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YHWH's Calendar

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YHWH's Calendar

(06/21/10--updates to: "Moad/Feast of Weeks (Chag Shavuot/Pentecost)"
 05/18/10--added information about Shavuot/Pentecost
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   According to the New Covenant Scriptures, all faithful Yeshua-followers are the true Israel of YHWH (cf. Gal. 6:16 and context; see "Essential Beliefs of Messianic Christianity"; "Which Israel?"). Since the time YHWH changed Jacob's name to Israel (Gen. 32:28), YHWH has always had a people that He calls Israel (cf. 1 Kings 19:18). YHWH gave them a calendar system in the Law of Moses (cf. Lev. 23; Num. 28-29; e.g., the "Feasts" or Moadim (roughly "appointments"; also referred to in the singular as a "Chag" with a hard "h" sound) of YHWH) and according to the NC Scriptures (Col. 2:16-17), these moadim were prophetic for YHWH's plan for future events (see Hebrew OT "Roots"). According to Col. 2:16-17 (better in the KJV; obstructed by the NIV), all of these events have not yet been fulfilled, just as all OC (Old Covenant) prophecies have not yet been fulfilled (e.g., Zech. 14!). And according to these OC prophecies (more in Revelation commentary), it does appear that there will be a future Millennium wherein YHWH's calendar will be observed and will even be the (at least major) calendar for the entire world. As Zechariah states (and this is after the end-times battle over Jerusalem and the return of Christ as I believe is prophesied in Zech. 14:1-14) states (14:16-19, KJV): "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." (Indications that this has not yet occurred include that this will be a requirement for all the nations of Earth!)
   All of this to say that I believe that YHWH's calendar will be observed in the Millennium and that it is actually still in effect at this time (evidenced by the moadim that have not yet been fulfilled ("Hebrew OT 'Roots'"), although it is not a matter of law or of salvation and neither is it a matter over which Christians should be judging each other (Col. 2:16, KJV: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days [whether one is keeping them or not]:"). According to the NC Scriptures, these things are now a matter of personal opinion (Rom. 14) over which there should be no division as unnecessary division is breaking the great command of the New Covenant.
   I choose to celebrate YHWH's calendar. I believe that it is honoring to God and in these days of needing family things and spiritual things to do that lead away from the worldly and closer to God, I believe it is a wonderful option!
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   What is YHWH's calendar? (The Hebrew day begins at sunset ("and there was evening and there was morning--day one[second, third, etc.]," Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; "The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment the trailing edge of the sun's disk disappears below the horizon in the west. Due to refraction of light in the atmosphere, the ray path of the setting sun is highly distorted near the horizon making the apparent astronomical sunset occur when the sun’s disk is already about one diameter below the horizon. Sunset should not be confused with dusk, which is the moment at which darkness falls, when the sun is about eighteen degrees below the horizon. The period between the astronomical sunset and dusk is called twilight." from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset; accessed 3/20/10).
   YHWH's calendar begins with:
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   The Sabbath (Shabbat)-- (Lev. 23:3; This is not popularly considered as one of the "feasts," but it heads the list of YHWH's Moadim in Lev. 23!)
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   New Moon or Rosh Chodesh (lit. "head of month")-- (Interestingly, this is not in the list at Lev. 23 (perhaps because of a 7's theme of Lev. 23) but nonetheless in the list at Num. 28-29; Num. 10:10; 28:11-15; 1 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron. 2:3/4; 8:13; 31:3; Ezra 3:5; Neh. 10:33/34; Ps. 81:3; Is. 66:23; Ezek. 45:17; 46:1, 6). The Hebrew OC calendar is based upon months (Ex. 12:1-2). And although there is a little debate over whether a month begins when the moon is completely hidden by Earth's shadow or when the first sun-lit sliver of the moon is observed in Israel, it is commonly observed with the first sun-lit sliver of the moon. Other than the specified OC offerings, there is little indication in the Hebrew OC Scriptures as to how the New Moon was to be celebrated or exactly how it was celebrated in OC times as this has become lost to modernity. My view is that first and foremost it should be a celebration in honor of and for God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Even in our trying times, it should be a time of blessing God by bringing God an offering and rejoicing and celebrating in God's generous love and blessings over us, as well as a time of thanking God for the gift of another month!
   As the lunar cycle is approximately 29 1/2 days, all months according to the Hebrew OC calendar system will only have either 29 or 30 days (unless perhaps the moon is not spotted because of weather, clouds or other atmospheric conditions) and therefore the number of days in 12 months does not add up to a full 365 days for a solar year. As a result, some years will have 12 months and some will have an additional 13th month of 29 or 30 days depending upon the moon. It appears that the original names of most of the months (assuming that all were named something other than "first," "second," etc. (e.g., Lev. 23:24 and actually all through the Scriptures and as all but one of the days of the week (Shabbat/Sabbath) have been long lost and that many of the new names were borrowed from Babylonian language of Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian). It appears that some of these names could have been the Akkadian translation of the original names in Hebrew/Aramaic or even a pre-Hebrew language. The names in bold blue are anglicized terms found in the Hebrew OC Scriptures. Names in bold black (other than "Month 1," "Month 2," etc.) are names not found in the Hebrew OC Scriptures.
