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God’s Perfect Calendar

 

Contributions to this paper have been made by:

            Ron and Margie Couron

            Dale and Susan Howard

            Derek Davies

            Brian and Kenneth Hoeck (quotes and associated resources indicated by ööö)

 

          It’s abundantly clear that Jesus and the lives of the Jews that are recorded in the New Testament and Israel of old were subject to a calendar.  Mankind has devised untold number of ways to keep time.  Yet, there is only one method of time keeping that would be ordained by God.  Although, today there is very little specific agreement as to what that God given method is.  There is an overall agreement, but such “details” as when the year actually begins, when the month actually begins, and even when the day actually begins, is in dispute.

 

The advocates of the various calendars provide extensive evidence that would support their particular conviction.  We do have a problem. 

 

 1Co 1:10      Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same  mind and in the same judgment.

 

It is the purpose of this paper to provide the evidence and understanding of a calendar that is exclusively generated by the contents of the Word of God

  It is the purpose of this paper t

In searching out the Biblical information that establishes the calendar, the evidence for the following statements will be provided. 

 

·        The Bible is the only source for Gods calendar.

 

·        Gods calendar keeps perfect time from month to month from year to year, from decade to decade, from century to century and from millennium to millennium.

 

·        It is absolute necessary to understand God’s calendar to be able to keep the annual holy days at the time that God has so meticulously ordained them to be kept.

 

·        God is vitally interested in and in command of every day of every year, especially those that provide the main elements of the design for the salvation of his human creation.

 

·         Various elements of the original creation of this earth and its order provide a principal key to understanding Gods calendar.

 

 

 

THE INITIAL CREATION

 

There cannot be too much emphasis placed upon the initial creation that provided for a calendar and its place in the order of creation that has been recorded in the first chapter of Genesis.

 

Gen 1:11      And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

 

Gen 1:12      And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

 

Gen 1:13      And the evening and the morning were the third day.

 

As we read these verses it is clear that the only attribute given to the vegetation that was created was that it was given the ability to reproduce.  Nothing more.  It is anticipated that the importance of this fact will become a valued consideration. 

 

Next we will look very closely at the next verse.

 

Gen 1:14      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:

 

The words that have been highlighted provide for accurate keeping of time that has been ordained by God.  But, you wouldn’t be able to know that by the King James and most other Bible translations.  I looked at 18 translations and only two had the word ”seasons” correctly translated.  The following are the correct Hebraic meanings of the words that have been translated signs, seasons, days and years with their implications for the calendar. 

 

SIGNS:  H226 oth

 Probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag,      beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: - mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.

 

The sun and moon do give light and divide the day from the night, but the use of this word tells us that they are both to be signals for us.  The next three words, seasons, days and years are related to being signals.  “Let them be for signs (signals) and seasons (set times) and days and years.  Through Gen 1:14 we have been given the necessary elements of the calendar or time keeping system of God. 

 

 

 

 

SEASONS:  H4150 mô‛êd  mô‛êd  mô‛âdâh

From H3259; properly an appointment, that is, 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): - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).

 

H3259 yâ‛ad

A primitive root; to fix upon (by agreement or appointment); by implication to meet (at a stated time), to summon (to trial), to direct (in a certain quarter or position), to engage (for marriage): - agree, (make an) appoint (-ment, a time), assemble (selves), betroth, gather (selves, together), meet (together), set (a time).

 

From the definitions we can understand that “moed” means fixed appointments, or “set times”.  When we consider how the word was used in the Bible we will see that many times it refers to a fixed appointment with God.  The word “moed” was used 240 times.  The first time was in Genesis 1:14.  The “set times” are controlled by the moon and are the meetings we have with God on Passover or on the annual Holy Days.  Those meetings have set times that are clearly determined for us in a particular month.  It’s not good to be tedious but since the KJV is so off the mark on this point, some attention to detail has to be made.  The following are two words where the KJV translated “moed” very poorly.  The number of times those translations were used is indicated. 

 

Congregation (147)  

 Most of the time in the KJV it is used in conjunction with “tabernacle” or “tent”, as in,  “tabernacle of the congregation” or “tent of the congregation”.   In many of the Bible translations it is rendered “tent of meeting”, which is a clearer translation.   

