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Yom HaNafat HaOmer: Why the Hillel II Calendar is Wrong!

Why the Hillel II Calendar is Wrong!

In this video we show how the Hillel II rabbinic or “Jewish” calendar gets the Day of the Wave Sheaf (Yom HaNafat HaOmer) wrong.

In this book, we have been talking all about the feasts of the first month. We have seen that the Pesach (Passover) comes on the fourteenth day of the first month. And after that comes the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag Matzot). And the point is that we are trying to get rid of leaven from our houses and our lives because it is symbolic of sin (and false doctrine).

During Chag Matzot there comes a very special day called Yom HaNafat HaOmer (the Day of the Wave Sheaf Offering). This is when we try to get rid of leaven by lifting up Yeshua. And what better way to get rid of leaven from our lives than lifting up Yeshua? We are going to talk about this and a whole lot more.

Yom HaNafat HaOmer is the day where we get rid of the sin (leaven) in our lives by lifting up Yeshua, both as individuals and also as a nation. We have already talked a lot in our other studies about when the Day of the Wave Sheaf Offering is and what the errors about the wave sheaf offering are that we need to avoid. So, we would like to do something different in this chapter. If you are looking for something that covers the basics, then we are going to give you some resources here.

The first resource we can recommend is a chapter in The Torah Calendar study called “Aviv Barley and the Head of the Year”. That study will go through point for point in written format. And one of the benefits of that study is that it is going to give a good, global overview of the aviv barley calendar. In general, it will cover all the feasts, also the Sabbath, and the new moon days.

For those who are looking for more detail and more information than that, we created a full video series, Establishing the Head of the Year, which also has written transcripts. You can find the video series, as well as the written transcripts, on the Nazarene Israel YouTube channel, or it is also embedded on the Nazarene Israel website.

There are two specific chapters in that full video series we would like to mention. The first chapter of the series is called “Aviv Barley Simplified”. That study is going to cover all the information you need to know. The second chapter is “First Fruits? or False Fruits?” That one is going to point to the errors (the sin; leaven; false doctrine) of certain Messianic and Karaite groups that basically do not listen to our communications.

And as long as you are on the Nazarene Israel website, there are over twenty years of studies to be found there.

Now, if we want to get rid of false doctrine then we need to know what the true doctrine is so that we can replace the false with the true. And it is really important to replace the false with the true, especially during this week of unleavened bread, this week of getting rid of the leaven of false doctrine from our lives. Yeshua speaks about this in Matthew chapter sixteen, verse six.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 16:6
6 Then Yeshua said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven [false doctrine] of the Pharisees [rabbis] and the Sadducees [Karaites].”

Yeshua was telling us to be careful. Because the false doctrine of the rabbis, the Karaites, and even the Messianic, are really problematic. Not only are they alternate doctrines, but they also establish what could be called alternate kingdoms. And how pleased is our King going to be if we set up alternate kingdoms to the one He wants us to set up? We really need to avoid that at all costs.

We also saw apostle Paul (Shaul) warn us to be careful not to take instructions from those outside the body of Messiah, meaning the sect of the Nazarenes.

Colossians 2:16-17 (Reordered)
1. Let no man [except] the body of Messiah
2. [therefore] judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath:
3. Which are a shadow of things to come.

These things are really prophetic shadow pictures of the ancient Hebrew wedding. And if we want to be there at the wedding at the right time, we need to listen carefully to what the body of Mashiach tells us. Not to the Karaites, not to the Pharisees, and also not the Messianic. Because the Messianic are getting a lot of things wrong, they are going to miss the wedding feast. That is not something you want to do.

Well, we not only want to focus on the leaven (false doctrine) of the Messianic and the Karaite, but we also need to talk about the false doctrine of the Pharisees. In fact, the leaven of the Pharisees in regard to the calendar is much more widespread. Because it is a pre-calculated calendar, it is much easier to keep. But keeping something that is wrong is not something we want to do, even if it is easier.

