FEAST CALENDAR INFORMATION
This article was written to provide and make available information which can be used to declare a feast calendar that does not follow the Jewish new moon dates that were calculated in about 358/359 A.D. by the patriarch Hillel II that begin their seventh month for the 6000 years 3761 B.C. to 2240 A.D. He also made the proper declarations for all of them. This means the patriarch Hillel II formally sanctified each new moon dates in advance, and intercalated all future leap years until such time as a new recognized Sanhedrin would be established in Israel. These seventh month new moon dates were calculated so the Jews around the world could observe the Jewish feast days on the same date because the Sanhedrin (highest Jewish Court) must declare the new moon and it was going to be disbanded by the Roman ruler.
The Jewish seventh month new moon dates are declared after using their traditional postponement (Dehioth) rules to prevent the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, Ethanim 10) from occurring before or after the weekly Sabbath. This means the Day of Atonement shall not occur on a Friday or Sunday. To achieve this, postponement rules are used to prevent the seventh month, Ethanim, from starting on a Wednesday or Friday. For if Ethanim 1 is on Wednesday, the Day of Atonement (ten days later) will fall on a Friday, which their tradition does not allow. And if Ethanim 1 is on Friday then the Day of Atonement will fall on a Sunday, which their tradition does not allow.
Another Jewish tradition prevents the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles from occurring on the weekly Sabbath so they can observe their traditional rite called the Waving of the Willows (Hoshana Rabbah, Ethanim 21). On the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, they march seven circuits around the pedestal where the Torah scroll is placed during Torah readings in the synagogue. As they march, they shout great praises (hoshanahs) to God as they beat willow branches upon the floor. To them, this is work and should the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles fall upon the weekly Sabbath, they feel they cannot carry out those marches. To achieve this, the seventh month (Ethanim 1) is not allowed to begin on a Sunday; for if it did then Ethanim 21 would fall on the weekly Sabbath, which their tradition does not allow. So in those years when the Waving of the Willows (Hoshanah Rabbah) rite falls upon the weekly Sabbath they postpone God's annual Sabbath dates one or two days later so Hoshanah Rabbah will not fall upon the weekly Sabbath. This results in delaying the new moon dates that determine the yearly feasts of the Lord in those years for no other reason than to be able to carry out these non-Biblical rituals. In doing so, they make their traditional rituals to be greater than God's yearly feasts in Leviticus, chapter 23. When Jesus was questioned by the scribes and Pharisees about his disciples not observing the Jew's traditions, Jesus called them hypocrites and said, "But in vain (#3155, maten; folly, to no purpose:-- in vain) they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:6-8.) The postponement rules are not found in the Bible (KJV).
The former Worldwide Church of God feast calendar dates were calculated by Ambassador College from 3761 B.C. to 2034 A.D. (the end of a 19 year time cycle). They used the Jewish seventh month new moon dates that are calculated by using the Jewish postponement rules that delay the date of the new moons thus delaying the LORD'S feast dates in Leviticus, chapter 23. They counted back 177 days (three 30 days months and three 29 day months) from the Jewish postponed seventh month date to determine the beginning of the first month of the festival year which usually will not start on the date of the dark new moon. They identify that first month date as "First Day of Sacred Year." Ambassador College also printed a copy of the Jewish traditional postponement rules and which years in a leap year cycle a month was intercalated or inserted to determine the dates for the beginning of the seventh month. Because they insert a 13th new moon in the years when the sun and moon did not divide a 13th dark new moon, they are out of step with the Lord's "appointed times, set feasts" by as much as an additional month, causing them to observe their Feast of Tabernacles in the eighth month in some years. Most of the Church of God splinter groups today continue to use the feast dates of the former Worldwide Church of God.
In Numbers 9: 9-11, the LORD instructs Moses, if any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover unto the LORD on the fourteenth day of the second month at even shall they keep it. (The LORD did not instruct Moses to change or delay any other feast date.) The Lord gave specific instructions when HIS feasts occur in Leviticus, chapter 23.
This article uses many scriptures from the Bible (KJV), as an instruction guide to determine a feast calendar along with factual information from history and very helpful astronomy information from observatories and an agency of NASA.
