The Hebrew calendar in Jubilees and Enoch is the focus of this article. Why? Because this 364 day solar based method of timekeeping is not just a register of the year. This calendar dictates when we celebrate appointed times and marks the seasons of the year. It also serves as a token of religious identity and facilitates loving fellowship and community. Needless to say, the type of calendar we choose to follow will impact our spiritual walk in profound ways.
Essential to any calendar is the notion of order. Without order, a calendar is rendered useless. From the beginning, the Father decreed that the sun, moon, and stars would move in orderly precision along predictable paths. Consequently, these luminaries were equipped to govern the yearly, monthly, and weekly feast observances.
And on the fourth day He created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon all the earth, and to rule over the day and the night, and divide the light from the darkness.Jubilees 2:8,9 R.H. Charles translation
Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years;Genesis 1:14 The Amplified Bible
These scripture verses tell us that the sun, moon, and stars are also involved in time tracking. However, the sun was given a unique role. It was created to be a great sign, and plays a predominate part in the scheduling of sabbaths and feast days.
And God appointed the sun to be a great sign on the earth for days and for sabbaths and for months and for feasts and for years and for sabbaths of years and for jubilees and for all seasons of the years.Jubilees 2:9,10 R.H. Charles translation
And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning — three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts.Jubilees 6:32 R.H. Charles translation
As we dive deeper into a study of the Scriptures, we all come to a point when we ask questions like: “Is the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday?”, “What calendar should I use?”, or “Am I observing the right feast days?” Questions like these are not frivolous. They are the breadcrumbs of discovery that help us realize the calendar’s connection to our covenant with the Almighty. Since all believers in Messiah are destined to become part of a Kingdom of priests, having an accurate calendar is essential to fulfilling our covenant responsibilities.
But there are so many versions of the Hebrew calendar being published these days, it is hard to know which one is sanctioned by Yah. Is it the lunar, solar, or lunar-solar hybrid version? Is a year 365 or 364 days? Do “holidays” such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter meet the criteria for Yah’s appointed times? How you answer these questions will have a profound impact on your spiritual growth.
Babylon’s Influence on the Calendar
Judah’s punishment for ignoring the land rest (amongst other infractions1 they committed relative to the Covenant) landed them in Babylon for 70 years. During their captivity it appears the people began assigning Babylonian names to months of the year. Traditionally days of the week and months of the year were numerically designated (i.e. month one or day one). Ancient Hebrews began their year in the spring, in the month of Abib, which is month one. (Exodus 13:4)
In Hebrew, Abib means “fresh, young ears of barley.” During the spring feast of Unleavened Bread, barley was the grain offering as it was the first major crop to ripen for harvest. Wheat was brought as an offering during Shavuot (approximately 50 days later) when that crop ripened. Typically, wine, oil, dates, grapes and figs were brought for the autumn festival of Sukkot, held in the seventh month.2
However, the exiled Israelites of the southern kingdom began calling the first month of the liturgical year Nisan. The seventh month was called Tishrei, and was regarded as the beginning of the civil new year. Tishrei means “beginning” and originates from the Babylonian/Akkadian word tasritu.3 It includes other festivals not mentioned in Torah such as the Fast of Gedalia, Hoshanna Rabbah, and Shemini Atzeret. On the Gregorian calendar Tishrei occurs between September and October, around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Although the people were warned against worshipping strange gods, they chose to call month four Tammuz.
“Son of man,” He said to me, “do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? For they are saying, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’ ” Again, He told me, “You will see them committing even greater abominations.” Then He brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, weeping for Tammuz.4Ezekiel 8:12-14 Berean Study Bible
Some argue that 1 Kings is evidence that the Hebrews did indeed name their months of the year. They cite the following passage:
So all the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon at the annual Festival of Shelters, which is held in early autumn in the month of Ethanim.1 Kings 8:2 New Living Translation
This verse refers to Sukkot, the feast of booths or shelters. Rather than ascribe the word Ethanim5 to the name of a month, it may be better to look closer at its meaning: “steady flowings.” So, instead of being the name of a month, it is perhaps a descriptive term for the heavy rainfall that occurs during the seventh month.
