Defective and full Months The Pharisees established rules that limited not only the number of months which could be defective (i.e., only 29 days long) or full (i.e., consisting of a full 30 days) but even limited which months were eligible.
The Mishnah states:
There are never less than four “full” months in the year, nor do more than eight (full) months require to be taken into account.31
In turn, they point out that there were never more than eight or less than four defective months. Meanwhile, a 12 lunar-month year has no less than 352 days and no more than 355 days, while a 13 lunar-month year has no less than 383 days and no more than 385 days.32
These reckonings were further encumbered by other restrictions which ignored the reality of the new moon phases. For example, the last month of the year, Adar—the month which precedes Nisan, the first month of the next year—is always defective,33 as was, except in special cases, the sixth month, Elul.34 The first and seventh months, on the other hand, i.e., Nisan and Tishri, were “never intercalated,” that is, they were always full.35Continue reading “Sanctification of New Moons – Pt. 2”→
The Hillelic Pharisees differed from their religious counterparts in that they followed the Babylonian custom of demanding that there must be witnesses who could testify to a Calendar Court confirming the sighting of the moon’s crescent on the very first day of the new moon. They also required official sanctification of the new moon by their Calendar Court.
Our attention will now shift to examining the rules for sanctification and dissemination for the Hillelic New Moon Day. As we shall see, many of these regulations prove to be arbitrary and counter to scriptural intent.
The Hillelic Pharisees considered it “a religious duty to sanctify (the new moon) on the strength of actual observation.”1 This duty was required, “even though the observation is not necessary for the purpose.”2
Many followers of Yahweh recognize the importance of correctly observing Yahweh’s sacred calendar.
At the same time, there seems to presently exist some confusion regarding the determination of a scriptural month and year.
We know that Abraham was justified to receive the Promised Land “because Abraham obeyed my (Yahweh’s) voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, MY STATUTES, and my laws.” (Gen. 26:5)
The observance of Yahweh’s Festival Days is a STATUTE that Abraham would have kept as a requirement for justification to achieve salvation and eternal life.
One would also have to conclude that Abraham did, in fact, observe the Festival Days correctly. Otherwise, he would have failed to keep them and Yahweh would not have justified him.
During our present time, if one is in error regarding Yahweh’s sacred calendar, it follows that one is not properly keeping Yahweh’s statutes and, therefore, would fall short of Yahweh’s commands.Continue reading “Rules for the New Moon”→
We learned that a tequphah is a solar event and is a point in time that could be an equinox or a solstice.
It was also recognized that a tequphath represents a season of the solar year. The two seasons for calculating Festival Days being spring-summer and autumn-winter.
With this in mind we will continue in Part 2 with an examination of the Festival of Tabernacles and the Festival of Ingathering. What we will discover is how they both relate to the determination of the scriptural New Year.
Khag of Tabernacles We must next be cognizant of the difference between the use of the labels “the Khag (Festival) of Ingathering” and “the Khag of Tabernacles,” the latter forming only a part of the former. The instructions from Deuteronomy and Leviticus for the seven-day Khag of Tabernacles state:
When all of the window dressing is removed, we discover that the entire issue about when to begin the year rests with the instructions regarding the Khag of Ingathering and its tequphath (season of the year).
Preliminary Statement The late Jews tell of four תקופת (tequphath) of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), each calculated as a period following one of the days of a תקופה (tequphah): the vernal equinox, the summer solstice, autumnal equinox, and winter solstice.1
It is also important for us not to confuse the occurrence of a tequphah (i.e., equinox or solstice) with the season (tequphath) although the same word is sometimes used in common speech for both.
To begin with, a tequphah (equinox or solstice), as spoken of by Scriptures, is a solar event, marking a point of passage of the earth around the sun. It represents a day wherein one of two visual effects occur.
1. A solstice day is a day when the sun, as seen along the earth’s horizon, reaches its furthest point of rising or setting either on the north or south.
2. On the day of an equinox, on the other hand, the rising and setting of the sun lies on the horizon precisely in the middle between the two solstice points. As a consequence, the length of the periods of daytime and nighttime on that day of the equinox are almost exactly equivalent.
