A LETTER TO HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG'S FLOCK... AND WHO AM I....
If you can't find what you are looking for through a search... Check out the Article Index page
Revelations means to reveal... Here you will find the mysteries and the wisdom of God that have been sealed for over 6,000 years... Here you will find what... when.... how... and most importantly WHY.... Click on the pictures or links to learn more...
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world"... Revelation 12:9
Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie 2Thessalonians 2:10-11
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief,
that he might have mercy upon all.
The LAST STRAW...
Just as the days of Noah...
Matthew 24:37 But as the
days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
The first things you need to know to begin to understand the truth and prophecy are who the nations of today are and where they are mentioned in the scriptures.... The Beast and his mark... Where God's only True Church is... and what's prophesied for your immediate future... So you may want to start with these first four links...
The Bible Story (Written for children)
The United States, Great Britain, Israel, Russia, Middle East... etc...
Mark of the Beast
The True Church and The Abomination Of Desolation
God, Man, Angels and Satan
Found in America
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11
The Incredible Human Potential
Mystery Of The Ages
The Seven Mysteries
Herbert W. Armstrong
Here is the truth about God’s sacred calendar. A major identifying sign of God’s Church is its observance of His annual Holy Days. This is impossible without understanding the calendar. Genesis 1 establishes that the sun and moon were appointed for signs, seasons, days and years. Only this calendar harmonizes the solar and lunar cycles. God charged the Levitical priesthood, and later the Jews, to preserve His oracles—the Scriptures, the Sabbath and the calendar. Yet never has it come under such baseless and irresponsible attack by so many selfprofessed “experts” who are ignorant of the mechanisms built into it. Learn why the 19-year time cycles are an astronomical fact, the purpose of leap years and the real meaning of postponements. This booklet is the first of its kind ever written by the Church and the full picture will inspire awe for God’s handiwork in structuring His calendar!
God’s sacred calendar—generally referred to as the Hebrew calendar—has not been clearly understood by most true Christians since the inception of the Church. Knowledge of the details and mechanisms of the Hebrew calendar was never a prerequisite to understanding the truth, and few ever needed to look into this matter. Until our time, the calendar was never a major issue. The Church had confidence that the leadership understood it, which they did. The calendar accepted and used by the Church of God from its begining, in A.D. 31, was the Hebrew calendar. In this present era, when so many have become a law unto themselves, confusion reigns, especially in areas such as the calendar.
Adding to the confusion, various writers have capitalized upon certain calendar issues—with the intent of sowing doubt and uncertainty—to ultimately gain a following. They accuse the Jews of deliberately altering the time of the Holy Days and the weekly Sabbath, for their own convenience. These assertions need to be shown as false and nothing more. Such baseless objections serve only to undermine the faith of some. A renewed sense of appreciation for the Hebrew calendar needs to be presented to God’s people. This booklet is intended to help those who are confused about the calendar issue and to strengthen others who might otherwise be swayed by subtle deception.
The Jews did NOT invent the calendar—they did not contrive it from imagination. Its principles go back to the first chapter of the Bible, where the sun and the moon were appointed “…for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen 1:14). No other calendar harmonizes the solar and lunar cycles. Only the Hebrew calendar sanctioned by God does this!
The Hebrew calendar was presented to Moses and passed on to the priests and certain Levites. Acts 7:38 explains: “This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” Next, notice who was commissioned to preserve those “lively oracles”: “What advantage then has the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar…”(Rom. 3:1-4).
What are the oracles of God? They consist of the Scriptures, the Sabbath and God’s sacred calendar. Some calendar critics mistakenly reject the Hebrew calendar because they say, “The Jews are human, not infallible.” These critics insist that they will only look to the Scriptures for guidance. Yet, it was the Jews who were entrusted by God to preserve the calendar and the Scriptures! These doubters are essentially accusing God of being incapable of preserving the calendar intact.
What about you? Do you accept the Scriptures as authentic? If so, then wouldn’t you also accept that God is able to use the same people to preserve the calendar?
God’s calendar is sometimes referred to as God’s sacred calendar, but most often as the Hebrew calendar. It is the same one that God presented to Moses to be preserved by the Levitical priesthood, and later the Jews. Most of the references, in the context of technical details and calculations, label this calendar “Hebrew.” For reasons of consistency, we will refer to it by this name most often in this booklet. When referring to the calendar in a more general context, we will often use the term “God’s calendar” or “God’s sacred calendar.”
One reason that people stumble on the issue of the calendar is that they misunderstand the concept of postponements, which were built into the calendar for specific purposes. Another stumbling block is the seemingly complicated pattern of leap years.
We will later examine the four postponements and the patterns of leap years in detail. This will help all sincere readers to better understand and appreciate the incredible Hebrew calendar as a source of amazement for the precision built into it. Comprehending the basic principles of the calendar will essentially shield us against the many baseless objections that now abound. The calendar will always remain a vulnerable target as long as it is not thoroughly understood. This area can be reinforced for those who genuinely seek the truth.
A study of the calendar can become detailed, especially when one is learning to calculate the Holy Days in any given year. The purpose of this article is not to teach these detailed calculations, but rather to present an overview of the intricacy and precision of the Hebrew calendar. In presenting this information, some calculations will be demonstrated. (It can be helpful to learn the calculations, if one has the time and interest to do so. They are extremely technical and most will not wish to study them in depth. Their inclusion here serves as evidence for serious calendar students.)
The primary purpose is to present an overview of the Hebrew calendar, to replace doubt and confusion with appreciation and awe for God’s handiwork. Only the Hebrew calendar harmonizes the months of the year with the solar cycles in an intricate way, while maintaining accuracy.
It is important to note that many deceivers accuse those whom God entrusted to preserve the calendar of being guilty of what Satan’s system has always sought to do—change times and laws. Notice: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Dan. 7:25).
Introductory Overview of the Calendar
We begin the overview of the calendar by examining some of the basic facts about the Roman calendar in use today. The Julian calendar was set up in 45 B.C., and recognized the solar year as being 365 1/4 days. However, this calendar was 12 minutes and 14 seconds off per year, which amounted to a 10- day error by the year 1582. So the Gregorian calendar was established that year to correct this error and to help compensate for future errors by adding a leap year. Interestingly, it was not until 1752 that the English (and the American Colonies) adopted the Gregorian calendar. The leap year set by the Gregorian calendar adds one day every four years, except in even 100 years that cannot be divided by 400. Thus, for the years 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2000, only the years 1600 and 2000 could be leap years.
The Gregorian calendar compensates by 72 hours (3 days) every 400 years. The actual excess accumulated is 74 hours, 53 minutes and 20 seconds—an error of 2 hours, 53 minutes and 20 seconds every 400 years—one full day every 3,323 years. We will sometimes refer to the Roman calendar as the Julian or Julian/Gregorian calendar, depending upon how they are used by the references cited.
