***a note from the author on Tuesday of every year as the day of the Passover:
From the beginning of time, calendars have been an indespensible part of life in any civilization. They assist in keeping track of seasons, providing times to celebrate festivals as well as being a means of simply measuring time. There have been many different types of calendars in use throughout history. Some are lunar calendars, that is a calendar based soley on lunar phases. There are solar calendars, based on the motion of the sun. And then there are calendars that are a combination of the two. Calendars can be fixed either through calculation or through actual observance of the movement of the celestial bodies, that is the sun, moon and stars. Some societies use just one calendar, some use more than one.
Followers of Yahweh are required to keep Yahweh’s sabbaths and His festivals, and thus very much have a need of a calendar. But how long should such a calendar be? That is to say, how many days should there be in the year? When does a new year start? How is this year to be divided up into months? Is this calendar to be calculated or not? The most familiar “books of the law”, (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuternomoy), unfortuately give no guidance other than to say that the month of the first passover is the first month (Exodus 12:2). But does that mean that Ancient Israel was to observe this month as the first month every year, or that they were to start a certain calendar system from that month in that particular year? Sometimes (but not everytime), when the commandments were given to keep the festivals, they seemed to be related to particular seasons or times. But again this is open to interpretation.
It is only natural then to try and investigate how Ancient Israel actually kept these festivals and sabbaths through other sources. Most will already know that today the Jewish people use a calculated lunar-solar calendar. There are twelve months in the year, each month consisting of either 29 or 30 days, giving a total of 353 - 355 days. Within a 19 year cycle an extra month of 30 days is added on every 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years, keeping the calendar aligned with the solar year.
This practice is relatively new. Before then, certainly during the period of the second temple, months were determined by actual observations of the new moon, and a new year declared based on the observation of crops to determin spring conditions. The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the voice of authority in these determinations. Such a practice meant that jewish communities living outside of Israel observed two days for every festival, because of the length of time it took to inform them that a new moon had been declared in Jerusalem. This is a practice that Jews living outside of Israel still keep. It also meant that Rosh Hashana was a two day festival for everybody. Since it falls on the first day of a month (Tishrei), then noone would know that the festival had started until the new month was declared. So the practice was to observe the day before the predicted new moon as an extra festival day.
Given the names of the months in the Jewish calendar are Babylonian in origin, and given that this calendar system is so similar to one of the Babylonian calendars, and given that whilst this was the calendar of mainstream Judaism at the time, other Jewish sects did not accept it, it is unlikely that this was the calendar of pre-exilic Israel and Judah. It wasn’t an old and established calendar.
Unfortunately we know very little of the calendar of pre-exilic Israel and Judah. There are four months that are named from this time, “Aviv”, “Ziv”, “Ethanim” and “Bul”, those these are likely to be Canaanite in origin. There are also some indications that before the exile, Ancient Israel simply did not observe the festivals. The period of exile was 70 years because they did not observe the sabbatical years all of their days in the land (2 Chronicles 36:21). They did not keep the Festival of Tabernacles since Joshua’s day (Nehemiah 8:17). Nor was the passover observed during the time of the kings (2 Kings 23:21-23). Therefore we have no precedent from this time to establish Yahweh’s calendar. They were in all likelyhood keeping the festivals of the Canaanites.
As an aside. We are familiar with the prophets of old condeming the worship of the Canaanite gods, particularly Baal and Asherah. The discovery in 1928 of the ruins of the ancient Phoenician city Ugarit, and the written works within them shed light on this ancient religion. The chief Canaanite god was “El”, and beneath him were a host of lesser gods amongst which were Baal, the god of fertility, “Mot”, the god of death and “Yam”, the god of the sea. Also texts from Ugarit indicate that “Yahweh” was also amongst these lesser gods, identified as being the son of El. Asherah was identified as being the wife of Baal in the Hebrew Tanach, however there are also texts which indicated that she was worshipped as Yahweh’s consort in Ancient Israel. Researchers also note how similar the religious texts of Ugarit are to the Hebrew Bible, particularly the Psalms, and some proverbs. This indicates that the perception of Ancient Israel of Yahweh was quite similar to the Canaanite belief system, thus explaining why they constantly were ensnared by it. As is our belief in God today. We believe in the Father and the Son, and that the Father and the Son are one. The word for God “elohim” in Hebrew being in a plural form, and the word for one “echad” coming from a root meaning “unity”. This is in constrast to the belief of Judaism today that God is singular.