  The Hebrew OC Months are:
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   Month 1--Aviv (variously pronounced Abib/Abiv/Aviv; Ex. 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1) or Nisan (Hadassah (Esther) 3:7); According to Ex. 12:2, this was to be the first month of the year for Israel. "Aviv" is variously understood as "head of cereal grain," "fresh," "green," "fresh, young ears of barley," or "barley that is already ripe, but still soft" (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament; also A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament); this is the month for the barley to be ripening as it will be used for the Firstfruits/Bikkurim offering (more below); "Nisan" can mean "their flight" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon); "month of flowers" (Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament); Nisan is reportedly an Akkadian term borrowed from the Sumerian language meaning "Firstfruits" (http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Nisan; accessed 4/5/10) or "first produce" (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jwst/elazarav.htm; accessed 4/5/10) 
   Month 2--Ziw/Ziv/Zif (1 Kings 6:1, 37; "prominent," "brightness," "freshness," "splendour," or "(month of) flowers"; also known as "Iyar" or "Iyyar," reportedly a term of Akkadian origin meaning "Rosette; blossom" (http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Iyar; accessed 4/5/10); the Greek OC Scriptures refer to it as "the second month" in 1 Kings 6:1)
   Month 3--Siwan/Sivan (Hadassah (Esther) 8:9; perhaps "their covering" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon); reportedly Akkadian for "Season" or "time" (http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Sivan; accessed 4/5/10) or "season," "sign" (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jwst/elazarav.htm); accessed 4/5/10)) 
   Month 4--(known as "tammuz," a Babylonian deity; I call the name of this month "Arba" (pron. air-BAH; Hebrew for "4") or just "the 4th month")
   Month 5--Ab/Av (this is the Hebrew word for "father," but the name of this month is reportedly Akkadian from the term "abu" which at least in modern Akkadian (Assyrian) means "father" (http://www.christiansofiraq.com/assyria1.html; accessed 4/5/10); "Named after wood and reeds used for the erection of shelters in Babylonia" (http://www.bibarch.com/concepts/Calendrics/HebrewMonths.htm; accessed 4/5/10))
   Month 6--Elul (Neh. 6:15; reportedly an Akkadian term meaning "purification" (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jwst/elazarav.htm; accessed 4/5/10); "An onomatopoetic derivative from the Akkadian for "women singing" (http://www.bibarch.com/concepts/Calendrics/HebrewMonths.htm; accessed 4/5/10))
   Month 7--Ethanim (1 Kings 8:2; "continue," "ever-flowing," "steady flow," "constant," "permanence," "permanent," "firm," "perennial"; also known as "Tishrei" or "Tishri," reportedly an Akkadian term meaning "beginning" (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/jwst/elazarav.htm; accessed 4/5/10); this is the beginning month of the year in modern and rabbinic Judaism)
   Month 8--Bul (1 Kings 6:38; "rain," "showers," "(month of) rain showers," "stock/trunk of a tree"; also known as "Cheshvan" or "Marcheshvan" (lit. "bitter Cheshvan"; "mar" from the Hebrew/Aramaic); Cheshvan is reportedly an Akkadian term meaning "eighth month" (http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Cheshvan; accessed 4/5/10))
   Month 9--Kislew/Kislev (Neh. 1:1; Zech. 7:1; "Its etymology is altogether uncertain. It may, however, be so called from the languor and torpidity of nature" (Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament); reportedly from the Akkadian term "kissilimu," the meaning of which has apparently become lost; "Unclear, perhaps related to kesil the biblical word for Orion, the Archer" (http://www.bibarch.com/concepts/Calendrics/HebrewMonths.htm; accessed 4/5/10)) 
   Month 10--Teveth/Tebeth (Hadassah (Esther) 2:16; "goodness" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon); reportedly an Akkadian term with uncertain meaning; "Related to the Assyrian/Babylonian tebetum and Hebrew Lava, it probably meant "to drown" or "to be submerged" (in mud), because of its being the month of the heaviest rainfall" (http://www.bibarch.com/concepts/Calendrics/HebrewMonths.htm; accessed 4/5/10))
   Month 11--Shevat (Zech. 1:7; in Hebrew, "branch off," "a scion," "stick," "rod," "staff," "club," "sceptre," "tribe," "clan"; reportedly Akkadian or Sumerian with unknown meaning)
   Month 12--Adar or Adar Aleph or Adar I (Adar 1; Hadassah (Esther) 3:7; Ezra 6:15; "Adar" is perhaps Akkadian, and perhaps means "glorious" (Enhanced Strong's Lexicon))
   Month 13--VeAdar (lit. "and Adar") or Adar Bet or Adar II (Adar 2; This month is only observed when the barley is not at "aviv" stage (see month "Aviv" above) at the time of the new moon ending Adar I, as the barley would not be ready to offer for Firstfruits/Bikkurim (more information below).)
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   (According to the Karaite Korner, the month name "Bul" is from the name of a Phoenician god and "Ethanim" and "Ziv" are as well suspect (http://www.karaite-korner.org/karaite_faq.shtml; accessed 4/21/10).)
