Chapter 9 Preview: Ironically, one of the best places to learn about the Nazarene, Christian, Messianic (the kadishea’s) Biblical Calendar—to celebrate the Days that Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated, and added great meaning to, is a Karaite Jewish website. Nehemia Gordon carefully explains the original “Biblical calendar”—the calendar that Moses and Yeshua used to determine when to celebrate these days. That aspect is thoroly covered on his site. Why they are significant to Nazarenes, Christians and Messianics is an entirely different matter—covered in great detail in my WEB Book Israel’s 7 Apocalyptic Days.
See the Karaite Korner website for detailed information about aviv (or abib) barley.
(Yeshua’s Supper or “the Lord’s Supper” is commemorated in the evening. The Passover is celebrated the following evening. Passover is not a 24 hour day, it is the time when the Pascal lamb was killed. Many Christians confuse “their” Passover with the “Lord’s Supper”. Also, the Feast Of Unleavened Bread should be celebrated for seven full days, just like the Feast of Tabernacles.)
|Days begin at sunset “the evening before”.|
|Yeshua’s Supper, or “Communion”, or “the Lord’s Supper”, or the Eucharist—but NOT Passover||Tuesday, March 26 (observed in the evening)|
|Yeshua’s Passover: Yeshua crucified; Firstborn in Egypt killed||Wednesday, March 27: (observed in the evening), Yeshua was killed on Aviv 14, and buried before sunset|
|1st Day of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot)||Thursday, March 28|
|7th Day of Unleavened Bread||Wednesday, April 3|
|Pentecost (Shavuot)||Sunday, May 19|
|Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)||Likely September 8|
|Day of Atonements (Yom Kippur)||Likely September 17|
|Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)-First Day||Likely September 22|
|The Eighth Day (Shemini Atzeret)||Likely September 29|
Quotation from the “Karaite Korner Newsletter #585, New Moon Report, March 201, First Biblical Month... The new moon was not sighted tonight (Tuesday March 12) from Israel. There was a heavy haze across the country, although visibility was unlikely even under ideal weather conditions. Tomorrow night (Wednesday March 13) will be Chodesh Ha-Aviv - the New Moon of the Aviv, the beginning of the Hebrew year. Chag HaMatzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, will run from sunset on March 27 until sunset on April 3, 2013.”
The Wandering Jew in Jerusalem”
For more information on these two approaches click here.
Before going any further, you may ask how the Appointed Times (Days), based on New Moons, can be determined over six months in advance, since no one can possibly see the crescent new moons in advance. One school of thought says that we must wait for actual witnesses in Jerusalem to report new moons before determining any New Moon. Strict visibility was apparently done between about 700 BC and Hillel 2 (Patriarch 330-365 AD). In ancient times virtually everyone who celebrated the Appointed Times lived in Israel. Since the Diaspora (captivity), with the twelve tribes of Israel being scattered all over the world, any witnesses who might have slipped into Israel would only be useful about as far as they could shout. Until mass communication, anyone celebrating the Appointed Times by Scriptural standards would have had to estimate the dates by local observations. I respect strict visibility advocates and have no problem befriending them—witnesses in Jerusalem—period, end of story for them—except that even they use logic, instead of visibility, to “calculate” that a month must not exceed 30 days, even under heavy cloud cover.
An approach that takes into account that people all over the world need to know when the Appointed Times should be celebrated is briefly described on this link. The concept is addressed in a short letter. Here is an excerpt:
“A few years ago on a particular occasion the moon should have been easily visible from Israel. Indeed, on the previous evening, the moon had already been sighted half way around the world in the US. Now there is a hard and fast rule that if the moon is visible in a given location it will be visible everywhere to the west of that location on the same latitude. So if the moon was seen in the southern United States then it has to be visible in Israel (on the following evening)”.
Most of Judaism, due to being ousted from Israel by the Romans, abandoned the two sole visible factors for determining a Scripturally accurate calendar, and “temporarily” adopted a mathematically calculated calendar. This happened in the 4th century under the influence of Hillel 2. Rabbinic Jews totally ignore any actual visibility of the New Moon for determining when a month begins. Secondly, they rejected annual agricultural “leap years” based on ripening barley in Israel, (since they were no longer allowed there), to determine when a 13th month is necessary to keep the years on track.
A friend of Albert Einstein’s named Immanuel Velikovsky actually provided strong proof in his book World’s In Collision that prior to about 700 BC, every month was exactly 30 days long. This book was found open on Albert’s desk after he died. Long story short, the entire scientific community has rejected his findings—now even backed up by satellites—and swept him under the rug for rocking too many boats.
