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THE ORIGINAL CALENDAR

FOR OUR DAY

 

 

 

an investigation of

The Calendar as Described in The Bible

 

 

by Wayne Bedwell

 

April 2007 Revision

©1993, 2007 Wayne Bedwell

 

 

No limitation is placed upon reproduction of this document except that it must be reproduced in its entirety without modification or deletions. The publisher's name and address, copyright notice and this message must be included. It may be freely distributed but must be distributed without charge to the recipient.

 

FORWARD

 

This is a review of the scriptures by which God tells us how to use the sun and the moon to establish a calendar, plus a description of the design of a Holyday Calendar which complies with Biblical specifications.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I wish to thank all those readers who have responded with suggestions, arguments, and encouragement. Your comments, whether supportive or not, have always generated additional research, which has enhanced this booklet. I also want to thank my wife, Carole, who has edited this work and put up with my late night spurts of energy to research whatever questions I could not get out of my head.

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

INTRODUCTION

SECTION 1 Measuring Time by the Sun, Moon and Earth

SECTION 2 the Relationship between Years and Months

SECTION 3 The Calculation of the Molad

SECTION 4 Days of Postponement

SECTION 5 The Biblically Based Calendar
 

1. The First Day of the Month is based on the Date of Conjunction at Jerusalem

2. The Determination of Abib 1

Opinions about Abib

Guidelines Regarding Abib

Analyses of When Abib Occurs

Our Conclusion

3. The Time and Date of the New Moon is Obtained from Astronomical Tables

4. The Sabbath from Which to Count for Pentecost

EXPLANATION OF THE CHARTS

1. Abib and Ethanim New Moons and Molads Chart

2. Astronomical vs Moland New Moons for 2007 through 2009

3. The Comparative Holy Day Calendar

4. The Holy Day Calendar

5. Monthly New Moons for 2007 through 2016

CONCLUSION

FOOTNOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CHARTS

ENDNOTES

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Gen 1:14 (Tanakh)

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and they shall serve as signs for the set times -- the days and the years," The KJV calls the set times seasons.

What was God saying here? "and let them serve as signs for the set times and days and years." Are we to establish seasons by the sun and the moon? ("Seasons", in Gen 1:14 [KJV], actually means "set or appointed times," but these appointed times fall within certain climatic seasons: The late rain season, the summer season, and the early rain season. None fall in the heavy rain season.) Are we to establish days, the rising and setting of the sun, by the sun? Are we to establish years, all the months and days which are included in a return of the earth to the same location relative to the sun, by observing the sun and the moon? God obviously thinks so.

David obviously thought so too. Notice the following verses:

Psa 8:3

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place (ordained),

 

Psa 104:19 (Tanakh)

He made the moon mark off the seasons (appointed times); the sun knows when to set.

 

Psa 89:37

it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky."

God nowhere in the Bible specifically states that we should have a calendar. He only gives us the rules from which we can build one. From a practical sense, however, calendars form an important part of our lives. Calendars are important to mankind to enable us to plan events in the future and keep track of events in the past. They have existed for many thousands of years. Some have been based on the sun; some on the moon. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Romans, even the Aztecs had their own calendars. The major calendars of today are the Roman, the Moslem and the Jewish. It is to the Jewish calendar that we want to address this booklet. This booklet uses the term "Jewish calendar" rather than "Hebrew calendar" because that is the most commonly used term.

 

 

 

SECTION 1

Measuring Time by the Sun, Moon and Earth

 

By creating the sun and the moon, God established three basic units of time for all mankind: the day, the lunar month, and the year. The sun sets, rises, and sets again. This cycle of rising and setting is a day.

The lunar month is the cycle of the moon, beginning as the sun and moon pass each other (a new moon), the moon next appearing as a thin crescent (waxing), then a full moon, and finally shrinking (waning) and disappearing again as it approaches conjunction with the sun. The astronomical conjunction occurs when the center of the sun, the center of the moon, and the center of the earth are exactly lined up along the same earth longitude. Because of the dominant brilliance of the sun, the totally dark side of the moon which faces the earth is not visible at conjunction. The Roman month in use today has nothing at all to do with the moon. The Biblical year contains 12 or 13 lunar months.

In addition to these three units, God gave us the fourth unit, the week. The week is not directly dependent upon the motion of any heavenly body, unless you refer to the setting of the sun seven times as its dependency.

Now let's describe the various units in terms of days:

A week is 7 days.

A lunar month is a little more than 29-1/2 (29.5306) days.

A year is approximately 365-1/4 (365.24965) days.

One other term which we must define is the equinox. The equinox is the time in spring and fall when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of approximately equal length. The equinox we are concerned about from God's word is the northern hemisphere spring equinox, which normally occurs on March 20th or 21st. The spring equinox, commonly called the vernal equinox, establishes the first day of spring.

 

 

 

SECTION 2

The Relationship between Years and Months

 

The Jewish calendar consists of 12 or 13 months of 29 or 30 days each. The thirteen months of the Jewish Calendar are:

1 - Nisan - 30 days

2 - Iyar - 29 days

3 - Sivan - 30 days

4 - Tammuz - 29 days

5 - Av - 30 days

6 - Elul - 29 days

7 - Tishri - 30 days

8 - Heshvan - 29 or 30 days

9 - Kislev - 29 or 30 days

10 - Tevet - 29 days

11 - Shevat - 30 days

12 - Adar - 29 days (or 30 days if there is an Adar 2)

13 - Adar 2 - 29 days (a leap year month)

The 13th month was originally planned to assure that the Passover would never fall before the spring equinox and thereby synchronizes the lunar calendar with the solar calendar.

In practice, however, the Jewish calendar now has predefined years in a 19-year cycle which are to be leap years (embolismic or intercalary years which have 13 months). Leap years are designated to be the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th years - 7 of them. The 19 year cycle results from the fact that the sun, moon, and earth are almost exactly in the same positions every 19 years. In fact, the 19 year cycle varies from being exactly 19 years long by only 1 hour, 26 minutes, 56-2/3 seconds. By insisting that the Passover not fall before the spring equinox, the Jewish calendar does make provision for even this hour and a half.

Exo 12:2

This month [Abib, pronounced Aviv, - the Jewish calendar calls it Nisan, a Babylonian name] shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

 

Exo 13:3-4

Then Moses said to the people, "Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast. {4} Today, in the month of Abib, you are leaving.

 

Exo 13:7-10

Eat unleavened bread during those seven days; nothing with yeast in it is to be seen among you, nor shall any yeast be seen anywhere within your borders. {8} On that day tell your son, `I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.' {9} This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. {10} You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time (‘season’ in KJV) year after year.

 

Num 9:2-3

"Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time (`season' in KJV). {3} Celebrate it at the appointed time (`season' in KJV), at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations."

Judaism tries to follow the above scriptures which imply that Passover (Nisan 15, to them) must not fall before the spring equinox 1 (Tekufoth Nisan) but they have one big problem: The Jewish calculation now puts Tekufoth Nisan on April 7th and the date gradually gets later! Many Jews recognize the irregularity of this date, and their calendar ignores it, but the calculation of it is so steeped in tradition that they simply dismiss the problem by taking the position: "The rebirth of the state of Israel rekindles in us the hope that a new Sanhedrin, recognized by the whole people of Israel, will be established in our time. It will be the task of the Sanhedrin to make a decision as to when and how the sanctified calendar of Hillel II is to be modified in accordance with the requirements of astronomy and the Torah." A new Religious Court is currently being discussed in Jerusalem. They also realize the day of the Moshiach (Messiah) is near, when "He shall renew our days as of old." We, too, pray that time will come soon. Ref: Num. 11:16-17 and Deut. 17:8-12.

Using the astronomical spring equinox causes a periodic conflict with the Jewish calendar. The conflict can occur on any of the designated leap years on the Jewish calendar, but thankfully not all of them. The same situation occurs again in 2008, Jewish year 5768, when Nisan 14 could actually fall on March 21st, after the equinox. In this case, 2009 should be the leap year, not 2008. The next designated leap year, in 2011 or Jewish year 5771, is correctly defined as a leap year because without the addition of the 13th month, Nisan 14 would occur before the spring equinox. 2016 is another example, like 2008, of a leap year on the Jewish calendar which should not be a leap year. And, like 2009, 2017 is a correct leap year. Unfortunately, the application of the calendar rules is so rigid that Judaism loses sight of the scriptures we have read, that God gave to them, which strongly imply that the Passover must be kept at the first opportunity after the spring equinox. We will have more to say on this subject later.

