Have you ever been at the butt end of an April fool’s joke? Why do people play jokes on each other on April 1st anyway? Where did this weird tradition originate? Interestingly, according to most resources, this strange practice originates with a calendar issue! Those returning to the Hebraic Roots of our faith are VERY aware of the multitude of calendar problems, issues, and debates.
Our current western calendar is called the Gregorian calendar. It was introduced in the year 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, as a refinement to the previous Julian calendar by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. The Julian calendar was also a reform, but of the old Roman calendar. The reason for a revision of the Julian calendar had to do the dating of Easter:
“The motivation for the reform was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in which the First Council of Nicaea had agreed upon in 325. Because the celebration of Easter was tied to the spring equinox, the Roman Catholic Church considered this steady drift in the date of Easter undesirable. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923.”
That’s right! Like it or not, our current western calendar is focused on Easter and its proper dating. But before we explore why that may be a problem, let’s look at what the original April fool really was.
When the Catholic Church decided to reform the Julian calendar, the ancient world didn’t have moment to moment communication like we have today. Even restructuring of major endeavors like a new calendar took time to spread and reach the various parts of the world. Although the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars were minor at 0.002%, there was one observable major difference. That discrepancy was when the New Year began.
During the Middle Ages, under the influence of the Christian Church, many Western European countries moved the start of the year to one of several important Christian festivals—25 December (the Nativity of Jesus), 25 March (Annunciation), or Easter (France), while the Byzantine Empire began its year on 1 September and Russia did so on 1 March until 1492 when the year was moved to 1 September.
Thus, depending on where you lived during the middle ages, the New Year would be celebrated at different times. At this point in history, the calendar wasn’t nearly as uniform as it is today in the western world. Since Rome was the center for the Universal Church at the time of the calendar reform of 1582, mostWestern European countries changed the start of the year to January 1st before they adopted the Gregorian calendar.
What was the date of the New Year prior to this reform? Well, it varied from country to country. But most celebrated the New Year in accordance with Easter or the vernal equinox. When the calendar reform of 1582 took place, the New Year was set for January 1st — like it is today. However, there were many people still observing the New Year around April 1st. Those who had already adjusted to the calendar reform called those “less enlightened” April fools!
If you were a farmer detached from the mainstream city living, you may have been an April fool too. Although this accounting of April Fool’s Day is completely plausible, its historicity is still debatable. Many believe that April Fool’s Day has a much more ancient root in the old Roman celebration of Hilaria, which was a festival borrowed from the Greeks.
You can probably guess the English derivatives of this word, like hilarious. This festival was centered on goddess worship with games, amusements, and masquerades. I personally feel that while April Fool’s may have originated with these pagan activities, it evolved and took on new hilarity when the calendar reformed.
What I find very fascinating is that the Gregorian calendar was initiated to keep the dating of Easter in accord with the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. There were in fact several main Christian dogmas established at this early council, and if you haven’t studied this point in history I highly urge you to do so. It is impossible to understand Christian doctrine without first investigating these early centuries.
Many beliefs and traditions of the “Church” can be traced back to Rome, Greece, and Babylon, and not the Bible or Israel. It is quite amazing that these early “Christians” were compelled to align their calendar with a pagan fertility goddess (Easter/Ishtar/Astarte/Ashtoreth). Now, I know most Christians don’t associate the resurrection of Jesus with a fertility goddess, but the symbols reveal the root. Egg laying bunnies and colored Easter egg hunts are not found in Scripture but in traditions associated with this fertility goddess. Even the traditional Easter ham (a mockery of the Passover Lamb) can be traced back to Tammuz.
Conversely, the Hebrew calendar in effect today was established after the destruction of the Temple in order to keep the Feasts of YHWH in their proper season according to Passover. Jews in the early centuries were being heavily persecuted under Constantius and needed a solid and unified calendar to keep the people unified in exile. The current Hebrew calendar is attributed most often to Hillel II.
The western Roman calendars are solar whereas the Hebrew calendar is lunar and solar. The latter is more aligned with the purpose of the sun, moon, and stars given in Genesis chapter one. But I digress. This article isn’t meant to be a detailed history of calendars or a long treatise on developing a “correct” calendar. What I find very disturbing is that there are so many varying “biblical” calendars that have been developed in the past decade.
There are many self-proclaimed calendar authorities out there that only promulgate strife and division in the Body. I urge you to use caution when they pontificate how accurate and right their calculations are. As for me and my family, we will stick with Judah. Judah holds the scepter, so right or wrong, they have been given authority in certain areas by the CREATOR that we simply shouldn’t try to usurp. The multitude of various new (corrected) calendars has done nothing to bring Unity to the Body. Instead, it has brought only division and confusion; of which, I know YHWH is not the author.