The thing is that the rabbis do not follow the calendar found in Torah. Instead, they follow the Jewish calendar called the Hillel 2 calendar. It is not found in Scripture. Even the rabbis who are knowledgeable will tell you it is not found in Scripture. And we get a lot of insight into how the rabbinical calendar took hold with a series of books called the Talmud. Now, to clarify, we do not believe the Talmud as authoritative or inspired in any way. However, the rabbis do see the Talmud as being fully authoritative. And in some cases, they will even default to the Talmud over the Torah because they have a completely different idea about what the Torah is.

Our understanding is that Yahweh gave His Torah to Moshe (Moses) and then Moshe transmitted the Torah to Israel. So our job should be to learn what the Torah says, do the Torah as best we can, and transmit it to others. Especially because we understand that it is given to Israel as a bridal covenant. So, if we want to be taken as the bride, then we need to keep the Bridegroom’s covenant. Period, that is it.

The rabbis do not believe that. The rabbis believe that Yahweh gave Moshe the authority to set Torah for his generation. Then Moshe laid hands on Joshua so that he could establish Torah in his generation. And Joshua then laid hands on the judges, and so on and so forth down the line until we come to the rabbis of today. And of course, they believe that they have the authority to establish Torah for their generation today. To us, it does not even make sense because they are making up their own bridal covenant, instead of keeping the original bridal covenant of the Bridegroom.

So, we see the Talmud as a valuable historical record of what the rabbis believed in ancient times, such as in Yeshua’s time, in the first century, in the second temple period. One thing we see is that the Talmud records how Israel was still using the original aviv barley calendar from the days of Moshe in the first century in Yeshua’s time. We talk about this also in “The New Moon Days”, in The Torah Calendar study. But it began to change shortly after Yeshua’s time when there began a slow development where they came to have the Hillel 2 calendar. That was perhaps finalized some three centuries later.

Well, how did we get from the original aviv barley calendar in the first century to the Hillel 2 Jewish calendar? A short crash course is that there was always a lot of rebellion by the Hebrews (Jews) against the Romans, so the Romans came in and destroyed the temple in 70 CE. Then you also had the Bar Kochba Rebellion took place around 132 to 136 CE. And after that took place there had been enough rebellions that the Romans basically said enough is enough. And so the Romans then began exiling the Jews from the land of Israel. Well, if you are exiled from the land of Israel, you have a really hard time sighting and verifying the aviv barley in the land of Israel. So, the aviv barley calendar no longer worked for them at that time.

Much to his credit, brother Judah wanted to keep something at least similar to the original calendar that was learned in the days of Moshe. They needed to come up with a mathematical calendar system so that they could approximate the sighting of the aviv. They did this by introducing the concept of the equinox.

What is an equinox? An equinox means that the day and the night are of equal length, or you could also say the night and the day are of equal length. The equinox means equal parts night and day while the equilux means equal parts day and night. There is a certain Messianic teacher out there who teaches that the equinox and the equilux are different and that the equilux is from Yahweh and the equinox is from the devil. Very interesting gentleman. We talk about that in the study Establishing the Head of the Year. However, equinox and equilux, really it is the same thing. It just means equal parts light and dark or if you will, twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark.

There are two equinoxes. We have one the vernal (spring) equinox and then we have the fall (autumnal) equinox. At the summer solstice, the day is the longest. At the winter solstice, the night is the longest. And then halfway in between, you have these periods of time when the day and the night are of equal length. That is the vernal equinox in the spring and then the autumnal equinox in what is today called the fall.

The terms spring and fall do not exist in Scripture, nor does the term equinox, nor even the concept of an equinox. But what happened is, because the rabbis wanted to approximate the ripening of the barley, they incorporated the concept of the equinox and the concept of spring and fall into their calendar (The Hillel 2, or the Jewish calendar). This calendar was allegedly finalized around 359 or 360 CE, almost three centuries after the destruction of the temple. And it approximates the ripening of the barley because barley plants tend to ripen around that time in the land of Israel. But it is by no means precise, and it is by no means accurate every year.

As we will see again in this chapter, just last year the barley came ripe six weeks prior to the equinox. And I have seen it come ripe before the equinox twice before. Once, about three or four years ago, and also in either 2013 or 2014. I would have to look up which year it was. But I have personally seen the barley come ripe (aviv) before the equinox more than once. People may not want to study it, but we are going to talk about this more as this study progresses.