Philo, the Jewish historian and contemporary of Jesus Christ, Yeshua ha Mashiach in Hebrew, and the apostles, writes in his book, The Works of Philo, On the Life of Moses II, chapter XLI, Part 222 and 224, "Moses puts down the beginning of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year....."

 

SECTION 3

The Calculation of the Molad

Molad means birth, renewal or rejuvenescence of the moon. So there is really a molad for every month. Both the words "new moon" and "month" are translated from the Hebrew word "Chodesh" (Strongs #2320). God talks about new moon sacrifices in Numbers 28:11and other places, but the only months He identifies for observing His Holy Days are Abib (Nisan), the first month, and Ethanim (Tishri), the seventh month (Ex. 23:15 & 1 Kings 8:2). He specifies that Passover is the 14th of Nisan, the Days of Unleavened Bread are to be kept from Nisan 15 through Nisan 21 and Pentecost is kept 50 days from the first weekly Sabbath on or after Passover. From the molad of the seventh month (Tishri or Ethanim), He specifies that Trumpets is the 1st day, Atonement is the 10th day, the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) from the 15th day through the 21st day, and the Last Great Day (8th day) on the 22nd day. These are all specified in Lev. 23:4-8, 15-16, 24, 27, 34, 36. So, if we are to determine these dates, it is essential that we know when the Molad Nisan (Abib) occurs and when the Molad Tishri (Ethanim) occurs.

The Jewish calendar calculates the first day of all months from the first day of Tishri. The calculation of Nisan 1 is simply a matter of subtracting 177 days from Tishri 1. All months on the Jewish calendar between Nisan and Tishri have prescribed lengths, like the Roman calendar, so it is easy to do. The calculation of when Molad Tishri falls is done by establishing a year thought to be the time of creation (Tishri 1, in the year 1, on the Jewish calendar and 3759 BC on the Roman calendar) and adding regular and leap years to it to come up with the Molad Tishri for the year in question. This description of the calculation is slightly oversimplified but it is basically correct.

Originally, the Israelites determined the Molads by physically observing the first faint sliver or crescent of the new moon in the western sky. This was the only way they could determine the new month because they had not yet developed the calculation of the new moon. They knew that the cycle took about 29-1/2 days but observations did not allow them to simply use a 29 then 30 then 29 day pattern. There were frequent exceptions. When it was cloudy, the 31st day of the month became the first day of the new month. Their early attempts at developing a calculation were, of course, based on empirical observations, but they were hampered by many, many inconsistencies; inconsistencies which were caused by cloud cover, the angle and separation of the paths of both the sun and the moon as they set, parallax, haze, differences in the size of the setting moon, apparent changes in the orbital speed of the moon, contradictions of observers.... But as time went along and with input from the surrounding Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian astronomers, particularly in the study of 8, 9 and 19 year cycles, they gradually developed a calculation to determine the Molads.2 Centuries of testing refined the calculation to what the Jewish calendar is today. The use of the crescent moon to determine the new month is not mentioned in the Bible, but neither is a specific calculation.

The use of a calculated molad is in evidence as early as King David. In 1 Sam 20:5, it was known in advance when the new moon would be celebrated. If the new moon could only be determined by the crescent moon, how could David, Jonathan, and King Saul have known to plan a banquet the next day? How could they know they could observe the new moon the next day? Without a calculated molad, could they have planned their banquet if it were cloudy?

If the current day was the 28th, how could they know they would be able to see the moon on the 29th? If it were the 29th, how could they know they could see it on the 30th?

1 Sam 20:5 seems to say they had a calculated molad in the days of King David and Saul. The calculation may have been imperfect (it still is) but they had one. As one person expressed it, "Calculation and calendars are twins."

Development of the Molad calculation and receipt of reports of observations were managed and judged by the Sanhedrin, the Religious Court. About the year 358 AD, when persecution forced an end to the Sanhedrin, the calculation was made available to rabbis and others. One interesting thing about the Molad calculation is that it is designed to determine the time of the conjunction of the sun and the moon, not the first visible crescent. The use of the crescent moon was the best means they had available until the Molad calculation came along. They obviously knew what they were striving for. The new crescent moon cannot be seen less than about 16 hours after conjuncture.

But as good as the Molad calculation is, it is still not perfect, even today. One problem comes from the fact that some of the rules of the Molad calculation are not in the way God told us to do it. Also, it is technically inconsistent with astronomy. Again, the new moon is to determine the Molad and while days are designed to be of equal length, (e.g. on a calendar, 177 days before Tishri 1 is Nisan 1), the new moon may not agree. Why not? Because while the calendar is consistent (every day contains the same amount of time), the moon's speed from horizon to horizon is not. The moon is on an elliptical, not circular, orbit around the earth. Its path takes it farther, then closer, to the earth. Now what happens when the moon is closer to the earth? Its speed from horizon to horizon increases. And, conversely, when it is farthest from the earth, its speed decreases. What happens, then, when you try to compute the Molad with fixed length days? They miss the mark. Time variation of this mean Molad versus the actual new moon can vary by as much as plus or minus 17 hours (see charts).

That error can easily place one into the preceding day or the next day. Now you can see why we can not depend upon the Molad calculation to determine the new moon. To be accurate, we must use the astronomical new moon (the time of conjuncture with the sun, as calculated by astronomy).

 

 

SECTION 4

Days of Postponement

Postponements are the most inaccurate part of the present Jewish calendar.

Despite the instructions in Gen 1:4, Exo 13:10, Exo 23:15, Num 9:2-3, Psa 104:19 and other scriptures to keep Passover and the months of the year at fixed or appointed times, the Jewish calendar arbitrarily postpones the first day of Tishri (and hence every other month in the affected Jewish year) for a variety of reasons by the use of four rules of postponements (called dechios). They are as follows:

A. When the time of the Molad Tishri falls after noon, the first day of Tishri is postponed until the next day. Their reasoning for this is that when the conjunction occurs after noon, it is not possible for the new moon to be visible anywhere in the world on that day. Of course, as we have already pointed out, they no longer use the visual sighting for the calendar.

The whole issue of this rule of postponement seems superfluous. If a person is born or married on a certain date, is the anniversary of that event postponed to the next day because the event occurred after noon? No, even if the event occurred one minute before the next day, the anniversary is assigned to the day on which the event occurred.

B. When the Molad Tishri falls on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, Tishri 1 is postponed until the next day. The reason for not allowing it to fall on Wednesday or Friday is to prevent Atonement from falling on Friday or Sunday. This is to avoid having two days in a row when it is forbidden to prepare food. Tishri 1 falling on Sunday is postponed to prevent the Judaic festival of Hoshanah Rabbah (the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles) from falling on the weekly Sabbath, when certain customs, traditional to the festival could not be performed. The previous months of Marcheshvan (Heshvan) and Kislev, because they are allowed to have either 29 or 30 days, are used to accommodate these postponements.

The other two postponements occur infrequently.

C. When the Molad Tishri of a common year falls on Tuesday 3 hours 204 parts or later, the third rule of postponement is applied. Since this places Tishri 1 on a Wednesday, it must be postponed again to Thursday. There are 1080 parts per hour.

D. When, in a common year following a leap year (embolismic year), the Molad Tishri occurs on Monday 9 hours 589 parts or later, the fourth rule of postponement is applied by postponing the 1st of Tishri to Tuesday.

As just mentioned, the postponements are additive. Let's take the year 2011 for example:  The Molad Tishri is calculated to occur at 5:08 PM Jerusalem time on Tuesday, September 27th.  Because that is after noon, the first day of the month (and year) is postponed to Wednesday.  Wednesday is a forbidden day so it is postponed again until Thursday, the 29th.  That is two days later than the conjunction of the sun and moon, which occurs at 1:10 PM Jerusalem time on September 27th.