All calendars either gain or lose time. Corrective measures are taken, such as leap years and other adjustments, to periodically correct the discrepancy. Great care has to be taken to keep the Hebrew calendar in perfect harmony with the lunar cycle, since the Holy Days must occur at a precise time. The solar accuracy is of secondary importance, but is kept in harmony by periodic adjustments, as well.
By way of reference, much of the information in this booklet is derived from an authoritative text on the Hebrew calendar entitled, Spiers Hebrew Comprehensive Calendar. Other references include The Hebrew Calendar: A Mathematical Introduction, by Kossey, 1974 and The Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition, vol. 4, under entry: “Hebrew Calendar.”
What are solar calendars? Solar calendars go strictly by the time of the earth’s orbit around the sun. In a solar calendar, such as the Roman calendar (that most nations now observe), the time of the beginnings of the months, in relation to the moon, have no bearing whatsoever. It is strictly solar. The moon is given no consideration.
Next we consider the lunar calendar. The Islamic calendar is an example of a strictly lunar calendar. All the months begin with the new moon. They are alternately 29 or 30 days in length, with adjustments made every 33 years. The solar aspects have no bearing on the purely lunar calendar. Since annual corrections are not implemented, the months will have the tendency to creep for- ward into different seasons of the year. In fact, the months creep through the full cycle about every 33 years. Imagine January where July used to be.
Finally, the third type of calendar is the luni-solar calendar. This is the type of calendar that God presented to Israel and entrusted the Jews to preserve (with the Scriptures and the Sabbath). It is based on both the solar and lunar frames of reference. The months and years are kept in balance. This is a somewhat complicated task.
When Israel was under the God-ordained leadership of the priesthood, it was the priests’ responsibility to follow the directions that God had provided to determine the times of the beginning of months and the Holy Days. Since every man was not to be a law unto himself, it was understood that the calendar was entrusted to the priesthood. By the end of the period of judges, God’s instructions were being ignored, and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 21:25). They could make known the Holy Days in advance. After the Babylonian captivity, the Jews of the dispersion were able to look to the Jewish priesthood (who returned to Judea) as the central authority in the determination of the sacred years. The Sanhedrin assumed that responsibility during the Roman occupation. Shortly after the time of Christ, the Romans destroyed the temple, and many Jews were driven from Jerusalem soon after A.D. 135. In those most trying times, the calendar was still entrusted to the Jews, and the Jewish patriarchs continued to announce the arrival of the Holy Days. During the fourth century, the Roman authorities, in league with the great counterfeit church, outlawed Sabbath and Holy day observance.
After this time, it became necessary to release the rather complicated data used to calculate the calendar. No longer could the Jewish patriarchs announce when the new years would begin and on what days the Holy Days would fall. About the year A.D. 359, the patriarch Hillel II publicized this information. Of course, it was delivered to Jewish enclaves in all known areas of the world. Besides the calendar instructions, Hillel II provided the Jews with lists that projected the Holy Days for hundreds of years. For those who would to study the calendar calculations, predetermined answers to future calculations would measure their level of proficiency.
Terms Used For Calendar Calculation
We now introduce some of the more basic terms used by the Hebrew calendar. You are familiar with most of them. To begin, the average length of a day is 24 hours. A day, as defined by God, begins at the time of sunset. For purposes of calculation, the average time of sunset is 6:00 PM. An hour is subdivided into 1,080 parts. One part equals about 3 1/3 seconds, and is further divided into 76 moments. One moment is equal to a small fraction of a second. We will not need to worry with the details of calculating moments, but it is good to be aware that such a precise measurement of time exists.
All of the above facts, along with more details, will begin to make sense as we start fitting the pieces of the puzzle together
Note that the lunar month is:
29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 2.841 seconds
Now this equates to:
29 days 12 hours 793 parts
In demonstrating the Hebrew calendar, it is necessary to explain some of the basic levels of calculation—we must prove all things (I Thes. 5:21). In order to prove something, you have to acquire a basic understanding of the subject. Acourse in calendar calculation would go into what we are covering in far greater detail. We are mainly seeking an overview, but some examples of calculations will be necessary to appreciate the Hebrew calendar.
As noted above, a lunar month is equal to 29 days, 12 hours and 793 parts. In calendar calculations, using parts is far superior to the usage of minutes and seconds. From this time forward, we will use only parts. “Parts,” as units of time, were used by the Jews long ago in the counting of time, and we understand that this was an element of the calendar from the beginning. Remember that 1 hour = 1,080 parts.
A solar year is equal to 365 days, 5 hours and 997 parts. One solar year does not exactly equal 12 lunar months. We should now demonstrate the difference in these time frames.
29 days 12 hours 793 parts (one lunar month)
X 12 (multiply days, hours and parts independently by 12) / 348 days 144 hours 9,516 parts
To “reduce” the product of the equation to the lowest terms, we begin by dividing the parts by 1,080 to extract the hours from this term—the remainder stays in the parts column. So, 9,516 divided by 1,080 equals 8 full hours added to the hours column, and a remainder of 876 in the parts column. (You can practice these steps if you choose, but it is not necessary as long as you understand the procedure.)
Next, to reduce the hours to days, divide the 152 (144 + 8) hours by 24. This produces 6 extra days to add to the days column and leaves a remainder of 8 hours in the hours column. So the “reduced” answer is: 354 days, 8 hours, 876 parts. Remember that this was the total of 12 lunar months. We will subtract this expression from the solar year to establish the difference between one solar year and 12 lunar months.
365 days 5 hours 997 parts (A solar year) - 354 days 8 hours 876 parts (12 lunar months) = 10 days 21 hours 121 parts (the answer)
In subtracting 8 hours from 5 hours, it becomes necessary to borrow 1 day from the days column and then subtract the 8 hours from 29 (5+24) hours, which gives an answer of 21 hours. The net days become 10, since we borrowed from the 365 days, leaving only 364 from which to subtract.
From the above demonstration, we have established that a solar year is longer than 12 lunar months by 10 days, 21 hours and 121 parts. So herein resides the primary problem with most types of calendars—how to keep both the lunar and solar aspects of the calendar in balance. Only one calendar does this correctly—the Hebrew calendar.
Before proceeding, we have to introduce a crucial element from astronomy. This is the 19-year time cycle. Precisely every 19 years, the sun, earth and moon come back to the same location relative to each other. This was understood by ancient astronomers and still stands as one of the many axioms of astronomy in relation to our solar system. To reconcile the difference in the solar and lunar “years,” 7 years are established as leap years in every 19-year cycle. To summarize, 7 leap years contain 13 months and the other 12 years (called common years) contain 12 months, amounting to a total of 235 months in a 19-year time cycle. To see the pattern of leap years in a 19-year time cycle, notice the following layout. The leap years are highlighted to clarify the pattern.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Now that the concept of 19-year time cycles has been introduced, we must proceed to the clarification of other terms. We will be addressing these time cycles again, shortly. (Some of the calendar authorities use the term “intercalary” for the term “leap”. We will use only the term “leap” in this booklet.)
