Agricultural Feast: Chag Tirosh (New Wine)

A Winepress in Ancient IsraelGraphic by Karbel Multimedia. Copyright (C) 2011, Logos Bible Software.

This evening marks the commencement of the Feast of New Wine (Heb. Chag Tirosh) on the 3rd day of the fifth month on the first day of the week (“evening” of 7/20 and “morning” of 7/21 during non-leap years and the “evening” of 7/21 and “morning” of 7/22 during leap years). It is the third of four agricultural feasts of Israel with each occurring forty-nine (49) days apart, exclusive:

  • 26 Abib (barley) – Early Firstfruits (Heb. Bikkurim),
  • 15th of the third month (wheat) – Feast of Weeks (Heb. Shavu’ot)/Latter Firstfruits,
  • 3rd of the fifth month (fermented grapes) – Feast of New Wine (Heb. Chag Tirosh), and
  • 22nd of the sixth month (olive oil) – Feast of New Oil (Heb. Chag Yitzhar).

These are documented in the calendar of God Most High (Heb. El Elyon) discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) in the caves surrounding Khirbet Qumran (=ruins of Qumran).

There are numerous references to these four crops together throughout the Bible; note that barley and wheat are at times combined under the generic term “grain.” The Levitical priests’ portion came from the first fruits of these (focusing on v12):

Numbers 18:11 This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 12 All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to [lit. Yahoah], I give them to you. 13 The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to [lit. Yahoah], shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. (NASB 1995)

A bountiful harvest of these four were the reward for obedience to Yahoah’s commandments:

Deuteronomy 11:13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord [lit. Yahoah] your God [lit. Elohim] and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, 14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. (NASB 1995)

In prophesy, the third seal is famine. See how these four staples are explicitly mentioned:

Revelation 6:6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.” (NASB 1995)

“New wine” is specifically mentioned forty (40) times in the Bible — thirty-five (35) times in the Old Testament and five (5) times in the New Testament. We know from Deuteronomy 12:17, 14:23; 2 Chronicles 31:5; and Nehemiah 10:37 that new wine was tithed to Yahoah. It was also clear that the Levitical priests were not to be forsaken for as long as the Israelites live in the Promised Land; see Deuteronomy 12 concentrating on vv6 and 19.

One of Christ’s more memorable parables was in regard to not putting new wine into old wineskins; this is documented in the synoptic Gospels in Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, and Luke 5:37-39. The latter passage follows:

Luke 5:37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’ (NASB 1995)

To understand what this means, we have to place it within context. Christ had recently healed a leper and those with other sicknesses (Luke 5:12-15). Cleansing a leper was a significant undertaking; in fact, an entire chapter was dedicated to its treatment (Leviticus 14). This certainly piqued the interested of some Pharisees and teachers of the Law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea as well as Jerusalem (Luke 5:17). Although they knew that only someone special could perform such healings, they were seeking ways to discredit Him as Christ represented a threat to their “sect.” Enter the paralytic (Luke 5:18-26). Christ made some important proclamations:

Luke 5:20 Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” 22 But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” — He said to the paralytic— “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” 25 Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. (NASB 1995)

Verse 24 employs the catchphrase “Son of Man.” This term is primarily used to refer to either a prophet or the Messiah; it is employed 441 times in the Bible — 339 times in the Old Testament and 102 times in the New Testament. The scribes and Pharisees knew this, and if there were any doubt to the meaning, He spelled it out for them explicitly in verses 20 and 24. Yes, ONLY God the Father and His incarnate Son — the Son of Man — can forgive sins!

Next, Christ had the audacity to ask a tax collector — one of the most despised of professions in ancient Israel — to be one of His disciples (Luke 5:27-32). Not only that, he dined with sinners (i.e., irreligious Jews)! Again, the scribes and Pharisees were attempting to lambaste His actions and through His associations.

This is what Christ was fulfilling:

Luke 7:19 Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” 20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’” 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (NASB 1995)

But, what was Luke 7:22 quoting? The deaf and blind are mentioned in several passages in Isaiah, but nowhere does it speak of cleansing lepers nor raising the dead. Enter the Dead Sea Scrolls… specifically 4Q521 also known as the Messianic Apocalypse. Two passages in particular are applicable:

He who liberates the captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the b[ent]

For He will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor…


Folks, if this does not lend credence to the Dead Sea Scrolls, I do not know that does! Acts speaks of the “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech); that specific phrase is employed throughout what “Biblical scholars” call the sectarian manuscripts, yet they never make the logical conclusion that The Way in Acts was The Way of the DSS! Instead, they incorrectly refer to them as Essenes (=pious ones) based on the derogatory term coined by Titus Flavius Josephus, a self-described Pharisee.

