Happy New Year!
This evening, March 25, 2020, the Biblical New Year arrives with sunset and extends to sunset on March 26. The date on the Hebrew calendar is 1 Aviv 5780. This month is very pivotal in the lives of God’s children, yet so few who claim to know Messiah have true understanding of why. Somehow the truth that YHVH’s Kingdom functions according to His times and seasons and not the world’s is a fact so many cannot grasp. This is not only disheartening, but in this peculiar time in world history it could be increasingly tragic. When we walk outside of God’s order for the seen and the unseen worlds, we expose ourselves to dangers we are often unaware of until it is too late.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, almost all of us are now staying at home from work, school, church and events of leisure. Could it be that the King of the Universe is giving us an giant opportunity to intently listen to Him and reset the way we have been living our lives? Personally, I believe that to be true. I know there are some who believe this pandemic to be some sort of judgement from God, perhaps the first of the plagues of the Tribulation. Others say that this is purely a man-made error that is wreaking havoc of our own making. I am not going to get into that debate. I believe that regardless of where this virus came, for those who take advantage of the time we now have on our hands, these days of what seems like evil and darkness can be turned around into immeasurable good for God’s people. As is true for almost all things in His Kingdom, the choice between what brings life and what brings death is ours. Could it be that our Father is using this pandemic as a litmus test for His people? Is He starting to sort the sheep from the goats? I can’t firmly answer that – but it certainly is a good possibility. He is always looking for true faith on earth. His test remains the same: Are we willing to shema Israel – listen and obey?
Much has been prophetically uttered concerning the meanings associated with both the Hebrew and the Gentile years now underway. 2020 has been declared a year of receiving 20/20 vision from Yahweh. 5780 has been declared the year of the open palm of the hand, ready to receive what the Father is prepared to place in your open hands. I think many of us are astonished at how YHVH is doing this! Regardless of what you believe about the source or the form of this worldwide event, with the Coronavirus pandemic YHVH is indeed reshaping our vision to see much more clearly the importance of living by His Ways and embracing the instruction and principles of His Kingdom. Our vision as individuals and as bodies of believers within our local communities is becoming far more focused on Him and His purposes rather than focused on our own desires and plans. For many of us He is literally resetting our entire life vision and purpose. Some of us are for the very first time finally grasping the full eternal purpose of our own lives. What a way to start a new year!
Regarding this open palm of the hand picture for the year 5780, I know that I had an entirely different concept of what God might place in my hands this year! How about you? Isn’t it amazing that He is using this very trying time to strip our hands bare of everything we thought so valuable and important? Could it be that He must do this before He can place in our hands what He truly wants for us to possess so that we are fully able to carry out our renewed vision and purpose? Yes. I think this is exactly what He is doing in the lives of those who are presently trusting Him to walk them though this present crisis day by day by listening and obeying. The transformation in our lives will be a powerful and effective, if we allow it to be!
This month of Aviv, the first month of the Kingdom year, is indeed the most pivotal month of Aviv in a very long time. Amen!
Understanding the First Month of the Kingdom Year
The observance of Rosh Chodashim (Head of Months) is considered the very first commandment given to Israel as they prepared to leave Egypt. Exodus 12:2 reads, “You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you.” In the very midst of their deliverance/salvation from slavery to the lifestyle and demands of Egypt, God begins to set them apart by giving them a new calendar – one of His making, not of the world. Because He creates in the seen world that which mirrors what exists in the unseen world, this new calendar re-establishes what He later shows us is His eternal timetable upon the earth. All the months of the year are numbered from this day, this month. All the Appointed Times (Feast Days) in His Kingdom now and in the new earth to come are set by this day, this month. Do we comprehend just how BIG this day is? We certainly need to!
