|God's Sacred Calendar|
|IAUA End Time Ministry|
|Preparing for the End of Time|
|(Book Contents) Home|
The astronomical signal for the start of the month is the new moon. The sacred month begins with the first complete sacred day (from a global perspective) after the signal of the astronomical new moon (lunar conjunction). This signal is sometimes spectacularly visible with a solar eclipse. The first day of the month on the Calendar usually begins with a visible sliver of the new moon at sunset in Jerusalem. This verse refers to Trumpets Sabbath, the first day of the seventh month.
3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
The Hebrew word for month actually means 'new moon'. The Hebrew concept of the new moon is when the first visible sliver of the moon is seen in the western sky at sunset from Jerusalem. The identical day and the identical word described in Psalms above as the new moon is described in this verse and translated 'month'.
1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you.
The light from the moon is a reflection of the sun. The phases of the moon are caused by its rotation around the earth. The length of the lunar month is the time of one lunar orbit around the earth.
When the moon is between the earth and the sun it is dark because we can see no reflection. When the moon becomes dark it is called the new moon. The idea is the moon is renewed when it becomes dark and then lightens up again. The moon is too dark and is too close to the sun to see, without special telescopes, for about two days. The exact moment of the astronomical new moon is when the moon is exactly in the direction of the sun. This can be accurately determined. The first day of the month always follows the astronomical new moon on the Biblical Calendar.
If the moon comes exactly between the earth and the sun, the moon blocks the lights of the sun. The shadow of the moon on the earth causes a solar eclipse. It is important to remember a natural eclipse of the sun only occurs exactly at the new moon.
When the moon is on the far side of the earth from the sun, we see the entire face of the moon lightened by the sun. This is called the full moon and is the middle of the month. This is always approximately the 15th day of the month on the Calendar. The yearly Sabbaths, which begin both the spring and fall week of observance, are the 15th of the month, which is the full moon.
If the earth comes exactly between the sun and the moon, the earth blocks the light of the sun. The shadow of the earth on the moon causes a lunar eclipse. It is important to remember a natural eclipse of the moon only occurs exactly at the full moon. During the eclipse, the moon will turn red because the light from the sun is bending through the atmosphere of the earth. The moon turns red for the opposite reason the sky is blue.
An eclipse of the sun or moon does not occur every month because the orbit of the moon does not line up exactly with the orbit of the earth around the sun. The lunar eclipse is more common because the shadow of the earth on the moon is much large than the shadow of the moon on the earth.
If you live without any contact with civilization and the calculated time of the new moon and sunrise in Jerusalem is not available, the beginning of the month can be approximated by observation of the first visible sliver of the new moon.
There are many limitations, if you depend only on observation for determining the start of each new month. The first limitation is because the observation must be made in Jerusalem. Variability in eyesight, weather conditions, altitude, location, and other factors make using direct observation each month as a primary method of determination unacceptable.
These issues are also important to the Islamic Calendar, the India Calendar, and the Chinese Calendar which all preserve different aspects of the Biblical Calendar. There is a vast amount of research information available from different resources. One such resource is the U.S. Naval Observatory's website.
Modern society depends on precision and advance determination of the elements of the Calendar. It is a simple matter to define scientific methods for precisely determining the elements of the Calendar from formulas based on astronomical observation. The times provided by these formulas must always be accurate, current, and verified by observation. Thankfully, the scientific mind set is obsessed with these exact requirements.
What precise rules do we use to determine the month? In the same way a reasonable scientific rule can be determined for specifying sunset, a reasonable scientific rule can be created to determine the start of the month and provide the advance determination and precision vital to our modern society.
Traditionally the start of the month was determined by the observation of the first sliver of the new moon immediately after sunset. Modern dependence on imprecise observation is not acceptable. The precise time of the astronomical new moon transition can be scientifically determined.
The beginning of a scientifically based rule would be the first day to start after the astronomical new moon is the start of the month. It is important to remember the day begins twelve hours in advance of coming to Jerusalem. If the exact time of the astronomical new moon occurs minutes before sunset in Jerusalem then it would be impossible to observe a sliver for the new moon. Attempting to specify an arbitrary offset of time to guarantee observation of a visible sliver is not acceptable.
