Biblical Calendar 2019

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Sunset Times
Crescent New Moon Visibility; Astronomical New Moon; Equinox
The Crescent New Moon Maps show when the next new moon will become visible.

The main ‘Biblical’ calendars observed by the 7th Day Churches of God (within which there are some variations), and the dates for 2019, are shown below.
[1] Hebrew Calendar Jewish This is included, firstly because some brethren observe Passover and Shavuot [Pentecost] on the Jewish calendar dates, and secondly to show the changes made to it by the Worldwide Church of God.
The calendar year begins according to a 19-year time cycle.
[2] WCGs amended Hebrew Calendar – which is observed by its major offshoots.
All the annual ‘moedim’ (appointed times) listed in Leviticus 23 are observed, but for one day each only, not two. Why two days?
“At the time of the Second Temple, when the Sanhedrin announced the beginnings of the months on the basis of observation, the communities living far from the seat of the court could not be reached in time by its messengers. Those communities, in doubt about the day of the New Moon and the festivals, established the custom of celebrating an additional day for each of the major holidays. Thus they were certain to observe the festivals at the same time as their brethren in Israel, on the days sanctified by the Sanhedrin … In the land of Israel, then as well as today, the “Second Holidays” are ordinary days … Rosh Hashanah is an exception, because it is the only holiday that occurs on Rosh Hodesh. It was often celebrated for two days, even at the seat of the Sanhedrin. Since it was uncertain up to the very last moment when the witnesses
[to the sighting of the new moon] would arrive and whether the court would sanctify either the 30th day of Elul or the following day, both days were considered as one long day.” [The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, p.11, Arthur Spier]
The continued observance of two days is a tradition of the Jews.
Rosh HaShanah, the 1st day of the 7th month is New Years Day in the Jewish calendar.
The WCG taught that the Biblical year begins with the 1st month – Abib (Nisan), as shown by Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1. In order to reconcile this with the Jewish Calendar, the WCG taught that the Jews observe the 1st of Abib as the beginning of the religious year and the 1st of the 7th month as the beginning of the civil year – but this has never been the case. As can be seen from the
Hebrew Calendar – Jewish, Rosh Hashanah is a major holy day, but Rosh Chodesh Nisan is merely one of the other 11 ‘new moons’ – not even a minor holy day.
Passover is on the 14th, not the 15th.
Pentecost is not 7 weeks from the 2nd day of Passover (Unleavened Bread),
but 7 weeks from the Sunday within the festival to a Sunday. Originally Pentecost was observed on the Jewish Shavuot (Sivan 6), which was later changed to Monday.
The
Pentecost Study Material explains the change from Monday to Sunday (start at p.61).
If the Jewish Calendar is God’s Sacred Calendar, as the WCG claimed, what authority did Herbert Armstrong have to make changes to it?
In an
interview with WCG minister Jeff Booth in 1980, Mr Armstrong declared that:
“The title, and the keys, passed from chief apostle to chief apostle, from Peter to Peter. Each chief apostle was the new Peter. ‘Now I am the chief apostle, and I am the Peter’.”
“Whatever I bind is bound in heaven, and whatever I loose is loosed in heaven.”
“The Day of Pentecost is now on Sunday. But, since I had made the decision to observe Pentecost on Monday, for years the Day of Pentecost was actually on Monday.”
The Hebrew calendar year is calculated from the Molad Emtzai
(conjunction), which in 2019 occurs on Sunday, 29th September. Postponement rule 4 does not allow Rosh Hashana (Day of Trumpets) to fall on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, so the Hebrew calendar year 5780 (2019-2020) begins on Monday, 30th September 2019.
The Church of God 7th Day (HQ in Denver) and Church of God 7th Day (Jerusalem) utilize the Hebrew Calendar to calculate the time of the Lord’s Supper, which they observe on the evening of the 14th of Abib (Nisan). The Denver group does not regard the observance of annual holy days as mandatory, but is content for any of its congregations to observe them.
The Church of God 7th Day (Salem) keeps the Lord’s Supper on the evening of the 14th, but observes Biblical Calendar [4] (see doctrinal point no.15 on this link).


Calendars [3][6] : the year begins according to the Vernal Equinox, which in 2019 occurs at 21.58 on March 20th, Universal Time (GMT).
[3] Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon), nearest to the Vernal Equinox [16.04, March 6th].
[4] Day of the appearance of the crescent new moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset – nearest to the Vernal Equinox [evening of March 7th].
[5] Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon), following the Vernal Equinox [08.50, April 5th].
[6] Day of the appearance of the crescent new moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset – following the Vernal Equinox [evening of April 6th].


