Biblical Astronomy of the 2016 Solar and Lunar Ecipleses on Hebrew Holy Days
Has anyone noticed that there is much controversy and confusion these days in Israel concerning the calendars of Judaism? If the Jews themselves can’t agree on which calendar applies this year, how do they expect the rest of us to know? Due to all the current controversy and confusion between these 2 calendars in Judaism, we must consider the following points, to find our way through the Hebrew Calendar Chaos of 2016.
The Biblical standard that determines the start of Hebrew Calendar months and the addition of the extra 13th month of Adar 2 should carry the most weight, not the traditions of men.(Exodus 12) tells us that the month of Spring, Abib (or Nisan), the month of the Exodus, is the “first month of the year,” and that Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are to be “at the time appointed in the month Abib, ” (Exod. 23:15). So the month of Abib sets the tone for the entire calendar year. This commandment to keep the feast “at the time appointed in the month Abib” (Exod. 23:15), means the calendar should keep Abib as close as possible to Spring (or Vernal Equinox), which allows the Moed of Passover to happen. Thus, the month of Abib is the month Passover falls in, after the Vernal Equinox. (For this reason the extra month of Adar 2 is not needed in 2016. Without the added 13th month, Passover now falls 2 days after the Vernal Equinox with a Lunar Eclipse on March 23rd, 2016!
Deut. 16:1 Observe the month of Abib and offer a Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, for it was in the month of Abib, at night, that the Lord your God freed you from Egypt.
This is tells us Spring must come first, before Passover. Logically, if the “month of Spring” is the month where Passover falls after Spring has begun, we can see where the reasoning for this thinking originated. The “month of Spring” must be the New Moon that places Passover in the month of Spring, keeping the calendar aligned with Exodus 12 and 23:15. What has contributed to the current Calendar confusion in Israel is that the Sanhedrin as the ruling authority linked with timekeeping matters related to Hebrew Feasts and Holy days, was disbanded. In ancient Israel the sighting of the Crescent Moon was the method recognized by the Sanhedrin in determining the start of the month.
This was verified by two witnesses who reported to the Sanhedrin to make the final ruling on the start of each month and Adar 2. As a result of the Dispersion of the Jews among the Gentile nations, the Sanhedrin was disbanded. Hillel wanted to find a way for Israel, to observe the Hebrew Feasts and Holy Days in unity. But with the Sanhedrin disbanded they could no longer verify the sighting of the Aviv Barley/New Moon Crescent in Israel. Since predicting the New Moon Crescent was not possible, Hillel lead a group, acting on their own authority, that decided to determine their New Moon dates based on mathematical calculation, rather than on the physical sighting of the Crescent Moon, that cannot be mathematically calculated. Hillel knew this idea was against God’s Word, but he saw no alternative for Israel to keep any vestige of their calendar intact with out these provisions. In spite of this, it still took hundreds of years for Jews around the globe to accept this as an alternative calendar, and it has become their traditional Rabbinical Calendar since then.
In modern times the dates of this Rabbinical Calendar have always varied by 1-2 days with the Aviv Barley or the sighted Crescent Moon dates; but this year of Jubilee is the first time I can recall the dates of these two calendars aligning in harmony in 2016. Even more amazing is that the alignment of these two calendars in Judaism in this special 50-year Jubilee, holy days from Purim to Hanukkah are also lining up, with the Christian Calendar from Christ’s Resurrection to Christmas. The odds of all three of these calendars lining up like this in the same year are astronomical. The other criteria related to Adar 2 and the Passover is the status of the Barley Harvest in Israel.
There are multiple groups that search out the status of the barley harvest in Israel, and I made the mistake of following the advice of one well known observer of the Crescent Mew Moons in Israel, and leader of one of these groups who reported the lack of ripeness of Barley in Israel around March 9th, 2016. This resulted in my post on March 14th, where I had agreed with adding the 2nd month of Adar, meaning the Lunar Eclipse on March 23rd would mark the Purim Feast instead of Passover. Since this single group did not find enough Aviv Barley in Israel, many are choosing to delay the Hebrew New Year by another month, while others in Israel have since omitted Adar 2 according to the Rabbinical Calendar. This confusion prompted me to make a premature call to publish the Purim Blood Moon of 2016 post on this blog. However, I view this as somewhat providential since we were able to state both cases whether the extra month of Adar 2 was added, or not. As we will see there are benefits to this occurrence.
