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Biblical Calendar 2015


The ‘Biblical’ Calendar is even more complicated than usual in 2015 ...




(we'll just need to check the apostrophe's)



“These are Yahweh's appointed times, holy assemblies,

which you shall proclaim at their appointed time.” (Lev.23:4)


The eight ‘Biblical’ calendars observed by the 7th Day Churches of God (within which there are variations), including the 2015 dates, are shown below.


[0] Hebrew (i.e. Jewish) Calendar - a link is given here, as a few groups keep Passover and/or Pentecost on the Jewish calendar dates, and also non-Biblical Jewish festivals.


[1] Churches of God Hebrew Calendar

The largest Church of God 7th Day (HQ in Denver) and the largest offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God utilize the mathematical framework of the Hebrew calendar, but observe some of God's appointed times on different dates.

As 12 lunar months equal 354 days, a lunar calendar has to add (intercalate’) a 13th month every 2 or 3 years to keep it in line with the solar year. The Hebrew calendar does this in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 & 19 of a 19 year cycle.

The calendar year begins at the Molad Emtzai, which in 2015 will be on Sunday, 13th September. The calendar postponement rules do not, however, allow the year to begin on a Sunday, so the Day of Trumpets will be on Monday, 14th September.


[2]
First day of the dark phase of the moon, nearest the March Equinox [00.45, 21st March, Jerusalem time], when the light of the old moon has disappeared.


[3] First day of the dark phase of the moon, following the March Equinox,
when the light of the old moon has disappeared.


[4] Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon) [11.36, 20th March], nearest the March Equinox [00.45, 21st March, Jerusalem time].


[5] Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon), [20.57, 18th April],

following the March equinox [00.45, 21st March, Jerusalem time].


For some groups it's the day after the conjunction – i.e. the same day as the Equinox -

assuming Jerusalem time is being utilized.


[6] Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset - nearest the March equinox.


[7] Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset - following the March equinox..


[8] Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset- in the month that the wild barley in Israel will be ready for harvesting by the Sunday after Passover (Leviticus 23:10-12).


The dates below are based on New Moon and Equinox times at Jerusalem, but if other time zones are used, the dates might be a month different. For example, calendar [7] (visible new moon following the Equinox), the new moon will not be sighted from Jerusalem until the evening following the Equinox, so the year will begin on 22nd March. However, some churches in North America go by the first sighting of the new moon anywhere in the world, which could be the previous evening - before the Equinox - if Jerusalem time is used for the Equinox.


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



[1]
[2]
 [3][4]
[5][6]-[8]
New
Year's
Day

Sabbath
21 Mar
Friday
20 Mar
?
Friday
20 Mar

Sunday
19 Apr
il
Sunday
22 Mar

Passover
(previous
evening)

Friday
3 April
Thurs
2 April
 ?Thurs
2 April

Sabbath
2 May

Sabbath
4 April

Festival of
Unleavened
Bread

4-10
April

3-9
April
?
3-9
April

3-9
May

5-11
Apr
il
First Day of
Unleavened
Bread
Sabbath
4 April
Friday
3 April
?
Friday
3 April
Sunday
3 May

Sunday
5 April

Seventh Day
of Unleavened
Bread
Friday
10 April
Thurs
9 April
?
Thurs
9 April

Sabbath
9 May

Sabbath
11 April

Festival of
Firstfruits

(Pentecost)
Sunday
24 May
Sunday
24 May
?
Sunday
24 May
Sunday
21 June

Sunday
24 May
Day of
Trumpets

Monday
14 Sept
Sabbath
12 Sept

?
Sunday
13 Sept

Tuesday
13 Oct

** Tues
15 Sept
Day of
Atonement
Wednes
23 Sept
Monday
21 Sept
?
Tuesday
22 Sept

Thurs
22 Oct

Thurs
24 Sept
Festival of
Tabernacles
28 Sept
- 4 Oct
26 Sept
- 2 Oct
?
27 Sept
- 3 Oct

27 Oct
- 3 Nov

29 Sept
- 5 Oct

First Day of
Tabernacles

Monday
28 Sept
Sabbath
26 Sept
?
Sunday
27 Sept

Tuesday
27 Oct

Tuesday
29 Sept

Eighth Day
Monday
5 Oct

Sabbath
3 Oct

?
Sunday
4 Oct

Tuesday
3 Nov

Tuesday
6 Oct


** New moon first visible possibly the following day.


A Biblical History of the Calendar


And God said, “Let there be lights in the vaulted dome of heaven to separate day from night, and let them be as signs and for appointed times, and for days and years,

And God made two lights, the greater light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night, and the stars.”
(Genesis 1:14,16 - Lexham English Bible, except where otherwise stated.)

