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                                                                               Why Use the Complete Believer's Calendar?
                                                                                           

     In recent years there has been a great return of the people of YHWH to His Torah and to His way of living. Yisrael is finally awakening from her long slumber, and with this awakening has come the realization that we have strayed from many of the clear teachings of Torah and its simple truths, leaning instead upon our own understanding and devising our own ways. One of the many ways in which we have done this is by observing a flawed calendar, devised by the desires of men. It has been said that who ever controls a people’s calendar controls that people. This is surely true. We can walk in the rhythm and ways of our Creator or according to the dictates of men, but we cannot do both.

     The Complete Believers Calendar is based upon the ancient method of determining days and months and seasons and years as set forth by YHWH in His Torah. It is the calendar which was used by the people of Yisrael from the time of Moshe until the destruction of the Temple in 70CE and their subsequent exile from the land. The Karaite Jews have carefully preserved and continued to use this method for centuries, and it contains no man-made additions or changes. The Karaites do not, however, produce a complete yearly calendar, but only publish their tentative estimates for new moons and holy day dates.  We have found that this poses a great difficulty for many people who do not understand the mechanics and intricacies of the calendar and who need one that is plainly printed and easy to use.  To that end, we present “The Complete Believers Calendar” to the people of Yisrael in order that they might more perfectly keep the commandments and festivals of YHWH, the Holy One of Yisrael. Blessed be He, and blessed be His name.

“Thus says YHWH, Stand in the ways and see, and seek the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it and find rest for your souls” (Jer.6:16).

  

     The Complete Believers Calendar is not the same as the fixed mathematical Jewish calendar currently in use by the majority of Judaism. It is based upon visual sightings of the new crescent moon from Jerusalem, while the latter is calculated on a 19 year metatonic cycle devised in Babylon. That calculated calendar is based upon the conjunction (darkness) of the moon, and also has numerous additional non-biblical rules and “postponements” included in it. The calculated calendar was established by Hillel II in the 4th century C.E. to preserve unity among the Jewish people in exile until such time that they returned to the land and could resume using the ancient method of sighting of the new crescent as was done by their forefathers. The Jewish homeland was reestablished in 1948 and, with the recent establishment of a new Sanhedrin, there is no further reason not to return to using the observed crescent calendar of biblical origin. Indeed, this issue is now on the agenda of the new Sanhedrin, and there is a growing grass-roots movement of people worldwide who are already returning to the ancient method.

  

     Both secular and religious dictionaries and encyclopedias are in agreement that the original Hebrew calendar is based upon observation of the new crescent moon. The Encyclopedia Britannica has the following to say under “Jewish Calendar” and “Jewish Religious Year”.

    “In the Jewish calendar, the commencement of the month was determined by the observation of the crescent New Moon and the date of Passover was tied in with the ripening of barley. The actual witnessing of the New Moon and observing of the standing crops in Judea were required for the functioning of the religious calendar… After the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, Rabbinic leaders took over from the priests the fixing of the religious calendar. Visual observation of the new moon was supplemented, and toward AD 200, in fact supplanted by secret astronomical calculation… To preserve the unity of Israel, the patriarch Hillel II, in 358-359 AD, published the secret of calendar making, which essentially consisted of the use of the Babylonian 19 year cycle with some modifications required by the Jewish ritual… The Karaites, a sect founded in the 8th century refused, with some exceptions, to recognize the fixed calendar and re-introduced observation of the new moon. Leap years were determined by observing the maturation of the barley crops in Palestine. Consequently Karaites often celebrate the festivals on dates different than those fixed by the Rabbis.”(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008, DVD)

    

     The biblical evidence for observing the new crescent moon in order to determine the new month and holy days is quite clear:

“And Elohym  said, Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and for years, and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.  And it came to be so. And Elohym made two great lights: the greater light to rule by day, and the lesser to rule by night, and the stars also” (Gen.1:14-16). 

