Part 3 of 4 in the Calendar Series
After reading the first two articles in this calendar series, many may come to the conclusion that only the present Hebrew Calendar is reliable and perfect. They suppose that it was derived from God (YHWH) at creation and that the Jews were faithful custodians of the calendar. Because of these two assumptions, most churches today, among other groups, have simply adopted it “as is” without any questions.
But are these simple assumptions really true? Has the present Hebrew Calendar been spared from being tampered with through all the centuries past? It’s time we honestly examined biblical facts plus the record of history concerning the present Hebrew Calendar.
But before we begin, please consider this important fact. Since Satan is the greatest DECEIVER of all mankind, do you think he wasn’t wise and crafty enough to have spared such calendar from his clever corruptions and manipulations? How do we know? And how can we really prove it? Please read on to the end of this article series.
Some Very Disturbing Observations
If you were really observant enough, did you notice that in the modern Hebrew Calendar, the beginning of the fifteenth day of the first month (or the first day of the Days of Unleavened Bread) is not always on a full moon? Being the fifteenth or mid-point of the Lunar Cycle, it should be a full moon. (If you failed to notice it yet, please try do it next time.)
Did you also notice that the beginning of the fifteenth day of the seventh month (or the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles) is also not always on a full moon? (According to God’s calendar and astronomical rules, it also should be.)
One more example. On the early evening of April 4, 2015, we observed a lunar eclipse then but which came two full nights AFTER we have already partaken of the Passover, scheduled then on April 2 of that first month of the year — strictly following the official Hebrew Calendar followed by the Jews and some churches. Astronomically speaking, the lunar eclipse of the full moon should have been seen on the next night after the Passover service (on the eve of the fifteenth day), not a couple of nights after.
With these few documented facts and observations, something is definitely wrong with the present Hebrew Calendar now in common use. Very clearly and factually, it is not accurate!
Jewish authorities themselves in Jerusalem ADMIT that the present Hebrew Calendar is no longer accurate, but sadly they have no power to correct it. Why? Because there is no Sanhedrin (Jewish Ecclesiastical Ruling Body) to make the needed corrections ever since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.! So, what should we do in the face of these errors?
Other Important Questions to Address
- What are the controversial changes in the Hebrew Calendar?
- In what other ways was the Hebrew Calendar corrupted?
- How biblically authoritative are the Rules of Postponements?
- Is the practice of “sighting” the start of the New Moon biblical?
(Please read on to the end of this article, including Part 4 to find out the answers.)
The Hebrew Calendar
The Hebrew calendar was originally known as God’s Calendar, the Biblical Calendar, or the Sacred Calendar long before the Hebrew people came into existence. Since the Jews eventually took custody and control of it, such calendar became known also as the Jewish Calendar.
As the Creator of all things (both visible and invisible), it was He [Christ/Yahshua] who was appointed by the Father from the very beginning to create matter, space, laws, energy, and time (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15, 16).
The very sophisticated and accurate knowledge needed to create such a calendar can obviously come only as a direct revelation of God to man, in the same manner that God directly revealed specialized knowledge in building the tabernacle and all its accessories to both Bezalel and Aholiab (Exodus 31:2-11).
In measuring time on earth, God used such factors as the rotation of the earth on its axis (day), the revolution of the moon around the earth (month), plus the revolution of the earth around the sun (year). As a farther reference point, the earth’s position among the stars is reckoned from our view of the 12 Constellations following our orbit around the sun. The seasons on earth are automatically structured to occur due to the tilt of the earth’s axis at 23.5 degrees in relation to the plane of its orbit around the sun.
Concerning time designation and measurement, God revealed the guiding factors from the very beginning, which is found in the first chapter of Genesis (dealing with creation), when He said:
Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years…
~Genesis 1:14, NIV
The Historical Roots and Influence of God’s Calendar
As indicated earlier, the knowledge of God’s calendar was revealed to the earliest patriarchs about 6,000 years ago. Since most of them lived very long lives extending close to the great flood, and with Noah being born 600 years before the flood, he was of course very familiar with such calendar. After the flood, Noah lived on for another 350 years (making his lifespan last 950 years), such that the knowledge of God’s calendar was generally passed on and known to the post-flood generations of the ancient world (Genesis 7:6; 9:28, 29).