In Establishing the Head of the Year, we have a chapter called “Where is the Equinox Commanded?”. In that study, we spoke about a Greek astronomer, Hipparchus of Rhodes. We did a little more research and found out that the equinox was actually first discovered by a Babylonian astronomer named Kidinnu, circa in 379 BCE. Well, Babylon, Greece, Rome, it is all Babylonian concepts. What we need to see here is that the concept of an equinox (meaning, that of spring and fall) did not even exist back when the Torah was given in the days of Moshe. The rabbis believe that Moshe gave the Torah around 1300 BC, and some place it even earlier at 1500 or 1600 BCE.

The point is that the concept of an equinox did not even exist nor was known until almost a thousand years or more after the giving of the Torah was given in the wilderness. If we find ourselves using terms that are not even found in Scripture, that is a good indication that something is wrong and that we need to re-examine our theology. So, if you are using any of the following terms: “equinox”, “spring”, “fall”, “harvestable fields”, “intercalation“, you should know that these terms are not found in Scripture and that there is a good reason why. That is something to be aware of during this week while we are trying to get rid of leaven and false doctrine.

Also in our Establishing the Head of the Year study is another study titled, “Where is Spring Commanded?” Very similar concept, but slightly different information. The rabbinical calendar talks a lot about the “spring feasts” and the “fall feasts”. You hear a lot of Messianic also refer to spring and fall feasts. Should not do that. There is no “spring”, “fall”, or “equinox” ever mentioned in Scripture. In Scripture, we only ever see summer and winter mentioned, that is it. Again, if we are using terms that Scripture never uses, why are we doing that?

As we will see later, the barley often ripens before the spring equinox. I have personally seen this happen at least three times in twenty years. What we need to know from this is that while the Hillel 2 (rabbinical, Jewish) calendar does more or less a fair job of approximating the average date of the barley ripening, it is not reliable in any given year. That is not good enough for Yahweh.

If you are interested to know more concerning the equinox thing, we can recommend you to read our study “The Equinox Error”, in the book Nazarene Israel Scripture Studies, Volume Two. You can also purchase it on amazon.com at our cost if that is your preference. This study goes through some of the entries in the Talmud. We decode these references, and we show how the Talmud records the secret history of how the spring equinox was slowly brought into the calculations (or intercalation) of the head of the year. And again, there is a certain Messianic barley searcher who likes to use the term intercalation, even though it is not used in Scripture. He has some very “interesting“ theology that we recommend avoiding. Because these terms are adding things to Yahweh’s word. They are not necessary; you do not need them to do things Yahweh’s way otherwise Yahweh would use them. So, when you hear someone using terms Yahweh does not use, red alert! Red flag! Something we should not be doing.

Now, we are writing this study in 2022. This year and last year are both perfect examples of why the equinox does not work.

Let us take a look at last year, 2021.

On the 6th of February 2021, a believing sister who lives in the land of Israel, Becca Biderman, found aviv barley in sufficient quantities for a wave sheaf. I would have to check the dates to get it exact, but I believe it was around six weeks before the spring equinox. Again, the spring equinox is absolutely not a reliable indicator of when the barley is going to become of aviv.

So, in the balance of this study, we need to talk about three things that the rabbinical calendar gets wrong. The first thing, as we just mentioned, is a pre-calculated man-made calendar that relies on the equinox which is not reliable. It does not exist in Scripture. We just covered that.

On to the second thing. The rabbinical calendar will always wrongly have the wave sheaf offered on the fifteenth day of the first month, rather than the correct offering of the wave sheaf on the first day of the week, fifteen to twenty-one days after the new moon of the aviv.

And the third problem is that this also causes the Pentecost (Shavuot) to get thrown off schedule. We are going to talk about these things next and we will see it again when we talk about Shavuot in the next chapter.

Let us look at the commandment to know why the Pharisaic calendar is wrong.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:10-11
10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits [barley firstfruits; omer] of your harvest to the priest.
11 He shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the [weekly] Sabbath [in which the Pesach falls] the priest shall wave it.”