 The sun quite obviously rules the day and determines the years. The moon is the light that determines signs and appointed times. The psalmist says: “He made the moon for appointed times”(Ps.104:19). The Hebrew word for “appointed times” is “moadim.” This is the same word used in Torah to tell us when to keep the festivals of YHWH, as it says,

“These are the appointed times of YHWH, holy gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times”(Lev.23:2).

 

There is an additional biblical command regarding the setting of times for YHWH’s festivals, and its importance cannot be understated:

“Guard the month of Aviv, and perform the Passover to YHWH your Elohym, for in the  month of Aviv YHWH your Elohym brought you out of Egypt by night” (Deut.16:1).

The word for “month” in Hebrew is “chodesh” and means “new”, always as regards a new crescent moon. In fact, the English word “month” itself derives from the word “moon”.  The word “Aviv” means “green ears”, and refers specifically to a particular stage of growth of the barley crop, which is the first grain to grow each spring in the land of Israel. Thus the verse means we must guard to observe the new moon of green ears of barley, and perform Passover in that month. Each year the Karaites in the land of Israel go out at the end of the 12th biblical month into the fields and check the state of the new barley crop. If the barley is at the stage of Aviv, green ears 2-3 weeks from maturity, the next new moon is declared the “beginning of months” and the Passover occurs 14 days later. If the barley is not Aviv, a 13th month is declared and the new year will begin 29 or 30 days later. No system of mathematical calculations can predict these events accurately, and no fixed calendar of men’s devising can ever hope to anticipate YHWH’s plans for us. We must simply wait on Him, and it is He who decides and commands when we are to observe His new moons and festivals, seasons and years, as He says,

“And YHWH spoke to Moshe and to Aharon in the land of Egypt saying, This month is the beginning of months for you, it is the first month of the year for you” (Ex.12:1-2).

 

      Many people reason that it makes no great difference which system we use to determine the new moon, as long as we sanctify it. However, the proverb says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death”(Prov.14:12). The clearest example in scripture of the seriousness with which YHWH holds the proper  date-keeping  of  His  appointed  times  is  probably in Leviticus, where He says in speaking of Yom Kippur,

“It is a Sabbath of rest to you; you shall afflict your souls. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath” (Lev.23:32).

Again the word “month” in this passage is “chodesh”, which means “new moon”; and is the sanctifying of the month after observing the new visible crescent. The penalty for violating this commandment is worse than death, as it says,

“For any soul who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. And any soul that does any work on that same day, that soul I shall destroy from the midst of his people” (Lev.23:29-30).

It makes no difference whether a person observes the Sabbath and festivals of YHWH incorrectly by one day or by one month, either is wrong. Using any other than the biblical system of observing the new visible crescent in order to determine the day of the new moon will result in keeping the wrong days. To do so knowingly and willfully is a grievous sin.

   

     Still other people reason that since the majority of believers have decided to observe the Sabbaths and festivals a certain way, it must be okay. And they reason that since a particular rabbi or other authority has sanctioned a calendar, it must be correct. About this the Torah has to say,”Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil”(Ex.23:2). No man has the authority to set aside the commandments of Elohym for the sake of their own traditions (Matt.15 / Mark 7). It will be argued that these things must be done for the sake of “unity.” But this argument has, from the time of the sin of the golden calf, to the sin of Yeroboam when he changed the festivals of YHWH to “the month which he had observed in his own heart, and to this present day” always failed and incurred the wrath of YHWH. The truth is, YHWH is our King and Lawgiver. We have no right to change that which He has decreed. Any new moon or festival observed other than as He has commanded is no new moon or festival of His at all.

 

      There is one final reason above all others that most otherwise Torah observant people have resisted returning to YHWH’s own prescribed method of calendar keeping- it can be inconvenient. Often men’s best predictions of when the new moon will be sighted turn out to be wrong. That is the reason the Karaites do not print a complete calendar, because of the potential for error. When a new moon is spotted early or is delayed a day it spoils and changes men’s plans. We have a selfish and rebellious need to be in control of our own lives and the lives of others, but this is not of YHWH. The psalmist says time and again that we should “wait on YHWH”, and the prophet says “YHWH is my portion,’says my soul, ‘therefore I wait for Him”. It is a measure of our faith and humility that we submit to Him and wait for Him in all things, regardless of how it affects our plans or convenience. We have used the best information available to produce The Complete Believers Calendar. Nevertheless, some new moons and festival dates in it may turn out to be incorrect. If they are, we will provide updated information in a timely manner, both on our website and by email to those who have purchased our calendar and have requested those updates from us. This is not convenient for us to do. We do it because we love YHWH and His people. And we do it because He commands us to wait on Him. It is our hope that all of Yisrael will soon return to YHWH, keep His commandments in humility and grace, and will wait on Him.  

