Zadok Priestly Calendar Q & Awith Sherry Sanders
The GWDF family started keeping a version of the Zadok calendar in 2017. And, like you, we had tons of questions about the calendar when we first started to obey Torah.
We have learned a lot since those early days, so we recently decided to add a “Q & A” section to our website to share what we’ve learned over the years.
Since we are receiving so many email questions about our calendar, we thought we would dedicate a page to answering your questions.
Our hope is to help you understand what we strongly feel is Yah’s appointment calendar with the people that love Him and keep His commandments. We will answer questions as they are received, and address a calendar subject each month.
Here is our most recent question…
Q: Is there a scriptural witness as to why the Zadok calendar starts in the spring?
Recently I was reading the ending of the Book of 1 Enoch chapter 82 and came upon an interesting passage about the heavenly stars’ participation in the Zadok calendar season reckoning. This passage gives us a clear understanding that the year starts in the spring, and summer finishes out the two seasons of growth. It also gives us an understanding of why Sukkot is a joyous time that is sometimes called the “Feast of Ingathering.”
And these are the orders of the stars, which are set in their places, and in their seasons, and festivals and months. And these are the names of those that lead them, who watch that they enter at their times, in their orders, in their seasons, in their months, in their periods of dominion, and in their positions. Their leaders divide the months, and for the three hundred sixty (360) days there are heads over thousands who divide the days, and for the four (4) intercalary days there are the leaders which split the four parts of the year. And these heads over thousands are intercalated between leader and leader, each behind a station, but their leaders make the division. These are the names of the leaders who divide the four parts of the year which are ordained: Milki’el, Hel’emmelek, Mel’eyal, and Narel. And the names of those who lead them: Adnar’el, and Iyasusa’el, and Elome’el—these three follow the leaders of the orders, and there is one that follows the three leaders of the orders which follows those leaders of stations that divide the four parts of the year.
In the beginning of the year Melkeyal rises first and rules, who is named Tam’aini and Sun, and all the days of his dominion, while he bears rule, are ninety-one (91) days. And these are the signs of the days which are to be seen on the earth in the days of his dominion: sweat, and heat, and stillness; and all the trees bear fruit, and leaves are produced on all the trees, and the harvest of wheat, and the rose flowers, and all the flowers that come out in the field, but the trees of the winter season become withered. And these are the names of the leaders which are under them: Berka’el, Zelebs’el, and another who is added, a head of one thousand called Hiluyaseph: and the days of the dominion of the leader are at an end. The next leader after him is Hel’emmelek, whom one names the Shining Sun, and all the days of his light are ninety-one (91) days.
And these are the signs of his days on the earth: glowing heat and dryness, and the trees ripen their fruits and produce all their fruits ripe and ready, and the sheep pair and become pregnant, and all the fruits of the earth are gathered in, as well as everything that is in the fields and in the winepress: these things take place in the days of his dominion. These are the names, and the orders, and the leaders of those heads of thousands: Gida’lyal, Ke’el, and He’el, and the name of the head of one thousand which is added to them, Asfa’el: and the days of his dominion are at an end.
My first thought after I read this was “Where are autumn and winter? Oh, I’m sure they will be addressed in the first part of chapter 83” — but it wasn’t. Then I realized our Heavenly Father is giving us a beautiful witness that the stars are signs that the Zadok calendar is an agricultural calendar based on the start of the year in the spring and then going through the summer season. These two seasons provide food that lasts through the colder autumn and winter seasons. I love witnesses when I am studying Yahuah’s perfect words.
We at GWDF are anxiously waiting for Yah’s autumn/fall feast season which is arriving very soon this year. Our prayer is that each of you have a joyful celebration during this time with others in remembrance of all Yah and Yeshua has done for us all.
Q: Why not wait until the fall Equinox occurs to start the fall season on this calendar?
The Spring Equinox is the only luminary sign we look for all year long when calculating the Zadok Priestly Calendar. The calendar year count (360 + 4 intercalary days) starts the 4th day of the week (Wednesday) following the spring Equinox every year. The four intercalary days are the only days inserted (one on the last day of each season) during the yearly count.
Jubilees 6:29-30 tells us there are 52 weeks including 52 Shabbats in our yearly count .
This year is a good example of what happens if we wait on the fall Equinox to start the fall season. The first day of fall on the Zadok calendar is on the 4th Day (Wednesday 9/20/2023). The fall Equinox occurs on (Shabbat 9/23/2023) which means we would have to wait until the following 4th day (Wednesday 9/27/2023) to resume the yearly count. This delay would make the year have 53 weeks and 53 Shabbats which would break the instructions given to Enoch for the calendar. It would also push the start of the 2024 year count back a week.