 

Young’s Literal Translation  Ex 33:7      And Moses taketh the tent, and hath stretched it out at the outside of the camp, afar off from the camp, and hath called it, (Tent (H168) of Meeting (H4150);' and it hath come to pass, every one seeking Jehovah goeth out unto the tent of meeting, which is at the outside of the camp.

 

In any event, whether it was the “tent of meeting” which was located outside the camp or the “tent of meeting” which was later placed inside the camp, it was the place to have an appointment with God.

 

Season or Seasons (13)

 

The use of this word, by the KJV, was a serious mistranslation of “moed”.  Moed, by the nature of the meaning of the word has a narrow focus.  An appointment refers to a specific time.  Israel came to observe Annual Holy Days and meet with God at very specific times.   To use “season” in Gen 1:14 is most misleading.   Particularly, when God established the foundation of his calendar through four essential words, in Gen 1:14.   The following makes the intent of the meaning of “moed” very clear. 

 

 

 

Exo 23:14      Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

 

Exo 23:15      Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed (moed) of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)

 

Exo 23:16      And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

 

God is EXACT about the appointments he wants to have with us.   We know the days in the month of Abib (green ears) when we are to keep Passover and the feast of unleavened bread.   And told exactly when the rest of the Feasts of God are to be kept

 

DAYS:  H3117   yôm

From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), …..

 

Genesis 1:14  provides for the sun being the signal for beginning and ending of the day

The overwhelming majority of Sabbath keepers are in agreement that the day begins and ends with the sunset.  There are many places in the Bible that reveal the importance of sunset in relation to the Sabbath and what could or could not be done before or after sunset.  Yet, there are three principal periods used as the beginning and ending of the day for those who believe the sun determines the day. 

 

Many use the disappearance of the sun at the horizon as the marker for the day.

 

The Jews have a custom that states that when three stars of the second magnitude are visible, the day is considered to begin. 

 

The calculated Jewish calendar uses 6:00 p.m. as its benchmark for the beginning of the day. 

 

YEARS H8141  shâneh  shânâh

(The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time)

 

            The Bible, in the most clear terms, tells us when the year begins!!!

 

Exo 12:1      And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

 

Exo 12:2      This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

 

We know that month was when the Passover in Egypt occurred.  And we all recognize that the Passover occurred in the month of Abib (green ears) or the SPRING of the year   

 

Most of the larger congregations of the “Churches of God” use the Jewish calculated calendar to determine the time that they keep God’s appointments.  The origins of the calendar they keep should be of significant importance.  It should become clear whether or not it has anything to do with the origins that God has provided for HIS calendar. 

 

Here is information of the Jewish calendars historical origin.

 

     "In 432 B.C.E. the Athenian astronomer Meton had reformed the Athenian calendar on the basis of a cycle of nineteen years, consisting of 235 lunar months adding one month seven times in the cycle to take care of the excess (235 is 7 more than 19 times 12). This calendar was widely adopted, and was eventually [in post-Talmudic times] followed by the Jewish teachers..."  (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p.632) ööö

 

 The following provides information regarding the beginning of the year according to the Jewish calendar, also known as the Calculated Rabbinical Calendar.  It is taken from “THE HEBREW CALENDAR:  A Mathematical Introduction by John A Kossey. 

 

“What is the molad Tishri?

      Tishri is the seventh month of the sacred calendar.  The computed time for the conjunction of the sun, moon, and the earth is called a molad, from the Hebrew moled (plural, moledoth).  This word means renewal, or rejuvenescence.

      Molad of Tishri is the computed time of the new moon of the month of Tishri, which corresponds to September/October.   As Tishri is also the first month of the civil Hebrew year, the molad Tishri is also the calculated astronomical commencement of the year.

       Another term which you will be using is bench mark.  All this means is a point of reference from which measurements can be made.  Any known molad (expressed as day of the month, day of the week, hours, and parts, e.g., October6, Sunday, 23 h, 204 p in 3761 BC) can serve as a bench mark.  The most practical choice for a bench mark, however, will be the molad Tishri of year one in a 19 year cycle.  3761 is such a year.”

 

The Jews are steadfast in applying Ezek. 40:1 as evidence that the year begins with the 7th month.

 

Eze 40:1      In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.

 

 

 

Evidence to the contrary.

 

"The name Rosh Ha-Shanah as it is used in the Bible (Ezek. 40:1) simply means the beginning of the year, and does not designate the festival." (Encyclopedia Judaica, volume 14, article: Rosh Ha-Shanah, pp.305) ööö 

 

The following commentary differs with designating Tishri as the beginning of the year.

 

Keil and Delitzsch Eze 40:1-4 -

 

There is a difference of opinion as to the correct explanation of בּראשׁ השּׁנה, at the beginning of the year; but it is certainly incorrect to take the expression as denoting the beginning of the economical or so-called civil year, the seventh month (Tishri). For, in the first place, the custom of beginning the year with the month Tishri was introduced long after the captivity, and was probably connected with the adoption of the era of the Seleucidae; and, secondly, it is hardly conceivable that Ezekiel should have deviated from the view laid down in the Torah in so important a point as this.  The only thing that could render this at all probable would be the assumption proposed by Hitzig, that the year 575 b.c. was a year of jubilee, since the year of jubilee did commence with the day of atonement on the tenth of the seventh month. But the supposition that a jubilee year fell in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity cannot be raised into a probability. We therefore agree with Hävernick and Kliefoth in adhering to the view of the older commentators, that ראשׁ השּׁנה is a contracted repetition of the definition contained in Exo_12:2, ראשׁ חדשׁים ראשׁון , and signifies the opening month of the year, i.e., the month Abib (Nisan). The tenth day of this month was the day on which the preparations for the Passover, the feast of the elevation of Israel into the people of God, were to commence, and therefore was well adapted for the revelation of the new constitution of the kingdom of God. On that day was Ezekiel transported, in an ecstatic state, to the site of the smitten Jerusalem.

 

The following quotes relate to the soundness of the Jewish calendar in keeping accurate time.

 

    The Jews readily admit that the current calculated calendar in use is indeed in error and needs reform. Note the following from Encyclopedia Judaica: "the present [calendar] system was expected to be replaced again by a system based on true values more akin to the earlier Jewish calendar in which New Moon (days of the phasis) and intercalations were proclaimed on the basis of both observation and calculation." (Cecil Roth, editor, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 5, p.47, article: Calendar). ööö

 

 

“The Hebrew calendar is pretty accurate, no question about it - but compared to the Atomic clock, it just falls flat. 

First, a little background. The Jewish calendar, unlike most calendars, is a luni-solar calendar. While the months are reckoned according to the phases of the moon, it is occassionally reconciled to the solar calendar. Because the solar calendar is longer than the lunar calendar by 11 days (approximately), an extra month is inserted into the calendar 7 out of 19 years. As a result, there are 235 months (12 x 19 + 7 extra months) in the Jewish calendar every 19 years. These 235 lunar months come out to the same length as 228 solar months (
one twelfth of a solar year, totaling 30 days, 10 hours, 29 minutes, 3.8 seconds = solar month).

But not exactly.

As it turns out, 235 lunar months does not exactly equal 228 solar months. In fact, the 235 lunar months come out (on average) to about two hours longer than the 228 solar months. Now, two hours over a 19 year span may not sound like much, but over the course of the centuries, they add up. In about 216 years, you have a one-day difference. Since we're 1,665 years away from when the calendar was first set up by Hillel, the differences between the solar and lunar calendar have built up to about eight days. That means that we celebrate our holidays about eight days later in the year than Hillel did. Carried far enough (assuming Moshiach doesn't come by then), we could, in theory, begin celebrating Pesach in the summer! The Hebrew calendar may have been pretty accurate considering the technology of the time that it was established, but to say that it remains "supremely accurate" is just plain bunk.”

 

Taken from:  wolfishmusings.blogspot.com/2009/03/accuracy-or-lack-thereof-of-jewish.html

 

How important is the following question?     Would our God, whose Holy Days reveal the awesome plan for mankind, want us to abide by a calendar that would not provide an accurate guide to keep those Holy Days?    There is no doubt that all the annual Holy Days are tied to a particular beginning of the year.  As has been shown, the calculated Jewish calendar DOES NOT respect not only the wishes of God, but more importantly, the commands of God   

 

 

