WHERE AND HOW INFORMATION
The main purpose here is to tell where and how to obtain information that will be needed to calculate a feast calendar. This includes which observatory web site to use to get the following information: New Moon phases and the Sun Rise/Set Times for Entire Year printed for Israel Time Zone, which is two hours earlier than Universal Time at the Greenwich, England meridian. The first zero percent illumination of sunlight on the moon, at the conjunction of the sun and moon that starts the dark new moon phase, can be calculated at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory web site. In October and November of 2005 when I calculated the beginning of the dark new moons for years 2003 through 2054, it was possible to select the time zone for the data to be printed. After their web page was updated in 2006, while using Observer Table, Ephemeris Type, the ephemeris will only print the data in Universal Time (UT) only, so two hours will have to be added for Israel Time Zone. This can be confusing to those not familiar with the 24 hour UT clock.
The accuracy of the beginning of the dark new moons information to calculate a feast calendar will usually be within two minutes of when the conjunction of the sun and moon occurs, much more accurate than visual observations. I have also observed that the information we get from observatories do not exceed more than one minute difference in time for the same coordinates.
There are a few tools that a person must have access to and know how to use: Access to a computer that will connect to the World Wide Web with a printer to print new moon phases, and sunset times for Jerusalem, Israel time zone. The printer must be able to be used as a copy machine to make copies of various forms to help record and organize the information. The most important thing a person should have is a desire to learn and sufficient time to apply to this endeavor because it can be a very time consuming. (Note: A few forms are available to help record and organize the information. One form titled "Generate Ephemeris Form" is helpful to record the year, month, day, hour and minute of the beginning of the dark new moons from UT to IST (Israel Standard Time) and convert it to local time in one column. The second column is used to start the day at Jerusalem sunset times. The third column is used to list the correct dark new moon dates and the fourth column is used to determine the number of new moons in the solar year from the 12 hour day and night date in March until the following March 12 hour day and night date in the following Gregorian year. Another form titled "Feast Dates for Year 20___" is used to determine and record the "beginning of months," Abib 1 dark new moon date which appoints the feasts for the festival year. There is a blank space at top of sheet to place a small perpetual calendar of the Gregorian year to make it easier to count and adjust the feast dates to the civil Gregorian calendar. A copy of a perpetual Gregorian calendar year is helpful when calculating feast dates for years in the future. You can send a request for a copy of these forms to email@example.com by sending your name and U.S. mail address.)
Start collecting information by connecting the computer to the World Wide Web and go to "H M (Her Majesty's) Nautical Almanac Office" at UK Hydrographic Office http://www.hmnao.com/ and click on Websurf that is in the box on left. The next screen states the information printed is for personal use only. Click on I accept and then click the Thank you button. This will bring up the Websurf index on the left side of page. Click on "Moon_Phase" in the box on left and the Generate request for Lunar phases screen will come up. (1) Select the whole year 2009 on the right side. (Year 2009 will be used as an example later.) (2) Specify the time zone: -0200, which is for Israel Standard Time and (3) Press OK box. Print the Moon Phases data and click on Back and select the next year you need. (Note: If you plan to search for years 2009 through 2015 for example, also get the data for the following year, 2016, in order to calculate the dark new moons to the following 12 hour days and nights date in March. The purpose of this is to determine how many dark new moons are in the solar year. Do this when you print all your information.)
The advantage of using the Websurf program in England is the information can be printed for Israel Standard Time. This eliminates having to add two hours to Universal Time in order to get the correct date and time for Israel Time Zone. The same information from the U.S. Naval Observatory would be printed in Universal Time (UT), which is two hours behind (later than) Israel Standard Time.
(Note: Do not get the Sun Rise/Set times for Jerusalem, Israel at this web site. It requires four pages of 8-1/2" x 11" paper to print the material.) Go to the U. S. Naval Observatory web site at http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php now at Naval Oceanography Portal. Under the Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table of One Year. In the first paragraph, do not use the form for U.S. cities and towns only. Specify the latitude and longitude using this form. Click on this form and scroll down and select Year 2009 for an example. Type of Table: sunrise/sunset. Place Name: Type in box (Jerusalem, Israel). Under Coordinates (Required) Box, Longitude, click on East. Degrees: 35. Minutes: 14. Latitude, click on North. Degrees: 31. Minutes: 46. Time Zone: 2 hours. Click on east of Greenwich. (Note: 2 hours East of Greenwich will be Israel Standard Time.)