Some speculate that the reason Jewish sages gave the months Babylonian names was because post-exilic Yahudim (Jews) had adopted a lunar calendar, which included Babylonian-named months. The destruction of the Temple and the decoupling from their agrarian/religious rituals during the second Temple period may have also played a part.
Most of the so-called “Jewish” calendars found online today are of Rabbinic construction and rely heavily on human observations of the moon.
However, prior to the Hasmonean period, ancient Israel marked time based on an Enochian calendar:6
- Every date on their calendar was anchored to a specific day of the week and did not changes from year to year.
- Each quarter of the calendar would begin on day four, a Wednesday. It is the day the timekeeping heavenly bodies were created.
- Each quarter-year was identical: two months of 30 days followed by a month of 31 days.
- All of the appointed times or feast days occurred on the same day of the same month each year.
- This calendar does not rely on human observation of the moon and its phases.
And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning–three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts.Jubilees 6:32,33 R.H. Charles translation
Israel (Northern Kingdom) separated from Judah (Southern Kingdom) around 930 BCE. Once Judah fell in 586 BCE it was never reformed. During the time of the Maccabean revolt, a Hasmonean dynasty began to rule and the land was controlled religiously and politically by foreign usurpers. A new Maccabean/Hasmonean priestly dynasty was formed which had nothing in common with the Aaronic priesthood.
Prior to Antiochus Epiphanes IV, the Hebrews followed a pre-calculated solar calendar. It guided their spiritual life and informed their identity as a set-apart people. To them it was a non-negotiable issue. Absolutely non-negotiable. So the Zadokite priest and others left Jerusalem and went into the wilderness of Qumran. This marked a time of historical and spiritual change for the nation.Dr. Rachel Elior, Professor of Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem
The Solar Calendar in Jubilees and Enoch
The calendar mentioned in the Book of Jubilees and Enoch is evidence of the centrality of the solar calendar in ancient Hebrew culture. This 364 day calendar formula is attributed to Enoch, who was taught how to calculate the days and appointed times by angels.7
And the sun and the stars bring in all the years exactly, so that they do not advance or delay their position by a single day unto eternity; but complete the years with perfect justice in 364 days.1 Enoch 72:128
Professor Michael Segal, lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says the Jubilees calendar plays a big role in the calendrical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
A similar calendar has been discovered in some of the Dead Sea scrolls from Qumran. A 364-day calendar is useful from the perspective that the number of days in a year is divisible by 7 (52 weeks = 364 days). Every date in the calendar is therefore anchored to a specific day of the week, and does not change from year to year. The Jubilees calendar is further divided into four quarters, each of which consists of 91 days (13 weeks of 7 days), and since this number is also divisible by 7, each date in the quarter falls out on set day of the week, without any shifts from quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year. Each quarter in the calendar begins on Wednesday, the day of the creation of the heavenly bodies relevant to time keeping (Genesis 1:14-19). Every quarter throughout history is identical, consisting of two months of 30 days and third month of 31.Author – The Book of Jubilees: Rewritten Bible, Redaction, Ideology and Theology (English: Brill; Hebrew: Magnes; 2007).
Here are the “anchored” feast days that never change based on this calendar:
- Head of the Year (1st day of month one) – always falls on the 4th day of the week (Wednesday) after the Vernal Equinox.9
- Passover (14th day of month one)
- Unleavened Bread (15th-21st day of month one)
- Shavuot/First Fruits (15th day of third month)
- Trumpets (1st day of 7th month)
- Atonement (10th day of 7th month)
- Sukkot (15th-22nd day of 7th month) [Includes the Addition]
This calendar is also divisible by 7:
- 7 days in a week
- 7 yearly festivals
- 7 Sabbaths’ countdown to Shavuot (Pentecost)
- 7 Shmita (sabbatical) years
- Enoch is the 7th from Adam
So, it would follow reason that the total number of calendar days for the year should also be divisible by 7. It is. 364 divided by 7 equals 52 weeks in a year. However, a 354 day lunar calendar is not divisible by 7, but 6. (And 6 is the number of man).
The Enoch/Jubilees/Dead Sea Scrolls calendar places the Sun in the dominant position in terms of reckoning time. Here is a grid to help you see how this calendar works.
|Month||Month||Month||Month||Length of Days||Day One Begins|
|1||4||7||10||30||Wednesday (day four)|
|2||5||8||11||30||Friday (day six)|
|3||6||9||12||31||Sunday (day one)|
Another interesting aspect of the Hebrew calendar was its relationship to the priestly courses (mismarot) outlined in 1 Chronicles. These courses would come to Jerusalem for Temple service for a week, then rotate out as the next group arrived there to do their service. Those who resided in Qumran relied upon this cycle for calendrical relevance, but also for timekeeping and historical documentation. Each sabbath, month, year and feast bore the name of a priestly family.10
Although we maintain that a solar calendar was the predominate system of timekeeping employed by faithful priests, there is evidence that they also maintained a lunisolar calendar. Authors Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise tell us:
Although the authors of the Qumran calendrical texts disdained the lunisolar calendar, a number of their writings synchronize the two versions. The reasons for this synchronization are not entirely clear, but two suggestions may be somewhere close to the mark. First, these authors considered all time holy and its measurement ordained by God. It was probably thought necessary that someone keep a proper record of its passing. Since the opponents of the authors could not be relied upon to do so — following as they did, an illicit system — the Qumran authors took the responsibility. Thus, they tracked time by the system of their opponents as well as by their own. Second, the authors of these texts certainly expected that at some time they would be in power in Jerusalem. At that time, of course, they would impose the solar calendar. But in order to know where they were in the year, they would have to know both the false lunisolar date and the real solar date. In fact, there is some evidence that at certain points in the Second Temple period the solar calendar actually was imposed, at least for short periods.The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise
This would be the equivalent of us matching the days of the week of the 365 day Gregorian calendar with the 364 day solar calendar.
Why The Calendar Is Important
As stated earlier, the calendar was and is more than just a timekeeping register of the year. It existed before Creation and was/is observed by our Heavenly Father, His Son, and the Angels. When you study the calendrical appointed times and festivals, you will be better able to comprehend events described in the Scriptures. Understanding how the calendar works gives you a deeper understanding of the biblical narratives.
The calendar is also an instrument the Father uses to facilitate fellowship with Him, and maintain loving relationships with other believers in Yeshua. We believe community is fractured when we run to and fro; observing different feast days dictated by different calendars.
We are still learning and growing in our understanding of how and when the Father wants us to observe his appointed times. We do not have all the answers. However, we are learning more and more as we comb through the Scriptures and dedicate ourselves to prayer.
To assist you in your walk, we have designed a 2022/2023 Zadok11 calendar which you can download. It corresponds to the Gregorian calendar and is easy to follow. We believe it will be a blessing to you and your family.
If you are curious to know more about the calendar, Sean Griffin and Ken Heidebrecht have put together an informative and comprehensive video to address your questions and concerns.12
DOWNLOAD THE 2023/2024 ZADOK CALENDAR
1 Jeremiah 3:11, Baruch 1:1-4, Jeremiah 3:6-10, Leviticus 20:22, Leviticus 25:18
2 The Gospel Worth Dying For, Appendix I, “The Gospel of the Kingdom in the Feasts of Yahuah”
3 Tishrei (or Tishri) begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival.
4 Tammuz , meaning Sprout of Life , was a Sumerian god of fertility.
5 Strongs #H388
6 See The Gospel Worth Dying For, Chapter 8, pages 125,126
7 1 Enoch Chapters 72-75 and Jubilees 4:23,24. We are told in Jubilees that Enoch was not translated to heaven as is often the commentary preached on Genesis 5:21-24. In the Jubilees 4 account he (Enoch) “was taken from amongst the children of men, and we (the angels) conducted him into the Garden of Eden in majesty and honour…”
8 The Book of Enoch, R.I. Burns, SageWorks Press, 2017
9 The Gregorian calendar designates January 1st as the start of the year while Rabbinic Judaism has civil and liturgical new years — Nisan and Rosh Hashanah.