Abraham, who was a faithful servant of God (and who often talked with God) became familiar with God’s calendar, too. His descendants (the Israelites) eventually became influential in Egypt during the reign of Joseph. Much later, Moses, who was adopted by the Pharaoh as his son, had unlimited access to all the great store of knowledge in Egypt, such that he was reputed to be “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22), which obviously included the calendar.
Many centuries later, the once-captive Jewish young man, Daniel became very influential in the entire Babylonian Empire, due to certain special knowledge revealed directly by God to him. As the wisest man and top President in the whole empire, he shared much knowledge (obviously including calendrical) to the Babylonians and later on to the Persians during the reign of King Darius (Ezekiel 28:3; Daniel 2:46-49).
Sadly, modern historians failed to make all these important connections, making them conclude with great wonder and surprise about the seemingly accurate knowledge of the people behind the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persian calendars — ignoring the fact that such accurate knowledge can come only through their contact with certain notable servants of God like Moses and Daniel.
Proofs of the Existence of God’s Sacred Calendar in Ancient Times
Some erroneously believe that the ancients were ignorant stone-age people. But history and archeology prove otherwise. Consider the advanced technology required to build the great pyramids of Egypt, or the building of Noah’s gigantic, 450-foot-long ark even much earlier, without the benefit of any modern tools and heavy equipment as we know them today. Apart from that knowledge and the advanced technology they possessed was obviously the knowledge and existence of this precise calendar too.
Evidence of the Existence of God’s Sacred Calendar:
- How did the ancients determine the ages of the patriarchs in the Bible, and when each begot children?
- How did Noah precisely date events leading to, during, and after the flood?
- Obviously, there was already such a calendar which included knowledge of the original weekly cycle of 7 days, the length of the months, the number of days in a year, plus the cumulative reckoning of years starting from creation.
Notice these telling verses during Noah’s time while the flood was raging on earth:
Evidence of a seven-day time-reckoning (Genesis 7:4, 10; 8:10, 12):
In the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month… the rains were upon the earth 40 days and 40 nights. [How did he know?]
~Genesis 7:11, 12
And the waters prevailed upon the earth 150 days.
And the ark rested in the seventh month, in the seventeenth day of the month… And the waters decreased… until the tenth month… first day of the month… And at the end of 40 days… Noah opened the window… [How did he know without a calendar?]
And… in the six hundred and first year (601st year), first month, first day of the month, the waters were dried up… and in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, was the earth dried.
~Genesis 8:13, 14
NOTE: How could Noah be so accurate to know the day, the month, and the year, if there was no precise calendar in use at that time? Eventually, that Calendar knowledge (among other things) was passed on to God’s chosen people (Romans 3:1, 2). More on this topic later.
God’s Consistent Definition of Units of Time
An HOUR is a measure of time during the daylight part of a day which is divided into 12 equal parts starting at about 6 o’clock sunrise (John 11:9). Rather than an AM (ante meridiem) and a PM (post meridiem) reckoning, the night parts were designated as “watches” during New Testament times. [This word was derived from guard duty assigned during certain hours of the night to “watch.”] (Luke 12:38)
A DAY is defined by God as starting and ending at sunset (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; Leviticus 23:32). This is in contrast to the popular pagan midnight-to-midnight time reckoning, which without clocks then, was impossible to exactly determine. Thus, it was somewhat an impractical demarcation of time in ancient times.
A WEEK is defined by God as an unbroken cycle of seven days starting at creation with the first day of the week (now called Sunday), and ending with the seventh day [called Sabbath — which in Hebrew literally means to cease, pause, or rest] (Genesis 2:2-3). Since days begin at sunset, the Sabbath starts at sunset on the sixth day of the week (Friday) and ends at sunset of the seventh day of the week (Saturday). For more details, please read our article on this website, “Has the Sabbath Reckoning Been Lost in History?”
