Month of Abib3 min read

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

Deuteronomy 16:1 (KJV)

Abib -It might surprise you that this word is not the name of the month. The word abib or aviv means a stage of barley growth. YHWH doesn’t give the months names, but identifies them by their season. In the month where the barley reaches the abib state of growth is when the year begins and when we observe Passover. It’s a requirement to understand agriculture if we’re to understand God’s holy days.

I belong to a community that does not currently observe the month of abib. We strive to observe the holy days of YHWH, and do calculations to determine when these days will be throughout the year, but our counting methods are in error because we don’t understand what abib means. Instead the calculations are done based on the book, Astronomical Phenomena for the year xxxx (ap16_for_web 2016 version). It’s a worldy way of counting that depends on man’s predictions rather than actual sightings of the new moon and abib. In fact the one time I met with this committee I was shocked that we didn’t even open the Bible once that whole night – just this astronomical book. We then searched the book for when the Jewish Passover was, and looked up when the closest new moon would be accordingly. When I asked if the book determined the new moon as the ‘hidden’ moon or the actual sighted moon, no one knew the answer. I then asked if anyone knew how the New Year was calculated, again no one knew the answer. As I continued to ask questions that evening, I received two answers: 1. This is how our elders did it, so it’s how we do it. 2. We don’t know.

Sigh.

Now that we (readers of this blog) realize that abib is a stage of barley growth – what do we do? Well when the barley in Israel reaches this particular stage, then the next new moon dictates the first month of the new year. A priest would go out into the field and check the barley. If the barley reached abib then they kept a lookout for the new moon, and once they saw the new moon, that next day was the first day of the first month of the new year. If it was not abib, then they would wait a whole additional moon cycle before checking for the new moon again, and by that time, the barley was sure to have reached abib. This way God had complete control over when the new year began and caused the Israelites to rely completely on Him for their calendar days.

Aviv barley photo taken by Nehemiah Gordon from www.karaite-korner.org
Aviv barley photo taken by Nehemiah Gordon from www.karaite-korner.org

The reason the barley needed to be abib was because a wave offering of barley was required during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:10-11), so they had to make sure the barley was ready for harvest before offering it to YHWH.

Nowadays when our Roman calendar is getting off track, we institute a leap day/leap year where we cut the month of February a bit short every four years to bring it back into the solar standard of time. We just had a leap day yesterday. God, on the other hand, accounts for this by simply hiding the moon from view, or holding back the abib growth stage.

When we learn to count by His instructions, our lives begin to revolve around Him. Sure it’s not as convenient because we actually have to watch the moon and communicate with those searching for barley in Israel, but that’s the point. God isn’t about convenience, He’s about dedicating every minute of every day to Him.

If the exact date of His holy days didn’t matter, YHWH wouldn’t have had the exact counting methods written down. It matters. Take the time to research and count, put some effort into it. You’ll only grow stronger.

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