The Tequphath The Hebrew word תקופת (tequphath)—various transliterated as tekufath, tequfoth, tequfath, and so forth—is a form of the term תקופה (tequphah)—tekufah, tequfah, and so forth. Tequphah is itself derived from the word קופ (quph), meaning to, “go round.”2 The term תקופה (tequphah) more precisely means, “a revolution, i.e. (of the sun) course, (of time) lapse:—circuit, come about, end”;3 a “circuit,”4 “orbit of the sun . . . circle of the year.”5
For many, especially among those who assert to be followers of Yahweh, it seems that there exists an unfortunate commonality that runs contrary to what is advanced by Scriptures. This commonality can be labeled “Confusion.” Of course, this should raise a red flag as the following would indicate:
For the deity is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all assemblies of the saints. (1Cor. 14:33)
When it comes to the issue of determining New Moons by visibility or calculation, there are a number of questions one should consider when trying to ascertain Yahweh’s truth of the matter.
It seems that various religious leaders have convinced many people that not only must one actually see the visible crescent of the new moon but must also determine the greenness of the barley crop for the New Year.
These religious leaders purport to know and understand the true criteria for the determination of Yahweh’s calendar. They also claim their knowledge and understanding comes directly from Scriptures.
In addition, these religious leaders claim that their formula for determining New Moons emanates from Scriptures and is very simple. So simple that Yahweh has provided the means for virtually anyone to determine the beginning of months and years regardless of circumstance.
Well, almost anyone. You might not be so fortunate if you don’t have 20-20 vision or are not a farmer.
For those who are interested in observing the Sabbath years it would be very beneficial, at least from Yahweh’s perspective, to know what month actually begins the Sabbath year, Abib or Tishri.
There are many who actually believe that the Sabbath year begins with the seventh month of Tishri and not with the first month of Abib (Nisan).
It has also been extrapolated by many that not only should Sabbath years commence according to a Tishri reckoning but that every year should begin with the seventh month of Tishri.
If one believes that such a notion is found in Scriptures, then it is suggested that one take a closer look at the relevant facts of the matter.
In order to addess this issue we must contend with the concept that the Jews, from the time of their return to Judaea from Babylon in 538 B.C.E. until the end of the Bar Kochba revolt (135 C.E.), officially began their Sabbath years with Tishri 1 (Sep./Oct.) of the sixth year of the Sabbath cycle, as had become their custom sometime after the Bar Kochba war.
InPart 1andPart 2of our quest for the location of the Scriptural International Dateline (SIDL) the stage has been set for the final conclusion.
In Part 3 our final evidence will be presented to discover the location of the SIDL.
Scriptural Definition Our conclusion will begin by referencing the scriptural definition for the International Dateline which begins with an important passage found in the book of Job:
A חקחג (khoq khug;statute of an arch/circle) upon the face of the waters AS FAR AS the תכלית (thaklyth; boundary between) light עם (em; beside) darkness. (Job 26:10)
The wordחג(khug), which, as we have already demonstrated inPart 1,means a “circle, compass, arch.” The term חק (khoq) means, a “statute, law,” “something prescribed, a statute or due . . . prescribed limit, boundary, (BDBG: The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon)” “prescribed, appointed . . . boundary . . . set time . . . statute, (SHL: Student’s Hebrew Lexicon)” “portion, limit (of life) . . . specific time . . . moment . . . boundary, limit (for the sea) . . . definition, rule, prescription, (CHAL: A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament)” “an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage. (Strongs, Heb. #2706)”Continue reading “The Scriptural International Dateline – Part 3”→
We will address one of the most important issues regarding the scriptural calendar, one upon which all other definitions must rely, the question of “What constitutes the Scriptural International Dateline?”
It is at this line that any new date begins. Despite its importance, the scriptural definition for the International Dateline is the most obscure and least understood, rarely even coming up in the calendar conversation. It has puzzled men ever since they began to sail around the globe.
Because of the wide range of opinions prevailing among the various followers of Yahweh there seems to be no unified consensus regarding the truth as how to determine the beginning of the scriptural new year.
At the same time, all claim to possess the truth of the matter while insisting that they have derived their conclusions directly from Scriptures.
What we are left with are two possibilities:
1. One conclusion is correct. 2. All conclusions are wrong.
For the sake of simplicity let us proceed with the possibility that all are wrong. All we are trying to do is clear away the confusion to get at the heart of the matter. Once we are finished only Yahweh’s truth should prevail.
