Just prior to the exodus, God gave Moses some instructions. In Exodus 12:2, God said to Moses, "You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you.” (CJB) We know this to be the spring of the year, at the time of the Passover, as the very next instructions were the preparation for, and the participation in, what would become a memorial for all time. This first month of the biblical year was known as Abib, meaning “green ears” or the time of the spring barley harvest. God’s instruction to Moses begs the question, what did God show to Moses to indicate the beginning of the biblical year?
This image shows the backward drift, or “precession” of the equinoxes. This affects both equinoxes and solstices, shifting these imaginary boundaries in the heavens out of place from their original locations. Currently, the vernal equinox has drifted backward into Pisces, and almost into Aquarius. Instead of the sun being in Aries when spring comes, it is in Pisces. The vernal equinox does not arrive in Aries with the sun until April 18th.
Now you see it; now you don’t
Almost all ancient cultures watched and had a name for Pleiades, usually associated with agriculture and moisture/rainfall. The ancients knew this cluster as the "rainy stars" because their rising heralded the beginning of autumn and the onset of the rainy season in many parts of the world. Inca farmers watched Pleiades to assess future crops. Early Greek seamen knew them as the "sailing stars" and would only sail when the stars were visible at night. One of the Navajos' names for the group is the "Hard Flint Boys," and Subaru is the Japanese name for Pleiades (note the Subaru logo).
Finding the Pleiades in the night sky
The main areas of dispute seem to be that the markings appear that they should be from Egypt or Mesopotamia. But the artifact was found in Germany. Researchers state that Germany would not have followed a celestial reckoning such as this. The materials have been authenticated to have originated locally, meaning that the device was probably not made or fabricated in Egypt or Mesopotamia and brought to Germany. It remains somewhat of a mystery even today.
Some of the parts are fairly easily identified, and agreed upon. One that seems to be agreed on is the crescent, and the group of stars to the upper left of the crescent, which most scientists and researchers have identified as the Pleiades. One of the main disputes is over what the round object is on the left. Some say it is the sun, some say it is the moon. It appears to be inconclusive to some if the portrayal is daytime or nighttime.
This image is from Redshift Astronomy program and is taken on March 20 2010 about 2130 hours. This would be about the time the moon passed in front of the Pleiades. What is most astounding about the crescent and the Pleiades on the disk, is that that at least one researcher says that it is portrayed in the position as it would be seen if a 13th month would need to be intercalated. This image is as you would see it from earth. If you rotate the image 90 degrees counter-clockwise, you will see the image as it is represented on the disk. Interestingly, this biblical year, 2009-2010 needed a 13th month inserted. Notice the similarity between the astronomy program image and the representation on the disk. Whether it is true in the end remains to be seen. But it does seem to be a little more than coincidental.
What did Moses see in the sky just before the Exodus?
- Astronomy programs have confirmed the occurrence of this annual event for the last decade, as well as the next, including various points in history.
- When Moses looked at the sky at the time of God’s instructions, the Pleiades were in the sky, in close proximity to the visible crescent. (see earlier image)
- The Pleiades appears annually in close proximity to the visible crescent moon, just after sunset, in the spring, at the beginning of the first biblical month.
- The Pleiades, in harmony with the visible crescent, must be considered as visual evidence for the beginning month of the year.
- The vernal equinox has shifted backwards through the heavens to no longer be valid as a reference point for the biblical new moon to begin the New Year.
- The beginning of the biblical year in the spring must be considered as being fully after the vernal equinox, when the sun and the moon are in Aries and the crescent moon is in proximity to the Pleiades.
- Visual observations need to be confirmed, but the beginning of the biblical year should be considered when the visible crescent and the visible Pleiades are in close proximity, but a month later when indicated that a 13th month should be inserted.
- The Nebra Sky Disk confirms the validity of the use of the Pleiades in the visual sighting for the beginning of the biblical year.
- Since the Nebra Sky Disk predates the time of the calendar given to Moses, the barley harvest has to be considered as secondary to obvious hard evidence i.e. the Pleiades; otherwise as confirmation.
- The Nebra Sky Disk, even with its controversies, presents coincidences with the calendar of scripture to not be considered as valid for review and possible use.
- And finally, isn’t it just like God to use a heavenly marker like a cluster of “seven” stars to lead us in His way? What other symbolism will we discover waiting for us here?