Biblical Astronomy


April 2001


Editor – Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 2272, Oregon City, OR 97045

Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail – <> Website –






The following is the Abib Report for 2001 by Nehemia Gordon of The Karaite Corner, Jerusalem, Israel. 

The picture to the left is a picture of Abib barley found on March 11, 2001 about 8 miles east of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  The barley ear shown here is green in color with the grains showing a yellowish hue. 

There was more Abib Barley found on the eastern slope of the Temple Mount on March 25.  Reports from both dates are given below.  Happy New Year.






                 March 11, 2001 – Abib Found! – On March 11, 2001 an expedition set out looking for the Abib barley.  Participating were Nehemia Gordon, Adam Cowan, and Yosef Mourad.  The first site inspected was a field of barley near Mitzpeh Yericho, 15 km (9.3 miles) east of Jerusalem.  The field had been planted by Nehemia in the Autumn.  Nehemia had inspected the same field on March 2, 2001 and  found that the stalks of barley were almost Abib but were still in the “worm” stage.  When the expedition inspected the field on March 11 it was found that the stalks had reached the stage of Abib.

            Nehemia and Adam continued on to the region of Alon, 13 km (8.1 miles) east of the Temple Mount.  At Alon large amounts of Abib barley were found.  A sampling was done to see what percentage were not Abib.  Three sets of 10 stalks were plucked out from 3 different parts of a field, totaling 30 stalks of which 80% were Abib.

            Based on the above findings the next new moon (March 26, 2000) will begin the Month of Abib!”


March 25, 2001 – Abib Found Near Temple Mount! – On March 25, 2001 Abib barley was found by Nehemia Gordon on the eastern slope of Mt. Moriah (Temple Mount) in the vicinity of Lion’s Gate.  Not all of the barley in this area had reached the Abib stage and much of it was in the pre-Abib ‘worm stage.’ 

            More barley was inspected in the Maalei Adumim suburb of Jerusalem, about 6 km (3.75 miles from the Temple Mount.  All the barley in this area was either Abib or had ripened passed the stage of Abib and was approaching the harvest-ready stage.

            These findings are consistent with the previous ones and confirm beyond all doubt that the New Moon appearing on March 26, 2001 will be the New Moon of First Month (Abib or Nisan)”

            You can find more pictures and also maps of these findings on the Karaite Korner Website at


            The following is an article on Abib (Barley) from the Karaite Korner.


Abib (Barley)


“Biblical Leap Years – The Biblical year begins with the first New Moon after the barley in Israel reaches the stage in its ripeness called Abib.  The period between one year and the next is either 12 or 13 lunar months.  Because of this, it is important to check the state of the Barley crops at the end of the 12th month.  If the barley is Abib at this time, then the following New Moon is Hodesh Ha-Aviv (‘New Moon of the Abib’).  If the barley is still immature, we must wait another month and then check the barley again at the end of the 13th month.

            By convention, a 12-month year is referred to as a Regular Year while a 13-month year is referred to as a Leap Year.  This should not be confused with Leap Years in the Gregorian (Christian) Calendar, which involve the ‘intercalation’ (addition) of a single day (Feb 29).  In contrast, the Biblical Leap Year involves the intercalation of an entire lunar month (‘Thirteenth Month,’ also called ‘Adar Bet’).  In general, it can only be determined whether a year is a Leap Year a few days before the end of the 12th Month.


Where is Abib Mentioned in the Hebrew Bible?The story of the Exodus relates ‘This day you are going out in the month of Abib.’ (Ex 13:4).

            To commemorate that we left Egypt in the month of Abib, we are instructed to bring the Passover sacrifice and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot) at this time of year.  In Dt 16:1 we are commanded:

            ‘Keep the month of Abib and make the Passover (sacrifice) to Hashem your God at night, because in the month of Abib Hashem your God took you out of Egypt.’