This was the early church — to the Jew first and also to the Greek (i.e., Gentiles) — which started in the early second century BCE! Please take eight minutes out of your busy schedule to view the following YouTube video from Dr. Peter Flint entitled “Evidence Jesus was the Messiah from the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

These same scribes and Pharisees were likewise offended that Christ’s disciples did not fast per tradition (Luke 5:33-35) to which He responded with two parables: applying a swath of fabric (i.e., a piece of cloth) from a new garment to an old one (Luke 5:36), and not putting new wine into old wineskins (Luke 5:37-39). To put the latter into perspective, this is a depiction of an old wineskin from Biblical times:


Certainly, new wine that may still be fermenting would easily burst an old wineskin, which usually had a year-long lifetime.

Regarding fasting, the following two passages set it into perspective for the “holier than thou” scribes and Pharisees who failed to recognize their Messiah:

Zechariah 7:4 Then the word of the Lord [lit. Yahoah] of hosts came to me, saying, 5 “Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years, was it actually for Me that you fasted?'” (NASB 1995)

Zechariah 7:5 is referencing Tisha B’Av in the fifth month and the Fast of Gadalia in the seventh month; see the discussion below.

Matthew 6:16 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (NASB 1995)

Only one fast day (Heb. ta’anit) was specified in Torah — that of the Day of Atonement (Heb. Yom Kippur). The other full fast day is “the ninth of Av” (Heb. Ta’anit Tisha B’Av), which has no Biblical basis; that is, it is a false tradition. There are four other “minor” fasts:

Two items of note: Tammuz is a Babylonian deity. God Most High (Heb. El Elyon) would NEVER name one of His calendrical months after a foreign god; that would be an abomination (Ezekiel 8 concentrating on vv14-15). In fact, the Jewry has employed a Babylonian calendar since the time of their captivity! The Book of Esther is one of two books of the canonized Bible that does not mention God — even once! Nor was this manuscript discovered among the DSS. Because of this, its canonicity MUST be called into question as well as the festival of Purim (=lots), which was not mentioned in the DSS calendrical manuscripts.

In case Christ’s disdain of the scribes and Pharisees was unclear to this point, it was made abundantly clear in Matthew 23. Pharisaism became modern rabbinic Judaism; nothing has changed in two millennia!

Returning to the parables… these were allusions to the New Covenant. The old garment and the old wineskin refer to the Law; the new cloth and new wine refer to the Holy Spirit (Heb. Ruach HaKodesh). Although the Law itself is perfect, the Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system were imperfect; therefore, a change in the Law was required. Instead of focusing on a Temple system, the temple of the New Covenant is the literal bodies of believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit in their hearts. Christ Himself serves as the holy, innocent, undefiled high priest — of the order of Melchizedek (Heb. Malki-tsedeq; =my king is righteous)! This is explained in detail in Hebrews 7.

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (NASB 1995)

Christ’s Tevilah in the Mikveh of the Nahar HaYarden at Bethabara in 34 CE

The Jordan River Near the Dead Sea.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Most Christians falsely believe that “baptism” was something newly introduced by “John the Baptist.” What was being performed is a tevilah, or full-body immersion, for purification and consecration/sanctification; the Greek equivalent is baptizó meaning “submerge.” A tevilah was performed in a collection of “living water” called a mikveh which must have a natural spring as its source. The Jordan River (Heb. Nahar HaYarden) qualified as such because its source is the Banias spring at the foot of Mount Hermon. Note that everything Christ performed was in accordance with the Law:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (NASB 1995)

Let’s examine John (Heb. Yochanan) for a moment. His father Zechariah (Heb. Tzekharya/Gr. Zacharias) was a Levitical priest of the division/course of Abijah (Heb. Abiyah); see Luke 1:5. The twenty-four priestly courses are outlined in 1 Chronicles 24:1-19 with Abijah’s being drawn in the eighth lot in v10. Yochanan’s mother Elizabeth (Heb. Elisheba) was a descendant of Aaron (Heb. Aharon), the brother of Moses (Heb. Moshe) and first high priest (Heb. kohen gadol) of the Israelites (Heb. B’nai Yisra’el; =children of Israel). Both Tzekharya and Elisheba were considered righteous:

Luke 1:6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord [lit. Yahoah]. (NASB 1995)