I accept 30 day long months as having been fact, at least until the some time between when Israel was taken into captivity in 721 BC, and Judah was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 603 BC. In fact Bible prophecy indicates a return to the 30 day months (but not retroactively). The book of Revelation (11:2 & 13:5) describes the Great Tribulation as lasting 42 months, while Daniel said it will last 1,260 days. 1,260 divided by 42 = 30. If this is true then neither visibility nor calculations would have been necessary before the “worlds collided” about 700 BC. Counting to 30 was all that was necessary. This would account for the lack of Scriptural commentary on sighting New Moons. It is logic that dictates that visibility is necessary. Scripture does not say how many witnesses are necessary nor where the sighting (only assumed to be the Jerusalem vicinity) must take place.
If, as I believe, Father’s International Dateline belongs on the eastern border of Israel, rather than the arbitrarily designated Pacific ocean location, then anyone living either east or west of Israel at sundown—virtually the entire planet—is actually living in the “previous day”, and anyone anywhere observing the crescent moon prior to sundown in Israel should be able to notify Israel (and everyone else), that New Moon Day will be beginning at sundown in Israel.
A fascinating article timing the birth of the Messiah to the hour is found here. The article starts out a little bothersome, but then it gets really interesting in connection with the crescent New Moon described in Revelation! Disclaimer
New Moons and Aviv are the only requirements for a calendar, other than knowing what constitutes a day—days, months and years. Now about Aviv, (to determine “New Year’s Day”):
Pictures of the barley are posted on Nehemia Gordon’s Facebook page at: Nehemia Gordon
An excellent article that addresses almost every conceivable argument by those wishing to promote Hillel 2’s rabbinic calendar, instead of the Biblical one, can be found on the following offsite link.
Plants “know” when to grow. While plant maturity can be delayed by later planting dates, maturity basically can’t be hastened by earlier planting dates. In fact some gardeners and farmers plant their spring crops in late fall, knowing that the seeds of most crops won’t germinate and grow during the winter months. The green calendar or growing season is then left up to Yehovah. It is up to Him to send the rains (and temperatures) in due season:
Leviticus 26:3-5 ‘If you ‘live’ by My statutes, and obey My Commandments, actually do them, 4 then I’ll send you your rain in the right season, and the land will yield produce, and the trees in the fields will produce their fruit. 5 Your threshing will ‘continue’ until the grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting time [Clarke’s]! You’ll eat your fill of food, and live securely in your own land.
Various green (agricultural) calendars have been observed over the millennia. Perhaps Linnaeus read the Bible:
The act of plant watching has had a long tradition and rich history. In 1750 the Swedish scientist and artist Linnaeus turned plant watching into a systematic science. He made calendars of flowering times for 18 places in Sweden, also noting the exact climatic conditions at these times. This research was the foundation of modern plant phenology which spread too many European countries and revealed, over the centuries, that some spring wildflowers are super-sensitive weather instruments. (link)
Father chose what we call phenology to mark the beginning of the New Year. What is that?
Phenology: The name of this method is Greek for “the science of appearances”. Annual occurrences—or “appearances”—in the growth of plants and the behavior of wild animals are used to determine when cultivated plants should be sown, fertilized, sprayed, or pruned. Although the principle has been used since ancient times, it’s becoming an ever more exact science with practitioners around the world keeping detailed records of the yearly cycles in their gardens. Because this method allows nature to indicate appropriate planting times, it’s quite precise. (link)
A wide range of signs are utilized, from the first open leaf and flower buds, the migration of birds to hatching insect. Coordinated efforts are being made to find more of these signs. Timings of phenological events are ideal and fascinating indicators of biological things to come.
Yehovah (God) told Moses to begin the year utilizing a phenologic sign He called Aviv.
Aviv is not the name of a month-it is the condition of a month! The “month” of Aviv literally means: The moon (lunar cycle) with “young barley ears”. (There was no corn in that half of the world).
Speaking of the time when Israel left Egypt:
Exodus 13:4 Today, in the month Aviv, you’re leaving. [the Exodus].
Several phenological indicator plants are mentioned during the Exodus but the barley specifies the growth stage of the plant necessary for calendrical use.
Exodus 9:31-33 (The flax and the barley were destroyed, since the barley had formed heads, and the flax was in bloom. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were destroyed, since they ripen later.) 33 Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city, and spread out his hands to Yehovah, and the thundering and hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured down on the earth.