Aviv is the Hebrew name for this month, meaning “spring”. The Jewish calendar uses the name Nissan, which is Babylonian for “spring” and was adopted from the days of Israel’s exile there. We often see both names used on modern Hebrew/Jewish calendars. Personally, I like to use Aviv as it is the name used in the Torah for this key month. God establishes Aviv as the first month of the year meaning that all the remaining months of the year are numbers by this day. As we read the Torah, the Prophets, and Writings we see phrases like “in the second month” and “in the seventh month”. The count is determined by this first month – the month of Aviv. Originally in the Hebrew world. months, just like days, did not have names – only numbers. Only the first month had a name, Aviv, and the seventh day had a name, Shabbat. These two markings of time are the most significant in His Kingdom. Both are to bring us a return to His Ways and a time of deliverance and restoration. Remarkable! They are crucial to bringing a steady flow of Life into the lives of His people.
Following God’s establishment of the first month of the year for the Israelites, He then gives Moses and Aaron the instructions for the first Passover, which took place in Egypt. (Exodus 12:3-51) This is important for us to pay attention to. They were still in bondage in Egypt when God began to change their concept of time and seasons. Our deliverance from the system of this world begins before that system passes away. Messiah has not returned yet. He has not yet caused the world and its ways to be crushed and done away. BUT He has instructed us to follow His Ways, His Seasons, His Times regardless. The first month of the Kingdom year on both this earth and the new one to come will always be Aviv. There will always be a Passover celebration on the 14th day of this month, no matter who or where we are – and no matter what our surrounding circumstances. There will always be a week of Unleavened Bread. His Times and Seasons are unchangeable, no matter what our religious, denominational doctrines and theologies try to teach us. Messiah observed the Appointed Times while living on this earth, and He taught His disciples to continue in them. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:14-20)
Aviv is significant to us for many other reasons also. Historically, it is the month of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt which is the beginning of Israel’s national history. When Israel went into Egypt to survive severe famine under the protection of Joseph, Israel was merely a household made up of Jacob (Israel), his sons and their families. Four hundred thirty years later they left Egypt numbered in the millions and set out for the land Yahweh had promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). They entered Egypt as a family. They left as an ethnic group – a nation – twelve tribes strong.
Later, when Israel did become a full-fledged nation politically as well as ethnically, the marking of the number of years of the reign of a King of Israel began with Aviv 1. As each Aviv 1 passed, one year would be counted to a king’s reign. Even though Israel’s king was usually crowned in the autumn, the count of his years of reign began with Aviv. Though Yeshua came to us as the newborn King of Judah during the Fall Feast of Sukkot, I think it is no coincidence that He established His rule over ALL things during the month of Aviv. His eternal sovereign right to rule over the lives of His loyal and loving citizens was fully established by His death and resurrection during Aviv. The entire earth became His again, and death and hell itself will not prevail against His Kingdom as it functions on earth like it does in heaven. When the appointed time of His return arrives, there will no longer be any shadow of doubt on this point.
Aviv is the month of celebrating deliverance and redemption!
Under Moses, it was in this month that Israel was delivered and redeemed out of the hands of bondage in Egypt. For the children of Israel, they were “re-born” as a people of the Covenant of Abraham during Passover and the Exodus. No longer under Egyptian rule, they were free to relearn and reestablish the faith and lifestyle of their forefathers. As the Exodus accounts reveal, this was not an easy transformation. God went to great lengths to test the people and their leaders, purging them of rebellion and any dishonor of His Sovereignty and Divinity. The Egyptians suffered through terrible plagues as YHVH destroyed their gods and broke their power over His children. Likewise, Israel went through dire experiences as YHVH taught, corrected, and cleansed them, making them worthy to bear His Name on the earth. His grace and patience with them were not because they deserved it – but because He loved them and was determined to honor His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As Messiah prepares to return to fully establish His Kingdom on this earth, we as the whole House of Israel should expect to be cleansed and refined just as our forefathers were. Would the Father who loves us do anything less?
Yeshua’s death and resurrection took place in the month of Aviv during the nine-day period given to the celebration of the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. In fact, Yeshua died and was buried on Erev Pesach (the eve of Passover), remained buried during the first days of Unleavened Bread, and was resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits. Yeshua provides for us complete deliverance and redemption from our bondages, caused by our own sin, to the faulty and Godless systems of this world. For followers of Yeshua, the month of Aviv holds reason for the greatest of rejoicing and celebration. We understand that our rebirth and redemption is possible because of Passover, the day on which the selected Lamb of Yahweh bore the penalty of death that sin all of mankind requires. Yeshua’s Passover death and First Fruits resurrection gives all nations and individuals access to the blessings of Yahweh’s Covenants with Israel. This is His priceless Passover gift to any who choose to accept it and enter His Household and His Kingdom again.
