Today’s passage of Scripture is Numbers 1:45-46 which reads: “So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from Martha Kilpatrick. She said: “Shift your mind from conquering the Bible to surrendering to the Spirit of God who will whisper to you what He meant by what He wrote.”
Our topic for today is titled “The Passage Out of Egypt (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.
Today, we are going to deal with two separate issues concerning the Exodus.
The first one is THE LUNAR CALENDAR and the second issue is the NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO LEFT EGYPT.
Ancient Israel used two calendars, both of which were lunar. The religious calendar began with the spring equinox (when the length of day and night are almost equal). The first new moon after that day began the month of Nisan, also called Abib. Since the spring equinox falls around March 21, we usually equate Nisan with March-April. The political year began in the fall with the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles in the month of Tishri (September-October), the seventh month in the religious calendar. Today this civil new year is called Rosh Hash-a-nah. Both new years are referred to in Exodus.
These texts suggest that from the beginning of the nation there was a dual calendar, which we find confusing today. However, we do the same thing in a variety of ways in our own culture. We follow a calendar year that begins on January 1. We also follow a school year that begins around September 1. Different levels of government and many companies use a fiscal year that begins at various times; for the U.S. government, it is currently October 1. Some churches also observe a liturgical year, which does not have a “new year,” but it begins either with Easter in Eastern churches, or with the first Sunday of Advent (near the end of November) in Western churches.
The spring festivals find typological fulfillment in the crucifixion of Jesus as the Messiah and in the founding of the church. Consequently, many scholars argue that there will be a yet-future typological fulfillment of the fall festivals in the second coming of Jesus, when his kingdom will be established on earth. These two roles of the Messiah may then provide some explanation for the two calendars.