Central to the Canaanite religion was the cult of Baal, the fertility god. Every autumn he was killed by the god of death, Mot, and every spring he was raised from the dead, meaning that the world would live again. They also worship their dead ancestors know as “Rephaim”, and participated in the “weeping for the dead” believing that if they wept enough, the gods would allow them to live again. 1 Samuel 28:1-25 indicates that resurrection of the dead was practised in Ancient Israel. It is possible then that the ancient Canaanites were literally resurrecting the spirits of the dead nephelim, the hybrids that resulted from the unions of the watcher angels and the daughters of men before the flood. Cetainly there were giants in the land of Canaan before the tribes of Israel invaded. And Israel was under mandate from Yahweh to destroy everything that breathed in the land (Deuteronomy 20:15-18).
What does this have to do with calendars? The Canaanites also celebrated the new moons, the writer of the Book of Jubilees, which dates from the 2nd century BCE certainly saw a connection between observing the celestial bodies and the teachings of the watchers:
[The Book of Jubilees: Chapter 8]
1 In the twenty-ninth jubilee, in the first week, [1373 A.M.] in the beginning thereof Arpachshad took to himself a wife and her name was Rasu'eja, the daughter of Susan, the daughter of Elam, and she
2 bare him a son in the third year in this week, [1375 A.M.] and he called his name Kainam. And the son grew, and his father taught him writing, and he went to seek for himself a place where he might seize for
3 himself a city. And he found a writing which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was thereon,
and he transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and
4 stars in all the signs of heaven. And he wrote it down and said nothing regarding it; for he was
5 afraid to speak to Noah about it lest he should be angry with him on account of it….
Ancient Israel also celebrated the new moons as per Isaiah 1: 10-15. Here the prophet also lists their sabbaths as being as abomination to Yahweh. Possibly because they were not observing the sabbath simply every seventh day, rather every seven days from the start of a new moon, a practice that was popular amongst ancient semites, and was only done away with when the Romans popularized the seven day week. This was something they learned from the Egyptians, who used to have a ten day week, but then at some point changed it to a seven day week once they decided that the sun and the moon and five other visible planets each ruled a day.
Thus to return to the topic of the article, Yahweh’s calendar. How can we determin it? Should we use the calendar of Ezra and company that was established during the time of the second temple? My belief is no, we should not.
First Ancient Israel was never commanded to celebrate new moons, and when they did so, it was an abomination to Yahweh. And simply to acknowlege the new moon in some fashion, is to celebrate it as far as I’m concerned. Second what are the “fruits” of such a calendar? Yahusha said we can know a tree by its fruits. For such a calendar to operate successfully, some central authority is required to declare that a new moon has been sited. That is to say your service to Yahweh becomes dependant on other people, and in some cases could become impossible if there are no speedy lines of communications between people and the central authority.
This calendar is also location specific, for the purposes of declaring the start of a new year, that is spring conditions in the Land of Israel. This is fine for people who live the northern hemisphere, but for people in the southern hemisphere where seasons are the exact opposite to those of the north, they would end up keeping the passover in the autumn. Also under such a system, it becomes impossible to know in advance, when to keep the Festival of Trumpets, which falls on the first of the seventh month.
From a philsophical point of view, I would also reject this calendar. Followers of Yahweh should worship Him and Him alone, not His creation. By that I mean, that the sun, the moon and the stars He created to provide a witness to His calendar only, not as a means of determining it. Yahweh determins His calendar, not His creation.
So to which calendar do these celestial bodies provide a witness? I believe the answer is contain in the Book of Astronomy, which we find in the Book of Enoch (chapter 71-74), that is the 364 day year of the ancient Essene community. In this calendar, lengths of months were determined by the length of the day compared to the length of the night. When this changes in a noteable fashion, this means a new month has started. In all, this calendar has 12 months, 8 having a total of 30 days, and 4 having a total of 31days giving 364 days in the year.
