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Deut. 16:1 says, "Observe the month 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." In Hebrew, the word observe means preserve, or keep, and that is the Jewish understanding of the word. Abib is another name for Nisan, the first month on the sacred calendar. From this verse we see that God particularly wanted the Jewish people to observe Passover at the correct time, and we know further that since Passover is the first annual moed, if it is kept at the proper time those that follow will also be observed in the correct seasons. This is important because those moeds are appointments that God has with man and they are dated. This commandment is the basis for the lunisolar calendar that the Jews have been using (at least) since the law was given. In their calendar, the months are determined by the phases of the moon, but the years are determined by making adjustments parallel to the seasons of the solar year.

In our Gregorian calendar, we are familiar with the concept of leap years: every fourth year February has an extra day and years ending in hundreds are leap years only if divisible by 400. Even so, from time to time fractional adjustments must be made to keep time ticking along accurately. Sometimes on New Yearís Eve a minuscule adjustment is made to the atomic clock.

The Jewish calendar is very complex and very different from ours, but it is not a three hundred sixty day calendar made up of twelve months of thirty days each. Their calendar consists of a nineteen year cycle. Of those years, twelve are regular years having 353-355 days and seven are leap years having 383-385 days. In leap years an entire month, Adar II, is added between Adar and Nisan. This is done when the vernal (spring) equinox falls later in the year than Nisan 16.  Their new year begins on Tishri 1 which falls during September or October.

In ancient times the calendar was adjusted by direct observation as confirmed by the Sanhedrin. But in 70 A.D. Jerusalem fell to Rome and the Jews began to be scattered throughout the world. This meant that the Sanhedrin was no longer able to proclaim the new moon every month and the principles of the calendar and intercalation were in danger of being forgotten. This led Rabbi Hillel II to introduce a method of calendar calculation that was adopted in 358/359 A.D. and is still in use today.

The lunar part of Hillelís calculation is accurate to one day in 14,000 years, and the solar adjustment is accurate to 6 & 2/3 (6.66) minutes per year. Today (2005) it has been 1647 years since the Jewish calendar calculation began to be used. If those 1645 years since are multiplied by 6.66 minutes, divided by 60 minutes then by 24 hours, we find that the Jewish calendar inaccuracy is currently at 7.61 days. The Jewish dates are currently falling 7.61 days later in the year than they should. Unlike our day, which is measured from midnight to midnight, the Jewish day is measured from sundown to sundown.

This calendar discrepancy is not a major issue to the Jewish people. They are well aware that it exists, but they believe that Messiah is coming soon, before they end up keeping Passover in the wrong season, and when he comes he will restore the Sanhedrin and they will correct the calendar. They actually view this discrepancy as proof of the soon coming of Messiah.  (As a side note, on October 13, 2004 a group of Jewish rabbi's in Israel, acting under Mosaic law, established a group they are calling the Sanhedrin.  We shall see what we shall see.)

There is a very interesting fact concerning this calendar discrepancy. Given the sign of the fig tree and a forty-years generation, it is very interesting to observe the date of the recapture of Jerusalem. June 7, 1967 occurred on Iyar 28, eight days before Pentecost on the Jewish calendar. But when the calendar discrepancy is taken into account, we see a correlation between Sivan 6, Pentecost, and the date of the recapture of Jerusalem. This may be a confirmation from God that the actual dates are significant in the beginning of the final generation and that the 7.61 days is the actual amount of the calendar discrepancy. (As an added note, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 adjusts to Rosh Hashanah.)

As recorded in Acts 2, the church age began on Pentecost in 30 A.D. during the third hour of the day (between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.). 1937 years later the Jews marched on the old city of Jerusalem, reached the western wall at 9:50 a.m., brought to a close the times of the Gentiles, and caused the fig tree to burst forth in leaves, not only on the anniversary of the beginning of the church age, but during the exact same hour of the day. Brigadier General Rabbi Goren blew the shofar at the wailing wall at 9:50 a.m. that morning.  Click here to see a picture of this event!! 

It appears that actual calendar dates do have significance in the fulfillment of prophecy. Times means years and the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled on June 7, 1967. This means that the Jewish calendar would at that time take on a renewed significance because the last three moeds of Lev. 23 are about to be fulfilled.

Lev. 23 uses the Hebrew word moed (appointment, set time or season) in the law regarding these festivals. Deut. 16:1 commanded the Jews to "observe the month Abib." It seems to me that God takes these dates seriously, and if He does, so do I.

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