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Biblical Calendar 2015


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 intercalatean 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 mathematical framework of the Jewish Calendar, which intercalates a month in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 & 19 of a 19 year cycle.

There are, however, differences in the dates of the Jewish Holy Days and the Hebrew Calendar observed by most in the Churches of God - as shown in the Biblical Calendar 2015 table at the foot of this page.

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 (March) 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?
Unity. Most 7th day Christian churches utilize it to calculate the beginnings of the year and the months. Turning away from this traditional calendar calculation leads to confusion.

Why begin the year according to the March 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. 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 tobegin 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 Internationaleven 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), citedby 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 2015 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 Sunday, 13th September 2015.

The calendar postponement rules do not allow the calendar 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.

The Equinox would be on 20th March if North American time were 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 Moons and Equinox

at Jerusalem, and might be different for other time zones.


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



[0]
[1]
[2]
 [3][4]
[5][6]-[8]
New
Year's
Day

14-15
Sep

Sab
21 Mar
Fri
20 Mar
?
Fri
20 Mar

Sun
19 Apr

Sun
22 Mar

Passover
(previous
evening)

Sab
4 Apr

Fri
3 Apr
Thu
2 Apr
 ?Thu
2 Apr

Sab
2 May

Sab
4 Apr

Festival of
Unleavened
Bread

4-11
Apr

4-10
Apr

3-9
April
?
3-9
April

3-9
May

5-11
Apr

First Day of
Unleavened
Bread
4-5
Apr
Sab
4 Apr
Fri
3 Apr
?
Fri
3 Apr
Sun
3 May

Sun
5 Apr

Seventh Day
of Unleavened
Bread
10-11
Apr

Fri
10 Apr
Thu
9 Apr
?
Thu
9 Apr

Sab
9 May

Sab
11 Apr

Festival of
Firstfruits

(Pentecost)
24-25
May

Sun
24 May
Sun
24 May
?
Sun
24 May
Sun
21 Jun

Sun
24 May
Day of
Trumpets

14-15
Sep
Mon
14 Sep
Sab
12 Sep

?
Sun
13 Sep

Tue
13 Oct

** Tue
15 Sep
Day of
Atonement
Wed
23 Sep
Wed
23 Sep
Mon
21 Sep
?
Tue
22 Sep

Thu
22 Oct

Thu
24 Sep
Festival of
Tabernacles
28 Sep
- 4 Oct

28 Sep
- 4 Oct
26 Sep
- 2 Oct
?
27 Sep
- 3 Oct

27 Oct
- 3 Nov

29 Sep
- 5 Oct

First Day of
Tabernacles

28-29
Sep

Mon
28 Sep
Sab
26 Sep
?
Sun
27 Sep

Tue
27 Oct

Tue
29 Sep

Eighth Day
5-6
Oct
Mon
5 Oct

Sab
3 Oct

?
Sun
4 Oct

Tue
3 Nov

Tue
6 Oct


** New moon visible possibly following day.