Is this calendar to be adjusted at certain intervals to the reflect the solar year of approximately 365.25 days? Absolutely, absolutely not. At the end of chapter 73 of the Book of Enoch, the writers states that you should observe descrepancies between the 364 day year and the lunar cycle. After five years you should notice a difference of fifty days between them, and after eight years a difference of eighty days between them. And although the writer never stated this, after four years you should notice a difference of five days between the solar year and the 364 day year. These descrepancies are the witness of Yahweh’s creation to His calendar. If you witness these descrepancies, then you know you have kept the calendar correctly.
Keeping such a calendar means you will move out of sync with the solar year over a period of time, but it will realign itself. In this case after 294 years, that is 6 Jubilees. 294 years of 364 days gives 107,016 days which would give an average solar year of 365.24232 days, very close to our estimate of the average solar year of 365.2422 days. This is in contrast to our Gregorian calendar, which tries to realign itself to a true solar, but cannot do so exactly. And over time it becomes incresingly inaccurate.
One other interesting question to ponder. Are the arrangements of the stars, the sun and the moon today the same as they were at the time of creation? I simply do not know enough about astronomy to answer this question. We do have reason to think that a change occurred. In the ancient world many civilizations used a 360 day calendar, and in the eight century BCE, they started changing them to reflect a 365 day year. Is is possible that the solar year was indeed once 360 days long, and that by celebrating the new moons in this time, this brought about great evil? To prevent this, Yahweh could simply at some point have changed the solar year, taking away the power of these festivals. If so, in these end times, will there be attempts to change the solar year back to what it once was?
I ask the reader to take of all this in prayer before Yahweh. Seek Him and Him alone for the truth.
Festivals and Calendars
In my last article entitled "Calendars", I pondered the question, "What is Yahweh's calendar?" I stated:
- That I did not believe the Jewish lunar-solar calendar, determined either through calculation or actual observations of "barley conditions" and the new moon, was this calendar.
- It is not known what calendar was used in Israel in pre-exilic times, during the time of the first temple and the judges.
- That the best option today was the calendar decribed in the Book of Astronomy, which is found in the Book of Enoch.
Partly because of some of the responses I received to this article, I decided to take a fresh look at the issue. This time I decided to look at what Yahweh actually commanded Moses concerning His appointed times, specifically when to keep them not how to keep them. A calendar isn't necessarily an end in itself, rather it serves as a means to keep Yahweh's festivals at their appointed time.
We find Yahweh's commandments concerning His festivals in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. The book of Deuteronomy does not contain Yahweh's words, rather it contains the commandments Moses himself gave to Israel before his death. If this is a new concept to the reader, I would suggest going through these "books of law", comparing what Yahweh actually commanded Moses with what Moses commanded Israel. Some of Yahweh's laws Moses simply did not repeat. Some he modified or handed over in different contexts. And there are new laws, laws we have no record of Yahweh commanding Moses.
Why would Moses do this? Certainly he was familiar with what Yahweh wanted, however he was also very familiar with the people of ancient Israel. Yahweh called them "stiffnecked", Moses called them "stubborn and rebellious". Thus he had no choice but to give them a code of law that was "within their reach", these being his words, a law that they could keep.
Below are links to the various passages in the "books of law" I studied in relation to Yahweh's appointed times and festivals. These are my own translations from the Hebrew Tanach. I have tried to translate as literally as I can. The result is not "good English", but I felt if it was still understandable, then I would leave the translation literal.
