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Created 5928± 06 26 2024 [2008-9-27]

Updated 5941[(?)] 07 22 2027 [2010-10-31]

Updated 5925[(*??*)] 01 02 2029 [2013-04-13] – Added links (1, 2, 3) to my 4 Gospel Synopsis

Updated 5925[(*??*)] 01 06 2029 [2013-04-17] – Added a footnote re Strong’s G1207.

Updated 5925[(*??*)] 01 12 2029 [2013-04-21] – Revised footnote re Strong’s G1207.

Updated 5925[(*??*)] 04 04 2029 [2013-07-14] - Revised the last two paragraphs re ’betwixt.’

Updated 5925[(*??*)] 04 05 2029 [2013-07-15] - Revised footnote re Strong’s G1207. Cf. prior version.

Updated 5925[(*??*)] 05 10 2029 [2013-08-18] – Added a reference and links re the birth of Yeshua.

 

24 Courses of Priests and Levites

 

Facts and Considerations re the Timing of Each of their Temple Services

 

 

 

Abstract:

 

A firm dating of the course of Abijah and the birth of John the Baptist (cf. 1, 2) referenced in Luke 1:5, 23, re the birth of Yeshua, the Messiah (cf. 1, 2) referenced in Luke 1:26-33, and re the plucking of grain by Yeshua and his disciples on the Second-First Shabbat (cf. 1, 2) referenced in Luke 6:1 has now been established. For instance, I have found a firm date for the beginning of the 1st course of priestly temple services such that all questions re how the three annual Feasts were being handled are seemingly now being naturally resolved without recourse to any delay or complication as to the numbering of the priestly eight day cycles of service.

 

. . . . . . .

 

Although it has been for me a long and winding road before arriving at this certain point of my discoveries, I believe the simple and straightforward answers to each and all questions re the timing of the 24 courses of priests and Levites servicing the temple throughout the year, are as follows:

 

The month given the name “the First Moon,” i.e. Aviv, as in the Hebrew word ‘rishon,’ meaning ‘foremost,’ is the month being used for tuning each and every year to the seasons, and without fail. It is the focal point of the Scripture year, the month in the very middle of the year, with six month before since the beginning of the year and with six months behind unto the end of the year. It stands to reason that “the First Course” is the one beginning in the month with the same name, “the first month.”[1]

 

The focal point of Month #1 is the aviv, and the focal point of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Seventh-day Sabbath upon which, yet again, in the very middle of the 24 hours, that is, in the early morning of the Sabbath, the sacrifice of the Omer is being brought. This Sabbath is the foundation of the entire Scripture calendar, it is the base upon which all of the remainder of the Counting of Omer rests. It is the accession day before the subsequent seven weeks where the Seventh Shabbat constitutes the Feast of Sabbaths, that is, the Day of Pentecost. In the count of fifty the Seventh Day Sabbath including the morning of the Waving of the Sheaf, Hag HaOmer, is the first day, and the Seventh Day Sabbath of Pentecost, aka. Feast of Weeks, aka. Day of Sabbaths, is the fiftieth day. More…

 

It is only self-evident that the first-first Course of Priests begins their service at the beginning of the Sabbath of the Omer and continues until and including the next Sabbath.[2]

 

I don’t find any mention in the Scriptures for any complicated splitting of services over two weeks due to whichever Feast Days when priests from other courses join in as needed, and I don’t believe there is any reason for thus complicating the schedule or the reckoning of courses. Thusly numbering the courses of priests, there will be full harmony between the numbers assigned to the weeks of Omer and the numbered Courses of Priests. No reason for confusion!... Thus, the 1st Course of Priests do their duty through the end of the 1st Sabbath cycle, the 2nd Course of Priests do their duty through the end of the 2nd Sabbath cycle, etc., even through the end of the 24th Sabbath cycle. When the 24th Course of Priests has completed their course, they are replaced by the 1st Course. What could be more natural? When this happens to coincide with the last week before the First-First or the Second-First Course, then so be it! Isn’t their time cut short anyhow by an intermediary seven days of either the Feast of Unleavened Bread or of the Feast of Tabernacles?! No need for feeling robbed of a blessing or for having to serve double duty, is there? Some will be more blessed than others perhaps, that is, when there is an extra leap month added to the year. But then, isn’t it only good that some are getting extra training for matters of special importance?!!!

 

The priests of the Second-First course naturally begin their service at the beginning of the Seventh-day Sabbath within the Feast of Tabernacles, thus mirroring the procedure during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Indeed, this is exactly what I find being confirmed by the New Testament record, where I find clear evidence through the multiple witnesses of several of the Gospel writers re this particular:

 

1.       Luke 6:1 provides for us the reference to the courses, that is, by the Greek word “δευτεροπρωτω” meaning “Second-First” and referencing the 1st course of cycle #2 of the priests.