 "In the churches of God it has been generally assumed--though not a Jewish belief--that the Jewish calendar itself is 'holy,' that it was directly inspired by God and handed down to Moses, that the Jewish authorities are charged with its maintainance...There is no evidence that it was especially 'divinely revealed' for Israel. It is a humanly devised secular calendar...It was not a divinely revealed calendar. That is, not 'holy,' not 'the sacred calendar,' not 'God's calendar, but humanly devised, however skillfully...There is no need to postulate 'divine guidance' for the construction of the calendar. And there is no evidence that God did so." (James McBride, article: The Origins of Our Calendar) ööö

 

"The Jewish calendar as now observed is the product of a long historical development." (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p.631)  ööö

 

Citing the Jewish Encyclopedia as a source, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia likewise states: "The Hebrew or Jewish calendar had three stages of development: the preexilic, or Biblical; the postexilic or Talmudic; and the post Talmudic.  The first rested on observation merely, the second on observation coupled with calculation, and the third on calculation only." (James Orr, editor, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol.1, article: Calendar, H. Porter, pp.541).  ööö

 

 

MONTHS   H232  kho'-desh

 

             From H2318; the new moon; by implication a month: - month (-ly), new moon.

 

It is certainly very nice when God gives us such a clear statement as the following.

 

Psa 104:19      He appointed the moon for seasons: (4150 moed) the sun knoweth his going down.  

 

Among the other things that the moon does it determines, for us, the appointments we have with God.  As Gen 1:4 states God made two great lights and we are to use one of them for Gods set times.  By inference we are to use the “light” of the moon to determine the beginning of a month.  From there we can know when the tenth, fourteenth  or fifteenth day of a month will be.  Jesus aggressively dealt with the transgressive ways of the Pharisees.  But, Jesus didn’t have ANY objection to the calendar in use at that time.  In particular, we may determine that the method for establishing the beginning of the month at that time as being correct.

 

           "Now there are ten festivals in number, as the law sets them down....The third [festival] is that which comes after the conjunction, which [festival] happens on the day of the new moon in each month. ...(140) Following the order which we have adopted, we proceed to speak of the third festival, that of the new moon. First of all, because it is the beginning of the month, and the beginning, whether of number or of time, is honourable. Secondly, because at this time there is nothing in the whole of heaven destitute of light. (141) Thirdly, because at that period the more powerful and important body gives a portion of necessary assistance to the less important and weaker body; for, at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders."  [first century Jew, Philo Judaeus, The Special Laws, II, XI. (41),  XXVI. (140) & (141), as translated by C.D. Yonge in The Works of Philo: New Updated Edition, Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Hendickson Publishers, 1993, pp.572, 581]  ööö

 

"In mishnaic times [the Mishnah was completed ca. 200 C.E.], though the authorities were familiar with astronomical calculations, the new moon was fixed on the basis of observation, which meant that, as a rule, the bet din formally proclaimed the New Month only after it had heard evidence of witnesses who had actually seen the new moon." (Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume 14, article: Rosh Ha-Shanah, p.311)  ööö 

          "It is generally accepted that the Jewish festivals were, in Biblical times, fixed by observation of both the sun and the moon. Gradually, certain astronomical rules were also brought into requisition, primarily as a test, corroborating or refuting the testimony of observation....It has been authoritatively proved that in spite of a more advanced knowledge of astronomy the practice of fixing the new moon and the festivals by observation was in force as late as the latter part of the fifth century [C.E.]....It was only after the close of the Babylonian Talmud, in the sixth or perhaps later, in the seventh century, that the observation of the moon was entirely given up, and a complete and final system of calendation introduced [in the tenth century]." (Henry Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works, Chapter IV, Saadia's Controversy with Ben Meir, pp.70-88, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1921)  ööö

 

 

THE SPRING EQUINOX

 

Exodus 12:2 tells us the name of the month that begins the year but it doesn’t designate when that month begins.  We do know that that month is in the spring of the year.  To determine the beginning of the first month of the year we have to again go to Gods instruction given in Gen 1:14

 

Gen 1:14      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:

 

It is important to remember that “signs” (H226) is better translated as “signal”  (H226 Probably from H225 - in the sense of appearing; a signal)Both the “lights” are to signal something.  The moons signal provides for the set times or appointments with God.  The sun is a signal for the day and the year.  The sun signals the beginning of the “day” at sunset. 

 

 There is only one unique aspect of the “year” that would qualify as a signal from the sun that would also be in the spring of the year.

 

 It is commonly called the spring equinox.  The sun signals the beginning of the solar year.  Once that signal appears the beginning of the first month of God’s year may be established by observing the next new moon.

