mentioned in all four books of the Gospel. Let’s paint a picture.

It was a cold, dark night (John 18:18). The night had been long. Jesus, who Peter had been with for three years, was betrayed. Peter must had been scared, lonely, tired, and confused. When he was asked if he was with Jesus, Peter wasn’t in his right mind and became very defensive and feared for his life. Three times he denied knowing Jesus. Each time, he stated the lie with more emphasis. The third time he cursed. Then the rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered Jesus’ warning (Luke 22:34). He left the area and wept. Yet, despite Peter’s failure, he was instrumental in starting the early church and spreading the word about the Messiah.

Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Don’t be afraid! In this life there are many things to fear. Yet, Jesus wants us to look to (focus on) Him and not be afraid. His words of encouragement (Psalm 119:147) are founded on His limitless power and agape love for all who truly belong to Him. Often in scripture, God or Jesus encourages His people by saying, “Do not be afraid” (Joshua 1:9; Psalm 91:5; Nehemiah 4:14; Luke 12:4; 1 Peter 3:14).

Back To the Beginning

Genesis 1:14 (NIV)
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,

The Jewish Calendar

We will try to make this as simple as possible to explain the Jewish Calendars. We prepared a Jewish/Gregorian calendar chart that covers the next few years. Check it out.

Up until the time of the Exodus, the Hebrew people had marked their New Year starting with Tishri according to the agricultural or civil calendar. The new year started after the harvests. Harvest season signaled the coming conclusion of the agriculture year. After harvest time, the plowing-sowing-reaping cycle began anew. Israel, as an agriculture society, naturally began the New Year after the harvest (Exodus 23:16; 34:22). This calendar is known as the Civil Calendar.

Note the following on how the Jewish day compares to the original calendar. Based on the creation account (Genesis 1:5,8), The Jewish day begins at sunset (6 PM) with 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of daylight.

Compare a day to a year:

A day:

6 PM—Midnight:
The cooling of the evening.
Midnight—6 AM:
The darkest and coolest part of the night.
6 AM—Noon:
The cool of the morning warms up.
Noon—6 PM:
The hottest part of the day.

A Year

Autumn (September—December):
The time the temperature is cooling in the Northern Hemisphere.
Winter (December—March):
Temps are at their coldest.
Spring (March—June):
Starts off cool but is warming up.
Summer (June—September):
The temperature is at its hottest.

The coming out of Egypt was so significant, God changed their calendar. This new calendar is referred as the religious calendar. It starts in the month of Nisan (March/April). This is the month in which God delivered Israel out of Egypt, God commanded, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2). This is the Sacred Calendar.

After the Exodus, Israel actually observed two New Years–the agriculture and the religious. The religious calendar began its New Year in Nisan (March/April) and was used for all dating in the Bible starting in Exodus. However, the ancient agriculture or civil New Year, (Tishri September/October around the Feast of Trumpets) continues to be a tradition within Israel. Today, the year comes from the Civil Calendar even if one is referring to the religious calendar.

Civil or Agriculture Calendar

  1. Tishri - September/October
  2. Heshvan - October/November
  3. Kislev - November/December
  4. Tevet - December/January
  5. Shevat - January/February
  6. Adar - February/March
  7. Nisan - March/April
  8. Iyar - April/March
  9. Sivan - May/June
  10. Tammuz - June/July
  11. Ab - July/August
  12. Elul - August/September

Religious or Sacred Calendar:

  1. Nisan - March/April
  2. Iyar - April/May
  3. Sivan - May/June
  4. Tammuz - June/July
  5. Ab - July/August
  6. Elul - August/September
  7. Tishri - September/October
  8. Heshvan - October/November
  9. Kislev - November/December
  10. Tevet - December/January
  11. Shevat - January/February
  12. Adar - February/March

The months themselves did not change season-wise. Only the start of the year changed for religious purposes. Seven in the Bible usually means completion. It is interesting that the seventh month (Nisan) of the Civil Calendar became the first month of the Sacred Calendar.

Jewish Leap Year

And if you thought things couldn’t get more complicated, there is more! A solar year is about 365.25 days. But, a 12 cycle lunar year is only 354.37 days. This is a difference of approximately 11 days. A lunar cycle (Moon revolves once around the Earth) is about 29.53 days or 29d 12:44:03. This is why the Hebrew months are 29 or 30 days long.

Our calendar is a solar calendar, Gregorian, because it is based on the movements of the Sun rather than the Moon.

The Arabic calendar is a true lunar calendar. It’s year consists of 12 lunar months of 29 to 30 days. There is no leap month to synchronize with the solar year. This is why their holy observances like Ramadan seems to come earlier each year.

The Jewish people have their own calendar. It has both lunar and solar components. The months are determined by the moon, the years by the sun. Based on the creation account, the Jewish day begins with 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of daylight. When a Jewish holiday is listed on the Gregorian calendar it actually begins at sundown (6 PM) the previous evening.

