Chapter 7: The Second Temple Period

Was the Father happy with the way the Jews did things after returning from captivity? Well, scriptures seem to indicate that He was not.

From the time of David, but there is much History as how the Jews counted towards the Holy Days, after they came back from Captivity and before.

The Babylonian exile, in the first half of the sixth century B.C.E., greatly influenced the Hebrew calendar. This is visible today in the names of the months.

The exact day of the new month was determined by observation of the moon and by seeing when the new crescent actually appeared... On the 30th of each month the members of the High Court, the Sanhedrin, assembled in a particular courtyard in Jerusalem (Beit Ya'azek) and waited to receive testimony from two reliable witnesses. If they came, then the moon was sanctified. It was considered a very great Mitzvah to come to Jerusalem to give evidence that you had seen the first crescent of the moon, and even Shabbat could be desecrated in order to fulfill this obligation. If no one came because the moon wasn't visible, then the new month, Rosh Chodesh, was automatically declared to begin on the next day, i.e. the 31st day after the beginning of the last month. Beacons were kindled on the Mount of Olives and on designated mountains throughout the land, to inform everyone.

During the period of the Sanhedrin, a committee of the Sanhedrin met to evaluate reports of sightings of the lunar crescent. If sightings were not possible, the new month was begun 30 days after the beginning of the previous month.

Much later, under the patriarchate of Rabbi Judah I, (163 - 193) the Samaritans, in order to create confusion, lit the bonfires at the wrong time. Rabbi Judah abolished the bonfires and substituted messengers.

Jews living far off always celebrated the 30th day as Rosh Chodesh and if the messengers didn't arrive in time, or if they were informed that it was postponed to the 31st day, they celebrated that as well.

You know the story, I'm sure, of how they sighted the Crescent, with witness, then the fires lit, then witness were brought to the Sanhedrin for questioning.

Much Confusion!

This period of time is known in Jewish history as the Second Mikdash.

It is a well known fact; for instance, that the First Mikdash was destroyed in 586 BCE and the Second Mikdash was consecrated in 516 BCE, and destroyed in 70 CE. The Second Mikdash, therefore, stood 585 years (not 586), while according to Jewish chronology, it stood only 420 years (See Yoma 9a and Yerushalmi Megilah I, 12).

After the Babylonian captivity the Jews carried back with them the Babylonian solar/lunar calendar and used it to determine the dates for high Holy Days.

Notice this by their own writings, about the second Mikdash.

After the Babylonian captivity the Jews carried back with them the Babylonian solar/lunar calendar and used it to determine the dates for high Holy Days. A small bit of math, along with recorded history, reveals a startling fact:

"In the second Mikdash (temple), which abided for 420 years, more than 300 High Priests served. If you take off therefrom the 40 years which Shimeon the Righteous served, the 80 years which Yochanan the High Priest served, the 10 years which Yismael b. Fabi served or, as some say, the 11 years of Rabbi Eleazar b. Charsum, and then count the number of High Priests from then on -- you will find that none of them completed his year in office. They all died when they entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur" [by the "lunar" reckoning] "to make the atonement and pray for a good year for all Jews. This happened because they were corrupt. They bought the high priestly office for money and also accepted bribes." (Rabbi Sholom Klass, The Jewish Press, p. 5, May 9, 1997.)

"The people were so accustomed to see the priests die that they tied a rope around them and, when they didn't walk out from the Holy of Holies, the people knew they had died and they were then pulled out, for no one else was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies."

Notice, they claim the reason for this was that the priest were corrupt. Well, I don't doubt that, but.....Wasn't the sacrifice done by the priests before entering into the Holy of Holies good enough? Well, it should have been. There was no need of repentance at that time, only a sacrifice. His attitude would not have mattered.

Was it because he was going into the Holy of Holies on the wrong day?

Consider this.

Numbers 3:4
And Nadab and Abihu died before Yahweh, when they offered strange fire before Yahweh, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father.

You know the story....Was their attitude wrong? Of course, but why did they die? Because they offered strange fire. It was different that what was commanded.

Also, consider this.

I Samuel 6:19
And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of Yahweh, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because Yahweh had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter.

Why? Because they looked into the ark, and they were commanded not to.

Also, consider this.

II Samuel 6:6-7
And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook [it]. 
And the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Uzzah; and Elohim smote him there for [his] error; and there he died by the ark of Elohim.

What was Uzzah attitude? Why did he die. Certainly not because he was corrupt, but because he disobeyed.

The Priest during the second Mikdash died (my opinion) because they were going into the Holy of Holies on the wrong day. How did they get the wrong day. From counting from the crescent.

Was the Father happy with the nations of Israel and Judah, before or after the captivity?
The answer clearly is no.

Will the calendar be made right for the time of the Messiah? Read on!