The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally
was, dependent upon the lunar cycle. Originally, the New Moon was
celebrated in the same way as the Sabbath; but gradually it became less important while the Sabbath became more and more a
day of religion and humanity, of religious meditation and instruction, of peace and delight of the soul. (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, "Holidays," p. 410.)
With the development of the importance of the Sabbath as a day of consecration and the emphasis laid upon the significant
number seven, the week became more and more divorced from its lunar connection . . . . (Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, "Week," p. 482.)
The lunar month on the Jewish calendar begins when the first sliver of moon becomes
visible after the dark of the moon. In ancient times, the new months used to be determined by observation. When people observed
the new moon, they would notify the Sanhedrin. When the Sanhedrin heard testimony from two independent, reliable eyewitnesses
that the new moon occurred on a certain date, they would declare the rosh chodesh (first of the month) and send out messengers to tell people when the month began.
During Temple times and through the Tannaitic period, the Hebrew calendar was observational, with the beginning of each month determined by the high court based on the testimony of witnesses who had observed a new crescent moon.
Moses used terms moon & month
interchangeably (e.g. Ex.19:1), per Josephus (Ant.I,iii,3).
Moses ordered year of holy feasts begin with Nisan (month the Exodus occurred); however he retained the old order of
year for commerce and secular affairs. The lunar year of feasts, fasts &
agriculture was linked to the divine order of heavenly bodies “for signs and for seasons and for days and
years: (Gen. 1:14) & God’s promise of Gen.8:22.
Hillel introduced the constant calendar in the 4th century B.C. Hillel
II established a fixed calendar based on mathematical and astronomical calculations. This calendar, still in use, standardized
the length of months and the addition of months over the course of a 19 year cycle, so that the lunar calendar realigns with
the solar years. Adar II is added in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th years of the cycle. The current cycle began
in Jewish year 5758 (the year that began October 2, 1997).
Exodus 16, God provided food for the Israelites for 6 days; from the 16th day of the 2nd month
to the 21st. Then, after these 6 days God did not provide any more manna; thereby showing
them that this day (the 22nd day of the month) was a Sabbath. The
15th day was seven days before the 22nd, so it too was a Sabbath.
Therefore, the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th
(same as 1st day) were all Sabbaths. What significance do these dates have in Jehovah God's
calendar? They correspond to the phases of the moon. Jehovah was showing the
Israelites that His Sabbath days were to fall on the days corresponding to the moon's phases, indicating that
the weekly Sabbaths were to be kept by the same calendar or reckoning used to determine the annual Sabbaths or Feast days.
This is evidenced by the first month of Nissan Sabbaths start on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th.
However, Nissan is a 30 day month.
Thus, Sabbath days for the corresponding 2nd
month would naturally fall on different days of the month.
However this is not the case here in this 2nd month
as stated in Exodus 16.
This is a result of the 29th and 30th day(s) being skipped, but only in the context of being designated to any particular day of the week. Reference: Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars
by Stephen Langdon. See additional documentation at the end of this article.
the biblical month starting at a Sabbath IS CONFIRMED with the calendaring of Exodus 16.
However in the Calendaring
of Pentecost the 29th and 30th days were NOT skipped; consequently the 1st day of the 3rd
month is a Tuesday; not a Sabbath.
Leviticus 23 states:
'The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts … Six days shall
work be done, but the 7th day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work, it is the Sabbath of
the LORD in all your dwellings.’ “
On the 14th day (a Friday; given the 1st day is a
Sabbath) of the first month of Nissan at twilight is the LORD's Passover. See
Feast of Passover and JESUS' Crucifixion Dates web page (John chapter 19)
And on the 15th day (High Sabbath) of the same month is the
Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD.
“Then you shall bring a sheaf of the First Fruits (Pentecost summer harvest festival) of your harvest to the
priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath (16th
day; Easter Sunday) the priest shall wave it …. 'And you shall count for yourselves from
the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed
…. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath (Sunday); then you shall
offer a new grain offering to the LORD. I.E. 7 weeks of 7 days plus 1 = 50 days.
This “day after 7 Sabbaths” is the Feast
of Pentecost which is held on the 3rd biblical month on the 6th day: Sivan 6. Nissan
15 to Sivan 6 = 50 days
the counting of the 50 days must start on Nissan 15, which must be a
Sabbath and continue for 7 more consecutive Sabbaths plus 1 day, to end 50
days later on (Sunday) Sivan 6!
Therefore, the 1st day of the month of Nissan must be a regular Sabbath.
Secondly, the 30 days of Nissan, and 29 days of the 2nd month must be calendared to result in Sivan 6 falling
on Sunday (the day following the Sabbath, 7 Sabbaths latter); 50 days from the first Sabbath on Nissan 15.
However, Sivan 1,
the 3rd biblical month, results in falling on a Tuesday, not a Sabbath. Consequently,
the pattern of each biblical month starting on a Sabbath is NOT confirmed with the calendaring of Pentecost.
If the 29th and 30th days are not counted in the days of the week,
then the Tishri I would fall on the 9th day of the lunar cycle.
However, if each month the full 30 or 29 days were appointed individual days, then the
7th month called Tishri 1 would be on a Tuesday, not a Saturday (Sabbath) as stated in
“ 'In the 7th month, on the 1st day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath,
a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.’ ”
"Also, the 10th day of this 7th month shall be
the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you …. 'The 15th day of this seventh month shall be the
Feast of Tabernacles [for] seven days to the LORD … Also on the 15th day of
the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD [for] seven days;
on the 1st day shall be a Sabbath-[rest], and on the eighth day a Sabbath
(22nd)’ “. This calendaring is consistent with
the concept of not counting the 29th or 30th day.
Jesus’ day, the Sadducees were following the more literal reading of Leviticus 23:10–16, whereby Shavuot occurred on the day after the 7th weekly Sabbath
counting from the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. According to that interpretation, Shavuot should always fall on a Sunday.
However, the Pharisaic reading of the same passage, colored by their traditional
interpretation, rendered the calendar differently so that the day of Shavuot might fall on any day of the week.
D. Thomas Lancaster, Director of Education
Fruits of Zion • www.ffoz.org • Page 2 • 3/16/2005
There appears to be no consistent interpretation as to lunar month calendaring starting on a Sabbath.
The historical trend seems to emphasize that the new moon and the Sabbath initially started each new month.
However, as time changed from the days of Moses to that of Hillel greater emphasis was placed on maintaining the 7-day
week, based on a solar calendar, rather than a 29 or 30 day new moon – lunar calendaring.
The month of Nisan is initiated by a new moon and a Sabbath
per Leviticus 23. The second biblical month of Iyar also starts with a Sabbath, according to Exodus 16.
3rd biblical month Sivan includes the counting of the 29th & 30th days in order for Pentecost
to be 50 days from Nisan 15 to Sivan 6. Consequently, the 1st day of Sivan is a Tuesday, not
a Sabbath as in the first 2 months.
If the 29th & 30th days were counted, Tishri 1 would fall on a Tuesday. However,
the 7th biblical month, Tishri, begins again with a Sabbath on the first day of the month, according to Leviticus
compound the situation further, the current lunar-solar calendar is overlaid on a Gregorian calendar which completely eliminates
any relationship to Sabbath or feast day lunar calendaring.
The first, second and seventh biblical months are initiated by a Sabbath on a new moon and do not count the
29th or 30th as allotted to any particular day. However, the 3rd biblical
month does count the 29th and 30th days of the subject month and does not start with the
Sabbath on a new moon.
To not include the 29th and 30th day would cause a violation of
the 4th Commandment to honor the Sabbath every 7 days.
However, including the 29th &
30th day in the 7 day Sabbath week results in the Sabbath & new moon not initiating the next month (as
stated for the 1st, 2ndth months called Sivan, Iyar & Tishri). & 7
It could therefore
be concluded that when Moses initially established each 7th day as a Sabbath, the first day was to be honored to
the Lord as a Sabbath on the new moon as it would have been easily understood, anticipated and observed by the multitude in
Consequently, the 29th day of the month was jointly observed with the first day of the following month
for 2 days as a Sabbath. This was evidenced by the transition between Nisan and Iyar in Exodus 16.
application was not applied between the second and third biblical months of Iyar and Sivan for the counting of 7 consecutive
Sabbaths plus 1 day to Pentecost on Sivan 6.
Otherwise, the 29th and 30th days were typically celebrated
as a 2-day Sabbath adjoined to the 1st of the following month. In this manner, the people in
the wilderness with Moses could easily be instructed to follow both the Fourth Commandment and the Levitical Feasts as outlined
in Leviticus 23.
Consequently, every biblical month starts with a Sabbath on a new moon and ends with a 2-day Sabbath, except when
specifically stated otherwise as with the calendaring of Pentecost. This biblical lunar month therefore
starts and ends on a Sabbath, initiated by a new moon with the feasts calendared per Leviticus 23 on the same days
of the month every year.
