Christian Churches of God

No. 156

 

 

 

God’s Calendar

(Edition 4.0 19960316-20000320-20070724-20080103)

 

The Calendar put in place by God was set in motion at the creation. It does not depend on man or on any system of observation to determine. It was in place during the entire Temple period of Israel and is not the same calendar as observed by Jews today. Christians are obliged by Law and the Testimony of the Bible to keep this Calendar and no other.

 

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright ã 1996, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2008 Wade Cox)

 

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God’s Calendar

 


Introduction to the Jewish Calendar

 

The calendar of the Jewish system is a later derived system and was not the one used in the Temple period over the time of Christ and the Church. Schürer says in Appendix 3 of The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (Vol. 1, p. 587 ff.), “the Jewish names are of Assyro-Babylonian origin; their Akkadian equivalents are: ni-sa-an-nu, a-a-ru, sf-ma-nu, du-u-zu etc.”, and he refers to Landsburger’s work on the subject (Materialen zum Sumerischen Lexikon V (1957), pp. 25-26 etc.). Schürer further states:

Within the sphere of Judaism, the earliest document listing all the months in succession is Megillath Ta’anith. It was compiled in the first or early second century A. D., since it is already quoted in the Mishnah [The Mishnah was compiled around about the second century]. Of later authorities, it is necessary only to mention the little-known Christian, Josephus who in his Hypomnesticum (PG cvi, col. 33) has [Nesan, Eiar, Eiouan, Thamouz, “Ab, ‘Eloul, ‘Osri (read Thisri), Marsaban, Chaseleu, Tebeth, Eabath, ‘Adar].

 

After listing the evidence for the names of the Jewish months (see Appendix) he then says:

The Jewish months have continued always to be what the months of all civilised nations were by origin; namely, genuine lunar months. As the astronomical duration of a month is 29 days, 12 hours, 44’, 3”, months of 29 days must alternate fairly regularly with months of 30 days. But twelve lunar months amount to only 354 days, 8 hours, 48’ 38”, whereas the solar year comprises of 365 days, 5 hours, 48’ 48”.  The difference between a lunar year of twelve months and a solar year amounts, therefore, to 10 days 21 hours. To compensate for this difference, at least once in every third year, and sometimes in the second, one month must be intercalated. It was observed in very early times that a sufficiently accurate compensation was attained by intercalating a month three times in every eight years (during which period, the difference amounts to 87 days). The quadrennial Greek games already depended on a recognition of this 8-year cycle (‘octaeteris’), the four year cycle being arrived at simply by halving it.

Hence the Olympiad is based upon the lunar calendar.

 

Schürer continues:

As early as the fifth century B.C., the astronomer Meton of Athens had drawn up a still more exact system of compensation in the form of a 19 year cycle, in which a month was to be intercalated seven times. This considerably excelled the 8-year cycle in accuracy, because in nineteen years there remained a difference of a little over two hours, whereas in eight years it was one of one and a half days. Of later astronomers who provided even more accurate computations, Hipparchus of Nicaea (c. 180-120 B.C.) deserves especial mention. The fact that after every nineteen years, the course of the sun and moon coincide again almost exactly, was also well known to the Babylonians. In fact, cuneiform inscriptions have been thought to show that they regularly employed a 19 year intercalary cycle as far back as the time of Nabonnassar, long before Meton therefore. Even if this is not yet proved, the use of a nineteen year intercalary period in the Persian and Seleucid eras may nevertheless be accepted as verified, though it is still not absolutely certain whether priority belongs to the Greeks or (as is probable) the Babylonians.

 

So, the Babylonians possessed the knowledge of the 19-year cycle lunar calendar. They understood it long before the philosopher Meton. Even if it is not yet proved for Babylon, the nineteen-year intercalary period in the Persian and Seleucid eras may nevertheless be accepted as verified. Schürer is absolutely not certain whether the priority of understanding belongs to the Greeks, or as is probable, the Babylonians. It will be found to long precede even the Babylonians.

 

Schürer notes:

…that the nineteen-year cycle was used in the kingdom of the Arsacids in the first century B.C. and A.D., and has been shown by Th. Reinach from coins on which the years 287, 317, and 390 of the Seleucid era appear as intercalary years. How far had the Jews of the inter-Testamental era advanced in these matters? They had some general knowledge of them of course, but unless we are altogether deceived, at the time of Jesus, they still had no fixed calendar, but on the basis of purely empirical observation, began each new month with the appearance of the new moon, and similarly on the basis of observation intercalated one month in the spring of the third or second year in accordance with the rule that in all circumstances, Passover must fall after the vernal equinox.

 

The quotes begin the paper with that inter-Testamental period and Schürer’s comments on the calendar. God’s Calendar goes back to creation. It is not dependent on what the Jews were doing at the time of Jesus Christ and, indeed, we will see why Schürer is not, in fact, correct or exhaustive in this matter. We know that the observation system was introduced at a later period and used in concert with the calculations of the conjunction seemingly to justify the traditions. Scholars are in fair agreement that the Samaritans and the Sadducees both had the same system, which was based on the conjunction and calculated and announced at least eight months in advance – certainly in the case of the Samaritans. We will examine this aspect further. Schürer does not make the logical step in his argument to show why the Jews came to be operating by observation, when they knew better, or why they introduced the argument for observation at all at the end of the Temple period. Indeed, we will see that the Pharisees did not have the power to introduce it during the Temple period, through their own deviousness.

 

It may be safely accepted that the Samaritans had the same calendar for 2500 years at least, and that the calendar and Sabbaths and system they use today, based on the conjunction, are the same calendar and Sabbaths they used during the period of the Temple and beyond. The comments of Ibrahim ibn Ya’kub, the Samaritan Bible commentator, show the Samaritan practices were according to the conjunction. They started the day at evening or twilight. They kept the two-day festival of the 14th and the 15th of Nisan or Abib, as the Sabbath-keeping Church has done for two thousand years (cf. The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170), 1998 edition). They kept the sacrifice on 14 Nisan in the evening at the end of the day of the 14th and commenced the meal on the evening of 15 Nisan, all determined according to the conjunction. Moreover, they, like the Sadducees in the Temple period, kept Pentecost on the Sunday fifty days after the Wave-Sheaf Sunday in Unleavened Bread (cf. John Bowman (ed. and tr.), Samaritan Documents Relating to Their History, Religion and Life, Pittsburgh Original texts and Translation Series Number 2, pp. 223-237).

 

There is no evidence to support any case that the Samaritans changed the system, or that they and the other nations mentioned above did not have the capacity to calculate the conjunction precisely, long in advance, over the entire period of the Second Temple. If the Jews “lost” this knowledge at the end of the Second Temple period then they did it deliberately to introduce their traditions. The Church has never followed them in the determination of the calendar and the New Moons except in its more ignorant period of Judaising in the post-Reformation period. Rabbinical Judaism also introduced pagan festivals and systems into their calendar from Babylon in the period of the third century. R. Samuel Kohn, Chief Rabbi of Budapest and a writer on Samaritan practices, writing at Budapest in 1894, records the practices of the Sabbatarian Church over the period of the Reformation. He notes that the Sabbatarian Church there determined the calendar according to the conjunction (with one variation to the Samaritan practices). He also considers the fact that the later Judaisers (post-Simon Pechi) in Transylvania followed Rosh HaShanah or the New Year being celebrated in Tishri, was proof of the Jewish influence. He states that Rosh HaShanah was not introduced into Judaism until the post Temple period in the third century. Dr. Kohn makes mention of this important fact in the work The Sabbatarians in Transylvania, stating it entered at a third century and “post-biblical” period (referring to Talmud Rosh haShanah 8a, at n. 18 to ch. 7) (Ed. W. Cox, trs. T. McElwain and B. Rook, CCG Publishing, USA, 1998, pp. v, 58, 106 ff., et. seq. and nn.). Biblically the New Year is in Abib/Nisan, which is the First month.

 

The progression from the original pure biblical calendar to the rabbinical calendar introduced from Babylon, firstly under Rabbi Hillel II in 358 CE, was rather long-winded as the traditions had to be entrenched to justify the gradual changes. The Mishnah, which was compiled around 200 CE and on which the Talmud was later written as commentary, more or less records this process by the comments and the authorities it cites.

 

We will see below that the Calendar at the time of the Temple period followed the Sadducean reckoning, and the Pharisaic reckoning or system only came into effect after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. The Mishnah notes many practices which the modern Jewish calendar is designed to prevent. This calendar was not really perfected – even under Hillel II from ca. 358 – and suffered modification until the eleventh century. Details of the changes and conflicts are recorded in the paper The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195).

 

The Mishnah shows that the Holy Days fell before and after the Sabbath on repeated occasions, which means that the traditions and the system that the Pharisees had invented to protect the traditions were not in place even as late as the compilation of the Mishnah (cf. Soncino Talmud: Shabbat 114b; Menachoth 100b; and Mishnah Besah 2:1; Shabbat 15:3; Sukkah 5:7; Arakhin 2:2; Hagigah 2:4). Back-to-back Sabbaths were common. The text in Hagigah 2:4 shows the conflict developing at that time (200 CE) between the pro- and anti-Sunday Pentecost advocates (cf. ibid. (No. 195) and see below).

 

It is impossible for the postponement system and the current or modern Jewish calendar to have been in place at the time of Christ.

 

The Mishnah also states that there are four new years and that the First day of Nisan is the New Year for kings and festivals. This is also examined in the paper The Night to be Much Observed (No. 101) which looks at the Samaritan practices for the Passover. We can also see from these timings in the Mishnah that the datings regarding Ezra and Nehemiah were according to 1 Nisan and not 1 Tishri (cf. Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)). Tishri was used at that time for the reckoning of years, for Sabbatical years and for Jubilees (Rosh Hashanah 1.1 E (3)). We see that the notion of Tishri, which came in from Babylon, was first recorded in the Mishnah as being put forward by R. Eliazar and R. Simeon (ibid. 1.1 D). It was not observed as New Year in the Temple period. The Mishnah also makes an attempt to divorce the beginning of the tithing of cattle to 1 Elul (ibid. 1.1 C). The House of Shammai held the New Year for trees was 1 Shebat, whereas the House of Hillel held it was the fifteenth day of that month. The New Year on the Full Moon is a directly pagan practice, also introduced from Babylon and no doubt associated with the plantings by moon charts. All of this determination is in post-Temple period rabbinical Judaism. Only in the third century do we see Tishri being established by the rabbis. It and the postponement system now hold sway over Judaism, contrary to the word of God. Trumpets is often not on the molad (the conjunction), and the Holy Days of God are postponed by disobedience to other days that God has not ordained.

 

The Encyclopedia Judaica admits this fact in its article on Fixing Rosh HaShanah (New Year’s Day).

Fixing Rosh HaShanah (New Year’s Day). The year begins on Tishri 1, which is rarely the day of the molad, as there are four obstacles or considerations, called dehiyyah, in fixing the first day of the month (rosh hodesh). Each dehiyyot may cause a postponement of two days: (1) mainly in order to prevent the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10) from falling on Friday or Sunday, and Hoshana Rabba (the seventh day of Sukkot; Tishri 21) from falling on Saturday, but in part also serving an astronomical purpose... (2) entirely for an astronomical reason, if the molad is at noon or later Rosh HaShanah is delayed by one day (ibid., p. 44).

 

The third and fourth dehiyyah are more complex rules involving specific times of the molad and the consequent postponement of 1 Tishri. These moladot are tabulated with specific postponements, as outlined in the Encyclopedia Judaica article. This rule of postponement was not known at the time of Christ and at the time of the compilation of the Talmud. The Mishnah, and the Talmud as commentary, clearly show that the Day of Atonement fell on a Friday or a Sunday up to the time of the compilation of the Mishnah and, hence, at the time of Christ two centuries before that.