 

For many years we were simply guided by the newspapers announcement pertaining to the spring equinox.  This last year we determined to OBSERVE the spring equinox for ourselves.  We used two 4’x8’ plywood sheets placed end to end on a level frame so that the 16’ length pointed west in an open area (we had 2 ½ acres to use).  Several days before the equinox, sightings were recorded on the plywood, which had been painted white.  The sightings were taken about every three hours from sun up to sunset.  We had clear skies. The sightings for a day resulted in a curved line.  The daily lines became less curved as the equinox approached.  Finally the sightings for the day resulted in a straight line.  This occurred on the day the newspaper gave for the equinox. 

 

If one would want to call it a straight line on a 16’ plywood surface or “no shadow” at noon on a sun dial or the sun setting in “true” west or the published equinox they all serve as the “signal” of the beginning of the time to start a new year.  Just as we are able to observe the new moon we are, with little difficulty, able to observe the time when we can begin the new year.  

 

We know that a wave sheaf offering, of green ears (abib) of barley was required in the first month of the year.  The following is helpful information.  Barley had always been available for the wave sheaf offering in the first month of the year, after Passover, by the priesthood.  

 

“Barley is considered to be man’s most dependable grain crop.  Because of its ability to mature earlier than any other cereal, it has a better chance to escape drought or cold and to mature before rust becomes dangerous.  Because of its relative earliness, barley can be sown later than other grains with better chances of success.  …..  Though both spring and winter barleys are quite tolerant of dry heat and will thrive under a wide range of temperatures, moisture, and humidity, they do not grow well in hot and humid climates, the combination of high temperature and high humidity being generally detrimental to the production of barley grain of desirable quality.”      Barley-Climate relationships;  Michael y Nuttonson,  American Institute of Crop Ecology, 1957

 

We have come to the place where we can recognize God’s calendar for its beauty and its sublime efficiency.

 

 The light from the sun signals when the “Biblical year” may begin.  Then, the first observed “light” from the moon signals the beginning of the first month.  Each successive first observable “light” from the moon begins each of the following months.  Each month will have 29 or 30 days.  If the light from the moon is not seen on the 29th day, because of weather conditions or because of the position of the moon in relation to the sun, a 30-day month is declared.  

 

The historical authoritative evidence concludes that this calendar was in use at the time of Jesus.  By following the above few words, the 13th month is intrinsically added when needed, and the annual Holy Days are scheduled on the EXACT days that God Himself commanded them to be kept. 

 

In contrast, John Kossey wrote “A Mathematical Introduction for THE HEBREW CALENDAR .  It is more commonly known as the calculated Jewish calendar.  It is 100 pages of instruction and solving “performance goals”.  It was the text book for a college course called “Theological Research I-II.  Its chapters include; calculating the day of the week of the molad Tishri, calculating the day of the month of the molad Tishri, using tables to find the molad Tishri, applying the postponement rules to find Tishri one, determining the dates of the annual festivals.

 

THE POSTPONEMENTS

Well after the Jews found it advantageous to have a predetermined way of fixing calendar dates, a series rules were added. 

 

 "There is...unimpeachable evidence from the works of writers with expert knowledge of the calendar that the present ordo intercalationis [sequence of intercalations--the 19 year cycle] and epochal moladwere not intrinsic parts of the calendar of Hillel II, these being seen still side by side with other styles of the ordo intercalationis and the molad as late as the 11th century. Also the four dehiyyot[postponement rules] developed gradually. ...By the tenth century the Jewish calendar was exactly the same as today."     (Cecil Roth, editor, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 5, p.50, article: Calendar)

 

The rules:    

 

1.   When the Molad Tishri occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the following day.

 

2.   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 [postponement] #1).   

 

3.   When the Molad Tishri or a common year falls on Tuesday, 204 parts after 3 A.M., i.e.,3d 9h 104p or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to Wednesday, and, because of Dehiah #1, further postponed to Thursday.     

 

4.      When a common year is succeeding a leap year, the Mollad Tishri occurs on a Monday morning 589 parts after 9 A.M., i.e., 2d 15g 589p or later, Rosh Hashana is postponed to the next day. 

 

Here are just two results of the Jewish calendar:

 

Because of the postponements, 60 percent of the time the month does not begin on the day of the new moon, but is postponed.       Daniel 7:25 speaks strongly against those who think to change the times and the laws. 

