Biblical Almanac

 

The Jewish months of Av and Elul and their significance are this months discussion. The month of Av this year begins on July 24 and will end on the August 22 during the first Rosh Chodesh.

 

Rosh Chodesh is an observant of the first new moon that marks the calendar beginning of the new Month. Thus the month of Av ends at sundown on the 22nd of August and marks the beginning of the Month of Elul.

 

What is so interesting this year on the 21st of August, we will experience a solar eclipse and the 60 mile swath to observe this total solar eclipse will start from Oregon and end in North Carolina as it continues to travel through the atlantic at close to 3k mph. We believe our God is God of order and not of confusion ( 1 Corinthians 14:33 ). Thus, I would like to share some significance of how this eclipse in the contiguous United States will end the Month of Av and bring in the last month of the Jewish year with the Month of Elul.

 

So the question may be asked, what is the month of Av and Elul signify?

 

Month of Av in the biblical calendar, traditionally regarded as the most tragic in the Jewish calendar. On the first day of this month, Aaron ( the first High Priest of Israel ) died ( Num 33:38 ), and later both of the Holy Temples were destroyed during the month of Av.

 

On the 9th day of Av is when the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple and took majority of Israel into Babylonian exile. In consequence when Babylon began breaching the wall on the 17th of Tammuz in previous month. Total of 3 weeks to bring Israel to it’s knees.

 

During this period, weddings and parties are forbidden. It is a time for solemn reflection and mourning for Israel.

 

To reflect this Mourning of Zion or this Three Weeks of Sorrow, began on 17th of Tammuz the previous month and end on the 9th of Av based on Lamentation 1:3 and can be referred in Zechariah 8:19.

 

And on the 10th day of Av, “The seven weeks of comfort” begins till the end of the month of Elul. What’s interesting is the Rabbinical teaching through out the month of Av and Elul are broken down to 3 of punishment, 7 of comfort and 1 of repentance directly from the reading of the Prophets in the Torah.

 

Thus the month of Elul is when most of the people will reflect and set the New Year's Resolutions and turn away from sin before the start of New Year. It is a time of repentance and spiritual preparation for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Which is 40 days from the month of Elul.

 

The 40 days to which Jesus spent in the wilderness attributed to this period and the tradition stemmed from Mount Sinai when God forgave Israel, the sin of the Golden Calf and found favor.

 

So let us reflect and let go of the bad past and allow our God to make all things new for us ( 2 Corinthian 5:17 ).

 

Pastor Gregg

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