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    Passover (Chag Pesach) -- (Lev. 23:4-8; See "The Problem with Easter") Passover/Pesach suggestions: Celebrating a fulfilled Passover/Pesach can be a simple as setting aside some time set with God, honoring Him and thanking Him for deliverance for Israel, both physically (Exodus 1-15) and spiritually, as YHWH delivered His special people from their bondage in Egypt and as Yeshua Jesus, the Lamb of YHWH slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8) and the Ruach HaKodesh delivers us from our spiritual bondages (Rom. 8). It is a great time to read the Exodus account and have communion and thank God for His delivering us out of past bondages and for His much continual deliverance and future deliverance of His people! (Thank You, YHWH! Thank You, Yeshua Jesus! Thank You, Ruach HaKodesh! Thank You for leading us out of our bondages!) For those who wish to delve into more of the traditional observances, Messianic Haggadahs (here in the English plural; lit. "telling/narration"), step-by-step booklets leading through the observances of a traditional Pesach Seder (Passover meal observances with retelling of the Exodus), can be obtained from various sources. I am not offering one as of yet. If you search for a Haggadah (or Haggada/Haggadha) I would suggest a Messianic Haggadah as these view Yeshua Jesus as being the Passover Lamb and fulfilling Pesach. Our family does not always cook lamb. One of the things that I have noticed about even Messianic Haggadahs, is that they often picture or suggest having part of a lamb bone at the meal but Ex. 12:46 says none of the bones are to be broken. Also, somewhere along the line the egg crept into the observance. We do not include the egg in our observance as it appears that this tradition may have its roots in the worshiping of a Babylonian fertility goddess (see "The Problem with Easter").
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    Moad/Feast of Unleavend Bread (Chag HaMatzot) -- (Lev. 23:9-14; Ex. 12:14-20) Chag HaMatzot begins on the evening beginning the 15th of Aviv and lasts for seven days. According to Ex. 12 and Lev. 23, sacred assemblies were to be held on the 1st and 7th days and no regular work was to be done other than that of preparing food. According to tradition, many remove the yeast from their homes on the 14th of Aviv (Passover day). According to Ex. 12:15, the 1st day of Chag HaMatzot (the 15th of Aviv, which begins at sunset) was the day to remove all yeast from the home. According to Ex. 12:15 and Lev. 23:6, Israel was supposed to eat unleavened bread for seven days and Ex. 12:19 and Deut. 16:4 say that for seven days yeast must not be found in the home/land. The solution to this may be that the Hebrews would count any portion of a day in their counting of days. Ex. 12:18 says to eat unleavened bread from the evening of the 14th day until the evening of the 21st day. It appears that the natural Hebraic understanding of this, since the Hebrew day began at sunset, would be that there are 8 days in which unleavened bread was to be eaten, but this would appear to go against Ex. 12:15, 19 and Lev. 23:6. For this reason many believe that the "evening" of the 14th in Ex. 12:18 is actually referring to the evening at the end of the 14th day. The situation is similar in Ex. 12:6. "There is some unclarity as to whether the seven days of Unleavened Bread include the Passover (so apparently 12:18), or follow it (as apparently 12:14–15). In any case, Passover and Unleavened Bread are so consistently and closely linked to each other in the OT that they virtually form one celebration" (Believer's Church Bible Commentary: Exodus).
   According to the footnote for Mt. 26:17 in the NIV Study Bible, "the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The 14th of Nisan (March-April), it was also called the preparation of the Passover. The Passover meal was eaten the evening of the 14th after sunset--and therefore technically on the 15th, since the Jewish day ended at sunset. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted seven days, from the 15th to the 21st of Nisan (see Lev 23:5-6), but in the time of Christ the entire period, (Nisan 14-21), was referred to under that name..."
   It currently appears possible that these difficulties could have a connection with the apparent two nights of Passover in the gospels, for it appears in the gospels that Messiah Christ observed a Passover meal with His disciples (Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-14; Lk. 22:7-8, 11, 13, 15) the night before He was killed on Passover (Jn. 12:1; 13:1; 19:14, 31). In other words, perhaps two nights of Passover were being observed here, one in the evening beginning the 14th of Aviv and one in the evening ending the 14th of Aviv. It appears to be possible, according to our OC (Old Covenant) texts, to understand that the lamb was to be slain on the evening beginning the 14th of Aviv and eaten along with unleavened bread on the same evening and then Moad of Unleavened Bread beginning on the next evening, the 15th of Aviv, and the yeast/starter-dough being removed from the houses sometime on the 15th of Aviv (Ex. 12:15). Now it is customarily removed on the 14th. (Another apparent difficulty, here in the NC Scriptures, is in the verbage of Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:12 and Lk. 22:7-8 in that these texts appear to conflate the Moad/Feast of Unleavened Bread with the day/Moad of Passover. In agreement with the above-mentioned NIV Study Bible footnote for Mt. 26:17, it appears that the two moads naturally converged and thus became, at least to some, thought of together as the Moad/Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is also witnessed by Hayyim Schauss in The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to Their History and Observance, p. 46.)
   The problem with the Last Supper being what is viewed as a traditional Passover (and what is believed to be the intent of the OC Scriptures) is that the traditional Passover meal was observed on the evening beginning the first day of the Moad of Unleavend Bread. This would appear to conflict with John 19:31 because this text says that the Jews wanted the bodies to be removed from their cross before the "great Sabbath"--evidently referring to the 1st day of the Moad of Unleavened Bread. If the Last Supper was the traditional Passover, the texts say that it was a Passover, this would put Jesus as being on the cross on the special feast day--the 1st day of the Moad of Unleavened Bread.