 

Because the Jewish calendar is based upon the astronomical conjunction, any time the Molad (conjunction) occurs even a minute before noon, that day at sunset starts the new moon day, even when the moon is less than six hours old and not yet visible. 

 

There are numerous reasons that the Jews found to “justify” their creation.  It is quite obvious neither the justifications or the rules are found in the Bible.  Be it suffice to say the Jewish calculated calendar was, for the most part, created for the sake of convenience and humanly devised unity.

 

 MOSES SEAT AND THE ORACLES OF GOD

The verses that deals with “Moses’ seat are important to many advocates of the Jewish calendar.

 

Mat 23:1      Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

 

Mat 23:2      Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

 

Mat 23:3     All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

 

Their feeling is that, since those who created the calendar were the religious descendents of the Pharisees, they had the blessing of Jesus to do it.  The credibility of that statement rests in part with an understanding of “the seat of Moses”. 

 

Archeologists have confirmed that a stone chair has been found in ancient synagogues (in Hamath, Chorazin, En-Gedi and Delos) next to where the law was kept. When reading from scripture, the reader would apparently sit in that chair (Moses' seat?) and read to the congregation.   Of course, whatever the people heard from the Torah they were to obey.  But, the rest of the chapter is an indictment of the highest order against the scribes and Pharisees.  They virtually scorned the very words that they taught the people. 

 

Another consideration is that Jesus was at odds with many of the rules and regulations that were so firmly enforced upon the people by the Pharisees.  Jesus certainly did not observe all that they told the people to obey.

 

 

Now we come to Romans 3:1-2. 

 

Rom 3:1      What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?

 

Rom 3:2      Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

 

There are those that contend that the Bible does not provide for a comprehensive calendar.  They believe there are ancient oral instructions that may be deemed oracles that we are dependant on.  They believe that it is through these “oracles” that the calculated calendar finds its origins.  What was the intent of Paul’s statement?   

 

Oracle:  G3051 logion ;  Neuter of G3052; an utterance (of God): - oracle.

 

All of the utterances of God, recorded in the Bible, have been preserved by the Jews.  What other people on earth had the privilege of “living” with the words of God as their guide?  Many profited by those words and many did not. 

 

THE BARLEY

There are many who say that the appearance of “green ears of barley”, in Israel, was the sole thing Israel used for the signal that the new-year had begun.  Today, the advocates of this understanding use this method to establish the beginning of the new-year.  After Israel entered “the land” there had to be “abib” available in the first month so that the instruction, relating to the wave sheaf, may be accomplished. 

 

Lev 23:10      Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:

 

Lev 23:11      And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

 

Lev 23:14      And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

 

The “first fruits” are not defined as barley, but since Exodus 9:31 refers to the local crops and speaks of barley “in the ear”, it is generally accepted that the sheaf was harvested from the available barley.

 

Exo 9:31      And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.

 

For those who are not using the Jewish calendar there are two principle methods for determining the beginning of the year.  One is the appearance of “abib” and the other is the calendar revealed in Gen 1:14.

 

Exo 23:14      Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

 

Exo 23:15     Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)

 

Exo 23:16      And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

 

Exodus 23:15 speaks to us of the specific appointed time of the 15th day and of the 21st day of the month when the barley is in the state of “Abib”. It has not completely ripened, but has ripened enough so that its seeds can be eaten after being parched in fire.  The barley itself cannot specify the day or days to come before God.  The “set time” does and it is determined by the calendar that God provided in Gen 1:14. 

 

Again in Exodus 34:18 God instructs us to:   “eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib.  This makes it very clear that “Abib” is a period of time. It cannot mark a specific day.  

   

We should take full note of the fact that Israel was not obliged to have a wave sheaf offering until AFTER they entered the promise land.  Until then there was no need to have   access to barley.  Also their diet consisted of manna. 

 

Num 9:4      And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.

 

Num 9:5      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.

 

Numbers 9:5 shows they kept the Passover in the wilderness and they didn’t need barley to signal the beginning of the year.  They did have the instructions to know when the year began in order to keep Passover at its appointed time. 

 

Today, we don’t need a wave sheaf offering.  We know Jesus fulfilled the symbolism that was embodied in the physical wave sheaf.  The law relating to the wave sheaf is no more, while the law God ordained in Gen 1:14 remains.

