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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 new moon.

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 Christ. Neither 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)
This 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.”
“Lateness 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?

The 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.

Luke 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”.’

Song 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 - Adar 2.

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?

“The 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.” (p.12)

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:

The 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:
It 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 did the 2014 biblical year begin?

The main ‘biblical’ calendars are as follows:

[0] 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.

[1] Church of God Hebrew Calendar

The 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.
[2] 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.
[3] First day of the dark phase of the moon, following the vernal equinox,
when the light of the old moon has disappeared.
[4] Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon),
nearest the vernal equinox.
(For some groups it's the following day.)
[5] Day of the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon),
following the vernal equinox.
(For some groups it's the following day.)
[6] Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset - nearest the vernal equinox.
[7] Evening of the re-appearance of the light of the moon – visible in the brief period between sunset and moonset - following the vernal 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 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.
HM Nautical Almanac Office has precise data -
select Crescent Moon Visibility and Named Location,
then type in Jerusalem or other major world city.


[0]
[1]
[2]-[3]
[4]-[5][6]-[8]
New Year's Day
Thu
25 Sep
Tue
1 Apr
Sun
30 Mar
Mon
31 Mar
Wed
2 Apr
Passover
Mon eve
14 Apr
Sun eve
13 Apr
 Fri eve
11 Apr
Sat eve
12 Apr
Mon eve
14 Apr

Festival of
Unleavened Bread

15-22
April

15-21
April
13-19
April
14-20
April
16-22
April
First Day of
Unleavened Bread

Tue-Wed
15-16 Apr
Tue
15 Apr
 Sun
13 Apr
Mon
14 Apr
Wed
16 Apr
Seventh Day of
Unleavened Bread
Mon-Tue
21-22 Apr
Mon
21 Apr
 Mon
19 Apr
Sun
20 Apr
Tue
22 Apr

Festival of Firstfruits
(Pentecost)

Wed-Thu
4-5 Jun
Sun
8 Jun
Sun
1 Jun
Sun
8 Jun

Sun
8 Jun

Day of Trumpets
Thu-Fri
25-6 Sep
Thu
25 Sep
 Tue
23 Sep
Wed
24 Sep
Sab
27 Sep
Day of AtonementSab
4 Oct

Sab
4 Oct
 Thur
2 Oct
Fri
3 Oct
Mon
6 Oct
Festival of
Tabernacles
9-16
Oct
9-15
Oct
 7-13
Oct
8-14
Oct
11-17
Oct
First Day of
Tabernacles

Thu-Fri
9-10 Oct
Thu
9 Oct
 Tue
7 Oct
Wed
8 Oct
Sab
11 Oct
Eighth Day
Thu
16 Oct
Thu
16 Oct
 Tue
14 Oct
Wed
15 Oct
Sab
18 Oct