Friday, March 12, 2021

Reader requests we provide the scripture reference for the “civil new year”….


Where is the scripture reference for the civil new year in your article entitled, Why are there two Jewish New Years?  I don’t base my obedience on what sages say or church doctrine but scripture. Scripture has ONE new year and that is the month of the Aviv - when it’s Passover.


Well, actually scripture has ONE new year and it is in Tishri!

Look at it this way: When the exodus began, it was ALREADY the month of the Aviv, (Exodus 12:2), clearly defined by the calendar that already existed (Deuteronomy 16:1) at the time of the exodus. YHWH did not say "change the calendar to this month", instead He said "You are to begin *your* calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you". In Hebrew, this is even clearer as it literally reads: "This new moon is for you the head of the new moons, [it] is the first *for you* for the new moons of the year." The instruction was for the Hebrews to count the years of their freedom from the month of the Aviv, not to CHANGE the calendar which was, and always will be determined by the sun.

We learn later in the Torah that the calendar did not change because what is the year of the shemitah (7th year land sabbath)? It is first mentioned in Exodus 23:10-11 "For six years, you are to sow your land with seed and gather in its harvest. 11 But the seventh year, you are to let it rest and lie fallow, so that the poor among your people can eat; and what they leave, the wild animals in the countryside can eat. Do the same with your vineyard and olive grove." This is a strong hint that the "year" changes with the agricultural season which end in the Fall and begins in the Fall.

Next, we read that the shemitah year is determined from the month of Tishri for the 50th year, the Yovel or "Jubilee" year is announced on the 10th day of the 7th month of the 50th agricultural year. (Leviticus 25:1-13, specifically verse 9.) The "year" cannot be consecrated in Tishri, if the "year" began way back in the month of the Aviv!

So in these verses we know that 1) the Hebrews were to count months from the month of the Aviv to commemorate their freedom from slavery and 2) that the calendar itself did not change and that year were and still counted from Tishri, the month of the end and beginning of the agricultural year.

So, back to Exodus 12:2. It reads (from the Hebrew): "This new moon is for you the head of the new moons, [it] is the first for you for the new moons of the year." "This new moon" was the new moon of the Aviv, (the "month of Spring") and that month had ALREADY been established as the Month of the Aviv" by the calendar which, for the year, had begun some months earlier.

Since we cannot possibly "declare" a 7th year land Sabbath in the month of the Aviv, when the crops were only just then beginning to sprout, the "year" had to have been established at some other month. I have tried to demonstrate that that month for the "change" of the year was the month of Tishri.

Thus there is in Judaism, "2 new years". The annual "increment" of the year always was and remains in Tishri, but the "years" of the freedom of slavery is counted from the month of the Aviv (modern Nisan). Thus, Tishri is known as the 7th month and Nisan is the 1st month, but the calendar year always increments at the end/beginning of the agricultural season by the sun.

As a side note, it is important to understand that the only thing that changed in Exodus is that YHWH anchored the time or Passover to the time of the year in which the one-and-only exodus began. As I said, it was ALREADY the month of the Aviv, so what YHWH told Moshe was to make sure that Spring happens and then the annual celebration of Passover is done. (Spring, then and now, is the day of the equinox). That ensures that Passover is remembered forever at the right time (Deuteronomy 16:1).

"Anchoring" Passover so Spring comes first simply means that it is the new moon of Nisan that forces the entire calendar to be "fixed", thus, the new moon of Tishri (which remains the month in which the calendar year changes) is simply the 7th new moon from the "month of the Aviv" and is not the "1st month" any more. Nevertheless, I hope it is clear that the calendar year did and still does change at Tishri - the end and renewal of the agricultural season.

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