In context, He is talking about the day after the “weekly Sabbath” in which the Pesach (Passover) falls. We are going to see that in just a moment. We know that Yom HaNafat HaOmer takes place fifteen to twenty-one days after the new moon of aviv (Rosh HaShanah) is seen. In the following example, Rosh HaShanah takes place on the first day of the week. We count fourteen days and come to the Passover which, in this case, would fall on Shabbat. So, the Passover and weekly Shabbat take place on the same day here. Then, the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week comes Yom HaNafat HaOmer. That is one way for Yom HaNafat HaOmer to land, fifteen days after Rosh HaShanah.

1
ROSH
2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
PASS
15
OMER

Now, let us take a look at example two where Rosh HaShanah falls on the second day of the week. Again, we wait fourteen days and then we come to the Pesach. But this time, Pesach falls on the first day of the week. And so the next Shabbat (of the week of Pesach) does not come until the twentieth day after Rosh HaShanah. And then we wait a day, and then offer the omer on the twenty-first day of the first month. It depends on when the new moon is seen.

1
ROSH
2 3 4 5 6
7
.
8 9 10 11 12 13
14
PASS
15 16 17 18 19 20
SHABBAT
21
OMER

For another example, we are going to take a look at the way the situation was in the first century when Yeshua was killed. This is a very common scenario; it is going to take place about one-seventh of the time. In this instance, the new moon is seen on the fifth day of the week (as some call Thursday). We count the fourteen days to the Pesach which in this example takes place on the fourth day of the week (in the middle of the week). Then we count an additional four more days to get to Yom HaNafat HaOmer.

1
Moon
2 3
4
.
5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14
Pesach
15 16 17
18
Omer
19 20 21 22 23 24

We know that Yeshua was in the grave for three days and three nights, the sign was the sign of Jonah the prophet. Then, He was raised either on the Sabbath or as the Sabbath was ending and turning into the first day of the week. That is when Yeshua was raised.

The new moon of the aviv can take place on any day of the week. It can take place on the first day, second day, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or on Shabbat. Statistically and on average, it has a likelihood of falling on any given day about one-seventh of the time. Let us take a look at the way things were in the first century. This is the way things were in the year that Yeshua was cut off in the middle of the week.

We see that the new moon of Rosh HaShanah was cited on the fifth day of the week. We count fourteen days later, and we have the Pesach offering. Here we have the Pesach on the fourteenth, during the middle of the week when Yeshua was cut off. But the rabbis are going to offer their omer the very next day. So, you try to talk to someone. You say, “Well see, Yeshua fits the pattern. Yeshua was in the grave three days and three nights and then he was raised either on the Sabbath or as the Sabbath was turning into the first day of the week.“ But the rabbinical calendar person says, “No, no. The wave sheaf is offered the day after the Pesach, on the fifteenth day of the first month, on the first day of unleavened bread”. And therefore, the rabbinical calendar person says, “You see? Yeshua does not match the pattern at all.“

1
Moon
2 3
4
.
5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14
Pesach
15
Rab. Omer
16 17
18
Omer
19 20 21 22 23 24

One has to wonder, what do all the Messianic Jews do with this? How do the Messianic Jews reconcile the fact that the omer represents Yeshua, but in the rabbinical calendar the omer is offered the very next day? How do the Messianic do that? That is a good question.

Here is the thing. The rabbis would be offering the omer while Yeshua was still in the grave. And not only that but the Wave Sheaf Offering also affects the Pentecost. We will talk about that in the next chapter. But let us take a good look at the command for the omer count. Because this is important, this is going to impact Shavuot also.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:15-16
15 “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the [weekly] Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the [barley] wave offering [omer]: seven Sabbaths shall be completed.
16 Count fifty days, to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering [of the black heirloom Emmer wheat] to Yahweh.”

Later, we are going to see that it is the firstfruits of black heirloom emmer wheat that comes ripe at a very specific time, about fifty days after the firstfruits of barley. But we see Yahweh say to count seven weeks, (seven Sabbaths) and then to add a day. And then you are going to have the new grain offering of wheat unto Yahweh, which is still going to be on the first day of the week. We will talk about that further in the next chapter.

To look at this in more detail, let us take a look at verse fifteen again. We are going to see where the rabbis make their errors.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:15
15 “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the [weekly] Sabbath [mimaharat HaShabbat], from the day that you brought the sheaf of the [barley] wave offering [omer]: seven Sabbaths (שׁבתות) shall be completed.