            Similarly, we are commanded in Ex 23:15 –

            ‘You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the time of the month of Abib, because in it you went out of Egypt.’

            The same is commanded in Ex 34:18 –

            ‘You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as have I commanded you, at the time of the month of Abib, because in the month Abib you went out of Egypt.’


What is Abib? Abib indicates a stage in the development of the barley crops.  This is clear from Ex 9:31-32 which describes the devastation caused by the plague of hail.

            ‘And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Abib and the flax was Giv’ol.  And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot).’

            The above passage relates that the barley crops were destroyed by the hail while the wheat and spelt were not damaged.  To understand the reason for this we must look at how grain develops.  When grains are early in their development they are flexible and have a dark green color.  As they become ripe they take on a light yellowish hue and become more brittle.  The reason that the barley was destroyed and the wheat was not is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Abib and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail.  The description of the wheat and spelt as ‘dark’ (Afilot) indicates that they were still in the stage when they were deep green and had not yet begun to lighten into the light yellowish hue which characterizes ripe grains.  In contrast, the barley had reached the stage of Abib at which time it was no longer ‘dark’ and at this point it probably had begun to develop golden streaks.


Parched Abib – We know several passages that barley which is in the state of Abib has not completely ripened, but has ripened enough so that its seeds can be eaten parched in fire.  Parched barley was a commonly eaten food in ancient Israel and is mentioned in numerous passages in the Hebrew Bible as either ‘Abib parched (Kalui) in fire’ (Lev 2:14) or in the abbreviated form ‘parched (Kalui/Kali)’ (Lev 23:14; Jos 5:11; 1Sam 17:7; 1Sam 25:18; 2Sam 17:28; Ruth 2:14).

            While still early in its development, barley has not produced large enough and firm enough seeds to produce food through parching.  This early in its development, when the ‘head’ has just come out of the shaft, the seeds are not substantial enough to produce any food.  At a later stage, the seeds have grown in size and have filled with liquid.  At this point the seeds will shrivel up when parched and will only produce empty skins. Over time the liquid is replaced with dry materiel and when enough dry material has amassed, the seeds will be able to yield ‘barley parched in fire.’


Abib and the Harvest – The month of the Abib is the month which commences after the barley has reached the stage of Abib.  2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month the barley has moved beyond the stage of Abib and is ready to be brought as the ‘wave-sheaf offering’ (Hanafat HaOmer).  The ‘wave-sheaf offering’ is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the Sunday which falls out during Passover (Hag HaMatzot) [Feast of Unleavened Bread].  This is described in Lev 23:10-11 –

            ‘When you come to the land which I give you, and harvest its harvest, you will bring the sheaf of the beginning of your harvest to the priest. And he will wave the sheaf before Hashem so you will be accepted; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest will wave it.’

            From this it is clear that the barley, which was Abib at the beginning of the month, has become harvest-ready 15-21 days later (i.e. by the Sunday during Passover [Feast of Unleavened Bread]).  Therefore, the month of the Abib can not begin unless the barley has reached a stage where it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.

            That the barley must be harvest ready 2-3 weeks into the month of the Abib is also clear from Dt 16:9 which states:

            ‘From when the sickle commences on the standing grain you will begin to count seven weeks.’

            From Lev 23:15 we know that the seven weeks between Passover (Hag Hamatzot) [Feast of Unleavened Bread] and Pentecost (Shavuot) begin on the day when the wave-sheaf offering is brought (i.e. the Sunday which falls out during Passover [during week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread]).

            ‘And you shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the sheaf of waving; they will be seven complete Sabbaths.’

            Therefore, the ‘sickle commences on the standing grain’ on the Sunday during Passover [Feast of Unleavened Bread], i.e. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month of the Abib.  If the barley is not developed enough so that it will be ready for the sickle 2-3 weeks later, then the month of the Abib can not begin and we must wait till the following month.