This would seem to be the only possible solution in leading millions of people in the
wilderness. Otherwise, the people would not be able to easily know exactly when the Sabbath would occur.
This way the people were reminded every 4 weeks with a new moon when a Sabbath & the feasts were to be observed.
the moon was God’s ‘calendar’ for the people.
'These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their
God appointed the moon
for seasons [מועד mow`ed] ..."
verse the English word "appointed" actually means "made" -- see Strong's
#6213. Better translated, this verse should read: "He made the moon for appointments".
With the implementation of the Gregorian calendar, the connection of the Sabbath with lunar phases was
discarded. This resulted in re-designating days of the
months to follow in succession throughout the year regardless of the moon phases.
year is a Lunar (Moon) Calendar 354 days long. The Biblical Calendar for feasts is initiated by the first sliver of
a new moon, and marks the beginning of a month, which is always a Sabbath, and the 1st day of the month; thereby
determining when the feasts will be held per Leviticus Chapter 23.
The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally
was, dependent upon the lunar cycle.
Originally, the New Moon was celebrated in the same way as the Sabbath. Originally, the feasts always fell on the same day of the week every year. See
“Feasts Calendars” file.
Note: The Biblical calendar year spans the Gregorian calendar years from the first month of Nissan; in approximately April or
Compare the Solar Calendar of 365.2422 days per year
with today’s Gregorian Calendar of 30.43685 astronomical
days, per month, average.
In contrast to the Hebrew Lunar /Solar Calendar
363.3 days per year; comprised of 12 lunar months with 29.530573496 astronomical days per month; for a 354
day year; except on leap years where an extra month is added in to adjust to solar reckoning: To approximately
adjust to a solar calendar, a leap month called Adar II comprised of 30 days, is added: the 3rd,
6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th year based upon a 19 year cycle.
. This calendar is often called a “lunar /solar” calendar.
Current Jewish Calendar of Feasts: Today’s Jewish calendars superimpose
a 354 day lunar calendar (Including a leap month Adar II) onto the Gregorian calendar of 365.2422 days
per year. Consequently the feasts then fall on a different day each year; rather than on the same day when
based on a lunar calendar; as God had ordained.
Christian Calendaring of feasts, such as the “Feast of Passover” aka Crucifixion of Jesus”, or the “Feast of
Weeks” aka “Easter, or the “Feast of Weeks” aka Pentecost:
The Christian calendaring of these feasts is also inaccurate; this is due to the overlaying of a lunar calendar, on top of
a modern Gregorian calendar, then purposefully adjusting the feasts to fall on predetermined days; i.e. the Crucifixion
on Passover to be on a Friday.
In addition: There is the Biblical
Prophetic Calendar which is 360 days per year. See Rev. 11:2-3, 12:6, 13:5 and Dan. 12:7-12
which indicate 42 months as equivalent to 3.5 years or 1260 days; 360 days per year (also used by Babylonians) This is the calendar used in prophecy of Jesus 1st coming in Daniel 9:24-26, which was then reconciled with the other calendaring methods mentioned.
stated earlier, eventually the calendaring of the Sabbath became independent of the Lunar/ Solar calendar, and was replaced
by a hybrid of the Lunar / Solar with the Gregorian calendar. Consequently, Sabbath and Festival days that
were originally based on the lunar cycle, with the feast days no longer falling on the same days every year as a result.
However, Genesis 1:14:14-15 tells us that one of the purposes of the "luminaries
in the expanse of the heavens" is that they might serve for "seasons and for days and years". The
solar day, the solar year, and the lunar month are thus natural divisions of time, governed respectively by the daily turning
of the earth on its axis, by its annual orbit around the sun, and by the monthly phases of the moon.
Verse 14 states “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide
the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years’…" Verse
16 reads: “Then God made two great lights: the greater light [sun] to rule the day, and the lesser light [moon] to rule
the night. He made the stars also."
We should be able to recognize that
whatever these "lights" are, they are natural phenomena which dictate the rules of order for calculating time. It
is not a singular source of light Jehovah God made (i.e., the sun) but all collectively -- "let
then the sun and the moon be for signs..."
Nothing in our present
seven-day cycle or week can be tied to anything in the natural phenomena that God outlines in these verses -- the sun, moon
Notice how our "week" doesn't even flow with the current Gregorian calendar. January
1st (the beginning of our "year") falls on a different day every time it comes around. These beginnings and endings
of our seven-day cycle are simply not anchored in nature.
Biblically, the reckoning of time is only
by the "lights in the heavens", and
The Fourth Commandment
clearly specifies that God had a particular day in mind when
"remember to keep the Sabbath holy." (Ex. 20:8)
In Exodus 16, the generation of Israelites
which Moses led out of Egypt had received no religious instruction or training. These Israelites, some
three or four million in total number (600,000 men above age 20), came to the wilderness of Sin two months after leaving Egypt,
and some two weeks before arriving at Mount Sinai, where God gave them the Ten Commandments.
the 15th day, in the 2nd month after their departure from the land of Egypt, all the congregation
of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron…. And the children of Israel said to
them: ‘…. ye have brought us out into this wilderness, to slay all this congregation with
hunger’. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread upon you out of heaven and
the people shall gather their daily portion for the day’ …” Exodus 16:1-4.
then appeared in the cloud before the Israelites and then caused thousands of quail and manna to be blown into the Israelites'
camp "between the two evenings," i.e. the 16th day of the 2nd month.
Exodus 16 we read how the Israelites saw the glory of the Lord and how, in the evening, He sent the quail for food, and
the next morning (the 16th) manna was on the ground (verses 11-13).
Then Ex.16:22-23 states: “On the sixth day (the 21st) they gathered
a double portion of manna”. Then Moses explained that "Tomorrow (22nd)
is a day of rest, a Holy Sabbath to the Lord."
Ex. 16:25-26 declares: "Today
(22nd) is a Sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find it in the field…Six days ye shall
gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.”
words, they gathered the manna from the 16th day to the 21st day of the month and observed the Sabbath
on the 22nd day, thereby showing that this day (the 22nd day of the month) was a Sabbath.
If the 15th and the 22nd were Sabbath days -- then the 8th and the 29th of
the month were also Sabbaths.
Thus a pattern emerges: 1st,
8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th. What significance do these dates
have in God's calendar? They correspond to the phases of the moon. God was
showing the Israelites that His Sabbath days were to fall on the days corresponding to the moon's phases, thus showing
that the weekly Sabbaths were to be kept by the same calendar or reckoning used to determine the annual Sabbaths
or Feast days!
Days and Years
There is yet another significant point regarding
those four key words in Genesis 1:14 -- signs, seasons, days
and years: The sun generally marks days.
12 moon cycles have passed, the earth has gone through nearly four seasons of weather changes making up a year.
This is marked by the sun with four clearly defined earth tilts called equinoxes and solstices. These
in turn are determined by the angle of the sun throughout which the sunlight hours grow longer to a threshold where they then
begin growing shorter again.
The underlying Hebrew word is accurately translated by the word signs
-- implying astronomical events such as eclipses, and others we observe with our eyes in the sun,
moon and stars. This reminds us of God's promise in Jeremiah 31:35-36: "Thus says the Lord, who
gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night...If those ordinances
depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever."
Finally, the word seasons appears to represent the four radical
weather shifts we experience each year -- winter, summer, spring and autumn or fall. However, the Hebrew
word that has been translated "seasons" implies no such thing. This word -- מועד mow`ed (Strong's #4150) literally means
"an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; by implication, an assembly
(as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting..."
Clearly, using the English word "seasons" to translate a word that literally means "an
appointment" is, at the very best, misleading. In fact, it is the sun (equinoxes and
solstices) that marks the four seasonal changes that make up the actual year. So, to interpret the Hebrew
word " מועד mow`ed "
to mean those seasons is fallacious to say the least.
Psalm 104 reveals the answer
to the riddle of this apparently deliberate mistranslation. In Verse 19, we find the same word
-- מועד mow`ed --
used specifically in relation to the moon: “God had appointed the moon for seasons [מועד mow`ed]..."
In this verse the English word "appointed" actually means "made"
-- see Strong's #6213. Better translated, this verse should read: "He made the moon for
appointments". What are God's, appointments? The answer to this is found in Leviticus
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: "The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy
convocations, these are My feasts. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath
of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is a Sabbath of the Lord in all your
dwellings" (verses 2-3, NKJV).
Interestingly, the word "feasts" in verse 2 above is, in fact, the word
"מועד mow`ed " -- exactly the same as "seasons" in Genesis 1:14
and Psalm 104:19. Thus, these verses in Leviticus 23 should read: "Speak to the children of Israel,
and say to them: 'The appointments of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My appointments."
The grave error in translating " מועד mow`ed
" as "feasts" becomes apparent when you realize that in verse 3 the sole
subject is the seventh-day Sabbath! Generally we don't think of the Sabbath as being
a "feast" per se, but it actually leads the list of "feasts" in Leviticus 23.
the actual planetary moon being established for God's appointments
[מועד mow`ed] in Psalm
104, the verses in Leviticus (2-3) prove that the sole means by which the seventh-day Sabbath
was calculated was by the moon. The Sabbath is a מועד mow`ed -- the moon was made for מועד mow`ed. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible
that specifies this term for the sun.