The sun and moon determine our annual appointed times with God:
“These are Yahweh’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you shall proclaim at their appointed time.” (Leviticus 23:4)

“This month (chodesh) will be the beginning of months; it will be for you the first of the months of the year.” (Exodus 12:2)
“Observe the month (chodesh) of Abib, and you shall keep the Passover to Yahweh your God, for in the month of Abib Yahweh your God brought you out from Egypt by night. (Deuteronomy 16:1)
Chodesh (Strong’s H2320) ‘the new moon; by implication, a month’.

Each Biblical month therefore begins at the new moon, and the first month of the year is Abib (Nisan), the month of the Passover.
(The Egyptian calendar began with the season of Inundation [of the Nile] in midsummer, which was prefaced by the appearance of Sirius just before dawn. Each day began at sunrise, while the month began at the disappearance of the old moon.)
 

Originally every month was 30 days long – as shown by Noah’s flood, when “the waters prevailed over the earth one hundred and fifty days” (Genesis 7:24), from the seventeenth day of the second month” (7:11) to the seventeenth day of the seventh month” (8:4) – 5 months of 30 days each. Today, a lunar month is either 29 or 30 days, and it is impossible for there to be 5 consecutive months of 30 days each.

Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1 was therefore all the calendar instruction that the Israelites needed – there was no requirement to add a 13th lunar month every 2 or 3 years to align the calendar with the solar year.

Ancient documents confirm that a year comprised 12 months of 30 days each:

“At first the astronomers of Babylon recognized a year of 360 days, and the division of a circle into 360 degrees must have indicated the path traversed by the sun each day in its assumed circling of the earth.” (Lectures on the History of Mathematics, Moritz Cantor.)

“The Assyrians, like the Babylonians, had a year composed of lunar months .... The calendar assigns to each month thirty full days.” (Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon in the British Museum, R. Campbell Thompson)

“A year consists of twelve months. A month consists of 30 days.” (The Arabhatiya of Aryabhata – an ancient Indian work on mathematics and astronomy)

“All over the world we find that there was at some time the same calendar of 360 days, and that at some later date, about the seventh century before the present era, five days were added at the end of the year, as ‘days over the year’, or ‘days of nothing’ ... a series of catastrophes occurred that changed the axis and the orbit of the earth and the orbit of the moon ...” (Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky)

“Yet the fact is that no one has ever established that the 365-day calendar was in use prior to the early seventh century.” (The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East, Mark Cohen)

This was the time period of the Old Testament prophets and of Daniel, when:
“He is changing times and seasons” (Daniel 2:21, Young's Literal Translation)
What was affecting the Earth and causing the “changing times and seasons”?

At the Babylonian Akitu festival, the high priest would recite the following prayer before the statue of Bel (a.k.a. Marduk – Jeremiah 50:2 “Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces ...”) :
“My lord is just. Is his name not ‘My-Lord’?
My lord causes trembling. My lord is the prince of all the lands ...
Jupiter, bearer of signs to the universe! My Lord! My Lord, be calmed!
Mercury, who brings rain! My Lord! My Lord, be calmed!
Saturn, star of justice and right! My Lord! My Lord, be calmed!
Mars, blazing fire! My Lord! My Lord, be calmed! ...”