If we are to understand how God counts time, we must first understand the dark-light cycles that GOD created during creation week in Genesis, chapter 1, where God made the earth a suitable habitat for plant and animal life before He created man in the image of God. God also established perpetual dark-light cycles by creating the sun and moon to rule over and divide the light from darkness with the evening and morning days. The seven day week was created by God resting on the seventh day. In Genesis 2:1-3, God blessed the seventh day sabbath and sanctified it to be holy because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Also read Exodus 20:8-11.
As we continue we will see that the dark-light cycles also determine the beginning of the dark new moons or months that determine God's "set feasts, appointed times," and years. On the fourth day of creation, notice what God said in Genesis 1:14-19, 14 "And God said, Let there be lights (the sun, moon, and stars, Psalms 136:7-9 and Jer.31:35) in the firmament of the heaven to divide (#914) the day from the night; and let them (lights to divide) 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 (sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (moon) to rule the night: and he made the stars also. 17 And God set them (the sun and moon) in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. 18 And to rule (#4910, mashal; to rule: ruler, reign, dominion) over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from darkness: and God saw that it was good." The word divide in this chapter are Strong's #914, for the Hebrew word, badal; to divide (in various senses lit. or fig., separate, distinguish, differ, select.)
The purpose for which the sun and moon were created was to give light upon the earth and to rule over the day and to rule over the night, and to divide the light from darkness. The sun and moon are for signs (#226, owth; a signal (lit. or fig.), as a flag, beacon, monument, evidence.) that signal the beginning for seasons, for days and years. (Note: Do not be confused with the word seasons in this verse with man's definition of seasons: "any of the four divisions of the year; spring, summer, fall, and winter." God made only two divisions of the year, summer and winter. The new solar year and summer division begin when the length of day and night is closest to being divided 12 hours in length at Jerusalem, Israel location. That occurs on the 16th or 17th day of March. The winter division begins when the length of day and night is closest to being 12 hours in length on September 26th or 27th. Psalms 74: 17, "Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer (#7019) and winter (#2779)." Notice the Hebrew definitions of summer and winter: summer, #7019, qayits, harvest (as the crop), whether the product (grain or fruit) or the (dry) season:-- summer, summer fruit. winter, #2779, choreph; the crop gathered, i.e. (by implication) the autumn (and winter) season. Also read Genesis 8:22. (Note: The word seasons (#4150) in Genesis 1:14 will be defined later.)
DAYS and NEW MOONS:
The sun rules and signals the end of the present day and the beginning of a new day at the last minute of direct sunlight at even or evening with the sign of the top edge of the sun setting below the horizon at the location of the observer. Genesis 1: verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31 tell us how God counts a day: "And the evening and the morning were the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth day. Seven of these complete dark-light cycles of evening and morning days are a week.
The moon rules and signals the beginning of the dark new moon when the last direct sunlight disappears from view on the moon at the sign of the conjunction of the sun and moon. The beginning of the dark new moon that ends the old month and begins the new month starts and ends like the beginning and ending of a day, at the first minute of zero percent illumination of direct sunlight. The moon's dark-light cycle is also called a lunar cycle by astronomers that usually takes 29 or 30 days to complete.
Psalms 104:19 states: "He appointed (#6213, asah; to do or make) the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down." The seasons are appointed by the dark new moons. The feast dates of Leviticus, chapter 23, are counted from the beginning of the dark new moon or "beginning of months, the first month of the year to you," (Exodus 12:2), the same way Israel was instructed to offer various offerings in the beginning of your months ... . of every month throughout the months of the year, (Num. 28:11-14; Num. 10:10 also states .... "in the beginning of your months."). The word seasons in Psalms 104:19 is the same as seasons in Genesis 1:14, which is #4150 and it is for a Hebrew word that has many meanings pertaining to the LORD'S feasts. seasons, #4150, mo'ed', mo-ade'; from 3259; properly an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): -- congregation, feast, season, appointed, time, assembly, solemnity, solemn, days, sign. synagogues.
The above meanings of the Hebrew word mo'ed are usually condensed to mean the Lord's "appointed times, set feasts."