The months in a year alternate between 29 and 30 days, beginning with 30. This process of alternating between 29 and 30 days gives an average of 29 1/2 days. Below is a simple layout of the months as they occur, along with the days as they would fall in normal (common) years, followed by a leap year to the right. The month of Tishri is listed first since the start (new moon) of this month is the benchmark for calculating the entire year. This will be explained more fully below:
The month named V’Adar means Adar II. It comes at the end of the sacred year and is the extra 13th month only added to leap years.
We previously defined a lunar month as 29 days, 12 hours and 793 parts. So it is obvious to see the actual lunar month is 793 parts (about 45 minutes) longer than the 29 1/2 days designated for a month in the calendar. To make up for this discrepancy, adjustments were called for in the Hebrew calendar to bring the months back into balance. Two methods were used:
Heshvan (the 8th month) would be assigned 30 days in certain years, instead of the usual 29. Keslev (the 9th month) would be assigned 29 days in certain years, instead of the usual 30.
These two months are used to balance the actual lunar months, which differ by about 45 minutes (793 parts) from the months designated by the calendar. So these two months bring the lunar times back into balance. These adjustments operate independently of each other. Time cannot be lost. It has to be accounted for, and this method has worked well for millennia, long before the modern critics of the Hebrew calendar came on the scene.
Because of calendar adjustments, plus the combination of leap years and common years, we have the possibility of six different lengths of years. These six possibilities are:
Regular Common year = 354 days (12 months x 29 or 30 days)
Deficient Common year = 353 days (Keslev with 29 days)
Full Common year = 355 days (Heshvan with 30 days)
Regular Leap year = 384 days (13 months x 29 or 30 days)
Deficient Leap year = 383 days (Keslev with 29 days)
Full Leap year = 385 days (Heshvan with 30 days)
Some sources designate common years as normal years. They might designate the Full common year as the Excessive common year or the Perfect common year. Some authorities use the term “Defective” in place of “Deficient.” The precise names may vary, but the concepts are the same. That is why understanding the concepts is more important than memorizing terms. Don’t get confused if the terms vary in cases where the same Hebrew word can be interpreted in multiple ways, such as common or normal or ordinary, etc. Be assured that the principles that underpin the concept of the Hebrew calendar are consistent, reliable and time-proven over the millennia.
These six possibilities constitute the full range of year lengths. This may seem complicated, but these adjustments are required to keep the lunar cycles in harmony with the solar cycles. This lunar-solar balance is achieved with this calendar. No other calendars have achieved this balance. Certain hybrid calendars, based on standards not given with the Hebrew calendar, fall short on one or more aspects of the needed precision. These hybrid calendars anchor their calculations on the vernal equinox and try to abolish some of the standards of the Hebrew calendar.
Now we introduce the concept of the Molad of Tishri. Molad refers to the new moon that signals the beginning of a new month. Tishri is the seventh month of the sacred year. The Molad of Tishri is the most important, as far as the calendar is concerned. Tishri begins with the new moon which announces the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets. The remaining three fall Holy Days occur during this month as well. The Molad of Tishri announces not only the beginning of the seventh month, but also the beginning of the civil year. This is somewhat comparable to the fiscal year that many businesses observe, usually from July through June of the following year. The beginning of the sacred year is in the spring of the year. It begins with the month of Nisan (Abib). Passover is observed on the 14th of this month, followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread. The fact that the civil year does not coincide with the sacred year is the reason that the middle column in the above chart begins with Tishri (month #7), and the beginning of the sacred year (month #1), which is Nisan, is about midway down the chart.
As the beginning of the civil year, the Molad of Tishri will be counted as the focal point of the calendar year. This particular new moon is the benchmark on which the calculations are hinged. The Molad of Tishri is sometimes simply referred to as the “Molad.” As a point of interest, if someone sought to find out the length of a particular year, the procedure would be to find the Molad of Tishri for the beginning of that year, as a starter. Next, the Molad of the following year would be calculated. Then the length of the year would simply be the number of days between the two Molads. It could only be one of the six possibilities discussed earlier. Do not worry about memorizing all of these details. However, you will soon see them come into play and fit into the pattern of establishing the exact days upon which the Molad of Tishri (beginning of the Feast of Trumpets) and the other Holy Days will fall.
To summarize this section, here is a simple table that shows all six combinations of years and months. This should help reinforce what was discussed:
Determining the Day of the Week of the Molad of Tishri
In computing the day upon which the Molad of Tishri falls, it is necessary to measure from a benchmark. This is the date generally used for all calendar cal culations. The benchmark is the Molad of Tishri, 3761 B.C. Specifically, that Molad of Tishri was on the 1st day of the week, the 23rd hour and 204th part. You will see how this benchmark is used in calculations.
Suppose we needed to find the day of the week on which the Molad of Tishri falls in any given year. Keep in mind that if the days of a year were evenly divided by 7, then the Molad of Tishri would fall on the same day of the week on the following year. Since all years do not have an equal number of weeks, we need to calculate the number of days exceeding an even number of weeks in a given year. Once we know this, we can easily tell the day of the week on which the corresponding Molad of Tishri will fall.
Three more facts are neccessary in calculating the day of the week for the Molad to occur:
1) The average common year exceeds an even number of weeks by: 4 days, 8 hours, 876 parts.
2) The average leap year exceeds an even number of weeks by: 5 days, 21 hours, 589 parts.
3) A 19-year time cycle exceeds an even number of weeks by: 2 days, 16 hours, 595 parts.
One clear fact should emerge from the study of the 7-day weekly cycle. The calendar makes no alterations on the weekly cycle in any way. Some have implied that the calendar adjustments somehow shift the weekly Sabbath. This never happened in the past and does not happen now. Such an assertion by a writer only illustrates his ignorance of the truth about the calendar. Anyone who buys into this is a candidate for deception. The calculations in which we are now involved require adjusting the calendar in relation to the weekly cycle. This includes the Sabbath. The calendar has to make some considerable adjustments, because it is the Sabbath and the weekly cycle that are absolutely unmovable—NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
At this point, we will postpone the introduction of new concepts and walk through a simple series of calculations in order to better familiarize you with the concepts presented thus far. We are now ready to determine the day of the week of the Molad by applying the concepts that have been briefly introduced above.
In this first calculation, we will find the day of the week in which the Molad of Tishri occurred in A.D. 1964. We will only be looking for the day of the week (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), rather than the day of the month. The method is simple, but accurate to the point that we can be 100 percent sure of the answer—as long as the calculation is correct. Again, the purpose of walking through these calculations is to demonstrate the accuracy of the various techniques of finding the respective solutions. Do not worry about remembering the exact sequence or the exact details of these demonstrations. As already emphasized, the intent of covering these points is to give the reader an overview and appreciation for the exactness and methodical structure of God’s calendar.