10 The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise
11 Zadok was a high priest in the lineage of Aaron of the tribe of Levi (who was given the priesthood from his father Jacob). Download the 2023-2024 Calendar here.
12 Sean Griffin’s YouTube Channels are Kingdom In Context and Kingdomcast. Ken Heidebrecht’s YouTube Channel is Hanging on His Words.
Brenda Ross is a co-author of the book, “The Gospel Worth Dying For.” She enjoys writing, cooking, reading, and almost anything Sci-Fi. Her craving for learning new things will not be satisfied until she learns how to play the acoustic guitar. Brenda loves meeting new friends and spreading the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
How lovely to have found some more people following Sean and Ken! My husband and I have downloaded your 2023/2024 calendar as we are just now considering what to do about the calendar issue. So far no one has been able to answer my question about the extra 4 days. Probably it’s because I just don’t know how to ask it properly. Let’s see if you are up to the task 🙂
The tribulation being 3.5 x 360 days each = 1260 days is actual time passing, so where do those 4 extra days come in? If they are actual days (and I do not doubt they are) then their time passes also. That being the case, how can we have 1260 days instead of 1274 days for the tribulation? I get that YHWH has messages buried in the text, but we are here talking about actual passage of time in our day and those four days each year will pass also. A year or so ago, before I discovered the Zadok calendar, I “realized” that something must have to happen to knock the earth back into a 360/year cycle but that cannot be true if we are supposed to have 364 days in a year. Please tell me you have found an answer to this dilemma. Also, how do you account for the extra 365.25-364 = 1.25 days we have?
Hi Connie, thank you for your question. The intercalary day occurs 4 times each year on the last day (91st) of each season/quarter allowing 12 (30 days each) months (360 days) to become a 364 day year to line up with the yearly sun cycle. This is much like the
Gregorian calendar adding a leap year day (Feb 29) every 4 years.
There is also an intercalary week added once in a while when the spring Equinox occurs after the 364th day of the current year. The last time that happened was in the 2019/2020 calendar year. Intercalary days are mentioned in 1 Enoch chapters 75 and 82, Book of Jubilees chapter 6.
What about all the verses talking about new moon days. Is that accualy solis and equinox? What about the Enock curist the day he was born, Spring equenox we do not count that day? that is the 364th day. Put we do not count it in our days?
Caroline thank you so much for your question. The book of Jubilees 6:23-29 gives us the best answer to your question. Noah ordained the first day of
4 months (first day of each season on our calendar) months 1 spring, 4 summer, 7 fall,10 winter to be memorial days based on what happened during the flood on each of those days. Month 1 Day 1 he was bidden to make the ark. Month 4 Day 1 the mouths of the deep of the abyss were closed. Month 7 Day 1 all the mouths of the abyss were opened. Month 10 Day 1 the top of the mountains were seen. Jubilees 2:9 also states Yah appointed the sun to be the great sign for days, sabbath, months, years, and sabbath of years.
Regarding moon calculations. Just a little math fun with moon cycles.
Moon phase cycles complete in 28 days. 364/28 would suggest a 13 month luni/solar year tucked neatly into the 364 day solar year.
Just a thought.
Maybe of some interest? Moon phase cycles complete in 28 days. 364/28 would suggest a 13 month luni/solar year tucked neatly into the 364 day solar year.
Another thought: Even though luminary instruments for calculating days/times/seasons were not fashioned until day 4, it remains that the first day of the first year of all of creation would remain the correct day to begin the feast days calendar count. It would still be a fixed days calendar but the first day of calendar days would logically start on the first day of creation.
Continuing my thought above: If the weekly 7th day sabbath observation is counted from the first day of the creation, as opposed to being counted from the day the luminary instruments were given, then it seems right that the other sacred observation days on the calendar would also calculate from the first day of the year, not the 4th.