How does one figure when the month begins, scripturally speaking, especially those who claim to be seeking Yahweh’s truth?
Logic dictates that one would just add 28 days to the date of the last new moon. Then go outside and look low toward the western sky at sundown. Keep looking for up to two hours or so.
If you don’t see anything, repeat the process the next day and so forth until you do. Simple stuff, or so it seems.
It would have been simple except for the fact that when you personally did this a while back, a friend called you and said “Happy New Year” and proceeded to tell you that he saw the new moon.
Unfortunately, you never saw the thin crescent of the new moon even though you carefully scrutinized the early evening sky.
Questions Because of this precarious situation, you proceeded to disagree with your friend’s conclusion. You questioned if he was wearing his eyeglasses, using binoculars or a telescope. You even wondered if he had been drinking any alcoholic beverages prior to his sighting. Many more questions were asked, and needless to say, the conversation did not go well.
Then you actually did see the new moon for the New Year, and you were sure you got it right this time. That worked until someone said you were wrong because the barley wasn’t ripe enough; therefore, you were one month off. At this point, a slight sense of frustration set in with the realization that maybe you just weren’t qualified (smart enough) to figure these things out. Best to stick with the experts (religious leaders) to get it right.
So simple enough (and we do want to keep things simple), you proceeded to consult various religious leaders, elders, and teachers of Scriptures. Now things began getting rather messy. Virtually no one could give you a consistent answer.
You now come to the stark reality: It’s been “New Moon Guesswork” all along.
So as a last resort to arrive at the correct answer, you set out to determine which Sacred Name group, among others, had the most followers as this would be the best criteria for arriving at Yahweh’s truth. Surely large numbers of people cannot all be deceived, and besides, Yahweh would not permit it. So everything is simple now, and you can relax.
Remarkable stuff! Remarkable because it seems the New Moon controversy has been going on for over 2000 years with no end in sight! The truth is that we can end the debate if one carefully investigates Scriptures with an unbiased mind. We will proceed to do just that as we continue.
New Moon Clarity Let’s start with the reasonably good premise that Yahweh wants mankind to observe his commanded festival and sacred days. (Exod. 23:14-17; Deut. 16:16)) Yahweh has also furnished us with a timing mechanism to observe these days at their proper times. For instance:
And eloahim said, Let there be luminaries in the open expanse of the heavens to divide between the daytime and the nighttime and let them be for signs and for moadim (appointed times) and for days and years; and let them be for illuminations in the open expanse of the heaven to give light on the eretz (land); and it was so. And eloahim made the two great luminaries: the great luminary for ruling the daytime and the smaller luminary for ruling the nighttime, and the stars. And eloahim set them in the open expanse of the heaven to give light upon the eretz and to rule over the daytime and over the night, and to separate between the light and the darkness. (Genesis 1:14-18)
Give thanks to Yahweh . . . to him who made the great lights; for his mercy is world-age lasting; the sun to rule in the daytime, for his mercy is world-age lasting; THE MOON AND THE STARS TO RULE IN THE NIGHTTIME, for his mercy is world-age lasting. (Psalms 136:1, 7-9)
Thus says Yahweh who gives the sun for a light by daytime and STATUTES OF THE MOON AND STARS FOR A LIGHT OF NIGHTTIME. (Jeremiah 31:35)
He (Yahweh) made the MOON FOR THE MOADIM (appointed times), the sun knows where he enters in.(Psalms 104:19)
Moon and Stars Rule Nighttime It seems very clear that the statutes of the moon, along with the stars, are used to determine the moadim (appointed times) of Yahweh. Therefore the legal authority of the moon and stars is during the nighttime. In contrast, the authority of the sun is the daytime. Indeed, in Scriptures, the days of the month, as well as all the moadim, are always counted by the 24-hour legal days of the moon, which begin at sunset.
From Jerusalem Now that we have some facts, it would be helpful to know from what location on the earth should the calculations of time be legally considered.
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Yahweh from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
It seems that Scriptures are quite clear and unambiguous.
Most everyone realizes that the phenomena of the moon’s phases are caused by the moon’s revolution around the earth in relation to the sun. This lunar circuit takes about 29.5 days to complete, and then the process repeats. Our current months are based upon this cycle.