The appointed times and the festivals are given over in bits and pieces. There is no one passage that deals with all of the appointed times and festivals mentioned in these books, showing how they relate to each other and how to determine the times of their observance. Thus this creates the need for interpretation and correlation of the various laws. To begin to do this correctly it should be remembered that Israel had a two tier system of service to Yahweh. The priesthood and then the nation as a whole. This is not necessarily what Yahweh had wanted originally, for we read in Exodus 19:5-6:
And now if you surely hear My voice and keep My covenant, you will be for Me a treasure from all the peoples, for all the land is Mine. And you will be for Me a nation of priests, a holy nation. These are the words you will speak to the sons of Israel. (my translation)
However in the second month of the second year, the tribe of Levi was seperated out, and was taken in place of the firstborn of the sons of Israel (Numbers 3). I believe this came about because of the sin of the golden calf. This sin broke the covenant Yahweh had established with Israel, and only the tribe of Levi declared its loyalty to Yahweh after this episode. Exodus 32:26:
And Moses stood at the gate of the camp. And he said, "whoever is for Yahweh, to me". And all the sons of Levi were gathered unto him. (my translation)
Another notable change concerning worship of Yahweh, was the place that His sacrifices were to be made. At Mount Sinai, before the sin of the golden calf, Yahweh gave to Moses commandments concerning altars. Exodus 20:19-23:
(19) And Yahweh said to Moses, "Thus you will say to the sons of Israel. You saw that I spoke with you from heaven. (20) You will not make with Me gods of silver and gods of gold, you will not make for yourselves. (21) An altar of earth you will make for Me. And you will sacrifice upon it your elevations offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your cattle, in every place where I will cause My name to be remembered. I will come to you, and I will bless you. (22) And if you make for Me an altar of stones, you not will build them hewn, because you have drawn your sword upon it and defiled it. (23) And you will not go up by stairs upon My altar, so you will not uncover you nakedness upon it." (my translation)
Yahweh did commanded Israel from the beginning at Mount Sinai to construct a sanctuary for Him, and Aaron and his sons would minister in it. However the above verses give the impression that Yahweh did not intend that this was to be the only place to worship Him with sacrifices. This is in contrast to language in the book of Deuteronomy. Frequently when Moses was giving his law, the phrase "the place which Yahweh your God will chose to place His name there" is given along with it.
Thus when considering Yahweh's festivals, when must interpret what He commanded, remembering that the ideal situation of having all the tribes serving Him in many places was not realised. Rather in the end there was only one tribe serving Him in one place. It is true that after the conquest of the land, during the time of the judges, people did build altars to Yahweh (see Judges 6:17-26). However this was before the time of the temple and during those times Israel was frequently apostate, so it is hard to draw any conclusions from this regarding the observance of Yahweh's appointed times.
Returning to the subject of this article. The sabbath day is declared to be an appointed time (Leviticus 23:3). In all of the passages that deal with the sabbath, the instruction was clear, there was to be a continual cycle of six days of work, the seventh a day of rest. In Exodus 20:8-11 the reason given for keeping the sabbath was that Yahweh had made the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, thus establishing this appointed time from the beginning. This reason for keeping the sabbath was not repeated by Moses in his giving of the law to Israel (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
But this is indeed is what is recorded in Genesis 1:1 - 2:3. It should be noted that this appointed time is determined through the counting of days, not through observation of the lights of heaven. In fact in the above mentioned passage in Genesis, the countdown to the sabbath had begun even before the lights of heaven had been put in their respective places. Many take the verse Genesis 1:14 as evidence that Yahweh's appointed times are to be determined using the lights of heaven. However the sabbath indicates that this may not necessarily be the case. Certainly one can use these lights for appointed times. For example in ancient Egypt the siting of the Dog star, Sirius, was the sign that the annual flooding of the Nile was to occur, however we can not assume this method for the determination of Yahweh's appointed times.
This leaves the rest of the appointed times and festivals. Leviticus 23 provides a list of Yahweh's appointed times. Yahweh gave these commandments to Moses and Aaron in the first month of the second year of the exodus, just after His sanctuary (the Tent of Appointed Time) had been dedicated. The first appointed time is the Sabbath, as mentioned in the previous paragraphs. The second is the Passover to be held at twilight on the fourteenth of the first month. The third is the Festival of Unleavened Bread from the fifteenth to the twenty first of the same month. During this festival, the menfolk of Israel were to make one of the three pilgrimages that Yahweh commanded (Exodus 23:10-19, Exodus 34:18-27, Deuternonomy 16:16). Both of these appointed times Yahweh declared to be eternal.
