Why Care About the Biblical Calendar?

Everyone keeps a calendar of sorts. It may be in your head, on your phone, or in some kind of written form. In the United States we follow the Gregorian calendar so we know what month and day it is. This system lets us know when to be at work, school, appointments and even Church. The date also marks when we traditionally celebrate certain holidays.

Did you know that God does not follow the Gregorian calendar? He set days, months and His holidays, known in the Bible as appointed times or feasts on a different time-table that do not fall on the same date each year on the Gregorian calendar. This may seem more laborious and confusing to us. However, it calls us to pay attention because if we don’t, we will miss God’s appointed times.

On the Gregorian calendar we celebrate New Year on January 1st. On God’s calendar the Biblical New year falls on “the first day of the first month”, the Hebrew month of Nisan (so named when the Israelites returned to Israel from the Babylonian captivity). Nisan (also known as Aviv) 1 falls on April 9th in 2024 on the Gregorian calendar. Next year it will be a different date on the Gregorian calendar. In the Bible a new month begins when the moon is new as evidenced by a sliver of moon appearing in the night sky. This too was an appointed time every month called Rosh Chodesh in Hebrew.

God also does not start a day at midnight like the world does. The day starts at evening (sundown). Genesis tells us “so the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5) and so on. Therefore “the first day of the first month” (New Year) begins at sundown on April 8th and ends at sundown on April 9th in 2024. God also calls the days first day, second day, third day, etc. He doesn’t call the days of the week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc which are names originally based on idol worship! So, we see how far we are from God’s design!

What are we as believers in Jesus to do? Well, we do live in the world and have to interact with it so we do follow the Gregorian calendar for every day life. However, we can have an awareness of God’s calendar to help us understand times and seasons and to commemorate important days on God’s calendar. Leviticus 23 tells us the days on God’s calendar that are HIS feasts. Please note they are not exclusively Jewish Feasts. They are the “feasts of the LORD” according to Leviticus 23:2.

In Exodus 12 God gives instructions about Passover. Notice that Passover begins at twilight on the 14th day of the first month of the year. Jesus kept Passover and instituted communion during a passover meal. His suffering, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection all occurred during the days of Unleavened Bread. More on Passover and its significance for disciples of Jesus in a future blog.

What else happened on the first day of the first month in the Bible? While Israel was wandering in the wilderness, “the Lord spoke to Moses, saying; ‘On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle (the dwelling place) of the tent of meeting.'” (Exodus 40:1-2) We know that we who believe in Jesus are now the dwelling place of God as He dwells within us by the Holy Spirit. Could this first day of the first month be a good day to take some time to inquire of the LORD as to the state of our tabernacle and do some house-cleaning if needed? May the Holy Spirit help us and Blessed Biblical New Year! Peace and Joy in believing!

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry which also offers online christian bible studies and online bible reading plans. Betsy has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours there. She can be reached via the Women of the Word website.