            It should be noted that not all the barley ripens in the Land of Israel at the same time.  The wave-sheaf offering is a national sacrifice brought from the first fields to become harvest-ready.  However, the first-fruit offerings brought by individual farmers can vary in ripeness anywhere from ‘Abib parched in fire’ to fully ripe grain which may be brought ‘crushed’ or ‘coarsely ground.’  This is what is meant in Lev 2:14 –

            ‘And when you bring a first-fruit offering to Hashem; you shall bring your first-fruit offering as Abib parched in fire or crushed Carmel’ (Carmel is grain which has hardened beyond Abib to the point where it can be ‘crushed’ or ‘coarsely ground’).

            All of the above passages have been translated directly from the Hebrew and it is worth noting that the King James translators seem to have only understood the various Hebrew agricultural terms very poorly.  In Lev 2:14 they translated Carmel as ‘full ears’ and Abib as ‘green ears.’  Whereas in Lev 23:14 they translated Carmel as ‘green ears’!

            In summation, barley which is in the state of Abib has 3 characteristics:


1.       It is brittle enough to be destroyed by hail and has begun to lighten in color (it is not ‘dark’).

2.       The seeds have produced enough dry material so it can be eaten parched.

3.       It has developed enough so that it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.





            Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem, Israel compiled the following New Moon report.


“On March 26, 2001 the New Moon was first sighted by Devorah Gordon and then by Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem at 18:05 and by Adam Cowan from Ramat Beit Shemesh at 18:12.

This is the first New Moon of the new Hebrew year.  In this month YHWH took the children of Israel out of Egypt and commemorating that event we celebrate Hag HaMazot (Feast of Unleavened Bread) on the 15th of the month.

Rosh Hodesh ve-Rosh Hashanah Sameach! (Happy New Moon and Happy New Year!).”


Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread will be from sunset April 9 to sunset April 10.  The day of firstfruits will be from sunset April 14 to sunset April 15.  The day that most of the world calls Easter also falls on April 15. 

The English word Easter was derived by Venerable Bede in the eighth century from the word Eostre which is the ancient name of an Anglo-Saxon    goddess of fertility.  Eostre was most likely derived from the more ancient Chaldean sun goddess Astarte (mother of god).  The word has nothing to do with Jesus the Messiah or God’s appointed feast days.  Actually, God detests His people even speaking the names of other gods or goddesses from their lips (Ex 23:13).

On the day of the firstfruits wave offering after the crucifixion and not too long after Jesus (Yahshuah) was raised from the dead, he offered himself to God as the firstfruits offering, being the firstfruits from the dead. Jesus fulfilled both the Passover and the firstfruits offering at that time.




            Venus and Mercury will come into conjunction (same celestial longitude) on April 6, 2001.  Charts 197 and 198 show the positions of Venus (the bright and morning star) and Mercury (Gabriel) as seen looking east from Jerusalem at 10 minutes before sunrise on April 6.  Mercury will most likely be too close to the sun and solar glare to be seen with the naked eye.  Venus will be lower above the horizon 10 minutes earlier, and should be visible to the naked eye at that time.  Both planets are in the constellation Pisces which represents the nation of Israel.





Chart 199 shows the position of Jupiter in, or very near to, the left eye of the bull, or reem, of the constellation Taurus as seen looking west from Jerusalem about 30 minutes after sunset on April 6, 2001.  The red star Aldebaran (the leader or governor) is in the right eye of Taurus.  The main theme of the sign Taurus is Messiah, the coming Judge of all the earth.

The bright red star Aldebaran shining the right eye of the reem and the bright planet Jupiter (Tzedeq – The Lord Our Righteousness) shining in the left eye brings to mind Revelation 1:12-14:


And I turned to see the voice that spake with me.  And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  And his hairs were white like wool as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.


Jupiter will be in conjunction with the star Aldebaran on April 15 (day of the firstfruits).  Chart 200 shows the path of Jupiter from April 6 to April 15 and the position of Jupiter about 30 minutes after sunset as seen from Jerusalem.  The line on the chart between the number 6 and Jupiter is the path of the planet.