A more prudent approach which I have now decided to follow to avoid this confusion, involves following the results of the multiple groups that search the status of the Barley harvest in Israel. As a result, I found at least 3 groups in Israel inspecting the barley status, and all have a respected history of doing this for many years. Two of 3 of these groups found barley, in sufficient enough quantities to qualify for a “wave sheaf” offering for people making sacrificial wave offerings during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, 2-3 weeks prior to being fully matured and ripe for the wave sheaf offering, [Levi. 23:9-14] and the subsequent start of the countdown to Pentecost/Feast of Weeks.
I have included links below for two of these groups that both found ripe Barley in Israel this year so you can avoid the calendar confusion yourselves:
I also must apologize to my readers for referring to the Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on March 23rd as a “Blood Moon,” and using terms like “Blood Moon Sextet/Quintet“ implying the added lunar eclipses of 2016 were also Blood Moons like those of the Blood Moon Tetrad in 2014-2015. It was not my intention to mislead anyone and I’m posting these corrections to minimize any misunderstandings that may have occurred as a result. They key point I was making in the Blood Moon Bombshell post was that the recognition of ripe Barley in Israel added two more Lunar Eclipse events in 2016, to the Blood Moon Tetrad of 2014-2015. Although the two added Lunar Eclipses on Hebrew Feast and Holy Days with the four Blood Moons do make a highly unique event including 6 Lunar Eclipses from 2014-2016, the added 2016 events do not qualify as Blood Moons. That being said, it does not make these 2016 Lunar Eclipses any less significant, or less worthy of our undivided attention, because all 6 of these qualify as Lunar Eclipses in 3 consecutive years on Hebrew Feast days, just a little different and in a separate Biblical class from the Four Blood Moons! As we consider the import of these Penumbral Lunar Eclipses in 2016, we should point out the similarity to the Penumbral Lunar Eclipses that took place in 70 AD marking the Romans destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The following summary from our Biblical Blood Moon Calendar post, shows the 70 AD Roman
Temple Destruction as Jesus Prophesied.
Solar & Lunar Eclipses from 69-71 AD. 2016 Solar & Lunar Eclipses omitting Adar 2:
Partial Lunar Sukkot 10/18/69
Total Solar Nisan 1 3/30/70 Total Solar Eclipse 3/9/2016 on Nisan 1
Penum lunar Passover 4/14/70 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Passover 3/23/2016/ Nisan 14
Annular Solar Rosh Hash 9/23/70 Annular Solar Eclipse 9/3/2016/Trumpets Feast
Penum lunar Sukkot 10/08/70 Penum Lunar Eclipse 9/16/Sukkot/9-16 to 9/23/16
Partial Lunar Purim 3/4/71
Its interesting to note that if the ripe Barley determination had been made by the Total Solar Eclipse on March 9th, 2016 it would also have aligned with Nisan 1, even as above with the same sign on 3/30/70 AD! This comparison of Solar and Lunar signs between 70 AD and 2016 is truly remarkable! Also, as we mentioned in the Purim Blood Moon post, 71 AD was the last Lunar Eclipse on Purim that we can find in the intervening period up to today. The fascinating parallel here is that these Solar and Lunar signs marked the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD, while today we are looking for the return of a Third Jerusalem Temple as the next logical step to fulfill Biblical Prophecy following up to Israel’s reclamation of Jerusalem marked by the 1967-68′ Blood Moon Tetrad, in the 6-day War with Egypt. Thus we see the importance of these Solar and Penumbral Lunar Eclipses in 2016 as they align with the only other Sun and Moon signs on Hebrew Feasts that do not cluster as Blood Moon Tetrads over the last 2000 years!
As we mentioned above, Holy Days during this special 50-yr Jubilee from Purim to Hanukkah are also lining up, with Christian Calendars from the resurrection to Christmas. The odds of all 3 of these calendars aligning in the same year are astronomical. As stated in our blog post on The Purim Blood Moon: Jesus as the Prince of Peace provided peace to both the Jews and Gentles in His spiritual body of the Church. He has removed the obstacles of the Law and the Temple ordinances between Israel and Christian believers, unifying us in the Mystery of one new spiritual man, his spiritual body, nailing those obstacles in the Law, to the Cross. Another aspect of this Mystery is found in Romans 11.
24 For if thou were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
The truth in the Mystery that Jesus as the Prince of Peace brought the Jews and Gentiles together in one Spiritual body, is based on the idea that the Gentile’s access to the Heavenly Father through Christ is based on the partial blindness that has come upon Israel, which opened the door to the Gentiles access to God’s Grace in Christ. For Messianic Jews perhaps this partial blindness is lifting, and none too soon as we approach the victorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to harvest the believers of the Church of His Spiritual Body. As we we can see the signs of the approaching Third Temple in Jerusalem manifesting before us we should be vigilant to the reality of his Return.
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