In Leviticus, chapter 23, this same Hebrew word, #4150, mo'ed' is translated "feasts" in verses 2- 4. 1"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the "feasts" (#4150, appointed times, set feasts) of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my "feasts" (#4150). 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. 4 These are the "feasts" (#4150) of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their "seasons" (#4150). In these verses, the LORD tells us that the weekly sabbath and yearly "feasts" are the LORD'S "appointed times, set feasts." The moon also rules the number of new moons in the year, 12 or 13.
Exodus, chapter 12, is where the LORD begins to instruct Moses and Aaron about the yearly feasts of God. (2) "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." Read verses 3 - 20, where the LORD gave the first instructions for Passover and Seven Days of Unleavened Bread. Read Exodus 23:14-17, where the LORD gave more instructions about His appointed feasts. In Leviticus, chapter 23, the LORD gave specific instructions about when all His appointed feasts are to be kept. Notice Leviticus 23: 44, "And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD." (Note: The Jew's or Judah was not the only tribe given the feasts of the LORD.)
Read Exodus 13:3-4, where Moses named the first month Abib: "This day came ye out in the month of Abib." Abib, #24, abiyb; (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence the name of the month Abib: --- in the ear, green ears of corn. (Evidently at the beginning of the month when the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, (Exodus 12:2) the green ears of barley was nearing the stage of growth for a wave sheaf offering.) In this article, Abib 1 is used as the name of the dark new moon or month that is the beginning of months, the first month of the year.
The words month and months in Exodus 12:2 are Strong's #2320, the Hebrew word chodest, from 2318; the new moon; by implication a month:-- month (-ly), new moon. (The Hebrew word chodest means new moon or month. A month is the time from one dark new moon date until the following dark new moon date, 29 or 30 days.)
How do we know to use the dark new moon for the beginning of months? Starting in Leviticus 23:5 is where instructions were given telling when all the annual feasts of the Lord are to be observed. The feast on the first day of the seventh month is the only annual feast that occurs on the date of the new moon. Notice the instructions in 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."
In Numbers 29:1, the Lord gave the instructions again. "And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing of trumpets unto you."
Psalms, chapter 81, is a psalm written by Asaph who was appointed chief of his brethren the Levites, by King David, to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, (#2142 = to remember; to mention) and to thank and praise the LORD GOD of Israel with singing and musical instruments, (1 Chronicles 16:4-6).
From the Authorized King James Version, notice what Asaph did record in song. 3 "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. 4 For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob." The Feast of Trumpets is what verse three is referring to, as it is the only feast of God that always begins on the new moon and because verse four states it is "a law of the God of Jacob," the "law" that we read in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1. Verse three tells us the correct new moon we must use to calculate and observe all the Lord's feasts and holy convocations. 3 "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day."
(Note: The Revised Standard Version, The Amplified Bible, New International Version, and New King James Version translate the words "in the time appointed" as stated in the King James Version in Psalms 81:3 as "at the full moon".)
Most people assume this is the Full Moon phase of the lunar cycle that the sun and moon divide in the heavens, when the moon is fully illuminated with sunlight.
At this time we need to examine the definitions of some words in Psalms 81:3, the words are "new moon" and "appointed." The words, "new moon," is Strong's #2320, chodesh; from 2318; the new moon; by implication a month:--- month (-ly), new moon. #2318, chadash; a primitive root; to be new; causative to rebuild:--- renew, repair.
The word "appointed" is Strong's #3677, kece'; apparently from 3680; properly fullness or the full moon, i.e. its festival:--- (time) appointed. (In Proverbs 7:20, #3677 is used again.)
#3680, kacah; a primitive root; properly to plump, i.e. fill up hollows, by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy):--- clad self, close, clothe, conceal, cover (self), (flee to) hide, overwhelm.
From the definitions of the words "new moon" and "appointed," we can determine that the new moon is a full moon that is covered, concealed, and hidden in darkness! A-saph did record which new moon Israel was observing: the dark new moon. This is the same new moon that David and Jonathan were observing in 1 Samuel 20: 5, 18.
The moon is "full" two times each month, at the New Moon phase when it is fully covered, and concealed in darkness and later at Full Moon phase when it is covered, fully illuminated with sunlight, but not hidden or concealed.
