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 2023/2024 Zadok calendar11 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
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
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.
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.