The first month is the "month of spring", but nowhere are we told how to determin where this falls in the year exactly. I know that some point to Exodus 9:31:
And the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was of spring and the flax was of stalk. (my translation)
This was speaking of the condition of the flax and the barley at the time of the seventh plague which struck Egypt, the hail. Thus some conclude the month of spring can be determined by crop conditions particularly the barley crop. This is problematic. First the above verse refers to conditions in the land of Egypt. You cannot be sure that at the same time the barley crop in the land of Israel would be in the same condition. Israel has a slightly cooler climate than that of Egypts'. Second the above verse was describing the plague of hail. We are not told what period of time elapsed between this plague and the last plague which marked Israel's departure from Egypt. Third we do not know what their understanding of the spring season was at that time. Did they view the year as having four seasons of approximately 90 days or three seasons of 120 days as the ancient Egyptians did?
The fourth appointed time, is the Waving of the First Omer or the Festival of the First Fruits. No date is given for this appointed time, but since it is connected to the first harvest it would occur sometime in the spring. The only requirement was that it not be held on a sabbath. I believe Yahweh was commanding Israel to establish the date for future observance, by their actions, in the year that they would come into the land. What they did then would establish the date forever. Moses never mentioned this appointed time to Israel in the Book of Deuteronomy, indicating it was to be for the priesthood only to observe.
Seven sabbaths and fifty days later is the fifth appointed time, the Offering of the Bread of Waving or the Festival of the Latter First Fruits. Again this could not coincide with a sabbath, and again what Israel did in the first year in the land would determin its date forever. It is not clear if this is the Festival of Weeks that Yahweh commanded Moses(Exodus 34:22). That Festival of Weeks was to be the time of Israel's second pilgrimage. In Deuteronomy 16:9-12, Moses also commanded Israel to observe a Festival of Weeks, but the method of determining that festival is similar but not exactly the same as the method for determining this appointed time. Moreover Moses' Festival of Weeks could fall on a different day each year. Again this a manifestation of the two tier system of worship, this appointed time for the priesthood and Moses' Festival of Weeks for the rest of the nation.
The sixth appointed time is the Memorial of Trumpets to be held on the first day of the seventh month. The seventh is the Day of Atonement to be held on the tenth day of this month. Both of these appointed times are eternal. There is no record of Moses commanding Israel to observe these times in the book of Deuteronomy.
The eighth appointed time is the Festival of Tabernacles from the fifteenth till the twenty first of the seventh month, and on the eighth day, the twenty second, a day of assembly. The passage in Leviticus did not describe this appointed time as being eternal. However the Feast of Yahweh (Leviticus 23:39-43), which is to be held at exactly the same time and is to be celebrated by sitting in tabernacles, is described as being eternal. Essentially they are the same festival, simply the divison of service to Yahweh between the priesthood and the rest of the nation is being emphasised. And in doing so, I also believe Yahweh was indicating that the levitical priesthood would not endure forever, since the appointed time wasn't described as being eternal. Moses called this festival the Festival of Taberancles when commanding the nation of Israel, and in Numbers 29:12 (in a passage of commandments concerning the sacrifices to be offered by the priests) this appointed time is simply called "a festival".
The Festival of Tabernacles is to coincide with the gathering of produce from the land, indicating that this is the Festival of Gathering that Yahweh commanded Israel to keep (Exodus 23:16, Exodus 34:22). The Festival of Gathering also marked Israel's third pilgrimage of the year, and Moses also linked the third pilgrimage with the Festival of Tabernacles (Deuternonomy 16). After the harvest season had finished, the produce would not be stored immediately, rather it was left out to dry in the fields. And at some time during the autumn it was brought inside to be stored. Thus we know that the seventh month is to be sometime in autumn though at a fairly specific time.
So which days are we required to keep today, and just as importantly when? We must remember that the old order has gone. Today the followers of Yahweh are:
And behold you are chosen of Yah, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation and a people of treasure for Him, to declare His praises, of He who called you from darkness to wondrous light. ( 1 Peter 2:9 my translation from a Hebrew New Testament)
Therefore we are to keep the eternal appointed times according to the calendar established for the priesthood. We have no record in the Tanach of what this calendar is, but Moses most certainly would have passed this knowledge on to the priests, since they had the task of offering Yahweh's sacrifices at their appointed times.
All I can glean from these passages I have looked at, is that the first month is to be in the spring, and the seventh month is to be at the same time in the autumn year after year. This means that some sort of solar calendar was being used, to ensure that year after year, these two months would coincide with these seasons more or less. I say more or less because no calendar is perfect.