Look under Notes and read How to Print the Table in Landscape Orientation with Legal 8.5 x 14" paper. (Note: my printer printed all 12 months under Portrait Orientation. All the information was in the small 8 - point (smallest) type. (You may get larger print with Landscape Orientation, I did not try that.) Below the coordinates box, click on Compute Table; this will bring up the Sun Rise/Set Table for One Year. Click print to start printer. Print a copy for each year needed. (It is much easier, to use a twelve inch ruler as a straight edge on one sheet of paper, to get the sunset times for specific dates.)
When the various New Moon phases and Sun Rise/Set Times for the years needed for a feast calendar has been printed from the observatories at the above web sites, it is time to determine the beginning of the dark new moon phases for the years you have selected from the Ephemeris Generator listed below:
NASA. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Solar Systems Dynamics, HORIZONS Web-Interface.
Connect to HORIZONS Web-Interface at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi
Under Current Settings, instructions will be given for the specific settings to Generate an Ephemeris, for the purpose of determining when each dark new moon phase begins. Other helpful information explaining how and why is included.
An ephemeris when generated does produces a tabular statement of the last 1.000 percent illumination of the waning crescent phase and the minute of first 0.999 or 0.998 percent illumination of the sun on the moon, which is the beginning of the dark new moon phase.
INSTRUCTIONS for Current Settings:
Ephemeris Type: Click [change] and select Observer Table and click Use Selection Above.
Target Body: Click [change]. In box under Lookup the specified body: type in moon and click Search. Under Target Body Select: Moon [Luna] and click Select Indicated Body.
Observer Location: Click [change] and under Specify Observer Location click on choose from a list of locations. Under choose from a list of: In the box that states Observatories click the check mark and select non-U.S. Cities and click Display List. Under Choose a Place-name, scroll down and choose Jerusalem Israel and click on Use Selected Location. (Note: The name Jerusalem, Israel and the coordinates will be automatically inserted.)
Skip Time Span at this time, we will come back to it.
Table Settings: Click [change]. Under Table Settings click box named satellites.
To reduce the amount of information on the generated ephemeris information sheet, where the scroll bar at bottom of screen will not have to be scrolled back and forth to read the first 0.999 % or 0.998 % illumination and the year, month, day, hour and minute this occurs, click the green check marks to remove them on all but Number 10, Illumination fraction. Click on Use Selected Settings. Removing the other check marks will speed up the Ephemeris Generator because it will not have to record all the other information.
Display/Output. If this is: default (formatted HTML), do not click on change, that is the correct setting.
Go back to Time Span: Click [change]. Beside the word Preset click on 10 day. Start Time: 2009-01-25 Example is today's date.
(Stop Time: 2009-01-27 is 10 days later.
(Note: The year is the first four numbers, then the month, and day.)
Step Size: select 1 minutes.
Click on Use Specified Times.
Universal Time (UT) is assumed for OBSERVER tables, so all the dates and times will be for zero longitude, Greenwich, England time Zone with the day starting at midnight.
This completes the Current Settings for the Ephemeris Generator.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR GENERATING AN EPHEMERIS
From the Current Settings screen, click on Time Span [change]. This brings up the Time Span page where the Start Time and Stop Time must be selected to search for the beginning of a dark new moon. After Start Time, enter the numbers for the year, month, and day you want to Start search. Also enter year, month, and day that you want to Stop search.
An easy way to know when to set the Start Time to search for the beginning of the dark new moon phase is to use the New Moon phases that were previously printed from the Websurf program at Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office in England.
In all these instructions, the year 2009 is used as an example. The Websurf printout shows the first New Moon phase starts on Jan. 26. (Note: The dark new moon phase begins hours earlier than this "mean" or "average" new moon date and time of the observatories which is recorded about the middle of the dark new moon phase. Our purpose is to determine the beginning of the dark new moon phase.)