 

 

LOCAL OBSERVATION

 

This is the last subject that requires our attention.  There are those who have rejected the Jewish calculated calendar and do not use barley in Israel to determine the first of the year but they believe that the first of the month must be determined by observations from Jerusalem.  Most of the Bibles relationship with a calendar is centered in the original land of Israel.   They believe this fact promotes that land as the rightful place to keep time from in this present age.  They believe that the time, of all observations, as seen in Jerusalem should apply to the entire world. There are things to consider that would work against their conclusion. 

 

Distant Observations:

 

Noah was aware of elapsed time and months and days.  He did not use information derived from Jerusalem. 

 

Gen 8:4      And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

 

Gen 8:5      And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

 

Daniel ruled over governors and wise men of Babylon. He was so meticulous about the food he ate, that we can be assured that he established Gods calendar in Babylon.  Again, it was not possible to use new moon information from Jerusalem.

 

Dan 2:48      Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

 

Dan 8:1      In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

 

Authorities agree that the calendar in use in Babylon at Daniel’s time remained as the calendar of Ezekiel’s time.  And again there was no influence from Jerusalem. 

 

From very early times the Babylonians had a lunar-solar calendar very similar to the biblical calendar.”     Yom Teruah: How the Day of Shouting Became Rosh Hashanah by Nehemia Gordon  www.karaite-korner.org/yom_teruah.shtml 

 

Eze 1:1      Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

 

State of Jerusalem Today:

 

Prophecies show Jerusalem is hardly a place that God holds in high esteem.  

 

Jer 23:36      And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

 

Jer 23:39      Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:

 

Jer 23:40      And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.

 

Rev 11:8      And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

 

 

The Light:

 

It is the LIGHT from the sun and moon that provide the ability to know the beginning of the year and month and day.  Not a particular plant or a particular place or any humanly devised calendar.  Specific instruction from God provides the knowledge of the appointments to keep that within the year.  We are to OBSERVE the particular aspects of “light” in order to fulfill the responsibilities that God has given us.    

 

Gen 1:14      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 “signals”, and for “appointments”, and for “days”, and “years”:

 

WHEN THE LIGHT COMES TO US

We need to carefully consider the following facts. If we start the month when it comes to us at the new moon, just as we start the day when it comes to us at sunset, we could be starting the month on a different date in the Roman calendar, and on a different day of the week than other Christians who live in another place. Is this a serious problem?

 

Since the Roman calendar has absolutely nothing to do with God's holy days, and since the observed new moon determines the first day of the month in God's calendar, it is the same "first day of the month" wherever we are when it comes to us. The date of each holy day is the same everywhere. The Roman calendar dates are irrelevant.

   

"But," you are thinking, "what about the day of the week? Doesn't the month have to start on the same day of the week everywhere on earth?"

    

No. It does not. Genesis 1:14 says that God's calendar is to be determined by the light of the sun, moon, and stars. And Psalm 104:19 says, "He appointed the moon for seasons." As we have seen, the word translated "seasons" is the Hebrew word "Moedim." This Hebrew word does refers to "feasts" or "festivals" that occur on specific days of the month, such as Passover on the fourteenth of the first month, and Atonement on the tenth of the seventh month.

  

Psalm 104:19 makes an absolutely definitive statement that the moon, and only the moon, determines the start of each month. Months can start on any day of the week. The days of the week are not to be used to determine the start of a month.

 

The calculated rabbinical calendar has no biblical support whatever. And at this time Jerusalem has no claim to God's special favor. Therefore there is no reason not to observe the same calendar that Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel, and all the other prophets observed wherever they were ... unless we consider "unity" more important than truth. The real choice is between unity in the truth, or unity in error.

 

CONCLUSION

It has been well documented that God HAS given us a calendar that is revealed in the Bible.  It is a calendar that can be observed by everyone.  It was in readiness for mankind in order that his time keeping needs would be fulfilled BEFORE man himself was created.

 

We know that God is not the author of confusion and that his ways will prevail

 

Mar 7:8      For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

Mar 7:9      And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

 

God has created an actual clock.  Those of us that have been looking to the heavens have NEVER FAILED to be been inspired by the sight of the first faint light of the new moon, as we are refreshed in our awareness of God’s awesome creation and his devotion to us.

 

 

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