 

We also see that the occurrence of months was different from what it is under the Jewish calendar.

(Arakhin 2:2): They do not count less than four full months in the year, and [to sages] never have appeared more than eight.

 

It is thus impossible for the postponements to have been in place at the time of Christ. We continue:

... the present system was expected to be replaced [emphasis added] again by a system based on true values [as opposed to mean values] more akin to the earlier Jewish calendar in which New Moons (days of the phasis [i.e., the length of the interval from the true conjunction to the first sighting of the new crescent]) and intercalations were proclaimed on the basis of both observation and calculation (ibid., p. 47).

Note the comments here show that the calculations were according to the true conjunction according to the phases (which is not visible) and the observations were introduced to confirm what was already known for months and years in advance. The term phases of the moon came from the term phasis and have always applied to the New Moon as full dark, the Full Moon and the first and second quarters. The crescent has never been considered a true phase of the moon in the sense that it is used for the New Moon.

 

Historical. According to a tradition quoted in the name of Hai Gaon (d. 1038), the present Jewish calendar was introduced by the patriarch Hillel II ... in 358/59 AD ... While it is not unreasonable to attribute to Hillel II the fixing of the regular order of intercalations, his full share in the present fixed calendar is doubtful (ibid., p. 48).

 

 

Note here that the modern Jewish calendar did not really even become fixed until the eleventh century, as Judaica admits. The Judaica then introduces the concept of irregularity in intercalation saying they were irregular.

…intercalation being in part due to the prevailing state of various agricultural products and to social conditions. ... the state of crops is ultimately determined by the sun’s position in its annual path (ibid., p. 49).

 

However, we know that the Sadducees and the Samaritans had no such problem with irregularity and the New Moon was announced by fires lit from the Mt. of Olives, east of the Temple over Kidron (cf. the paper Messiah and the Red Heifer (No. 216)). It was only later that the Samaritans were accused of lighting misleading beacons when the Pharisees took charge after the destruction of the Temple and introduced the postponements by observations.

 

No such problem existed during the Temple period. John Hyrcanus had destroyed the Samaritan tabernacle on Mt Gerizim during the time of the Maccabees but their religion was left intact. Hyrcanus suppressed the Pharisees and only for nine years under Alexandra did they have sway. Herod suppressed them also for their intrigues. The Sadducees and their system had control of the Temple more or less continually until its seizure in the final period and destruction in 70 CE (cf. ibid., (No. 101)). The Pharisees accused Christ himself of being a Samaritan (Jn. 8:48). This was, as we see from the text, because he denied the truth of their teachings and traditions, as we see from the text. He kept the Temple festivals, which were based on the Sadducean and Samaritan system determined by the conjunction, which was the original Temple system (see below). In John Bowman’s work: The Samaritan Problem: Studies in the Relationships of Samaritanism, Judaism, and Early Christianity (tr. by Alfred M. Johnson Jr., Pittsburgh Theological Monograph Series Number 4, The Pickwick Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1974, ch. 1, pp. 1 ff.) we see that the Samaritans were in the Northern Kingdom even after the dispersion of 721 BCE and a Samaritan diaspora existed in Egypt and Syria from antiquity until the 18th century. Bowman says:

Since many Samaritan manuscripts are available in European libraries, it has always remained a mystery to me why Christian scholars, who have known since the time of Joseph Scalinger (1540-1609) about the survival of the Samaritans, still repeat the same assertions about the Samaritans which were made by the Jews of post-Babylonian, Mishnaic and Talmudic times and which have come through the Church Fathers into the Christian scholarly tradition.

...The discoveries of Qumran have now induced some scholars to question the frequently used and all too easily accepted idea of “Normative Judaism” and the rabbinic sources as reliable criteria for the essence of Judaism in the 1st century, Consequently it appears to be appropriate once again to examine precisely whether or not the Samaritans, as the first Jewish sect who have no independent traditions and customs, have preserved customs and views which are older than those which the Rabbis of the 2nd century AD (and later) tried to make sacrosanct by passing them off as oral traditions from the time of Moses that had been handed down to them as the trustees of the only and true Israel.

 

The reason the Samaritan position is not openly studied is as much a fault of the Samaritan priests themselves as it is of the Jews.

 

God’s Calendar

 

We need to go back to Genesis 1 to find the basis for God's Calendar.

 

Genesis 1:14-19   And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide 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 firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (KJV)

 

The word for lights here is m’aor (SHD 3974) meaning lightholders or luminaries (Ex. 25:6; 27:20; 35:14). In Genesis 1:3 the text is let it become light. It is not the verb to be (Companion Bible, fn. to v. 3). Thus we are speaking of the precondition of the system for subsequent activities.

 

Light was not located until the fourth day of the creation, according to the Genesis narrative. This is indicative of a sequence of God’s activity in the creation. The activity of the fourth element of the creation sequence was to establish the lights for the division of night and day and for signs and for seasons and for days and years (Gen. 1:14).

 

The sequence of the Calendar as established by God in the creation is determined by the heavenly bodies. Thus, the movement and position of the heavenly bodies are the determining factors of the calendar. This will be seen to be developed throughout the Bible and is central to the Law.

Psalm 104:19   He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (KJV)

 

The moon is thus the determinate factor and not the sun. The sun is operative for the day only and is a pivot for the beginning of the year from the equinox.

 

The Day

 

It is noted also that the evening and the morning constitute the day. The evening precedes the morning or day. The day is thus determined from dark the previous evening to dark or the End of Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) of that day.

Leviticus 23:32  It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. (KJV)

 

This view, that the day began at evening after the sun had set, was continuously observed even among the Jews at the time of the Mishnah. It was the normal method of determining the day for most nations and was the practice among the English-speaking people until around the beginning of the nineteenth century (see below).

 

Mishnah: 

(Besah 2:1) On a festival which coincided with the eve of the Sabbath [Friday] a person should not do cooking to begin with on the festival day. [Friday] But he prepares food for the festival day, and if he leaves something over, he has it left over for use on the Sabbath. And he prepares a cooked dish on the eve of the festival day [Thursday] and relies on it (to prepare food on Friday) for the Sabbath as well. 

(2-2) If a festival day coincided with the day after the Sabbath [Sunday] the house of Shammai say, “They immerse everything before the Sabbath”. And the house of Hillel say, “Utensils are to be immersed before the Sabbath. But man may immerse on the Sabbath itself.”

 

(Shabbat 15:3) They fold up clothing even four or five times. And they spread beds on the night of the Sabbath for use on the Sabbath, but not on the Sabbath for use after the Sabbath. D. R. Ishmael says, “They fold clothes and lay out beds on the Day of Atonement for the Sabbath”.

 

This text shows Atonement also fell on a Friday when the Mishnah was compiled.

 

(Sukkah 5:7) Three times a year all the priestly watches shared equally in the offerings of the feasts and in the division of the Show Bread. At Pentecost they would say to him, “Here you have unleavened bread, here is leavened bread for you”. The priestly watch whose time of service is scheduled for that week is the one which offers the daily whole offerings, the offerings brought by reason of vows and freewill offerings, and the other public offerings. And it offers everything. On a festival day which comes next to a Sabbath, whether before or after it, all of the priestly watches were equal in the division of the Show Bread.

 

Therefore, back-to-back Sabbaths were normal.

 

The narrative of the shipwreck of Paul shows that the day began at evening, and night was followed by the day in the twenty-four hour sequence. We also see from this text that the day did not begin at midnight in the first century either.

Acts 27:27-33   But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; 28 And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms. 29 Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day. 30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off. 33 And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. (KJV)

 

The change to a midnight start for the day was a later invention of the Roman Church and had nothing to do with the earlier period. It appears that with the exception of the Italians, all the nations all had the same or similar practice for the start of the day.

 

The writings of the text of the Bible from the time of Moses show that the day was understood to begin at evening and, as we have seen, Atonement was kept from sunset to sunset (Lev. 23:32), being when the sun has set and it is dark or EENT. Jews presently keep from sunset to dark when they end the fast. Thus there are approximately 25 hours in that day.

 

This practice was kept intact, as we see with the restoration under Nehemiah, whereby the Sabbath was protected by the closing of the gates of the city from evening to evening.

Nehemiah 13:19   And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. (KJV)

 

This text shows that it began to be dark before the Sabbath. The verb used is tsalal (SHD 6752) and is:

…connected with tsel, ‘shadow’ and signifies ‘when the gates began to have shadows on them’ or ‘to cast long shadows’ (cf. Soncino n. to v. 19)

 

This explanation offered in the Soncino is important to the traditions in placing the time forward to sunset. It is understood as being at ‘approaching dark’ (cf. SHD 6751 and 6752).

 

The long shadows are in the late afternoon at dusk, just before dark. We might conclude from this text that the Sabbath actually began when it was dark. Thus the day begins at what we term Evening Nautical Twilight, when it becomes dark. A rabbinical distinction was that the day began when it became impossible to distinguish the colour of red or blue thread. This failure of light is at the End of Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT). The three twilights are: 1) Civil Twilight, which ends when the sun is six degrees from the horizon and which is used for streetlights; 2) End Evening Nautical Twilight  (EENT) when the sun is at twelve degrees below the horizon; and 3) End Astronomical Twilight when the sun is at eighteen degrees below the horizon. At EENT it is dark. At BENT (Begin Evening Nautical Twilight) it is beginning to be dark at the horizon.

 

All nations, including ancient Israel and the tribes of Judah began the day at night and followed night with the day, counting by the nights. This was so with the Germans and the Teutons generally. The following quote from John Brady (Clavis Calendaria I-II, London, 1812, p. 98) says:

Different nations have varied, and even still disagree, in the periods of commencing their diurnal computation. The Turks and Mahometans reckon from evening twilight; while the Italians, not only begin their first hour at sunset, but count out the twenty four hours without any remission, and not twice 12, as is practiced in this country and in Europe in general, some part of Germany excepted, where they also count by the twenty four hours which they call “Italian hours.” .... though as the ecclesiastical day throughout Italy begins at midnight, and the rites of the Roman church are in all cases regulated by that custom, it is more particularly remarkable, that the civil day should be permitted to differ in its period of commencement, and thus to stand at variance with the usage not only of almost all the rest of Europe, but of their own ancestors; especially as by the variation of sun-setting, which governs the civil day,.....

 

Thus we see that in 1812 in the time of Napoleon and his army’s retreat from Moscow, the day still began and ended at evening twilight in Islam and elsewhere, or at sunset among the Italians. The beginning of the day at midnight in 1812 was still the aberration of the Roman Catholic Church and it was from that source that it entered Europe and the West. It is an ecclesiastical device with no biblical sanction. Moreover, Christ speaks of the 12-hour day and the night, which has come to be measured as twenty-four hours, as it was by the Italians and astronomers. No one ever began the day at dawn, other than as the second twelve-hour period. The twenty-four-hour day beginning at midnight is a later moving of the standardisation of clocks to accord with the timings of the Roman ecclesiastical traditions. The standardisation of time could have just as easily (and should have been) effected from the time of dawn and dark at the equinox with the first hours after sunset (being what we term 6 p.m.) as 1 a.s. instead of 7 p.m. Five p.m. would have remained the eleventh hour, as it was for almost six thousand years. Seven a.m. should then be correctly 1 a.m. In a twenty-four hour clock it would be 1300 hours. This would have accorded with Christ’s teaching, and will be introduced again from Jerusalem from the Restoration.