The new moon or month begins at the beginning of the dark New Moon phase at the minute when the last direct sunlight on the moon ends, at the sign of the conjunction of the sun and moon. After the dark New Moon phase ends, light begins to appear on the right side of the moon and continues to increase until it is illuminated completely with sunlight, called the Full Moon phase. After the Full Moon phase, darkness begins to rebuild, repair or renew the moon until it be new when it is again hidden, covered or concealed with darkness as the Hebrew word, chadash; #2318, is defined as a primitive root; to be new; causative to rebuild:-- renew, repair.
The new moon in Psalms 81:3 is not a thin crescent moon that occurs after the dark New Moon phase ends and it is not a Full Moon fully covered, illuminated with sunlight. It is the dark new moon that is covered, hidden and concealed in darkness, thus becoming invisible in the heavens.
C. H. Spurgeon in "Treasury of David" had this to say concerning Psalms 81:3 - In the time appointed. The word rendered the time appointed, signified the hidden or covered period; this is, the time when the moon is concealed or covered with darkness. This day was a joyful festival, returning every month; but the first day of the seventh moon was most solemn of the whole; being not only the first of the moon, but of the civil year. This was called the feast of trumpets, as it was declared by the blowing of trumpets from sun rising to sun setting; according to the command, "It shall be a day of the blowing of trumpets to you."
"Sound on the new moon the shofar, at the darkening of the moon, the day of our festival; for it is a statute for Israel, a ruling of the God of Jacob" (Psalm 81:3-5) Interpreted by Edward L Greenstein in "the Jewish holidays, A Guide and Commentary."
If a crescent image had to be observed after sunset to determine the time of the crescent moon, how did David and Jonathan know in the daytime that tomorrow is the new moon? Before sunrise, they could see the moon was completely covered with darkness with the exception of a long, narrow strip of sunlight on the left side of the moon and they knew the moon would be completely covered with darkness and invisible in the heavens sometime after sunset, the beginning of a new day.
Just before the moon becomes "new," it is covered with darkness with the exception of a long, very narrow strip of sunlight usually on the left side of the moon as viewed from earth. The new moon or month begins at the first minute of zero percent illumination of direct sunlight on the moon, at the sign of the conjunction of the sun and moon.
We can also know the dark new moon is what was established as the beginning of months by looking at the LORD'S example and by what Israel was instructed about graven images and idols. Read Deuteronomy 4:10-19, 23, this is where Moses exhorts Israel to be obedient to the LORD'S instructions before his death. (Some of the verses will be paraphrased.) 10 "Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. 11 the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. (12) And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude, only ye heard a voice. (15) Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire. (16) Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure. (It is my opinion that the LORD hid himself in darkness so the Israelites would not make a graven image of the LORD. The LORD wants us to worship, praise, and pray to him, not to an image or idol.) (17) "The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air. (18) The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: (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." Another warning in verse (23) "Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee." Also read Exodus 20:3-6.
The Lord who made the heavens is who we are to worship, not an image or idol. Psalms 96:5, "For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens." 1 Chronicles 16:26, "For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens."
In 2 Chronicles 33:7, Manasseh did evil in the sight of the LORD when he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God. (A carved image is the same as an idol to God.)
We know the dark new moon is the beginning of months because the dark new moon cannot be fashioned into a graven image, similitude, or likeness to worship because it is hidden, concealed in darkness and is invisible in the heavens.
In Strong's Concordance, the words crescent or crescent moon are not found. In the Bible (KJV), there are no scriptures that tell us the new moon starts when the first crescent of sunlight is seen several days after the true dark new moon begins. That is Jewish tradition that was learned while Israel was in captivity in Babylon. The only words that may symbolize "crescents" that I have found mentioned in Strong's Concordance is in reference to pagan "ornaments" (#7720, a round pendant for the neck.) found in three scriptures: Judges 8:21, 26 and "round tires like the moon" found in Isaiah 3:18.
Psalms 81:3 is proof that those who observe the thin crescent moon are following the teachings of the Jewish tradition which was firmly established while in captivity in Babylon.
