The scrolls then go on to produce information showing Enoch’s calendar to be in advance of anything operating today. First of all, it was what purists call a ‘permanent’ calendar. Event days, birthdays, festival days never changed from one year to the next. For example, American Independence Day took place on Thursday, 4th July, 1776. In this system it would fall on Thursday forever. The same would be true of important religious festivals.
Secondly, it was soli-lunar following both Sun and Moon. Thirdly, it tracked the solar cycle of 365.242 days with stunning accuracy over unlimited time by means of a Sabbatic leap-year formula. There is new evidence concerning this which has emerged only recently.
Those who make a casual reading of para-biblical literature might write it off as unlikely. So what if they were found preserved with Old Testament fragments? That only makes them older than originally thought, penned by a minority sect about two-hundred years before Christ. ‘Jubilees’ was probably the work of Essenes, written to explain the older ‘book of Enoch’ which itself was probably the imagination of Jewish mystics from the inter-testament era.
However, a more reasonable theory would be that some portions of the book of Enoch were ancient indeed, preserved by priest-astronomers and prophets like Daniel (Daniel 1:17) but corrupted with additions. The astronomical portions of the book should not be written off as fable.
Of course, it would be better if scripture confirmed the non-canonical accounts so to Genesis we return. The life spans of those who lived before the flood were rarely less than nine-hundred years but Enoch was a conspicuous exception. We are told that he did not die, but God “took him.” Clearly, God was in control as to when he “took him,” so would it be when Enoch was 500? 600? 700? No; but by some extraordinary coincidence it was when Enoch was 365 years old! (Genesis 5:21-24) It would be even more interesting to know if his departure was three months into his final year because that would make him 365.25 – one year for every day in the solar cycle! In any case, Enoch’s final age was a ‘sign.’ The hidden calendar of Qumran is surely indicated here. Yes, Enoch was the father of the calendar.
Concerning the Modern Jewish Calendar
A common area of confusion concerning the biblical calendar arises from an assumption that the modern Hebrew calendar is the same as the ancient one. It isn’t. The misunderstanding is not helped by rabbinic experts either, who make the same assumptions as everyone else. It’s a good calendar, it’s soli-lunar, and it works. Why look for another? Also, a false credibility bolsters the assumption since the modern Hebrew calendar is not really modern. It is similar to, and can be traced back to the Babylonian captivity. That is old.
But it is not as old as the one of which the Dead Sea scrolls speak. Moses set up a calendar eight hundred years before the Babylonian empire existed. (Exodus 12:1) Genesis speaks of a calendar before Egyptian civilization. (Genesis 7:11)
There are other clues concerning this matter too. For example, the all-important month of Abib (Deuteronomy 16:1) reappears after the captivity as ‘Nisan,’ a Babylonian name. (Nisanu) Was it just an innocuous name change? Not according to the Essenes it wasn’t! The Qumran community rejected the post-Babylonian calendar and the temple authority’s festival dates because they believed the true calendar had been abandoned by the priests and replaced with an alternative system. Their scrolls show instead a calendar that operated with a unique Sabbatical formula. This, they believed to be the original and those who departed from it were apostate. They said:
(Book of Jubilees 6:33-37)
Then three copies of the book of Enoch turned up in Abyssinia in 1773. After that came the Dead Sea scroll discovery in 1946. That’s when people started asking questions about the true biblical calendar.
360, 364 or 365 Days?
The existence of a hidden calendar has always been suspected by those who follow biblical chronologies and timelines. So when ancient scrolls were found Bible students scrambled to see if anything confirmed their theories. They were disappointed. The scrolls stated in no uncertain terms that a year was to be 364 days, no less.
However, the ‘Enochian’ calendar is not what it seems. It is in its primary form three-hundred and sixty days just as the biblical one is. The difference is that it is presented in its first stage of intercalation with the rotation of planet Earth. Four of its days were additions - intercalory days. The four seasons, each consisting of three 30-day months, had a leap day added at the end of the third month so that each quarter increased from ninety to ninety-one days. In so doing, the year increased from three hundred and sixty to three hundred and sixty-four.
When studying the Enochian calendar one cannot help but notice a strict sabbatic emphasis. There are seven days in the week and there are 52*7=364 days (exactly) in the year. Any deviation from this pattern is strongly condemned and that is the clue to additional intercalations. There would be no add-hoc leap-year additions whenever it suited unless the days were in multiples of seven and applied according to a pre-defined sabbatic formula. I believe we can now make a credible reconstruction of that formula.