The birth of Yochanan was considered miraculous as Elisheba was advanced in age (i.e., past her childbearing years). These events were documented in Luke 1:5-24. For more on Yochanan’s conception and that relationship to Christ’s conception and birth, read my article entitled “Mo’ed and Agricultural Feast: Shavu’ot (Feast of Weeks) — Wheat.” But, note the following curious passage regarding Yochanan:

Luke 1:80 And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel. (NASB 1995)

Why would anyone — especially an older couple with an only son — allow him to live in the deserts? When you understand that chaste, firstborn Israelite males where dedicated to the “sect” called The Way (Heb. HaDerech) referenced throughout the Book of Acts and that the center of learning for this priesthood was located in the Judaean desert wilderness of Qumran, then this makes perfectly good sense. Note, too, that the 144,000 of Revelation are chaste, Israelite males! The Pharisees and Sadducees were certainly not celibate. In caves surrounding Khirbet Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered; in them, the phrase “the voice crying out in the (desert) wilderness” (Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23) was frequently documented throughout the manuscripts. This community was founded approximately two centuries before Christ’s birth in 6 CE. For more information regarding HaDerech, please read my series:

Bottom line: Yochanan was serving as an Old Covenant Levitical priest of The Way in Qumran (but knew his second cousin was the Messiah!), and he had his own disciples (Matthew 9:14-15, 11:2-6 et al.). Yehoshu’a was establishing a New Covenant and became a high priest of the order of Melchizedek (Heb. Malki-tsedeq; =my king is righteous).

To determine Christ’s age and when this event took place, we must establish:

  1. when He was born,
  2. when He died,
  3. the start of His ministry, then
  4. backtrack to the date of His tevilah.

We already know from the Shavu’ot article above that Joshua the Messiah (Heb. Yehoshu’a HaMashiach/Aram. Yeshua Masiah/Gr. ‘Iesous Christos) was conceived on the Feast of New Oil in 5 CE and was born on the Feast of Weeks in 6 CE — contrary to what all “Biblical scholars” state. The first census of Quirinius (Luke 2:2) definitely occurred in 6 CE. And, Herod the Great was NOT part of the birth narrative; it was Herod Archelaus, who was deposed and exiled later that year after the massacre of the innocents. Note that even this article cites incorrectly that Herod the Great was responsible; he died in 4 BCE! You have to ask yourself: Why are our churches hiding the truth from us?

We also know that Christ was crucified on Passover (14 Abib) in 36 CE. For the details, see my article entitled: “Mo’ed: Pesach (Passover) – The Paschal Lamb of God – 14 Abib.” He never attained His 30th birthday!

Now, for the start of Joshua’s ministry… Immediately after His forty days of fasting in the desert wilderness culminating in His temptations by Satan in Jerusalem, He returned to the region of Galilee (Heb. HaGalil). First He traveled to Capernaum (Heb. Kfar Nahum; =village of Nahum), where he performed His first miracles, then to His hometown of Nazareth (Heb. Natzrat); see Luke 4:14-30. Note: Many Christians mistakenly believe that the water to wine miracle at the wedding feast in Cana was His first; that occurred in the following year near Passover (John 2:1-11). As v11 clearly states, this was the first of His attesting miracles AT CANA! Also, Luke (and by extension Acts) are the only two books explicitly written in chronological order (Luke 1:1-4 concentrating on v3).

Returning to that significant Sabbath in Nazareth… The following sets a definitive frame of reference as to when this event occurred:

Luke 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and FOUND THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS WRITTEN [emphasis mine],

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (NASB 1995)

The passage in vv18-19 is referencing Isaiah 61:1-2a. Although extremely significant prophetically (and many “Biblical scholars” falsely claim that Joshua NEVER proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah), a subtlety regarding the timing is found in v17. The scroll of Isaiah was handed to Him, but “He… found the place where it was written.” Isaiah 61:1-2a was NOT the specified reading for that Sabbath! What most Christians fail to understand is that certain readings from the Torah as well as from the Prophets (Heb. Nevi’im) are scheduled to be read on certain Sabbaths. Also, through the convoluted teachings of “rabbinic sages” (Matthew 23:8), they claim the year starts on Rosh Hashanah [lit. “head of the year”] when the Torah is clear that it commences in the spring during the month of Abib. In fact, rabbinic Jews follow a Babylonian calendar from the time of their captivity. For more information, read my article entitled: “HaDerech: It’s About Time.”