We are aided in this dilemma by considering these words:
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
Since the moon rules at night, determining the start of the month only by the day following the astronomical new moon is not applicable unless it is at night. Therefore a scientifically specific offset of time is scripturally defined which also provides the possibility of an observable sliver of the new moon. The month cannot begin any earlier than sunset after approximately twelve hours of daylight from the sunrise after the astronomical new moon. Sunrise in Jerusalem is the exact time of the start of the next day on the other side of the globe.
There are different ways to state the rules for determining the first day of the month. One statement of the rule might be as follows. The night of the astronomical new moon is the last day of the month. If the astronomical new moon is before sundown, then the following night is the last night of the month.
I believe the simplest statement uses the readily available Gregorian date of the astronomical new moon to provide the Gregorian date equivalent to the first day of the month on the Calendar. If the new moon is before sunrise in Jerusalem, add 1 day to the Gregorian date of the new moon. If after, add 2 days. Stated in another different way, the beginning of the month is the sunset, after the sunrise in Jerusalem, which is after the astronomical new moon.
Some always calculate the new month based on assumptions about the local observation of the first visible sliver of the new moon. The complicated calculations and arbitrary decisions about what constitutes visible are too unreliable to be the basis of God's law.
The use of direct observation rules for the start of the month creates confusing discrepancies between different people in different areas of the globe. Though the result is sometimes the same, this causes serious disunity, which does not serve the cause of God. I am sure God does not condemn those who follow the best understanding they know.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Imagine the confusion, if the start of the Sabbath at sundown was based only on observation rules instead of astronomical data referenced to the fixed location of Jerusalem. Those who travel would quickly discover the dateline paradox, as Magellan did hundreds of years ago. Those who live near the Arctic Circle still have a struggle.
Some also put forth the objection those in times past did not have the modern grasp of astronomy for determining time. This is incorrect. There is evidence of calendars based on advanced calculations as far back as history records. An interesting historical fact, noted in the SDA Bible Commentary, is Abraham was known as a great astronomer.
Differences in interpretation by different groups are why differences of a day or two can sometimes occur in the start of the month for different people.
New Moon Observance
The concept of the new moon as a sacred day of special observance is suggested by some Bible verses. The new moon is a special day because it is the basis of God's calendar. It is important to note there is no commandment of God for a day of rest or a holy convocation to support this being considered anything like a Sabbath. The only commandment of God is:
10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
Another statute, which specifies a new moon observance.
11 And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
The commandment is to take notice of the day. This we do by following God's calendar. Some special meeting like a prayer meeting may also be appropriate for the evening of the first day of the month. There are numerous verses, which indicate the special notice of the new moon. Special animal sacrifices are mentioned as associated with the new moon as with all Sabbaths but since animal sacrifices ceased at the cross they are no longer part of our observances. Solomon made this declaration, which mentions the new moon observance.
4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
Most importantly we find a prophetic notice there will be a new moon observance in heaven.
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
Revelation suggests one purpose of the new moon observance. We will eat of the Tree of Life in a monthly gathering.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
In Amos, we find mention of a prohibition against buying and selling on the new moon. These prohibitions were apparently created as traditions of men. They are not recorded as a part of God's commands. I do not observe the traditions of men.
5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
Counterfeits and ApostasiesThere have been many attempts through the millennia by Satan and His followers to change and corrupt the monthly cycle. Man has often tried to put into place simplifying formulas to replace the strict observance of the subtle variations of the Calendar when guided strictly by astronomical observance.
One goal of those who do not adhere strictly to the Biblical Calendar is to have a fixed number of months in a year. Another goal to make a calendar simpler is to have a fixed number of days in a month. The Roman Calendar began this process which was adapted by the Roman Catholic Gregorian Calendar. They have managed to devise an unchanging formula, which is not particularly complicated, which almost accurately matches the cycle of the sun. However, the Gregorian Calendar completely corrupts the monthly cycle and the yearly boundaries established by God.
The Greek Metonic cycle currently followed by the Jewish Calendar is another example of a formula with a fixed number of months in a 19 year cycle and a fixed number of days in a month. While this formula comes very close to looking correct, it is not completely accurate. Jewish tradition also observes rules called postponements, which are not scriptural and further corrupt the Calendar.
