Some think the proper time to begin a year is connected in some way to the vernal equinox. This is based on a series of assumptions.
First, there are those who take the term “tequfah” (H8622) from Exodus 34:22, translated as “end”, in conjunction with (H8141), “shameh” translated as “year’s”, and conclude that this means “equinox”. There is a yearly cycle. It is a point in the continual sequence where an observable event indicates the completion and restart. But defining “year’s end” as equinox is in no way supported. And if it were, where is the other witness? No other scripture defines equinox as the time to begin a year, despite the occurrence of “tequfah” several other times in scripture.
Seriously, have you ever looked out the window and said, “oh, look–there’s the equinox!” No. It can be determined; so can a lot of other astrological intervals. But astrology is not astronomy. Scripture does not instruct us to observe what cannot be seen.
Genesis 1:14-19 tells us to look to the great lights: sun, moon, and stars. When taken in relationship, they build a platform of witnesses. You can see the lights. You can see the signs they give us. Studying those signs is called astronomy, the first science and original time-keeping.
You cannot “see” which constellation the sun is “in”.
You cannot “see” the lunar conjunction.
You cannot “see” the vernal equinox.
These are all astrology, pseudo-astronomy.
If you accept the instructions given in Genesis and repeated elsewhere, you will find visible indicators to follow. Nowhere in Scripture are we told to look for an equinox.
When we find the right place to begin the year by observing astronomy, we find multiple perplexing riddles solved. The question of how many months in a year is dictated clearly. No more quandary about stellar precession, about twelve or thirteen months, about whether to start first after, closest to, or which phase to begin with. No more wondering about the “metonic cycle”.
To most of us, trying to decide where the year originally started is like trying to find the end of a rubber band. We can examine it ever so carefully, but establishing a beginning seems quite arbitrary.
We know that January 1 is out; March 1 is not even assumed by the pagans, though it is clearly closer. March 21 is not a consistent formula. Where then?
And next, there are those who say that we can indeed “see” the equinox. I find that the equinox does not exist. It is not a real thing. Some claim that it is real–it is the center line dividing the earth. Well, the earth is real, and whether it is a globe or not, there is a center line dividing it equally in the middle.
But that does not make it real. There is a line around my forearm dividing equally the distance between my elbow and my wrist. That is just math. Can you see the line? No. Can you measure and find the line? yes. But there is still no line. If I tattooed it on my arm, it still would be a mathematical idea and not a reality. And it is just so with the equinox.
During the lives of the early patriarchs, vis. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, there were pagan priests holding power over the masses through hidden knowledge. Like keeping time by things unseeable. This is clever, but it is not Scriptural. Nor is it necessary. Adam was told to keep time by the lights. He didn’t look for the stars in the daytime. He did not look for the moon at conjunction. He did not try to see what wasn’t there to look at. He didn’t have a stick cut to a certain length which he used to figure out what was up there to tell him when to do what. He did not hold it at a 33 degree angle in relation to anything. That was Nimrod doing that.
Let me make you a proposal. Throw away the pagan counterfeit equinox. Just let go of it. Let it go. And then look for where to start a year according to Scripture. And if it leads you back to the equinox, and you can follow it for a hundred years with no self-conflict in the pattern, and you can provide solid scriptural explanations for it, then I will happily consider it. But not before. And neither should you. Keep looking. The Father did not make sabbath observance impossible for any generation.
To conclude, How we keep time according to Scripture must honor the following principles:
•Following an astronomical principle properly not will lead you into a pattern that breaks itself after a few years. You can plot it out using software and verify it before you build your life on it for the first day.
•There are things in Scripture that are not readily revealed. Timekeeping is rather subtly presented. But the principles are given, and if we limit ourselves to them, it will fit with astronomy and Scripture and sense, and be consistent.
•The better you understand astronomy, the simpler it gets. It is not something you have to build tools to track. Any child with fingers can track it if they are shown how. Unless they insist on imposing an interpretation into Exodus 34:22 that just isn’t there.
Sometimes we can’t see the answer because our hypothesis gets in the way.