The thin crescent moon that follows the dark New Moon phase is visible in the heavens. It can and is often fashioned, by many nations and people, into a graven image or idol to worship. Most Islamic countries today use the thin crescent moon seen shortly after sunset a few days after the actual occurrence of the dark New Moon phase to start their months and their holy days. They display a crescent moon image as their flag emblem that represents the god they serve and worship, their moon god, Allah. Many times a day, they bow down and pray to their moon god. The crescent image is a representative figure that represents the god they serve and which feast days they worship their god.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
What is the difference between the beginning of the dark new moon divided by the sun and moon and the beginning of the New Moon phase divided by men at the U. S. Naval Observatory? As stated earlier, just before the moon becomes "new," it is covered with darkness with the exception of a long, very narrow strip of sunlight usually on the left side of the moon as viewed from earth. The moon rules and signals the beginning of the dark new moon or month when the last direct sunlight (the first minute of zero percent of illumination of sunlight) disappears from view on the moon at the sign of the conjunction of the sun and moon.
The U.S. Naval Observatory and other observatories wait until the sun and moon come in conjunction at the same celestial longitude, for a fictitious observer located at the center of the earth, which occurs about the middle of the dark New Moon phase. They use that date and time for the beginning of their New Moon phase, and that date and time is what they post on their web site in Universal Time as the New Moon phase. This time is computed for almanacs, calendars, etc.
The observatories are recording the time for the New Moon phase around the middle of the dark moon phase for their official new moon dates and times, not at the beginning of the dark New Moon phase. The fraction of the moon's visible disk illuminated by the sun is a quantitative way of describing the moon's phase. The U. S. Naval Observatory does not post all the dates and times of the first 0.999 percent illuminations that begin at the conjunction of the sun and moon.
Those who desire to know when the first 0.999 or 0.998 percent illumination occurs can use the "HORIZONS Web - Interface," at a NASA facility to determine when this occurs. At the "HORIZONS Web - Interface" website, the year, date, hour and minute of the beginning of the dark new moon at the conjunction of the sun and moon can be calculated. The numerical quantity of the lowest percent illumination of direct sunlight on the moon is 1.000 % on the ephemeris generated graph. The numerical quantity of maximum illumination of sunlight on the moon is 100.000 % at Full Moon phase. When the minute of first zero percent illumination of direct sunlight on the moon occurs, at the sign of the conjunction of the sun and moon, the first 0.999 % or 0.998 % illumination is the beginning of the dark new moon.
The very beginning of the dark new moon can begin nearly a day before the U.S. Naval Observatory "middle or average" New Moon phase begins. This is the reason those who use a festival calendar without the traditional Jewish postponement rules can be observing the Lord's feasts on the wrong date, usually a day late. They usually use the observatories official dark New Moon dates and times that are also found in some almanacs and calendars which start the day at midnight at Greenwich, England prime meridian (0 degree longitude) instead of starting the day at sunset Israel time zone to start their months. Those who visibly observe the crescent moon which appears after the dark new moon phase ends are beginning their month's one or two days after the dark new moon phase ends.
There are a number of different types of "years" defined for astronomical and civil use. Three of the most common years used by various calendars and astronomers are as follows:
(1) The Gregorian year is the number of days in a given year of the Gregorian calendar, the ordinary year being 365 days and the leap year 366 days. The Gregorian calendar year, that we use daily, was adopted in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII of the Roman Catholic Church with January 1 as New Year's Day and the day starting at midnight. The Gregorian calendar has become the internationally accepted civil calendar used for administrative purposes in spite of the fact that there are six "principal calendars" in current use. These are the Gregorian, Hebrew, Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Julian calendars. These calendars duplicate or repeat astronomical cycles according to fixed rules.
(2) A lunar year of 12 lunar months (12 cycles of lunar phases) is an average of 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds.
(3) A solar year, also called tropical year or year of seasons as defined by man, is the time between two successive occurrences of the vernal equinox which is determined when the middle of the sun crosses man's divided imaginary equator. Man's devised universal equinox date, hour and minute at the equator is for all latitudes on earth and occurs usually about March 20th or 21st each year.
The original Latin word equinox is defined as "the time of equal days and nights." Astronomers admit that day and night are not even equal at the equator. A quote from the U.S. Naval Observatory article titled "Length of Day and Night at the Equinoxes." Quoting the first paragraph: "Day and night are not exactly of equal length at the time of the March and September equinoxes. The dates on which day and night are each 12 hours occur a few days before and after the equinoxes. The specific dates of this occurrence are different for different latitudes." Unquote.
