found! Why the new year started in "March."
NOTE: If you missed the Passover
in 'March', don't fret!
(based on local Missouri sightings)
Feast of Unleavened Bread
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WHY ARE SOME
CELEBRATING THE FEASTS A MONTH LATER?
The only verse in the bible that directly gives us an indication of when the new year begins is found here:
The Hebrew here actually reads "Observe (watch for, guard) month of the Abib" In other words, be looking for the new moon where "the Aviv" can be found.
Aviv is a reference to harvestable, edible barley. This will ensure that the new year will never fall out of season. The month of "the Aviv" is the month that Passover is said to occur, and since Passover is in the first month of the year (Exodus 12), we conclude that it is the month upon which harvestable, edible barley is available.
To my knowledge, there is no verse in scripture which
tells us to start the new year according to any other method.
See a full study on Yahweh's calendar here.
MULTIPLE EYEWITNESSES OF "AVIV BARLEY"
This year, in the first week of 'March', there were at least 3 teams or families that were in Israel to inspect the condition of the barley. 2 of the 3 were able to find harvestable barley, and in a sufficient enough quantity to qualify for a "wave sheaf" offering if it were needing to be done immediately. Contrary to what you may have heard, they did not "cherry pick" through the fields to find a stalk here and there. This is misinformation.
There was another group that was led by an individual that many have relied upon in the past to get their barley reports. Since that 1 group did not happen to find Aviv barley, many are choosing to delay their new year by another month.
I personally do not understand this. Just because 1 of the 3 didn't find a sufficient quantity of Aviv barley doesn't mean that it didn't exist. It just means that one group didn't find a field where it did exist.
In ancient Israel there wasn't just one group of people roaming around looking for Aviv barley. Eyes would have been on every single field. For this reason it is best to gather information from as many people as possible.
The benefit of having multiple teams or families on the ground is accountability. After all, if a particular person doesn't want the new year to begin, he only needs to avoid certain fields. I'm not accusing anyone, but only stating that accountability is one of the benefits of having multiple teams on the ground.
Sometimes it is a matter of credentials. Perhaps the team saying "not Aviv" is more well known and relied upon while the other 2 teams are not as well known.
This would behoove us to investigate the credentials before dismissing the "Pro Aviv" witnesses outright. Based on my own investigation of Solomon Meyer and Brian Convery, who have both stated that harvestable barley (Aviv) has been found in Israel, both individuals are very very well qualified to make that determination.
Brian Convery has been conducting Barley inspections in Israel for 15 years, and knows exactly what to look for. He (and his wife who was with him) are believers in Yahushua the Messiah and observe the Torah. He took pictures and found "very hard and very brittle" barley that would produce well over an omer. The field was located between Be'eri and Kisufim, along road 232 in western Israel. 3 weeks later, one field was so dry and brittle it was literally snapping and falling off the stalks as they walked through the field.
Solomon Meyer grew up as a torah observant believer in Yahushua, and in a family that calculating the new year according to the barley since the 1970's. He himself was also a barley farmer for 15 years and knows what to look for to determine whether or not a field is harvestable. Solomon inspected the fields with his wife, took some pictures, some video and made a full report. He found several harvestable and parchable fields that would qualify, with one of the largest being near Lahav, Israel. It was a half-acre worth of wild barley in the Aviv stage.
The leader of the team claiming "no Aviv" is an unbeliever who, directly or indirectly, has led many people away from having faith in Yahushua. For this reason I will not mention his name. An audio was provided but no video and no pictures.
Multiple people engaged in a conference call with Solomon Meyer to learn more about him and to ask him questions regarding what he had found. There was no "cherry picking" of Aviv stalks, and based on what the scriptures teach, I don't know how anyone listening to that conference call could possibly conclude that the barley was not Aviv...especially after carefully listening to the follow-up questions.
To further clarify
and summarize his report, Solomon Meyer released the following
Looking at the scriptures alone, a small clue can be found in this verse:
You'll notice that the word "Aviv" isn't found in this English translation, but it is found in the Hebrew language. The word "Aviv" is translated "head" in the above verse. So, the barley was "in the Aviv" or as the Hebrew literally reads "for the Barley Aviv." This is an indication that "Aviv" is a stage in Barley growth that is capable of being damaged by hail.