There are 12 months in the Jewish calendar, each consisting of 29 or 30 days. Every second or third year is a leap year in which an extra month is added. This insures that the festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) are in their proper seasons.

Feasts & Seasons:

  1. Pesach in Spring
  2. Shavuot in Summer
  3. Sukkot on Autumn

To keep these feasts in their appointed seasons, the Jewish calendar has a 19-year cycle called the Metonic cycle in which the third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth years are leap years In leap years, a 29 day month is added to the calendar called Adar Aleph (Adar I) or Adar Rishon (First Adar). Then one day is added to the normal month of Adar which becomes Adar Bet (Adar II) or Adar Sheni (Second Adar) which is 30 days long.

You can see on which Gregorian (our calendar) days the Jewish months fall on by clicking on our Jewish Calendar chart.

The Calendars and the Feasts

God is a God of Order. There is a reason for every order of God. Because the Jewish calendar is based on the moon, it is no accident that many of the feasts occur around the full moon.

A prophetic look at the two calendars:

  1. The Sacred Calendar, New Year, included the Spring Feasts which has been fulfilled with Passover through Pentecost. It was the Alpha - The Beginning.
  2. The Civil Calendar, New Year, included the Fall Feasts has yet been fulfilled with the Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles. It is the Omega - The End.

There will be more on these upcoming feasts in later blog posts. Jesus is coming for His redeemed saints. Be alert! Keep looking! Do not be fooled!

The New Moon

Hebrew months are lunar which means each month starts on the appearance of the thin crescent of the new moon. The Hebrew word month Hodesh (חׂדֶשׁḥōḏeš) [h2320]. Hodesh is also the word for “new moon“. Under the law of Moses, the new moon was marked by blowing two silver trumpets (Numbers 10:10) and sacrificing a burnt offering and a sin offering (Numbers 28:11–15). We think of the new moon as being when no moon is visible. Hodesh or the Jewish new moon occurs when the first slim, waxing crescent moon is visible.

Eventually, the beginning of each month took on additional characteristics. The people feasted (1 Samuel 20:5), closed their businesses (Amos 8:5), and some went to the prophet of God for inquiry and instruction (2 King 4:23).

As we read our bible, it is interesting when Hebrew months or feasts are mentioned. We can then correlate associated feast or month, respectively, on which the event is taking place. It is the small details that brings more spiritual insights. Too often we jump over the order of words and details missing great truths.

Moon Phases

The four-part moon cycle in each month:

  1. First is the new moon (1st to 7th day)
  2. Second is the waxing moon (8th to 14th day)
  3. Third is the full moon (15th to 22nd day)
  4. Fourth is the waning moon (23rd to 30th day)

Nugget: This four-part process was known among some rabbinical sources as the moon being “reborn.”

The new moon is when the sky is totally dark, and the moon hides its face from the earth. When the moon’s silver sliver appears among the Hebrews it marked the beginning of the month, eventually leading to a quarter moon, followed by a full moon-from dark to full.

The process is then reversed as the moon decreases, from full to quarter and back to dark. This is the renewal of the moon or the month.

It is noted in rabbinical sources that the renewal cycle of the moon is a perfect imagery of Israel’s national and spiritual progression and regression.

The Stars

Job 38:31–32 (NKJV)
“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the belt of Orion?
Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season?
Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?

The Hebrew word Mazzaroth (מַזָּרוֹתmazzārôṯ) [h4216] translates as “constellations”. The stars play an important role. Please do not confuse the following information with astrology.

Isaiah 47:13–14 (NKJV)
You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!

God detests astrology. Astrologists believe that the planets and stars affect our lives. God destroyed the Tower of Babel for this very reason.

Polaris, The North Star (Hallel)

The North Star we know as Polaris is named Hallel (הָלַלhālal) [h1984] in Hebrew. Since the Earth’s axis of spin points direct at Hallel, the star does not appear to move in the Northern sky. This star is ideal to use in ship navigation. Likewise, God is our North Star in which to navigate our lives.

Psalms 113:1 (KJV)
Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.

Also, Hallel is the word most used to mean “praise” in the Tanakh (Old Testament). And, the phrase “ye the LORD” is the Hebrew word Yah (יָהּyāh) [h3050]. Thus, we get the word Hallelujah. The Greek word is Alleluia (ἀλληλούϊαallēlloúia) [g239] as in Revelation 19:3.

Hebrew Constellations

Psalms 19:1–4 (NET)
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the sky displays his handiwork.
Day after day it speaks out;
night after night it reveals his greatness.
There is no actual speech or word,
nor is its voice literally heard.
Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth;
its words carry to the distant horizon.
In the sky he has pitched a tent for the sun.

It is said that a Hebrew child could look up into the sky and see the story of the Messiah in the constellations. David as a shepherd spent many nights under the open sky. He knew the constellations and what they promised. The constellations are literally picture-to-person pointing to the Messiah! Think of it like a cosmic comic book.

