The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. … Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
Exodus 12:1-6 NIV
Jews celebrate the new year in the fall with Rosh HaShanah (literally head of the year) in the month of Tishrei. “It is the new year for people, animals, and legal contracts. Jews believe Rosh Hashanah represents either figuratively or literally the creation of the World, or Universe,” according to Wikipedia.
Some something happens in Exodus 12. God changes the calendar. Nisan is to be the first month. Nisan is the month of Passover.
The day before I left Cardiff for Tel Aviv, I decided to check the Jewish calendar. I like to know where we are on God’s time clock.
And so I had to pause when I saw that I would be entering the Land on the last day of the year… just in time to observe Shabbat as it ushered in the new year.
I’m not sure if any Jews were celebrating this new year. My Israeli host said she didn’t think any one was. But she was aware. After we blessed the wine and the bread for our Shabbat dinner, she read from Exodus 12, acknowledging that God is starting a new year.
I want you to notice something. Why is God making a big deal about this calendar change? Why is he highlighting this month?
In Genesis 8:4, we read on the “17th day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” This is Genesis. Nisan is still the seventh month.
Then in Exodus 12, God says Nisan will be the first month. Passover lambs are slaughtered on the 14th of the month. In Leviticus 23, we see that the Feast of Firstfruits is the day after Shabbat after Passover.
Fast forward to the crucifixion. Yeshua (Jesus) was crucified on Nisan 14 (see John 19:31), just as all the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple. He rose again three days later, Nisan 17, which that year was the day after Shabbat (in our vernacular the day after Saturday, that is Sunday). Yeshua rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits and on the anniversary of Noah’s ark settling on dry ground! (Thank you, Chuck Missler, for this insight.)
The whole of God’s word is about His plan for salvation. All things point to Messiah. Yeshua is our Passover lamb (I Cor. 5:7). He is the firstfruit of the resurrection (I Cor. 15:20). He is the ark that saves us from God’s flood of righteous wrath and judgment.
And we know that when we accept Yeshua’s payment for our sin, we are born again (John 3:3) and made new creations (II Cor. 5:17).
Be alert. God has started His new year. It is a time of renewal and rebirth, seasonally and Biblically.
I am blessed and honored that the LORD dropped me back in Jerusalem at this time. I didn’t deliberately plan out this date. I struggle to keep up with the Jewish calendar when I’m not in Israel. And my travel schedule was somewhat fashioned by the airline and wedding I’m attending next week. So, the timing is Providential. I see the LORD’s hand moving.
I await His renewal in my life expectantly.