 

The reason the ecclesiastical sequences were from midnight was its importance to fasting, as they had a different fasting practice to that of the Bible and the early Church. Brady says that the term noon originally meant the ninth hour. Counting from 6 a.m., it was 3 p.m. “at which time the song was, by ancient church regulation, always sung.” (ibid., p. 99). Noon is now midday, either because the monks always broke fast, or because the common dinner hour was midday (see ibid.). We should bear this fact in mind also when reading earlier writings that mention noon. The word luncheon is derived from the erroneous spelling of the word nuncheon or noon song.

 

At no time in history has the description in Daniel 7:25 fitted a society and people more than in Europe from the nineteenth century to the present. It started from Rome in the second century and is rapidly now coming to its conclusion.

 

The term day is derived from the Saxon Dæg. The word appears related to the Roman Dies or Diis. The ancients gave the names of the planets to the days, which they termed Dii or gods (ibid., p. 100) and the term was allotted to the twenty-four hour rotation of the Earth.

 

Among the Saxons, the Scriptures were made available in the Saxon tongue by King Athelstan (in ca. 940) who imposed fines for traffic on Sunday as it had been deemed to have replaced the Sabbath in the Roman system from the fourth century. The Sunday and Easter system had been imposed on Britain through the power of the Saxons from the Synod of Whitby in 664 CE. Until then, most of Britain was Quartodeciman Sabbatarians. (cf. the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277)). Edgar (ca. 960) declared that the day should be kept holy from 3 p.m. on Saturday to Monday at day-break (cf. Brady, ibid., pp. 103-104). Thus the preparation time on the Friday was transferred to the Saturday and an entirely new period of an extra twelve hours had been added again. This is the only known aberration of the extended day ending at dawn (aside from the worship of Ra in Egypt).

 

The term day is generally understood in two ways, both as a twelve-hour and a twenty-four hour period. The latter period came to be called by the astronomers of the modern or industrial era, a Nycthemeron. However, the ancients could be excused for simply using the term day to apply to both. Such certainly was the term when the Bible was translated and such is the common usage today (cf. Brady, p. 97). Genesis 1:5 is held to say ...and the evening and the morning were the first day. This rendering should simply read Day One or Day the First. The Soncino renders this text regarding the First Day as evening and morning, one day (cf. Soncino Chumash, p. 2). The distinction is based on Rashi’s interpretation, deducing that God was alone on this day as The One, creating the other heavenly Beings on the Second day. It does not stand up to scrutiny in the Soncino text itself and is not interpreted that way by any other authority (cf. Green’s Interlinear Bible). Rashi is wrong and introduces unnecessary further error in relation to Genesis 1:1-2.

 

The words evening ('ereb (SHD 6153), cf. 'arab: to mingle) and morning (boker (1242), cf. bakker: to search or examine) convey the opposites of day and night. 'Ereb denoting the mingling of light from twilight and boker denoting the clear light of day, "being the time when it is possible to distinguish the exact quality which characterises it" (ibid.).

 

The word day here is the term yôwm (SHD 3117), which is from an unused root meaning to be hot; it means a day and as the warm hours. It is used, as Strong says, to signify the periods either literally, from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next, or figuratively, as a space of time defined by an associated term and often used adverbially thus representing an age. To suggest that its usage is confined to the daylight hours only is absurd.

 

The terms used to confine the time to daylight hours only are: yôwmâm (SHD 3119), meaning daily or in daylight (cf. Deut. 28:66; Josh. 1:8; etc.); or shachar (SHD 7837), meaning early light, when the sun rises (cf. Josh. 6:15).

 

Mochorath (SHD 4283) or morrow is also used to indicate the next day or tomorrow (cf. 1Sam. 30:17; Jon. 4:7).

 

Boqer or boker (SHD 1242) when used literally from morning to morning is used to mean from day to day (cf. Jdg. 16:2; 19:26; 2Sam. 13:4), and is perhaps a cause of confusion to some if taken in isolation.

 

Thus we see from the details that at least from the time of Moses in the creation narrative, the term day was used to encompass both evening and morning as one day, or a twenty-four hour period. There is no other rational way of examining this argument.

 

We saw in Acts 27 that Paul had the same understanding we see in Nehemiah, and as we saw in the instruction to Moses, regarding Atonement, as well as the same understanding we see was in use up until the nineteenth century. It is only recently that times and the Law have been changed to the extent of affecting the operation of the day.

 

The Week

 

The word for week in Hebrew is derived from the word shabuwa or shabua (SHD 7620). This word is derived from the word shaba’ (SHD 7650) meaning to be complete. This is a prime root, which is derived from and used in the sense of sheba or shibah (7651). This word is the prime cardinal number as seven as the sacred full one. Hence, the term shaba’ (7650) means to seven one’s self, that is, to swear or take an oath.

 

The word for week is thus based on or derived from the sacred number of days making up the seven. The Sabbath is thus inextricably linked to the linguistic roots for seven and completeness. The word for week occurs in Genesis 29:27-28 and Daniel 9:27. It means literally to be sevened. Hence, it is a week (seven days) or a period of seven years.

 

The word for week in the New Testament is a Greek word of Hebrew origin – namely Sabbaton (SGD 4521, from Shabbath (7676)). It is the concept of a se’nnight or the interval between two Sabbaths.

 

The period of the week is also determined from a phrase meaning complete or perfect Sabbath. This phrase is present in the law on Pentecost.

Leviticus 23:15-21   And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. 18 And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. 19 Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (KJV)

 

The period of fifty days that commenced after the weekly Sabbath in the Feast of Unleavened Bread has seven perfect or complete Sabbaths. This was termed the Feast of Weeks from the Old Testament texts (Ex. 34:22; Deut. 16:10,16; 2Chr. 8:13). The same word shabua (7620) is used. Pentecost is derived from the term to count fifty. The term for perfect, as in perfect Sabbaths is tamiym (SHD 8549) meaning entire. Used as a noun it means integrity or truth – hence, without blemish, complete or full. Thus, fifty days of Pentecost contains seven complete and perfect or unblemished weeks. This commences from the day after the weekly Sabbath and finishes on the day after the weekly Sabbath – namely, a Sunday. Pentecost thus cannot fall on Sivan 6 as the count is breached and there are not seven perfect or unblemished weeks or Sabbaths.

 

The word for Sabbath (SHD 7676) is different from that used for the Feast-day Sabbaths, which are termed Shabbathown (SHD 7677). This term applies to all the Feast Holy Days with the meaning of a Sabbatism or Holy Day, except for the Day of Atonement, which is referred to as a Shabbath shabbathown. The meaning thus duplicates or emphasises the concept of a very Holy Day. The terms involved in the above text in Leviticus in the count to Pentecost are Sabbath and not shabbathown and, hence, it is absolutely clear from the distinctions made in the chapter that the weekly Sabbaths are involved and not any of the Holy Days; and that the Hillel or modern Jewish calendar is in error by observing Sivan 6. The conflict is evident in the Mishnah that shows the Pharisees had introduced the Sivan 6 Pentecost, which could and did fall next to a Sabbath at that time. In the Temple system and with the Samaritans, Pentecost had always been on the First day of the week or Sunday.

(Hagigah 2:4) Pentecost which coincided with a Friday- The House of Shammai say, “The day of slaughtering [the whole offering brought in fulfilment of the requirements of appearing before the Lord] is on the day after the Sabbath”. And the House of Hillel say, “The day of slaughtering [the whole offering] is not after the Sabbath”. But they concur that if it coincided with the Sabbath, the day of slaughtering [the whole offering] is after the Sabbath. And the high priest does not put on his garments. And they are permitted to conduct a lamentation or to hold a fast, so as not to affirm the opinion of those who say, The date of Pentecost [must always fall] after the Sabbath [on Sunday].

 

In support of the Sivan 6 Pentecost argument, resort is made by some to the Septuagint (LXX). That version, however, although the standard text of the early Church, was rejected by rabbinical Judaism from Jamnia after the destruction of the Temple and dispersion. The OT text was even significantly altered to support rabbinical Judaism at that time and became the Masoretic Text. This whole issue of Pentecost in the LXX has been examined in the paper The Omer Count to Pentecost (No. 173). The arguments constructed around this text for Sivan 6 are in any case false.

 

Pentecost was kept on a Sunday during the Temple period by both the Temple priesthood and the Samaritans. F.F. Bruce says in The Illustrated Bible Dictionary (J. D. Douglas & N. Hillyer, editors, IVP, 1980; art. 'Calendar', Vol. 1, p. 225):

In general, the Jewish calendar in NT times (at least before AD 70) followed the Sadducean reckoning, since it was by that reckoning that the Temple services were regulated. Thus the day of Pentecost was reckoned as the fiftieth day after the presentation of the first harvested sheaf of barley, i.e., the fiftieth day (inclusive) from the first Sunday after Passover (cf. Lv. 23:15f.); hence it always fell on a Sunday, as it does in the Christian calendar. The Pharisaic reckoning, which became standard after AD 70, interpreted ‘sabbath’ in Lv. 23:15 as the festival day of Unleavened Bread and not the weekly sabbath; in that case Pentecost always fell on the same day of the month [Sivan 6].

 

The Samaritans and the Church have not changed in their practice in relation to Pentecost since the first century. Only Judaism changed its observations and that was done to preserve its introduced traditions. The Trinitarian church affected the week on which Pentecost fell by its manipulation of the date of Easter, but it was always on a Sunday as it had been in the Temple period, and since the time of the Assyrian captivity, and before that to the time of Moses. The Samaritan practices come from before the sack of the First Temple and the captivity of Judah in 587 BCE and therefore reflect more accurately the practices in the early First Temple period. The traditions were gradually introduced into Judah and the system of the Pharisees from the Babylonian captivity and later. They did not have any effect in the Temple practice right up until the period of its fall and destruction.

 

The Seven-Day Week

 

The concept of the seven-day week is determined from Exodus 20:8-11.

Exodus 20:8-11   Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (KJV)

 

The week is thus a regulated and mandatory ordinance established with the focus on the Sabbath or seventh day of the week, which is and always has been, the day understood as Saturday. The term in English is derived from the Saxon Seator (or also seemingly Crodo, cf. Brady), which is usually associated with the Roman deity Saturn (Brady, pp. 122-123). This day is named within the languages of many people as the Sabbath or in terms derived from that word. Samuele Bacchiocchi develops this whole history (From Sabbath to Sunday, Pontifical Gregorian University Press, Rome, 1977).

 

The Month

 

The word month is derived from the word for moon in the ancient root language, which became English. The Hebrew word is chadash or chodesh (SHD 2320) meaning a New Moon – hence, it means a month. The New Moon is thus the means of determining the start of the month. The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon says of this word (p. 294) that it means New Moon or Month ...“1. new moon as day, time of the new moon as a religious festival. 2. month as beginning with the New Moon”. There is no doubt that historically the month began with the New Moon. The moon was also always a festival in the Temple period and the High Priest entered the Temple on this day as well as the Sabbath.

 

The word is related to châdar (SHD 2314), to surround or enclose, to conceal or curtain. In its note on Strong's 2314, the Lexicon continues: "(as something surrounding) [from] II. conceal behind a curtain, conceal, confine. IV. conceal oneself, also abide, stay or remain behind also as sheathing a sword" (p. 294).

 

The sense of the basis of the term is clearly that of the full dark of the New Moon and not a later crescent. The matter of the crescent moon is examined in the paper The Golden Calf (No. 222).

 

Another word for month is yerach (SHD 3391) (1Kgs. 6:37-38; 8:2; 2Kgs. 15:13; Zech. 11:8). This is from an unused root of uncertain significance and means a lunation, i.e. a month or moon. Another word is the Chaldean yerach (SHD 3393), which corresponds to SHD 3391 (Ezra 6:15).

