It seems that as the Scriptural year comes close to ending I always find myself doing more reading and research on the Biblical calendar. I do this I guess to refresh my mind on why I have made the decisions I have made in regards to how to begin the Biblical new year, and sometimes I do so because I have been challenged by others who feel that the method I've chosen to use is incorrect.
I have found that many in the modern "feast-keeping movement" (for lack of a better term) are very adamant that their way is the right way and that all other ways are false inventions of man. Some people will put you right into the lake of fire if you don't agree with them on the calendar. I'll be the first to say that I really would like for the Biblical calendar to be laid out in kindergarten terms in Scripture, but I've come to realize that this is just not the case. I do believe that we can arrive at some solid foundational conclusions, but when it comes to tedious points on what exactly constitutes a new moon or how exactly is the new year to be determined, the Scriptures are grey rather than black and white.
I by no means am faulting Yahweh on this point. He "calls the shots" if I may say and I believe He has placed in Scripture what we need to know for eternal salvation. All I am saying is that the exact directions for certain calendar calculations are not spelled out in the Bible. The Bible never gives us a command like this: "Thou shalt begin the first month of the year with the conjunction of the moon that takes place after the spring equinox." I currently believe that this is how the first new moon of the new year is to be determined, but I'm not going to be so one-track minded as to think that I'm 100% certain that this is how it is to be done.
I have good friends that I believe love Yahweh dearly who disagree with me on how to begin the new year. This sometimes leads me and my friends to keep feasts days in different months or new moons on different days. I do not believe that doing so marks them for destruction or that they (or me for that matter) are committing intentional sin. They could be in error, I could be in error, or we both could be in error. I believe they are trying just as much as me if not more so to do their best to serve Yahweh in the area of keeping His appointed times.
I do know some people who are very quick to bring up the issue of Jeroboam's false 8th month feast when certain feast keepers keep what they call a "late Tabernacles." For those that don't have a clue what I'm talking about go read 1 Kings 12, specifically verses 25-33, but the entire chapter should be read. Basically, Yahweh ordained that the Feast of Tabernacles be kept in the 7th month of His calendar, but Jeroboam devised a month in his own heart and thus moved the Feast from the 7th to the 8th committing all sorts of abominations along the way.
Sometimes I keep a later Tabernacles than other feast-keeping groups because I use a different method than them. There are many other people who believe as me and they too keep a "later Tabernacles" than other people in certain years. Sometimes you hear people say things like: "They are keeping Jereboam's 8th month feast!" Sometimes they say it loud and boastfully, but others say it with true concern in a gentle manner. Is there a possibility that some people are today keeping the Feast of Jeroboam?
My answer is no for the most part. Here is why. Everyone that I know personally today that keeps the Feasts of Yahweh does so genuinely wanting to keep His feast. They are not seeking to move His feast from the 7th to the 8th month on purpose. Their heart isn't seeking to make golden calves and bring in false worship. They are rather seeking to please Yahweh. Now that being said, could I among others possibly be keeping the 8th month instead of the 7th? Yes, it is possible, but the situation is not the same as with Jereboam. I am not purposefully keeping a wrong feast.
See, in the time of Jereboam there was no argument as to when the 7th month on Yahweh's calendar was. Everyone agreed because everyone knew exactly when the 7th month occurred. Therefore what Jereboam did was deliberate, intentional, and downright rebellious. Today, there exists people who love Yahweh on all sides of the calendar debate. We are discussing and debating which month is the 7th, so we should not condemn another person if they choose a different month than us because they really believe it to be the 7th. Jereboam didn't really believe that His 8th month was Yahweh's 7th month. You should see the difference.
I would suggest that you now read 2 Chronicles 30. Here we see a Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrated with a pure heart, but without all the i's dotted and t's crossed. I believe we should make an effort to dot the i's and cross the t's but if we fall short while making the effort Yahweh sees the intention of the heart. He sees that you are doing your very best and if you don't get it all exactly right it's not out of an evil intent to distort His calendar, it's simply out of lack of knowledge on our part. Sometimes we lack knowledge not because we have not studied, but simply because we just don't know - it can be that simple.
There's so much more to say, but if you study the calendar again before this new year starts, study with an open mind towards others who see things a bit differently. Recognize that people are at different stages and that at least they are trying to serve Yahweh in the area of His appointed times even though they may not see eye-to-eye with you on all the particulars.
I remember when almost everyone you met who professed Christianity wore a bracelet that had imprinted on it "WWJD?" I know, I know, not everyone wore them but you get my drift - they were very popular. The acronym stood for "What would Jesus do?" This fad urged people to think about how they lived their life by asking this question. What would Jesus do in this or that situation?
A Torah observant lifestyle takes this question to it's inevitable conclusion. What would Yeshua (Jesus) do? He would keep the commandments of his Father. He said that we shouldn't even think that He came to destroy the law and the prophets but rather to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17) and He taught others to be fulfilling the law as well (Matthew 5:19). What would Yeshua do? He would keep the Sabbath day, the holy-days, and the new moons (Leviticus 23; Isaiah 66:22-23; Ezekiel 46:1). What would Yeshua eat? He would follow the dietary laws of Scripture (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14.) What would Yeshua wear? He would dress modestly (Genesis 3:21), wear tassels on His garment (Numbers 15:37-41; Deuteronomy 22:12), and not wear clothes mixed with wool and linen (Deuteronomy 22:11). What would Yeshua teach? He would teach the Kingdom of Yahweh and for people to repent from their law breaking and believe in this Kingdom (Mark 1:15; Luke 4:43). How would Yeshua treat others? He would do unto others and He would have them do unto Him (Matthew 7:12). What would Yeshua look like? He would have a beard rather than shaving his face (Leviticus 19:27).
The list goes on and on, but the point should be clear. If we are really going to look to Yeshua as our example, shouldn't we be doing the best we know to imitate his life? If our answer is yes, then we need to be diligent to strive to be like Him and - yes - this means we need to follow all the commandments of Yahweh Almighty that are applicable to us in every area of our life.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.