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Calculating the New Year: Abib Barley and the New Moon

Posted Mar 11, 2016 by Adrian Ebens in Statutes and Judgements
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Psa 104:19  He appointed the moon for seasons: [appointed times] the sun knoweth his going down.

Rev 12:1  And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

Eze 46:1  Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.

Act 3:19  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the [appointed] times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Exo 31:17  It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

At the feast of tabernacles in 2013 after months of Bible study, prayer and an experience in the feasts of the Lord, I was deeply impressed to take my stand to remember the Law of Moses with the statutes and judgments.  

Mal 4:4  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

It is hard to describe the outpouring of the Spirit that we received in this gathering and the sense of joy and communion of the Holy Spirit that was experienced at that time. You can get a taste of it form this video.

I commenced the final meeting of the last great day with the words "who shall believe our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed." I said this knowing that many would not receive this report and would rise up against it. Yet with the same conviction I held when I looked into the starry heavens and confessed my faith in the begotten Son of God and sensed a deep wave of forgiveness pass over me from my Saviour for ignorantly worshipping a false god, so to, at this time I knew that I had been ignorantly missing several of the Father’s appointed times to pour out His Spirit at the times and seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.

From that time I began my search to know our Father’s appointments. Many voices were crying out as to when these appointments should take place. At times sharp discussions would take place and the resulting heat would convince those who despise the law of God through Moses that this is the fruit of those who wander off the path of truth. As I prayed to my Father about this difficulty I was encouraged to be patient and take my time and not rush this process. I was impressed to simply enjoy the reality of the existence of special seasons during the year to expand the Sabbath fountain of blessing. Immediately after the repeating of the 10 commandments on Mt Sinai, the Lord provided an expansion of several of the principles in these commandments. In Exodus 23 when speaking to the principle of the Sabbath we are told:

Exo 23:13-17  And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.  (14)  Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.  (15)  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:)  (16)  And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.  (17)  Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

This command concerning the appointed times in Ex 23 occurred before Moses was shut in the cloud for forty days and forty nights to receive the instructions concerning the sanctuary and its services.

Exo 24:18  And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

While it is relatively easy to determine the timing of the weekly Sabbath, it was not so clear to me when we should gather the three times in the year to receive the Spirit of rest and refreshing.

Gen 1:14,16  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, [appointed times] and for days, and years:  …And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

Psa 104:19  He appointed the moon for seasons: [appointed times] the sun knoweth his going down.

The above verses made it clear that the sun and the moon were part of the Father’s great clock to determine the times and seasons not only of the visible physical world but also of the invisible spiritual world. it also has recently become evident that the seasons in Genesis 1:14 could not be summer, Autumn, winter and Spring for in Eden there was a constant climate, so these seasons must refer specifically to the spiritual appointments that were ordained by God.

The key to knowing how to use this clock was to know when to start the clock. How does the Bible tell us that we should start the year in order to count the seven moons from Passover through to Tabernacles? With my limited knowledge I was introduced to the method of the spring vernal equinox of the northern hemisphere. In rough terms this basically meant that when day and night became equal (around March 21) in the spring you should look for the next new moon to begin the year. I discovered that some of the Adventist pioneers had appealed to this method and I was presented with a footnote from Great Controversy explaining the use of the vernal equinox.

"Anciently the year did not commence in midwinter, as now, but at the first new moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, as the period of 2300 days was begun in a year reckoned by the ancient method, it was considered necessary to conform to that method to its close. Hence, 1843 was counted as ending in the spring, and not in the winter." the great controversy, 1888 edition, p 681.

On the basis that many people were using the vernal equinox within the Advent movement and in terms of finding a clear way of determining a start point for the whole world, it made sense to me that the vernal equinox would be the best method to use. I use the words made sense on the basis of the limited information I had and also that many people were using this method. As I was fairly new to all this and because I wanted to simply get adjusted to working with a calendar with the appointed feasts I decided to just settle upon this method until more light would come and I was more familiar with this subject. I also did this because I did not want my joy of finding the appointed refreshments of the Lord to be swallowed up in a debate about how this should be calculated. I also did not want to impose on the groups I was fellowshipping with my ideas of when to gather. I felt it best to leave this to those who were leading out in that local setting.

I was then introduced to the passages in the Bible that tell us when the New Year begins.

Exo 23:15  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:)

Remember Exodus 23 occurs before Moses was called into the mountain for detailed instruction concerning the sanctuary, sacrifices and priesthood.

Deu 16:1  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.

 What is Abib?

 Exo 9:31  And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, [abib] and the flax was bolled.   

The Strongs entry for this is:

From an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, that is a young ear of grain; hence the name of the month Abib or Nisan: - Abib, ear, green ears of corn.

So the Abib refers to the ripening of the barley to a state of readiness for offering a wave sheaf.

Lev 23:10-11  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:  (11)  And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

So in short from my research the Bible teaches that the beginning of the New Year begins the first new moon after the Barley become Abib.

I wondered whether I should base my calculation of a crop report of the Barley in Israel. Should I really be concerned about what was happening in that city? A number of those around me rejected the idea that we can base our timing of the feasts on some flimsy report from the Jews in Israel. It appears this was the contention of Constantine also.