For the Time Span, type in 2009-01-25 for the Start Time. This is one day earlier than what the Websurf printout shows for the New Moon date. Type in 2009-01-26 for the Stop Time and scroll down and click on Use Specified Times. On next screen click on Generate Ephemeris. When that screen comes up scroll down to Results and look under Illu% for the last 1.000 % illumination. The first 0.999 % or 0.998 % illumination is the numerical quantity for the beginning of the dark new moon phase. The results are: 2009-Jan-25 06:33 UT, the beginning of the dark new moon.
(Note: Sometimes the Time Span Start Time or Stop Time may require a 2 day search time to get the first 0. 99_ % illumination.)
Record the month, day, hour and minute of the first 0.999 % or 0.998 % illumination, on a copy of the EPHEMERIS GENERATOR FORM that you requested that I send you via U.S. Mail along with other helpful information, for the year 2009. Example: Jan. 25, 06:33 UT. Since Universal Time (UT) is two hours later than Israel Standard Time, add two hours to the Universal Time and record that on the Ephemeris Generator Form under the first recorded time. Example: Jan. 25, 08:33 IST. (Note: This can be confusing to a person that is not used to working with Universal Time when you convert it to local time. When it is 22:00 hours and minutes in UT it is already midnight, 00:00 hours and minutes Israel Standard Time, and is the next days date on the Gregorian calendar that starts the day at midnight. When the new moon occurs at 22:00 hour (10:00 PM local time) or between that time and 00:00 (midnight) UT, the date must be changed to the next days date on the EPHEMERIS GENERATOR FORM.
To continue the search for the beginning of the next dark new moon, from the Results page, scroll back to top of page and click on Time Span [change]. This will bring up the Time Span page. As you are still searching in year 2009, you will not have to change those numbers. Type in only the month number and the date one day earlier than listed on the Websurf program printout. The numbers for Start Time should be as follows: 2009-02-24. Stop Time: 2009-02-25. Click on Use Specified Times and on next page click on Generate Ephemeris. When the screen comes up, scroll down to Results page and look for the first 0.999 % or 0.9998 % illumination. Record the Results on the EPHEMERIS GENERATOR FORM. Feb-24 00:43 UT and out to the side 00:43 AM, which is local time. Under that add two hours to the time for Israel Standard Time. Feb-24 02:43 or 2:43 AM local time.
To continue the search for the beginning of the next dark new moon, from the Results page, scroll to top of page and click Time Span [change]. This will bring up the Time Span page. Fill in the Start Time and Stop Time numbers for the next dark new moon date. Click on Use Specified Times and on next page click on Generate Ephemeris. When the screen comes up, scroll down to Results page and look for the first 0.999 % or 0.998 % illumination. Record the Results on the EPHEMERIS GENERATOR FORM. Continue this procedure and record all the beginning of the dark new moon dates and times on the EPHEMERIS GENERATOR FORM, for the year 2009 and through the date of the 12 hour days and nights date in March 2010. The times are recorded in Universal Time plus two hours, which is Israel Standard Time. (A person can use Time Zone Conversion sheets to convert the 24-hour time to Jerusalem local time. Many people are not familiar with the 24-hour clock time, and they prefer to use local time.)
COMPARE AND ADJUST THE DAY TO JERUSALEM SUNSET TIME
Remember that the LORD starts the day at sunset or even, not midnight. On the EPHEMERIS GENERATOR FORM there is a column for Jerusalem, Israel Sunset times. Use the Sun Rise/Set Table printout for year 2009 from the U. S. Naval Observatory web site now at Naval Oceanography Portal and write in the SUNSET TIME column the hour and minute of sunset for each dark new moon date for that year.
Compare the Jerusalem sunset times to the dark new moon times. Adjust to the next day's date, all the new dark moon times that occurs at sunset time through 21:59 UT or 9:59 PM local time, Israel Standard Time Zone. Then record the month and day in the "Israel New Moon Dates" column with a + sign after the date so you will know which dates were adjusted to the next day's date. (Note- You have already adjusted the new moon dates from 22:00 UT or 10:00 PM to 00:00 UT midnight, to the next day dates.)
The 12 hour days and nights dates are listed in the article titled "DATES WHEN DAYS AND NIGHTS REACH 12 HOURS IN LENGTH AT JERUSALEM, ISRAEL" for the years 2006 through 2054.