To determine the day of the week in which the Molad of Tishri fell in the year A.D. 1964, we first establish the span of years between the benchmark of 3761 B.C. and the year A.D. 1964 (3,761 + 1,964 = 5,725).
Now, in counting from 3761 B.C. to some year in the A.D. span of time, we must subtract 1 since there is no year zero (5,725 – 1 = 5,724). So there are 5,724 years between the benchmark and 1964.
Next, we divide this number by the number of 19-year time cycles to simply determine how many time cycles are contained in this span of time (5,724 / 19 = 301 plus 5 years left over).
If you use a calculator, you get 301.2631578. The .2631578 is equivalent to 5 years. You can multiply that decimal expression by 19 to get 5 years, or simply divide 5,724 by 19, using old-fashioned long division and you will get a remainder of 5.
Now we take these 301 time cycles, with the 5 years left over, as the basis for our calculation. We will take the 301 and multiply by the amount that every 19-year time cycle exceeds an even number of weeks. (This was covered in the preceding section and will be presented again below.)
Next we will take the 5 years left over and classify these 5 years into the number of common years and the number of leap years. This process is simple. We look at the 19-year time cycle pattern and simply observe how many of these years are common (not underlined) and how many are leap years (green underlined).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
In counting from 1 to 5, we find that 4 of the years are common and only 1 is a leap year. So we will multiply 4 by the amount of time that a common year exceeds an even number of weeks. Then we will add the length of time that one leap year exceeds an even number of weeks.
Now we will write out these expressions (as introduced in the preceding pages):
301 multiplied by 2 days, 16 hours, 595 parts (301 X [the excess occurring in each time cycle])
4 multiplied by 4 days, 8 hours, 876 parts (4 X [the excess occurring in each common year])
1 multiplied by 5 days, 21 hours, 589 parts (1 X [the excess occurring in each leap year])
These respective expressions will be expanded as they are multiplied:
602 days 4,816 hours 179,095 parts (the excess in 301 time cycles) + 16 days 32 hours 3,504 parts (the excess in 4 common years) + 5 days 21 hours 589 parts (the excess in 1 leap year) = 623 days 4,869 hours 183,188 parts (total)
We briefly introduced the methods of reducing the terms upon beginning the sections on calculations. We now take this total and reduce it to the lowest terms: 832 days, 22 hours, 668 parts (the reduced total).
Next, this reduced total is divided by 7 to see how many days exceed an even number of weeks. So 832 / 7 = 118 weeks plus 6 days left over. This excess is 6 days, 22 hours, 668 parts.
This excess amount indicates how much forward the Molad of Tishri moved in the span of time between 3761 B.C. and A.D. 1964. Now we have to add this excess to the exact time of the Molad of Tishri of 3761 B.C.
1 day 23 hours 204 parts (Molad in 3761 B.C.) + 6 days 22 hours 668 parts (forward movement since 3761) = 7 days 45 hours 872 parts (total)
8 days 21 hours 872 parts (reduced to lowest terms) Now subtract 7 days to determine excess.
1 day 21 hours 872 parts (final answer)
This final answer shows that, in A.D. 1964, the Molad of Tishri occurred on the 1st day of the week, at the 21st hour and 872 part. This would be Sunday at about 9:00 PM, according to the Roman reckoning of the day from midnight to midnight.
You observed in this calculation that a definite sequence of procedures had to be carried out in an orderly fashion. The calculation revealed the precise day of the week of the Molad of Tishri in 1964.
This same procedure would have been used to calculate the day of the week for the Molad of Tishri for any other year, as well. The calendar is extremely precise and the calculations can be depended upon to project any future Molad with equal precision.
We will also see how the calculations can be extended to the day of the month. But first a short review will be helpful.
Determining the Day of the Month of the Molad of Tishri
Before introducing any new concepts, a brief review would reinforce what has already been covered. A 19-year time cycle includes 12 common years and 7 leap years. The linear pattern previously used shows the breakdown of years:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Counting the years not underlined in this pattern gives us the 12 common years. The underlined years are the 7 leap years.
Recall these previously covered facts:
1) An average common year exceeds an even number of weeks by 4 days 8 hours 876 parts.
2) An average leap year exceeds an even number of weeks by 5 days 21 hours 589 parts.
3) A 19-year time cycle exceeds an even number of weeks by 2 days 16 hours 595 parts.
Besides these points, remember that the benchmark for calculations is the Molad of Tishri 3761 B.C. This Molad occurred precisely on the 1st day at 23 hours and 204 parts.
Having covered this brief review, we should now be familiar with the technique used to determine the day of the month for the Molad of Tishri. As the calculations are explained, keep in mind that you don’t have to memorize the facts or procedures. We are walking through this process to give you the general understanding as to how the solutions are derived. Without having seen this performed in a general way, it would not be possible to appreciate the incredible precision of the Hebrew calendar. Try not to develop a negative view toward calendar calculations as something too dry or dull to understand. Challenge yourself to try to understand the concepts. You may develop an understanding that will far exceed that of most self-professed “experts” who, from a position of incomplete understanding, or perhaps intentional deceit, attempt to discredit the Hebrew calendar to secure their own following. Consider whether you want to place your trust in these self-appointed “experts,” or in God’s ability to guide the people to whom He entrusted His calendar!
Now we need to express the 19-year time cycles in Julian years, which consist of 365 1/4 days. We now extend this expression:
365 days 6 hours X 19 = Total days (Julian) in a 19 year cycle = 6,935 days 114 hours =6939 days 18 hours (reduced)
6,939 days 17 hours 1,080 parts (equivalent)
Total days (Hebrew) in a 19 year cycle = 6,939 days 16 hours 595 parts
The difference in the 19 Julian years and the 19 Hebrew years = 1 hour 485 parts
Since this is a calculation of Hebrew dates, the difference is expressed as -1 hour 485 parts. This difference in the 19-year cycles is expressed in Julian years as opposed to Hebrew years, because the calendar now in use by most of the world is the Roman calendar. If the whole world observed God’s sacred calendar, we would not need this translation procedure. Thankfully, that time will soon come.
Above, we considered the difference in the two relative measurements of time for 19-year time cycles. Now we consider the difference in common years (for Julian vs. Hebrew). These differences are expressed below:
Julian year 365 days 6 hours 0 parts
Hebrew common year 354 days 8 hours 876 parts
difference: -10 days 21 hours 204 parts (reduced)
Here, we consider the difference between leap years:
Hebrew leap year 383 days 21 hours 589 parts
Julian year 365 days 6 hours 0 parts
difference: +18 days 15 hours 589 parts
We will now apply these translation patterns to the following spans of time that we used in the previous section to determine the day of week for the Molad of Tishri of A.D. 1964. We are interested in the day of the month for that same Molad. Thus, from 3761 B.C. to A.D. 1964, we must consider the following:
(301) 19-year time cycles
4 common years
1 leap year
This calculation is surprisingly simple, and similar to the technique used to establish the day of the week. We will quickly walk through the steps. First, we take the difference in the 19-year time cycles expressed in Julian years as opposed to Hebrew years. This difference is –1 hour and 485 parts. Multiply this by 301 since there are 301 of the 19-year time cycles involved here, as indicated in the preceding paragraph. Then we will multiply the 4 common years by the difference that applies to the common years. Next we multiply the 1 leap year by the difference that applies to leap years. Following is an extensive chart. All of these factors will be illustrated here:
-1 hour 485 parts (the difference that applies to the 19-year time cycles) X 301 (19 year time cycles) = -301 hours 145,985 parts
-10 days 21 hours 204 parts (the difference that applies to common years) X 4 (common years) = -40 days 84 hours 816 parts
+18 days 15 hours 589 parts (the difference that applies to leap years) X 1 (leap years) = +18 days 15 hours 589 parts
We now take the negative totals and combine them. This is then combined with the positive term and the final figure is reduced.
-301 hours 145,985 parts (from 19 yr. time cycles)
-40 days 84 hours 816 parts (from common years)
-40 days 385 hours 146,801 parts +18 days 15 hours 589 parts (from leap years)
-22 days 370 hours 146,212 parts (total difference from Hebrew to Julian)
-43 days 1 hour 412 parts (reduced)
To apply the above difference, we must begin by listing the Benchmark in Julian terms:
Please note that the dates of September 36th and August 67th are not misprints. These are “equivalent months”—steps that are taken in order to exceed the value of the 43 days above. We will next proceed to adjust the preliminary answer of August 24th, 21 hours, 872 parts.
In the section titled, “Introductory Overview of the Calendar,” near the beginning of this booklet, the issue was discussed as to how the Gregorian calendar made adjustments to compensate for errors in the Julian calendar. Included here is a brief chart that breaks down the exact adjustments since A.D. 1582.
We will now examine another adjustment consideration due to the Julian/Gregorian leap years. The common Julian or Gregorian year is exactly 365 days, which is 1/4 of a day shorter than the average year of 365 1/4 days. Because of this, for each of the 3 years following a leap year, 6 hours must be added.
If the year in question is a leap year, then add 0 hours.
If the year in question is 1 year after a leap year, then add 6 hours.
If the year in question is 2 years after a leap year, then add 12 hours.
If the year in question is 3 years after a leap year, then add 18 hours.
Returning to our example of A.D. 1964, we had –43 days, 1 hour and 412 parts for the difference resulting from all the intervening years.
-43 days 1 hour 412 parts + 13 days Julian/Gregorian leap year correction .... 0 hours 1964 was a leap year = -30 days 1 hour 412 parts Total adjusted difference in Hebrew and Julian/Gregorian
So we go back and subtract the difference from the equivalent month of the Benchmark:
October 6th 23 hours 204 parts (Benchmark)
September 36th 23 hours 204 parts (equivalent month; add 30 days and back up 1 Julian month)
-30 days 1 hour 412 parts (total adjusted difference)
September 6th 21 hours 872 parts (reduced)
The date of September 6th was the Julian date for Tishri 1, 1964. Notice the hours and the parts. They amount to 21 hours and 872 parts. The final answer that established Tishri 1, 1964 as the 1st day of the week also indicated 21 hours and 872 parts—exactly as we found for September 6th of 1964. These procedures are not haphazard, but rather are detailed and precise. Having to translate this time to the Julian calendar is somewhat involved, as we observed, but it is consistent and accurate. One can project to any year in the future and precisely pinpoint the day of the week of the Molad of Tishri and the Julian day of the month on which this falls. The hours and the parts for the Molad of Tishri will always be the same exact amount from both phases of calculation—day of week and day of month. The fact that these remaining elements must agree serves as a parity check that our calculations are correct.
After going through so many steps to realize the final answer, you should feel as though you have at last reached the conclusion of this extended calculation. Don’t get discouraged—but there exists one more criterion before we realize the ultimate “final answer.” We will obtain this after allowing our proposed day and date for Tishri 1 to be checked by the “filtering process” of postponements. This will be discussed in the following section.
The last few pages were involved in illustrating the basic calculation for the sacred calendar and translating the times into the Julian/Gregorian calendar terms. Additional calculations could be given, to reinforce these new con- cepts of calculations, but the point has been made. We have walked through one example that served to illustrate the detailed procedures in calculating the Molad of Tishri.
Certain tables exist which greatly simplify and streamline the process of calculating the Molad of Tishri for any given year. Besides tables, there are computer programs in which you merely respond to “prompts” about the Molad of Tishri. By simply typing in a year, such as 2002, the program presents the complete answer—the day of the week, day of the month for the Molad of Tishri and much more information. But one could not fully appreciate such technological shortcuts without previous experience in walking through manual calculations. You may be among the few who have ever walked through a sample calendar calculation.
Imagine the endless confusion had God allowed every Israelite to calculate his own time of the Molad of Tishri through the centuries. The government of God guarantees order, peace and harmony. So does the careful delegation of responsibility to those capable of dependably and consistently carrying out their assigned duties in a professional manner. This is how God delegated the responsibility of managing the detailed calendar affairs. Left in the hands of the general population, this would have resulted in mass confusion. Only in this present era, when the people rule, judge and decide, has confusion reigned supreme. Thankfully, this chaos will soon be replaced by order, peace and harmony. Even prior to this time, and especially during the time of the kingdom of Israel (at the time of King David, for example), the general population trusted their leadership. And those Levites, to whom God entrusted the calendar, faithfully and accurately executed their responsibilities.
As mentioned before, only in the time of Hillel II did it become necessary to release the information, due to unprecedented persecution and resulting dispersion of the Jews from the area of Judea. Yet here, the general population trusted the God-appointed leadership with this information. This was the case among the dispersed Jewish populations and also the true Church through the centuries. Only in this present era do we hear such questions as:
“Why has this calendar information been withheld from us all this time?”
“Why were the Jews allowed to determine the time of ‘our’ Holy Days?”
“Does God approve of man postponing His Holy Days for the sake of convenience?”
We will consider a number of such questions in a later section. But the issue of postponements should logically be addressed at this point.
What are Postponements?
Postponements are the most misunderstood and most maligned of all the aspects of the calendar. Ironically, they are relatively easy to defend. Simply stating the facts can defend their purpose and intent. There are four distinct postponements that exist with the Hebrew calendar. These four postponements can modify the actual setting of Tishri 1, or the Molad of Tishri, once it is properly calculated. First, they need to be specifically defined and then expanded upon. The definitions follow:
Rule 1: When the Molad of Tishri or a postponed Feast of Trumpets occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, the Feast of Trumpets is postponed to the following day. Because of this, Atonement will never occur on either the day before or after a Sabbath.
Rule 2: When the Molad of Tishri occurs at noon (12th hour in Roman time) or later, the Feast of Trumpets is postponed to the following day.