 

The word for moon when used in the sense of sun and moon is SHD 3394 or SHD 3391. It can be SHD 3842 (Isa. 24:23; 30:26). The word for New Moon (SHD 2320) is translated as month in the English. The exceptions make it evident that a specific day is being indicated (1Sam. 20:5,18,24; 2Kgs. 4:23; Ps. 81:3; Isa. 66:23; Ezek. 46:1,6; Amos 8:5). The months are thus the first, second, third etc. New Moon.

 

The New Moon is thus the central or determining point of the month. It forms the basis of calculation of the periods within a month. This is so with all of the Holy Days, not the least of which are the New Moons themselves (see the papers The New Moons (No. 125); The New Moons of Israel (No. 132); and also The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120)). The comments on the months made in the paper The New Moons of Israel (No. 132) are re-examined below to show the sequence and significance of their usage.

 

The Saxon word Almanac appears to be derived from the Aramaic words al and manach meaning the counting. Verstigan, being the only exception, says however it came from al mon aght, i.e. al mon heed or the heeding of the moons. Certainly the concept of days beginning and ending at evening sunset or twilight is consistent with this Eastern origin (cf. Brady, pp. 42-43). The original almanacs were lunar cycle calendars, carved on four wooden pieces, based on 30 and 29-day sequences corresponding to the duration of the moon determining the conjunctions and full moons. The alternating day sequence was also the Arabic practice. A copy of an original Saxon Almanac is at Brady (op. cit., Vol. 1, between pp. 42-43). A very ancient one is in St Johns College, Cambridge, England.

 

Months of the Year

 

The moon is also symbolic because it is in phases. The New Moon represents the beginning of the activity of each cycle. There are twelve months in the year (apart from intercalation) (1Kgs. 4:7; 1Chr. 27:1-15). They are generally reckoned to have a length of 30 days and that is the way they are referred to prophetically (Gen. 7:11; 8:3-4; Num. 20:29; Deut. 21:13; 34:8; Est. 4:11; Dan. 6:7-13).

 

The month of the Passover, which is Nisan or Abib, is specifically commanded by the Lord to be the beginning of the year (see also Num. 9:1-3; 33:3; Josh. 4:19; Ezek. 45:18,21). This beginning symbolises the redemption of the Israel of God from the world’s system (Gal. 1:4; Rev. 14:4).

 

Abib is determined from the New Moon nearest to the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which begins the summer season. The autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere begins the winter season. These are the two seasons mentioned by the Bible (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17). The calculation is well understood:

The observation of the autumnal equinox, i.e., ‘the going out of the year’ (see Ex. 23:16), and of the spring or vernal equinox, called ‘the return of the year’ (1 Ki. 20:26; 2 Ch. 36:10 AV), was important for controlling the calendar and consequently the festivals. Thus the year began with the new moon nearest the vernal equinox when the sun was in Aries (Jos., Ant. 3.201 [better to see Ant. (Antiquities of the Jews) III.x.5]), and the Passover on the fourteenth day of Nisan coincided with the first full moon (Ex. 12:2-6). (The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, J D Douglas & N Hillyer, editors, IVP, 1980; art. ‘Calendar’, Vol. 1, p. 223).

 

The months are numbered in sequence so that the year might be identified and not later confused (Ex. 12:2; 13:4; 2Chr. 30:2; Neh. 8:2). The months and the courses of the priests are all listed in 1Chronicles 27:1-15. The New Moons were listed in the days of worship with the Sabbath and Holy Days in Numbers 28 and 29 (esp. Num. 28:1-2,11,14).

 

The method of determining the First month of the year (called Nisan or Abib) is that the Passover period on 14 and 15 Nisan must fall after the equinox. Thus, the preparation day of the Fourteenth may fall on the equinox but the Fifteenth must fall after the equinox. These were the two governing rules until the Hillel revision. Schürer notes the rule regarding the Passover in his Appendix on the Calendar.

 

The months were normally numbered and not all months are listed by name in the Scriptures. The months of the year are:

1.       Nisan (March-April) (or Abib: Canaanite)

2.       Iyyar (April-May) (or Ziv: Canaanite)

3.       Sivan (May-June)

4.       Tammuz (June-July)

5.       Ab (July-August)

6.       Elul (August-September)

7.       Tishri (September-October) (or Ethanim: Canaanite)

8.       Marcheshvan (October-November) (or Bul: Canaanite)

9.       Chislev (November-December)

10.   Tebeth (December-January)

11.   Shebat (January-February)

12.   Adar (February-March)

 

The Babylonian equivalents are:

1.      Nisanu: the month of sacrifice

2.      Ayaru: the procession month

3.      Simanu: the fixed season or time of brick making

4.      Du-uzu: the month of Tammuz the god of fertility

5.      Abu: the month of torches

6.      Elulu or Ululu: the month of purification

7.      Teshritu: the month of beginning

8.      Arah-samna: the eighth month

9.      Kislimu: of uncertain meaning

10.  Tebitu: the month of plunging (into water)

11.  Shabatu: the month of storms and rain

12.  Adaru: the month of the threshing floor.

 

The cycle of twelve lunar months (354¼ days) falls short of the solar year (365¼ days). Because the spring Passover-Mazzoth festival, which begins the cycle of agricultural feasts, needed to be kept at a set time in the year, it is obvious why the intercalary month is placed in Adar at the end of the year.

 

The Passover must coincide with the first harvest (which follows the equinox) and thus the commencement of the year is dependent upon the location of the moon for that period in which the barley harvest begins to occur.

 

Abib means green ears and the greens ears were cut and roasted, not being yet at the ‘white of harvest’. The first of the green ear harvest was cut and waved as the Wave Sheaf, thereby commencing the omer count to Pentecost. The sequence in Joshua was that they took the Holy Land and then ate of the old corn on the morning after the Passover, i.e. on the morning of the Fifteenth of the First month and the manna ceased (Josh. 5:11). The green ears are not mentioned because they roasted the new ears of Abib after the Wave Sheaf, which had not happened as yet. Hence, only the old corn is mentioned as being consumed. The Wave Sheaf symbolised Messiah who was the first-begotten from the dead.

 

The spiritual symbolism is paramount. The Feasts are dependent upon the New Moons and not the reverse. The name of the intercalary month is WeAdar (or and Adar) according to M. Ned VIII.5 (see Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, p. 487). The rabbinical calculations show seven out of every nineteen years have an extra month, which we term Adar II.

 

As we observed, the months are determined by the New Moons and the entire Plan of Salvation is demonstrated from each New Moon through the calculation of the Feasts and their demonstration in the cycle of the actual physical harvests. The year is based on a symbolic or prophetic year of 360 days, being twelve months of 30 days (see the paper The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120) for the implications for the Feasts and the 144,000); this is known as a time. This period can also be extended prophetically, on a year-for-a-day basis, to 360 years. Seven times is 2,520 years, with half that period (or 1,260 years) being the time, times and half a time of Daniel 12:7.

 

It is noted from the paper Moses and the Gods of Egypt (No. 105) that God dealt with the Egyptian system and its gods through the Exodus. God dealt with the Babylonian system through the proper establishment of the Calendar and the Church. It should be noted that the Babylonian system began the year from the month of beginnings, Teshritu or Tishri. From this month Messiah will establish the New Beginning, which is symbolised by the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles.

 

Tishri is determined by the New Moon, which is the Feast of Trumpets. It was pointed out in the paper The New Moons of Israel (No. 132) that the month of beginnings was made the Seventh moon. It was noted there that this sequence represented the establishment under Messiah of the seven phases of the Seven Churches. The significance is explained in the papers on the New Moons. The explanation of the symbolism of the Feasts is repeated (requoted below from The New Moons (No. 125):

The year was made to commence in the month of sacrifice which represented the Passover sacrifice of Messiah. This month commenced the harvest which was also the first of the harvest sequence, that is, the barley harvest. God then carried on the process of harvests through each of the phases which are three harvest periods. These are the Passover and Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering. The Feast of Weeks symbolises the harvest of the Church before the return of Messiah. This is an ongoing process.

 

Thus Pentecost is a commencement of a sequence which follows through five moons from Sivan to Tishri, even though there are seven in the sequence from Nisan to Tishri. These five are the stones David drew from the brook (see the paper David and Goliath (No. 126)). Sardis and Laodicea are eliminated. Sivan commences the brick making of the Temple of God. The sequence then involves rebirth (Du-uzu: Tammuz), the torches (Abu: Ab) or candles of the Church and the purification (Elulu: Elul) of the elect. Hence the months from Simanu (Sivan) to Teshritu (Tishri) are accounted for in Christian symbolism thus eliminating the Babylonian. The torching of 9-10 Ab was allowed because of the idolatry of Israel to Babylonian practice.

 

The months are twelve in all, with a thirteenth month (Adar II) intercalated seven times every nineteen years. The nineteen years mark the complete cycle. The moons themselves determine this period as they rotate through the seasons. The festival sacrifices total 72 throughout the year, and comprise: fifty-two Sabbaths, seven Holy Days, plus twelve New Moons and the Wave-Sheaf Offering. Trumpets is of course a double sacrifice, being both a New Moon and a Feast (Num. 29:1-6).

 

The sacrifice of the Wave Sheaf, when coupled with the Feasts and New Moons, has a great significance, which was dealt with in the paper The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120). The relationship of the intercalary months have a relationship to the administration of God within Israel and also in the celestial system, as noted from the paper The New Moons of Israel (No. 132). All of the activities of God in the creation are dealt with in symbols that are reflected not only in the movement of the heavens but also the allocation of the organisation and responsibility of Israel. Israel, as both a nation and the Church within the covenant, is predicated on those relationships (see the paper The Covenant of God (No. 152)).

 

The quote from paper No. 125 continues:

The relationship is predicated on the function of the intercalary month as it occurs with the twelve normal months. Israel represents this system through the tribes. Israel has twelve tribes. These are, from the north: Dan, Asher Napthali, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Reuben Simeon, Gad, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin (see Num. 10:11; cf. Ezek. 1:4 ff.). The tribe of Levi is centred around the tabernacle. Thus there are twelve tribes but Joseph has the birthright and is effectively divided into two shares to make twelve tribes with the tribe of Levi relinquishing its share to perform the function of the priesthood. Thus the blueprint for the function of physical Israel was set in the stars at the creation. Adar II represents the priesthood as the thirteenth month and tribe. This month occurs seven times in a cycle.

 

This cycle represents the seven spirits of God as they perform their duties under the angels of the seven Churches. This problem cannot be solved or understood without the understanding of the New Moons.

 

The New Moons were central to the system of worship as laid down in the Hebrew calendar. They needed to be kept correctly and their understanding was central to the understanding of the Plan of Salvation. The Israelite system was apostate and was undermined continually. It had to be restored each time by an appointed delegate of God. There were many restorations and many breakdowns in the determination of the system.

 

It can be seen that the New Moon was the central point of calculation for the religious calendar. This fell into misuse many times. The last and continuous time for Judah was under Rabbi Hillel II in 358 CE, where the Sabbaths had become so cumbersome through introduced tradition that the whole system of calculation had to be changed to make it possible to keep the traditions established by the Pharisees. The observations were made to control the New Moons so that the traditions could be kept. In order to control the people who might otherwise contest the correct declaration of the New Moon, other restrictions were implemented, such as who might be a reliable witness for the New Moon. Women were eliminated as witnesses and so too were categories of people who might be independent observers, such as pigeon keepers (see Mishnah for categories).