At this point, you may agree that the postponements have caused the Jewish calendar to become hopelessly inaccurate.

As you can see, these rules are all folderol when you set the first day of the month as God specifies. Yes, the presently used Jewish calendar is seriously flawed when comparing it with God's word.

And what does God's word say about adjusting His specifications to our convenience?

Deu 4:2

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

 

Deu 12:32

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

 

Mat 23:1-3

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: {2} "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. {3} So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

Please see the ENDNOTES for a commentary of Mat 23:1-3.

The Pharisees took over the leadership of the Temple soon after Christ's crucifixion. About 300 years later Hillel II set up the postponements. This is evidenced by the Talmud, which was written about 100-200 AD, and which does not mention the postponements but does mention a Saturday Sivan 6. Under the rules of postponement, Sivan 6 can not fall on a Saturday because Tishri 1 can not fall on a Sunday. (Sivan 6 always falls one weekday before Tishri 1) 3. We can only conclude that the postponements were started long after the years Christ walked the earth. Why would we follow the Pharisees and their descendants in postponing God's calendar today?

Some will quote Romans 3:1-2, which assigns to the Jews the responsibility of keeping the oracles (words) of God. Those who do not think "oracles" are the written utterances and laws of God might refer to Acts 7:38 4. The Jews have done a pretty good job protecting the scrolls, etc. Unfortunately, their religious leaders do not do as good a job obeying the words that they protect so well - a point Christ made to them on numerous occasions (see Mat. 23:1-3 above).

However, many do not keep the Holy Days according to the Jewish calendar anyway. For instance:

The Jewish calendar specifies Shavuot (Pentecost) on Sivan 6. This is contrary to the instructions in Lev. 23. We believe we should keep it on the eighth Sunday from the first weekly Sabbath falling on or after Passover, as the scripture instructs. The Jewish calendar reflects what is known as the Pharisaic Pentecost. We keep what is known as the Sadducean Pentecost. We will discuss the calculation of Pentecost in Section 5, subsection 4.

The Jewish calendar specifies Passover be kept on Abib (Nisan) 15, despite the instructions in Lev. 23. Perhaps they are confused by the seeming contradiction of Deut. 16:2-3, where sacrifices of the herd (cattle) are included, and where seven days of unleavened bread are associated with Passover, rather than the days of unleavened bread. However, in the Tanakh, Ezek 45:21 reads "On the 14th day of the first month, you shall have the Passover sacrifice; and during a festival of seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten." Ezekiel wrote this about 591 BC. We choose to follow the Bible instructions of Lev 23 and Ezek 45 instead of Jewish tradition.

Why, then, do some follow the Jewish traditions instead of God's instructions when it comes to starting the year in the Spring and starting the month at the new moon? And why do some blindly follow Jewish traditions...even to the extent of keeping God's Holy Days on different days?

 

 

 

SECTION 5

The Biblically Based Calendar

We have discussed our disagreements with the Judaic calendar. Now let's compare some of the differences between the Jewish calendar with what we believe the Bible specifies the calendar should be. In doing this we will address several key questions. A number of charts are provided which demonstrate how the two calendars differ and how a Biblically based calendar is designed.

The following four assumptions with their accompanying explanations are reflected on these charts:

1. The First Day of the Month is Based on the Date of Conjunction at Jerusalem .

Jerusalem time, instead of local time is used for determining the date of conjunction at all locations on the earth. Some may question why the conjunction date is not determined according to the local time of conjunction instead of the date of the conjunction at Jerusalem. The question boils down to whether we are to have a single calendar, shared by everyone around the earth, or two different calendars, one day apart, which are determined by the local date of conjunction. The following arguments and observations are provided to support the use of a single conjunction date:

A. Using the local date of conjunction could cause considerable confusion wherever the time of conjunction coincides closely with the time of sunset. Let's use 1994 as an example: The 7th month conjunction occurred on September 5th at 8:34 PM Jerusalem time or 7:34 European time. Sunset in Naples on September 5th occurred at 7:29 (before 8:34 Jerusalem time) and sunset in Rome, 100 miles to the northwest, occurred at 7:37 (after 8:34 Jerusalem time). Rome and locations with later sunsets would have celebrated Trumpets on the 5th of September, while Naples and locations with earlier sunsets would have celebrated it on the 6th. Using two calendars, each one day apart, in nearby cities of the same country, is not desirable. The problem would have been particularly messy for people traveling back and forth between the cities to attend Holy Day services.

B. The Jewish calendar specifies double holy days to be sure Jews are observing the correct day wherever the participant lives. Interestingly (or maybe the word is mercifully), the Jewish calendar does NOT establish a double day for Atonement. Atonement is kept on the Jerusalem date only.

C. When the Messiah returns to set up his Kingdom, it will be headquartered in Jerusalem. It seems reasonable to assume that Jerusalem time will be the standard for assigning holy festivals and possibly as the zero meridian.

D. The use of two different days can result in a difference of a week when Pentecost is impacted or a month when the spring equinox is impacted.

E. The harvest theme of the holy days is based on the growing seasons in Israel.

F. God disclosed His calendar to mankind in the Middle East.

The beginning of the weekly Sabbath is determined locally because it affects only the starting time of a single day in the local area. There wouldn't be much sense in starting Sabbath at 10 AM Friday in Chicago because it's sunset in Jerusalem.

The first day of the month is the day in which the conjunction occurs regardless of how close the time of conjunction comes to sundown (beginning/end of the day). This assumption is based on the Jewish practice except that the Jewish calendar postpones the beginning of the seventh month one day if the conjunction (Molad) occurs after noon. See Section 4, paragraph A.

 

2. The Determination of Abib 1

The determination of which month is Abib is one of the most contested points of determining a calendar which complies with Biblical instruction and guidance. Exodus 12:2 tells us that Abib is the first month, but when is the first month? We are aware of about five different opinions on how to determine when the month of Abib occurs. Obviously, all agree that every month begins at the new moon. The question is, "which new moon begins Abib?" Let’s look at these five opinions.

Opinions about Abib

A. Abib is the first month whose 14th day (Passover) falls on or after spring equinox.

B. Abib is determined by first determining when the seventh month falls, then subtracting six months.

C. Abib is the first month which starts after the spring equinox.

D. Abib must always include the spring equinox.

E. Abib begins with the conjunction closest to the spring equinox.

The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically how we are to determine Abib, but we have been given certain guidelines so that we can better determine it. Here is a list of four known guidelines:

Guidelines Regarding Abib

A. Abib is defined as "the month of green ears." That implies that during the days of unleavened bread when the wave sheaf offering is made, these ripeniing ears of barley grain must be available. If the grain was not sufficiently dry to make flour, it was parched before being ground 5. Joshua 5:10-12 gives an excellent example of the sequence of events surrounding the Saturday Passover and the Sunday wave sheaf offering. Notice that even though grain would mature early in Jericho’s warm, arid climate, it still had to be parched before it could be ground into flour. "Abib" describes the month of ripening barley.

B. Exodus 23:16, Deut 14:22, Deut 16:13 and other scriptures refer to going to the Feast of Tabernacles after the year’s crops are harvested.

(Exo 23:16 NKJV) "and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end [going out] of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.

(Deu 14:22-23 NKJV) "You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. {23} "And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

So it is important that all the year’s crops and increase be gathered before the Feast of Tabernacles, one reason being so that the Festival tithe can be accurately determined.

C. The Israeli rainy season runs from mid-October to May 1st, with the heaviest rains from December through February 6. Summers are basically rain free.

D. The spring equinox occurs on March 20th or 21st; the fall equinox on September 22nd or 23rd.

Now, let’s analyze each of the five opinions as to when Abib should occur, in the order given above, by these four guidelines:

Analyses of When Abib Occurs

A. Abib is the first lunar month whose 14th day falls on or after the March equinox. We know from Ex. 12:2 and 13:4 and Deut 16:1 that we are to keep the Passover in the first month (Abib) of the year. The Judaic interpretation of the Torah says "Keep the month of spring and make Pesach." 7  The Jewish calendar interprets this to mean that Passover must not fall before the spring equinox (Tekufas Nisan). This is probably their interpretation of Exodus 13:10 (Tanakh), "You shall keep this institution (Passover) at its set time (‘in its season’ in the KJV) from year to year." The word translated as ‘season’ in the KJV is the Hebrew word "Mow'ed" (Strongs 4150) meaning a fixed or appointed time. Exodus 23:15 and Numbers 9:2 show us that its time must be set or fixed, not variable according to whatever conditions prevail that year.