Lauren, Jubilees 2:9 states that the sun is the great light on the earth for days, weekly sabbath, months, feasts, years, sabbath of years and jubilees and for all seasons of the years. The sun was created on the 4th day of creation week along with the moon and stars. Days 1-3 of creation week are very important also just not part of the calendar count. If I start the calendar count on the first day of the week in the first month alone there would be problems. Passover (a preparation day not a High Sabbath) would fall on Day 14 the second weekly Shabbat of rest. Month 1 Day 26, Feast of Barley and the start of all (wheat, wine and oil) the First Fruits and Shavuot 7 weeks of weekly Shabbat counts would fall on the 5th day of the week (Thursday) before the first weekly Shabbat after Unleavened Bread).
However if we start our calendar count on the 4th day of the first week Passover falls on the Day 14 ( Day 3 of the week). Month 1 Day 26 falls on Day 1 of the weekly count immediately following the weekly Shabbat after ULB allowing the feasts and first fruit memorials for the rest of the year to line up beautifully. I hope this helps you in your calendar studies. Scripture references are available on the Zadok Priestly calendar download
I went to read this again to be sure.
Starting the calendar on day 4 isn’t in Enoch or Jubilees. Day 4 creation is in Genesis but who, why did someone just start calendar on day 4?
Is there anything I missed?
I really want to understand why someone began this.
Maybe I’m missing it?
I did ask in a reply. Maybe this is more clear.
I have tried to find other contacts to find out where this came from
The 364 is supposed to be uninterrupted!
If I am reading and understanding your questions correctly you are asking if the day 4 start to the new year was “arbitrarily” done. The short answer is no.
Our Creator determined the start of the calendar and instructed us on observances of certain appointed times and feast days. (Keep in mind that the calendar has eternal significance and was being observed before the creation of this early realm.)
Jubilees 2:11-22 and Genesis 1:14-19 testify that on:
Day 1 – there was light, day/night
Day 2 – firmament built
Day 3 – dry land, plants, and trees appeared
Day 4 – SUN MOON AND STARS CREATED to regulate time (hours, days,Sabbaths, months, feasts)
Day 5: sea creatures and birds
Day 6: all animals and everything that moves plus man
Day 7: rest
The year always consists of 364 days of 12 months of 30 days each, plus 4 intercalary days at the end of each 3 month period. So, months 1 & 2 are 30 days long with month 3 being 31. Months 4 & 5 are 30 days long with month 6 being 31. And so on.
Intercalary days happen four times a year on the last day (91st) of each season or quarter year. This gives us a calendar consisting of 12 /30 day months.
12 x 30 + 4 = 364 days, which lines up with the yearly sun cycle. (1 Enoch 82)
So the first day of the year, and the first day of each three-month period, will always fall on day 4 – a Wednesday.
Again Day 4 is mandated as the first day because this is the day the celestial timepieces (sun, moon, and stars) were created.
Given that day 4 started the clock/calendar, the calendrical new year will always fall on that day. Day 364 will always fall on day 3.
The beautiful thing about the Zadok/Qumran solar calendar over its lunar rival is that it results in fixed dates/days for the major feast days.
I would suggest also consulting the Dead Sea Scrolls calendrical document 4Q326. You can find out more in these books:
“The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English” by Geza Vermes, Penguin books, page 363.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls – A New Translation” by Wise, Abegg and Cook, Harper Collins, pages 404-405.
I suspect the title of the article may have implied that there was an actual calendar included in these books. One has to extrapolate from the information given in these books in order to create a workable solar calendar.
Hope this helps.
Good thinking. Even though luminary instruments for calculating days/times/seasons were not fashioned until day 4, it remains that the first day of the first year of all of creation would remain the correct day to begin the feast days calendar count. It would still be a fixed days calendar but the first day of calendar days would logically start on the first day of creation. You know, just like the calendar count does for the 7th day Sabbath as it starts from day one, not day four.
I learned of the solar calendar that has 7 months of 50 days each, plus the 14 days from spring equinox to Passover, which is the first day of Abib. Do you know of this? Is there an online source for this?
Hi Jim. No, I had not heard of this 7 month calendar of 50 days. If you find an online source please send it to me and I will take a look. As you know, one of the enemy’s deception tools is to change “times and seasons” so we are thrown off regarding Yah’s appointed times and feasts. This particular calendar could be one of those instances.