The earliest Old Testament manuscripts
available are the Dead Sea Scrolls. Both Leviticus 23:2-3 and Psalm 104:19 are extant. There
is no variance in the use of the word " מועד mow`ed
" for either of those passages between the Dead Sea Scrolls (copied circa. 100 B.C.)
and the later Masoretic text from which the King James Version was translated.
earliest manuscripts show with great clarity that the moon was made for appointments, the first of which is the weekly Sabbath.
This indicates that the lunar reckoning of Sabbaths and holy days was commonly understood by the writers
of the Bible.
“It would appear that the primitive Semites had four chief
moon days, probably the first, eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-second of each month, called Sabbaths”
(New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia).
Since, the lunar month had 29 or 30 days, the normal lapse of
time between Sabbaths was six days, although occasionally seven or eight. The connection of the Sabbath
with the lunar phases was discarded by the Israelites at a certain point. The weeks were divorced from
the days of the months and were made to follow in succession throughout the year. This made for a more
regular correspondence with the week of creation being thus secured [or, a more regular correspondence with the economic realities
of the environment in which they lived!].
The first lunar day, or the day of the new moon, retained some
of its sabbatical character, although it was no longer called Sabbath. So in the Old Testament it frequently
appears as a pendant of the Sabbath.
2 Kings 4:23 states: “So he said, ‘Why are you going to
him today? It is neither the new moon nor the Sabbath’. And she said, ‘It is well.’ “
2 Chronicles 24:31 adds: “And at every presentation of a burnt offering to the Lord
on the Sabbaths and the new moons and on the set feasts, by number according to the ordinance governing them, regularly before
Solomon declares in 2 Chronicles 2:4: “Behold, I am building
a temple for the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread,
for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the new moons, and on the set feasts of the Lord our God.”
2 Chronicles 8:13 adds: “According to the daily rate, offering according to the
commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three appointed yearly feasts -- the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Nehemiah 10:33 states: "...
for the showbread, for the regular grain offering, for the regular burnt offering of the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the
Isaiah 1:13 and 66:23 add: “... ‘Bring
no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me, the new moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies …
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’, says the Lord.”
the cuneiform records disclosed the fact that the Babylonian shabattum fell on the fifteenth
(or fourteenth) day of the month and [was] referred to as the day of the full moon.
book Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum (Pt. xxv, pl. 50 [K. 170]) we find another text which connects several
rest days of the month with the moon's phases in the following order: "first day, new moon; fifteenth day,
Going now to Babylonian Menologies
and the Semitic Calendars by Stephen Langdon, we glean the following:
7, 14, 21, [and] 28 in the [Babylonian] calendar of the seventh century obviously constitute the seven-day division of the
month. This scheme is fully carried out somewhere between 1000 B.C. and 600 B.C. Here the weeks do not
continue in a regular cycle regardless of the new moon. Each month has four weeks,
beginning with the new moon. Days 29 and 30, or in case of a 29-day month, day 29,
are simply thrown out [figuratively] of the four-week system. I have no doubt but that this was the
old Hebrew scheme also. In other words the fourth week has one or two extra days.
Every month must begin with a Sabbath; then the first day of the first week. The institution of
days 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 (same as 1st day) of every month as rest-days was, then, instituted after the Exodus with
Moses in about 1444 B.C.
The idea obtained up to that period and at that
time it included day 1, New Moon and days 29, 30, Dark of the moon. All of these were discarded
in order to obtain a seven-day week throughout the year in the reformation of the calendar.
new moon is indeed a pendant -- the weekly Sabbath depends on it for its very existence since it is counted
from the day after the new moon. We have seen many instances where the "new moon"
(chodesh) appears together with the weekly Sabbath (shabbat).
of the Bible obviously understood the new moon and weekly Sabbath had the same requirements under the law and that the Sabbath
was related to and in coordinated succession with the lunar seven-day cycle. They took for granted the
new moon or chodesh was simply an extension of the fourth Sabbath period or the "disappearance" of the
Even our English word "week", comes from the Teutonic word for “change”;
indicating a change in the phases of the moon". (Larry
Freeman's Calendar Origin Page, p. 2-3). Thus, even this word “week”; commonly used today in the English language today reflects
only a distant memory of its original place in God's true “Lunar Calendar”.