The best planting dates can’t be determined by the date on a solar equinox calendar. Millions of farmers in the past have relied on lunar cycles for the best results. However since scientists have relatively recently moved the finish line on what a new moon is—using an astrologically determined invisible conjunction rather than visible moon signs, the results have been skewed for many because of the one to two day discrepancy. Another problem with “planting by the moon” is knowing which new moon to plant in. For that you also need to use a phenological indicator. Moon sign planting is considered superstition to many people who do not believe that:
Genesis 1:14 Then Elohim said, “There should be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, they should be for signs [of things to come], and Appointed Festivals [not seasons], days and years,
There are substitutional methods of determining when to plant. Using historical average first and last frost dates on a solar calendar and soil temperature readings to choose planting dates works most years, but it still exposes plants to injury or death if the presumed planting dates are up to a month (moon) off.
In the future everyone will be involved with their own food production. The Everlasting Kingdom will be an agriculturally based kingdom to keep people “grounded”. The Kingdom of Elohim will be an Edenic garden.
Isaiah 51:3 Yehovah will comfort Zion. He’ll have compassion on all her ruin, and make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like Yehovah’s garden. Joy and happiness will be found there, thanksgiving, and the sound of music.
Ezekiel 48:16-17, 19 These are the dimensions: the north side 4,500 cubits, and the south side 4,500 cubits, the east side 4,500 cubits, and the west side 4,500 cubits. 17 The city will have open land extending northward 250 cubits, and southward 250 cubits, and eastward 250 cubits, and westward 250 cubits. ... 19 The city workers from all the tribes of Israel, will ‘grow food’ on it.
(A short digression leading up to Determining Aviv (or Aviv) Barley)
Hopefully my experiences with plants will help illustrate why I endorse Nehemia Gordon’s efforts to make known the Scriptural calendar requirements. During the Diaspora, (when Jews were scattered all over the world) Hillel 2 constructed a “temporary” calculated calendar because checking on the state of the aviv in Israel and distributing the determination to the rest of the world was virtually impossible.
Over the last 40 years I have spent a lot of time studying the Bible. However, because I relied too much on “professionals” to tell me what the Bible meant, I actually spent more time studying plants until the last few years—when new found truth forced me to investigate what the Bible actually says. I justified limiting my Bible studies because the conclusions that I was reaching contradicted what the “true church” was telling me. I was baffled by what I was finding! Yet the biggest reason that I spent so much time studying plants was because I hoped that by doing so, Father would give me a cabinet position in agriculture in the Kingdom of Elohim. No bean or pepper has ever given me any grief!
I have records of the hundreds of varieties of crops that I have grown over the years. Most exciting to me are the plant varieties that I have created myself, a couple of which the Seed Savers Exchange, Inc will be making available to the public as public domain (meaning non patented) varieties.
Father has admonished us not to utilize hybrid crops and mixed breed animals. Nevertheless, hybridization has been the standard policy for all of modern agriculture since the 1950’s.
Leviticus 19:19 ‘You must obey My statutes. ‘You must not crossbreed two different breeds of animals. ‘You must not sow your fields with hybrid crops or wear clothing made of linen and wool woven together.
Before I talk specifically about barley I suppose that this is a good place to mention that there is an easy way to “de-hybridize” hybrid seeds. Open pollinated seeds are virtually absent from many seed sources. Essentially, you just begin saving seeds from your hybrid plants and use them the next year. There will be considerable variation among the offspring, that I find fascinating in itself. Any one of these could become a variety that you could put your name on, sort of like Adam did. You simply select the plants that taste the best or have other characteristics that you like and save its seeds. This variability is the plants way of returning to a variable condition. Every possible variation that is within the genes of the second generation hybrid will make itself known. The more plants you plant, the better the odds that you could find a truly superior plant to work with. Every seedling will be unique, somewhat as in nature.
This feature of a natural barley plant has been criticized as “multiple stages of growth simultaneously”. Plant breeders can make the equivalent of “identical twins” out of our crops. That is the appeal of hybrids for one pass machine harvest etc., but this lack of variation puts the world in jeopardy. A single plant virus could wipe out an entire nation (or many nations) harvests of any particular major crop because all of the modern strains share so few genes that the entire food crop has the same weaknesses. In the 1970’s such a situation partially occurred in the corn crop. Much of the U.S. had corn derived from a small genetic pool; total crop failures in those inbred crops resulted from a virus. Of course now things are worse. The genetic gene pool is shrinking rapidly. I believe that part of the Deuteronomy curse could be a result of our hybridized agriculture.
In corn, I select offspring for a dozen different factors for a period of years, but I get to eat all of the delicious “failures”. After only two years you start to see considerable uniformity forming among your crops. The more years that you select offspring, the more uniform the crop. Selecting the best offspring is totally unnatural, that is why a wild stand of, say barley, has so much variation built into it. When a group of plants ripens over a period of time, instead of all at once, the species has a better chance of surviving. Hungry animals will not find all of the seed available for consumption at one time; so some will mature and fall to the ground when the hungry critters are not looking. Some seed will fall when weather conditions are more favorable. Other seed will mature when birds happen by. Birds fly off and “plant” lots of seed.
