BUILDING GODíS CALENDAR...
FROM THE BIBLE!
"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" (GEN. 1:14).
The rules for building a calendar are written in God's Word. God has given His people instructions and guidelines that determine a day, a week, a month, and the year. These directions are found "here a little and there a little" throughout the Bible. As Christians we must be like the Bereans who, " ...were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed"... (Acts 17:11-12). Isaiah asks, " Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; (True rest will be found only when we hear and obey God) and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward..." (Isa. 28:9-13). God spoke to His people clearly and simply. Godís people were without excuse in Isaiahís time, and we are without excuse today. Godís counsel, designed to be a blessing, became a witness against them. Truth became a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
Godís Word supplies us the tools to build a calendar. There has never been a calendar or clock designed and developed that has not used these tools! " And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them (the objects) be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 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. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 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. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day" (Gen. 1:14-19).
Notice that a day is a 24 hour period beginning at evening. The sun sets, rises, and sets again. This cycle of rising and setting is a day. " And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day" (Gen. 1:3-5).
A week is seven days. A week is completed after the setting of the sun seven times. " And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3).
A month is clearly from one new moon to the next new moon. "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another (month), and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD" (Isa. 66:23). "In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar" (Est. 3:7). Next, notice what is written about a month in Jewish literature. "As the moon moves around the Earth, there is one moment that it is exactly between the Earth and the sun. At that moment the Earth faces the dark side of the moon. Already for about a day before this moment the moon has not been visible from any point on the Earth and it will remain invisible for about a day more. This moment is called the molad, the birth of the new moon. We use the molad as the official beginning and the end point of the cycle of the moon." (Understanding the Hebrew Calendar, Rabbi Nathan Bushwick, page 71). Thus, we have Biblical as well as Jewish documentation for the month.
A year as defined by God's Word is the cycle of seasons. The most accurate count for a solar year is from the spring equinox to the next spring equinox. The motion of the sun about the earth is used to define "year. "A year is the time it takes the sun to complete the circuit of the stars. This is a ĎSidereal Yearí. The vernal equinox is used to define the ĎTropical Year or the Season Year.í The ĎSeason yearí is a period of time elapsed between the successive passages of the sun from one vernal equinox to the next vernal equinox." The sidereal Year 365.25636 days is 20 minutes longer than the Tropical year 365.24220 days (Astronomy Made Simple, Cadillac Publishing, 1963, page 140).
Godís Word strongly indicates that the new year starts at a new moon nearest the spring equinox. "And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exo. 12:1-2). "This day came ye out in the month Abib" (Exo. 13:4). "Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel" (Num.9:2-5). "And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up" (Exo. 9:31-32). Moses was inspired to write about the crops harvested at the season Abib or the beginning of months. This Biblical information provides another clue that helps Godís people (His called out ones) identify the cycle of seasons and the new year.
Rabbi Nathan Bushwick states "Each year in the month of Adar, they (the Sanhedrin) would determine how much longer the winter would last. Their determination was based upon weather and agricultural conditions, and upon calculations of the date of the spring equinox. If they came to the conclusion that the next month would be spring already, they would declare it a regular year and the next month would be Nisan (Abib). If however, they decided that it would not be spring for another month, they would declare the next month Adar Sheni (Adar II) and it would be a leap year." (Understanding the Hebrew Calendar, page 51). The evidence is plainly in the Bible as well as Jewish Literature. The leap years were not fixed until they were set by Hillel II in 358-359 AD. At that time the leap years were set and became a permanent part of the Hebrew calendar as they are today. However the leap years do not match Godís leap years when the moons are counted as God requires! That is why Passover was a month late this year--1997, if you follow the Jewish (Hebrew calendar)! Hillel II set the leap years when they were not needed! Hillel II rejected Godís instructions regarding the building of the calendar. Hillel II designed a calendar that was acceptable to the people rather than obey God! The leap years were set for convenience to prevent having back to back Sabbaths!!