   Perhaps the nation was observing two Passovers because of such things as the many disagreements over the interpretation of the OC Scriptures and perhaps disagreements over the calendar (such as was the situation with the Essenes or the people of the Dead Sea Scrolls (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Dead_Sea_Scrolls#Qumran-Sadducean_theory; http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/Library/calend.html; accessed 04/04/10); The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, by Geza Vermes, 3rd. ed. p. 46ff., 132; see also concerning this: "The Two Passovers", an excerpt of Kenneth Doig's New Testament Chronology (http://doig.net/NTC21.htm; accessed 8/11/10), as it does appear that they were teaching the observance of the Passover meal on the evening turning the 14th and not the evening ending the 14th. And as they say, whenever you have two rabbis you have at least three opinions. There may also be the factor of the large numbers of people and the logistics of accommodating all of the sacrifices. There is a text from Josephus (Wars of the Jews 6.9.3) where he says concerning a Passover (close but prior to 70 A.D.) that the "high priests...found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred; which...amounts to two million seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons that were pure and holy [those 'unclean' were not permitted to partake]..." This number has its critics, perhaps it was inflated for some purpose (it was a number "taken under Cestius, who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to contemn [Webster's: "to treat or think of with contempt; scorn--syn. despise"] that nation, entreated the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude") or there was some miscommunication/misunderstanding. Hayyim Schauss in The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to Their History and Observance, p. 48, concerning at least the same general time period says: "It is estimated that Jerusalem, at that time, had a permanent population of close to one hundred thousand and that this was more than doubled by the pilgrims who came for the holidays, especially at Pesach."
   The numbers were large and there were disagreements such as over the calendar but I have seen nothing actually saying that Passover was being celebrated on two separate evenings in the time of Messiah Christ. But, interestingly, according to Schauss, this "festival was extended to last eight days amongst Jews not resident in Palestine. The full holiday, with cessation of work, is observed only the first two and the last two days of the festival' (p. 38). Schauss also says: "Outside of Jerusalem the offering of sacrifices was not allowed and Pesach eve [here evidently the beginning of the Moad of Unleavened Bread] was observed in the home, in the family circle, and in the synagogue. In some places, however, it was customary to eat roast lamb, though no sacrifice was offered" (p. 47).
   One possible solution that I am currently seeing is that there could have been disagreement over the calendar and Yeshua HaMashiach observed one Passover with His disciples on the evening beginning Aviv 15 according to one calendar yet Aviv 14 according to the OC calendar (and not in disagreement with the above-mentioned literal interpretation of the OC Scriptures) and was crucified later that day, still Aviv 14 according to the OC calendar and the day before the 1st day of the Moad of Unleavened Bread. Another possibility is that some were observing the Passover meal on the evening beginning the 14th (with or without a lamb) and this was still being considered as the first day of the Moad of Unleavened Bread (as the two moads were often being viewed as one) while others were observing Passover on the evening ending the 14th of Aviv and beginning the 15th of Aviv, while both could have been observing the 15th as the official first day of the Moad of Unleavend Bread along with the observance of the instructions not to work except for preparing food.
   It is reported that an ancient third century document entitled "Didascalia Apostolorum" proposes that there was more than one calendar in Yeshua Jesus' time (http://www.religionnews.com/index.php?/rnstext/just_how_long_did_jesus_stay_in_the_tomb2/; accessed 4/22/11)
   I have yet to verify, but according to one source, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (1942, vol. 8, p. 406) in its article "Passover Lamb" says: "The Pharisees and Sadducees had a dispute as to the time when the slaughtering [of the lamb] should take place; the former held it should be in the last 3 hours before sunset, the latter, between sunset and nightfall." The source using this information was using it to show that the Sadducees thought the lambs should be sacrificed on the evening beginning the 14th and the Pharisees thought the lambs should be sacrificed on the end of the 14th and just before the 15th.
   Perhaps YHWH had his instructions written the way they are written so that Yeshua Jesus could observe a Passover with His disciples and also give His life on Passover.