Indigenous peoples the world over have developed what is known as landraces of crops. This is close to the ideal situation. While they have a fair amount of variability, they are not “varieties” as we have today. Many landraces are still in existence where the seed companies have not set foot, but the number is falling off rapidly. Europe essentially made them and family heirloom varieties illegal to own-in favor of the corporations and patented varieties, particularly hybrids.
Almost everyone thinks that second generation hybrid seed is sterile, like a mule. That only happens when the parents are extremely unrelated, but still part of the same genus. Father’s charge above is really giving farmers some practical advice on agriculture. This advice has essentially been followed for all of history until recent years because it is profitable for the farmer. The big lie is that hybrids are said to be superior. They call it hybrid vigor. Generally there is absolutely no “vigor” present! The only reason hybrids are made is to stop farmers and gardeners from saving their own seeds! Corn is one of the few plants to actually show hybrid vigor, but hybrid corn does not take up minerals from the soil, they are junk food, yet open pollinated (natural) corn makes up approximately 0% of the U.S. harvest! Now, the first hybrid barley is about to hit the market.
Modern farmers have been duped into becoming the slaves of the major seed producers. They are entirely dependent on seed suppliers and fertilizer companies and others every step of the way. Most still receive for their crop only what giant corporations will give them.
Up until 2005, everyone I knew of who celebrated the Scriptural (aviv/barley) calendar relied on new moon & aviv reports from Nehemia Gordon and his extensive experience with finding wild stands of barley in its various stages of growth. Some modern strains do not ripen at the same time as the more primitive strains used by our forefathers. This is true of virtually every crop.
Adam and Eve would barely recognize anything that we eat today. For example, the Romans developed cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, brussel sprouts, kale, and probably a few others that I’ve forgotten to mention, from a single weed. That is the up side. The down side, as far as aviv is concerned, is that modern four and six row barleys generally take considerably longer to develop, because there is more plant to grow. In the case of barley, an extra month or more for the more developed strains is probably the norm.
We don’t have access to the old strains of barley, so as Nehemia Gordon has been doing for years, he and other volunteers search for the earliest mature barley, which is the 2 row stands of both wild and farmed varieties. There is something to be said about the wild plants. Plant breeders can easily create varieties that come on later in the season; all they have to do is save seed from the latest plants to ripen. Breeders are even well under way to creating perennial grains so that they growers would not have to plant every year—by just saving the right seeds. (No till farming, such as this uses far more chemicals.) However it would take genetic engineering (like crossing tomatoes with fish, which has been done) to create earlier strains of barley. This will not happen because there is no economic incentive to do so. In fact the result would be counterproductive—smaller grain. Searching for wild barley eliminates many of the variables that are present when you factor modern agriculture into the picture. Different farmers plant barley at different times, which inevitably influences the life cycle, as does the levels of fertilization; also highly artificial. So some stands of barley may be delayed due to the activities of the farmer. Using wild barley that has reseeded itself is the ultimate way to factor Father into the equation! However, goats and sheep grazing on the vast areas where barley is growing poses a significant obstacle (Uncontrolled grazing is the primary reason why we have so many deserts today!) This makes a protected nature preserve an excellent place to search.
While doing a web search to find out why some people have trouble with barley as an indicator of “spring”, I quickly came across a website from a former aviv/crescent moon adherent. His skewed findings are readily dismissed when you consider that the two earliest maturing varieties that he considered were both 6 Row varieties; a type that did not even exist in ancient Israel! Pictures of both Poco and Barcott barley are on his website: http://www.users.qwest.net/~zadok1/barl2002.html
As a soil science enthusiast, I know that the cultivated soils are in far worse condition than soils not raped by the greed and ignorance of generations of soil managers. In the U.S., the depth of our topsoil is only a small fraction of what it was before the first plow scarred the soil. The wild areas that have not been farmed are quite often more fertile than the fields. Even a simple soil test taken from a fence row between fields is an astonishing witness against what goes on a few feet away.
Some say that only the “good ground” should be considered when looking for aviv. But the level ground is all under artificial management. It is actually the small out of the way places that would generally be the good ground—so long as it is “ground” and not stone. There is a cemetery near me that dates back to pioneer days. It has never been tilled and the entire area is raised up at least a foot higher than the surrounding area due to the thickness of the topsoil. As far as the eye can see from that cemetery, the land is flat as a pancake—and lower!