Exodus 23:15 (Tanakh)

You shall observe the Feast of UnleavenedBread....... at the set time in the month of Abib......

 

Numbers 9:2-3 (Tanakh)

Let the Israelite people offer the passover sacrifice at its set time: {3} You shall offer it on the fourteenth day of this month

Concerning Guideline 1, the maturity of the barley depends upon what area of Israel it is growing, the amount of rain received that winter, the temperature, and many other factors. There appears to be no way to establish a calendar for either the current or future years when the beginning of Abib must be determined by observing the maturity of the barley crop.

The pre-Hillel II policy of requiring Passover to fall on or after the spring equinox will result in Abib 1 falling no earlier than March 7th and no later than April 5th. The Feast of Tabernacles will therefore conclude no earlier than September 22nd, the earliest date of the fall equinox, and no later than October 19th. While October 19th is late, well after the fall equinox, there is still time after the growing season, before or after the Feast, for the grain farmers to await the fall rains to soften the soil for plowing, and sow the seeds for the next year’s crop well before the heavy rains of winter arrive. The early March 7th Abib 1 will place the Passover on March 20th, which should be late enough for sufficiently mature buds of the barley to have formed. It also results in the Feast of Tabernacles week falling on the fall equinox, which maximizes the growing season, an important factor in gathering all the crops for determination of the Festival tithe.

Establishing Abib by insisting that the date of Passover, Abib 14, fall on or after the spring equinox also moves the date of the gathering of the barley offering away from the cold winter rains of February when the barley is unlikely to head. In doing so, it moves the Feast of Tabernacles to at least the third week of September. That permits the farmers to return to their land to be ready to reseed their fields after the fall rains begin in mid-October.

B. Some believe that the determination of when Abib occurs must depend upon when the seventh month, Tishri, occurs. They determine the seventh month by selecting a month when some part of the Feast of Tabernacles can occur in the fall, that is on or after the fall equinox. They then subtract six months to assign Abib. They base their opinion upon Exodus 34:22 (KJV) which reads "And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end." The margin states that "year's end" means "revolution of the year." Other translations describe it as "the turn of the year." See Ex 23:16 in the above guidelines. Is the Feast of Tabernacles at the end of the calendar year? No. What year-end could this verse be describing? Strongs gives the word number 8622 and defines it as follows:

tequphah, tek-oo-faw', a revolution, i.e. (of the sun) course, (of time) lapse: - circuit, come about, end.

The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon defines it as follows:

Coming round, circuit, at the circuit (completion) of the year.

Now, what is completed or turning around? Is the year completed? The end of the religious calendar year is in the spring. Is the sun completed or turning around? The sun will continue moving further south for another three months. Are the crops completed? Yes, they are. Many scriptures describe going to the Feast after the crops are harvested. The whole calendar is designed around an agricultural base. So the current growing season ends but the year continues until it starts again in March or April. It is analogous to the sun which travels across the sky, then disappears until the next morning when it begins its travel again. This analogy is sometimes compared to Psalms 19:6, which, interestingly, uses the same word, 8622, to describe the "circuit" of the sun, but the circuit of the sun in this verse seems to be describing its circuit beginning in the east and ending in the west. 8622 also describes the end or completion of an event in 1 Sam 1:20 and 2 Chron 24:23.

The results of the concept that some part of the Feast of Tabernacles must occur in the fall is pretty much in agreement with the results of concept number 1, which we just described, and to which we subscribe. One of their arguments is that while the first day of Abib is not clearly defined, the seventh month is, i.e. its first day must be such that the Feast occurs in the fall, on or after the fall equinox. We find no Biblical instruction that the Feast must occur on or after the fall equinox, though it nearly always does when concept number 1 is followed. Another of their arguments, that the year tends to fold at the equinoxes, seems to be true, but in our estimation is only relevant to the agricultural year, not directly to the start dates of the first and seventh months. Keep in mind that the months are determined by the moon, but the growing season and equinoxes are determined by the position of the sun. As stated before, the end result of this concept, concept B, is that the calendar will nearly always be the same as for concept A.

C. Some believe that the entire month of Abib must occur in the spring season, after the equinox. They seem to base their theory on the use of the word mow’ed being translated "season", H4150. As stated before, mow’ed should be translated "set or appointed time". Ex 13:10 also mistranslates the word mow’ed as season instead of appointed time.

Ex 13:10 (KJV) Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

We feel this mistranslation has led to misunderstanding which has resulted in this flawed concept.

D. Some feel that the month of Abib must include the equinox. That practice can bring Abib, and therefore the rest of the months, very early in the year. This may not seem important but it can impact two observances: The wave-sheaf offering held during the days of unleavened bread and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) held in the seventh month. Let’s use the year 2001 as an example. For the spring equinox to fall within the month of Abib, Abib must begin on February 23rd, with the wave-sheaf offering held on Sunday, March 11th, nine days before the spring equinox. It seems very unlikely there would be any grains of barley to gather that early in the year 8. The impact on the Feast of Tabernacles would be equally troublesome because the Feast would occur on September 2nd, three weeks before the fall equinox and six weeks before the fall rains normally begin. Would the crops be gathered that early? It would seem that they very well might not be. We are told to bring a tithe of our year’s income in either the crops or the money derived from them to the feast. How could we do that if some of the crops were not even gathered yet?

E. Some also believe that the month of Abib must begin with the conjunction closest to the equinox. That practice can also bring Abib, and thereby the rest of the months, very early in the year. This may not result in as much of an impact, but it can still affect the same two observances shown above. Let’s use the year 2000 as an example. Abib 1 would fall on March 6th and Passover would fall on March 19th, the day before the spring equinox. The first day of the seventh month would then begin on August 29th, with the Feast of Tabernacles beginning on September 12th, eleven days before the fall equinox. Again, there are days lost in gathering crops prior to the feast and the advent of rain in mid October. As mentioned before, these lost days could result in crops not being harvested before leaving for the Feast.

The Israeli rainy season, which runs from mid October to May 1st 9, better accommodates a later calendar.

Our Conclusion

Until a better method of determining the month of Abib is found, we feel that the Jewish calendar method of observing Passover at the first opportunity after the spring equinox (concept A) seems most appropriate, although we must admit that the practice of first setting the Feast of Tabernacles on or after the fall equinox (concept B) seems to produce the same results. Our concern with concept B is not in the results but in their interpretations of the term "circuit" in Exodus 34:22.

3. The Time and Date of the New Moon is Obtained from Astronomical Tables .

In 2003 an astronomical new moon occurred on May 31st but the Jewish calendar assigned the new moon to the next day, June 1st. However, there was a solar eclipse on May 31st which was visible about 6 AM in Jerusalem. A solar eclipse can only occur with a new moon. Did Judaism ever question why the new moon occurred one day before the Jewish month of Sivan began?

The astronomical new moon should be used instead of the calculated Molad. The Molad calculation is very accurate, considering the tools with which they measured and calculated it two or three thousand years ago. It usually varies from the actual conjuncture by less than seventeen hours, which should allow us to determine the Holy Days within one day of when God commands. Now, however, we have a much more accurate source to determine the Molad of the New Moon: Astronomical tables of the phases of the moon and of the equinoxes. These tables are usually shown in Ephemeris time. Greenwich Mean Time or Universal Time is currently about one minute earlier than Ephemeris Time.

Some feel that the first visible crescent of the new moon should be used to determine the beginning of a new month instead of the time of conjunction. The crescent moon was used by the Jews during portions of their history, and it is apparently still used by the Moslems, but this was not always the approved method used by the Jews. In Maimonides' book, "Sanctification of the New Moon", written about 1200 AD 10, the comment is made, "the molad is defined as `the moment in which sun and moon, in their uniform motion, become conjoined in a certain part of the sky, which occurs in the same way everywhere - in contrast to the varying times at which the new crescent first becomes visible - in different areas'."