             

View sample pages of “The Complete Believer’s Calendar 2011-2012. The calendar page is best viewed in Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher. This beautiful 12 month full-color wall calendar features:

  • Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) dates, as well as possible sighting dates
  • Interesting facts about the special observances found within the calendar
  • Both Gregorian and Hebrew dates with Hebrew characters
  • Bright color bars marking all the biblical holy days
  • Traditional Jewish holidays and Fasts
  • Scriptures on each month's page
  • Israeli and U.S. national holidays
  • Weekly Torah Parasha   
  • Jerusalem sunset times
  • 16  8.5” X 11” pages

100% of proceeds made from the sale of the calendar benefit our prison ministry and its Sabbath keeping inmates. The availability of future calendars will be based upon the success of this year’s calendar. So please, get your calendar today and help support our brethren in prison. 




Rosh Chodesh Aviv - To Be Found Nearest or after the Vernal Equinox? Ending the Myths
 

As regards the use of the equinox, or the “tekufah”, in determining the beginning of the biblical year, there are at least two schools of thought on when the month of Aviv should occur, and whether or not a month of Adar II should be intercalated into the Hebrew calendar. These two schools are often fiercely supported by their respective adherents, sometimes causing disputes and divisions between families and congregations. This need not be. This article is intended to end the myths and disputes on this subject, bringing healing and unity to all.

      One school of thought believes that the month of Aviv (the first biblical month) should begin with the rosh chodesh (new moon) nearest the vernal (spring) equinox, whether that occurs before or after the equinox. Essentially, that means it should be 14 days or less from the equinox, there being 29 or 30 days in a lunar month.  The other school of thought holds that rosh chodesh Aviv will only and always be that new moon after the vernal equinox, even if it is a full 29 days afterward. Both of these methods are based upon reason and common sense. Both have their advantages and both have their problems. Both are, in fact, wrong. As so often happens when men try to reason the things of the Most High, they fall short of the truth. One thing neither method is based upon is empirical evidence.

      Please bear in mind that no matter how emotionally or intellectually attached one is to a particular belief, the truth remains what it is. And no matter how many times a thing might occur a certain way, if it happens another way only once, it can no longer be said to always occur that certain way. If gravity should fail but one time, there would no longer be a "law of gravity". When dealing with a mathematical rule, a single anomaly invalidates that rule. It follows then that a single rosh chodesh Aviv not nearest the vernal equinox must invalidate that method of determination. Likewise, a single occurrence of rosh chodesh Aviv not after the vernal equinox must invalidate that method as well. If we find factual evidence of either, those methods must be discarded, no matter how tightly we wish to cling to them.

      Below you will find a chart which includes both the dates of the vernal equinox and the dates of the rosh chodesim Aviv for the previous 10 years. These dates are corroborated by both "Truth on the Web" and by Nehemia Gordon of the Karaite Jews. The Karaites in Israel do extensive searches and verifications of Aviv barley each spring with attestation by numerous experienced and novice examiners. In using these several sources we have satisfied the biblical command which requires that "on the testimony of two or three witnesses shall you establish a matter". What you see in this chart then are not our beliefs, but established facts.