            So goes the title of an article done by John P. Pratt in a recent issue of Meridian Magazine.  I have had a number of e-mails as well as phone calls concerning whether the information in this article is correct.  So I decided to do an article about that article in this newsletter.  The full 9-page article by John P. Pratt is at

                The article is very interesting, but I do not agree with some of the facts.  The article basically states that after Venus disappears as an evening star in late March (plunging into darkness) and it will first appear again (or resurrect) as the morning star to the untrained eye ‘precisely’ on Easter Sunday morning April 15, before sunrise.  It is also stated that this is a very rare event and will not happen again on ‘Easter’ for 1,500 years, and that this event also occurred in the year of the crucifixion on Sunday April 3, 33.  (I disagree with this date as being the year for the crucifixion as well a Friday being the day of the week that it occurred.  See my book A Voice Crying in the Heavens, 2nd Ed., pp. 80-90 for further information.  But for the purpose of this study I will entertain the above date).

            The first issue that I will address is when will Venus first reappear to the untrained eye.  It is very difficult if not impossible to pick the precise moment or day that this will occur.  There are many factors to consider, such as, the location of the viewer, atmospheric conditions, light pollution if near a big city, etc.  As a general rule of thumb, a bright object such as Venus (brightest planet and brighter any star) should be easily visible to the “untrained” eye if it is at least 7 degrees above the eastern horizon at 30 minutes before sunrise. 

            Chart 201 shows the position of Venus as seen looking east from Jerusalem at 30 minutes before sunrise on April 12, 2001.  Venus at this time will be 9.1 degrees above the eastern horizon and should be easily visible.  On April 15, 2001 Venus will be 10.7 degrees above the eastern horizon (Chart 202) at 30 minutes before sunrise.

            If you would like to take part in an observation, and you are up about 30 minutes before sunrise, go outside and look toward the eastern horizon at 30 minutes to 20 minutes before sunrise on April 12 (or even a few days before) and see if Venus is easily visible at that time.  If you wish you could e-mail me your observations.  I will post some of them in the upcoming issue of Biblical Astronomy.  In this case we are “searching the heavens” to see if these things are so.

            The second issue that I will address is the position of Venus on April 3, 33 AD.  At that date, Venus was low on the eastern horizon shortly before sunset.  April 3, 33 AD was on a Friday on the Julian Calendar, which is the calendar that most astronomy and calendar programs revert to when selecting dates which occurred before the Gregorian conversion.  However, I believe the author is going by the Gregorian Proleptic Calendar here, which has April 3 on a Sunday and April 1 on a Friday.  In any case, that Friday was Abib 14 according to the popular Hebrew Calendar.

            The diagram below shows the position of Venus as seen looking east from Jerusalem on Friday April 3, 33AD (Julian Calendar) or April 1 (Gregorian Proleptic) at 30 minutes before sunrise.  Venus was 7.5 degrees above the horizon at that particular time and date which was also Abib 14.  Venus at this time was in conjunction with Mercury, and is similar to the conjunction of April 6, 2001 (compare to Chart 197). 


Venus April 3, 33


            Venus will also be 7.5 degrees above the horizon on April 10, 2001.  See below diagram.


Venus April 10, 2001


            On Sunday April 3, 33AD (Gregorian Proleptic) Venus was 9 degrees above the horizon at 30 minutes before sunrise, which is the same distance above the horizon that it will be on April 12, 2001 (not April 15, 2001) at 30 minutes before sunrise.

            Furthermore, if the position of Venus on April 15, 2001 at 30 minutes before sunrise is used for the criteria as to when it will be in that same position again on “Easter Sunday,” then this event will occur again much sooner than fifteen hundred years.