Those who believe the new month starts with the crescent moon believe that observers must watch for and report the first appearance of the new crescent following the conjunction. But we must ask: How is one to determine which observer of the crescent is to be believed? If an observer in a small town in California claims to have seen the crescent moon and no other watcher in the world has seen it, should that observation be used to establish the month for the rest of the world? If not, who should? Is an observation from Jerusalem the only valid observation? Which observation is valid and which is not? If the observation must be validated by comparing it to the calculated new moon, as was done anciently, why not simply use the calculated new moon in the first place?

We certainly see here the advantage of using the conjunction instead of the crescent moon to begin the new month. Again, it is interesting that the word "crescent" as applied to the moon is not even used in the KJV of the Bible.

Another serious problem for those who wish to see the crescent moon to determine the first day of the month is that the moon cannot be seen when it is more than 90 degrees south of the viewer (below the horizon). That means that  for those living at the Arctic Circle (about 66 degrees 34 minutes North Latitude), when the moon is further south than the Tropic of Capricorn (about 23 degrees 26 minutes South Latitude),  the moon cannot be seen. From this statement, it is obvious that the further north the viewer lives above the Arctic Circle, the further north  the moon can be but not be seen, and consequently the more days it can not be seen. There are tens of thousands of people, particularly in northern Scandinavia, who live north of the Arctic Circle. When the new moon occurs  too far south for people living in these northern latitudes to see, people who believe they must see the moon to determine when a new moon occurs must utilize the new moon's calculated date and time at some other specific location, such as Jerusalem. In other words, if they cannot see the moon, they must use calculations, not their own observations.

There is another theory regarding the time the new month/ new moon begins. We all understand that there is at least a two and a half day period between the last viewing of the rising crescent moon in the eastern sky and the first viewing of the setting crescent moon in the western sky. The astronomical conjunction occurs approximately half way between, when the center of the sun, the center of the moon, and the center of the earth are exactly lined up along the same earth longitude. Supporters of this theory feel that the new month must start on the first day the moon cannot be seen; one day before the astronomical conjunction.

But there are other more important proofs why the use of the astronomical new moon is the most appropriate. Paramount is the apparent and generally accepted date of the crucifixion. There is very strong evidence that Christ was crucified in 30 AD. Let's look briefly at some of this evidence:

A. From 22 AD to 36 AD, only the years 27, 30 and 33 AD contain a Wednesday, Abib 14th crucifixion (Passover). It is important that we understand that the three days and three nights referred to in Matthew 12:40 and the day specified in Mark 16 can only be satisfied by a Wednesday crucifixion.

As pointed out earlier, the Jews did not postpone their calendar at that time. But there would be no postponement in 30 AD anyway even if they did keep postponements then, so for that year, it wouldn’t matter if postponements were part of their calendar or not. In 27 AD, the Jewish Nisan 14 falls on a Wednesday only if the Jewish calendar is postponed In 33 AD, an impossible year per Matthew 2 as we’ll see, the Jewish calendar Nisan 14 can fall on a Wednesday only if the Jewish calendar is not postponed. It is interesting how God arranged the crucifixion date for a time when the postponement arguments between His dedicated people would not matter.

B. King Herod the Great is believed to have died in April, of what is either 3 or 4 BC. The translator of Josephus states 11 that Herod died shortly after the lunar eclipse of March 13. According to Matthew 2, Christ would have had to have been born prior to Herod's death. A 33 AD crucifixion would therefore be impossible, but either a 27 or 30 AD crucifixion would have no conflict with Matthew 2. (Christ began His ministry at the age of thirty, and it lasted 3-1/2 years.)

C. It can be shown from the 70 weeks prophesy of Daniel 9 that 30 AD is the year of Christ's crucifixion, but it can also be shown that 27 AD is the year of His crucifixion. It depends upon what reference source you read. The key question is the date Ezra 7:8,13 occurred.

D. The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. That is exactly forty years after the year 30 AD. Forty is the scriptural number for trial and testing. Many compare this with repentance and forgiveness, the main theme of the Judaic forty-day tradition of Teshuvah.

The Abib conjunction in both 27 and 30 AD occurred about 8:15 PM. The crescent moon cannot be seen sooner than 14-72 hours after the conjunction, so the earliest it could have been seen was the next evening.

In the year 30 AD, using the crescent to start the month will place Abib 1 at least one day later than the conjunction. This places the Abib 14 crucifixion on Thursday or later. In year 30 AD, using the theory that the first day the moon cannot be seen starts the month, Abib 1 will be one day earlier than the conjunction. This places the crucifixion on Tuesday. Supporters of either theory could claim that this proves the crucifixion was not in 27 or 30 AD. But believers in either theory, whether they figure the month starts one day later than the conjunction or one day earlier than the conjunction, will find that there is no year between 24 and 33 AD which would have a Wednesday Abib 14 when their new moon date is not that of the astronomical conjunction.

Some claim there is some evidence that the first rule of postponement existed at the time of Christ. To refresh your memory, that rule stated that the first of Tishri would be postponed to the next day if the conjunction falls after noon. Question: How could this rule have any meaning if the people were using the crescent instead of the conjunction to start the month? Remember, the new moon cannot be seen at noon. It is too close to the sun. Likewise, the crescent could not be seen the first evening because it would be too soon after the afternoon conjunction.

The Hebrew word for new moon is "Chodesh", Strong's #2320. Its root is "chadash", Strong's #2318, a word emphasizing "new." Chodesh can also mean month but the principal word for month, describing a period of time, is "yerach", #3391.

Trumpets, which Judaism calls Rosh HaShanah, is also known as Yom HaKeseh in the Talmud, which claims that Yom HaKeseh means "the day of the concealed moon."12  Trumpets, of course, falls on the first day of the seventh month.

It is not inconceivable that the practice of viewing the crescent was adopted by the Jews from their Babylonian captors, just as they adopted the Babylonian names for the months. It should be remembered that Babylon was a leader in astronomy, that the crescent was a commonly used pagan symbol in Babylon (and remains so today throughout the Muslim world), and that most Jews remained in Babylon after their forced captivity. Babylon continued to influence Jewish society long after the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. Even the wise men from the east which visited the infant Jesus (Yeshua) are thought to have been Jews remaining in Babylon.

All these examples point to a conjunction, not a crescent, to start the new month.

4. The Sabbath from Which to Count for Pentecost .

The day of the Wavesheaf Offering is specified in Lev. 23:9-11,14 as being on the "day after the Sabbath." Notice in verse 14 that no grain or new growth could be eaten until the offering had been made. Many interpretations of this specification are in use: The Jewish calendar assumes the "Sabbath" is the First Day of Unleavened Bread, and ends up with Sivan 6 as Pentecost, a point contradicted by Christ's ascension on the first day of the week and by the actual wording of Lev 23:15 where the word "Sabbath" refers to the weekly Sabbath (Strongs #7676), not a Holy Day Sabbath (Sabbathown) (Strongs #7677). See the discussion about Sivan 6 in Section 4.

Some have the misconception that the weekly "Sabbath" must fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread. The charts used in this booklet reflect the "Sabbath" as the first Saturday on or after Passover. This approach is based upon the situation described in Joshua 5:10-12. Notice that the Offering had to be made the day after the Passover in order to "eat some of the produce of the land" (NKJV and Tanakh) the day after Passover. The produce of the land had to be from the new crop. They probably could have eaten the previous year’s stored grain anytime but the new crop had to be offered before it could be eaten. We should also keep in mind that any stored grain would certainly have been moved into the walled city of Jericho in preparation for the siege by the Israelites. So the Passover fell on the weekly Sabbath that year. Those who insist that the "Sabbath" must fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread will end up with Pentecost a week later than that shown in the charts whenever Passover falls on the weekly Sabbath.

Perhaps we should end these four assumptions with an allegory: "The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clarity before he decides, never decides."

 

 

 

EXPLANATION OF THE CHARTS:

All Jerusalem times are shown as Israeli standard time.

