At the beginning of creation God gave humanity the sun and moon and seasons to mark off periods of time. ‘….and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years.’ (Genesis 1:14)
The ‘days’ on the modern calendar start at midnight and end a split second before the next midnight. Therefore we now start our days in darkness and end them in darkness too! How fitting for the world. However, on God’s Calendar, He starts the day in darkness and it ends in light. ‘And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.’ (Genesis 1:5) With God we start in darkness and end in light. In scripture we read about Joseph of Arimathea placing Jesus’ body in a nearby tomb just before sunset (John 19:42) Then Luke says, ‘It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin‘ (Luke 23:54). So we see clearly that the Bible writers knew that the new day was to begin just after sunset.
Onto the bigger yearly picture. The calendar that most of the world uses today is called a solar or Gregorian Calendar. This calendar was named after the man who first introduced it in February 1582 CE – Pope Gregory XIII. That calendar was itself a revision of the Julian calendar implemented in 45 BC by Julius Caesar. It is based upon the number of days it takes the earth to circle the sun. Since it really takes 365 & 1/4 days to circle the sun – we add 1 day every four years (known as leap year) to keep things in season.
The Biblical (Hebrew) Calendar is quite different. It is a lunar monthly calendar. It is based the moon circling the earth which happens every 29.5 days. Therefore a 12-month year is only 354 days with each month being either 29 or 30 days. To make things ‘right’ with the solar calendar – an extra month is added specifically every two or three years – like a ‘leap month’. This would be like us having two February’s every few years. When this happens – the calendar is said to be in a ‘pregnant year.’ (Incidentally – this year (2016) is a pregnant year.)
HEBREW CALENDAR FACTS
The month with the MOST Biblical holidays is the 7th month called ‘Tishri’ (corresponding with our Sept – Oct time frame.) The month God calls the first month is ‘Nisan’ which corresponds with our March – April time frame. ‘This month (Nisan) shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.’ (Exodus 12:2) So if you really want to shout ‘Happy New Year’ on God’s Calendar in 2016 – then wait until sundown on April 8th! That is when Nisan 1 starts.
Of course we know that Yeshua (Jesus) lived according to the Hebrew calendar. And we believe it is according to the Hebrew Calendar that He will return!