Speaking more broadly, our calendar is vitally important. Our days, months, and years are tracked by the calendar we keep. But even more significant, our holidays (Holy Days) are carefully marked on our calendars. In a nutshell, our lives revolve around a calendar! Our Creator is well aware of this cycle and He cares deeply about how we walk, live, worship, and play. This is why He graciously details the appropriate “sanctuaries in time” that He desires to meet with us. (Lev. 23)
We can and should worship the Creator every day; however, that does not replace His appointed times. YHWH’s moedim (feast days/ appointed times), are first given to us in seed form in Genesis:
Gen. 1:14-19 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (15) and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. (16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. (17) God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, (18) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. (19) There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.(NASB)
We could learn much by dissecting these few verses, but our focus will remain on the moedim. In this section of Scripture, the moedim are translated as “seasons”. One of the reasons for the natural “lights” in the sky is to give us a CALENDAR. Within that calendar there will be moedim (seasons/feast days/appointed times). The purpose of these appointments is to govern our lives and separate the light from the darkness. The early Patriarchs and Matriarchs followed this cycle, but the form was hidden like a seed in the earth. If you look closely, you will see the pattern and evidence even though it is immature.
Later the seed of the moedim begins to sprout in Scripture and we can discern the green sprout and its leaves more clearly. This happens in Exodus as the nation of Israel bursts forth from the death and slavery of Egypt and Pharaoh. The sprout begins to grow into a young sapling in the wilderness and later with the Judges, Kings, and Prophets. But the sapling is still immature. Sometimes the people tend to the sapling, sometimes they forget. The evidence of the moedim however, is undeniable.
The enemy knows the importance of our lives being focused on the Creator’s calendar too. This is why his utmost desire is to rule or sit in the governing seat of authority over our appointed times. This is evidenced prophetically with the king of Babylon in Isaiah.
Is. 14:12-14 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! (13) “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. (14) ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
Again, there is a lot of symbolism to explore in these verses, but we will stick with one area: the moedim. The underlined verse, “I will sit on the mount of the assembly” has some interesting Hebrew words behind this English translation. The word “assembly” is actually MOED! What is the “mount” of the moed or moedim? Where are we told to gather thrice in a year? The Temple Mount. The enemy desires to place his throne at the center of the worship of YHWH. (BTW, what’s sitting on the Temple Mount right now?)
The mount of the assembly is not just a place of worship; it is a sanctuary of time. It is the place of the divine appointments. Time and space are involved in the worship of YHWH. Time is marked by our calendars. Thus, the enemy desires to sit in authority over YOUR calendar! This perverts our worship of YHWH. Control someone’s calendar and you control their life! From the early centuries of Christianity, the true calendar of YHWH has been governed by an unholy spirit — the king of Babylon. Why else would our western calendars be initiated by the “holy day” of Easter? Easter’s roots can be traced back to Babylon and Nimrod, not the Bible or Israel. This is why it is intriguing that our current Gregorian calendar was designed around Easter. Is it any wonder why John the Revelator MARVELED at the whore of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18?
Wow, these are strong words. I’m sorry, but it is on my heart today. I am not condemning those that ignorantly keep another calendar, nor am I suggesting that these precious souls are doomed. However, why we do what we do and how we do it does matter. I believe YHWH is shaking His people awake. His desire is for us to “Repent”! The seed of the moedim has been growing to maturity and we’ve been so focused on another tree that we’ve missed its beauty, protection, and fruit.
If you are newer to the Father’s calendar, the tree, its smell, and its fruit may seem “strange” at first. You may even long for the familiar taste of the “other” tree. It will hurt and you will grieve when you chop down the imposter because of its familiarity. But soon, you will realize the healing that is found in the fruit of YHWH’s moedim. Your vision, walk, and resolve will be sharper, straighter, and stronger.
Have we been April fools? If so, wake up! Take a stand this year to keep the Creator’s calendar as best you can. Instead of marveling at the immense treasures of Babylon, marvel at the graciousness, love, and majesty found in the Feasts of YHWH.
You can learn about the moedim and the king of Babylon by studying The Creation Gospel by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.
 This is not a definitive answer, however. The most widely accepted tradition is that April Fool’s Day began with a change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Other sources aren’t so sure and believe them to be more ancient. For the sake of other points in this article, I will assume the majority is right and that this was in fact a calendar change issue. That does not imply that I think I know the whole truth of the matter. J
 I recommend two books by Richard Rives for a thorough investigation of this history. His book Too Long in the Sun and Time is the Ally of Deceit are great resources. The latter book also has a full DVD series that accompanies it. http://www.toolong.com/cart/proddetail.php?prod=046.5 Richard’s website is: http://www.toolong.com/