 

 

Dates of the

Date of Sighting

Aviv Sighted

Aviv Sighted

Aviv Sighted

Vernal

Rosh Chodesh

Before

After Equinox

After Equinox

Equinox

Aviv

Vernal Equinox

15 Days or Less

16 Days or More

 

 

 

 

 

3/20/2000

4/6

 

 

17 days

3/20/2001

3/27

 

7 days

 

3/20/2002

3/16

4 days

 

 

3/21/2003

4/4

 

14 days

 

3/20/2004

3/23

 

3 days

 

3/20/2005

3/12

8 days

 

 

3/20/2006

3/31

 

11 days

 

3/21/2007

3/21

 

0 days

 

3/20/2008

4/8

 

 

19 days

3/20/2009

3/28

 

8 days

 

 

      The first column in the chart is simply the date of a particular year’s vernal equinox. The second column is the date that Aviv stage barley was found and verified by at least three competent witnesses in Israel, in sufficient quantities to provide the wave sheaf offering of Leviticus 23:10. In the third column are instances of confirmed Aviv sightings prior to the vernal equinox that invalidate the "after equinox" method. In the fourth column are sighting dates of Aviv that are 15 days or less after equinox. These neither prove, nor disprove, either method. In the fifth column are sighting dates of Aviv that are 16 or more days after equinox, and that invalidate the "nearest equinox" method. As can be plainly seen, in the 10 years charted there are two undisputed anomalies that invalidate each method. Case closed. Neither method can any longer be used to accurately and honestly predict a rosh chodesh Aviv.

      So what is the truth regarding the equinox and Aviv? Based upon such a small sample of yearly records it is impossible to tell for sure. Unfortunately, we have only been able to obtain verifiable sighting records of Aviv from the year 2000 through the present. If anyone knows where we can find dependable and witnessed earlier records, please let us know. That said, it appears from our sample that rosh chodesh Aviv is most likely to occur from eight days prior to the vernal equinox until nineteen days after it. Since the equinox always falls on March 20th or 21st, it appears that, according to our limited evidence, rosh chodesh Aviv is most likely to occur during the 28 days between March 12 and April 8th. While this is not by any means a certainty, it seems to be what the evidence suggests at present.
 
      The truth of the matter is, rosh chodesh Aviv occurs when the barley crop in Israel is found to be at the stage of maturation called "green in the ear", about 2 weeks before it is fully ripe. "Shamor et chodesh ha’Aviv v’asiyat Pesach l’YHWH Eloheyka", which means "Guard the month of the green ears and perform the Passover to YHWH thy Elohim".  In the days when the Beit HaMiqdash (Holy Temple) stood in Jerusalem, the barley crop had to be ripe 2 weeks after the new moon of Aviv in order that the required Omer (wave sheaf) offering could be performed during the week of Chag HaMatzot (the Feast of Unleavened Bread). It was a necessity and there was no more important criteria for establishing the new year than that. It is true that the Rabbi’s who wrote the Talmud utilized also the ripeness of the fruit on trees (to be brought later on Shavuoth [Pentecost] as "firstfruits") and the Tekufot (equated with the equinoxes at the "turn of the season" in the fall), but even at that late writing they always gave primacy to the Aviv barley as a determinant, as it says, "any two of these reasons can justify intercalation, …all, however, are glad when the state of the spring crop is one of them (Sanhedrin 11b.)" Ripeness of the fruit of trees, adjudged by their blossoms at this stage, was a marginal gauge at best. The proper use of the Tekufah was highly disputed by Talmudic sages and never completely agreed upon at all (read tractates Sanhedrin 11b-13b to see). The Aviv barley was and always will be the clearest and most necessary component of those used in properly keeping the Torah command to begin the new biblical year in the month of Aviv.

      Therefore, the proper method for forecasting each new year and intercalating a leap- month of Adar II when necessary can only be to "Qaveh el YHWH"- Wait on YHWH. Let go of your myths and disputes, brethren. May we all have faith in Him to bring our moadim (appointed times) in their due season according to His will.

By His Grace,
Jeff
Sabbath Keepers Fellowship

 

Sabbath Keepers Fellowship & Prison Ministry is a 501(c)(3) charity and all of your donations are tax deductible. Receipts for your donations will be mailed to you upon request. 100% of all monies received by Sabbath Keepers Fellowship are used to support our inmate beneficiaries, and no employee or director of our ministry receives a salary or monthly compensation of any kind.



This page last updated 06/16/16

 

 
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