   Concerning the leavening of Ex. 12:15, my current understanding on this is that this is not referring to leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder which react to create carbon dioxide bubbles (as this is "chemical leavening" which is reported to be a modern invention from the time of the first Industrial Revolution (http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/BakingPowderHistory.htm; accessed 3/25/10; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate; accessed 4/2/10; http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-history-of-baking-powder.htm; accessed 4/2/10; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baking_powder; accessed 4/2/10), but is referring to yeast. The Hebrew word for "yeast" is "שְׂאֹר" and according to the Dictionary of Biblical Literature with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament), this is: "yeast, leaven, i.e., a fungus culture used in processing food or drink (Ex 12:15, 19; 13:7; Lev 2:11; Dt 16:4+)." According to The New American Commentary: Exodus, "Yeast (śĕʾôr, "leaven") in Bible times referred to the spores of yeast themselves, and, as well, what is now called "starter dough," that is, fermented dough. It was made in various ways. One was by airing out dough in the sun (to pick up the airborne yeast spores) after dipping it in wine or vinegar and storing it in a closed vessel until it went sour (fermented). Another method was to knead flour and water, add salt, boil the mix into a porridge, and then leave it until it went sour.33 Because yeast spores can migrate easily, dough can easily become yeasted naturally, thus the need to cleanse the house of yeast so that what was intended to be unleavened bread doesn’t turn out accidentally to be leavened." Furthermore, these outdoor plants were being exposed to moisture and airborne yeast spores and evidently some types of seeds would be more conducive to carrying/growing yeast spores. "Leaven is a portion of a previously prepared batch of dough left to ferment, so that it can be used in a new batch of dough as the fermenting agent that will make the dough rise" (Believer's Church Bible Commentary: Exodus). This word in the Greek OC and NC Scriptures is "ζύμη, ης, ἡ," about which A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (3rd ed.) says: "fermented dough, leaven (the rendering ‘yeast’ [as NRSV gener., REB Mt 13:33, Lk 13:21] popularly suggests a product foreign to ancient baking practice..." (A "product foreign" evidently refers to yeast separated out and by itself as in modern packaged yeast as opposed to the above methods of introducing yeast into food.) It is questioned whether the ancients understood yeast spores as they are too small to be seen without magnification. (Interesting article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast; accessed 4/9/10.) Evidently the ancients did not have yeast by itself to add to bread dough but used other means, especially starter dough, to introduce it as there was and is great debate over what is considered to be prohibited or not (e.g., even wheat itself) as some bread-making products (especially some grains such as wheat) were naturally susceptible to fermentation/souring and some (e.g., beans, lentils, rice) were not. (Cf. http://jerusalemcouncil.org/halacha/kashrut/chametz-not-yeast/; http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/532,2275602/How-is-Passover-celebrated.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chametz; accessed 04/04/10.) And although there were certainly other foods that were also made by the fermentation/souring process of yeast (e.g., wine, vinegar, cheese, yogurt-type foods), it currently appears to me that the ancient understanding of the prohibition against "שְׂאֹר" had to do with fermenting/fermented bread-dough and bread made from fermenting/fermented bread-dough (in apparent agreement with The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to Their History and Observance, p. 52).
   Ex. 12:15 (NIV) says: "For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel." The NIV's "bread without yeast" appears to be a good choice in that it is specifying what appears to be the issue--yeast (as opposed to modern chemical leavening agents). But it can also leave the evidently anachronistic impression that the Israelites had stores of yeast spores to add to their bread when it appears that the common way of introducing yeast into bread was through, evidently, day-(or two (no work on the Sabbath))-old starter dough. It appears to me that Ex. 12:15 is saying: "Seven days you shall eat Matzoth [unfermented bread]. Surely in/on the first day you shall remove seor [yeast/fermentation/yeast-cake/starter-dough] from your houses for everyone eating [the usual word for eating more solid foods as opposed to consuming liquids] hametz [that which is fermented]..."
   Although yeast (or fermented starter dough) was also often considered a good thing (Mt. 13:33), it was sometimes likened to sin and sinfulness as sin can work through a person or people like yeast works through dough (Mt. 16:6, 11-12; Gal. 5:9). Christ is the fulfillment of this Moad/Feast, as He is sinless (Jn. 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15; 1 Jn. 3:5) Bread from Heaven (Jn. 6:30-58; this is a good passage to read during this time)! This is a great time (as always) to examine our own lives for sin and to remove it, as it will be a continual struggle as long as we are in our physical bodies and in this current sin-filled and temptation-filled world. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 5:6b-8 (NIV): "Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
   Offerings were also made to YHWH during this time. Deut. 16:16 (NIV) says: "Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed." Of course the Law of Moses is no longer binding, but these times are great times to present offerings to God. "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Ps. 50:14-15, KJV).
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    Day of Firstfruits (Chag Yom HaBikkurim) -- (Lev. 23:9-14; 1 Cor. 15:20-23) "HaBikkurim" means "the firstfruits." At this time of the year the first of the barley crop was being harvested (the wheat was not yet ready). Instructions were given in Lev. 23:9-14 to bring a sheaf of the new barley to the priest. This new barley was not to be eaten from until this sheaf had been given to the priest. YHWH wants to bless His children. He also wants them to see Him as the giver of all of their blessings and the One who greatly blesses them. He deserves the first and the best gift (in accordance with the greatest commandment; also cf. Gen. 4:3-7) from that with which He blesses us and I believe this is what He still asks for. This is what pleases Him and I believe this is what He honors and blesses. The special fulfillment in this great day is that this is the day that Yeshua Jesus was raised from the dead! How is this a fulfillment of the Day of Firstfruits? It is a fulfillment because, as Paul teaches, Messiah Christ is the "firstfruits" from the dead! He was the first to be raised from the dead and given a glorified immortal body (1 Cor. 15:20-23)! And Messiah Christ being the "firstfruits" means that His faithful followers will be following Him in resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-23)! This is a great time for celebration! For He has risen! A great time for great celebration, thanksgiving and the giving of offerings to God! Messiah Christ greatly fulfilled this day that is prophetic for the resurrection of His faithful followers. Thank You, Father YHWH, Yeshua HaMashiach and Ruach HaKodesh!