There are 48 total constellations: 12 Zodiac and 36 Decans. Each Zodiac signs have 3 associated Decans. It is believed that Adam, Seth, and Enoch together named them before the Great Flood. During the Babylonian reign, the Babylonians corrupted the names and meanings.

The constellations were originally meant to tell God’s redemption plan and describe twelve aspects of the Messiah. The symbolism of the constellations were corrupted by the Babylonians.

The redemption story is broken up into three parts consisting of four Zodiac constellations each.

The Mazzaroth, Hebrew Zodiac (Common Name & Hebrew Name):

The Redeemer:
Month: Elul
Virgo – Betulah (בְּתוּלָהbeṯûlāh) [h1330] - Virgin
Coma: The Desired Christ child
Centaurus: The Despised
Bootes: The Great Shepherd

The Redeemer will come from the seed of a virgin. She is depicted holding a sheath of wheat (seed). He will be both desired and despised. Through it all, the Seed is and will be the Great Shepherd.

Month: Tishrei
Libra – Moznayim (מאֹזְנַיִם mō'zenayim) [h3976] – Scale or balance
Crux: The cross
Lupus: To be slained
Corona: A royal crown (of thorns?)

The Redeemer’s (Jesus’) death on Calvary’s Cross balances out (or cancelled) our sin. And he will become the Crowned One.

Month: Cheshvan
Scorpio – ’Aḳrab (עַקְרָב`aqrāḇ) [h6137] – Scorpion
Serpens: The serpent being held
Ophiuchus: The Redeemer crushing the head of the serpent with his hand.
Hercules: The conquering Redeemer

The scorpion who will strike the heel of the Redeemer. Yet, the Redeemer will crush the serpent’s head.

Month: Kislev
Sagittarius – Ḳasshat (קֶשֶׁתqešeṯ) [h7198] – Bow
Lyra: The Harp
Ara: The burning pyre
Draco: The accursed dragon

There will be rejoicing when God’s arrow slays the accursed dragon . The dragon’s body will burn forever.

The Redeemer’s People:
Month: Tevet
Capricorn – Gedi (גְּדִיgeḏiy) [h1423] – Young goat or kid
Sagitta The arrow of God
Aquilla: The fallen eagle
Delphinus: The dolphin

The Redeemer represented by a goat was slain (arrow). He died (fallen eagle) and rose again (dolphin).

Month: Shevat
Aquarius – D'li (דְּלִיdeliy) [h1805] – The water bearer
Piscus Australis: The Southern fish
Pegasus: The winged horse
Cygnus: The swan

The Redeemer is the source of blessings (water). The blessings are poured out onto His people (fish) in a speedy fashion (winged horse). The Redeemer is the source of life (swan).

Month: Adar
Pisces – Dagim (דָּגָהdāg̱āh) [h1710] – Fish
The Band: The band
Andromeda: The chained woman
Cephus: The crowned king

The Redeemer (fish) will bless His people by breaking the bonds (the band) of His Bride (chained woman). She will be wed to the the Crowned One.

Month: Nisan
Aries – Ṭaleh (טָלֶהṭāleh) [h2924] – Lambs
Cassiopeia: The enthroned woman
Ceta: The sea monster
Perseus: The breaker

The people (lambs) are lead by the Redeemer. The Bride of the Redeemer will be enthroned beside Him (enthroned woman). She will be safe from the sea monster who will be broken.

The Redeemer’s Victory:
Month: Iyar
Taurus – Shor (שׁוֹרšôr) [h7794] – The ox or bull
Orion: The glorious one
Eridanus: The river
Auriga: The shepherd

He who saves (ox) is the Glorious One who will judge (river) his people (shepherd).

Month: Sivan
Gemini – Teomim (תָּאוֹםtā'ôm) [h8380] – The twins
Lepus: The hare
Canis Major: The dog
Canis Minor: The second dog

The One that was man and is God (twins) will confound the enemy (hare) who will be trampled by the dogs.

Month: Tammuz
Cancer - Sarṭon - Crab
Ursa Minor: The little bear
Ursa Major: The great bear
Argo: The ship

The first resurrection: The Redeemer (crab) will possessively gather His sheep (little bear) into a great flock (greater bear) and take them home (ship).

NOTE: We have issues with this constellation being symbolized by a crab. First, a crab is an unclean animal and classified as vermin. Second, the word does not appear in the Old Testament like the other 11 constellations. We believe the original picture for this constellation has been lost or hidden. We will continue to research this issue. In the meantime the crab is included in this article.

Month: Av
Leo – Ari (אֲרִי'ariy) [h738] – The lion
Hydra: The serpent
Crater: The abyss
Corvus: The raven

Battle of Armageddon: The Redeemer (lion) raging after the fleeing serpent. The serpent will be thrown into the abyss. The ravens will eat the flesh of the enemy.

Main Sources:

Hebrew Astronomy
The Zodiac Testifies of Christ
Bible Zodiac Harmony
Enoch’s Constellations Testify of Christ

Wow, that was intense for us as well. Next time, we will harvests and farming in more detail.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)