1. Abib and Ethanim New Moons and Molads Chart

This chart shows the date and time at Jerusalem for new moons as obtained from astronomical tables versus those obtained from the Molad calculation used in the Jewish calendar calculation. It is intended to compare the time difference between the astronomical new moon and the Molad. The midnight to midnight Roman clock is used, so keep in mind that 1856 hours (6:56 PM) would be 56 minutes into the next day on the Jewish clock which starts each day at 6 PM Jerusalem time for Molad calculations. The Molad calculations shown on this chart do not include postponements. As the notes indicate, the Jewish calendar calculation establishes Abib 1 by subtracting 177 days from Tishri 1, not by using the Abib new moon.

2. Astronomical vs Molad New Moons for 2007 through 2009

These charts provide more detail in comparing the astronomical new moon dates and times with the molad computations used in the Jewish calendar. Other descriptions of each year's chart are made in the notes.

 

ASTRONOMICAL TABLE new moon dates and times are Ephemeris (currently within 1 minute of Greenwich). Add two hours for equivalent time in Jerusalem.

JEWISH CALENDAR molad dates and times are for Jerusalem.

"MOLAD LEADS" shows the time (hours and minutes) difference between the Jewish molad and the astronomical new moon. The calculations include the two hour time difference between Jerusalem and Greenwich. A plus (+) indicates the molad occurs before the conjunction; a minus (-) indicates it occurs after the conjunction.

"FIRST DAY OF MONTH reflects the first day of each month as assigned by the Jewish calendar. Remember that each month is subtracted from or added to Tishri 1 when determining its first day.

3. The Comparative Holydays Calendar

This chart compares calendars calculated three ways: The first line, showing the year, shows the Holy Days using astronomical tables. The second line, shown as `Molad', shows the Holy Days as calculated for the Jewish calendar but without postponements. The third line, shown as `POSTP', shows the Holy Days as calculated for the Jewish calendar including any postponement. `Molad' calculated dates assume days start at 6 PM, not sunset, at Jerusalem.

 

Let's use the year 2011 as an example to explain the chart: from the first chart, the Abib and Ethanim New Moons and Molads Chart, the time of conjunction is at 1310 and the Molad Tishri is at 1708, only 3 hours and 58 minutes  apart, so Trumpets would be expected to fall on the same day by either method.  But, as can be seen on the Abib and Ethanim New Moons and Molads Chart and the fall Comparative Holy Days Calendar chart, the Molad occurs after noon on Tuesday, September 27th, so the calendar is postponed one day to Wednesday, September 28th. But Wednesday is a forbidden day for Tishri 1 on the Jewish calendar, so Tishri 1 must be postponed again to the 29th.

 

Notice the impact on Abib 1.  The Abib conjunction occurs on April 3rd.  When 177 days are subtracted from the Molad on September 27th, you arrive at an April 3rd date for Abib 1.  When 177 days are subtracted from the postponed date of September 29th, you arrive at an April 5th date.  So, those who keep the Jewish calendar will keep the Passover two days late.  They will also keep all other holydays, including Atonement, two days late.

 

As was mentioned toward the end of Section 2, in 2008 the Jewish calendar starts the year a month late in order to conform to its designated leap year schedule. Thereby, 2009 is the corresponding valid leap year. 2011 is also a leap year but it is so because Passover requires it to be.

 

The 2008 New Moons Charts prove that 5768 should not be a leap year. The spring equinox is on March 20th at 0750 in Jerusalem. The Molad Adar II is on March 8th. The Jewish calendar also assigns March 8th as the 1st day of the month because there is no postponement in 2008. March 8 will place the 14th day of Adar II after the spring equinox and thus the month should be Nisan, not Adar II. The result of this error is that the Jewish calendar is ONE MONTH LATE from March 8, 2008, through March 25, 2009! The Jewish calendar makes 5768 a leap year because it is the 11th year of the 19-year cycle (by definition, a leap year), ignoring the fact that, by their own interpretation of the Torah including Numbers 9:2, Passover must be observed at the first opportunity on or after the spring equinox. This is the way the lunar calendar is kept synchronized with the solar calendar, and an essential part in keeping the Passover in its season. 5769 should be the leap year instead of 5768.

 

The Comparative Holy Days Calendar charts show this difference most vividly.

4. The Holy Days Calendar

This is simply a take-off of the first line of the Comparative Holy Day Calendar. The days of the week have been added for each Holy Day for your convenience. The notes at the bottom of the chart should explain the sources of the chart.

5. Monthly New Moons for 2007 through 2016

These are lists of monthly new moons. They are provided to enable you to observe the New Moon Festival (Num 10:10; Col 2:16) at the proper time by giving you the date of conjunction at Jerusalem.

ROMAN DATE is the date in Jerusalem on the standard Roman calendar with the day running from midnight to midnight.

TIME IN JERUSALEM is the time of conjunction at Jerusalem. Jerusalem time is two hours ahead of Greenwich time. Times of sunset are shown in parenthesis when pertinent.

CORRECT DATE is the date in Jerusalem with the day running from sunset to sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

God has specified an easy way to establish the beginning of each new month: New moon, new month. The original Jewish calendar new moon calculation was superb for the technology they had in that day. The addition of days of postponement is what really distorted the Jewish calendar. Now, modern day science (i.e. astronomy) has made the new moon date and time much easier to obtain and much more accurate. It is our responsibility to follow God's Biblical instructions with the tools we have available.

 

But some will say, "What difference does it make as long as we keep the Holy days?" Yes, what difference does it make? Most of the so-called Christian world observes Sunday as its Sabbath. A few of us in the Church of God have said, "But God specified the seventh day." To those of us who made the decision to follow God, regardless of what everyone else was doing, it did make a difference. Now we are faced with the same question over the proper observance of His Holy Days. Are we to follow God's instructions or are we to follow the traditions of men? The choice is yours.

 

 

 

 

 

FOOTNOTES
 

 

1. Understanding the Jewish Calendar, page 50

 

2. A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ, First Division, Vol. II, Appendix 3.

 

3. Jewish Encyclopedia, Article: Chronology, Section: Post-Biblical Times

 

4.Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary, article "Oracle."

 

5. Jewish Encyclopedia, article: Omer, Vol IX, p. 399 and The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, article: Firstfruits, p. 203.

 

6. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia articles: Seasons and Rain.

 

7. Understanding the Jewish Calendar, page 50.

 

8. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, artitcle: Barley.

 

9. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, articles: Season and Rain.

 

10. Book Three, Treatise 8, page 89, chapter 6.

 

11. The Works of Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 17, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4.

12. Psalms 81:3 (KJV) Blow the trumpet (shofar) in the new moon, in the time appointed (H3677 - festival of the new moon).

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

"A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ" by Emil Schurer. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Mass. 1890 and 1995.

 

"Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon, and Planets" by Jean Meeus. Published by Willmann-Bell, Inc., Richmond, VA, 1983.

 

"Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible" by James Strong. Abingdon Press, New York, Nashville. 1958.

 

"The Code of Maimonides" Book 3, Treatise 8, "The Sanctification of the New Moon" by Gandz, Obermann, and Neugebauer. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.

 

"The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar" by A. Spier, Feldheim Publishers, New York, 1981

 

"The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia", Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Mass. March 1996.

 

"The Gospel of Matthew According to a Primitive Hebrew Text" by Dr. George Howard, Mercer University Press, 1987.

 

"The Jewish Calendar" software by Robert Singer, Stamford CT, 1992.

 

"The Jewish Encyclopedia"

"The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon." Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Mass. 1979.

 

"The Temple, Its Ministry & Services" by Alfred Edersheim, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Mass., 1995.

 

"The Works of Josephus" translated by William Whiston, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Mass., 1987.

 

"Understanding the Jewish Calendar" by Rabbi Nathan Bushwick. Moznaim Publishing Corp., Brooklyn, NY and Vagshal Ltd., Jerusalem, 1989.

 

"Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words" by W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Camden, New York. 1985.

