The Biblical calendar has been a hotly debated topic among many in the messianic movement. We do not desire to enter these debates, but we also understand the importance of keeping the feasts on the days appointed by YHVH.
Due to the many opinions and the confusion that often surrounds this topic, the men of our group decided to cast lots before YHVH after praying and fasting for several days. The lot came up for the Zadok/Enochian calendar with unbelievable odds, so that is what we are currently observing as a group. If anyone is interested in joining us for the feast days, please feel free to Contact Us for more information.
Below is a link to a free printable calendar that we have compiled for anyone to print and share. This particular version begins with October 2018 with the renewing of the Torah cycle on Sukkot. That has absolutely nothing to do with the calendar itself, it was just a convenient place for me to start it for publication within our group.
Unlike many Zadok calendars available online, I have spent the time to present the information in the standardized Gregorian format so it is easy to reference for daily use. We plan on having these printed as wall calendars with the weekly Torah portions and photos added. If you are interested please let us know.
You can also subscribe to our shared online calendar by using the link below. This method works great for mobile devices.
As I set out to make this calendar I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into. I had been holding to a “sighting” method since coming to Torah to determine the months and to set the Feast schedule. I spent a great deal of time researching the moon and tracking its phases and movements. What I found is that the moon is fairly difficult to understand. It wanders north and south, up and down, and it is constantly falling behind the sun by roughly 13.2 degrees a day.
Even though I doubted that I would ever really understand the moon and its movements, I relied on a belief that Yah’s calendar system had to be simple enough for His people to follow.
What I found while researching the Zadok calendar is that it is by far the simplest. It is perfectly divisible by seven, it uses both the sun and the moon as witnesses, and it is in line with the priestly order that is laid out in 1 Chronicles 24.
Trust me, at first I had a hard time understanding it and even accepting it myself. But after seeing the results of the lot we cast, I could no longer simply ignore it. So after spending almost a year with this calendar, learning how it functions; how it ties into Scripture, the book of Enoch and Jubilees; and by observing the days the Father commanded according to it reckoning, I am fairly convinced that this as close as we can get to the calendar that the ancient Hebrews were keeping prior to the captivity.
Pray about it, and if you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Us
32 On that day the night decreases and amounts to nine parts, and the day to nine parts, and the night is equal to the day and the year is exactly as to its days THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FOUR. 33. And the length of the day and of the night, and the shortness of the day and of the night arise–through the course of the sun these distinctions are made.
With this calendar the year always contains precisely 364 days. Each year consists of twelve months of thirty days each, plus four additional days, one of which is intercalated at the end of each three-month period. Thus the first and second months are 30 days long, while the third month totals 31 days; then the pattern repeats. New Year’s Day and the first day of each three-month period always fall on a Wednesday.
Wednesday is the day mandated as the first day by the creation order, since the heavenly lights – sun, moon and stars, the basis of any calendar – were created on the fourth day (Gen. 1:14-19). The great advantage of the Zadok calendar over its lunisolar rival is that it results in fixed dates for the major festivals.
They cannot fall on a Sabbath, thereby avoiding worrisome difficulties affecting sacrifices. In fact, this calendar guarantees that a particular day of any given month will always fall on the same day of the week every year.
Since the solar calendar totaled 364 days to the year and the lunisolar calendar alternated months of 29 and 30 days, the lunisolar calendar would ‘fall behind’ by ten days per year, which is exactly what Jubilees warns us about. After three years, the lunisolar calendar required intercalation with an additional 29 or 30 days, bringing the two versions once again into harmony (364 X 3 = 354 X 3 + 30). Without the intercalation of the lunisolar calendar, the Feasts would not be observed in their seasons as commanded by Yah. This is not a problem with the Zadok calendar since it is based upon the vernal equinox.
And all the children of Israel will forget and will not find the path of the years, and will forget the Months, and Seasons, and Sabbaths and they will go wrong as to all the order of the years. For I know and from henceforth will I declare it unto thee, and it is not of my own devising; for the book (lies) written before me, and on the heavenly tablets the division of days is ordained, lest they forget the feasts of the covenant and walk according to the feasts of the Gentiles after their error and after their ignorance. For there will be those who will assuredly “MAKE OBSERVATIONS OF THE MOON −how (it) DISTURBS THE SEASONS and comes in from year to year TEN DAYS TOO SOON.