Old roadsides, from which the topsoil has not been removed or buried by modern machinery, have suffered much less abuse than where the plow furrow begins. If it were not for the higher lead content of the soil, from decades of leaded fuels being burned there, it would be an ideal place to grow things. Even my gravel driveway is an interesting case in point. There is a distinct 18” band of grass lining all 700’ of my drive. It is a result of the stone being so close. Soils are made from stone! The minerals present in the gravel causes that strip of grass to grow twice as fast and it is twice as green.
Grass is the perfect soil restorer. Ruined farmland can recover an inch of topsoil in a century if left to itself. However soil left in constant tall grasses, such as grains, have been known to regenerate an inch of topsoil in seven years. The so called bad soil that is growing barley or another grass is self regenerating soil.
There is an attempt to justify using only cultivated barley for the aviv based on Matthew 13:5. Here is a quote about this line of reasoning:
“Barley growing in stony soil is not to be used, for it experiences an artificial stimulation from the rocks holding the heat etc. Read Matthew 13:5. It springs up immediately”.
Matthew 13:3-9 He spoke with them at length in analogies[Strong’s #]. He said, “Look, a sower went out to sow. 4 As he was sowing, some of the seed fell along the path, and birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on very rocky ground where there was not much soil. It sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up they were scorched. Because they couldn’t take root, they dried up. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns shot up and choked them out. 8 Other seed fell on good ground and produced a crop, some a hundred times, some sixty times, and some thirty times what was sown. 9 Anyone who has ears should listen.
Rather than the seed on the “stony soil” receiving “artificial stimulation” and flourishing, as the new view states—the parable specifies that the seeds that fell on this particular “rocky ground” were “scorched” to death by the time that the “had risen”sun because they had “no root” system! If the area “didn’t have much soil,” naturally the sprouting grains would die as soon as the rain that caused them to germinate had evaporated. This is in no way a condemnation of searching for aviv where stone is present.
The book of Matthew has absolutely nothing to do with searching for aviv. The parameters for that were laid out centuries before Matthew’s birth. Father did not wait for the book of Matthew to be written before providing His people with all of the information needed to determine when His Appointed Times should be kept.
There are significant variations in the fertility and physical conditions of most natural fields. Soil types change significantly over the distance of a few feet. There are “sweet spots” in my one acre garden and there are poor spots. There are lower spots that get too much moisture, or too little, depending on the year. There are rocky areas and there are areas without a single pebble present. What really happened is that a sower went out into his field. This field had a variety of soil conditions, both good and bad, as does my Ohio soil which is considered to be some of the best soil in the world. Notice that stony ground was mingled with the good. Several different conditions were present in the sowers’ field! Did you notice that this field had sweet spots in it that produced “one hundred” fold, other areas produced “sixty” fold while others only “thirty” fold? Such would seldom be the case in a modern spoon fed monoculture field. The harvest is much more uniform under modern conditions because the crops are fed on artificial nutrients. This parable describes a mixture of conditions in one location, which is the common denominator of two of the lengthier parables found in the same chapter as the parable of the sower! In the parable of the tares (Matthew 13), both the wheat and the tares are in the same field. In the parable of the dragnet (also Matthew 13) both good fish and bad fish are in the same dragnet. Were the parable of the sower a factor in finding aviv, I would be looking for a field with both good and bad soil and crop conditions, rather than a beautiful clean mono cultural stand!
Rather than stone being bad and forcing plants to go to seed prematurely, stone is fertilizer! I put 20 tons of sand onto a small portion of my garden last year in an experiment to counter the dense clay. It was 3” thick. I didn’t even bother to till it, I just planted into it. The crops in that soil made the identical varieties adjacent to them look like runts. So long as there is not so much stone as to crowd out the soil, and the plants, it doesn’t hurt the crop.
Much is mentioned about the weather during the week that aviv was being searched for. The weather forecast is not a Scriptural factor for determining whether or not it is “spring” yet! In fact it is not too soon to be thinking that the weather might be turning against us:
Deuteronomy 28:15-17 But if you don’t obey Yehovah your Elohim and faithfully carry out all of His Commandments and statutes that I’m giving you today, then all of these curses will come about and overwhelm you: 16 You’ll be cursed in the cities and cursed in the fields. 17 Your grain basket and your kneading bowl will be cursed.
A grain crop is not the result of a week’s weather; rather, it is the result of the weather over the lifespan of the crop. If the cumulative weather is bad enough then crops will be slowed in maturing. This is Father’s way of saying that it is still “winter”! So look to the GRAIN, not to the RAIN!
