The Chronology of the Book of Ezekiel
Christian Military Academy Lecture 3
Characteristics of the New Calendar
God gave a new calendar before Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. Exodus 12:2 says, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” First, according to the Western calendar, this day was “April 9th, 1446 BC, but God declared that this day would be the “first day” of the “first month.” Secondly, the new calendar used a lunar calendar, which has “354” days in one year. To synchronize with the solar calendar, the thirteenth month (i.e., Adar II) is inserted seven times over a span of nineteen years. Thirdly, the Israelites used two types of dating systems: First, there is the “Nisan-year,” which is “one year” beginning with the “first of the month” until the “end of the twelfth month.” The Nisan-year calendar is called the “religious” calendar that is based upon the feast. Secondly, there is the “Tishri-year,” which begins on the “seventh month” until the end of the sixth month. The Tishri-year calendar is referred to as the “civil” calendar.
Names of the Months in the New Calendar
The names of the months in the “new calendar” are as follows: 1st month is “Nisan” (March/April), meaning “their flight,” which reflects the exodus that occurred this month. The Canaanite name is “Abib,” which refers to fresh young barely ears indicating the beginning of barley harvest at this time (Est 3:7; Ex 13:4). 2nd month is “lyyar” (April/May), meaning “open,” and its Canaanite name is “Ziv,” meaning brightness, the month of flowers (1 Kgs 6:1). 3rd month is “Sivan” (May/June), and it means “their covering” (Heb 8:9). The 4th month is “Tammuz” (June/July), meaning “sprout of life.” 5th month is “Av” (July/August), meaning “father.” It also means “reed” but is not used often. The 6th month is “Elul” (August/September), meaning “nothingness, or trivial” (Neh 6:15). “Tishri” is the name of the 7th month (September/October), and it means “first, offering.” The Canaanite name for the 7th month is “Ethanim,” meaning “enduring,” and has a nickname of “a month of the enduring river” (1 Kgs 8:2). The 8th month is “Marcheshvan” (October/November), which means “the eighth month.” “Bul” is the Canaanite name for the 8th month, meaning to “increase, produce” and has a nickname of “a month of rainfall” (1 Kgs 6:38). The 9th month is “Kislev” (November/December), and it means “his confidence” (Neh 1:1; Zech 7:1). The name of the 10th month is “Tebeth” (December/January), and it means “goodness” (Est 2:16). The 11th month is “Shebat” (January/February), meaning “a rod, small branch, offspring” (Zech 1:7). Finally, the 12th month is “Adar” (February/March), and it means “glorious, brilliant” (Est 3:7).
Dating Method in the Book of Ezekiel: Nisan-Years
The prophet Ezekiel was taken to Babylon on the tenth day of the first month in 597 BC (Tishri-years) (2 Chron 36:10). The city of Jerusalem fell on the 9th day of the 4th month in 586 BC (2 Kgs 25:3-4). Six months later, on the 5th day of the 10th month in 585 BC, refugees from Jerusalem arrived in Babylon and came to Ezekiel. God opened Ezekiel’s mouth at the time they came to him and he was no longer speechless (Ezek 33:21-22). When we date this time according to the two dating methods, “Nisan” and “Tishri” years, we come up with the following: First, using the Tishri-years, the news of Jerusalem’s fall came in the 13th year of exile. Secondly, according to the Nisan-years, the news of Jerusalem’s fall came in the 12th year of exile. Hence, we can see that the book of Ezekiel does not use “Tishri-years” but “Nisan-years” dating method. However, since all the History of Redemption series wrote the years of deportation to Babylon in “Tishri-years,” the series has also converted the chronology of the book of Ezekiel in “Tishri-years.”
Important Years in the Book of Ezekiel
Prophet Ezekiel was active for 23 years (Inclusive-reckoning) from 593 BC until 571 BC. The expression, “in the XXX year of exile” occurs 13 times in the book of Ezekiel. These dates are in Nisan-years, and therefore, we can convert them into Tishri-years as the following:
When we look at the “principles of reckoning years,” we can convert between Nisan-years and Tishri-years in the following way: For events occurring between 1-6th months, there is a “one year difference” between Nisan-years and Tishri-years. Tishri years is one year late, for example, (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9, 13) in the above chart. Secondly, for events occurring between 7-12th month, the years are the same in both Nisan-years and Tishri-years, for example, (4, 6, 10, 11, 12) in the above chart.
Conclusion: God’s (the author’s) perspective is the most important in reckoning the years in the Bible. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."