The Parashah reading for that particular Sabbath is called the Nitzavim, meaning “ones standing.” The Torah reading was Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20, and the Haftarah portion was supposed to be Isaiah 61:10-63:9. So, let’s see what was read by the rabbi and/or others in the congregation:

Deuteronomy 29:9 So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

10 “You stand today, all of you, before the Lord your God [lit. Yahoah your Elohim]: your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones, your wives, and the alien who is within your camps, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, 12 that you may enter into the covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath which the Lord your God is making with you today, 13 in order that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

14 “Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, 15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; 17 moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); 18 so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 19 It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 20 The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 Then the Lord will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law.

22 “Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it, will say, 23 ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’ 24 All the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ 25 Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. 26 They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them. 27 Therefore, the anger of the Lord burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; 28 and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’

29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

Restoration Promised

30:1 “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

6 “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. 7 The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

Choose Life

15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (NASB 1995)

Then, Joshua read this and closed with:

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (NASB 1995)

Folks, if that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what will! The Nitzavim is read on the fifty-first Sabbath in accordance with rabbinic Judaism. Assuming that the calendar of the DSS aligned with the Babylonian calendar in that year, this reading would have occurred on the twenty-first (21st) day of the sixth month — the yom before the Feast of New Oil (Heb. Chag Yitzhar)!

So, where do the Scriptures state that Yehoshu’a received His tevilah in the Nahar HaYarden? This is one of the things that the KJV actually got right!

John 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. (KJV)

Almost all other translations use the term “Bethany” or “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (Arab. Al-Maghtas; lit. “immersion”) implying that the location was on the east bank of the Jordan River. The Greek word employed was Béthania meaning “house of dates;” the area where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea was known for its date palms.

Al-Maghtas is the “traditional” tourist trap site of the “baptism of Jesus.” In fact, this fictitious site is about a football field’s length from the Jordan River. They even have (gasp!) letters of authentication corroborating that this is the correct site. Honestly, who needs letters of authentication when you have the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Word of God at your disposal? This represents more false traditions and precepts of men — not to mention incorrectly referencing the Madaba map; more on that to follow.

An interesting point about “beyond the Jordan” is that it depends on your point of reference. The Israelites traveling up from the Sinai peninsula into the Promised Land would have called the west bank “beyond the Jordan.” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) under the topic BETHABARA states the following:

“It is interesting to note that LXXB reads Baithabara for Masoretic Text Beth-‘arabhah, one of the cities of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22). If this be correct, the site is in Judea.” – ISBE

Let’s also examine the following passage in Matthew 4 regarding Capernaum:

Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, BEYOND THE JORDAN [emphasis mine], Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (NASB 1995)

Verses 15-16 are quoting Isaiah 9:1-2. Note “beyond the Jordan” in v15. Capernaum is situated on the northwestern bank of the Sea of Galilee (aka Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, and Lake Tiberias) — but it is certainly on the western side of the Jordan River!

Bethabara means “house of the ford; place of the crossing.” The oldest extant map of the area is actually a floor mosaic called the Madaba map; it is a sixth century map located in an early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. The figure below is the section that includes Bethabara just underneath the rightmost fish in the Jordan River emptying into the Dead Sea; it is certainly on the west bank. The Greek reads: Βέθαβαρά το τού άγίου Ιωάννου τού βαπτίσματος meaning “Bethabara, the place of St. John’s baptizing.” The Greek word incorrectly translated as “Saint” is hagios; recall that it was foretold that Yochanan (Gr. Ióannés) would take a Nazirite vow (Luke 1:15; Numbers 6:1-21). Also, note the date palms beneath the inscription.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia in the Wikipedia article entitled Bethabara.

There are other interesting sites documented in this map from the time of the Israelite crossing, but I will save that for another article. For now, I will include this Google map I created to explain some of those. Note that Yochanan would have only had to travel a little over 6.5 miles from Qumran to Bethabara. And, doesn’t it make sense symbolically that Yehoshu’a would receive His tevilah at the EXACT spot where the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land? There were actually 12 stones taken from the Jordan River that were set in a circle as a memorial where they lodged the first night after the crossing (Joshua 4:1-11). Note the building with 12 white stones on the Madaba map; it is labeled as: Galgala to kai Dodekalithon [lit. “Gilgal and the 12 stones”]. Gilgal literally means “stone circle.”

