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Biblical Calendar 2014
[The 2014 dates for the main ‘Biblical Calendars’ are shown at the foot of this page]
The 1st month of the biblical year is the month in which Passover falls (Aviv)
(Exodus 12:2, Deuteronomy 16:1). Each month begins at the
When is the month of Passover?
As 12 lunar months equal 354 days, a biblical calendar has to ‘intercalate’ an additional
month every 2 or 3 years to keep it in line
with the solar year.
The largest Church of God 7th Day (HQ in Denver) and the largest offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God utilize the Jewish Calendar, which intercalates a month in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19 of a 19 year cycle.
Most Churches of
God 7th Day observe Passover (Lord's Supper) only - but a few observe all the
annual appointed times of Leviticus 23:4 -
“These the appointments of Jehovah called holy, which ye shall call them in their appointment.” (Smith's Literal Version)
The Church of God 7th Day (HQ in Salem) calculates Aviv to begin at the new moon nearest to the Vernal Equinox. (Herbert Armstrong was a minister in the Salem
church, thus his confused belief that the Jewish Calendar uses
the Equinox - see his quote further down this page.)
Why utilize the Jewish Calendar?For many the answer is: unity. Most 7th day Christian churches utilize it to calculate the beginnings of the year and the months. Turning away from it leads to a confusion of calendar methods.
Jim Josephsen (Intercontinental Church of God, Chicago) states a crucial reason for
The Necessity of the Jewish Calendar:
“Had Jesus Christ, the one who gave the Laws of the Holy Days and the
Sabbath to Israel and Judah, understood the ‘Jewish Holy Days’ of His
day to be wrong, Jesus Christ would have spoken up and taught His
disciples of the error. There would be clear evidence of a difference.
The disciples in turn would have written and taught the Church of the
error. The Holy Days are just too important for God not to have
instructed us of any error.”
Eric Snow (United Church of God, Lansing, Michigan), comments similarly in his article,
The Case for Christians using the Traditional Jewish Calendar: “Key issue: No record of a dispute about the calendar rules between the Jewish leadership and Jesus or the early Christians.”
The interpretations of men as to what is the
true biblical calendar are worthless, set against the example of Jesus
man, however, puts forward any historical evidence to show that the Second Temple
calendar is the same one that is used today by the Orthodox Jews or by the Churches of God. Why begin the year according to the Vernal Equinox?
The Hebrew word Tekufah (Strong’s 8622), means ‘Equinox’ in Exodus 34:22 -
“Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn [tekufah] of the year.” (NIV)
would place the Festival of Tabernacles around the time of the
September Equinox – and consequently Passover/ULB would be around the
time of the March equinox.
Tractate Sanhedrin 11b of the Talmud
states: “Our Rabbis taught: A year may be intercalated on three
grounds: on account of the premature state of the corn-crops; or that
of the fruit-trees; or on account of the lateness of the Tekufah. Any
two of these reasons can justify intercalation, but not one alone.”
of the Tekufah” meant lateness of the signs of Winter turning to Summer
(see Luke 21:29-30). Later rabbis interpreted Tekufah in Exodus 34:22 to mean equinox, as the seasons invariably turn around these times.
(Note: there are only two biblical seasons: Summer and Winter.)
Why should the month Aviv be when the wild barley is ready for harvest?
wild barley in Israel must be ready for harvesting on the Sunday after
Passover, according to Leviticus 23:10-12. (This is the sole indicator of Aviv for
Messianic groups.) Secondary
biblical indicators of the turn from Winter to Summer are trees, rains, flowers and birds.
21:29-30 (ASV) ‘And he spake to them a parable: “Behold the fig tree,
and all the trees: when they now shoot forth, ye see it and know of your
own selves that the summer is now nigh”.’
of Solomon 2:11-13 (ASV) ‘For, lo, the winter is past. The rain is over
and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The time of the singing of
birds is come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land.
The fig-tree ripeneth her green figs, and the vines are in blossom; they
give forth their fragrance.’
(An ‘Aviv barley’ Church of God team has been travelling to Israel since 2002, and their findings have been in alignment with the 19 year cycle of the Jewish calendar in all 13 years.)
When is the New Moon?
Genesis 1:14 ‘And God will say there shall be lights in the firmament of the heavens
to separate between the day and between the night: and they shall be for
signs and for set times, and for days and for years.’
Psalm 104:19 ‘He made the moon for the appointments.’ (Hebrew ‘mo-edim’- Strong's 04150.) (Smith's Literal Version)
Rosh Hashana (New Year's Day) in the Jewish calendar is the 1st day of the
7th month - Tishri (the Day of Trumpets), and this new moon is
calculated by the Molad Emtzai (average conjunction), which in the majority of years is modified by 4 postponement rules.
The other 11 new moons are determined by counting 29 or 30 days
backward to Aviv and forward to the 12th month - Adar - or 13th month -
Other interpretations of the time of the new moon are:
the first day of the moon’s dark phase (disappearance of the old moon's light);
the middle of the moon's dark phase (astronomical conjunction);
the re-appearance of the moon’s light (crescent new moon).
The Temple Institute
describes how the new moon was determined during the Second Temple
period, according to the Mishnah (early section of the Talmud), mainly taken from
tractate Rosh ha-Shanah.