Here, in verse fifteen, the Hebrew for the phrase “the day after the Sabbath” is “mimaharat HaShabbat”. It literally means, the day after the “weekly” Sabbath.

Then, the phrase “seven Sabbaths shall be completed”, in Hebrew is “sheva Shabbatot”. That is seven Sabbaths. Okay, so, what is the question?

Well, the rabbis are going to go in a totally different direction with this. The rabbis are going to say that the Shabbat mentioned here in verse fifteen refers to the Pesach, rather than the weekly Shabbat. They are going to say Passover is a kind of a day of rest, and therefore a kind of a Shabbat. And because of this, they are going to offer their wave sheaf offering the day after the Pesach, no matter what day of the week the Pesach falls on. That is completely wrong. And we are going to see four main reasons why that is wrong.

Reason one. Pesach is not Shabbat. Yahweh is perfectly capable of saying Pesach if He wants to say Pesach, and Shabbat if He wants to say Shabbat. There is no reason not to believe Him and there is no reason not to take Him at His word here. If Yahweh had said to offer the omer “on the day after the Pesach”, He would have said that. But He does not say “mimaharat Pesach”, He says “Shabbat”. Is there some reason that we do not believe Yahweh? For some reason, we do not want to do what He says to do?

I was taught that, no matter what else you do, the number one rule of Scripture interpretation is to never, ever violate the shot what’s called the p’shat (the face value) of the text. Elsewise, you can come up with all kinds of strange doctrines and ideas.

Reason number two. We need to talk about the instructions for the first day of Unleavened Bread. If Yahweh had wanted us to offer the omer “on the first day of Unleavened Bread”, He would have given us the instructions with the instructions for the first day of Unleavened Bread. Because both of those things would have fallen together. But He did not give us the instructions for the Wave Sheaf Offering when He gave us the instructions for the first day of Unleavened Bread. He gave them separately. And we know it is not a mistake because of the next reason we give.

1
Moon
2 3
4
.
5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14
Pesach
15
Rab. Omer
16 17
18
Omer
19 20 21 22 23 24

Reason number three. The first day of Unleavened Bread has a calendar date fixed to it. The Pesach takes place on the fourteenth day of the first month and the first day of Unleavened Bread takes place on the fifteenth day of the first month. But Elohim never sets a date for the Day of the Wave Sheaf Offering, nor does He ever set a date for Shavuot. How come? Because while these are both supposed to be celebrated on the first day of the week, the calendar date can change from year to year. Even though it is always on the first day of the week, it is not always the fifteenth day of the first month. So, if Yahweh wanted us to offer the omer on the first day of Unleavened Bread, He would have said “Offer the omer on the first day of Unleavened Bread. Offer the omer on the fifteenth day of the first month. Offer the omer on the day after the Pesach.” He did not do that. He gave the instructions separately. One of them has a calendar date and the other one does not.

Reason number four. We are supposed to use the principle of “equal weights and measures”. This means that if you are going to do one thing in one instance, you should do the same thing in the other instance. And if it does not make sense to use it in the other instances then we should not use it in this instance. The problem here is that, if we are going to be consistent, then if we are going to substitute the word “Passover” for the word “Shabbat” in Leviticus chapter twenty-three, verses fifteen and sixteen, then we need to substitute it uniformly. Using equal weights and measures, let us take a look at verse fifteen again, substituting the word “Shabbat” with the word “Passover”.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:15-16 (Rabbinical Nonsense Version)
15 “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Pesach, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Pesachim shall be completed.
16 Count fifty days, to the day after the seventh Pesach; then you shall offer a new grain offering to Yahweh.”

This would mean that we are going to have to wait seven years to offer the Pentecost. Now, obviously, that does not work if we are going to substitute in uniformly and use equal weights and measures. Because it is referring to a seven-year time frame rather than a fifty-day time frame. And you cannot count fifty days to some event that takes place seven years from now. It simply does not work.

The rabbinical interpretation is leaven. It is false doctrine. It is sin. In the next chapter, we are going to see how that leaven and that false doctrine plays out during Chag HaShavuot (the Pilgrimage Feast of Weeks).

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