It is amazing how God has created an astronomical pattern, which is relatively easy to approximate with simple formulas yet results in a Calendar, which does not match any of the counterfeits and apostates. It is amazing the Jewish Calendar comes so close to approximating the Calendar but is not accurate and is getting farther off as the centuries pass. This keeps them and us on notice their Calendar is not right yet preserves the clues of how to make it correct.
Both of these calendars corrupt the observance of the yearly Sabbaths from occurring on the dates God has specified. The Gregorian Calendar corrupts it completely. The Jewish Calendar preserves the correct cycle but still corrupts the correct date by a few days or a month.
On my determination of the Calendar I use the terms first month, second month, and so on instead of names. This is out of step with the usual convention of using the traditional Jewish names for the months. It is important to note the significance of the fact the Bible usually uses the same terms I do. This is especially true in the Old Testament before the Babylonian captivity.
It is interesting to note the typical "Jewish" names of the month are more accurately Babylonian or Chaldean names and not "Jewish" at all. Some of these names appear to be the names of pagan gods such as found in the Gregorian Calendar. I am certainly not interested in using Babylonian names nor am I particularly interested in using the few "Jewish" or Hebrew names. I do not usually use the "Jewish" names for the yearly Sabbaths either. I may refer to these names for cross-reference purposes.
I have absolutely nothing against anything Jewish as long as it does not contradict the Bible or distract from Biblical principles. Much of what is sometimes called Jewish is actually Biblical principle and tradition. I adhere so closely to Biblical principle, such as wearing the tassels, people often make the mistaken assumption I am either Jewish or highly interested in Judaism and Israel.
Dark Moon ConfusionOne of the deceptions of Satan is the idea of determining the start of the month by the time at which the moon goes dark before the astronomical new moon. This idea is based on a contrived interpretation of a single Hebrew word in this verse, which is translated "Time Appointed".
3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
This is one of those cases where someone, wanting to make a name for themselves or deluded by Satan, takes a single verse, and tries to make a doctrine from it. This teaching contradicts all other Biblical teaching and understanding. This teaching contradicts all recorded history for the understanding of those following the will of God. This teaching claims that all followers of God in recorded history are the apostates and they are the ones who have "discovered" the "real" truth.
This false concept must be carefully distinguished from correctly placing the start of the new month as the first day after the astronomical new moon. The false concept usually places the start of the month a day early. Those who reject the astronomical new moon as the proper signal also call it the "Dark Moon".
I am not going to attempt to point out the details of the error in this teaching but repeat the truth, which disputes the error. This a parallel concept to what has already been presented. The Biblical Calendar is determined by precise signals, which are clear, and identifiable no matter how sophisticated the measurement. Vague determinations based on subjective observation are acceptable only when there is no other option. Subjective determinations must be based on the precise signals.
The signal for the beginning of a month is determined precisely by the position of the moon being aligned between the earth and the sun. Periodically, when the tilt of the orbit of the moon and the earth is aligned with the sun, a solar eclipse occurs at the exact time of the new moon. The next day is the first day of the new moon/month. It is important to carefully define the "next day".
Some teachers discount the purpose of the astronomical new moon claiming it cannot be seen therefore it cannot be visually determined. They claim it must be the uncertain visual sign of the first sliver of the new moon. The results are sometimes the same but visual observation is based on uncertainty and cannot be accurately measured. The astronomical new moon can be very accurately measured. A solar eclipse is a spectacular signal.
God's Calendar covers the whole globe and not just some specific location. Jerusalem, more specifically Golgotha, is the reference point for precise determination. The day begins about twelve hours east in advance of coming to Jerusalem and ends about twelve hours west of Jerusalem. Sunrise in Jerusalem is the precise center of the day, which is the same day around the globe at that specific moment. The new day begins at its most eastern boundary at sunrise in Jerusalem.
Therefore, the first day of the new month cannot begin until after the next sunrise in Jerusalem and arrives about twelve hours later in Jerusalem at sunset. If you have no contact with civilization or astronomical records, a subjective determination, based on the correct determination, would likely observe a thin crescent of the moon near the sun at sunset on the first day of the month.
I am certain God will respect the honest efforts of those who respect Him and seek to follow His guidance and His Law.