What should we focus on during Aviv 5780/2020?
- Allow Father to fully reset your life. Use this unique down time to wash your hands of everything you held so important and let Him reset your purpose, vision, goals and plans for your life. Write them down clearly so that you can run with them. Declare your new beginnings to those closest to you who will help you stay on focus in the year ahead. This holds true for churches and businesses as well as for individuals and families. Determine to step up your dedication to observing His Appointed Times – Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, and the Feast Days & Weeks. Rethink your habits of giving to the works He is doing through your congregation and other organizations dedicated to serving His purposes. Become that cheerful giver…while increasing your wisdom in handling your finances and providing for the needs of your family. Choose to spend more time with the truly important people in your life, encouraging one another and building others up so that they can do the things God is directing them to do. Spend more time in the Torah and the teachings of Yeshua, asking God to reveal the flow of His Truth that moves effortlessly through those pages.
- Celebrate Rosh Chodashim. This is the first day of the first month of the new year! It is the first Rosh Chodesh of the year. Everything in our lives for the year ahead is rolled out before us on this day. We should be excited about this! The Biblical instructions from YHVH for every Rosh Chodesh (head of a new month) is to blow the shofar, sing, rejoice, have a feast, and present an offering of thankfulness to Him. Rosh Chodashim is the Head of all the Months – so make the most of the day!
- Celebrate the Passover. Despite the craziness around us right now, REJOICE! Take the time to go into the Torah and learn God’s instructions for this important season. Then simply do what He instructs. We know that Yeshua is our Passover Lamb – so we don’t need to sacrifice a lamb to cover our doorposts. But we do need to apply His Blood to the doorposts of our heart and our homes by honoring and remembering Him during the night of Passover. Eat the Passover meal within your homes, just as the Israelites did that last night in Egypt. Disease and death surrounded their homes that night. But it did not touch those who listened and obeyed the instruction God had given them. This is crucial reality for us right now. We must not allow disobedience in keeping the Passover to expose our households to what is intended by any enemy for destruction. Though we cannot gather as congregations this year, we can certainly connect with a Passover celebration being provided online. Join in!
- Celebrate the Feast of Matzah (Unleavened Bread). Again, go into the Torah and simply do what He instructs. Have some creative fun with this interesting week. Try some new recipes using matzah. Create a skit about the Exodus as a family and play it out. Grasp that the matzah bears stripes and piercings, just as Messiah does. Grasp the significance of those three days that Yeshua spent establishing our final victory over death and taking from Satan the keys to death and Hades. Use this week to teach your children and grandchildren about the Exodus and the life of Yeshua. They need to be equipped for their futures and this week plays a huge role in that purpose.
- Celebrate the Day of First Fruits. This is a day of rejoicing and giving. We are to rejoice in all that God is ready to provide for us in the year ahead. This is the day the Israelites brought to the House of YHVH sheaves of green barley – indicating their acknowledgment that all that they will receive in the new year comes to them from the hand of God. In our modern day, most of us are not leading an agriculture-based life, so what do we give? Give the first fruits of what represents provision and increase to your household. Remember that it is the principle of giving a first fruit offering of honor and thanksgiving that is eternal – not the actual form (green barley). Pray about your gift. Choose to honor the principle. Let the God who loves you beyond measure determine the form of the offering your household should bring into His presence.
Because of the way the Sabbath fell during the year of Yeshua’s death, that particular Day of First Fruits became the day Yeshua rose from the dead! Thus, He became the First Fruits of the resurrection – the promise of God that guarantees that we too will experience a physical resurrection, never to die again! This day can certainly be celebrated as His Resurrection Day – or you can wait for Aviv 17, the date of His resurrection. Either way, considering what Messiah accomplished for us on that First Fruits Day, even the sky above should not be the limit to our First Fruits giving in this season!
