The Year is measured from Tequfah to Tequfah (Spring to Spring… Exodus 12:2). It is a continuous cycle of the sun rising directly over the Eastern horizon at the spring tequfah (‘equinox’) and proceeds to the North till it reaches its farthest point, the summer solstice, then travels back again where it rises again directly East on the fall tequfah and proceeds South to it’s farthest point at the winter solstice and then back again making a ‘figure eight’.
Beginning of the year
The year begins in the month of Nisan which occurs in the Spring at the tequfah or the turn of the year when the sun has completed its orbit.
YHWH is the one who is in control of the tequfah and the movement of the constellations.
Job 38:32 Can you bring out the constellations in their season (עת êth – time) or can you guide the Bear (Heb. ayish – Bear, Arcturusclick here) with its sons?
Job 38:33 Do you know the limits (chuqqah – laws) of the heavens; can you establish their rulership on the earth?
The Spring tequfah occurs when the sun has completed its cycle through the constellations.
תקופה comes from the root קף which literally means the ‘sun speaks.’
The Hebrew words used in reference to time further reveal that time is linked to the movement of the heavenly bodies.
עת (et) which pictographically means to ‘see the cross’, and in ancient Hebrew thinking meant to ‘see the mark.’ What is this ‘mark’? It is the sun setting (death) and rising (resurrection) above the horizonclick here.
Psa 19:6 his (the sun) going forth from the end of the heavens, and his orbit (tequfah) to their ends; and nothing is hidden from his heat.
Exo 34:22 And you shall observe a Feast of Weeks for yourself, the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat; also the Feast of Ingathering at the turn (tequfah) of the year.
2Ch 24:23 And it happened, at the turn (tequfah) of the year, that the army of Syria came up against him; and they came into Judah and Jerusalem and destroyed all the leaders of the people from among the people; and they sent all their plunder to the king of Damascus.
Job 38:18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Declare, if you know it all!
Job 38:19 Where is this, the way light dwells; and where is the place of darkness,
Job 38:20 that you should take it to its boundary, and that you should perceive the paths to its house?
Works of Philo
ON THE LIFE OF MOSES, II – Part 4*
*Yonge’s title, A Treatise on the Life of Moses, that is to say, On the Theology and Prophetic Office of Moses, Book II.
(222) Moses puts down the beginning of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year
THE SPECIAL LAWS, I – Part 3*
*Yonge’s title, A Treatise on the Special Laws, Which Are Referred to Three Articles of the Decalogue, Namely the Third, Fourth, and Fifth; About Oaths, and the Reverence Due to Them; About the Holy Sabbath; About the Honour To Be Paid to Parents
THE FIFTH FESTIVAL
The vernal equinox is an imitation and representation of that beginning in accordance with which this world was created. Accordingly, every year, God reminds men of the creation of the world, and with this view puts forward the spring, in which season all plants flourish and bloom; (152) for which reason this is very correctly set down in the law as the first month, since, in a manner, it may be said to be an impression of the first beginning of all, being stamped by it as by an archetypal Seal.
Extracts from the Canons of Anatolius on the Paschal Festival
“But this segment they generally call the first dodecatomorium, and the equinox, and the beginning of the month, and the head of the cycle, and the head of the planetary course. But that segment, and the last dodecatemorium, and the end of the planetary revolution. Hence, also, those that place the first month in it, and that fix the fourteenth of the month by it, commit, as we think, no little and no common blunder. (16) But neither is this our opinion only, but it was also known to the Jews anciently, and before Christ, and was chiefly observed by them, as we may learn from Philo, Josephus, and Musaeus, and not only from these, but also from those still more ancient, i.e., the two Agathobuli, commonly called the masters, and of Aristobulus, that most distinguished scholar, who was one of the seventy that translated the holy Scriptures from the Hebrew for Ptolemy Philadelphus, and his father, and dedicated his exposition of the law of Moses to the same kings. (17)These, when they resolve inquiries on Exodus, say that all ought to sacrifice the Passover alike after the vernal equinox, in the middle of the first month.But this is found to be when the sun passes through the first segment of the solar, or, as some call it, the zodiac circle. But this Aristobulus also adds, it was requisite that not only the sun should have passed the equinoctial segment for the feast of the Passover, but the moon also. But that the first month of the Hebrews must occur after the equinox may be gathered also from the book of Enoch.”
“’Peter, the Bishop of Alexandria, mentions that the Jews had kept the Passover properly up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. But after the destruction of the city they ‘err in reckoning the beginning of the month, which is first amongst the months of the year, on the fourteenth day of which, being accurately observed, AFTER the equinox, the ancients celebrated the Passover according to the Divine Command: whereas the men of the present day now celebrate it BEFORE the equinox, and that altogether through negligence and error, being ignorant how they celebrate it in their season…” Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VI, p. 280.
The Temple & the Tequfah
…it is stated in Jack Finegan’s handbook of biblical chronology that when Solomon built the temple of Yahweh at Jerusalem that it was made specifically so that the sun would shine directly through the Eastern Gate on both the vernal and autumn equinoxes so that they could never get the calendar and Holy days incorrect.
“The most significant ancient religious structure for the Jewish people (and later Christians as well), was Solomon’s temple at Jerusalem, oriented to the Equinox sunrise. Each Spring Equinox, at the time of the ancient agricultural festival of sowing, sunlight was allowed to enter the length of an open passage from the doorway of the temple over the high altar and into the Holy of Holies. It is noted that, “There is evidence … that the entrance of the sunlight on the morning of the Spring Equinox formed part of the ceremonial. The priest being in the Holy Place, the worshippers outside, with their backs to the sun, could see the high priest by the sunlight reflected from the jewels of his garment”.
The Eastern orientation of the Temple is further seen in the Holy Scriptures where Israel had turned their backs on the Temple and faced the East. This would mean that the Temple was facing East as well.
Eze 8:16 And he brought me into the inner court of the house of YHWH. And, behold, at the opening of the temple of YHWH, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty five men with their backs to the temple of YHWH, and their faces eastward. And they bowed themselves eastward to the sun.
Kenneth F. Doig, New Testament Chronology,
“Many of these legal documents include the required Egyptian civil year date. Double-dated documents including the Hebrew dates of the Elephantine Jews cover the period 471 to 402 BCE. This included evening to evening days and a New Year beginning in Nisan (Aviv) only after the Vernal Equinox. Almost all of the datable documents can be referred back to a Nisan (Aviv) beginning only after the Vernal Equinox each year.”
Also, during the some 175 years of the Elephantine letters of the Jews in Diaspora in Egypt, never once did they start the year before either the precession of the equinoxes or the vernal equinox.
Between the years of 472BC and 400BC there were Jews living in Elephantine Egypt and they wrote letters to the Jews living in Jerusalem and many contracts such as wills and deeds, etc. … have been preserved in Elephantine. These letters are double dated with the dates of the Egyptian calendar as well as the Jewish calendar date.
Never once in this seventy-two period history did the Jews in Elephantine start the sacred year before the vernal equinox. 472BC-400BC was during the time that Ezra and Nehemiah were in Jerusalem.
The Calendar made simple
As seen above, time is related to looking to the East. This is to keep us focused on the Most High who comes to us from the East. (Ezekiel 43:2)
The year begins at the tequfah when the sun rises due east on the horizon at Spring. The next new moon starts the new year. The new moon is found by waking up just before dawning and looking at the Eastern sky where the waning crescent will appear just before the sun arises. The next day at dawn the moon will no be seen, that evening is the first day of the month.
How does one find the tequfah?
First true North must be found. This is done by finding the North star. The North star is found in the constellation of Ursa Minor (Job 9:9). It is at the tip of the ‘handle of the Little Dipper’.
Once the North star is found, take a stick and plant it in the ground. Then take another pole and place it behind the first pole making sure it is in line with the North. This pole represents South. Once you have established North and South you can look to your right and see true East. East will be at a perfect right angle to your poles.
As the sun rises on the day of the tequfah, it will be in alignment with your poles lined up in the due East direction.
The pole star has moved slightly in the last 6,000 years but it is always in the vicinity of the ‘Big Dipper’ & ‘Little Dipper.’