Q: Do we celebrate the new moon on the Zadok Priestly calendar?
And Yahuah 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 – RH Charles Translation
The Zadok Priestly calendar is a solar-based calendar, not a lunar-based calendar. However, the moon is a faithful witness every year. The majority of the time the Hebrew word used in the Bible for “new moon” is chodesh (H2320 kho’-desh), meaning “new moon, month, monthly, the first day of the month, the lunar month.” The Hebrew word used for “moon” is yareach (H3394 yaw-ray-’akh) meaning – moon.
Our understanding, based on the information given in Jubilees, 1 Enoch, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, is that there are four seasons in each yearly calendar cycle. The first day of each season, being the “Head of the Season” is a memorial remembrance ordained as a feast forever by Noah, based on events that occurred during the flood. The book of Jubilees gives us the most information as to why we celebrate these four feast days each year.
And on the new moon of the first month (Month 1 Day 1 Head of the New Year/spring season), on the new moon of the fourth month (Month 4 Day 1 Head of the Summer season), and on the new moon of the seventh moon (Head of the autumn/fall season/Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah), and on the new moon of the tenth month (Head of the winter season) are days of remembrance and the days of the seasons in the four divisions of the year. These are written and ordained as a testimony forever. And Noah ordained them for himself as feasts for the generations forever, so that they have become a memorial unto him. And on the new moon of the first month he was bid to make for himself an ark, and on that (day) the earth became dry and he opened (the ark) and saw the earth. And on the new moon of the fourth month, the mouths of the depths of the abysses were closed. And on the new moon of the seventh month, all the mouths of the abysses of the earth were opened, and the waters began to descend into them. And on the new moon of the tenth month, the tops of the mountains were seen, and Noah was glad. And on this account, he ordained them for himself as feasts for a memorial forever, and thus are they ordained. Jubilees Chapter 6:23-28 RH Charles
The Head of the New Year and Feast of Trumpets/Yom Teruah are both Holy Sabbath days. However, I am not able to find any reference to the other two memorial remembrance days as being Holy Sabbath days. I am retired and love Sabbath days so I count all four as Holy Sabbath days of rest.
I personally like to celebrate these memorial days by sharing a meal and blowing my shofar with friends. It is a day to reflect and meditate on the events of the flood and all the wonderful things our heavenly Father provides for His children that love Him and keep His commandments. Please let us know in the comments how you celebrate these feasts.
Q: Who is Zadok and why is this calendar the one to follow?
Zadok was a Levitical High Priest during King David’s reign over the whole nation of Israel. Zadok whose very name (Strong’s #H6659 tsaw-doke) means “righteous”, was the 11th in descent from Aaron and joined King David after Saul’s death and supported King David during trying family times with Absalom and Adonijah. He also anointed David’s son, Solomon as king over the whole nation of Israel.
Zadok’s Family Tree
The Bible tells us Zadok was a branch from a tree of righteous men who our heavenly Father appointed to do many great things over the generations. His family tree has names known to us from our Bible studies. Zadok was the son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerariah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, son of Amram, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Jacob(Israel), son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Nahor, son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Salah, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam.
A quick snapshot of some of the great things accomplished by this line of ancestors:
Enoch (Strong’s #H2585 khan-oke) means “dedicated.” Enoch was the first man to learn writing and knowledge and wisdom and wrote down the signs of heaven according to the order of their months in a book so that men might know the seasons of the years according to the order of their separate months. (Jubilees 4:17)
Noah (Strong’s #H5146 no’-akh), whose name means “rest”, was commissioned by Yahuah to build an ark. Genesis 6:18 NKJV
Abraham (Strong’s #H85 ab-raw-hawm), whose name means “father of a multitude” was promised the “land of Canaan (the promised land) ” by Yahuah. Genesis 17:8 NET
Levi (Strong’s #H3878 lay-vee), whose name means “joined to”, was given the priesthood for his actions when Shechem defiled Dinah, his sister. (Jubilees 30:18)
And thereon the Messenger opened the gates of Heaven to me, and I saw the holy temple and the Most High on the throne of glory. And He said to me, Levi, I have given you the blessings of the priesthood until I come and sojourn in the midst of Israel. Then the messenger brought me down to the earth and gave me a shield and a sword, and said to me, Execute vengeance on Shechem because of your sister Dinah, and I will be with you because the Lord has sent me. And I destroyed the sons of Hamor at that time, as it is written in the heavenly tablets. Testament of Levi 5:1-5
Phinehas (Strong’s #H6372 pee-nekh-aws), whose name means “mouth of brass”, was given a covenant of peace and an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for Yahuah and made an atonement for the children of Israel. Read Numbers 25:1-18 for the account of events.