The imposition of a worldwide Sabbath rest upon all of mankind is foretold in Isaiah 66:23. The original names of the first six days of the week simply followed their ordinal number sequence in the week: first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, sixth day, and then the Sabbath (there were no pagan names then).
A MONTH is derived from the word for “moon.” The old month ends at the time of the conjunction of the moon and the sun (as viewed from Jerusalem), and a new month begins soon after that conjunction. Isaiah 66:23 defines both the weekly and the monthly cycles in the Kingdom when God will restore all things, including the proper beginning and length of the month, wherein their fractional parts will be rounded off (Acts 3:19-21). More comments on this later.
A YEAR in the Sacred Calendar starts with the first new moon after the Spring Equinox (usually March 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) and ends at its original starting point. Most years have 12 months, but seven times in a 19-year time cycle there are 13 months. The first month after the Spring Equinox was named by God as “Abib” or “Aviv” which literally means “green ears” when most vegetation begins to sprout new leaves (Exodus 12:2; 13:4).
NOTE: “Equinox” is a Latin word (which literally means “equal night”) referring to the time of the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator on earth and results to a nearly equal length of day and night. This occurs twice in a year: March 21 when it heads northward and September 23 when it heads southward.
The 19-Year Time Cycle
This is also known as the Metonic Cycle, a feature found in the Hebrew (Luni-solar) Calendar and other advanced calendars like the ancient Babylonian calendar. Confirmed by astronomers through observation and mathematical computation, this is a phenomenon where the earth, moon, and sun come into alignment exactly every 19 years. Since there is a difference of about 11 days between 12 lunar revolutions around the earth (354 days) and a solar year (365.25 days) for the earth to make a complete revolution around the sun, an intercalary month (or a thirteenth month) is added seven times during a 19-year time cycle — on year: 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19.
God’s Seven Annual Holy Days
Unique and intrinsic in God’s Sacred Calendar are Seven Annual Holy Days, tied to the two harvest seasons in Israel as defined by God (not man). These factors also determine whether there is an intercalary month in that yearly cycle or not. (More details on this later.)
The start of the yearly Festivals is computed from the first New Moon which occurs on or after the Spring Equinox. This is computed not from the seventh month as practiced by the Jews, but as God commanded Moses, on the First Month of the year which starts at springtime [not during autumn] (Exodus 12:2; 13:4; 23:16; 34:22).
When Are the Festivals Reckoned?
Since God’s Calendar is reckoned in connection with the Spring and Fall Harvest seasons, He prescribed exactly when it should occur:
Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering [Feast of Tabernacles] at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
~Exodus 23:16, NIV
And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost], of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering [Feast of Tabernacles] at the year’s end.
These two commands tell us that the celebration will be “at the end of the [harvest] year.” The Hebrew word translated as “end” in Exodus 34:22 is “tekufah” [Strong’s # H8622] which means: coming around, a circuit of time or space, a turning… at the circuit; or at the end of the harvest season of the year.
Translated into our modern times, the start of the Feast of Tabernacles is to be observed on or after the Autumn Equinox [usually September 23], and not before, which will still fall during the summer season.
NOTE: Any Month (or Festival) that is reckoned to begin before the start of the Spring Equinox [March 21] does NOT obey God’s command on this matter. Nor does any Feast of Tabernacles that falls before the Fall Equinox [September 23]. In the same way that there is a specific starting and ending point for the Sabbath (at sunset, not just on any hour), the month likewise should also properly end and start on moon conjunction, while the year should also properly end and start on the Spring Equinox (March 21, and not before it).
This should give you a basic understanding of, and a foundational background on the principles governing the Hebrew Calendar. Failing to properly grasp these things will make it somewhat difficult for you to properly understand Part 4 of this Calendar Series, and may sometimes lead people to make wrong conclusions.
Therefore, watch out for Part 4 which will discuss The Shocking Corruptions in the Present Hebrew Calendar and its many implications.