“For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things. For how should they be capable of forming a sound judgment, who, since their parricidal guilt in slaying their Lord, have been subject to the direction, not of reason, but of ungoverned passion, and are swayed by every impulse of the mad spirit that is in them? Hence it is that on this point as well as others they have no perception of the truth, so that, being altogether ignorant of the true adjustment of this question, they sometimes celebrate Easter twice in the same year. Why then should we follow those who are confessedly in grievous error? Surely we shall never consent to keep this feast a second time in the same year.” Constantine,  Eusebius, Life of Constantine, Chapter 18

There was no way that Constantine was going to base Christian festivals on Jewish crop reports or depend on them in any way. At the time I was not aware of this history concerning Constantine but I was made aware of the Midnight Cry raised by Samuel Snow in mid 1844. Note carefully his assessment

 In the midst of the week Jesus caused the sacrifice and the oblation to cease by offering himself as a Lamb, without spot, to God upon the cross. The Hebrew word translated "midst," is by the Lexicon defined, "half, half part, middle, midst." The week was divided into two halves, and the event which was thus to divide it was the death of' Christ. This event took place, according to Dr. Hales, one of the ablest and best chronologers in the spring of A. D. 31. Ferguson has placed it in A D. 33; but in order to prove he assumes the Rabbinical mode of reckoning the year, which is not correct. They commence the year with the new in moon in March; but the Caraites with the new moon in April. The word Caraite signifies "one perfect in the law." These accuse the Rabbins of having departed from the law, and conformed to the customs of the heathen; and the charge is just, as they regulate their year by the vernal equinox, in imitation of the Romans; whereas the law says nothing of the vernal equinox; but required, on the 16th day of the first month, the offering of the first fruits of the barley harvest. But if the year be commenced according to the Rabbins with the new moon in March, the barley harvest could not possibly be ripe in 16 days from that time. The Caraites are therefore undoubtedly correct. Samuel Snow, The True Midnight Cry, August 22, 1844.

This became extremely significant to me. The true midnight cry given in 1844 that prepared the way for a mighty movement of the Spirit was based upon the Karaite Jewish method of calculating the Abib Barley. I recalled the words of Ellen White

On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. EW 14.

The Midnight Cry was the great light at the head of the path and would light the path all the way to the city. Would it be wise to reject the Midnight Cry message in favour of a system of calculation used by Constantine and the Romans? I did not like the thought of that at all.

I further learned that the word for year in the Hebrew was made of three Hebrew letters. The first letter represented a set of teeth. The second letter represented a seed, and the third letter represented a man waving his arms. So the beginning of the year in Hebrew was determined by a man testing grain with his teeth and then waving his arms. It was really very simple.

Many objections were raised to the Barley in Israel. What happens when they had drought? What happened when Israel was in the wilderness? What happened for the people in the dark ages who kept the feasts and lived a long way from Israel. There was no phone communication to alert them in time for the feasts. Many such arguments from silence were raised but I kept coming back to what does the Bible say and what was the Adventist Pioneer foundation? Regardless of what people did in the past, today I could get a crop report within seconds of it being declared. If I have the opportunity to follow the Bible as closely as possible shouldn’t I do it?

It was then presented to me that the use of the vernal equinox was not introduced for determining the feasts until Rabbi Hillel II in the fourth century AD when using the Biblical method was outlawed by Rome. I am always intrigued when Rome outlaws something. This means that in respect of the 2300 year prophecy that the method used for determining when the Day of Atonement that occurred at the beginning of the 2300 years had to be the Barley. The method used for determining the Passover the year that Christ died was also the Barley. If this was the case for these two critical years then should not the Day of Atonement at end of the 2300 year period use the same calculation method as was used in the beginning? So we see that this is what Samuel Snow did in the Midnight Cry. He returned to the method used at the beginning of the 2300 years.

So the Bible is clear what method is to be used. The Midnight Cry was clear on what method was to be used and which one was to be rejected. So from this evidence it was clear to me that if I wanted to follow the Bible and the Adventist pioneer Midnight Cry that I need to calculate by the Abib Barley. We also know that the pioneers were referring to the new moon that rose in Jerusalem to determine Oct 22, 1844.

This movement on their [the attacking mob] part was so sudden, simultaneous, and extensive, with its manifestation on the first day of the Jewish 7th month-the new moon being probably seen in Judea on the second evening from its change, when it would be one day and seventeen hours old, and which corresponded with 11am in Boston-strengthened us in our opinion that this must be the month. The Advent Review, (48 Page special) Sept, 1850.

So not only did the Adventist pioneers gage the beginning of the year from a crop report from Israel they also calculated the new moon from Israel.

Now at this point many people would say “so what!” To which I reply:

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:  Acts 24:14

I have determined to build my faith upon the plain reading of Scripture in the context of the midnight cry of 1844. Now if others are not interested in this then that is fine but as for me and my house we will follow the light of the Midnight Cry all the way to the heavenly city.

For more information on calculating the beginning of the year according to the Abib or Aviv Barley then visit Nehemia Gordon’s website:

Nehemia is a Karaite Jew who lives in Israel and faithfully follows the Torah principles of determining the barley for the New Year. Just yesterday they completed the Aviv Barley search and found that it is not yet ready which means that Passover will be the 14th day from the next new moon on April 22. This does not mean that everything he teaches is correct according to my understanding. I refer to his faithfulness to determining the new year currently.

I recommend you sign up for Nehemia’s newsletter or visit his facebook page for more details on this

I want to wish everyone a blessed new year of special feasts from April next year where God’s people might receive the special seasons of refreshing from the Lord. In this message concerning these precious seasons I am reminded of these words as a blessing and a warning:

Then Jesus would encourage [15] them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, "Alleluia!" Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. EW 14,15

I will not rashly deny the light of the Midnight Cry, a light that was built upon determining the new year through the Abib Barley crop in Israel. I respect that others will see this differently and I respect that. This is my testimony and conviction and this is the next step in how we will remember the law of Moses with the statutes and the judgments and also honour pioneers of the Midnight Cry.

Below is a presentation based on this article.