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    Moad/Feast of Weeks (Chag Shavuot/Pentecost) -- (Lev. 23:15-22). This is the offering of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest. This had a spiritual fulfillment in the beginning of the Church and the bringing of souls into it as recorded in Acts 2. This is also the day of the great outpouring of YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh! Acts 2 records Peter quoting from Joel 2:28-32 and attributing the outpouring of YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh to the "last days" (Acts 2:17). This period of time was a "last days" time as the Old Covenant was being replaced and Jerusalem and its temple would soon be destroyed as predicted by Yeshua Jesus in Mt. 24; Mk. 13 and Lk. 21.
   Manifestations of YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh as recorded in Acts 2 included: visible tongues of fire, speaking in tongues, evidently some signs of being "drunk" (Acts 2:15; cf. Eph. 5:18; speaking in tongues alone does not appear to me to be a manifestation of being drunk), prophesying, visions and dreams. Other manifestations of the Ruach HaKodesh are taught about in 1 Cor. 12-14. Some believe that the gifts of YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh were only temporary, to last only until the New Covenant Scriptures were canonized (formed into the "New Testament" as "Bible"). Paul does appear to be saying in 1 Cor. 13:8 that some of the gifts of YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh will come to an end (this currently appears to me to better fit the context but the Greek of 13:8 can equally be read "and if/whether prophesying/prophecies will be abolished, if/whether tongues will cease, if/whether knowledge will be abolished..." cf. the Douey-Rheims Bible's: "Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void or tongues shall cease or knowledge shall be destroyed.") when the "complete/perfect/mature thing should come" (1 Cor. 13:10), but Paul said that this end would occur when we shall see "face to face" and at the time when he would "know fully" (1 Cor. 13:12). Paul wrote that he could only see as "a dim image through a mirror" (1 Cor. 13:12; ) and that he only knew "in part" (1 Cor. 13:10, 12). Paul does not appear to be referring to the canon of Scriptures ("face to face" not "face in book"), especially when he himself was writing much of it. Rather this appears to be referring to the time when the veil separating man from YHWH's spiritual realm is removed, as when man will see Yeshua Jesus "face to face." This comes to those who are deceased (cf. 2 Cor. 12:1-6) and it will come when Yeshua Jesus returns (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18, 4:6-7 and 1 Jn. 3:2b). The theory that Paul was referring to the New Covenant Scriptures does not appear to fit with history either, for as the Church has had more access to Bibles, they have also become more divisive. The Bible is the most popular book in history, too many to be counted, and there are now more denominations than can be counted. This theory also misses the importance of YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh in the everyday life of mankind. A study through the Scriptures of dreams and visions, for example, shows that these were given as much if not more for man to understand what decisions he needs to make and what he needs to do to protect himself or to walk in holiness or to minister to others, etc., or otherwise please God rather than necessarily being doctrinal revelation. Consider Revelation itself: While it does teach some doctrine, it has much more material telling about what future things are going to occur (Rev. 1:19). My experience with the spiritual gifts and what I have seen bears this out--that in the majority of instances God is working to direct mankind in life and decisions. It appears to me that both the Scriptures and YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh are of immeasurable importance in the lives of His followers.
   Some wonder if the Ruach HaKodesh is for YHWH's and Yeshua Jesus' followers today. I understand the answer to this to be a strong "yes!"--now even more than ever as we are in our "last days." As dangers increase it becomes more important for God's followers to be hearing instructions from Him and following them. Scriptures that show that YHWH's Ruach HaKodesh is still for today include Acts 2:39 which says that the Ruach HaKodesh is also for those far off ("μακράν"), the Greek word used here is for distance geographically or through time ("a position in time relatively far removed from the present" A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature). Furthermore, we are in another "last days" time which brings Joel 2:28-32 back into the picture. In addition, Paul taught not to be quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19); to not be drunk on wine but rather be drunk on the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and to be eagerly desiring the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy (1 Cor. 14:1), which he said not to be despising (1 Thess. 5:20). Furthermore, Yeshua Jesus taught that this should be the norm among His followers, not the exception (Jn. 3:1-21).
   Those who teach against the Holy Spirit for today are at a loss at trying to explain why they do not have the manifestations of the Ruach HaKodesh as the Scriptures so abundantly describe, and why their Church/church does not appear to be the Church that is found in the Scriptures when it comes to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They may also be at a loss in trying to explain how they do not need the Holy Spirit to be guiding and leading them. Not having the Ruach HaKodesh was sometimes considered a sign that God was not with people (1 Sam. 16:14; 28:15; Ps. 51:11; 74:9; Lam. 2:9; Micah 3:5-7). Also, 2 Tim. 3:5 can be interpreted as saying that in the End Times there will be people calling themselves "Christian" who are denying the power of the Ruach HaKodesh in living the godly Christian life (as the power of godliness can certainly be understood as the Ruach HaKodesh, and this from Paul himself (Rom. 7-8)).