The sun and moon were created by God and given rule to divide the light from darkness, not man, (Genesis 1:18). One of the things God created the sun and moon to divide was years, (Genesis 1:14). Man was not given dominion to divide the years with the equinox at man's devised equator. Genesis 1:26-28 and Psalms 8: 4-8 tell us what man was given dominion over, all the animals of earth. (Also read the article "THE PURPOSE OF THE SUN AND MOON.") Man can only observe, record and calculate (with great accuracy today) when and where on the earth the sun and moon will divide light from darkness for signs, for days, years, and the dark new moons that determine the seasons (#4150, set feasts, appointed times) of the Lord. Man cannot divide a lunar cycle in the firmament of heaven but man has observed, recorded and calculated the length of the solar year which is an average of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds, the period of one revolution of the earth around the sun.
The 12 hour day and night equinox, divided at Jerusalem, Israel location by the sun and moon, usually occurs on March 16th or 17th, and marks the beginning of the solar year. This location is determined from the scriptures listed below. It is obvious that Jerusalem is the place where God has chosen to dwell and count time from because Moses was telling Israel about the land they were going to possess; and in Deut. 11:12 Moses states: "A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year." Leviticus 25:38. "I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God." Jerusalem is located in the land of Canaan in Zion, a term for Jerusalem, where the Lord dwelleth, Psalms 9:11; 48:1-8; 132:13. The last part of 2 Chronicles 33, verse 4 states: "In Jerusalem shall my name be forever." The future prophecy of every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, Zechariah 14:16-19. Isaiah's prophecy of the last days when all the nations shall flow unto the Lord's house at Jerusalem and be taught God's ways, Isaiah 2:1-3. The holy, New Jerusalem is where God himself will dwell with His people, Revelation 21:2-3, 10-27.
To a layman, the unqualified term year means the number of days in the Gregorian calendar year. To an astronomer, however, the unqualified term year is generally taken to mean the solar year.
God's feast calendar is referred to as a lunisolar calendar because in Exodus 12:2 God used the dark new moon or month to determine the beginning of months to place Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, in the first month of the solar year. God appointed the moon for seasons (#4150, set feasts, appointed times), Psalms 104:19. The dark new moons start the beginning of each month and the sun and moon divide the 12 hour day and night equinox at Jerusalem, Israel, to start the solar year. The month is about 29 ½ days in length so the month will have 29 or 30 days. Because the month varies in length, the Abib 1 dark new moons or beginning of months can begin on any day of the month. The Passover must start in the new solar year on or after the Israel 12 hour day and night equinox date in March to be in the beginning of months. The Lord's yearly feasts are connected to the food harvest cycles that can start soon after the March 12 hour day and night equinox date in Jerusalem. If the dark new moon before the Israel equinox date does not appoint Passover to occur on or after the equinox date, the following dark new moon on or after the equinox date will be the beginning of months, Abib 1. This keeps the Lord's yearly feasts at their appointed times and also prevents two Passovers from occurring in one solar year. Start counting with the dark new moon date and count 14 days to Passover. The 15th through the 21st dates are the Days of Unleavened Bread.
A lunisolar calendar is an adjustment of a lunar year (12 lunar cycles) to the solar year. The moon passes through its phases in about 29-1/2 days; therefore 12 lunar months (called a lunar year) average about 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds. The solar year as an average of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 46 seconds. There is no even number of lunar months that equals one solar year. There is a discrepancy of about 11 days between the lunar year and solar year. In just three years, the lunar year is about 33 days shorter than the solar year. Therefore calendars based on lunar months are out of step with the agricultural seedtime and harvest cycles. Men cannot insert a 13th month to the year because men cannot divide a lunar cycle in the heavens; this is what the sun and moon were created to rule and divide. Lunisolar calendars typically adjust the length of their years and months. The sun and moon does divide a 13th lunar cycle in the solar year at various intervals. The solar years that have 13 new moons are usually spaced two or three years apart. This is the way the sun and moon adjust the lunar year to the solar year. The agricultural seedtime and harvest cycles in the year at Jerusalem will be correct for the food harvests from vegetation to occur for the LORD'S appointed feast dates. Psalms 104:19 states: "He (God) appointed the moon for seasons, (4150, appointed times, set feasts.) So, the green barley will be ready for the symbolic wave sheaf offering during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
The 12 hour day and night equinox in March at Jerusalem, Israel location marks the beginning of the solar year at Jerusalem, Israel location. All men must do is count the number of days in the solar year. Start counting with the date of the March 12 hour day and night equinox at Jerusalem, Israel location and count until the next March 12 hour day and night equinox in the next Gregorian year to know how many days the sun and moon has divided, 365 or 366 days.