2.       Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew 12:9 is providing (cf. 1, 2) that this same event is an event at the very point of the beginning of the year, that is, by means of the Hebrew word ‘ketz,’ which word has been thoroughly misunderstood and mistranslated, but which word, upon a thorough Scripture word study has been found to point to the very beginning of something, not to the end of something – though, as all can see, this point in time in a cyclical event such as the year will coincide one with the other, and thus the confusion… While considering this particular eight day cycle of priestly services, beginning with the Seventh-day Sabbath within the Feast of Tabernacles, well, this priestly week of temple services, this cycle of eight days (1+7=8,) will necessarily spill over into the beginning of the Scripture year which begins with the day labeled Tishri 22, the 22nd day of the 7th month of the Scripture year. Thus, the corresponding week, the seven day cycle within the eight day course, will indeed be also the 1st week, albeit, in most years, an incomplete week, of the new Scripture year.

 

. . . . . . .

 

Naturally, the last considerations above resolve any and all matters re dating, e.g. the 8th course of Abijah, and the Second-First Sabbath, etc… while contributing also very much to the overall layout of the Scripture calendar as applied upon the events relayed in the Gospels re the years of Yeshua’s ministry.

 

 

 

 

Further considerations:

 

Re Zacharias and the course of Abia:

 

Luke 1:5 (KJV) "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth."

 

Luke 1:23 (TLT)  AndG2532 it came to pass,G1096 that, in that mannerG5613 were concludedG4130 theG3588 daysG2250 of hisG846 ministrationG3009 and he departedG565 toG1519 his ownG848 house.G3624

Luke 1:23 (KJV)  AndG2532 it came to pass,G1096 that, as soon asG5613 theG3588 daysG2250 of hisG846 ministrationG3009 were accomplished,G4130 he departedG565 toG1519 his ownG848 house.G3624

 

 

Re the season of the Second-First course of priestly services:

 

Luk 6:1(KJV) “And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat…”

 

The priests followed an annual service calendar established since the days of king David and Samuel, the prophet. Each family of priests was on duty at the temple one certain eight day period every semi-year, from Sabbath to Sabbath [i.e. from sunset one Friday until darkness eight days later:]

 

David… divided them also into courses: and when he had separated the priests from them, he found of these priests twenty-four courses, sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight of that of Ithamar; and he ordained that one course should minister to God eight days, from sabbath to sabbath. And thus were the courses distributed by lot, in the presence of David, and Zadok and Abiathar the high priests, and of all the rulers; and that course which came up first was written down as the first, and accordingly the second, and so on to the twenty-fourth; and this partition hath remained to this day. He also made twenty-four parts of the tribe of Levi; and when they cast lots, they came up in the same manner for their courses of eight days.” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 7, Chapter 14:7. Cf. Josephus, The life of Flavius Josephus, paragraph #1. Cf. also Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: 2 Kings 11:4-12; 1 Chr 24:1-19.)

 

     The priests were divided into twenty-four courses, and a full and accurate record was made regarding this division. Each course was thoroughly organized under its chief, and each was to come to Jerusalem twice a year, to attend for one week to the ministry of the sanctuary.  {3BC 1128.4}

     The Levites, whose duty it was to assist in the sanctuary service, were organized and allotted their part with similar precision (RH Oct. 5, 1905).  {3BC 1128.5}

 

The statement of Earnest L. Martin, re the first course beginning within the last Shabbat of the preceding month, finds its resolution upon the within discoveries re the beginning of the Scripture year. That is, the beginning of the Second-first cycle begins with the last Seventh-day Sabbath prior to the Scripture year beginning with Tishri 22 (cf. Earnest L. Martin, “The Star that Astonished the World,” chapter 5, Part 1 & 2.)

 

Re Aviv 10 and the date given in Ezekiel 40:1, “in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month,” (which dates may be considered also in conjunction with Ezekiel 43:18-27 & 45:18-23), I believe that there may well be reasons for perceiving Ezekiel’s use of the words “בראשׁ השׁנה,” “the beginning of the year,” as possibly referencing the seventh month and not necessarily the month of Abib.

 

That the first course of the first cycle of the twenty-four courses began in Aviv and not at the time of the biblical new year beginning with the Eight Day following the Feast of Tabernacles should be clear from Exodus 40:2, 13-16, though apparently this arrangement of twenty-four courses was established by Samuel and king David (1 Chr 9:22) and then reestablished by Ezra (Ezra 2:36-39. Cf. also 1 Chr. 27:1-2.)