 

Let us look at the comments on the historical position from the text of the paper The New Moons (No. 125):

General Historical Position

The New Moon Festival, known to the Jews as Rosh Hodesh, occurred on the first of the month, on the appearance of the first phase of the moon (Hayyim Schauss The Jewish Festivals: History and Observance, tr. Samuel Jaffe, Schocken Books, New York, 1938, p. 275). It is thus tied to the appearance of the New Moon.

There was a time when Rosh Chodesh was a major festival, much more important than the weekly Sabbath...One reason for its importance resided in the fact that the date of all the Jewish Festivals depended upon the New Moon (ibid., p. 274).

This contention is supposition. The Bible indicates it was as important but not more so than the Sabbath. It was more important than the feasts as we will see.

The Bible clearly equates the New Moon with the festivals (Num. 10:10). The Festival of the New Moon was a feast day and it was celebrated on the day after the New Moon was sighted (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, McGraw Hill, NY, 1967, p. 382)

“In early rabbinic times the day of the New Moon was established by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, after accepting the evidence of eye witnesses who had claimed to see the new moon. Sometimes the rabbis would deliberately postpone Rosh Hodesh so as to prevent the Day of Atonement from falling on a Friday or a Sunday. The permanent calendar was fixed by Hillel II in 358 CE and this provided the exact date of each Rosh Hodesh based on astronomical and mathematical calculations” (The Ency. of Judaism, Geoffery Widoger, Macmillan, NY, 1989, p. 502).

Note this was in early rabbinic times. That is well after the fall of the Temple in 70 CE. Thus the rabbinical manipulation of the New Moon was enshrined in the Hillel calendar. It has no biblical authority.

 

Here we have evidence of the deliberate postponement prior to the Hillel calendar. Notice we are not dealing with the period of the Second Temple but later early-Rabbinic times. However, the assertions by the New Catholic Encyclopedia regarding the postponement to the next day show an ignorance of the timings regarding the postponements. The New Moon was assumed to develop the crescent from six hours after the conjunction. Thus it was only postponed if the conjunction or full dark New Moon fell after 1200 hours. This rule was established in the postponements. The quote continues:

There is no doubt that the New Moon was anciently at least as important as the Sabbath.

“The New Moon festival anciently stood at least on a level with that of the Sabbath. (J Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, 1885, p. 113).”

 

The New Moon was definitely holy time, and was celebrated on the day of the determination of the New Moon by conjunction. This was calculated in advance. This fresh beginning was marked by special sacrifices (Num. 28:11-15) over which the trumpets were blown (Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:3). Normal work was not done. The King held special feasts on the New Moon. David makes mention of the significance in 1Samuel 20:5. David would have been missed from the court because his seat at the table would have been empty. They knew well in advance of the impending New Moon.

1Samuel 20:18  Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. (KJV)

 

The New Moons were thus mandatory gatherings in the Court of Israel, known in advance. This makes a nonsense of any plea for an observation system. David kept the New Moons with the Sabbaths and the Feasts by number, according to the order commanded to them (1Chr. 23:30-31). There was thus a set order from ancient times. Solomon also observed these days. This was an ordinance forever to Israel.

 

The New Moons are mentioned in precedence over the Feasts.

2Chronicles 2:4   Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. (KJV)

 

The New Moons were observed, together with the Sabbaths and set Feasts, by Elisha (2Kgs. 4:23), and by Hezekiah, as it is written in the Law of the Lord (2Chr. 31:3). This practice was continued by Ezra (Ezra 3:5) and Nehemiah (Neh. 10:29-33). It continued up through the time of Christ and the Apostles, and the Calendar, including the New Moons, was observed at Colossae (Col. 2:16). The purpose of the Calendar in the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set Feasts was so that they would be memorials for Israel before God, and for atonement (Num. 10:10, 33). This ordinance is set in the same sequence and chapters as is the Order of Battle of Israel. The Calendar is thus integral to the Covenant of God and to the purpose of God within the Plan of Salvation.

 

The New Moon must be treated as a day of worship and assembly, as are the Sabbaths and Feasts (1Sam. 20:5,18; Isa. 66:23; Ezek. 46:1-3). Sacrifice is not the issue, as it was fulfilled in Messiah. Obedience is the issue (Jer. 7:22-24; Heb. 10:1-6).

 

The quote from paper No. 125 continues:

The New Year on the New Moon of the first month Abib was of special significance (Ps. 81:3-5; cf. The Moon and the New Year (No. 213). The New Moon of the seventh month was especially sanctified (Lev. 23:24-25; Num. 29:1-6). 2Kings 4:23 suggests that both New Moons and Sabbaths were regarded as providing opportunity for consulting the prophets, and Ezekiel marks out the New Moon as a special day of worship (Ezek. 46:1,3).

 

[Judaica and modern Judaism assert that]: Originally, the New Moon was allegedly not fixed by astronomical calculations, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon. The rabbinical authorities hold that on the 30th of each month, the members of the High Court assembled in a courtyard in Jerusalem, named Beit Ya'azek, where they waited to receive the testimony of two reliable witnesses; they then sanctified the New Moon. If the moon's crescent was not seen on the 30th day, the New Moon was automatically celebrated on the 31st day. To inform the population of the beginning of the month, beacons were kindled on the Mount of Olives and thence over the entire land and in parts of the Diaspora.

 

[It is then asserted that] Later, however, the Samaritans began to light misleading beacons, and the High Court dispatched messengers to far-removed communities. Those Jews who lived great distances from Jerusalem always celebrated the 30th day of the month as the New Moon. On those occasions when they were informed of its postponement to the 31st day, they also observed this second day as the New Moon (RH 1:3-2:7). By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued. A relic of the original practice is, however, retained in the synagogue custom of announcing the New Moon on the Sabbath preceding its celebration (Ency. Judaica, Vol. 12, p. 1039).

 

This process is evidence of the manipulation of the Calendar by the rabbis. There is never a month that is longer than thirty days – and they knew that fact. Note also John Bowman’s comments regarding the Samaritans and the acceptance of this rabbinical propaganda above. The original system was by calculation according to the conjunction, and the Sadducees and the Samaritans both did the same thing. Note the comment here that later the Samaritans began lighting misleading beacons: Why later? The Samaritans had not changed their system. It has remained the same for well over the twenty-five centuries of independent Judaism, which itself has changed remarkably after the destruction of the Temple. It was Judah that began playing with the calendar based on rabbinical traditions that were not allowed or accepted during the Temple period. The manipulation of the calendar was because the authorities had not developed a precise system for establishing the postponements to protect the traditions. This affected the number of thirty-day months in the year, as we will see later. Such effect became inexplicable and irreconcilable with ancient practice.

 

The New Moons are not mentioned in Leviticus 23 because that is not a complete list of the days of worship of Israel and the Sacred Calendar. Numbers 28 and 29 show the only complete list of the days of worship. The Wave-Sheaf Offering is included in Leviticus 23 even though it is not a Holy Day, because it is integral to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it is the primary element of the Harvest of God. The Wave-Sheaf Offering must be kept as well as the Feasts (cf. the paper The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b).

 

It can be seen from history that the modern Jewish calendar had not begun to be fixed until the middle of the fourth century, according to Jewish authority. This was then further manipulated and changed up until the eleventh century. The precise calculation of the New Moon removes any uncertainty in the calculation, or the international celebration of the New Moon.

 

Hence, the ancient rabbinical Jewish procedure was that, when the New Moon cannot be observed on the day in which it falls (i.e. that it falls within daylight hours), it is observed on the following day. This is really a scam because the New Moon falls into this category as a rule. That is also the early post-Temple rule introduced rule for the observance of the New Moon. It has nothing to do with the calculation of the Molad of Tishri, as established from the fourth century under Hillel II. Recently, it has degenerated further, as was explained in the paper The New Moons (No. 125).

 

Continuing with the quote:

It became fashionable with the advent of Sociology and the Study of Developing Religions to treat the biblical requirements for the Sabbaths and New Moons as competing elements for the loyalties of the Hebrew peoples. The New Moons being treated as the vestigial remnants of the cult of the worship of the Moon God. Schauss was of this view when he wrote The Jewish Festivals (p. 274). He also treats the Pentateuch as being written in two parts, the older part being written before the Babylonian exile the later part after the return. He claims that the older part has no mention of the festival. He draws this conclusion from the fact that the New Moons are not mentioned in Exodus 23:14-19; 34:17-26; Deuteronomy 16, nor in Leviticus 23. He thus deduces that the book of Numbers must be a later part. He advanced no evidence for this conjecture. That is the sort of argument typical of modern apologists. The real reason for this position is that the return from the exile did not effect a full restoration.

“After the return from the Babylonian exile a compromise was reached; Rosh Chodesh was not recognised as a full festival, during which labour was forbidden, but special sacrifices were arranged on that day in the Temple.

To this day Jews perform a special ritual to welcome the new month: there is a special prayer in the synagogue on the sabbath before the New Moon, and there is a ceremony sanctifying the New Moon by a special benediction to be recited in the open air when the New Moon appears (Schauss, p. 274).”

It came to be taken for granted that the decline had occurred yet the explanation could not be fully given. An example is seen in the following references from The Hebrew Concept of Time and the Effect on the Development of the Sabbath, by Diana R. Engel, The American University, Washington, 1976.

“No trading took place on the day of the new moon (the day after the first crescent appeared in the sky). The offerings for the new moon, in fact exceeded those for the Sabbath (Num. 28:11-5; Ezek. 46:4-7). However the religious importance of the new moon declined while that of the Sabbath increased (pp. 69-70).”

 

Note here also that Engel has assumed that the first crescent was held as the sighting, and that the day after the first crescent was sighted is further assumed. This places a series of postponements into the New Moon. No evidence is cited for this conjecture. The quote is continued from paper No. 125.

Further example of the inexplicability of the decline is seen from Widoger.

“It is not clear when or how the New Moon lost its festive character. This had happened by the time the Jews returned from exile at the end of the sixth century BCE. It was no longer a full holiday, but a semi-holiday, like Hol ha-Mo'ed (the intermediate, working days of Passover and Sukkot) when the rabbis discouraged all but necessary work and women were to have a holiday from their sewing and weaving. More stringent economic conditions were probably the reason for the downgrading of the New Moon, particularly since there were no religious or historical reasons for stopping work on that day. In the course of time, even this minor holiday status disappeared and it became a normal working day like any other, except for certain liturgical variations” (Widoger, op. cit., p. 502).

 

Yet the Jewish people did keep the New Moons as did the Church. The general populace was however spasmodic and looked to trade as they also did with the Sabbaths and the Feasts as we know.

“When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain?

And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale. (Amos 8:5)”

 

To the Jews the Sabbath became the most important day in the year. In fact Diana Engel says that the Sabbath day became:

“more than just another day or another commandment. It epitomised for them much of what they believed in and stood for. ... It is impossible to overemphasize how much the Sabbath meant to Israel, how they looked forward to it and glorified it “(p. 83).

But they did not really understand it! They did not understand the spiritual significance of the Sabbath as they did not understand the New Moons. The New Moon had to be reduced in importance by rabbinical Judaism, because it threatened the postponement system itself. It could not be removed completely as the Bible is too clear on the subject and thus had to be reduced in importance, so the false calendar could be introduced.

 

According to The Lion Handbook of the Bible (eds. D & P Alexander, Lion Publishing, 1984)

“The Orthodox Jewish Calendar is of twelve months beginning with each new moon (visible crescent)” (p. 112).

No evidence is cited for this statement (visible crescent). Most Judaisers and seemingly a large amount of twentieth century scholarship, contrary to the evidence we have and their own practice and common sense, looks to the New Moon as a crescent. That was never the case. The Samaritan calendar that is still in existence today proves this to be false.