Rule 3: When the Molad of Tishri of a common year falls on Tuesday, 204 parts after 3:00 AM (3 D, 3 H, 204 P) or later, Trumpets is postponed to a Wednesday and, because of rule 1, further postponed to Thursday.
Rule 4: When, in a common year following a leap year, the Molad of Tishri occurs on Monday, 9:00 AM, 589 parts or later, the Feast of Trumpets is postponed to the next day.
It needs to be pointed out that rules one and two are sometimes listed in reverse order in certain publications. The rules above came from a lecture series that originated from Spiers Hebrew Comprehensive Calendar. They are not affected by the order in which they are presented.
The first rule is by far the most controversial. Many challenges to this rule have surfaced, primarily in the last decade or so. Of course, the timing of this criticism comes as no surprise. The critics accuse the Jews of purposely inventing postponements to cause true Christians to stumble, by observing the Holy Days at the wrong time. This weak and groundless criticism will be answered shortly.
We need to establish the reason for this particular postponement. If Tishri 1 falls on a Wednesday, then Atonement would fall on a Friday, the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Those who correctly prepare for each weekly Sabbath are appreciative to God for this rule. It prevents many undue hardships. By the same token, the critics probably neither appreciate this alteration because they apparently don’t understand the concept nor put into practice the habit of preparation for the Sabbath. Now, if Tishri 1 fell on a Friday, then Atonement would fall on a Sunday, the day after the weekly Sabbath. God, in His perfect wisdom, has not permitted Atonement to fall on Sunday—the day following the weekly Sabbath. So Atonement was always to be separated from falling immediately before or after the Sabbath. The same God who constructed the sacred calendar also intended for mankind to keep His Sabbaths in the appropriate order He established. Thus, He would have never put mankind into a contradictory situation of breaking or compromising the meaning of an annual Sabbath in order to observe a weekly Sabbath, or vice versa. THIS POSTPONEMENT IS FOR THE SAKE OF OBEDIENCE, NOT CONVENIENCE!
If Tishri 1 fell on a Sunday, then the fall Holy Days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Tishri 15) and the Last Great Day (Tishri 22) would both fall on a Sunday, as well. Since these Holy Days represent the culmination of God’s plan, He would not want them represented by the first day of the week. After the day of Pentecost, the remaining Holy Days never fall on the first day of the week for this reason, as well as the fact that the weekly Sabbath would be in the preparation time for three of the four fall Holy Days. Such would be another contradictory situation, creating undue hardships. One last reason for this rule is that it would prevent the observance of the Passover on the evening beginning Nisan 14 from occurring on the evening after the weekly Sabbath.
We should now consider the second rule. It simply states that if Tishri 1 occurred at or after noon on a particular day, then it would be postponed until the next day. This is entirely logical because the new moon observed in the afternoon would put the observance of Tishri 1 within the last quadrant of that day, with the majority occurring in the following day. Therefore, the following day would contain the majority of the time designated as Tishri 1. This is the day that should be honored.
Now back to rule one and two in order to make an interesting observation. As already mentioned, some critics believe that the Jews took it upon themselves to “invent” these postponements. Their “proof” is that postponements were not mentioned in the Scriptures. The Scriptures were recorded for the benefit of Israel, God’s Church and eventually all mankind. The calendar was probably recorded, but was properly and exclusively preserved by certain of the Levitical priesthood, not Scripture. The calendar has always been separate from the Scriptures! The Scriptures also do not define common or leap years, any more than they define 19-year time cycles or postponements. The critics are begging the question, pure and simple!
If the Holy Days were completely out of alignment—being observed at the wrong time—would Christ have taken note of it? Of course! But no mention was made of this. In the year A.D. 31, rules one and two were applicable, resulting in a two-day postponement of Tishri 1. The four Gospels are replete with Christ’s condemnation of the Jewish religious establishment. Had they been in error with the calendar, or the concept of postponements, be assured that Christ would have pointed this out. But if they were still in compliance with what He had established with Israel many centuries earlier, then one would EXPECT SILENCE on that subject. Had the postponements not been in effect that year, then the Passover would have occurred on a Monday instead of a Wednesday. The fact that Passover occurred on Wednesday, according to the rules of postponements, presents a powerful case that they were in use in the first century and that Christ accepted them. (In the next section, we will see how Passover is counted from Tishri 1.)
In light of the above paragraph, it should be mentioned that some accounts of ancient history show that after the Babylonian captivity, the Jews (most likely only some Jews of a particular sect) undertook to alter the calendar according to some 48-year cycle. If this did indeed happen, it made no impact on the “orthodox” calendar accepted by the Jews on a worldwide scale. Again, by Christ’s time, the calendar was virtually the same one used today. Don’t be confused by distorted accounts casting doubt on the calendar.
Consider one other vitally important point, which validates the postponements! Daniel prophesied, nearly 600 years before Christ’s crucifixion, that the Messiah (Christ) would be “cut off…in the midst of the week” (9:26-27). Wednesday is literally the middle (midst) of the week. In other words, he accurately prophesied that Christ “our Passover” (I Cor. 5:7) would be crucified on a Wednesday Passover—to occur in A.D. 31. Daniel understood that Wednesday would be correct.
Of course, we have long understood that this verse also means that Christ’s ministry was cut off, after 3 1/2 years, in the middle of a seven-year PROPHETIC week. But, the seven-year prophetic week had to parallel a literal week. Daniel’s prophecy is commonly known as the “seventy weeks” prophecy. Many have forgotten this important understanding. They have forgotten that the longest phase of this 490-year prophecy (486 1/2 years) spanned a period having to end in precisely A.D. 31 for the prophecy not to fail!
If postponement rules one and two had not been in effect, then Christ would not have correctly fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy—and, as the God of the Old Testament, it was Christ who had inspired this prophecy!
NO WONDER CHRIST DID NOT CONDEMN THE OBSERVANCE OF POSTPONEMENTS!
Rules three and four deal directly and indirectly with the setting of Tishri 1 during leap years. These two rules have not presented a problem with anyone. Along with rule two, they are mainly for mathematical accuracy and assure that all possible situations are accommodated by the six different year lengths.
Some may wonder how the Holy Days can be postponed two days and still be in sequence with the new moon and with the full moon occurring on the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which fall on the 15th of the sacred months. You will find that, even with the two-day postponement, these Holy Days, that are supposed to occur on the full moon, still occur on the full moon. There is almost a three-day period of time in which the moon is full. This does not mean that any of the three days would suffice for observance of a feast. Only the days that are counted from Tishri 1, and adjusted by the legitimate postponements as set by God’s calendar, represent the time set aside by God as His Holy Days.
In the calculation examples, we determined that Tishri 1 in 1964 fell on September 6th, which was a Sunday evening at 21 hours, 872 parts. Remember, this was discussed as being Sunday at about 9:00 PM, according to the Roman reckoning of the day from midnight to midnight. By postponement rules one and two, the date of Tishri 1 would have been moved forward by only one day. Although two rules applied, they would not have been cumulative in this case and it was moved by only one day. In the year of 1964, Tishri 1 fell on Monday, September 7. The filtering process of postponements yields the final approved answer!