The Worldwide Church of God's original doctrine was that a month begins at the new moon crescent: “What
are God's instructions? If the people of Jerusalem, where God's
permanent headquarters are to be, cannot see this crescent of the moon
following sunset, then the entire world east and west of that city must
delay beginning the month till the following sunset. This is the
ordinance as it was given by God. We are not free to begin earlier
because of the way we see it.” (Prove God’s Calendar Correct, Kenneth Herrmann, Good News magazine, October 1957, p.6, col.1)
Kenneth Herrmann was confirming Herbert Armstrong’s calendar doctrine, expressed in his 1952 article, When and How Often Should We Observe the Lord’s Supper?
first day of the new year always begins with the day nearest the Spring
equinox when the new moon is first visible to the naked eye at
Jerusalem (not in the United States). The Jewish calendar as used by
Jews today is correct.”
Mr Armstrong was seemingly unaware that the Jewish calendar does not calculate the times of the crescent new moon. His confusion about the equinox
is surprising, in the light of his 1940 letter 'How to Figure Passover' -
which is printed below the 1952 article.
This 1952 article was
reprinted as a booklet in 1974, with a significant change:-
“The first day of the new year begins near the Spring equinox when the
new moon usually is first visible to the naked eye at Jerusalem (not the
United States). The Jewish calendar as used by Jews today is correct.”
In response to calls to begin each month at the crescent new moon, Herman Hoeh wrote
The Hebrew Calendar - Authoritative for God's Church Today! for the Good News magazine in 1981, stating that the ‘later Pharisees’ wrongly employed visual observation:
Pharisees put major emphasis on precise visual observation of the first
faint crescent of the new moon .... God of course had to correct that –
and He did! The Romans finally put an end to visual observation of the
new moons by the Jews. The Jews’ chief leader, Hillel II, whose
responsibility it was to regulate the calendar, was forced to issue a
decree for the year AD 358-9 to (re)institute the authority of the fixed
calendar we know today as the Hebrew calendar.”
The implication must be that the ‘earlier
Pharisees’ kept the Hebrew calculated calendar, the ‘later Pharisees’ changed to observation some time
after Christ's death, then changed back by order of Hillel II.
The Hillel calendar is a Jewish tradition, but this myth continues to be accepted as fact today by most
of the WCG splinter groups. The Church of God International even includes it in its Statement of Beliefs (no.25).
Sacha Stern, in his book, ‘Calendar and Community – A History of the Jewish Calendar – 2nd Century BCE to 10th Century CE’ writes:
is widely accepted that the fixed rabbinical calendar was instituted by
Hillel the Patriarch in 358/9CE. This institution, however, is not
mentioned or recorded in any of the contemporary rabbinic sources, such
as the Palestinian or Babylonian Talmud. The earliest reference to it
appears in a responsum of R. Hai Gaon (early 11th century), cited by R.
Avraham b. Hiyya (1123): ‘until the days of Hillel b. R. Yehuda in the
year 670 of the Seleucid era (358/9 CE), from when they did not bring
forth or postpone, but kept to the cycle which was at hand’ … Later
medieval authors, however, understood this tradition to mean that the
entire fixed calendar, in its present-day form, was instituted by Hillel
in 358/9CE … Yet it is important to realize that the Hillel tradition
was not universally known or endorsed by medieval rabbinic authorities.
Maimonides (writing c.1178) ignores it altogether.”(pp.175-6)
(See also The Beginning of the Jewish Calendar, by Bernard Dickman.)
When will the 2014 biblical year begin?
The main ‘biblical’ calendars are as follows:
 Jewish Calendar - this is listed separately below, as some
groups, observing various calendars, do keep Passover on Aviv 15,
and/or count 7 weeks to Pentecost from the 2nd day of Unleavened Bread.
 Church of God Hebrew CalendarThe Molad Emtzai
will be on Wednesday, 24 September 2014. The calendar
postponement rules do not allow the calendar year to begin on a
Wednesday, so the Day of Trumpets will be on Thursday, 25 September.
 First day of the dark phase of the moon, nearest the vernal equinox
[20 March 2014, 6.57pm Jerusalem time], when the light of the old moon has disappeared.
 First day of the dark phase of the moon, following the vernal equinox,
when the light of the old moon has disappeared.
 Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon),
nearest the vernal equinox. (For some groups it's the following day.)
 Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon),
following the vernal equinox. (For some groups it's the following day.)
 Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset - nearest the vernal equinox.
 Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset - following the vernal equinox..
 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 for the 3 annual festivals (Exodus 23:14-16)are printed in green, and the annual holy days are in red.
The dates for the astronomical conjunctions and
visible new moons are based on Jerusalem time.
Local time is utilized by some church groups in North America.Crescent Moon Watch shows where the new moon will first be visible
on the evenings of 24th, 25th & 26th September.
HM Nautical Almanac Office has more precise data -
select Crescent Moon Visibility and Named Location,
then type in Jerusalem or other major world city.
|New Year's Day||Thu|
| Fri eve|
|First Day of|
|Seventh Day of|
|Festival of Firstfruits|
|Day of Trumpets||Thu-Fri|
|Day of Atonement||Sab|
|First Day of|