“The second Hebrew term for month, hodesh, properly means the 'newness' of the lunar crescent.” (Encyc. Brit., 15th edition, Vol. 15, p. 465).

 

As we have seen, the definition of the term chodesh does not have anything to do with the lunar crescent. The lunar crescent is another system of worship addressed to the Sin and Baal/Ashtoreth system and human sacrifice (cf. the papers The Golden Calf (No. 222) and The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)). Its linguistic base means to be concealed. The Britannica continues this (only partially true) statement, which is contrary to the Hebrew concept conveyed in the symbolism of the words.

 

The quote continues:

“In the religious calendar, the commencement of the month was determined by the observation of the crescent new moon, and the date of Passover was tied in with the ripening of barley” (ibid.).

 

“... the first crescent is thus the rebirth or replacement of the old by a new moon (ibid., p. 573).”

 

About 344 CE and certainly with the Hillel calendar of 358, the visible observation of the New Moon was supplanted by secret astronomical calculations. Modern tables ensure absolute and accurate placement.

 

“The (Jewish) calendar is thus schematic and independent of the true New Moon. (Encyc. Brit., op. cit., p. 466)”.

 

(requoted from W. E. Cox The New Moons (No. 125), Christian Churches of God, 1995, 1999).

 

The Jewish calendar is thus contrary to the intention of the biblical texts and Laws. It is obvious that the Jewish or Hillel calendar, being acknowledged to be independent of the true New Moons, cannot accurately reflect the Laws of God, which make no provision for the alteration of the Sabbaths, or their removal from the true New Moon. The conjecture of modern scholarship that the New Moon was viewed as a crescent appears to rest on a completely speculative foundation, in ignorance of the known practices of the Samaritans and Sadducees, and contrary to the rules of postponement themselves. A later rule appeared to be that the crescent must develop from the New Moon within the day on which it appeared; hence, the 1200-hours rule of the postponements. The crescent was tied to the worship of the moon god Sin and is not a scriptural practice. Our word sin is itself derived from the ancient practices as viewed from the Hebrew and scriptural position. Our way of calculating the New Moon is according to the phasis and has never changed following the ancient Samaritan practice. That of itself should be persuasive evidence. It is modern Judaism that is in a state of perpetual sin, led there by its rabbis.

 

Point of calculation

 

The New Moon is a precise astronomical event which is perfectly predictable. The event can occur on different days because of the rotation of the Earth. The determination of the New Moon, therefore, must be determined from the time in which it occurs in Jerusalem to ensure the uniformity of religious worship throughout the world, given increased communication.

 

The determination of the New Moon in Jerusalem is based upon the Scriptures that place Jerusalem as the Throne of the Lord (Jer. 3:17), the centre of the Law and the point from which it will issue under Messiah (Isa. 2:3) and through the waters of the Spirit (Zech. 8:22; 14:8-21). God has placed His Name there for ever (2Chr. 33:4).

 

This determination might place Australia in a position where it is in advance of the full-time structure in Jerusalem and elsewhere; it is nevertheless necessary for the implementation of a coherent world calendar. The early pre-Hillel postponement rule, which ties the New Moon to the crescent after six hours (hence postponed if it occurs after 1200 hours), minimises the effect of this problem. However, there is no authority for that and it is an administrative decision.

 

The biblical position

 

The biblical requirement for the New Moons was examined in the paper The New Moons (No. 125). The position is restated.

 

The feast of the New Moon is one of the Feasts of the Lord. It is listed at Numbers 10:10.

“Numbers 10:10    Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. (KJV)”

 

The sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ. The Feasts or Sabbaths themselves were not eliminated.

 

The offerings required were altered in their necessity to that of spiritual offerings each day of the Holy Day sequence, from Sabbaths to New Moons to Feasts. The sacrifices under the Law were provided for from a special levy allocated under the responsibility of the national authority. The Prince’s levy is examined in the paper Tithing (No. 161).

 

‘Ezekiel 45:14-17   Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer: 15 And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD. 16 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. 17 And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. (KJV)’

 

This offering was a tithe of a tithe of oil, and a half-tithe of the tithe for the meat offerings. It was collected by the Prince for the sacrifices on Sabbaths, New Moons, Holy Days and offerings. Thus it is incorrect to claim that the tithe was eliminated with the sacrifices, because they were obviously provided for separately. This text also concerns the first-fruits from Ezekiel 44:29-30, and the orders are made for the restoration of Israel in its lands. Messiah will thus set up the system that he is alleged to have done away with from his crucifixion – and Scripture cannot be broken. This will be for the mental healing of the nations, but this matter will be examined separately.

 

The Feast of the New Moon was treated as a Shabbathown or Holy Sabbath. Sacrifices were offered as we see above as a memorial.

‘Numbers 28:11-15   And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; 12 And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; 13 And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. 14 And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. 15 And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. (KJV)’

 

We see from this text that the New Moon festivals were to be on every month throughout the months of the year. The same requirements apply to the New Moons as they do to the other Feasts and Sabbaths.

‘1Chronicles 23:31   And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD: (KJV)’

 

We see that the New Moons are in fact intermediary between the Sabbaths and the Feasts. Like the Feasts and the Sabbaths, the nexus between the sacrifices and the New Moons was fulfilled in Messiah. However, the observance of the New Moons themselves was not eliminated.

 

This observance is not to be construed with the worship of the moon, which is expressly forbidden.

‘Deuteronomy 4:19   And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (KJV)’

 

‘Deuteronomy 17:3    And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; (KJV)’

 

The observance of the Sabbaths and New Moons together with the set Feasts is given to mark the Plan of God and the flow of the cycles of the creation. The solar calendar does not perform this function.

 

From the restoration of the Passover of Hezekiah, after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Hezekiah restored the New Moons as well as the Feasts. No restoration will be complete until the New Moons are correctly restored to their rightful place in the system (see also Prove All Things, Church of God, In Truth, Vol. 2, Issue 1, p. 6).

‘2Chronicles 31:3  He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD. (KJV)’

 

Ezra 3:5 also notes the New Moons were restored under Ezra. Thus both major restorations involved the restoration of the New Moons.

‘Ezra 3:5   And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD. (KJV)’

 

The New Moon is the beginning or the First day of the month (Num. 10:10; 28:11). No system that bases itself on the relocation of the beginning of the month is valid. The Hillel calendar is invalid because of this fact. The actual Temple Calendar was based on the conjunction of the New Moon and we know that from the text in Philo.

 “This is the New Moon, or beginning of the lunar month, namely the period between one conjunction and the next, the length of which has been accurately calculated in the astronomical schools.” (Judaeus, Philo, The Special Laws, II, XXVI, 140, Treatise by F.H. Colson, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1937.)

 

The lunar calendar is the mark of the Holy People. In its notation to Exodus 12:2, the Mekilta states that: “the nations reckon by the sun, but Israel by the moon”.

 

‘The feasts of PASSOVER and BOOTHS were not set simply by the general lunar calculation, but on the basis of the appearance of the new moon of the month in which they occurred, PENTECOST depending on Passover in this respect ... Though it is impossible to document this fully, it seems probable that the sabbath was originally also part of this natural cycle of time, related to the phases of the moon, and that, following its separation the Feast of the New Moon continued as a separate observance (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 3, art. ‘New Moon’, p. 544).’

 

The conjecture regarding the Sabbath and New Moon is perhaps based upon the system of observance that we see in paper The Works of the Law Text - or MMT (No. 104). Strugnell and Qimron have translated the text from the DSS (see Bib. Arch. Review, Nov.-Dec. 1994). All historic Jewish rites for the announcement of the New Moon from the preceding Sabbath contain a prayer of eschatological content. The rationale for the observance was God’s creation of the moon as a “sign” of the unbreakable covenant with Israel, the “times” of whose cultus it decreed (Ps. 104:19; Ecclus. 43:6-8) (Int. Dict. ibid., see also Ber. R. 13d). The Calendar is thus an inseparable part of the covenant with Israel.

 

The New Moon was noted as significant for the giving of visions and prophecy, perhaps from 2Kings 4:23 but certainly from Ezekiel 26:1; 29:17; 31:1; 32:1 (cf. Isa. 47:13; Hag. 1:1). This directly refuted the astrologers and stargazers of the Babylonian system, as we see from Isaiah 47:13.

 ‘Isaiah 47:13   Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. (KJV)’

 

The monthly prognostications were done on the phases of the moon, thus perverting the system.

 

The Sabbaths and the New Moons both enjoined rest from work, as we see from Amos 8:5. It was a day of rejoicing. The mirth intended for the Holy Days was removed from Hosea 2:11.

‘Hosea 2:11   I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. (KJV)’

 

This was because of unfaithfulness and idolatry. God destroys His people because they do not keep His Laws. The end result is that He destroys the wealth of the nation.

‘Hosea 2:12    And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. (KJV)’

 

Fasting and mourning were suspended on the New Moons. We know that this occurred throughout Israel up until Messiah from the Apocrypha (Jth. 8:6). The ceremonies were proclaimed with trumpets (Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:3).

‘Psalm 81:3  Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. (KJV)’

 

The New Moon of significant months is especially kept from the texts.

‘1Samuel 20:6    If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family. (KJV)’

 

The New Moon of Nisan was significant, and also the New Moon of Tishri was itself the Feast of Trumpets (see also the paper Trumpets (No. 136)).

‘Ezekiel 45:18-20   Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary: 19 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. 20 And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house. (KJV)’

 

The cleansing of the sanctuary or Temple commenced on the New Moon of the First month (Nisan) beginning the Sacred Year (cf. Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241). This cleansed the inner court. This was to represent the elect as the inner wheel of Ezekiel’s vision. The cleansing of the simple and the erroneous was effected from the Seventh of the First month or Nisan. The priesthood had prepared themselves and the nation.

 

The New Moon of the Seventh month was also important.

‘Leviticus 23:24   Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (KJV)

Nehemiah 8:2 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. (KJV)’

 

The New Moon of the Seventh month thus commences the restoration through the Reading of the Law, which occurs every seven years of the Jubilee cycle over every day of Tabernacles (cf. also Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)).

 

‘Deuteronomy 31:10-12  And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: (KJV)

 

Nehemiah 8:18  Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (KJV)’

 

The symbolism here is that the seventh or Sabbath year represents the millennial cycle of one thousand years, commencing with the return of Messiah, who issues the Law from Jerusalem. The Law then spreads throughout the world from the subjugation of the nations. The reading on the Feast of Trumpets, in the restoration of Nehemiah, was to point towards the restoration of Messiah, and from Trumpets.

(cf. also the paper Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272)).

(section requoted from W. E. Cox The New Moons (No. 125), Christian Churches of God, 1995, 1999).

 

The Festivals according to Philo

 

In dealing with the Feasts under the Commandments we read what Philo has to say in The Specials Laws about the Fourth Commandment inter alia:

 

THE SPECIAL LAWS, II*

{**Yonge's title, A Treatise on the Special Laws, Which Are Referred to Three Articles of the Decalogue, Namely the Third, Fourth, and Fifth; About Oaths, and the Reverence Due to Them; About the Holy Sabbath; About the Honour To Be Paid to Parents.}

....

Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Number Seven. His next division begins and ends with roman numeral I (= X in the Loeb). The text follows the Loeb numbering.

