Daily Tidbits 3/19 – Tequfah/Equinox

The Biblical year is measured from תקופה ‘tequfah’ to תקופה ‘tequfah’ (Spring equinox to Spring equinox… Exodus 12:2). It is a continuous cycle of the sun rising directly over the Eastern horizon at the spring תקופה ‘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 Autumn תקופה ‘tequfah’ and proceeds South to it’s farthest point at the Winter solstice and then back again making a ‘figure eight’ (analemma – Ecclesiastes 1:6).

The Hebrew word for eight is שמונה ‘shemonah’ from the root שמן ‘shemen’ which means oil.  שמן ‘shemen’ comes from the two letter root שם ‘shem’ which means “name or character” and is the same root as the Hebrew word for the sun, שמש ‘shemesh.’  The movement of the sun through declares the name/character of the Lord.

The movement of the sun throughout the year is a ‘macrocosm’ of the daily movement of the sun.  In the morning, which corresponds to Spring, the sun rises from the Eastern horizon in which the sky produces a reddish color.  The sun is at its greatest strength during “midday” which corresponds with Summer and then descends into the West in which the sky again turns red, corresponding with Autumn.  At night, the sun is hidden bringing forth darkness which corresponds with the Winter season.  Spring pictures life and the resurrection from the dead.

 

This daily and yearly movement of the sun portrays the “Word of the Cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18).  The morning rising of the sun which corresponds with Spring portrays the birth and re-birth of the Messiah from the dead.  The mid-day sun which corresponds with Summer portrays the lifting up of the Messiah on the cross (John 3:14; 12:32) and later His exaltation (Philippians 2:7-9).  The setting of the sun corresponds with Autumn in which the light of the world (John 9:4-5; 11:9) fades away into darkness which is displayed by nighttime and Winter portraying the Savior’s death.

The Hebrew word תקופה ‘tequfah’ comes from the root קף ‘qaf’ which literally means the ‘sun speaks.’  See Daily Tidbits 3/22 – Tequfah & the Mark.

Rom 1:1  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Rom 1:2  (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
Rom 1:3  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
Rom 1:4  And declared {ὁρίζω ‘horizō’} to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

ὁρίζω ‘horizō’ is the source of the English word ‘horizon.’

James Murdock New Testament (Aramaic translation)

Rom 1:4  and was made known {ואתידע  ‘vayteedah’} as the Son of God, by power, and by the Holy Spirit,) who arose from the dead, Jesus Messiah, our Lord,

ואתידע  ‘vayteedah’ corresponds to the Hebrew ידע ‘yada’ – to make known.  The purpose of movement of the sun is to declare, to make known, the Gospel of Jesus Christ in parable form.

Beginning of the year

The year begins in the month of Aviv/Nisan which occurs in the Spring at the תקופה ‘tequfah’ or the turn of the year when the sun has completed its orbit.

God is the one who is in control of the תקופה ‘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 (עיש ‘ayish’ – Bear, Arcturus) with its sons?

Job 38:33 Do you know the limits (חוקה ‘chuqqah’ – laws) of the heavens; can you establish their rulership on the earth?

The Spring תקופה ‘tequfah’ occurs when the sun has completed its cycle through the constellations.

תקופה ‘tequfah’ comes from the root קף ‘qaf’ 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’ 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 horizon.

Psa 19:6 his (the sun) going forth from the end of the heavens, and his orbit (תקופה ‘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 (תקופה ‘tequfah’) of the year.

2Ch 24:23 And it happened, at the turn (תקופה ‘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

XXVIII.

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.

Vernal Equinox

“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 (Ezekiel 8:16). 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 Jehovah. And, behold, at the opening of the temple of Jehovah, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty five men with their backs to the temple of Jehovah, and their faces eastward. And they bowed themselves eastward to the sun.

 

“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.”  {New Testament Chronology – Kenneth F. Doig}

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. 472 BC – 400 BC 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 תקופה ‘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 תקופה ‘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 תקופה ‘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.’

Related Studies:

Daily Tidbits 3/22 – Tequfah & the Mark

Biblical Calendar

blessing 4

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