A purely lunar calendar would not suffice, as it only has 354 days and would very quickly move out of sync with the seasons. Nor would the Jewish lunar-solar calendar be sufficient year after year. Certainly not the calculated version of it, where every second or third year an adjustment of an entire month is made. Nor would this calendar, defined by observations of new moons and spring conditions, prove sufficient year after year after year. Since the building block of this calendar is the lunar cycle of either 29 or 30 days, in situations where spring conditons are observed just after a new moon, the new year won't be declared until the next new moon, meaning this calendar still has the potential to be out of sync by nearly a month.
Speaking of this lunar-solar observation based calendar. It is the consensus view that this was the calendar that was used during the time of the second temple up until its destruction. Meaning it would have been the calendar used by the religious establishment during the time of Yahushua. We have indications in the gospels that Yahushua's observance of the Passover was different to that of the religious establishment. In the gospel of Matthew we read that Yahushua was arrested at night, after His observance of the Passover. Yet previously when the chief priests were conspiring to kill Him, they resolved not to do it on the festival day (Matthew 26:5). And in the gospel of John this is stated as well. Yahushua was arrested at night after the Last Supper, presumably the Passover, yet the next morning the chief priests were careful not to become ritually unclean because they had not yet celebrated their Passover (John 18:28). That the difference between the two is probably only a day is irrelevant. If Yahushua and the chief priests were using the same method of determining Yahweh's appointed times then they would have celebrated the Passover at exactly the same time. That they didn't shows that Yahushua did not use the Jewish lunar-solar calendar.
I also believe that the commandments concerning two of Yahweh's appointed times in Leviticus 23, namely the two festivals of the first fruits, imply that appointed times should not be mixed. That is to say that if Yahweh has appointed a day to be a sabbath day, a day of rest, then this day cannot serve as well, for another appointed time, which is also a day of rest. This implies using some sort of calculation within the calendar.
To conclude. Whilst the commandments of Yahweh give an indication at to what type of calendar is to be used, they give no definite answer. We simply do not know which calendar they were using. It is up to each individual to study Yahweh's law concerning His appointed times, and then ask Him how they are to observe them. I know this may lead to a variation of observance amongst Yahwehs followers, however we cannot expect to undo hundreds of years of corruption brought about by the teachings of Saul of Tarsus and the Roman Catholic Church in the short amont of time that we have.
As for me I believe that Yahweh is leading me to use the 364 day Qumran (Essene) Calendar. Contrary to what I stated in my previous article, this calendar can be adjusted so it stays aligned with the seasons. The description of this calendar in the Book of Enoch, doesn't specify any adjustments, hence my declaration that it shouldn't be, however it is also true that the Book of Enoch doesn't explicity forbid adjusting the calendar. After researching this issue more in depth, I discovered that in all likelihood the community at Qumran did make periodic adjustments. In fact this calendar can be adjusted in an exceedingly useful way.
The Qumran Calendar in Modern Times
The Qumran Calendar is a 364 day calendar, consisting of exactly 52 weeks and is divided into 12 months, 8 of 30 days, 4 of 31 days. The first day of the year is always the fourth day, Wednesday. Under this calendar, appointed times always fall on the same day of the year, and a festival day that is also a day of rest never falls on a sabbath day.
An average solar year consists of 365.2423 days approximately. Thus over a period of a few years, the Qumran calendar will start lagging the solar year. Thus ít needs to be realigned but in a way that does not move the appointed times from their place in the calendar. To do this, any adjustments have to be in the magnitude of the calendar's building block, the seven day week.
Over a period of seven years the Qumran Calendar will lag the solar year by 8.6961 days.
7 x 365.2423 = 2556.6961
7 x 364 = 2548
2556.6961 - 2548 = 8.6961
Thus every seven years a week should be added. This will give an average year over the seven year period of 365 days, still 0.2423 days short of the solar year.
6 x 364 + 371 = 2555 (the seventh year has 371 days = 364 + 7)
2555 / 7 = 365
Every four cycles of seven years, that is every 28 years, instead of adding one week, add two weeks. This will give an average year over the 28 year period of 365.25 days, slightly in excess of what is needed.