X. (39) The next commandment is that concerning the sacred seventh day, in which are comprehended an infinite number of most important festivals. For instance, there is the release of those men who by nature were free, but who, through some unforeseen necessity of the times, have become slaves, which release takes place every seventh year. Again, there is the humanity of creditors towards their debtors, as they forgive their countrymen their debts every seventh year. Also there is the rest given to the fertile ground, whether it be in the champaign or in the mountainous country, which also takes place every seventh year. Moreover, there are those ordinances, which are established respecting the fiftieth year. And of all these things the bare narration (without looking to any inner and figurative signification) is sufficient to lead those who are well disposed to perfect virtue, and to make even those who are obstinate and stubborn in their dispositions more docile and tractable. (40) Now we have already spoken at some length about the virtue of the number seven, explaining what a nature it has in reference to the number ten; and also what a connection it has to the decade itself, and also to the number four, which is the foundation and the source of the decade. And now, having been compounded in regular order from the unit, it in regular order produces the perfect number twenty-eight; being multiplied according to a regular proportion equal in all its parts, it makes at last both a cube and a square. I also showed how there is an infinite number of beauties which may be extracted from a careful contemplation of it, on which we have not at present time to dilate. But we must examine every one of the special matters which are before us as comprehended in this one, beginning with the first. The first matter to be considered is that of the Festivals. [Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: To Show That the Festivals Are Ten in Number. This "treatise" begins with roman numeral I (= XI in the Loeb), enumerates each of the ten festivals individually, and extends through Loeb number 214. The text follows the Loeb numbering.]

XI. (41) Now there are ten festivals in number, as the law sets them down.

The first is that which any one will perhaps be astonished to hear called a festival. This festival is every day.

The second festival is the seventh day, which the Hebrews in their native language call the sabbath.

The third is that which comes after the conjunction, which happens on the day of the new moon in each month.

The fourth is that of the passover which is called the passover.

The fifth is the first fruits of the corn--the sacred sheaf. [Note the Wave Sheaf is one of the Ten festivals of the Temple period]

The sixth is the feast of unleavened bread, after which that festival is celebrated, which is really

The seventh day of seventh days.

The eighth is the festival of the sacred moon, or the feast of trumpets.

The ninth is the fast.

The tenth is the feast of tabernacles, which is the last of all the annual festivals, ending so as to make the perfect number of ten. We must now begin with the first festival.

 

{Note Philo here combines the Last Great Day with the Feast of Tabernacles making Ten instead of Eleven]

 

We notice here that in the introduction in dealing with the third Feast, namely the New Moon, Philo uses the term which has been rendered after the conjunction and some others have rendered as following in the sense of “according to” or “as determined by” the conjunction. However, he qualifies this matter by saying which happens on the day of the New Moon in each month. The text is thus quite clear that the New Moon is the day on which the conjunction occurs. In the later explanations Philo then goes on to state that the month is from one conjunction to the next as determined in the astronomical schools, as was quoted above.

 

There can thus be no error. The New Moon is on the day of the conjunction as determined by the schools from Jerusalem. To postpone the New Moon as is done by Judaism is to postpone all the festivals and make them of no value. It is simply thumbing one’s nose at God and His Laws. On the New Moon hang all the subsequent festivals.

 

Yonge’s translation lacked part of 140 and the texts of 142-144 (which is supplied here) and explains the timing and the theology behind the New Moon and why it runs according to the conjunction and the New Moon day is the day of the conjunction.

 

THE THIRD FESTIVAL

XXVI. (140) Following the order which we have adopted, we proceed to speak of the third festival, that of the new moon. First of all, because it is the beginning of the month, and the beginning, whether of number or of time, is honourable. Secondly, because at this time there is nothing in the whole of heaven destitute of light. (141) Thirdly, because at that period the more powerful and important body gives a portion of necessary assistance to the less important and weaker body; for, at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders. And this is, as it seems, an evident lesson of kindness and humanity to men, to teach them that they should never grudge to impart their own good things to others, but, imitating the heavenly bodies, should drive envy away and banish it from the Soul.{17}{sections 142-144 were omitted in Yonge's translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These lines have been newly translated for this volume.} (142) The fourth reason is that of all the bodies in the heaven, the moon traverses the zodiac in the least appointed time: it accomplishes its orbit in a monthly interval. For this reason the law has honored the end of its orbit, the point when the moon has finished at the beginning point from which it began to travel, by having called that day a feast so that it might again teach us an excellent lesson that in the affairs of life we should make the ends harmonious with the beginnings. This will happen if we hold the reins on our first impulses with the power of reason and do not permit them to refuse the reins and to run free like animals without anyone in charge of the herd.

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/philo/book28.html

 

Note, as we said above, Yonge does not have the full text of 140 as Colson does and does not have 142-144, which appear to have been lost or removed to obscure the exact nature of the New Moons. However, the earlier section above still leaves no room for doubt as to when it was and how it was determined.

 

Therefore, there is no authority for determining any other system such as the system formulated by and from the era of Rabbi Hillel II (ca. 358) to the eleventh century. The basis of the calculation of the Molad of Tishri is set so that there are a series of postponements in the Jewish year. Those postponements ensure that the Sabbaths and Holy Days do not have to be kept in sequence, except for the minimal times. This is because the Pharisees and their successors, the Rabbis, have made God’s Sabbaths so onerous that the Holy Day systems have become a burden. More importantly, the New Moons themselves testify against the validity of the system. In spite of the clear evidence of the heavens and the Laws as laid down from the creation, it is now argued that the Hillel calendar has authority and that the New Moons can not be kept because the Molad of Tishri determines the timing of the months, which no longer fully coincide with the New Moons. This sort of circular reasoning is popular with Jews and ministers of the Churches that keep the Feasts, but not the New Moons.

 

The authority for determining the calendar has been abdicated to the rabbinical authorities, operating within a system of calculation and established long after Christ and the Apostles. Indeed, the Church was faced with two Satanic attacks upon its doctrines at the same time. From the Council of Elvira (c. 300) an attack began to be made upon the Sabbaths. At the Council of Nicaea (ca. 325), the doctrine of the Godhead was impugned and the pagan Easter was harmonised among those sects. The rabbinical authorities ceased to exercise authority from Jerusalem (later from Jamnia). With the help of the Babylonian rabbis, Rabbi Hillel II developed the Hillel calendar and the calculation of the Molad of Tishri.

 

In 366 CE at the Council of Laodicea, the Sabbath was anathematised. In 381 at the Council of Constantinople, the Trinity was argued and, at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, it was formulated. The Hillel calendar can thus be seen for what it was and is. It was part of a sustained attack on the doctrines and religious observance of the Church and the people of God, by an apostate system. Judah has not kept the Holy Days of God correctly since 358 at least. Those Churches of God that follow the Hillel Jewish calendar are also not observing the Holy Days correctly.

 

The claim that the Feast of Tabernacles would be extended to nine days if a Sabbath follows the Last Great Day is an assumption that the Sabbath has some significance other than as the weekly Sabbath, when following a festival. If the postponements were to take effect, or such exceptions were to be made, then the Law would have mentioned them. They are not mentioned at all throughout the Bible, nor is there one shred of evidence that they were ever used or determined or even thought about prior to 344 CE. Some regard the year 344 as that in which the new calendar was introduced in some localities (Ency. Judaica, art. ‘Hillel’, (II; 330-365 CE)). In spite of the fact that the Samaritans (and the Sadducees, who by this time had disappeared) had been calculating the conjunction for centuries, the Jews later claimed there was no fixed system. At the time of the Mishnah (ca. 200 CE), allegedly there was no system of calculation in force, as the entire legislation of the Mishnah rests on the presupposition that, without any previous reckoning, each New Moon began when the New Moon became visible (Schürer, ibid., Vol. 1, p. 591). This was done on the evidence of reliable witnesses before the court in Jerusalem and then later in Jamnia (Schürer, ibid.).

 

The duration of each individual month was not fixed. This is confirmed by the two pieces of legislation of the Mishnah (as quoted by Schürer).

(1) mErub. 3:7; ‘If before the New Year a man feared that [the month Elul] might be intercalated...’[It is clear from mSheb. 10:2 that the later rule according to which Elul must always have 29 days, did not exist at that time (fn 11)] (2) mArak. 2:2, ‘In a year there are never less than four ‘full’ months [of thirty days], nor do more than eight months require to be considered.’

 

Schürer says that:

The first passage discloses that it was by no means determined in advance whether a month was to have 29 or 30 days. And the second passage shows how uncertain the calendar was under this empirical system: even in the age of the Mishnah (second century A.D.) it was considered possible that there might be years in which there were only four months of thirty days, and again others in which there were eight such months (i.e. that the lunar year might extend from 352 to 356 days, whereas in fact it lasts from 354 to 355 days) (see fn. 12 p. 592, ibid.).

(2) The system of intercalation was still not fixed in the second century A.D. It is true that Julius Africanus says that the Jews, like the Greeks, intercalated three months every eight years; [Julius Africanus in Euseb. Demonstr. evang. viii 2, 54 = Syncellus, ed. Dindorf 1, p. 611 = M. J. Routh Religiquiae Sacrae II, p. 302 ...] and there is no reason to doubt this statement respecting his own time (the first half of the third century A.D.) even though it is inexact in regard to the Greeks, the majority of whom had long since adopted the more accurate nineteen-year cycle. It is also generally valid for the time of Jesus, because even with the purely empirical method, the three intercalations during the course of eight years is a result that emerges of itself. Nevertheless knowledge of this eight year cycle in the astronomical section of the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees is still extremely vague; and it was not yet adapted to a fixed intercalary system (ibid.).

 

This text shows that the year could be, and was, 352-356 days in some years, whereas the postponements apply the rule of 354-355 days. This is an unsubstantiated, imposed rule.

 

Schürer shows the folly of constructing a calendar based on either of these systems in the Book of Enoch or the Book of Jubilees (ibid., pp. 592-593).

 

Footnote 12 on page 592 says:

In the context of the passage cited (m Arak. 2:2), possible minimum and maximum limits are given with regard to the most varied things. The above-mentioned oscillation in the length of the year was therefore actually observed, and in the time of the Mishnah was still regarded as possible. As a matter of fact, the statement appeared so remarkable to the authorities of the Babylonian Talmud that attempts were made to give it a new interpretation, see bArak. 8b-9a; Zuckerman Materialen, pp. 64 f., (ibid.).

 

Ignoring the evidence of the Samaritans, Schürer holds that the calendar was carried out by empirical observation in the time of the Mishnah without any advance calculation, as the following two rules of the Mishnah allegedly indicate.

 

(1) mMeg. 1:4, ‘If the Megillah (the Scroll of Esther) has been read in the First Adar, and the year is intercalated, it must be read again in the Second Adar’;

(2) mEduy. 7:7, ‘[R. Joshua and R. Papias] testified that the year may be declared a leap-year at any time during Adar; for previously this could be done only until Purim. They testified the year may be declared a leap-year conditionally. Once when Rabban Gamaliel had gone on a journey to obtain authority from the governor of Syria, and he was long absent, the year was declared a leap-year on condition that Rabban Gamaliel approved. And when he returned, he said, “I approve”; and so it was a leap year.’

 

The rule regarding the reading of Esther does not indicate observation, but rather the standing rule that Esther must also be read in the intercalated month. It makes no reference to any uncertainty as to the intercalation.

 

Schürer is certain that there was absolutely no calculation in advance (Schürer, ibid., p. 593).

 

The second reference above attempts to insinuate that the declaration of intercalation initially could only occur prior to Purim, but this rule itself is at the earliest post-Babylonian. Intercalation was pronounced no less than eight months in advance with the Samaritans; and the Sadducees had no lesser knowledge and system. It is more likely that the rabbinical system had no precise method that would have been accepted by the populace, in that it ran counter to the biblical texts. This was after the destruction of the Temple in any case.