There is a nineteen year time cycle of solar years that command our attention. This time cycle is caused by the sun, moon and earth being at or near the same position every nineteen years. This time cycle varies being exactly nineteen years long by only 1 hour and 26 minutes. There are 235 lunations (new moons) in a nineteen year cycle. When dividing 235 by 19, we can see the result is, 12 years with 12 new moons (Months), with a remainder of 7 months. These extra seven months then are distributed through out the nineteen solar years to make seven leap years with thirteen months each. We end up with twelve years having twelve months each and seven years having thirteen months each. When literally counting the new moons there are by actual count seven leap years in a nineteen year cycle. There are not three years in a row that have twelve months in them, nor two years in a row that have thirteen months in them. The spring equinox and the Passover are used as a guide to determine the seven leap years in a nineteen year cycle.
Early in God's Word, we are shown the basic formula for the calendar. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them (the objects) be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14). Remember Godís formula is simple and clear (in harmony). Count twelve moons as the guide for a new year. If Passover, the fourteenth day, is ON or after the spring equinox, that new moon is the new year day. If Passover is before the spring equinox, add another moon (month) for the new year day! The new moon, spring equinox (solar year) and Passover will always determine when the new year begins. This guide forms a pattern that doesnít drift away from the beginning of the appointed time for the Holy Days! "Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it" (Num. 9:2-3). "...thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt" (Deu.16:6). The season the Israelites left Egypt was when the barley was headed and in green ear. "And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up" (Exo. 9:31-32).
The Bible nowhere indicates that the Feast of Tabernacles needs to be after the fall equinox. God says to keep the Feast of Tabernacles at the turn of the year! "And a feast of weeks shall you observe for yourself. The firstfruits of the harvest of wheat; and the feast of ingathering (at) the turn of the year" (Exo. 34:22 Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament, By Jay Green, Sr. Published by Hendrickson, 1991). By using the formula: (1.) Nearest new moon to the Spring Equinox + (2.) Count 14 days to find Passover + (3.) If Passover is ON or after the Spring equinox, then we know this new moon is Abib 1! By using this formula both the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles will be at the turn of the year. If the above formula is not used, the possibility exists for two Passoverís to occur within the same solar year.
The Sacred calendar that most Churches of God keep incorporates Postponements. What are postponements? The Postponements originated from the rules laid down by the Sages and the Sanhedrin in the 2nd century A.D. The Pharisees and Sages ( at that time in history) made up the Sanhedrin. According to Arthur Spier the author of the Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, page 15, Revised 1986 Edition, The Jewish calendar postpones Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) 60% of the time because of four obstacles. These obstacles are called Dehioth (rules for postponements). The postponements determine when the first day of the seventh month will begin. These rules for postponements of God's Holy Days are as follows:
"When the Molad Tishri occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the following day.
When the Molad Tishri occurs at noon (18h) or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the next day. (Or if this day is a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, to Monday, Thursday or Sabbath because of Dehiah a).
When the Molad Tishri of a common year falls on Tuesday, 204 parts after 3 a.m. i.e., 3d 9h 204p or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to Wednesday, and because of Dehiah a, further postponed to Thursday.
When, in a common year succeeding a leap year, the Molad Tishri occurs on Monday morning 589 parts after 9 a.m. i.e., 2d 15h 589p or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the next day.