   My experience with becoming filled with the Ruach HaKodesh was intense, but it is my understanding that this happens at differing times and in differing ways for different people and their circumstances. Some want to say that my experience was not from God. They should be extremely cautious in their judgment as it can certainly appear that the worst sin in Scripture is to attribute the satanic/demonic to the Holy Spirit (Mk. 3:29; Lk. 12:10). Some are under the impression that all must receive and experience tongues in order for their experience to be validated. My understanding is that different people have different experiences. Man should be careful not to be putting God in a box and should be careful about judging other's experiences. Yes, tongues can be expected (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6), but the Scriptures do not say that everyone who receives the Ruach HaKodesh will be speaking in tongues. There are only about three conversion related passages showing where people began to experience tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6), the other conversion experiences throughout Acts do not mention tongues (cf. Acts 8:26-40). Acts 2:4 in the Greek does not say that all of the disciples were speaking in other tongues, but that "they began to be speaking in other/different tongues, just as the Spirit/Ruach was giving them to be speaking." The Ruach HaKodesh was the One giving and leading. They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, but the Ruach HaKodesh was leading the speaking in tongues and the Scriptures do not say that they were all speaking in tongues. And if the Scriptures do not say that tongues must be present before a person is considered as being saved, then man should not be telling people that they are lost unless they are speaking in tongues. This leads to people pretending to be speaking in tongues (not being led by the Ruach HaKodesh), even people who are not striving to be walking in holiness and not striving to be living Yeshua HaMashiach. Using tongues as a test of salvation or fellowship is not in the Scriptures and is dividing the Body of Messiah Christ and this is sinful. The true test of salvation according to the Scriptures is whether one is following Yeshua Jesus, not speaking in tongues. There are saved Holy Spirit-filled Christians who do not speak in tongues. There are people who speak in tongues who are not saved.
   This brings up the question of whether one has to have experienced an intense filling of the Ruach HaKodesh in order to be saved. Some interpret from Jn. 3:5 that this is a pre-requisite to salvation. Once again, the danger is in judging everyone else according to one's own personal experience. Those who experienced tongues may want to judge those who did not. Those who did not experience tongues may want to judge those who did and even wonder if they really received tongues. Instead of trying to make everyone conform to our experience, let us be breaking down unscriptural, divisive and denominational walls and put up walls only where the Scriptures teach us to be putting up walls. "'Do not go beyond what is written.' Then you will not take pride in one man over against another." (1 Cor. 4:6b, NIV).
   My understanding is that there are different levels of the Ruach HaKodesh (cf. Jn. 3:34 and the workings of the Holy Spirit in Peter and Paul) and being filled more and more by the Ruach HaKodesh is a goal to be seeking, but I do not believe that those who have not experienced the filling in a physically noticable way are necessarily lost just like those who say the prayer or are immersed are not necessarily saved. I believe the Scriptures teach that there are differing levels of the Ruach HaKodesh (Jn. 3:34). I believe that one may have a saving level of the Ruach HaKodesh without actually physically feeling or detecting the Spirit's presence physically. (People are different and people's experiences are different and this is Scriptural.) I believe the Scriptural test for whether one has the Ruach HaKodesh or not is whether they are having more victory over sin and whether they are growing more into God or not--are they on the journey? What are the fruits of their experience? Do they have less desire for sin, more desire for holiness and pleasing God? Are they loving God and people more? My experience made me addicted to God and His Ruach HaKodesh and to His word. The Ruach HaKodesh led me into having more victory over sin, an addiction was broken and I could not get enough of God and His word.
   In my season of seeking the filling of the Ruach HaKodesh, I felt an approaching presence a couple of different times but I tensed up out of fear and it left. My understanding is that God does not force this on anyone, and that fear can block the filling from occurring. I decided that if I felt this presence again I would try not to be afraid and just try to receive. Sometime later I was on the floor in prayer and was kissing Yeshua Jesus' feet and I felt the approaching presence again. When I tried to loosen up and receive, I felt as if a thick presence of love was being poured into my head and neck. Wow! It was without exception the best feeling that I have ever experienced. It was so strong and it lasted for weeks. I still feel it at times. This is why some say that "there is no high like the Most High God."
   Shavuot/Pentecost--This is a great time to be bringing a special offering to God (Lev. 23:15-22). It is also a great time to be seeking the outpouring and the infilling of YHWH's wonderful Ruach HaKodesh! Praise God! My prayer is that all who are seeking this be granted this wonderful experience! Thank You, God!
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    Day/Moad/Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) -- (Lev. 23:23-25; see http://www.karaite-korner.org/yom_teruah.shtml (website of a non-Yeshua following Hebrew OC (Karaite) Jew, not a rabbinic Jew; this is not an endorsement of everything there); accessed 3/9/10)
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    Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) -- (Lev. 23:26-32)
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    Moad/Feast of Tabernacles/Booths (Chag Sukkot) -- (Lev. 23:33-44)
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   Rosh HaShana (lit. "head of the year") -- The beginning of the Hebrew OC New Year is the month of Aviv/Abib/Abiv (Ex. 12:1-2; 13:4). This month is now also referred to as Nisan. Modern Judaism (a number of changes were made to the Hebrew OC system) celebrates the Day of Trumpets as its Rosh haShanah (see http://www.karaite-korner.org/yom_teruah.shtml; (website of a non-Yeshua following Hebrew OC (Karaite) Jew, not a rabbinic Jew; this is not an endorsement of everything there); accessed 3/9/10)
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   For more information, see http://www.karaite-korner.org/ (website belonging to a non-Yeshua following Hebrew OC (Karaite) Jew, not a rabbinic Jew; this is not an endorsement of everything there); accessed 3/9/10)
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   Determining The Exact Dates of YHWH's Calendar. (For those who so desire (Col. 2:16-17; Rom. 14).)
   There are complexities involved with trying to determine the exact dates of YHWH's calendar, but it all comes down to determining the date of the New Moon, as YHWH's calendar is based upon the moon and adjusted by time of the readiness of the barley in Jerusalem. The Scriptures do not tell us exactly what constitutes a New Moon but it appears that all the ancient evidence points in the direction of it being the first visible crescent observable in Jerusalem (this varies by location) after the moon has complete its darkened phase (the astronomical "new moon") which can last from approx. 1.5 days to 3.5 days. A case could be made for the New Moon being when the moon entered its darkened phase (cf. the first Hebrew day beginning at sundown), but it appears that this was not an issue in ancient times and so it would appear that this would not be helpful to the discussion now. Another complexity has to do with the weather situation. On cloudy, rainy, stormy nights, the New Moon observation can be missed. However, since the lunar month can only be 29 or 30 days (approx. 29 1/2 days), it is not that difficult to know within one day when the next New Moon will be or when the last New Moon was. Another complexity for those who do not live in Jerusalem is that the New Moon was determined according to its being observed in Jerusalem as this varies from location to location. After the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, a calculated calendar was created in order to observe the holy days. This calculated calendar has continued to this day. As most who are observing the Hebrew holidays do not live in Jerusalem, most are using the calculated calendar, apparently even most of the Jews living in Israel today. The current dates given below are from this calculated calendar. There are both Jews and Christians, though, who have gone back to a calendar system based upon observation. This calendar and information about it can be seen in "The Karaite Korner" (http://www.karaite-korner.org/ (website belonging to a non-Yeshua following Hebrew OC (Karaite) Jew, not a rabbinic Jew; this is not an endorsement of everything there); accessed 3/16/10). I have not completely migrated to this system but I probably should be doing this as it appears that this system is the system used by the ancient Hebrews. One difficulty in using this in modern times is that the day on which Holy Days will land is not known until the first day of the month has been established and this can cause difficulty for those who need more time that this allows in order to plan their days off from their normal work. YHWH made provisions in the OC for those who for some reason could not partake of the Passover in the first month for them to have the opportunity to celebrate it the next month (Num. 9:1-14) and this was practiced also in 2 Chron. 30:1-4. The Law of Moses is no longer binding, and the keeping of YHWH's holy days are no longer required, but I do believe that YHWH is still keeping His calendar (implied in the Greek of Col. 2:16-17, seen in the KJV, and in the OC prophecies about the Millennium) and that the best thing, in my opinion, would be to try to observe it as closely as possible. More information concerning the Hebrew calendar can be seen at the above website and at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar (accessed 3/16/10).
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   Celebrating YHWH's Calendar. (For those who so desire (Col. 2:16-17; Rom. 14).)
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    The following was for last year, 2010! 
    March 15, 2010 at sundown and day of March 16, 2010 (according to the widely used calculated calendar; as the Hebrew day begins at sundown (Gen. 1)) is a New Moon or Rosh Chodesh (lit. "head of month"). (This according to the calculated calendar. According to the OC calendar system and observations of the moon this will be the evening of March 17, 2010 and day of March 18, 2010. This New Moon of Aviv/Abib/Abiv (now referred to as Nisan) also marks the biblical Rosh HaShana or New Year! (see "New Moon" above for some suggestions in how to celebrate) Celebrate and Honor God (in this way or in whatever biblical way you so choose! Just "Whatever you do in word or deed..."), make your true Father happy! Live to make His day! Thank You, Father YHWH! Thank You, Yeshua Jesus! And thank You, Ruach haKodesh!
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    March 30, 2010 at sundown (and day of March 31 according to the OC calendar system and observations of the moon) is Nisan 14-the day of Pesach or Passover! The Passover meal is observed, however, on the evening ending Nisan 14 and beginning Nisan 15 (the evening of March 31), which begins the Chag HaMatzot or the Moad/Feast of Unleavened Bread. (According to the calculated calendar Pesach/Passover begins the evening of March 28, 2010 with the meal eaten on the evening of March 29, 2010 which begins Chag HaMatzot or the Moad/Feast of Unleavened Bread).
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    Chag HaMatzot or the Moad/Feast of Unleavened Bread--days April 1-7, 2010; April 1 (beginning evening of March 31) is a day off from regular work and April 7 (beginning evening of April 6) is a day off from regular work (Lev. 23:7, 8).
    Chag HaBikkurim or Day of Firstfruits--Sunday April 4, 2010 (begins evening of April 3) in the midst of Chag HaMatzot or Moad/Feast of Unleavened Bread.
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    April 15, 2010, the new moon was spotted from Israel! Sundown begins the second month. Have a celebration for God! Celebrate God! Rosh Chodesh Sameach! Happy New Moon!
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     Chag Shavuot/Pentecost or Moad/Feast of Weeks--(one day only) Sunday May 23, 2010 (begins evening of May 22); This is also a day off from regular work (Lev. 23:21).
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