One more thing worth thinking about: Through the 20th century have been proposals aired in scientific journals for what is called a ‘permanent calendar’. These reforms would make changing calendars each year unnecessary because every high day and holiday would fall on the same day of the week forever. They would require a leap week of seven days to the calendar every six or so years to keep the calendar in step with the solar cycle and to do this, the years would consist of 364 days (52 weeks) or 371 days (53 weeks) on intercalory years. These ideas are advanced concepts - so much so that some have suggested we should even replace our Gregorian calendar. Since it is of such sophistication, isn’t it amazing that cave dwellers at the Dead Sea knew about it? And isn’t it amazing that it was written in a book that was reputed to be even older than they?
Synchronising with Planet Earth
We have seen how the Bible’s 360-day calendar is expanded to 364 days and how a relationship appears between ancient time-keeping and the number seven. This has led some scholars to wonder if further intercalations might follow a sabbatical pattern. Some scroll experts have mooted the idea, not the least of whom was Jean Carmignac , a French scholar (one of the translators), who proposed that 7-day additions be made on the 7-year shmita – the religious cycle commanded by Moses.
Such an idea would cause discomfort to evolutionists who squirm at examples of intelligent design because nature’s cycles are random are they not? Hence leap-years must be ad-hoc, but this suggestion follows a precise mathematical design with increments of seven days coinciding with and taking place on Sabbath years!
The book of Jubilees also indicates it might be so. Like the earlier book of Enoch, the days were 364, but Jubilees adds another dimension - a relationship between the weekly Sabbath and the longer term sabbatic year. ‘Jubilees’, referring to the former book, says:
Hence the total number of days per ‘week of years’ (seven years) was:
- plus 28...(4*7=28 added over 7 yrs)
- plus 7.....(added on 7th year)
- = 2555...(total number of days)
Now, please divide 2555 days by seven years. The figure is now equivalent to 365 days per year! That is very close and the question begs to be asked, “Can Sabbath adjustments complete the solar cycle without losing the divine pattern and without losing time?” If so, Enoch’s calendar would be the most advanced system ever known.
The Jubilee Cycle
There is no such thing as a ‘decade’ in the ancient calendar. It is a ‘weeks of years,’ in other words, seven. Likewise, there is no such thing as a ‘century.’ It is a ‘Jubilee,’ which is forty-nine years long. Two Jubilees equal ninety-eight years – not one hundred. This is made obvious in the calendar writings of the Dead Sea scrolls. For example, in Jubilees 23:8 (cf. Genesis 25:7) we find the age of Abraham described as follows: “He lived three jubilees and four weeks of years, one hundred and seventy five years.” Please do the math: (3*49) + (4*7) = 175 years.
This cycle is demonstrated in the prophecy of Daniel 9:24. The 'Seventy Weeks Prophecy' as it is so famously known, is equivalent to ten jubilees. Please do the math: 70*7 = 10*49 = 490 years. Notice; if the Jubilee cycle had been fifty, the length of term would have been five-hundred years.
A misunderstanding exists concerning this matter because Leviticus 25:8-11 speaks of a fiftieth year and the Jubilee cycle is thought by some to step in multiples of fifty. Not so; it steps in forty-nines. What then, it might be fairly asked, is the fiftieth year? It is the year following the last ‘seven’ and is simultaneous to the first year of the new Jubilee cycle. The attached diagram uses fictitious dates to demonstrate how it works. Another way of explaining is to think of it as akin to calling Sunday the ‘eighth day’ when it is in fact also the first day of the new week.
The point being made here is that the time cycles are strictly sabbatical and always divisible by seven. So, let us continue with our reconstruction of the Enochian calendar based on this pattern. Leap years would have been added at special sabbatic intervals – 7 extra days every seven years and 14 extra days every forty-nine years. Now let us calculate the number of days in the Jubilee cycle.
- 2555.......(1st week years 1-7)
- 2555.......(2nd week yrs 8-14)
- 2555.......(3rd week yrs 15-21)
- 2555.......(4th week yrs 22-28)
- 2555.......(5th week yrs 29-35)
- 2555.......(6th week yrs 36-42)
- 2555.......(7th week yrs 43-49)
- plus 7......(added on 49th year)
- = 17892..(total number of days)
Now, please divide 17892 days by forty-nine years. The figure is now equivalent to 365.14 days per year! There is only one small adjustment to go and the calendars synchronise with mind-boggling accuracy over hundreds of years!
Yes, there was an advanced ancient calendar!
Yes, it is important to biblical understanding!
Yes, it had a purpose and was going somewhere!
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