- Celebrate Resurrection Day. In the year of Yeshua’s death, the regular Sabbath and the Passover Sabbath fell on the same day on Aviv 16. Therefore, the Day of First Fruits – the day Yeshua rose from the dead, fell on the first day of the week, Aviv 17. This year that date falls on April 11 on our western calendar. This year it also happens to be a regular Shabbat. This should be a great day of rejoicing for all of us – even if we are stuck at home due to current restrictions. Plan a special day of celebration and make the most of it, Beloved of Yeshua!
Significant Kingdom Celebration Dates for Spring 2020
- March 25/26 Rosh Chodashim – Head of the New Year
Rosh Chodashim is also considered Shabbat HaKadosh (the Holy Sabbath) and begins the final days of preparation for Passover!
Sunset March 25 to sunset March 26 = Aviv 1
- April 3/4 Shabbat HaGadol – The Great Sabbath
The day the Passover lambs were brought into Jerusalem. This is the day Yeshua rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, following the huge flock of selected Passover lambs that were being brought into the city.
Sunset April 3 to sunset April 4 = Aviv 10
- April 7 Yeshua’s Pesach (Passover) Seder at Twilight
“I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die! For I tell you for certain that I will not celebrate it again [with you] until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God…until the Kingdom of God comes [to the earth].” Luke 22:14-17
After His Seder with the disciples, they went to pray at Gethsemane where Yeshua was arrested. This was the night the Lamb was fully inspected and found to be without sin – without blemish. The Perfect Passover Lamb was ready for the sacrifice. This night was observed by the Pharisees as the true night of Passover. The sacrifice of Passover lambs had already begun that afternoon in the Temple.
After 3:00 PM April 7, overnight to sunrise April 8 = the early hours of Aviv 14
- April 8 Pesach (Passover)
The last sacrifice of the thousands of Passover lambs would be completed at 3:00 PM on Aviv 14 and the celebration of the Temple-ordained Pesach Seder would begin in earnest the homes of the Israelites. This was a night of feasting and vigil until dawn. Yeshua died at 3:00 PM as the perfect and final Passover Lamb for all of Israel. His body was quickly placed in a tomb as the Passover Seder of that night and Passover Sabbath of Aviv 15 was about to begin.
Passover begins at 3:00 PM, Aviv 14/April 8 and ends at dawn on Aviv 15/April 9
- April 9-15 Feast of Matzah (Unleavened Bread)
The 1st Day of this feast is called the Passover Sabbath. No matter what day of the week it falls on, it is a day of complete rest and celebration. No work is to be done on this day. The final day of the Feast of Matzah is also a Sabbath, no matter what day of the week it falls on.
Dawn on Aviv 15/April 9 until sunset Aviv 21/April 15 is the full Feast of Matzah.
Dawn on Aviv 15/April 9 to sunset is the Passover Sabbath.
Sabbath on the final day of the Feast is sunset April 14 to sunset April 15 = Aviv 21
- April 10 Yom HaBikkurim (Day of First Fruits)
Usually this takes place on Aviv 16, the day after the Passover Sabbath…except if it falls on a regular Sabbath. If so, it is then observed on Aviv 17, which was the case in the year of Yeshua’s death and resurrection.
Sunset April 9 to sunset April 10 = Aviv 16
- April 11 Resurrection Day 2020/5780
The third day of Aviv 17! In the year of Yeshua’s resurrection, the Day of First Fruits fell on the first day of the week following the double Sabbath that fell on Aviv 16. Yeshua rose from the dead during the nighttime hours that marked the beginning of Aviv 17, which was the Day of First Fruits in that year. His empty tomb was discovered by Mary and Mary of Magdalene just before dawn, Aviv 17. Isn’t it AMAZING that YHVH would time this event in the exact year that He did so that the days of Yeshua’s death and His resurrection would fall exactly as they needed to…on Passover and First Fruits! Wow!
Sunset April 10 to sunset April 11 = Aviv 17