 

Earnest L. Martin’s statements re skipping course counts during the Feast days and extra Shabbats might perhaps at first sight seem reasonable, that is, prior to a recognition re the 1st course beginning with the Sabbath of the Omer Sacrifice.  Cf. Acts 13:42:

“The nextG3342 Sabbath” (KJV;) Earnest L. Martin’s suggests “the betwixt Sabbath,” but I am now convinced that a more correct translation is “the ensuing Sabbath hours,” that is, following a meeting on Sabbath eve [Friday night,] further meetings were being requested for the remainder of the same Sabbath the following morning:

 

Strong’s G3342:

From G3326 and a form of G4862; betwixt (of place or person); (of time) as adjective intervening, or (by implication) adjoining.”) 

 

 

Luke 6:1: “σαββατωG4521 N-DSN  δευτεροπρωτωG1207 A-DSN.”

 

 

However, Earnest L. Martin’s statement to the effect that all the priest families cooperated in the services during those special times of the year seems sustained. Cf. 2 Chr. 5:11:

 

for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course…

 

 

 

 

 

 


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[1] This matter of the 24 courses of priests and Levites was first brought to my attention by Earnest L. Martin while considering the meaning of “δευτεροπρωτω” (Luke 6:1) and “the course of Abia” (Luke 1:5.) As reflected by the remaining paragraphs of this footnote, I have thus far been building upon the assumption that “δευτεροπρωτω” of Luke 6:1 is a word pertaining to the two annual cycles of 24 courses of the priests and Levites. However, upon recognizing that the most apparently likely numbering pertaining to each of those courses  (e.g. “δευτεροπρωτω;” a word accordingly pointing to a fall event,) as reflected within this article, stands in conflict with my spring placement of the event recorded in Luke 6:1, I was prompted to do some further studies re the meaning of “δευτεροπρωτω,” and re my placement of the Luke 6:1 event. The results of that study makes it likely that “δευτεροπρωτω” is:

1)       not only a word pointing to the courses of priests and Levites, but also a word pointing…

2)       to the first of the eight Sabbaths within the Counting of Omer;

3)       a word indicating a double foremost Sabbath, that is, a) a weekly Seventh Day Sabbath in commemoration of the Creator of the Universe, and b) the Waving of the Sheaf Sabbath, which is the first of eight Seventh Day Sabbaths within the Reckoning of Omer towards Pentecost; and

4)       a word pointing to the fact that, at the sunset towards the end of the Waving of the Sheaf Sabbath, the 2nd score of 50 is made towards the Day of Pentecost (cf. this link!)

Thus, if Luke’s word “δευτεροπρωτω”is indeed a word in reference to the courses of priests and Levites, as suggested by Earnest L. Martin, then it seems obvious to me that Strong’s Dictionary is making an error re the specific Sabbath associated with that Greek term, i.e. Strong’s G1207: δευτερόπρωτος. If so, then this error is likely based upon an assumption that the reckoning of the priestly courses begin in Abib/Nissan, the first Moon. That is indeed when the numbering of the priestly courses do begin – or at least the second round of priestly courses! Cf. this link, this link, and this link! Thus a corrected Strong’s entry could read as follows:

Strong’s G1207 – ToL correction:

δευτερόπρωτος; deuteroprōtos; dyoo-ter-op'-ro-tos; From G1208 and G4413; second first, that is, (specifically) a designation of the [Seventh Day] Sabbath within the Paschal week (being the second Sabbath after Passover day, and the first of the eight Seventh Day Sabbaths within the Reckoning of Omer towards Pentecost [Pentecost being the last day of 50 within the annual celebration of Seventh Day Sabbaths known also as the Day of the Sabbaths]: KJV - second . . . after the first.

The corresponding term “first first,πρωτοπρωτος, if such a term is ever used?, would then be the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

To make my (conditional) corrections stand out more clearly within the original Strong’s entry, consider this:

Strong’s G1207: δευτερόπρωτος; deuteroprōtos; dyoo-ter-op'-ro-tos; From G1208 and G4413; second first, that is, (specifically) a designation of the [Seventh Day] Sabbath immediately after within the Paschal week (being the second Sabbath after Passover day, and the first of the seven eight Seventh Day Sabbaths intervening before within the Reckoning of Omer towards Pentecost [Pentecost being the last day of 50 within the annual celebration of Seventh Day Sabbaths known also as the Day of the Sabbaths]: KJV - second . . . after the first.

[2] Cf. footnote #1!