At this point, the actual conjunction of the new moon should be considered. Determined by modern methods of astronomy, it precedes the visible new moon seen from the area of Judea by about six hours. Some wonder which is more correct. Since the visible new moon of Judea has been the standard through the centuries, it is from this vantage point that the adjustments and compensations have been made.
Keep in mind that at different longitudes, the new moon will be viewed at significantly different times than as viewed from the area of Judea. Also, as one travels the different latitudes, from north to south, the exact viewing of the new moon will differ.
Assigning the Dates to the Remaining Six Holy Days
Now we are ready to assign all the other Holy Days, since the Molad of Tishri—the Feast of Trumpets—has been established for any given year. The assignment of the three remaining fall Holy Days is forthright and simple. Since Atonement is on the 10th of Tishri, and the first day of the Feast of Tabernalces is on the 15th of Tishri, and the Last Great Day is on the 22nd of Tishri, no extensive calculation is needed for these assignments.
Passover is determined by counting backward from the Feast of Trumpets that follows it. This is the logical method because every sacred year is centered on the Feast of Trumpets that occurs within that same sacred year. There is consistently a 164-day period between Passover (Nisan 14) and the Feast of Trumpets. None of the months between Nisan and Tishri are ever adjusted or varied. Therefore, the inclusive time is consistent. The first day of Unleavened Bread, on the 15th of Nisan, occurs one day after Passover. The last day of Unleavened Bread occurs on the 21st of Nisan. The assignment of these spring Holy Days are forthright, much as the fall Holy Days that occur shortly after Trumpets.
The only remaining Holy day left to assign is Pentecost. It is pinpointed by counting 50 days from the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread. On this day, the wave sheaf offering was presented and the count began, inclusive of that specific day. Here the count began on the first day of the week and ended on the first day of the week. Some critics insist that the count may have proceeded from the day after the first Holy day. If this were the case, a count would not be necessary. The time would be set as consistently 50 days beyond the first day of Unleavened Bread. But this is not the case and a count is necessary from the time of the wave sheaf offering on the day after the weekly Sabbath that falls during the time of Unleavened Bread as discussed above.
Notice that Pentecost always falls on a Sunday—the beginning of the week. This is to be expected because this Holy day, among other things, marks the occasion of the beginning of the Church of God. Commonly Asked Questions About the Hebrew Calendar We will now cover a range of questions and issues pertaining to the Hebrew calendar. The order in which the questions are presented does not indicate any perceived order of importance. These questions are of recent vintage and can easily be identified as such. Regardless of how absurd some of them may sound, they deserve answers, because they represent issues that have become stumbling blocks to many in this age.
1) Why hasn’t the Church written articles or booklets on the postponements so that the membership could understand this sensitive calendar issue?
Ambassador College students were required to cover basic aspects of the calendar and courses did exist for detailed calculations of the calendar. Various articles have appeared that generally addressed the subject. An article entitled, Prove God’s Calendar Correct!, by Kenneth Herrmann, appeared in a 1957 Good News. Precious few such articles were written. The last one appeared in 1981. However, there existed a lengthy paper in the 1970s, entitled, The Hebrew Calendar: A Mathematical Introduction, that taught the detailed calculations of the calendar. Though not advertised, it was available mainly for students, and could have been sent to anyone who requested such information. Such requests were virtually non-existent before the 1990s.
Since the calendar was not a big issue until recently, it was not often addressed. But there was never any contrived effort to hide various questions from the membership. The author was given the opportunity to attend a lecture series that lasted throughout the Graduate Club year of 1977-1978. This series was exclusively devoted to the detailed calculation of the Hebrew calendar. No attempt was made to hide any “secrets about postponements,” or any other subject, from the approximately 25 members who attended. A Worldwide Church of God minister conducted the series.
2) When did God first authorize the use of postponements?
Most authorities on the subject indicate that postponements were in place from the beginning, when God presented the calendar to Moses for preservation by the Levitical priesthood. Remember that the second, third and fourth postponement rules help assure mathematical accuracy and help to accommodate for all possible situations. They are to assure that only the six different year lengths will occur. Without these three mathematical postponements, the year lengths would not fall into the permissible range (from JCAL.txt file for: The Jewish Calendar; software for calculating calendar solutions). All available accounts indicate that the Hebrew years have always fallen within the permissible range. The postponements were obviously already in place.
Also, consider rule one, in which God made a provision for the weekly Sabbath not to be adjacent to Atonement. You will not find anywhere in the Scriptures where God says, in effect, “Oh yes, We forgot, We could never have the weekly Sabbath next to Atonement because this would be contradictory. Back to the drawing board.” God gave His creation much forethought and was certainly capable of getting it right the first time.
Some critics claim that the postponements were first implemented by Hillel II, in about A.D. 359. They have no proof whatsoever, yet they seize upon an opportunity to create doubt, due to lack of very much written information about the events of this time. It is well-documented that the calendar was made public at this time, for reasons mentioned earlier. Such an unfound- ed claim should not affect you after having seen this refuted by more far-reaching proofs to the contrary. All responsible authorities consider Hillel II a dedicated and orthodox Jewish patriarch, whose integrity in regard to the calendar was comparable to Ezra’s devotion as “a ready scribe in the law of Moses.” He was neither a rebel nor friend to any critic who would seek to discredit God’s sacred calendar.
3) Does the Hebrew calendar contradict or interfere with the timing of the Holy Days as given in Leviticus 23?
The Hebrew calendar merely shows when Tishri 1 will occur. After the conditions of the postponements are met, then Tishri 1—the Feast of Trumpets—is established, from which all of the other Holy Days are set. They are in complete harmony with Leviticus 23. Closely examine the moon during the Feast of Trumpets. Weather permitting, you will observe the faint beginnings of the new moon in the evening sky. Realize that the exact observation of the new moon is determined from the area of Judea. But you should see a new moon a few hours after the fact or perhaps a day removed, depending on your location. Then double-check the night sky on the opening night of the Feast of Tabernacles. You will find the big bright harvest moon glowing in full array. Likewise, you will see the full moon on the Night to be Observed, as the Days of Unleavened Bread begin. The calendar is necessary in order to keep God’s Holy Days at the time He has established. Otherwise, there would be no benchmark with which to guarantee that we have our days precisely in order, as they were ordained. Thus, when God indicated that the month of Abib (Nisan) was to be the beginning of months for Israel (Exodus 12:2), there was no need to further define that month or the months that followed it. Such specific information was all defined by His calendar, which was later delivered to Israel shortly after the Exodus from Egypt.
4) Can’t we just look to the Scriptures instead of depending on the Jews to determine when the Holy Days should be kept?