For this reason the years will come upon them when they will Disturb (the order), and make an Abominable (Day) the Day of Testimony, and an Unclean Day a Feast Day, and they will confound all the days, the holy with the unclean, and the unclean day with the holy; for THEY WILL GO WRONG AS TO THE MONTHS AND SABBATHS AND FEASTS AND JUBILEES. For this reason I command and testify to thee that thou mayst testify to them; for after thy death thy children will disturb (them), so that THEY WILL NOT MAKE THE YEAR THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY−FOUR DAYS ONLY, and for this reason they will go Wrong as to the Months and Seasons and Sabbaths and Festivals, and they will eat all kinds of blood with all kinds of flesh.
Zadok Priestly Order
The calendars found in the Qumran scrolls were reckoned not only by months, but also by the rotation of the priestly courses (mishmarot).
The courses would come into Jerusalem for service at the temple for one week, then rotate out as the next group arrived to serve. Qumran texts relied upon this ‘eternal cycle’ not only for their calendar, but also for their chronology and history. Every Sabbath, month, year and feast bore the name of a priestly family.
The priestly rotation required six years before the same group would be serving once again in the same week of the year. The order of the priestly courses was originally determined by lot, and is laid out in 1 Chr. 24:7-18 as follows:
We know that the sun revolves on a 365.24 something circuit right? Well how then does the 364 day year work? As with most calendars, even the Gregorian and Hillel II calendars there is a need to intercalate, or add days every so often to keep things aligned. The same thing happens with the Zadok. The question is how?
Since the Zadok calendar is a fixed day calendar beginning with the 4th day every year, the observed equinox would advance a day or two each year, and in five to six years we would be a week behind, thus the need to intercalate. So how then do we determine when to add a week to keep us in line? This took a lot of investigation and mapping out the moon and sun movements.
For reference I have added a copy of my latest spreadsheet in the additional resources section below.
This is a simple method, and one that I refer to as the blind method. It completely disregards the sun and the stars which I have a problem with because what is recorded for us in Genesis 1. But as far as being simple this is it. Basically this method waits for the spring equinox to land on the 4th day and then it intercalates adding a week. This produces a 5-6-5-6 yearly span between intercalation periods. The method is not difficult to pinpoint and could be very easily verified using only a calendar and a sun dial.
The second method is a fair amount more involved, but it brings into play the moon and its alignments with the equinoxes as well.
According to the Book of Enoch we know that the number of day in three years are 1,092, in five years they are 1,898, and in eight years they are 2,912. The interesting thing is, is this is exactly how this intercalation patterns falls 3, 5 & 8. It is more of a 3+3, 5, 3+3 pattern. It is oddly enough very similar to the 5-6-5-6- pattern of the first method but varies as to when it lands and has an additional 8 year cycle that happens every so often.
Wile mapping out the actual observed alignments, it becomes clear that as we fall behind the spring equinox, the full moon will land within 7 days following the end of the previous 364 day signaling the need to intercalate or add a week to keep us in alignment. This happens without fail every time, proving that the moon is a witness as stated in Psalm 89:37 and Enoch 74:13
Sometime the moon appears to do its own thing and causes a 8 year span between intercalation periods. The 8 year span between intercalation does not happen often, but if it did not happen the distance between the start of the year and the actual equinox would widen. By using this method we are kept very close to the equinox. And the pattern of the heavenly movements fits Enoch’s description perfectly.
Below is an example showing the alignment that happens during the time of intercalation.
I have personally charted the alignments back for over 200 years and found this pattern fits with amazing accuracy.
There is another anomaly that appears with regards to the moon. Taking the full and new moon dates given in the Qumran text we can chart them and find an amazing pattern emerge. If we intercalate on the first year of every sabbatical cycle and then again in about 28 years the lunar cycles follow a 7 year pattern perfectly. Not to mention that the length of the years average out to 365.25 which is astonishing. This method requires some understanding of the Qumran text and the priestly courses to really appreciate, but I believe that it may be closer than the first and second methods simply because we actually have recorded historical data to pull from and compare to.
This method however doesn’t really use the moon to determine intercalation, but rather uses it as a marker to verify its timing. By following the pattern given in the Scrolls it is pretty east to determine when to make the adjustment.
Mishmarot A (4Q320, Fr. 1 I)
” … to show it from the east. [And] to cause it to shine [in] the middle of heaven, in the foundation [of the creat]ion, from evening till morning. (There is full moon) On the 4th (day) in the week [of the sons of G]amul in the first month of [the firs]t year…
Mishmarot B (4Q321, fr. 1)
[The] second (year), the first (month). On the second (day) in (the week of) Malchiah which is on the twen[tieth (day) in the first (month).
And] the New Moon [is on the third (day) in (the week of) Harim which is on the se]venth (day) in (the first month).
The second year: On the 2nd (day) in (the week of) Malchiah, (corresponding) to the 29th (day of the lunar month which falls) on the 20th (day) in the first (solar month)…
The above is just an excerpt but give you an idea of how these dates are catalogued. By taking the data in the scrolls we can establish the following pattern
We can see that the 1st year the full moon falls of the 1st day of the year, the second year it falls on the 20th, 3rd year the 10th, 4th the 1st, 5th year the 20th, 6th year the 10th and the 7th year it again lands on the 1st.
So it develops a 1, 20, 10, 1, 20, 10, 1 pattern for the full moon dates. The pattern for the new moon is the 17th, 1st, 7th, 27th and so on. If we intercalate on the first year of every sabbatical cycle the pattern actually shifts between the two patterns. This happens pretty much without fail and also keeps us within a week of the spring equinox. What is harder to determine is when the additional year of intercalation that has to happen on or around the 28th year must take place.
Since we are only given 4 years of Full moon dats and 3 years of new moon dates we have to do a little interpolation, but the moon is pretty consistent running on a 19 year metonic cycle. Knowing this is helpful indeed because once we isolate the patterns we can determine with a fair amount of accuracy years into the past or future when the lunar phases will actually land.
By overlaying the dates given of the lunar phases with the priestly courses we can establish what yearly pattern we are in, 1, 2, or 3. The 4th year is actually the same as the first but with a change in the priestly course.
This method does have some problems as they all do, but it definitely holds closer to the recorded information that we have in the Scrolls than the other methods do. Plus it holds to a 7 year sabbatical cycle that begins or ends with a period of intercalation. This is most significant because it is during this period that it is believed that all the priestly courses would be in service at the temple and there would be a huge festival as indicated in Psalm 81. However, this to cannot be confirmed.
I realize that these are not the majority view concerning intercalation, however, one cannot simply disregard the moon or the stars when looking at the calendar. These heavenly bodies were given for signs, moed, days and years. It is NOT just a solar calendar and I personally believe after spending a great deal of time with this, Enoch is absolutely correct when he says,
“The moon brings on all the years exactly, that their stations may come neither too forwards nor too backwards a single day; but that the years may be changed with correct precision …”
The other thing that is interesting to note in scripture is that in Psalm 81 a festival that included both the חדשׁ Chodesh (renewing) and the כּסא Keseh (full moon) are referenced to as a “law for Yisra’el, and a right-ruling of the Elohim of Ya’aqob”.
Psalm 81:3 Blow a shofar in the renewing (Chodesh), at the full moon (Keseh) for the day of our festival.
When else in scripture are we commanded to “observe” the months? It’s only in the chodesh of Abib that we are commanded to do so in Deturonomy 16:1. This further illustrates that observing the solstices and the fall equinox and adjusting the calendar to them is not commanded.
These are simply a couple methods and alignments that appears to be significant in regards to the calendar. Nevertheless, I also believe that there are other various alignments of the heavenly bodies which play a significant role in regards to the calendar but I have yet to make additional connections. Regardless, this calendar definitely appears to be established primarily upon the WORD of Yah and then confirmed by the witnesses, not the other way around; and that pattern makes the most logical sense to me form a scriptural standpoint.
All alignments aside there are still several issues regarding intercalation that have not been made clear. First of all there is no published record of how the Zadok priests actually intercalated, or if they even did for that matter. Secondly, what is not clear is how Jubilees are observed. According to scripture the Jubilee was to be the 50th year following 7 sabbatical cycles. The mainstream understanding of this is that it would then be the 1st year of the following Jubilee cycle, but that would only allow for 48 years between Jubilees which violates the Biblical command. Again there is no recorded history of Israel ever keeping the Jubilee let alone how they counted them. If we hold fast to the Qumran text and the priestly courses as they are recorded then the 50th year command in scripture would most definitely be one that was never followed. I deeply believe that if we can isolate the Jubilee pattern falling on 50 year cycles then we can easily establish exactly where we are on Yah’s calendar. However this is no easy task given the information that we have to go off of.
A Little History about the Qumran Scrolls
the following excerpt is from https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/scrolls_deadsea/uncovered/uncovered04.htm
The calendar texts from Qumran Cave 4 are numerous and significant. They comprise eighteen texts (4Q319-330 and 4Q337), not including many which, while not strictly related to a calendar, present a calendar system.
Especially noteworthy is the absence among the Qumran find is any text advocating a different calendar. This absence is important because the calendar found in the Qumran materials was only one of several in use and seems to have represented a minority position. The calendar texts are, therefore, central to any attempt to understand the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In order to follow the rather technical expositions of these texts, one must know a few facts about the calendar they advocate, and about the priestly courses (mishmarot) which served in the Temple at Jerusalem.
The calendar is purely solar, based on a particular understanding of the Creation account found in Genesis. In its exclusive reliance on the sun, it stands in stark contrast to later Rabbinic Judaism, which followed a lunisolar calendar of 354 days relying mainly on the moon. Earlier, the Pharisaic forerunners of Rabbinic Judaism seem to have followed an even more lunar-oriented calendar, though from the evidence of the Qumran texts, the lunisolar calendar seems already to have gained currency during at least some of the period of the Scrolls.
In the system that finally emerged, probably under Greco-Roman influence, in Rabbinic Judaism at the end of the fourth century AD, extra lunar months were intercalated seven times in every nineteen years to produce the kind of harmonization necessary to ensure that the calendar remained fixed to the seasons of the solar cycle. The Muslims, for their part, reflecting probably an earlier phase of this historical process, never made the complicated mathematical and calendrical intercalations necessary for passage from a lunar to a lunisolar calendar.
Although the authors of the Qumran calendrical texts disdained the lunisolar calendar, a number of their writings synchronize the two versions. The reasons for this synchronization are not entirely clear, but they may have found it necessary to be able to point out errors with the current system and to know the correct answers.
The only question that must be asked is whether this calendar goes back to Maccabean times, as the third text on Priestly Courses implies – or even earlier – and whether the Maccabeans themselves preferred it before the Pharisees took over with the rise of Herod once and for all. However this may be, the anti-Pharisaic and consequently, the anti-Herodian character of the calendar cannonot be denied.
The exile of the Zadok order
In 167 BCE, King Antiochus returned to Jerusalem after his second campaign in Egypt, and he immediately banned the Hebrew religion and the Zadok Priestly order, and prohibited all religious practices. He dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem to Zeus, the Lord of Heaven (Baal Shamen), and ordered the Hebrew people to worship Zeus and to participate in the festival honoring Dionysus, who was Zeus’ son, (who was called Bacchus by the Romans), and Dionysus/Bacchus was known as the “dying and rising god” as he was “twice born.” This festival, called Bacchanalia, was held on March 16th and March 17th to pollute the Hebrew Spring Equinox Day and New Year’s Day. When King Antiochus began sacrificing swine and making abominable offerings in the Temple, this began the Maccabean revolt (1 Maccabees Chapter 1, and 2 Maccabees Chapters 4, 6 and 7)
After the death of King Antiochus, in 164 BCE, some of the Hebrew priests tried to restore the Solar Calendar, but the Greek “New Moon” influence was all around them. Later, in 359 CE, Hillel II introduced the fixed calculated New Moon Calendar which is based on the conjunction of the moon, and it is the Lunar Calendar that has been used by Jews and others to this day to determine the 1st Day of the Months and the Annual Feast Days. However, the term “New Moon” (yareach chadash יָרֵחַ חָדָשׁ) ) is not written anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.
My calculations in an excel file – zadok dates rev1.2
Plans for sun dials and additional information – The Melchizedek Project
Here are a few videos explaining the Zadok calendar