 

 

ABIB AND ETHANIM NEW MOONS AND MOLADS

YEAR

SOURCE

ABIB

TIME

ETHANIM

TIME

2014

Astronom

Mar 30

2046

Sep 24

0815


 

MOLAD

Mar 31

0354

Sep 24

0818

2015

Astronom

Mar 20

1137

Sep 13

0842


 

MOLAD

Mar 20

1443

Sep 13

1707

2016

Astronom

Mar 9

0356

Sep 1

1104


 

MOLAD

Apr 7

1015

Oct 1

1440

2017

Astronom

Mar 28

0458

Sep 20

0731


 

MOLAD

Mar 28

1904

Sep 20

2328

2018

Astronom

Mar 17

1513

Sep 10

2003


 

MOLAD

Mar 17

0353

Sep 10

0817

2019

Astronom

Mar 7 Apr 57

1805

Sep 29

1238


 

MOLAD

Apr 6

0125

Sep 30

0550

 

 

NOTES:

All dates and times are at Jerusalem.


Dates reflect Roman dates (midnight to midnight). Dates and times on the `Astronom' line are from new moon astronomical tables (conjunction with the sun).


Dates and times on the MOLAD line are calculated using standard Jewish calendar calculation procedures (without postponement). It should be kept in mind that, when calculating the Jewish calendar, Abib 1 is calculated by subtracting 177 days from Ethanim (Tishri) 1, not by establishing it from the Abib Molad. 2016 is a Jewish calendar leap year. See pages 6 and 30.


In the Bible, `Nisan' is also called `Abib' and `Tishri' is also called `Ethanim'.

 

 

 


      
      

 

2013 ASTRONOMICAL VS MOLAD NEW MOONS

 

Astronomical

Tables (+2 Hrs)

Jewish Calendar 5773-5774

Date

Time

Date

Time

Molad

Leads(+)

1st Day

Of Month

Jan 11

2145

Jan 12

0453

-07:08

Jan 12 (Shevat)

Feb 10

0921

Feb 13

1737

-08:16

Feb 11 (Adar)

Mar 11

2152

Mar 12

0621

-08:29

Mar 12 (Nisan)

Apr 10

1136

Apr 11

1905

-07:29

Apr 11 (Iyar)

May 10

0230

May 10

0749

-05:09

May 10 (Sivan)

Jun 08

1757

Jun 08

2033

-02:36

Jun 9 (Tammuz)

Jul 08

0915

Jul 08

0918

-00:03

Jul 8 (Av)

Aug 06

2352

Aug 06

2202

+01:50

Aug 7 (Elul)

Sep 05

1337

Sep 05

1056

+02:51

Sep 5 (Tishri5774)

Oct 05

0236

Oct 04

2330

+03:06

Oct 5 (Heshvan)

Nov 03

1451

Nov 03

1214

+02:37

Nov 4 (Kislev)

Dec 03

0233

Dec 03

0058

+01:35

Dec 4 (Tevet)

 

NOTES:

 

See pages 30 and 31 for description of each column .

The Jewish months shown under 1st DAY OF MONTH reflect the months recognized by the Jewish calendar.

 

 

 

 

COMPARATIVE HOLY DAYS CALENDAR

 

YEAR

ABIB 1

PASSOVER

DAYS OF ULB

WAVESHEAF*

2014

Mar 31

Apr 13

Apr 14-20

Apr 20

MOLAD

Mar 31

Apr 13

Apr 14-20

Apr 20

POSTP

Apr 1

Apr 14

Apr 15-21

Apr 20

2015

Mar 20

Apr 2

Apr 3-9

Apr 5

MOLAD

Mar 20

Apr 3

Apr 4-10

Apr 5

POSTP

Mar 21

Apr 3

Apr 4-10

Apr 5

2016

Mar 9

Mar 22

Mar 23-29

Mar 27

MOLAD

Apr 9

Apr 22

Apr 23-29

Apr 24

No postponement in 2016 but unnecessary 13th month is added
2017 Mar 28 Apr 10 Apr 11-17 Apr 16
MOLAD Mar 28 Apr 10 Apr 11-17 Apr 16

No Postponement in 2017

2018 Mar 17 Mar30 Mar 31-Apr 6 Apr 1
MOLAD Mar 17 Mar 30 Mar 31-Apr 6 Apr 1

No postponement in 2018

 

 

NOTES:

Dates on the line showing the year are calculated from Abib 1 and Ethanim 1 (Trumpets), which are obtained from new moon astronomical tables.

`Molad' calculated dates start at 6PM in Jerusalem.. Dates on MOLAD line are calculated using standard Jewish calendar procedures but without postponement. All dates are calculated from Tishri 1.

Dates on POSTP line reflect MOLAD dates plus postponement where applicable.

* WAVESHEAF is not a holyday but is specified in Lev 23:11.

2016 is a Jewish calendar leap year.

 

 

 

 

 


      
      


      
      

COMPARATIVE HOLY DAYS CALENDAR

 

YEAR

PENTECOST

TRUMPETS

ATONEMENT

TABERNACLES

&LGD (8TH Day)

2014

Jun 8

Sep 24

Oct 3

Oct 8-15

MOLAD

Jun 3

Sep 24

Oct 3

Oct 8-15

POSTP

Jun 4

Sep 25

Oct 4

Oct 9-16

2015

May 24

Sep 13

Sep 22

Sep 27-Oct 4

MOLAD

May 24

Sep 13

Sep 22

Sep 27-Oct 4

POSTP

May 24

Sep 14

Sep 23

Sep 28-Oct 5

2016

May 15

Sep 1

Sep 10

Sep 15-22

MOLAD

Jun 12

Oct 3

Oct 12

Oct 17-24

No postponement in 2016 but unnecessary 13th month is added to Judaic calendar.

2017

Jun 4

Sep 20

Sep 29

Oct 4-11

MOLAD

May 29

Sep 19

Sep 28

Oct 3-10

No postponement in 2017

2018

May 20

Sep 10

Sep 19

Sep 24-Oct 1

MOLAD

May 18

Sep 8

Sep 17

Sep 22-29

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING HOLY DAYS CALENDAR

 

YEAR

ABIB 1

PASSOVER

DAYS OF ULB

WAVESHEAF*

2014

Mar 31

Apr 13

Apr 14-20

Apr 20

 

Mon

Sun

Mon-Sun

Sun

2015

Mar 20

Apr 2

Apr 3-9

Apr 5

 

Fri

Thu

Fri-Thu

Sun

2016

Mar 9

Mar 22

Mar 23-29

Mar 27

 

Wed

Tue

Wed-Tue

Sun

2017

Mar 28

Apr 10

Apr 11-17

Apr 16

 

Tues

Mon

Tue-Mon

Sun

2018

Mar 17

Mar 30

Mar 31-Apr6

Apr 1

 

Sat

Fri

Sat-Fri

Sun

2019

Apr 5

Apr 18

Apr 19-25

Apr 21

 

Fri

Thu

Tue-Mon

Sun

2020

Mar 24

Apr 6

Apr 7-13

Apr 12

 

Tue

Mon

Tue-Mon

Sun

2021

Mar 13

Mar26

Mar 27-Apr2

Mar28

 

Sat

Fri

Sat-Fri

Sun

2022

Apr 1

Apr 14

Apr 15-21

Apr 17

 

Fri

Thu

Fri-Thu

Sun

2023

Mar 22

Apr 4

Apr 5-11

Apr 9

 

Tue

Mon

Tue-Mon

Sun

 

NOTES:

 

All dates are for days starting at sunset at Jerusalem.

 

Nisan is the first lunar month whose 14th day falls after the March equinox. (Num. 9:2-3)

 

Dates are from new moon astronomical tables (conjunction with the sun), indexed on Abib 1 and

Ethanim 1 (Trumpets).

 

* WAVESHEAF is not a holyday but is specified in Lev 23:11 for observance.