The high priest then prayed to Bel’s consort, Beltiya:
“My lady, turn back! Turn back! My lady, be calmed! ...
Venus, brightest star - this is a name for my lady,
Bow-star, who fells the mighty - this is a name for my lady,
She-goat star, who scans the heavens - this is a name for my lady,
Star of Abundance, the star of abundance - this is a name for my lady,
Star of Dignity, the star which moves out of orbit ...”
(The Cultic Calendars Of The Ancient Near East, Mark Cohen)

“Bel, thine abode is Babylon ... thou controllest laws by thy laws ... thou burnest up the mighty ones by thy flame.” (The Mythology of All Races, Stephen H. Langdon)

“By causing the heavens to tremble and the earth to quake,
By the gleam which lightens the sky,
By the blazing fire which rains upon the hostile land,
I am Ishtar. Ishtar I am by the light that arises in heaven,
Ishtar the queen of heaven am I by the light that arises in heaven.”
(Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms, Stephen H. Langdon)

How did the nations adjust to a solar year of 365 days and months of 29 or 30 days? Most retained twelve 30 day months and added ‘5 days of nothing’ at the end of the year. For example, “The Peruvian year was divided into twelve Quilla, or moons, of 30 days. Five days were added at the end, called Allcacanquis.” (The Incas of Peru, Sir Clements Markham)


In 238BC a decree at Canopus, Egypt, declared, “from this time onwards one day, a festival of the Good-doing Gods, shall be added every four years to the five additional days before the New Year, so that all may now that the error of deficiency which existed formerly in respect to the arrangement of the seasons, and of the year, and of the views usually believed concerning the general ordering of the heavens, hath been rectified and filled up satisfactorily by the Good-doing Gods.”


Daniel and his companions were taken captive to Babylon during this period when Yahweh was “changing the times and the seasons” (Daniel 2:21). Nebuchadnezzar found these young men to be “skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science” (Daniel 1:3-6). “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm” (Daniel 1:19-20). Was it due to their influence that the Babylonians retained a luni-solar calendar?”


The months were strictly lunar (in this case, because it was the first visibility of the new crescent that marked the start off each new month), and those lunar months were combined with a variable year that could average out to the same length as the solar year. Every two or three years an intercalary lunar month was added (usually a second Ulul [6th month] or a second Adar [12th month]).


On the basis of three letters which record the announcement of the intercalary year, Parker and Dubberstein [authors of Babylonian Chronology: 626BC-AD75] suggest that, during the Babylonian period, the directives for intercalation came from the king, whereas during the subsequent Achaemenid [Persian empire] period, priestly officials in Babylon gave the orders.” (The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East, Mark Cohen)


The intercalation of a 13th month is evident in the book of Ezekiel, written during the Babylonian captivity.


“.... in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month .... it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, the word of Yahweh came clearly to Ezekiel ....(1:1-3). After Ezekiel had dwelt at Tel Aviv for 7 days (3:15), the Word of Yahweh came again, saying that he should lie on his left side for 390 days, then on his right side for 40 days (4:4-6). More than 437 days had thus elapsed when Ezekiel was sitting in his house on the 5th day of the 6th month in the 6th year, i.e. 1 year 2 months later (8:1).

14 months x 30 days + 5 days = 425 days. Since the lunar month now averaged 29½ days, a 13th month must have been intercalated during this period.

14 months x 29½ days = 413 days + intercalary month = 442 or 443 days.


After 70 years captivity in Babylon: “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to accomplish the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah (Jer.20:10), Yahweh stirred the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia and he sent a message to all of his kingdom and also put the message in writing ... Whoever among you who is from all of his people, may his God be with him and may he go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and may he build the house of Yahweh, the God of Israel ... So the heads of the families for Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites—to all whose spirit God had stirred—prepared to go up and build the house of Yahweh which is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1,3,5)

Ezra 3:1,4 Now the seventh month drew near and the Israelites were in the cities, so the people gathered as one in Jerusalem ... And they kept the feast of booths, as it is written, and offered burnt offerings day by day in number according to the ordinance as described for each day.
Nehemiah 8:2,14,18 So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly for each man and woman to hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month ... They found written in the law, which Yahweh had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the Israelites should live in booths during the festival of the seventh month ... And he read from the scroll of the law of God day by day from the first day up to the last day. They celebrated the festival for seven days, and on the eighth day there was an assembly according to the rule.

(to be continued)