            As stated earlier, on April 15, 2001 Venus will be 10.7 degrees above the eastern horizon at 30 minutes before sunrise.  On April 12, 2009, which also happens to be “Easter Sunday,” Venus will again be 10.7 degrees above the horizon at 30 minutes before sunrise.  On April 16, 1995 (“Easter Sunday”) Venus was 11 degrees above the horizon at 30 minutes before sunrise.  Three tenths of a degree is very miniscule when observing with the naked eye.

            I hope that this study answered many of your questions (to those who asked them).





            Comet 2001 A2 was discovered by LINEAR on January 15, 2001.  This was a very dim comet at the time of discovery and not expected to brighten more than magnitude 10 on this particular journey through the inner solar system.   In late March the comet had a major outburst and gained in magnitude by 2.5 (became about 10 times brighter) in a 24-hour period.  It is currently at magnitude 7.3 (the lower the magnitude, the brighter the object).

LINEAR (C/2001 A2) will reach perihelion (closest approach to the sun) on May 24 at a distance of 0.779 AU (~72.4 million miles) from the sun.  The comet will reach its closest approach to the earth on June 30/July 1, 2001 at a distance of 0.244 AU (~22.7 million miles).  It is not known for sure if this comet will reach naked eye visibility.   It will most likely break apart as it comes closer to the sun and as a result rapidly fade before getting much brighter.

The comet is currently in the constellation Orion (light breaking forth in the Redeemer).  The comet will pass through the constellations Lepus (the enemy trodden under foot) Eridanus (the river of the Judge, or river of fire),       and Cetus (the beast from the sea) which is where it will be at its closest approach to the earth on June 30/July 1.

There will be further updates on this comet if it continues to brighten.  But most likely it will fade out and become a dud.



APRIL 10, 2001


            The Gregorian date of April 10 has been a date that prominent celestial events have occurred over the last few years (1996, 1997, 2000).  For the details of these events see the following issues of Biblical Astronomy:  April 1996, April 1997, September 1997, November 2000, and April 2000.  Also see A Voice Crying in the Heavens. 

            These particular events were a strong portrayal of the Great Tribulation (especially the later part of Revelation chapter 19 and the beginning of Revelation 20).  This year April 10 falls on the first day of unleavened bread.  If the Great Tribulation (3.5 years) will begin on or near this day remains to be seen.  I am really not looking forward to it.  But I am looking forward to the day when the Messiah, Jesus (Yahshuah) will reign on this planet as King.  There are certainly rumors of wars, especially in the mid-east.  The situation in Israel is getting worse and violence there is escalating at a rapid pace.  The stage is most certainly being set.  But first of all, have no fear and put your full trust in God (Yahweh) and His Son, our Lord and Messiah, Jesus (Yahshuah).  Let the peace of God rule in your heart.  Don’t be led astray by false rumors or sudden fear.  Well, here I am preaching, which I seldom do, but felt that I was led to do so here.  I had something else planned for this article, but then God had His plan.  I will leave it at that.





            There have been many improvements to the Biblical Astronomy Website over the last 6 months.  Bo Reahard, who is the Webmaster for the site, has been working hard to create a word search for the newsletters.  You will find this in the Newsletter section of the site.  When you enter a word, the program will search for that word, and if that particular word is in any of the newsletters, it will bring up a list of the newsletters that it is in.  It is also now available to join the Biblical Astronomy Newsletter e-mail list through ListBot.  The ListBot option is on the website.  You need not enter personal information such as income, age, etc., even though the program asks you for that info.  You only need to enter your name and e-mail address.  Those on the list will get an e-mail when the latest Newsletter is posted on the site.

            Bo has donated his time, computer space, and much more over the last 5 years to keep the Biblical Astronomy website going.  Without his help this site would most likely not exist, at least nowhere near its present form.  I am very grateful to Bo for all the work and time that he has put into this site.


            May you have a wonderful Passover season in close and special fellowship with your Heavenly Father and His Son the Messiah.


                Yahweh bless you in His superabundance of grace, mercy and love through His son Yahshuah HaMashiach.