This question is somewhat “begging the question.” What the questioner seems to say is that the Scriptures are worthy of trust but the Hebrew calendar is suspect. Without having to repeat every principle heretofore stated in this booklet, let’s look at the issue from the perspective of what the Scriptures tell us—and what they do not tell us. The Scriptures do not tell us how to determine the beginning of the year, nor do they tell us where to find the benchmark to do so. They do not explicitly show us the average length of a lunar month as being approximately 29 1/2 days. They do not show which months should be 30 days and which should be 29 days. They do not show us when to determine the leap years that are needed to keep the lunar and solar cycles in harmony with each other. God gave all this information in His sacred calendar to the Levites. They were entrusted to follow these details to the utmost—and they did!
Instead of being suspicious, we should feel relieved that He never required every man, woman, and child to memorize every detail. Sometimes, it is better to delegate certain tasks to the specialists, although one may seek a gener al understanding of the procedure used. God knew this, and thus appointed certain of the priesthood with this responsibility. As a result, there was order, consistency and uniformity in regard to the calendar.
Remember that God entrusted the Levites, and later the Jews, to preserve the Scriptures, and the calendar. Why would some feel that God was able to see to it that the Scriptures were well-preserved (including the time of the Sabbath), but failed miserably when it came to the calendar? Do not fall for such weak, unstable arguments.
5) Since when are the Jews infallible?
No human being is infallible. But, as stated above, God was able to use the Jews to preserve the Scriptures, just as He used them to preserve the calendar and the Sabbath. If you accept the Scriptures as authentic, then the calendar’s authenticity should also be accepted. We might ask in turn: “Since when is God fallible or unable to preserve His calendar intact?”
6) What do 19-year time cycles have to do with the Hebrew calendar? We have been told that this was some strange belief that Mr. Armstrong held, which has since been disproved. Is this true?
One of the most basic principles of the calendar is the observation that the sun, earth, and moon come back into the same relative position every 19 years—a fact of astronomy. In one lunar month, the moon rotates around the earth. In one solar year, the earth revolves around the sun. But only once in every 19 years do they come back into the same precise conjunction. Thus, every 19 years (the combination of 12 common years with 7 leap years [235 months exactly]), the lunar cycle comes back into precise conjunction with the solar cycle. The 19-year time cycle is the standard by which the lunar and solar cycles are brought into harmony. It is in between these precise points in time that the harmony between lunar and solar cycles is approximated by leap years, and other fine-tuning adjustments provided for by the calendar mechanisms. No man-made calendar maintains this balance. It is as if God uses this precise alignment, every 19 years, to continually remind us that His calendar is still dependable and “on time.” As you have seen, these time cycles are also a central part of calendar calculations.
Through observation of Church history, many events and time periods have, in fact, shown undeniable patterns, corresponding with 19-year time cycles. Some of these patterns are included below. (Although this subject somewhat branches away from that of the calendar, it does help answer the above two-fold question.)
A.D. 31 (beginning of true Church) to A.D. 50 (Paul goes to Europe) is one 19-year time cycle.
A.D. 31 (beginning of true Church) to A.D. 69 (Jerusalem church flees to Pella) is 38 years, or two 19-year time cycles. 1934 (Philadelphia door opened) to 1953 (broadcast began in Europe) is one 19-year time cycle.
1972 the year the Ambassador Auditorium (Called the House Of God... The Temple) until 2010 the end of the 1290, 1335, and 2300 days spoken of by Daniel.
Other examples include such time periods as the powerful ministry of Peter De Bruys, which began in 1104 and lasted exactly one time cycle, until 1123. Henry of Lausanne then led the Church through the second, and part of the third, time cycle. The Work languished for 12 years. But exactly on schedule, at the beginning of the next time cycle, in 1161, began the incredible ministry of Peter Waldo. Then, for one full time cycle, the Work was centered in Lyon, France. Then, for the next time cycle, beginning in 1180, the Work was centered in Italy, as well as northern Europe. Between 1180 and 1199, the Work greatly expanded and bore incredible fruit. In 1199, with the beginning of the Albigensian Crusade, the Work was attacked with fire and the sword by decree of the Roman Catholics. By the end of this time cycle, in 1218, Peter Waldo was dead and this phase of the Waldensian Work had ended. In spite of intense persecution, much fruit was borne during the final 19 years of this Work.
“By a series of these 19-year time cycles, Jesus Christ put His signature as the Creator and Sustainer of the physical universe on His Church of the Thyatira Era just as He had done on the Ephesus Era.” (Immediate quote and preceding paragraph were referenced from Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 51, page 15, 1968.)
The claim, that 19-year time cycles began as Mr. Armstrong’s strange, personal idea, was originally promoted by liberals in the Church in the 1970s. These same liberals opposed almost everything relating to the true doctrines restored by Mr. Armstrong, including prophetic understanding. This approach was shared by the apostate leaders after his death. So strong was the impact of these false leaders that it has continued among the scattered brethren and their leaders. Belief in 19-year cycles is now regarded by many as fanaticism. Truly, “the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Pet. 2:2), but this will not deter those who genuinely seek the truth. The concept of 19-year cycles is based on sound observation of patterns in Church and secular history. Those who naturally oppose the truth can hardly be expected to accept observations from true history, since they oppose all things of God.
Resolving the “Calendar Issue”
Certain calendars, offered by critics of the Hebrew calendar, make assumptions according to Jerusalem time—the new moon before the vernal equinox— the new moon after the vernal equinox—the new moon nearest, whether before or afterward. Streamlining nothing, they add significant confusion to the issues. None of these “alternative” calendars improves on the traditional, time-tested-for millennia Hebrew calendar. As in all other areas, man’s alternatives fall far short of God’s insight and foresight in the calendar. In spite of men’s new techniques to trace the conjunction of the new moon to the second, their alternatives only serve to complicate (requiring further corrective parameters), rather than to streamline or simplify.
Mr. Herbert Armstrong faced the calendar issue early in his ministry and proved to himself that the Hebrew calendar should be accepted. This same man, whom God used to lead the Philadelphian Work, and to restore Holy day observance, was led to investigate, study and accept this calendar. He recognized that the Hebrew calendar was the only basis for defining both the sacred year and the proper placement of the Holy Days, year after year.
You have just read a complicated booklet. Ingrained prejudice may block any chance for some to understand it. Others may even read it for the sole purpose of discrediting it in order to “make merchandise of YOU” (II Pet. 2:3). Will YOU allow them to do this? Will YOU entrust YOUR crown (Rev. 3:11) to people who are blind to the beauty and precision of the Hebrew calendar?
False teachers will continue trying to undermine your faith. This booklet has been written to prepare you for them! The “calendar issue” is one of the most vulnerable for attack. This booklet answers all reasonable challenges. Because the struggle against heresy is ongoing and dynamic in nature, issues will inevitably arise that have not been addressed here. But the foundation for understanding is in place.
Will you ACCEPT—and ENDURE—the TRUTH of God’s calendar?
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