 

The rule according to which it was decided whether to intercalate or not is very simple.

The feast of Passover, to be celebrated at full moon in the month of Nisan (14 Nisan), must always fall after the vernal equinox [meta isemerian earinen] ... Anatolius, in a fragment of great importance for the history of the Jewish calendar preserved in Eusebius HE vii 32, 16-19, characterizes this as the unanimous view of all the Jewish authorities...The statements of Philo and Josephus also accord with it. If therefore, it was noticed towards the end of the year that Passover would fall before the vernal equinox, the intercalation of a month before Nisan was decreed (Schürer, ibid., p. 593).

 

Schürer inserts “(14 Nisan)” here in the text based on the important fragment of Anatolius, which he says shows that 14 Nisan must fall after the equinox (cf. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VI, pp. 147ff.), and this matter is examined in the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277). It has been accepted in the twentieth century that 14 Nisan could fall on the equinox but this may not be the case, as we will see. The real issue seems to be with Anatolius, that the sacrifice at the end of the Fourteenth must see the full moon and thus he is speaking of the vernal equinox, preceding the sacrifice at 3 p.m. at the end of the 14 Nisan, and beginning the night of the Fifteenth of the First month. This matter has great significance for the start of the year. Anatolius also makes a significant error in this text involving the start and finish of Unleavened Bread, which is contradicted by the Bible source and the Samaritan and other practices (cf. ibid. and No. 277). From a careful reading of Anatolius, the rule is that the time of the equinox must precede the 3 p.m. sacrifice on the afternoon of 14 Nisan. If it does not the year must be intercalated. This is and was calculated months and years in advance.

 

Josephus says also that it was while the sun was in Aries, and this makes the system more precise and this fact is omitted. It is important that Schürer notes that the Greeks and the Babylonians (the Egyptians with their solar year were not involved here) had for centuries possessed a fixed calendar based on accurate computation. The Babylonians had such a calendar under the Persians and the Samaritans and Sadducees determined the calendar long in advance according to the conjunction. It is impossible that the Jews were not aware of that system. Schürer’s appeal to the stubbornness of the cult in the face of other knowledge is a telling statement, although not as he intended.

 

Only the association of the calendar with the religious cult, and the stubborn opposition of the cult to all scientific reforms, make such a state of affairs comprehensible. But in the end, scientific understanding made its impact here too, and did so from Babylon. The Babylonians, Mar Samuel in Nehardea and Rabbi Adda bar Ahaba in Sura, both from the third century A.D., are named as rabbis who made a particularly important contribution to the calendar system. The latter was accurately acquainted with the nineteen-year cycle in the improved form given it by Hipparchus. The introduction into Palestine of a calendar based on it is to be ascribed to the patriarch Hillel in the first half of the fourth century A.D. (Schürer, p. 594).

 

Why did they resist the knowledge of the entire system that surrounded them, and which was in their midst, and which had been in use during the Temple period? There is another answer to this problem, that Schürer hesitates to provide, and one that is obvious. The empirical system enabled the rabbis to shift the declarations to suit the cumbersome limitations imposed on the Faith by the traditions regarding the keeping of the Sabbath, New Moons and Feasts. The nineteen-year cycle had been known for centuries and was ancient in the East. For example, their map-making capacities relied on astronomical knowledge superior to Europe in the Reformation, and we have archaeological evidence that indicates the Bar Kochba rebels visited America (cf. C. Gordon, Before Columbus, London, 1971). However, it was only when the calculation system that enabled the postponements to be effected in advance had been sufficiently perfected that the later rabbinical system would accept the advance calculation methods. The system in Palestine was not a lack of knowledge of the calculations. They possessed such knowledge and implemented the system in Palestine during the entire Temple period. It was rather the absence of a precise system that would enable the keeping of the Feasts within the cumbersome system of tradition that had been imposed on it. This did not happen until the fourth century CE. Without the traditions that are of themselves invalid, the system of calculation could have remained in operation as it had many centuries earlier. These were the traditions for which Christ had condemned the Pharisees.

 

The correct system of the calculation of the month based on the New Moon is perfectly predictable. From the New Moon at full dark there can be a larger number of thirty-day months in a year. This would return to the pre-tradition observations of up to eight thirty-day months (see above). The Passover must always fall after the vernal equinox. The New Moon may be before the equinox up to fourteen days.

 

The process of the New Moon is also interrelated with the tidal system of Spring and Neap Tides. The Spring Tides always occur from the Full and New Moons. The Neap Tides occur from the quarters (see Annexure).

 

The rules that developed are seen to be a process of refinement in order to place tradition over the Laws of God because the traditions made the observance of the Holy Days onerous.

 

The argument that the calendar is a responsibility of the Jews, as part of the Oracles of God, is a false understanding that misapprehends the meaning of Scripture (cf. the paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)).

 

Another absurdity of the Jewish authority argument, within the religious bodies that follow the Jewish authority argument, is that: if such is the case, then those who acknowledge such authority should keep a Sivan 6 Pentecost, which most do not do. In fact, they openly attack the authority of the Jewish calendar on this issue, as it is so blatantly wrong. This is incoherent reasoning. The Jews are either inspired and have authority, or they are wrong. If they have God-given authority over the Calendar then the Church must follow them. If they do not, the Church must determine the correct Calendar from the Bible. The New Moons are central to this issue. The Holy Days are determined from the New Moons and the calculations are precise over centuries.

 

The New Moons are thus kept from their event, not from contrivance or postponement.

 

Arguments against the keeping of the New Moons from the predication that they are rendered impossible from the adjustments and postponements from the calculation of the Molad of Tishri, are based on false premises and formally absurd. Such argument assumes that there is some validity for the practice, which there is not, and then argues from the derived practice against keeping a biblical institution that Messiah plainly says he will institute and force all nations to keep, when he takes up rule from Jerusalem (Isa. 66:23). All flesh will worship God on the Sabbaths and the New Moons. The Feasts are also required as we see from Zechariah 14:16-19. This Holy Calendar of God will be enforced by control of the harvests and the food supply. Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb. 13:8). If Messiah will require it of all nations then, he requires it of the elect now. Arguments against the New Moons from the Molad of Tishri are based upon the premise that there is some validity for the Hillel calendar and the postponements, which there is not. Indeed, such argument proves that the Hillel or modern Jewish calendar is incompatible with the word of God and the correct observance of His Sacred Calendar.

 

After they had determined the new calendar, Hillel II said that it would stand until Messiah came. That statement was made because it was known that it had no biblical basis and that Messiah would have to determine the system. Hillel knew, from Isaiah 66:23, that the New Moons would be reintroduced when Messiah came and he knew, therefore, that what he was doing had no validity for the millennial restoration. The fact is that Messiah would not have countenanced such a system, because it transgressed the Law by tradition. Christ had already condemned the Scribes and Pharisees because of their traditions, some three hundred years earlier. Christ removed their authority with the ordination of the Seventy (Lk. 10:1,17).

 

Matthew 15:2-6   Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. (KJV)

 

The rabbis know the calendar is wrong and some are concerned about it (cf. Why Is Passover So Late In 1997? (No. 239)). The tampering with the calendar had happened off and on for some time. God condemns the demeaning of His Feasts in these various forms through Isaiah. The condemnation in Isaiah concerned as much the spirit in which they were kept and the injustice carried on in the nation before, during and after, as it did playing with the calendar. However, Jeroboam saw what God thought about postponing Feasts (cf. the paper Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar (No. 191)).

Isaiah 1:13-14   Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. (KJV)

 

The emphasis here is on your New Moons and Feasts. These activities being condemned are not God’s New Moons and Feasts. They have been perverted by men and their traditions. This happens by the practices and attitudes within, but also it occurs from the timing of the New Moon, affecting the placement of the Feasts. The wrong New Moon means the wrong Feast and God’s Law is broken. Observation itself is not an adequate reason for uncertainty, as to the New Moon and the Feasts.

 

The Calendar is based upon the New Moon, a precise astronomical event that is perfectly predictable, and is the event laid down by biblical Law as the basis of the determination of the Holy Day systems. This event is calculated from the time in Jerusalem to place it within a consistent Earth day.

 

That day is a twenty-four hour period calculated from sunset (twilight) to sunset (twilight) as at the equinox or, in other words, from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. approximately. This is especially relevant with the First month (Nisan) and the Seventh month (Tishri) because they are closest to the equinox.

 

The Jubilee

The entire Calendar system is based on the Jubilee. The Jubilee is a fifty-year cycle, which is reflected in the construction of the Temple and the Church and the Bible structure. Some later Jewish and Samaritan writers (cf. Bowman, Samaritan Documents, loc. cit., ch. 2, Tolidah and Lev. 25:10,11), erroneously tried to make it a forty-nine year cycle from the second Jubilee onwards. The Jubilee pointed towards the life of man and his fifty years of growth. The Laws on which it is based are covered in the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256). It is made up of seven cycles each of seven years. Harvests are granted in the Calendar every six years so that the Sabbath Year can be kept (Lev. 25:3-7). The Law is read every Sabbath Year at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:10-13). The structure of the Law and the Prophets as read at the Sabbatical Feast (prepared from the 21/40 or 1998 Sabbatical Reading of the Law) is explained in papers on the Law and the Commandments (Nos. 251-263); (cf. also the paper The Law of God (No. L1).

 

A treble harvest is granted at the Forty-eighth year of the Jubilee in the sixth year of the last cycle so that the two years of the Sabbath and the Jubilee can be kept (Lev. 25:21). This Jubilee year is counted from Atonement on the Forty-ninth year to Atonement in the Fiftieth year or Jubilee, when all lands return to the tribal possessors. All land values are calculated from this basis (Lev. 25:15). This year is kept and the Jubilee blown at Atonement in year forty-nine (Lev. 25:8-9), and then kept holy for one year to Atonement on the Fiftieth year (Lev. 25:9-13), so that the lands can then be ploughed and sown for the spring harvest in Abib of the First year of the next Jubilee. This year (50th) is an eighth normal year of the cycle (Lev. 25:22).

 

The Jubilee occurs in the years 24 and 74 BCE and 27 and 77 CE in each century. The next Jubilee, the fortieth Jubilee since the ministry of Messiah and the forty-ninth Jubilee since the reconstruction of the Temple and the restoration of the Law under Ezra and Nehemiah, is in the sacred year 2027/8. The year 2028 will start the Jubilee of Jubilees and the new millennial reign of Messiah as 1/50 (cf. Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250); The Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108); Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159); and Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272)).

 

God’s Calendar has stood perfectly with His Plan performed in accordance with that Calendar for millennia. It is perfectly in accord with His Law.

 

If God had wanted qualification or adjustment of His system, He would have given clear instruction, as He has done on every other aspect of His Law. Where He is silent on a matter, we can safely infer there is no basis for the system that qualifies what He has laid down. God, not Judah, has authority over the unchanging Scriptures and His own Calendar.

 

Addendum:

The Samaritan calendar is determined according to the conjunction. Along with the calendar of the Sadducees and the Priesthood during the Temple period, it was the same in this aspect and also in respect of determining Pentecost, which they specified as falling on Sunday. What is not readily understood is that they differed in one aspect, which was that of the determination of the equinox and the beginning of the year. This distinction thus made the Samaritan calendar a month later than the Temple calendar for some sixty percent of the time, even though both were determined according to the conjunction. This aspect is explained in the new edition of the paper The Moon and the New Year (No. 213) and is also examined in the latest edition of Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar (No. 191).

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Appendix A

 

JUBILEE

 

 

Leviticus 25:20-22

                                            20: And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:

                                            21: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.

                                            22: And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store. (KJV)