Now, barley is capable of being damaged by hail when it is in the the "Boot" stage, but this doesn't necessarily mean that "Aviv" starts in the boot stage. Fully mature barley is obviously considered "Aviv," so the barley in Exodus 9 could have been fully mature. Thus, this verse only tells us it was capable of being damaged by hail and nothing else. The barley in Exodus 9 could have been fully mature, and we have no way of knowing what stage of maturity it was in.
Here is another clue:
The Hebrew word translated "Green heads" is again the Hebrew word "Aviv." Now if we went with the translation "Green heads" alone, we would discover that roasting the barley could potentially not give you any kernels of barley. At an early stage of "Green heads" or "Green ears" the barley seed pods are actually in a liquid stage and the liquid would simply evaporate in the fire.
However, as the barley matures the seed pods will fill up with starches and start turning from a liquid into a "soft dough." At this stage the barley can be "parched" or "roasted on the fire" to assist in drying out the seed pods. At this stage the barley is then edible, the actions in Leviticus 2:14 are possible, and we would regard the barley to be "Aviv." The soft grain would simply need to be parched (roasted) in order to dry out the grains enough to produce flour.
With these things in mind, I see why the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, "Abib" carries the following meaning:
I would agree with this definition and so do all 3 teams doing the barley search this year.
The next question would be "how much barley needs to be Aviv in order to consider it a new year?" Would it just be a single stalk of barley grass, an entire field or perhaps just a portion of a field?
Some believe that the entire nation of Israel had to complete its harvest before the new year begins. But this verse would appear to contradict that notion:
Notice that they ate "Parched grain." Grain is parched when the field contains barley in the soft dough stage.
In Joshua 5, Israel was in Gilgal, which is "on the eastern border of Jericho" (Josh. 4:19). This is in the Jordan valley.
Notice that they ate "Parched grain" on the day after Passover, which is the 15th day of the 1st month. Now if the barley was in a soft dough stage in southern portion of the Jordan valley on the 15th day of the first month, this would mean it most certainly was NOT Aviv on the 1st day of the first month.
Thus, there must have been Aviv in other areas of Israel, such as the western Negev on the 1st day of the 1st month. This would have been an identical situation to what we are seeing this year.
Thus, the new year does not begin when all of the land of Israel is in "Aviv," but rather whenever "Aviv" is found somewhere in Israel proper. That was the situation in Joshua 5:10-11 and that is the situation this year as well.
So how much Aviv must be found to call it a new year? This verse may help us to find the answer:
The word translated "Sheaf" is actually the Hebrew word "omer." An "Omer" in Hebrew is actually a measurement.
As you can see, the word is translated "sheaf" 8 times and "omer" 6 times. They are the same word in Hebrew. This would be approximately 2.2 litres worth of barley. Additional barley may also have been needed for a grain offering:
So there would potentially need to be enough "aviv" barley in Israel to supply this quantity by the time the day of firstfruits arrives.
The "no Aviv" team seemingly wanted there to be enough barley for a sickle and an omer of grain on the first day of the month even though their own web site states that Aviv only needs to be harvestable 2-3 weeks after the first of the month. Why?
Either way, based on the reports from Solomon Meyer and Brian Convery, there were multiple fields of Aviv barley found. Solomon mentioned that one field of wild barley was about a half acre in size, and fully harvestable and parchable based on his inspection of the barley grains. A half acre of barley will produce many omers. Again, there was no "cherry picking" of Aviv stalks.
On the Zadok scale (if you know what that means) he said it was about an 8.5, which is the soft dough stage and capable of being parched. Brian Convery's report also tells us that there was plentiful barley, harvestable and parchable.
Now, one thing that can hasten the maturity of barley is being planted next to an asphalt road or next to large stones that can radiate the heat and hasten the ripening of the barley. The half-acre field discovered by Solomon Meyer was about 60 feet from the road, which is quite far enough.
Brian Convery likewise has this same awareness and does not look at barley that is close to artificial heat sources.
Both Solomon and Brian found fields that were harvestable with a sickle, and not simply picking out stalks here and there that looked mature. Entire swaths of barley could have been harvested by sickle.
Now, some believe that the harvestable barley needs to be within a day's journey (by donkey) to Jerusalem to qualify. Although I don't know that these locations were necessarily within a day's journey to Jerusalem, it can be certain that since these barley fields are "Aviv", the barley fields that are within a day's journey to Jerusalem will definitely be "aviv" by the time the day of firstfruits arrives 17 days later. Still, since camels can consistently travel at 10mph, it would have only been a 6 hour journey by camel, even faster by horseback if needed.