Record the March date of the 12 hour day and night equinox date at Jerusalem location on the GENERATE EPHEMERIS FORM in the SUNSET TIME column. Write March 16, Israel Equinox for year 2009 after the last dark new moon date that occurs before or on the March equinox date. Example for year 2009: March 16, Israel Equinox. (See sample copy.)
The last column on the GENERATE EPHEMERIS FORM is used to number the new moons in the solar year. Start numbering with the new moon that occurs on or after the date of the March12 hour day and night equinox in Israel and number them until the next March12 hour day and night in the following Gregorian Year. There will be either 12 or 13 new moons in the solar year. The purpose of numbering each new moon is to determine when the sun and moon has divided an extra lunar cycle or month to the solar year. The sun and moon usually divides an extra month at intervals of every two or three years. This is the way the sun and moon adjusts the lunar year to the solar year. The agricultural seedtime and harvests of the year will be correct for the food harvests from vegetation to occur for the Lord's appointed feast dates.
On a copy of the form titled FEAST DATES FOR YEAR 2009, record the total number of dark new moons in the solar year in the top left hand corner of box on form. Also record the dates of the March and September 12 hour days and nights on the form.
On this form there is a blank space above the written material to place a small perpetual calendar or a current Gregorian calendar copy for the year on the form. Place the copy of a calendar for the year in the blank space on the FEAST DATES FOR YEAR 2009 form and place both print sides down on the copier glass of printer and make a copy. A copy of a Gregorian calendar for the year on the form will be helpful for counting the days to determine the feast dates. (NOTE: If you choose, you can also identify on the calendar the date of the beginning of the dark new moons and 12 hour days and nights dates by using the symbols on the form. You will discover that the month of February which usually has 28 days will not have a dark new moon in some years. You will also discover that in the years 2022 and 2033, there are two dark new moons in the month of January and March because the Gregorian calendar has 31 days in those months.
There is a column titled TRADITIONAL JEWISH CALENDAR DATES where the feast calendars used by the former Worldwide Church of God, that was located in Pasadena, California are listed. They can be listed for comparison purposes only. Many of the larger Church of God Organizations continue to use the Jewish feast dates instead of the Lord's feast dates. (You may choose to not use this column.) The former Worldwide Church of God feast calendar dates were calculated through year 2034 AD by Ambassador College. They do use the Jewish postponement rules that delay the date of their seventh month new moon dates most of the time and then count back 177 days from the seventh month new moon date to find when their "Sacred Year begins" thus delaying the Lord's feast dates. It is very rare that their Sacred Year begins on the dark new moon dates to calculate their feasts. The Jewish postponement rules are not found in the scriptures, KJV. The Lord did not instruct Moses to postpone or delay the feast dates for the Jew's convenience or for their Jewish traditions. The Lord gave specific instructions when the new moon and feast dates are to be kept in Leviticus, chapter 23.
(Note: A copy of the traditional Jewish postponement rules that were used by the former Worldwide Church of God can be read at the Readme from Ambassador College.
The two columns to the right on the FEAST DATES FOR 2009 form are used to determine the Lord's yearly appointed feast dates. The instructions below will help determine which column to use to proclaim the Lord's yearly appointed feast dates.
HOW TO DETERMINE THE LORD'S ANNUAL APPOINTED FEAST DATES
On the form titled FEAST DATES FOR YEAR 2009, the form should have in the top left corner, inside the box, the total number of dark new moons in the solar year. Also write in the dates of the 12 hour days and nights equinoxes in March and September for Jerusalem, Israel location for that year.
On the GENERATE EPHEMERIS FORM, under the column titled ISRAEL NEW MOON DATES, the dark new moons dates for each month of the solar years are listed.
We now have the information to calculate the feasts of the Lord if we use the scriptures as a guide. In Exodus 12:2 God used the dark new moon or month to declare "the beginning of months" in the solar year. We can identify the dark new moon that will be the "beginning of months" by starting with the March dark new moon date that occurs before the 12 hour days and nights 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 Israel equinox date, it is not the beginning of months because the Passover date must occur on or after the March Israel equinox date for Passover to be in the new solar year. (This prevents two passover's from occurring in one solar year.)
Go to the next dark new moon date that occurs on or after the March 12 hour day and night 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 seven weeks and one day (50 days) to Pentecost, which will be always be on a Sunday, the first day of the week, (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, the 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 "appointed times, set feasts," 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.