Twelve lunar months will usually have 354 or 355 days. Thirteen lunar months will usually have 383 or 384 days. The sun and moon divides the number of new moons or months in the year, also the number of days in each month and year. All man has to do is record when the sun and moon divides these events and count.
To know the number of dark new moons the sun and moon divides in the solar year, start counting with the dark new moon that occurs on or after the date of the March 12 hour day and night equinox and count until the next March 12 hour day and night equinox in the following Gregorian year. There will be either 12 or 13 dark new moons in the solar year. The purpose of counting the dark new moons is to determine when the sun and moon has divided a 13th dark new moon or month to the solar year.
Read Exodus 23:14-17; Exodus 34:18, 22; Leviticus 23:39; and Deuteronomy 16:13, 16. The LORD'S appointed feasts occur around the major food harvests in the year. The barley harvest usually begins during the Days of Unleavened Bread, the wheat harvest is usually complete around Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles usually occurs about the time "when you have gathered in the fruit of the land" (Lev.23:39). The LORD'S feast days occur around the harvest cycles at Jerusalem, Israel location.
In 1884, under international agreement, the prime meridian, 0 degree longitude, was established as running through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, setting the standard of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) with the solar day starting at noon. In 1925 the numbering system for GMT was changed so that the solar day began at midnight to make it consistent with the civil day of the Gregorian calendar. In 1928 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) changed the designation of the standard time of the prime meridian (GMT) to Universal Time (UT). The two terms are often used loosely to refer to time kept on the Greenwich meridian. Times given in UT are almost always given in terms of a 24-hour clock. Thus, 12:13 (often written simply 1213) is 12:13 PM, local time. Other examples of UT: Midnight, the beginning of the day in UT, is 00:00; 01:05 is 1:05 AM local time; 12:00 is Noon local time; 18:00 is 6:00 PM local time and 23:59 is 11:59 PM local time. If you choose to convert the 24-hour clock time to local time Jerusalem Israel, "Time Zone Conversion" charts are helpful.
There are three things that cause confusion to some people as they begin to study feast calendars: (1) Universal Time (2) time zones, and (3) beginning the day at sunset instead of midnight. The astronomical data from observatories, that is used to calculate a feast calendar, is usually given in Universal Time (UT) with the solar day starting at midnight in Greenwich, England on the dates of the civil
Jerusalem, Israel is two time zones East of the zero meridian in Greenwich, England so Israel is two hours ahead of Greenwich Time Zone. When it is midnight in Greenwich, England it is already 2:00 AM local time in Jerusalem, Israel.
INFORMATION NEEDED TO CALCULATE THE FEAST CALENDAR:
The year, date, hour and minute of the beginning of the dark new moons for an observer at Jerusalem, Israel location. The "Sun Rise/Set Times for One Year" at the coordinates of the dark new moons is needed to determine the sun set time of each day and the date of the 12 hour day night equinoxes at Jerusalem, Israel location to determine the beginning of the solar year. In the occasions when daylight and darkness is divided within one minute of equal by the sun and moon, the "Daylight or Darkness Duration Table for One Year" tells the date when 12 hours and 1 minute (12:01) occurs. (Note: The sun and moon divides the equal day and night equinoxes to within one minute. The universal equinox date for all the earth divided by men at the equator is considered nearly equal by men when they are divided as much as four or five days apart from the sun and moons 12 hour equinox dates.) If feast calendars are desired for years in advance, copies of a perpetual calendar of the Gregorian year will be needed.
The accuracy of the information collected by the observatories that is used to calculate a feast calendar will usually be within two minutes of the actual time of when the signs of the sun and moon occurs, much more accurate than visual observations. I have observed that the information from one observatory to another does not usually exceed more than one minute difference in time for the same coordinates. (NOTE- Detail instructions of the settings for the new "HORIZONS Web-Interface" at a NASA facility and instructions of how to generate an ephemeris graph that is used to calculate the beginning of the dark new moon at the conjunction of the sun and moon are being updated in the article titled: WHERE AND HOW INFORMATION. (Note: the updates are required from time to time because of updates being made by the web-sites where the information is collected. I suggest that those who calculate the beginning of the dark new moons at the NASA facility to go ahead and collect the information for the years you want now, because the NASA facility is a government facility and could be discontinued like the space program.)