Some people object to looking for aviv in the desert areas of Israel, claiming that deserts were never meant to be agricultural areas. However we should keep in mind that Israel was never “meant” to be a desert! All of ancient Israel was Edenic:
Deuteronomy 11:8-12 So be careful to obey every commandment that I’m giving you today, so that you can be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are about to cross into and possess, 9 so that you can continue to live in the land that Yehovah swore to your ancestors and to you, their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey! 10 The land that you’re entering to take possession of isn’t like the land of Egypt that you left, where you sowed your seeds, and made irrigation channels with your foot for the enclosed gardens. 11 Rather, the land you’re about to enter is a land of hills and valleys, well watered by the rain from heaven. 12 It’s a land that Yehovah your Elohim cares for. Yehovah your Elohim continually watches over it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Nor will Israel remain an arid country. Before it even became a desert, Father, knowing the future, promised to cause the land to revert from “desert” conditions to being like “Eden” had been.
Isaiah 35:1 The wilderness and the dry land will be glad. The desert will celebrate and blossom like a rose.
The fact that barley thrives even in the desert is an indication that Father knew in advance to use a plant that would always be there for us to observe. Even when virtually every other plant and animal species is absent due to the desert conditions, the barley remains!
“Some have questioned the utilization of artificial micro environments for determining the Aviv. This would be any man made factor that was not in ancient agriculture. That is quite understandable. However, the entire world is divided into micro and macro environments. Even in tiny Israel, barley comes into production over a period of about two months. Those most favored areas, that receive at least the minimum of the necessary factors for production come on first, producing what the Bible calls “the first of the firstfruits”.
Exodus 23:19 Bring the best of the firstfruits of your land into the house of Yehovah your Elohim. ...
The very term “the first of the firstfruits” implies to me that some fields are better situated for a firstfruit crop than other fields and that of these, some parts of those fields produce a crop sooner still. I have yet to see anyone attempt to define this term! Is this simple understanding too radical?
Each subsequent week thruout the harvest brings on more harvest: what could be called the “second fruits” followed by the “third fruits” etc. On some weeks only a tiny portion of the harvest is ready. These areas are referred to as micro environments. Areas in which large portions of the harvest of an area go into production in a particular week can be termed “macro environments”. Actually various combinations of factors in differing environments can also produce a crop during the same time period. For example, some soils may be short on certain micro or macro nutrients, but make up for the shortage by ideal rainfall which makes the scarcer nutrients that are present more available to the plants while other fields lack ideal rainfall but have more fertile soil.
If we rule out the use of “the first of the firstfruits” for determining when the month of the Aviv begins because the ground is stony or desert or on a hillside, then where do we draw the line and say that the barley is aviv?
When looking for aviv barley, Nehemia Gordon and friends do not consider barley growing directly on the roadside as valid. This is due to explanation that Ruthanne Koch, an agricultural expert, contributed several years ago. She explained that the roadsides were subject to artificial growing conditions. They do look at three types of barley: a) 2-row wild, b) 2-row domesticated, c) 6-row domesticated (for comparative purposes). It is not unusual to find the domesticated varieties growing voluntarily. However, they have only seen 2-row wild barley planted in a cultivated field in one location and this in the mountains where it ripens very late (May or June!). In practice they have not ever found that the 2-row domesticated ripens at a different time than the 2-row wild. There are far greater differences within these varieties due to localized growing and climatic conditions. The 6-row seems to ripen later.
One might ask if “wild barley”, which is never harvested by anyone, should be considered valid for determining the month of aviv? After all the omer is based on the HARVEST being the firstfruits of the HARVEST. Nehemia’s answer is that “Wild Barley is a fully viable and edible crop, unlike wild wheat, which produces a seed too small to be useful. The wild barley is very closely related to the ancient barley grown 2000-3000 years ago in Israel and hence serves as a good indicator of the ripening of the Aviv. The primary difference between wild barley and ancient domesticated barley is the brittleness of the stalks; in the wild variety they break apart easier than in any domesticated variety.”
The earliest fields to mature anywhere in Israel should proclaim the New Year! There is no mention of Israelites fighting over whose field would serve for establishing aviv. If there were a problem with the earliest barley being counted then we would have an admonition like this: “after the first barley is aviv, then wait a month”. All things being equal, the best soil will produce the earliest crop. We must have a standard to go by. Why move the goal post?