The sons of Zadok are mentioned in Ezekiel’s future sanctuary vision:
The priests the Levites, the sons of Sadduc, who kept the charges of my sanctuary when the house of Israel went astray from me, they shall come nigh to me to minister to me and shall stand before my face to offer sacrifice to me, the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD: These shall enter into my sanctuary, and these shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charges. Ezekiel 44:15-16 LXX Septuagint
For the priests, the consecrated sons of Sadduc, who kept the charges of the house, who erred not in the error of the children of Israel, as the Levites erred. Ezekiel 48:11 LXX Septuagint
Dead Sea Scroll Calendar deciphered in the last 10 years
Several articles online use the following quote regarding the recent scroll found and deciphered regarding the calendar used by what many believe to be a group of Levitical Zadok priests, including John the Baptist, which was in the Qumran area during Yeshua’s (Jesus) lifetime.
The Qumran community used a 364-day calendar, as exemplified by Scroll 4Q324d recently published by Ratson and Ben-Dov. The scholars elaborate on the difference between the lunar calendar and the Qumran calendar in a University of Haifa press release:
“The lunar calendar, which Judaism follows today, requires a large number of human decisions. People must look at the stars and moon and report on their observations, and someone must be empowered to decide on the new moon and the application of leap years. By contrast, the 364-day calendar was perfect. Because this number can be divided by four and seven, special occasions always fall on the same day. This avoids the need to decide, for example, what happens when a particular occasion falls on the Sabbath, as often happens in the lunar calendar. The Qumran calendar is unchanging, and it appears to have embodied the beliefs of the members of this community regarding perfection and holiness.”
I love the simplicity of this calendar, and my nickname for it is “Righteous Calendar.” I pray this explanation of the Zadok Priestly calendar has been beneficial. It is an individual’s choice to decide which calendar to follow and always know we at GWDF love you no matter which one you choose.
Q: Why did my calendar start a week before your calendar, and what scripture tells you to have a week-long intercalation sometimes?
First I will explain intercalation and the way Yah’s calendar works for those that are new.
Merriam-Webster’s definition for “intercalation”: to put between or among others; an intrusive inserting of something in an existing series or sequences.
The sun’s cycle is 365.25 days a year.
Our Zadok Priestly Calendar (ZPC) or Yah’s calendar, is:
- 52 weeks (7 days each week ) = 360 days each year
- 12 months of 30 days each = 360 days each year
- 4 seasons (spring, summer, autumn/fall, and winter) -each with three (30 days each) months for a total of 90 days each season. Each season has an intercalary day (ICD) (which is not part of the 360-day count) which allows a transition period from one season to the next making a total of 364 days each year.
[See 1 Enoch 72, 82 and Jubilees 6]
The fact is these calculations still leave Yah’s perfectly divisible year to be one day short of the sun’s yearly cycle.
Now to answer the question…
My go-to scripture is Jubilees 2:9:
And Yah 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 year.
Spring is a new beginning every year in the agricultural cycle of life. Most of us today live in cities or towns and do not understand what goes on at nearby farms and ranches.
Genesis chapter 4 tells us Abel raised animals and Cain grew crops based on their first fruit offerings. Our heavenly Father’s Word is all about cycles and seasons for living.
Yah’s appointed sign for the first season of His calendar is the vernal/spring Equinox which occurs on the 24-hour day when day and nighttime hours are equal in length. This occurrence happens around March 20th each year on the Gregorian calendar and is also Yah’s appointed sign that the new year and the spring season are starting.
The Spring Equinox is part of a sequence of events that must occur in order to determine when to start a new year. The 364th day (ICD) of the previous year always occurs on the 3rd Day (Tuesday) of the weekly count. If the spring Equinox occurs on or before the 364th day is completed, the new year count will start on the next day, Day 4 (Wednesday) of that week. This sequence is consistent most of the time, however, about every six years an intercalary week is required in order for the 364-day calendar to catch up with the 365.25-day sun cycle.
- Sun’s yearly cycle 365.25 days x 5 years = 1826 days
- ZPC 364 x 5 years = 1820 days + 7 intercalary days = 1827 days
If we add the intercalary week our new year will always start in the spring when new growth takes place. If we choose not to add the intercalary week our year would eventually start in the winter when it is cold and most seeds are dormant.
The next time the Spring/Vernal Equinox occurs after the 364th day is in the year 2025. The 364th day is Day 3 (Tuesday, March 18, 2025) of that weekly count on Yah’s calendar for 2024-25. The Equinox will occur on Day 5 (Thursday, March 20, 2025) of that weekly count. The break in the yearly sequence of events will cause a delay to the start of the New Year until Day 4 (Wednesday, March 26, 2025) in the following week.