[7] Day of the appearance of the crescent new moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset – in the month that the barley in Israel will be ready for harvesting by the Sunday after Passover (Leviticus 23:10-12). The dates shown below are provisional.

The dates for the 3 annual festivals (Exodus 23:14-16)
are printed in green, and the 7 annual holy days are in red.

[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6] [7]


New Year’s Day

Mon-Tue
Sep.30
– Oct.1

Sat.
Apr.6

Wed.
Mar.6

Fri.
Mar.8

Fri.
Apr.5

Sun.
Apr.7

Lord’s Supper/ Passover/Seder
(evening before)

Sat.
Apr.20

Fri.
Apr.19

Tue.
Mar.19

Thu.
Mar.21

Thu.
Apr.18

Sat.
Apr.20

Festival of Passover/
Unleavened Bread

Apr.
20-27

Apr.
20-26

Mar.
20-26

Mar.
22-28

Apr.
19-25

Apr.
21-27

1st Day of
Unleavened Bread

Sat-Sun
Apr20-21

Sat.
Apr.20

Wed.
Mar.20

Fri.
Mar.22

Fri.
Apr.19

Sun.
Apr.21

7th Day of
Unleavened Bread

Fri-Sat
Apr26-27

Fri.
Apr.26

Tue.
Mar.26

Thu.
Mar.28

Thu.
Apr.25

Sat.
Apr.27

Firstfruits Festival
(Pentecost)

Sun-Mon
Jun.9-10

Sun.
Jun.9

Sun.
May 12

Sun.
May 12

Sun.
Jun.9

Sun.
Jun.9

Day of
Trumpets

Mon-Tue
Sep.30
– Oct.1

Mon.
Sep.30

Fri.
Aug.30

Sun.
Sep.1

Sun.
Sep.29

Mon.
Sep.30

Day of
Atonement

Wed.
Oct.9

Wed.
Oct.9

Sun.
Sep.8

Tue.
Sep.10

Tue.
Oct.8

Wed.
Oct.9

Festival of
Tabernacles

Oct.14-
Oct.21

Oct.14-
Oct.20

Sep.13-Sep.19

Sep.15-
Sep.21

Oct.13-Oct.19

Oct.14-
Oct.20

1st Day of
Tabernacles

Mon-Tue
Oct14-15

Mon.
Oct.14

Fri.
Sep.13

Sun.
Sep.15

Sun.
Oct.13

Mon.
Oct.14

Eighth Day

Mon-Tue
Oct21-22

Mon.
Oct.21

Fri.
Sep.20

Sun.
Sep.22

Sun.
Oct.20

Mon.
Oct.21

Some information is warranted on the historical background of the 3 main ways of determining the biblical new year begins: Hebrew Calendar, Equinox, Aviv Barley.
Hebrew Calendar
This is
the calendar of Orthodox Jews, the dominant form of Judaism – as opposed to the Karaite Jews, who believe in what Christians might describe as sola scriptura.
The start of the year is determined by a 19-year time cycle. 2019 is one of 7 years within the cycle when a 13th lunar month is added in order to keep the calendar synchronized with the solar year.
The year starts at the new moon of the 7th month, which is the
Molad Emtzai (conjunction). In 2019 this occurs on Sunday, 29th September. Postponement rule 4 does not allow Rosh Hashana (Day of Trumpets) to fall on a Sunday, so the Hebrew calendar year 5780 (2019-2020) begins on Monday, 30th September 2019. Why the postponement?
“Sunday is considered unfit, because with Rosh ha-Shanah falling thereon, the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (
Hosha’na Rabbah), on which the ceremony of “beating the willow-twigs” is an important part of the service, would fall on the Sabbath, and the observance of the ceremony could not be permitted.” (Henry Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works)
“Rosh Hashana never falls on a Sunday because that would mean that Hoshana Rabba (the last day of Sukkot, which always falls on 21 Tishri) would fall on a Saturday, which would not be desirable. In Talmudic times, Hoshana Rabba was regarded as a day much like Yom Kippur. It brought to an end the long holiday period beginning with Rosh Hashana, and was considered to be the one final opportunity to reverse an unfavorable decree issued against the individual on the High Holidays. If Hoshana Rabba were to fall on the Sabbath, this would interfere with the ceremony of beating a bunch of
hoshanot (willows) during the synagogue services, an action forbidden on the Sabbath.” (Alfred J. Kolatch, The Jewish Book of WHY, p.228)
“If Rosh Hashanah fell on a Sunday, Hoshanah Rabbah would fall on the Sabbath and would call for the elimination of certain rituals which the pharisaic rabbis did not want to forgo.” (Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol.25, No.1, 1997; Article by Rabbi Saul Leeman, Why is Pesach So Late This Year?)
Equinox
Many ancient civilizations began their calendar year around the time of the
Equinox
(20 March and 22-23 September). Even the Romans, whose calendar is used by the whole world today, formerly began their calendar year in March, as evidenced by the months of
September (7th), October (8th), November (9th) and December (10th).
Starting the
biblical year according to the equinox is dependent upon interpreting the Hebrew word tequfah in Exodus 34:22 to mean equinox.
“The rule of the equinox is attested in a single passage in the Babylonian Talmud (Rosh ha-Shanah 21a) … implies that 15 Nisan, the first day of Unleavened bread, cannot occur before the vernal equinox. In this recension, the term aviv is treated as synonymous with tequfah (equinox).”
(Sacha Stern, Calendar and Community : A History of the Jewish Calendar, 2nd century BCE – 10th century CE, p.167)
Tequfah (Strong’s H8622: a revolution, i.e. (of the sun) course, (of time) lapse) is found in 4 verses:
“And you shall observe a Feast of Weeks for yourself, the firstfruits of the harvest of wheat; also the Feast of Ingathering
at the turn of the year.”(Exodus 34:22 Green’s Literal Version)
“Turn of the year” here refers to the turn of the season from Summer to Winter.
(The seasons of Spring and Autumn are not found in the Bible.)

‘And it happened, at the turn of the year, that the army of Syria came up against him…’ (2 Chronicles 24:23)
‘And it happened when the time had come around, Hannah conceived and bore a son’ (1 Samuel 1:20). Tequfah here obviously does not mean the equinox.
‘… his going forth from the end of the heavens, and his
orbit to their ends’ (Psalm 19:6 )
Teshuvah (Strong’s H8666) also means the ‘turn of the year’, i.e. from Winter into Summer – in 2 Samuel 11:1; 1 Kings 20:22,26; 1 Chronicles 20:1; 2 Chronicles 36:10.
It is used in a different sense in 1 Samuel 7:17, Job 21:34 and Job 34:36).
The kings usually waited until the end of winter to begin their military campaigns, because the rains had ceased
(Song of Solomon 2:11), facilitating easier troop movement.
If the calendar year begins at the new moon nearest the March Equinox, Sukkot-Tabernacles is celebrated just after the September equinox in 2018 and just before the September equinox in 2019.
Celebrating the festival before the equinox is not acceptable to the majority, who say that the calendar year should therefore begin at the new moon following the March Equinox. This means celebrating the festival one month later – the last week of October in 2018 and mid-October in 2019.
The
Israelite Samaritans observe calendar method [5].
Aviv Barley
Interest in this method has grown since various independent Christians began travelling to Israel to report on the Aviv Barley in 2002 (at the invitation of a Karaite Jew). In 2018 there were 27 festival sites using this method, and 30 sites using the Equinox.
The Talmuds record that this was the method used during the period of the Second Temple, and was continued for hundreds of years thereafter, when the Sanhedrin convened at Yavneh on the Mediterranean coast and later in Galilee.
The
Temple Institute website describes in detail how the day of the new moon was determined during the period of the Second Temple, however it says nothing about how the month of the Aviv (Nisan) was determined then, and is to be in the Third Temple. This is understandable when we read through the conflicting rabbinic opinions in Tractate Sanhedrin 11b of the Babylonian Talmud.
(The reference to “the lateness of the Tekufah” might seem puzzling, since the Equinox is a fixed time and so cannot be late – or indeed early. Tekufah is used here in its original meaning of turn or revolution of the year, i.e. the weather was still wintry, so the season had not yet turned from winter to summer.)
What then will the nascent Sanhedrin do when it becomes official and has the authority to change the calendar? The
Sanhedrin website states:
“The Jewish Calendar has a discrepancy of about one day every century. This means that by the year 6000, Pesach will come out two news moons (Sivan) after the first day of spring.”
“Our current calendar will exceed halachically acceptable limits and we will be celebrating Biblically commanded holidays at times other than when Scripture requires them to be celebrated. One could argue that, if a change is necessary in any event, it would be most correct according to Biblical and Jewish Law to once again use the system of witnesses. But it is certain that we will not longer be permitted to use the mathematical calendar of Hillel II in the near future.”

 

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