Now that we know where Bethabara was located and when the Nitzavim was read, we can back into when Christ’s ministry commenced, as well as when His fasting/temptation and tevilah occurred:

Event: Haftarah Reading of Isaiah 61:1-2a in the Synagogue
Location: Nazareth
Date: 21st of the sixth month on the weekly Sabbath (day before the Feast of New Oil)
Passage: Luke 4:16-30

Travel: A day’s journey from Capernaum to Nazareth (30 mi)

Event: Christ’s Ministry Begins in Galilee
Location: Capernaum
Date: 18th-19th of the sixth month
Passage: Luke 4:14-15; Matthew 4:12-17 concentrating on v13; note “beyond the Jordan” in v15

Travel: Three days’ journey from Jerusalem to Capernaum assumed (124 mi; ~41 mi per day).

Event: Christ’s Fasting and Temptation (40 days)
Date: 5th day of the fifth month – 14th day of the sixth month in 34 CE
First Location: Judaean Desert
Passage: Luke 4:1-8
Second Location: Second Temple in Jerusalem
Passage: Luke 4:9-13

Travel: A partial day’s journey from Bethabara to the Judaean Desert assumed (only a few miles).

Event: Christ’s Tevilah (Full-Body Immersion for Purification) and Anointing with the Holy Spirit
Location: Bethabara from the KJV and the Madaba map; on west bank of the Jordan River where the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land
Date: Feast of New Wine; third day of the fifth month
Passage: Luke 3:21-22; John 1:28 KJV

Now, for the year… The Gospel of John states that three Passovers were documented during Christ’s ministry; the last of these was in 36 CE when He was crucified. Most “Biblical scholars” state that His ministry must have lasted three and a half years because of the three Passovers. What they fail to recognize is Second Passover (Heb. Pesach Sheni) which occurs on the fourteenth day of the second month on the fifth day of the week; see the DSS calendar. This is documented in Numbers 9:10-14. So, the two other Passovers were both from 35 CE. That can only mean that Christ’s tevilah occurred on the Feast of New Wine in 34 CE; He would have been 28 years and 49 yomim (or one month and 19 yomim). At the time when His ministry began on the 18th day of the sixth month on the fourth day of the week, He would have been 28 years and 94 yomim (or three months and 4 days). What do the Scriptures state?

Luke 3:23 When He began His ministry, Jesus [lit. ‘Iesous] Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli … (NASB 1995)

Is 28+ years old “about thirty years of age?” Most would be in agreement.

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Mo’edim (appointed times) and Agricultural Feasts series:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB 1995)

HaDerech Scroll - Paleo-Hebrew

18 thoughts on “Agricultural Feast: Chag Tirosh (New Wine)

  1. Have you read “The Chronological Gospels: The Life and Seventy Week Ministry of the Messiah” by Michael Rood? He makes a pretty good case that John 5:1 refers to Sukkot (or one of those middle-of-the-year feasts), and that John 6:4 wasn’t in the original text – making His ministry just over one years (beginning in 27AD an ending in 28AD).


    1. I haven’t read that book, but I have watched some of his videos. He’s usually off, but in this case, he’s on the right track regarding Christ’s ministry of just over one year. In fact, it lasted EXACTLY 574 yomim or 1.58 Qumran calendar years. A Passover lamb had to be an unblemished, one year old male. He was unblemished from sin, was certainly male, and His ministry was just over a year and a half. So, Christ met ALL the requirements. He was conceived on the Feast of New Oil in 5 CE, born on the Feast of Weeks in 6 CE — during the first census of Quirinius, was crucified and buried on Passover in 36 CE (when all of the players were still in office!), was dead and buried for three days and nights per the sign of Jonah (15-17 Abib), was raised as Lord of the (weekly) Sabbath on 18 Abib, had His empty tomb discovered on the first day of the week on 19 Abib, ascended to the right hand of the Father for the first time on 20 Abib, then rested on the annual Sabbath on 21 Abib therefore fulfilling Passover/Unleavened Bread.

      FYI, Sukkot (aka Tabernacles/Booths) is the last feast of the year. In the future, this is when the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will take place between New Jerusalem and Him.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The keys to discerning when Christ’s ministry began may be found here:

      Also, Christ’s ministry was exactly 82 weeks in duration — not 70 as Rood claims. Daniel’s 70 weeks is speaking of “weeks of years” or jubilees; see Seventy jubilees is 3,430 years (=70 jubilees x 49 years/jubilee)! I personally believe that Christ’s Second Coming will be 3,430 years after the Law (Heb. Torah) was given to Moses.

      Note that after His return, there’s still a 1,000 years — or a millennium — to go before before Judgment Day, the New Heaven and New Earth, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; see


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