 

 

 

 

 

FALL HOLY DAYS CALENDAR

 

YEAR

PENTECOST

TRUMPETS

ATONEMENT

TABERNACLES & LGD (8th Day)

2014

Jun 8

Sep 24

Oct 3

Oct 8-15

 

Sun

Wed

Fri

Wed-Wed

2015

May 24

Sep 13

Sep 22

Sep 27-Oct 4

 

Sun

Sun

Tue

Sun-Sun

2016

May 15

Sep 1

Sep 10

Sep 15-22

 

Sun

Thu

Sat

Sun-Sun

2017

Jun 4

Sep 20

Sep 29

Oct 4-11

 

Sun

Wed

Fri

Wed-Wed

2018

May 20

Sep 10

Sep 19

Sep 24-Oct 1

 

Sun

Mon

Wed

Mon-Mon

2019

Jun 9

Sep 29

Oct 8

Oct 13-20

 

Sun

Sun

Tue

Sun-Sun

2020

May 31

Sep 17

Sep 26

Oct 1-8

 

Sun

Thu

Sat

Thu-Thu

2021

May 16

Sep 7

Sep 16

Sep 21-Sep 28

 

Sun

Tue

Thu

Tue-Tue

2022

Jun 5

Sep 26

Oct 5

Oct 10-17

 

Sun

Mon

Wed

Mon-Mon

2023

May 28

Sep 15

Sep 24

Sep 29-Oct 6

 

Sun

Fri

Sun

Sat-Sat

 

 

NOTES:

 

All dates are for days starting at sunset at Jerusalem.

 

Trumpets is the first day of the 7th lunar month starting with Nisan (Abib).

 

Dates are from new moon astronomical tables (conjunction with the sun), indexed on Abib 1 and Ethanim 1 (Trumpets).

 

The LGD (Last Great Day) is often referred to as the 8th Day. See Lev 23:33.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 NEW MOONS

ROMAN

DATE

TIME AT

JERUSALEM

CORRECT

DATE

JEWISH

MONTH

Jan 1

1315

Jan 1

11. Shevat

Jan 30

2340

Jan 31

12. Adar

Mar 1

1001

Mar 1

13. Adar II

Mar 20

1859 (1751)

Mar 21

spring equinox

Mar 30

2046

Mar 31

1. Nisan (Abib)

Apr 29

0815

Apr 29

2. Iyar (Zif)

May 28

2041

May 29

3. Sivan

Jun 27

1009

Jun 27

4. Tammuz

Jul 27

0043

Jul 27

5. Av

Aug 25

1614

Aug 25

6. Elul

Sep 24

0814

Sep 24

7. Tishri (Ethanim)

Oct 23

2358

Oct 24

8. Heshvan (Bul)

Nov 22

1433

Nov 22

9. Kislev (Chisleu)

Dec 22

0137

Dec 22

10. Tevet

 

NOTES:

JEWISH MONTH is the name of the month as shown on the Jewish calendar. The names are actually Babylonian. The Jewish name, if any, is shown in parenthesis. The Bible usually identifies the month by number.

The 14th of Nisan (Abib) must fall on or after the Spring Equinox.

 

 

 

2015 NEW MOONS

 

ROMAN

DATE

TIME AT

JERUSALEM

CORRECT

DATE

JEWISH

MONTH

Jan 20

1515

Jan 20

11. Shevat

Feb 19

0148

Feb 19

12. Adar

Mar 20

1137

Mar 20

1. Nisan (Abib)

Mar 20

2247

Mar 21

spring equinox

Apr 18

2058

Apr 19

2. Iyar (Zif)

May 18

0614

May 18

3. Sivan

Jun 16

1606

Jun 16

4. Tammuz

Jul 16

0325

Jul 16

5. Av

Aug 14

1655

Aug 14

6. Elul

Sep 13

0842

Sep 13

7. Tishri (Ethanim)

Oct 13

0207

Oct 13

8. Heshvan (Bul)

Nov 11

1948 (1642)

Nov 12

9. Kislev (Chisleu)

Dec 11

1231

Dec 11

10. Tevet

 

NOTES:

JEWISH MONTH is the name of the month as shown on the Jewish calendar. The names are actually Babylonian. The Jewish name, if any, is shown in parenthesis. The Bible usually identifies the month by number. Month names will differ with those on the 2005 Jewish calendar because of the Jewish calendar’s incorrect designation as a leap year.

The 14th of Nisan (Abib) must fall on or after the Spring Equinox.

 

 

 

 

2016 NEW MOONS

 

ROMAN

DATE

TIME AT

JERUSALEM

CORRECT

DATE

JEWISH

MONTH

Jan 10 0332 Jan 10

11. Shevat

Feb 8 1640 (1719) Feb 8

12. Adar

Mar 9 0356 Mar 9

1. Nisan (Abib)

Mar 20 1640 Mar 20

spring equinox

Apr 7 1325 Apr 7

2. Iyar (Zif)

May 6 2131 (1923) May 7

3. Sivan

Jun 5 0501 Jun 5

4. Tammuz

Jul 4 1302 Jul 4

5. Av

Aug 2 2246 Aug 3

6. Elul

Sep 1 1104 Sep 1

7. Tishri (Ethanim)

Oct 1 0212 Oct 1

8. Heshvan (Bul)

Oct 30 1939 Oct 31

9. Kislev (Chisleu)

Nov 29 1419 Nov 29

10. Tevet

Dec 29 0854 Dec 29

11. Shevat

 

NOTES:

JEWISH MONTH is the name of the month on the Jewish calendar. The names are actually Babylonian. The Hebrew name, if any, is shown in parenthesis. The Bible usually identifies the month by number.

The 14th of Nisan (Abib) must fall on or after the Spring equinox.

2016 is incorrectly described on the Jewish calendar as a leap year.

 

 

 

2017 NEW MOONS

 

ROMAN

DATE

TIME AT

JERUSALEM

CORRECT

DATE

JEWISH

MONTH

Jan 28 02:07 Jan 28

11. Shevat

Feb 26 16:59 (17:35) Feb 26

12. Adar

Mar 20 12:28 Mar 20

spring equinox

Mar 28 5:58 Mar 28

1. Nisan (Abib)

Apr 26 15:16 Apr 26

2. Iyar (Zif)

May 25 22:25 May 26

3. Sivan

Jun 24 05:31 Jun 24

4. Tammuz

Jul 23 12:46 Jul 23

5. Av

Aug 21 21:30 (19:16) Aug 22

6. Elul

Sep 20 08:30 Sep 20

7. Tishri (Ethanim)

Oct 19 22:12 Oct 19

8. Heshvan (Bul)

Nov 18 13:42 Nov 18

9. Kislev (Chisleu)

Dec 18 0830 Dec 18

10. Tevet

     

 

 

NOTES:

JEWISH MONTH is the name of the month on the Jewish calendar. The names are actually Babylonian. The Hebrew name, if any, is shown in parenthesis. The Bible usually identifies the month by number.

The 14th of Nisan (Abib) must fall on or after the Spring equinox.

 

 

ENDNOTES:

 

Regarding Mat 23:1-3:

Verse 2 is generally understood to represent the authority to teach Moses, i.e. the law of Moses. Jesus said the teachers of the law and the Pharisees are the inheritors of Mosaic authority. The first clause in verse 3 seems to tell us that we must obey the Pharisees and do everything the Pharisees tell us.

Matt 15:8, which references Isaiah 29:13, gives us Jesus’ true feelings about the Pharisees, i.e. they say and do the wrong things. So verse 3 appears to contain a contradiction. The first clause tells us to do everything "they" tell you, while the second clause tells us not to do what "they" preach.

The answer may lie in an ancient document referenced by "The Gospel of Matthew According to a Primitive Hebrew Text." The author’s source was a 1380 document by Shem Tob ben Isaac ben Shaprut, a Spanish Jew. In it he states that verses 2 and 3 should read, "upon the seat of Moses the Pharisees and the Scribes sit, and now, all which HE will say unto you - keep and do, but THEIR ordinances and deeds, do not do, because THEY say and do not." From this text it is evident that the "HE" represents Moses, while the "THEY" represent the Pharisees. Mat 5:17-20 tells us that the words of Moses would remain forever.

Another source, the Concordant Literal New Testament, by Adolph Ernst Knoch, 6th edition, pg. 67, translates Matt 23:3 as follows: Then Jesus speaks to the throngs and to His disciples, saying, "On Moses' seat are seated the scribes and the Pharisees. All, then, whatever they should be saying to you, do and keep it. Yet according to their acts do not be doing, for they are saying and not doing.

 

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