Note: In more than 60% of all years Rosh Hashanah does not occur on the day of the Molad but is postponed according to one of the Dehioth. Therefore the Dehioth are actually not the exceptions to the rule but the rule." (The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar by Arthur Spier, Feldheim Pub. Ltd. Page 15). (see our article; Dehioth: The Rules of Postponements)
Arthur Spier is considered to be a leading authority for the Hebrew calendar for our time. "Rosh Hashanah", (means Feast of Trumpets). Molad, (the time of conjunction of moon and sun). From The Code of Maimonides, Book three Treatise Eight, Sanctification of the New Moon , page 89, where the molad is defined as "the moment in which sun and moon, in their uniform motion, become conjoined in a certain part of the sky, which occurs in the same way everywhere-- in contrast to the varying times at which the new crescent first becomes visible in different areas." Maimonides, also said on page 32, "as a rule, the day of the molad is the day of declaration (that is, the day of conjunction is normally declared to be New Moon Day), except in the four cases of postponements." Another quote, "If the conjunction falls at any of these four periods, New Moon Day (Of Tishri) is declared to be not on the day of the molad (mean conjunction) but on the following day or on the day after the following day" (i.e. Maimonides, page 31). If a Holy Day supersedes a Sabbath day, then a Holy Day must supersede a preparation day!
Have you ever played the game, Gossip or Telephone? In this game you may have 20 to 25 people sitting in a circle. One person will whisper a short story in the ear of the person sitting next to him. Each repeats the story in the ear of the next person until it gets back to the original story teller. When it finally gets back to the original story teller, it is usually so polluted and changed with each person's personality and thoughts about what he thought he heard. The person who started the story shakes his head in disbelief because it has changed so much!! Yet you and I are to believe that the Jews preserved the Hebrew calendar orally, and correctly, for four thousand years. I don't think so!
Trumpets falls only 40% of the time on the seventh new moon when using the postponement rules! We are to keep the Feast of Trumpets and all of Godís Holy Days on the days God has commanded, not when it is convenient for us! According to the Jewsí calendar, they count from their day of Trumpets (different then Godís 60% of the time), backward 177 days to identify when the first day of God's calendar should begin. The rules for postponements are not found in the Bible. There is no justification to change Godís Holy Time. The Bible gives no instruction to count backward to find the first day of the year. Neither are we given a command to use the Dehioth (rules of postponements). We cannot rely on the Jewish calendar (sometimes called the Hebrew calendar) or what is called "God's Sacred calendar." This calendar has been devised by men, not by God's Word. Does it matter to God if we obey Him? Can we change what God says and do things our own way?
The Churches of God are all teaching syncretism by following the Hebrew Calendar as calculated and interculated by the Religion of Judaism!! Judaism is not the religion of the Old Testament. Judaism is not the religion God gave to Moses! Syncretism is the mixing of religious beliefs! God did not give Judaism the right to change the Holy Days or to count back from their Tishri 1 to find the first day of the new year. God did not include in His Word, the Jewish 'forbidden days' that postpone a new moon! God does say: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deu. 4:2).
Should we allow ourselves to be led by the word of man? Does it matter to God what days we keep holy? YES, IT DOES MATTER TO GOD!! The Holy Days are a representation of His plan for mankind. If we want to be with God when the Holy Days are fulfilled, we had better keep the Holy Days on the right day!!
It is important for God to know that we will obey Him rather than men who teach Syncretism. Look into the Word of God . Can you find where God says to change the days He commands to keep holy? Study the interculations of the calendar as it relates to Godís Holy Days. Don't believe me, believe your Bible!! If the Bible is the foundation for life, study to find out why you keep the Hebrew calendar. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Each person must prove truth from God's Word! We each stand or fall according to Godís Word. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1Thes. 5:21).
The Holy Days are a prophecy for us today. If we do not keep the Holy Days correctly, we will miss our appointment with God. Is this the reason for the second Passover? Are we following the Word of God, or do we make a preparation day more important than a Holy Day? Do we want to follow Judaism and miss Passover? The second Passover was instituted for the priests who were not ready and the people who did not go up. "For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem" (2 Chro. 30:2-3).
Remember, if you did not keep Godís appointed time---then you did not keep the feasts as required by God. This is an end time test for Godís people! Will you obey God or just follow the tradition of men? "...... and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness" (Zech. 8:8). God sets apart those who are ready, by His truth. God's truth is from His Word, not taught from the words of the Talmud. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
Which Holy Days do you keep?
© Church of God, In Truth