Barley can be divided by the number of kernel rows in the head. There are three types; two-row barley (Hordeum distichum), four-row (Hordeum tetrastichum L. and six-row barley (Hordeum vulgare var hexastichum Körn.) according to the traditional terminology...TWO ROW barley is the oldest form, wild barley having two-rows as well... Barley can still thrive in conditions that are too cold even for rye. The 1881 Household Cyclopedia adds: Next to wheat the most valuable grain is barley, especially on light and sharp soils. It is a tender grain and easily hurt in any of the stages of its growth, particularly at seed time; a heavy shower of rain will then almost ruin a crop on the best prepared land; and in all the after processes greater pains and attention are required to ensure success than in the case of other grains. The harvest process is difficult, and often attended with danger; even the threshing of it is not easily executed with machines, because the awn generally adheres to the grain, and renders separation from the straw a troublesome task. Barley, in fact, is raised at greater expense than wheat, and generally speaking is a more hazardous crop. Except upon rich and genial soils, where climate will allow wheat to be perfectly reared, it ought not to be cultivated.
You may be asking what 2 row and four 4 barley is, it’s really just a matter of counting the rows of seeds. It’s easier for me to use corn pictures to illustrate the difference. Black Aztec is an ancient variety of sweet corn bred by, well the Aztecs. It only has 8 rows on the cob. Note that you can only see about 3 rows from any viewpoint in the picture. My own multi colored sweet “landrace” corn, Rainbow Mountain, has anywhere from 10 to 14 rows on a cob. There are 5-6 rows visible from any view.
“I have been involved in searching for Aviv [or Aviv] Barley for more than 10 years. The first modern Aviv Search was carried out in 1988. The early years entailed a great deal of study and experimentation, searching for areas in which barley was cultivated and grew voluntarily, identifying the various stages in its ripening, and carrying out detailed observations and experiments on barley in all its stages to identify the biblical Aviv. By 1997, after almost 10 years of modern Karaite Aviv Searches, a clear and solid understanding of the agricultural state of Aviv had been restored.
“I often write about the two days of Aviv Search at the end of the 12th Month. These two days are the last chance for the barley to be Aviv. If Aviv is not found by the end of the 12th Month, then the following month must be counted as the 13th Month (and not as the 1st Month of the following year). While these two final days of the 12th Month are key in determining the beginning of the biblical year, in reality the Aviv Search spans more than a month, tracking the barley from its early stages of ripening before Aviv all the way through its harvest-ripe stage after Aviv. It is only by doing this every year on an ongoing basis that we can hone and refine our understanding of Aviv barley.
“While the basic definition of Aviv Barley was recovered by 1997, there have been a number of major issues in recent years that have helped us make better and more accurate readings. Several years ago Ruthanne Koch, a certified crop adviser from Colorado with 23 years of hands-on experience, was invited to join the annual Aviv Search. Ruthanne has brought to light two crucial issues which I had not known about, making the Aviv Search much more accurate.
“The first issue is what Ruthanne has coined “artificial micro-environments”. [Micro-environment” is an established term.] An artificial micro-environment is caused by modern man-made factors which can cause the barley to ripen earlier than it would have under Biblical growing conditions. For example, barley that grows alongside an asphalt road is in an artificial micro-environment. The heat radiating off the asphalt causes the barley to ripen much earlier than it would have under normal conditions. Obviously they did not have asphalt roads in Biblical times so we cannot consider this artificially early barley as relevant for determining the Aviv.
“Another type of artificial micro-environment is created by a steep mountainside with a thin layer of soil held in place by wire mesh. This type of micro-environment can be found above roads cut into the sides of mountains; the wire-mesh prevents the soil from eroding onto the road below. In this type of artificial micro-environment, the thin layer of soil will dry out very quickly which stresses the barley causing it to ripen prematurely. Again, barley on a mountainside of this sort is not valid for the Aviv because it is growing under artificial man-made conditions that did not exist in Biblical times.
“A second issue that Ruthanne brought to light is related to herbicides. When barley is sprayed by certain types of herbicides it will send the barley into stress causing it to ripen prematurely [Roundup does this to my Canada thistles in Ohio.]. Ruthanne and her husband run a crop-dusting business so identifying areas that have been sprayed with herbicide is something she does with great expertise. Why would someone spray barley with herbicide? Firstly, barley grows wild in Israel and many farmers view it a weed. Secondly, it is common in Israel to spray roadside ditches and the clouds of herbicide often float over the ditches into nearby fields. Only a trained eye can discern this herbicide damage.
“I thank and praise YHWH for sending us this dedicated crop consultant who gives of her precious time to come and help those who want to uncover the precise times YHWH has appointed for His feasts. Ruthanne Koch is a Torah-keeping believer in Yeshua, and I want to thank her for coming and joining the annual Karaite Aviv Search over the last few years and hopefully for many years to come.”
by Nehemia Gordon and Ruthanne Koch
“This year we found Aviv in a new area, near the spring of Ein Mabua, 15km east of Jerusalem. The vast quantities of lush healthy Aviv were unexpected and require further comment. I have asked Ruthanne Koch to co-author this article with him to help explain some of the agronomic conditions that made this area ideal for barley growth and determining Aviv.
