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Does Pesach depend on the ripened Barley? ... NO!

There are many people today who insist that Pesach (Passover) cannot be celebrated until the barley ripens in Israel. These people (which includes the Karaite Nehemia Gordon and Messianic teachers such as Avi ben Mordechai) obviously don't realize they have misapplied Scripture and are consequently leading people astray concerning the timing of YHWH's Feasts.

YHWH our Elohim said Nisan 14 was to be His Passover (Leviticus 23:5). He never suggested the barley had to be ripe first. The following article reveals a heavenly secret!

It is said that in ancient times, Pesach was associated with the ripening of the barley crop. Some claim the exact date of the biblical new year is determined in the spring by the sighting of the new moon that immediately follows the ripening of the barley (the aviv barley) in the land of Israel. Never mind that this is complete nonsense and that no "earth-sign" will trump a "star-sign". (See Genesis 1:14 - "God said, 'Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to divide the day from the night; let them be for signs, seasons, days and years'".)

The statement above is, in fact, partially correct. The exact date of the start of the biblical new year is determined by the new moon, but not the sighting of the new moon which follows the ripening of earthly barley crops. The biblical year begins at the new moon closest to the date of the Vernal Equinox, such that Pesach falls on or after the Vernal Equinox - never before. (See "Wheel of Stars", Andrew Roth, Netzari Press).

Since the ripening of the barley is dependent entirely on earthly weather conditions and can be seasonally early or late, it seems far-fetched that Yahweh, the creator of all things, would require the determination of the new year be based on such a poor indicator as the ripening of man's crops.

So, there must be another mechanism...And indeed there is!

The star signs. Today, if you are like most, you know nothing about the stars. You don't need to. To determine the date of anything you simply look at a calendar. You don't even need to know how the calendar was made! But to the ancient people, they had to know the star signs and know them intimately to determine when the months, seasons, and years ended and began. To us, the art of the star signs is largely lost and because of that, myths such as "the new moon begins on the sighting of the crescent" and "the new year begins when the barley ripens" take on an air of truth and most don't ever consider how wrong they are! Worse, most don't even question these myths and simply assume they are fact.

Well, the fact is this: The ancients knew when the new year started because they were able to determine the new moon closest to the Vernal Equinox. And they were able to determine the Vernal Equinox by the star signs. In ancient times, as the sun was approaching the Vernal Equinox, the tiny constellation known as the "Pleiades" began to fade into the brightness of the dusk at sunset. Thus the Pleiades announced the equinox was coming. Then the another star sign announced that the equinox had happened. That sign was the fading of the star "Aldebaran" at sunset. The Ancients used the star signs to know that Vernal Equinox was nearing and for confirmation that it had occurred!

[Note: Pressession of the Earth's axis has change the times which the Pleiades and Aldebaran set in our age. The description above is intended to broadly cover the age before Moshe (Moses) when these astronomical signs had absolute significance.]

But it's not enough! Watching the Pleiades and Aldebaran set each night as the sun set in the West cannot by themselves enable the observer to determine the date of the Vernal Equinox. Another sign, another "witness" is required. And such a witness existed - The ancients knew this! The witness was the rising of the star "Spica", in the constellation of "Virgo" in the east. You see, just as the sun was nearing the date of the Vernal Equinox, Spica could be seen rising in east at sunset. And it is this combination of witnesses; the Pleiades, Aldebaran, and Spica which permitted the ancients to know precisely when the Vernal Equinox would occur. Then, though not a simple matter, they could determine which of the new moons on either side of the date of the Vernal Equinox would be the new moon for 1 Aviv (or "1 Aviv", today, "1 Nisan").

But where's the barley? Great question! Look up...up into the heavens where you'll find your answer!

The start of the new year was determined by star signs. As the Vernal Equinox is approaching, the constellation of Virgo is rising. "Virgo" is the "Virgin", and in her right hand, as the classical illustration below shows, is a stalk of grain (barley!) The star Spica in the constellation represents the grain! So when Spica was rising in the evening sky after sunset, night after night, until one night it was at the appropriate location to announce the Vernal Equinox, one can arguably say figuratively "the barley has ripened"!

At this point of the story Paul Harvey would say: "And now you know the rest of the story!" Why? Because, while the ancients knew the stars and how to tell time by them, the rising of Spica - i.e., the rising of the stalk of grain in the hand of the virgin announced the new year, and that star sign, over the many centuries became the "ripening of the barley" - it became confused with the ripening of the barley crops, an earth sign.

Chilling proof!

Lest you think the announcement of the Vernal Equinox by the setting of the Pleiades and the rising of Spica could not possibly be twisted into the "ripening of the barley" in the fields, take a look at this passage from Philo who lived in 20 BCE, from his writings "On the Creation":

"And besides the stars above mentioned" {Philo was describing Ursa Major} "the band of the Pleiades is also made up of seven stars, the rising and occultation of which are the causes of great benefits to all men. For when they set, the furrows are ploughed up for the purpose of sowing; and when they are about to rise, they bring glad tidings of harvest; and after they have arisen, they awaken the rejoicing husbandman to the collection of their necessary food. And they with joy store up their food for their daily use."

Thus the ancients were able to determine not only the new year by the rising and setting of key stars, but also the precise date of Pesach. Doing so they were able to place Pesach precisely in the middle of the month of Aviv (Nisan), and it could be observed at its right time.

Deuteronomy 16: 1 "Observe the month of Aviv, and keep Pesach to ADONAI your God; for in the month of Aviv, ADONAI your God brought you out of Egypt at night."

Something else to consider!

At the time of the exodus, it was already the "month of Aviv" when YHWH instituted the "Passover", for the first and only "pass-over" was to happen after sunset the 14th of that very month. YHWH made that month the "1st month of the year" forever after that. Now we must understand how the "Month of Aviv" would have been determined in those days.

As there was no "Passover" before that time, yet the Month of Aviv was known and established, it had to be determined by the sun, moon, and stars only (no barley!), see Genesis 1:14, because the calendar began at another time of the year! The calendar was NOT established by the Month of Aviv before the exodus, so the term "Month of Aviv" must have had a meaning quite different that what some people think today. (Today many fall for the "Month of Aviv" meaning that it is the month set by the "Aviv" stage of ripening barley. But this is not possible, because by the time the "Month of Aviv" came around, the calendar for that year had ALREADY been determined (probably from the previous Tishri!), and they would not have "changed" the calendar year to incorporate the ripening barley!)

So the "Month of Aviv" had nothing to do with the "greening of the barley", rather, it was simply the "season of greening" (month as determined by the sun) in which the plants begin to green, that is, the season of Spring. That is, the "Month of Aviv" really means the "month of the year when the crops begin to grow", and that month is established by the sun and not the barley!