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Voice of the Lord

You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you (Exodus 12:2)

Jewish Date


Leshanah tovah! (To a good year!). It may seem unusual to offer a new-year blessing on Nisan 1, but from God's perspective it is perfectly appropriate. You see, the Lord has his own calendar in heaven (Leviticus 23:2). It does not begin on Tishri 1 or January 1, but on Nisan 1 (see Exodus 12:2). In fact, the months in the Hebrew calendar are referred to in Scripture as "the first month," "the second month," etc. When Scripture refers to dates (e.g., "the second month"), it is always reckoning time relative to the date of the exodus—the first month of the year.

Our people celebrated the new year exclusively on Nisan 1 (then called Aviv 1) until the time of the Babylonian exile. It was then that we adopted the Babylonian calendar as our own, including the names of the months and the new year celebration. Did you know that the name of the first month in the Babylonian calendar is Tishri, and that Tishri 1 got it!...the Babylonian new year?

Tradition is good, but sometimes it is important to prioritize our traditions in light of Torah (see Appendix B). God had a good reason for making Nisan the first month of the year. It was because Nisan was the month in which he brought our people out of the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:1). By remembering each day that biblical dates are reckoned in relation to the month of Nisan—the month of the exodus—we can be thankful for that great redemption all year!

...commemorate the New Year by remembering that the Lord is my Redeemer and Deliverer.


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The Voice of the Lord, Copyright © 1998 by the Lewis and Harriet Lederer Foundation, Inc. Published by Messianic Jewish Publishers, Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources, All rights reserved. Used by permission. No part of this article may be reproduced in print or on the web, or transmitted in any form, without the written permission of the publisher.

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