3 x (6 x 364 + 371) = 7665 (three cycles of seven years)
6 x 364 + 378 = 2562 (the seventh year of the fourth cycle has 378 days = 364 + 14)
(7665 + 2562) / 28 = 365.25
To take care of this, every 32 cycles of 28 years, that is every 896 years, instead of adding two weeks, add only one. This will give an average year of 365.2422 days over the 896 year period, very close to what is needed. This last adjustment is purely academic. A value 365.25 days is good enough for the end times. This calendar will be at most, two weeks out of sync, good enough to make sure the first month falls in the spring and that gathering of produce at the end of the agricultural year falls sometime in the seventh month.
The benefit of this method of adjustment, is that adjustments occur every seven years, and therefore can be synchronised with the sabbatical year. That is to say when an adjustment occurs in the calendar, that is a reminder that that year is a sabbatical year.
The Book of Enoch tells us that at the end of the year, daytime and nighttime are equal in length, the time of the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere. Thus ideally at the beginning of the seven year cycle, the beginning of the year should start approximately three of four days after the spring equinox. After three or four years, the beginning of the year will coincide with the spring equinox, and in the sabbatical year a week should be added to repeat the cycle. This means that in the sabbatical year, the beginning of the year should be the first Wednesday after the spring equinox. In order to attempt to place the Qumran calendar in modern times, the sabbatical year first needs to be indentified.
During the time of the second temple, sabbatical years were observed from autumn to autumn following the agricultural cycle. This is the practice of Orthodox Judaism today. The cycle they observe today is computed assuming that the year of the destruction of the temple 70CE, was a post sabbatical year, that is from autumn 68CE till autumn 69CE was a sabbatical year. Using this year as a peg, gives autumn 2000 till autumn 2001 as the last sabbatical year. However other evidence indicates that this is not true. From the writing of Josephus the historian, and two other legal documents, this calculation is a year too early. These sources indicate that sabbatical years were observed from the autumns of 135 BCE, 44 BCE, 37 BCE, 55 CE, 69 CE, and 139 CE (Chronology of Jubilees). Therefore the last sabbatical year should have been from autumn 2001 till autumn 2002.
I have not found any information indicating that the community at Qumran disputed the seven year cycle of the second temple period, other than for them the year began in the spring, as Yahweh commanded. This gives the spring of 2002 as being the beginning of the last sabbatical year. In that year the spring equinox occured on Wednesday March 20th at 21:16 (Israeli time), meaning it would not have been observed until the next day, Thursday. The following Wednesday, the 27th marked the beginning of the year. March 26th, 2003 becomes the beginning of the next seven year cycle and in 2006, the fourth year of the cycle started on the 22nd of March. I stress that I'm not saying that this is the "right" answer, simply it is the best I can do with the information I have.
The first month of the Qumran Calendar looks like this:
The Festival of First Fruits or the Waving of the first Omer of the harvest was celebrated on the 26th of the Month, meaning that the day of the Waving of the Bread, or the Festival of Latter First Fruits, was celebrated fifty days later on the 15th of the third month, both dates being the first day of the week.
I do not know why they observed these particular dates. In Leviticus 23:9-14, Yahweh commanded them to perform the waving of the first omer, in the year that they would come into the land, on the day after the sabbath, and that they were not to eat bread, roasted or plump kernels until they had performed this service. The tribes of Israel entered the land of Canaan on the 10th of the first month (Joshua 4:19), the sixth day. At that time all the males of Israel were circumcised (Joshua 5:2-9). They celebrated the Passover on the 14th. Then on the 15th they ate from the produce of the land, and the day after that the mana ceased from heaven (Joshua 5:10-12). Assuming that the sons of Israel had been obedient to Yahweh's command, then they must have performed the waving of the omer on the 12th, giving the 1st of the third month as the Festival of Latter First Fruits.
The Qumran community may have been influenced by the writer of the book of Jubilees. He stated that in the year 1979AM (by his reckoning) in the middle of the third month, Abraham also celebrated the Festival of the First Fruits (Book of Jubilees 15:1-2)
Again I stress that all of this is my own opinion. In all things seek Yahweh for the truth and be obedient to His voice. May Yahweh bless you all.
Here are the links to some of the articles I read when researching this article. I don't agree with everything that's written, but I did find them thought provoking.