“One thing we immediately noticed in this area was that much of the barley was growing on an ancient agricultural terrace. Pictures of this agricultural terrace are posted here.
“Agricultural terraces are found throughout the mountains of central Israel. The ancient Canaanites and later the Israelites built stepped terraces along the mountain slopes in order to grow crops on every available inch of land. Agricultural terraces consist of a stone wall built without mortar that holds back soil against the mountain slope. The terrace wall prevents the soil from eroding away into the valley below and maintains a deep nutrient-dense level seedbed. Joshua 17:15 mentions that the Children of Joseph did not have enough farmland so they were told to cut down the forests from the mountains. The Children of Joseph built many of the agricultural terraces still found all over Israel in order to utilize the deforested bare mountainsides.
“The fact that many of the terraces were built by the early Israelites has been confirmed by the excavations at Malcha, the site of the Jerusalem Mall. Before the mall was built, archaeologists excavated the agricultural terraces on the proposed site and found the remains of a Canaanite village under the terraces; it was clear from the excavations that the village had been buried by the terraces shortly after it was destroyed, apparently by the ancient Israelite invaders.
“Agricultural terraces would have been exactly the environments in which ancient barley was grown on the mountainsides of biblical Israel.
“In the area of Ein Mabua, the ancient agricultural terraces on the southern slope of the mountain comprise a naturally occurring micro-environment, free from modern artificial interferences. This type of natural micro-environment is found all over the Judean hills. The only artificial influence at this location were the ancient agricultural terraces, which was the typical mode of agriculture in this region in ancient Israel.
“This natural micro-environment combined a number of different elements which resulted in above average growing conditions. These elements included the canyon walls, which provided additional heat units to the crop as well as protection from adverse environmental factors such as high wind. The canyon also contained fertile ground as evidenced by the lush conditions of the barley with long heads, healthy stalks, and large plump Aviv kernels. All of the above elements are naturally occurring and common throughout this region making this type of micro-environment ideal for growing barley and determining Aviv.”
Here is another letter from Nehemia Gordon, all of which are available here.
Karaite Korner Newsletter #202
Nehemia gets requests for more information about the equinox calendar theory. The Karaite-Korner.org website has long had information dealing with the equinox error, see: Vernal Equinox and Tekufah.
“As discussed in the above articles [now one], the modern equinox-keepers begin their yearly cycle at the first new moon after the vernal equinox. Ironically they base [this] on ancient Pharisee sources (Talmud, Josephus), which mention the equinox, without actually understanding the meaning of these ancient sources. The ancient Pharisees had two systems of setting the beginning of the year, only one of which took the equinox into account whereas both systems looked at the Aviv as a central factor (see Aviv Faq). The modern equinox followers also fail to understand how the ancient sources used the equinox. Simply put, the ancient Pharisee system (Talmud and Josephus) was NOT based on the first NEW MOON after the vernal equinox! Instead, the ancient Pharisee equinox system was based on the 16th day of the month that fell out after the Vernal Equinox. It was completely acceptable in the ancient Pharisee system for the New Moon of the First Month to fall out before the vernal equinox, as long as the 16th day of that month fell out after the equinox.
“Ironically, based on the ANCIENT equinox system, Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin March 25, 2005, not next month as in the Hillel II calendar. This point was recently brought out by Y. Loewinger, a Rabbanite engineer who researches the ancient and modern Rabbinic calendars. Loewinger recently published a paper on the Internet entitled ‘Have We Intercalated 5765 in Vain?’ In his article Loewinger, an Orthodox Rabbanite Jew who follows the modern Rabbanite calendar, writes: “Had we not added an intercalated month this year... the first day of Passover would have fallen out on the 25th of March, 2005, 30 days before when it actually falls out [on the Rabbanite calendar]. It turns out, therefore, that according to all opinions, Passover would have fallen out... after the equinox on March 20, even if we had not intercalated the year... This intercalation is causing Passover to be celebrated this year after the Month of the Aviv” (p.2). Loewinger’s original Hebrew article can be downloaded from here.
“Of course, as Karaites we follow the Aviv, paying no attention to the equinox. For more information see the link above.”
More onsite Biblical Calendar reading Here
Offsite: When is Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles). By Dinah Ben Mordechai [or 58 great answers to 58 stupid objections to the Biblical Aviv calendar.]
Chapter 10 is Judgment Day—The Last Day