And so it would be possible for a person to take a sickle, harvest barley, and take it to Jerusalem within a day so that it could be waved by the priest as it says in this verse:
The "sickle to the grain" is in reference to harvesting barley for the wave sheaf/omer offering.
In light of all this, I have all the evidence I need to determine that Aviv barley has indeed been found in Israel, and we can call it a new year. I don't know how we could see it any differently. The biblical criteria has indeed been met.
In light of what we just read in the above verse, there is an additional ramification to consider if we choose not to call it a new year. Unless I am misunderstanding something, it sounds like Deuteronomy 16:9 is saying that no one was allowed to put their sickle to the grain until the high priest had waved the sheaf/omer to Yahweh:
The day of firstfruits occurs during the feast of unleavened bread. This is the day that the omer of barley is supposed to be waved, and it is the starting point from which 7 weeks are counted to arrive at the the day of Pentecost (Shavuot, Feast of Weeks). Pentecost is observed 7 weeks and 1 extra day from the time this wave sheaf is offered.
Now notice that it said "from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain," as if to say, the first time you put a sickle to the grain is on the day of firstfruits. If one were to put their sickle to the barley prior to that, they would need to start their count to Pentecost/Shavuot from that earlier time.
Thus, by inference, it is suggested that no one was allowed to harvest their barley until after the day of firstfruits.
However, it is possible that Deuteronomy 16:9 is only referring the priests putting their sickle to the grain for the Wave sheaf/omer offering. Thus, the rest of Israel was permitted to harvest.
If this was the case, they certainly would have had to exercise a tremendous amount of restraint. They would literally have the food in their hands but not be able to eat of it until the day of firstfruits.
Why? Yahweh had already commanded:
According to Josephus, the practice in first century Judaism was that no one could harvest until the High Priest harvested:
It's unclear if this is speaking of the harvesting of a particular field, or of all barley fields in Israel.
However, if it is true that no one could reap their full harvest until after the firstfruits, those who waited until 'April' to start the new year have a real problem on their hands.
Once the barley is mature, it will only stand up on the stalk for 2-4 weeks before it takes its natural course and the seeds fall into the ground. Once all the barley is on the ground, you can't harvest it anymore....especially with a sickle.
To confirm the timing, I spoke with Dr. Jerry Johnson of Colorado State University Extension office on the phone. I wanted to know how long the barley would remain on the stalk after it was completely ripe. Completely ripe was defined as 12-13% moisture in the barley grains. With this in mind he said to me:
He then asked me the reason why I wanted to know, and after I informed him of exactly why I was asking this question he said:
Now, considering this fact about barley and understanding that Israel depended on this early crop in order to survive, it would have been very important for Israel to harvest the barley soon after it was ready for harvest.
For this reason, it would be important to have an eye on as many fields as possible. That was certainly the case with ancient Israel. There would have been eyes on every barley field there was. And if a field was parchable and plentiful, they would have called it a new year.
The field would then continue to mature and be at that 12-14% mark within a couple of weeks, depending on weather conditions. This would be near the beginning of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. By the time the feast is over, that particular field would potentially be brittle, but still harvestable.
However, if you didn't notice that field and you waited another month to call it a "new year," 4-6 weeks would go by before you could harvest the field.
Thus, by late 'April' the field and a number of other barley fields would be ruined.
For this reason, it would have been very important for Israel to keep a close eye on the state of their barley crops. The logical equivalent to this today is to have multiple teams of experienced people on the ground to search for Aviv barley.
That's what we now have, and I really think we should receive their testimony.
For us, the alternative is that we miss Yahweh's marker for the new year, and we spend the rest of this year being a month off of what Yahweh established as His timetable.
I say, let's not reject the testimony of those who were there and saw of wild Aviv barley with their own eyes. Plentiful enough for a wave sheaf/first fruits offering, harvestable enough for parching, and certainly edible; Grown naturally without man's intervention, by Yahweh Himself:
Let us also shout for joy, and sing---for Yahweh has crowned another year with His goodness, visiting the earth and watering it, greatly enriching it.. providing the Aviv grain once again.
Happy new year ! :)
(based on local Missouri sightings)
Feast of Unleavened Bread
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