The lunar cycle point of completion is when the moon goes into conjunction with the sun. When the moon begins leaving its conjunction with the sun, the rebuilding or renewing of the lunar cycle is commenced.
So, at minimum, there would be some relationship with the moon completing its cycle for it to renew or rebuild along with the statute regarding the legal authority with nighttime. One might assume that the visual sighting of the New Moon crescent is required per Yahweh’s statute since in no way does this conflict with the concept of the rebuilding of the lunar cycle or new moon.
No Scriptural Command to See Crescent One should note that nowhere in Scriptures is there a command for one to actually see a visible crescent of the moon to determine a new moon.
A possible scenario would be that everyone in the general location of Mt. Zion/Jerusalem would diligently look for the moon’s visible crescent, only to be disappointed by the fact that clouds were obstructing the moon and sun.
The next option would be to review the mathematics, for you wouldn’t be looking in the first place if there wasn’t some simple arithmetic at play.
Then there is the added problem of the simple math not being able to reveal a visible lunar crescent because the degree of separation of the moon and sun was too close to call.
Abraham Knew How to Calculate But then you might say that Yahweh had to simplify it for simple people who could not perform the required calculations of new moons; therefore, he implemented the simple visual rule. Besides, aren’t we talking about farmers, sheepherders, and nomads of the desert?
Somehow even Abraham was able to keep Yahweh’s statutes correctly.
Because Abraham obeyed my (Yahweh’s) voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my STATUTES, and my laws. (Genesis 26:5)
Surely Abraham could not know about such things as mathematics and precise calculations. Unless, of course, there might be some evidence to the contrary. Josephus states:
HE (ABRAM) COMMUNICATED TO THEM (EGYPTIANS) ARITHMETIC, AND DELIVERED TO THEM THE SCIENCE OF ASTRONOMY; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also. (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 1:8:2)
In addition, most are unaware that during the time of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, the year consisted of 360 days with 12 months of 30 days each. This means that the solar and lunar years were synchronized so that one could readily calculate Yahweh’s Festival Days accurately every year as the Old Testament patriarchs did.
Yahweh’s Clock Always Works So far, we have evidence of Yahweh setting up a clock that all of mankind could use to accurately keep the statutes of his festivals and sacred days. Therefore, it is only logical that Yahweh would teach mankind how to understand the clock and its calculations.
This would also mean that the clock would work regardless of man’s handicap of poor eyesight or clouds obstructing the sky.
When one does the research, there can be found much evidence revealing that the ancients and later Jewish factions recognized the scriptural validity of mathematical calculations regarding the determination of the new moon.
For a more thorough discussion of the matter, please refer to the article by Qadesh La Yahweh Press titled “Rules for the New Moon.”
After perusing the referenced article, the following information will be just a bit easier to comprehend. This is how it works, and you really don’t need good eyesight or be concerned with any clouds in the sky.
How Yahweh’s Clock Works
It logically follows that before determining the first day of the month, you must determine when the last day of the month occurs.
In reality, the actual purpose of the conjunction is to determine the last day of the month. This is a lunar event and, therefore, can only legally be counted during the nighttime of a 24-hour day.
If the conjunction occurs during the night, then that 24-hour day is legally considered the last day of the month. The next day begins at sunset, which is New Moon day.
On the other hand, if the conjunction occurs during the daytime, the following day at sunset is legally counted as the last day of the month. This is because of the “part of” rule, as explained in “Rules for the New Moon.” New Moon day will commence with the second sunset after conjunction.
Keep in mind that the New Moon day is based upon the moon’s position as it relates to Mount Zion during the nighttime.
By now, some of you think that all this can’t be true because, based on the presented information, some new moons will be occurring that will not have a visible crescent after sundown.
If one is worried about not being able to see the thin crescent of the moon, then the following bears repeating, “One should make a note of the fact that nowhere in Scriptures is there a command for one to actually see a visible crescent of the moon to determine a new moon.”
For now, this should be enough information for the reader to ponder. Besides, the issue of the green ears of barley wasn’t even addressed, which is purportedly needed in addition to a visible New Moon crescent for the New Moon day, which begins the scriptural New Year.
For the discussion regarding “green ears of barley,” please refer to: