The Month Of April: April, Nissan, or Abib?

Article written by Michael Urioste

April has been an exciting month. It almost seems impossible to know where to begin. There are so many topics to discuss so I decided to do a day by day approach. So let us begin by discussing the overall significance of this month. First of all this month was in sync with the Creator’s calendar, the Jewish calendar, and the secular calendar also known as the Gregorian solar calendar. It is more likely for the days from each calendar to differ than to coincide with one another. It is even more unlikely for all three to be in sync like the case is this year. Add to the fact that the shemitah year begins in the fall of this year, and you begin to see a pattern of events unfolding that the secular world is blind to, ignorant of, or considers coincidental at best. Also, there is the four blood moon lunar eclipse phenomena, known as a tetrad, that began this year and will conclude in the fall of next year. The probability of all this happening as a coincidence starts to look pretty slim indeed. If that wasn’t enough, this shemitah will be followed by a jubilee. If everything is figured out correctly, the possibility of this being the one hundred twentieth and final jubilee are also highly probable.

 

April 1st is the day everyone knows as April Fool’s Day. Not many people take into account the history of this day. Part of the origin goes back to the implementation of the Gregorian calendar we use today. Of course, many now celebrate the “New Year’s Eve” on January 1 as a result. Before the Gregorian calendar was used, however, people would celebrate the beginning of the year on April 1st. In the Bible, the first month of the year was known as the month of Abib. “This day came ye out in the month Abib.” Exodus 13:4. “Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)” Exodus 23:15. Deutoronomy 16:1 also reads, “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” It is obvious that Passover is to be observed in the first month of the year. Leviticus 23:5 reads, “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s passover.” YHVH had the Israelites begin their biblical calendar in the month when the barely would be “abib”, the stage before being ripe, and called it the first month of the year according to the lunar cycle. The first month of the Jewish calendar is called Nissan, and usually begins close to the month of April. The days from either calendar hardly if ever coincide with one another. It is interesting to note that the word for “month” comes from the word “moon” since the months of the year were determined by one full cycle of the moon. The barely crop would begin to ripen towards the beginning of Spring. In ancient times the calendar was kept to careful observation of the lunar cycles and the barley crop. If the barley crop would not be ready, or abib, by the twelfth month, another month was added to the year allowing the barley crop to be ready. Only then could the new year begin on the beginning of the following lunar cycle. The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar while the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. The Jewish calendar today is no longer kept through observing the moon given the accuracy with which lunar cycles are calculated in advance with such precision. This allows for the printing of calendars well in advance with the dates for Passover already marked. This method does not account for the barley to be abib, however. That is one yearly event that can’t be determined in advance. Karaites, Torah observant Jews, still observe the barley to see if it is “abib” in order to know when the first month can begin in accordance to scripture. By observing the barley crop in Israel before beginning the first month, has created what many refer to as “The Creator’s Calendar”. The calendar cannot be made in advance for the entire year until the barley is ready, abib.  This calendar doesn’t always coincide with either the Jewish or Gregorian calendar. However, this allows many to keep the passover on a day that is accordance with scripture.

 

So what does all this history and comparison of calendars have to do with you and me? It reveals three different calendars to consider when determining the first month of the year. We have the Gregorian solar calendar that we use everyday. Next we have the Jewish calendar still observed by orthodox Jews. Finally we have the Creator’s calendar where all the feast days are determined by observing the seasons, or appointed times that YHVH established in Genesis 1:14, “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:”. The word seasons come from the Hebrew word “moedim” meaning appointed times. It is a direct reference to the holy days mentioned in the Bible. YHVH has dictated the seasons or appointed times since creation. It is the seven days of creation that has given humanity our weekly cycle. It is the length of a full lunar cycle that has determined the duration of our monthly cycle. YHVH also determined the end and the beginning of our yearly cycles by commanding us to observe the barley crop to begin the spring feast in conjunction with the lunar cycle. This teaches us to depend on the Creator of the universe to determine our course in life.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment in “The Month of April” series where we will delve further into the historical as well as biblical significance that revolves around this special time of year.

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