This information will be for those few who have the time and desire to learn how to collect the information to calculate a feast calendar and to keep the knowledge of how to calculate a feast calendar from being lost. This will require a large amount of time to collect the information if the person wants to calculate information for several years. Access to a computer that will connect to the World Wide Web and a printer to print information from various observatories and make copies of forms are necessary tools.)
HOW TO DETERMINE THE LORD'S APPOINTED FEAST DATES:
The LORD'S feast calendar has to be brought into rhythm with the man made Gregorian year that is used in the civil Gregorian calendar that we use daily.
Before the LORD'S appointed feast dates can be determined, the dark new moon dates and times must be calculated and adjusted to Israel Standard Time Zone with the day starting at sunset, Jerusalem time. The dates of the 12 hour day and night equinoxes divided by the sun and moon are already listed for years 2006 - 2054 in the article titled "DATES WHEN DAYS AND NIGHTS REACH 12 HOURS IN LENGTH AT JERUSALEM, ISRAEL."
In Exodus 12:2 God used the dark new moon or month to declare "the beginning of months" in the solar year. We can determine the dark new moon that will be the "beginning of months" by starting with the dark new moon that occurs just before the 12 hour day and night equinox date and count 14 days, starting with that dark new moon date, to find the Passover date. If that dark new moon date appoints Passover to occur before the March 12 hour day and night Israel equinox date, it is not the beginning of months because the Passover date must occur on or after the March 12 hour day and night equinox date at Israel for Passover to be in the new solar year. Go to the next dark new moon date that occurs on or after the March equinox date and establish that as Abib 1, "the beginning of months," and count 14 days to Passover, (Lev. 23:5). The 15th day through the 21st day are the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, (Lev. 23:6). The sheaf of the firstruits of the harvest was brought unto the priest and he waved the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it, (Lev. 23:10-11). The wave offering date occurs on Sunday, the day after the weekly Sabbath, during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Start counting on the wave sheaf Sunday and count 50 days to Pentecost, which will be always be on a Sunday, (Lev. 23:15-16). (NOTE: The wave sheaf offering is a symbol of "Christ the firstfruits" being accepted by God on the first day of the week, Sunday, (1 Cor. 15:23; John 20:1-21). Those who count fifty days from the yearly Sabbath, first Day of Unleavened Bread (15th day of first month), their Pentecost can fall on any day of the week and is not symbolic of Christ being accepted as the firstfruits. The 15th day of the first month is symbolic of Israel leaving Egypt.)
To determine the feasts dates in the seventh month, start counting with the Abib 1 dark new moon date and count to the seventh dark new moon date, this is the first day of the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets, (Lev. 23:24). Start with the seventh dark new moon date and count ten days to determine the date for the Day of Atonement, (Lev. 23:27) continue to count to the 15th day and 21st day, the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, (Lev. 23:34-35). The 22nd day of the seventh month is the eighth day or what we usually call the Last Great Day, (Lev. 23:36).
The yearly "set feasts, appointed times" end on the Last Great Day at sunset or even, the end of the 22nd day of the seventh month. The LORD'S yearly feasts that are recorded in Leviticus, chapter 23, are over for the year.
The only holy convocations that occur after this date are the weekly Sabbath's which occur every seventh day regardless of how many dark new moons or days the sun and moon divides in the solar year. Leviticus 23:3, "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings."
TO DETERMINE THE ANNUAL APPOINTED FEAST DATES OF THE LORD FOR ANOTHER YEAR, REPEAT THE ABOVE PROCESS.
Note: Passover is observed at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month, not at the end of the fourteenth day, Exodus 12: 3-14; Leviticus 23:5. On the night of the Passover, at midnight, was when all the firstborn of the land of Egypt was killed, both man and beast, Exodus 12:12, 29. The beginning of the 15th day starts the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, Leviticus 23:6-8.
Updated 1-5-11, Art Ryan.