new year starts with first new moon after equinox, new month with conjunction

As mentioned in the post last Sep regarding my biggest study project last year – God’s calendar, the 2 biggest assumptions that i wasn’t sure about, but that the evidence seemed to lean toward, was:
1. The new year starts after the spring (vernal) equinox
2. The new month starts at the conjunction (dark phase) of the moon

Well today i found good evidence for both of these positions 🙂

Genesis 1:14-19

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 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. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that [it was] good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

This text is key for determining both the new year, new month, and new day. I think all Seventh-day Adventists understand that the day starts at sundown, as that is when the 7th day Sabbath begins. Each 7th day goes from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

The month is much trickier to determine. But keeping the above text in mind, and the principle of how the day starts, we can get very good instruction in determining when the new month starts. Since the new day starts when the darkness starts, and the rule of the sun is gone, it naturally follows that the new month would start when the darkness starts – i.e.: at the conjunction. Now i know it was determined for a long time in Israel by a physical sighting, but don’t see any place in the Bible where that is referred to at all. Psalms 81:3 says:

Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

The Hebrew word for “time appointed” is kece which means “full”, but has the meaning of “plump”, and “filled up” with the implication of “cover” and “conceal”. Now this verse is used for a strange theory i just came across today on the wild-n-wooly internet, where some guy says the new month should really start from the full moon, not the new moon – ha! Anyway, to say that this word means full moon, when there is an implication of concealment is not good. Aha! but wait a minute. It’s true that the moon is “full” TWICE a month. Once when it is bright as we always consider it “full”, and once when it is completely black, at its conjunction! So this riddle can be easily solved when letting it refer to the full dark moon.

It is also interesting to note that God concealed himself in a thick cloud at Sinai from the multitude of people so that they would not make a graven image of him. In a similar vein, it looks possible that the dark phase of the moon would be what God would choose as the important marker, rather than when it can be seen. All thru history people have been worshipping the moon, and a very large religious group even today has crescent moon symbols all over their religious paraphernalia.

In 1Samuel 20 there is an interesting episode between David and Jonathan where they are going to part, and which seems to be prophetic as it talks about 3 days and departure and also the new moon:

18 Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow [is] the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. 19 And [when] thou hast stayed three days, [then] thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was [in hand], and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.

They knew that the feast for the new moon would be “tomorrow”. This is obviously before it was observed anywhere, which gives credence to the idea that they were calculating the new moon phases then. It is very likely that the ancients were great astronomers, as witness the many megalithic structures around the world with precise alignments with the solstices and equinoxes, so the idea that the Israelites were too ignorant to calculate such complex things is just false.

Much of the above thots regarding using the conjunction as the determiner for the new month is from this web page: http://holyfeasts.com/tcfm.html

When should the new year start? Again, the evidence leaned towards starting the new year at the first new moon after the spring equinox, but the Karaites, whose calender methodology was of great benefit to the Millerites in determining 1844, go strongly for the idea of starting the new year at the first new moon after the first bit of barley is found in Israel in the stage of “abib”. I’ve had some discussions on youtube with followers of that method, showing that there is absolutely no biblical evidence for the barley having anything to do with determining the start of the new year. As quoted above, Genesis 1 says nothing at all about any agricultural product having anything to do with “years” or any timings at all for that matter. Sure, God wanted them to have some barley to bring at the firstfruits service. But it’s a great leap of logic to say, “OK, we can’t start our new year until we get some barley”!

There is another group, probably the biggest group among those who follow God’s calendar, who believe that the new month doesn’t start until the first crescent is actually seen. That also is nowhere mentioned specifically in the Word of God. Sure, it makes sense to have somebody on the lookout for the moon to be able to tell when the new month should start, but there are several big questions raised by that method. What about when it is cloudy? Well, one quickly finds out that believers in this method for determining the start of the month have it all calculated out in advance! They don’t go by the actual sighting of the moon at all! So their practice is against what they teach. They have tables showing them the conjunction, then they calculate how many hours after that the moon should be visible, and then just go right ahead with making their calendar years in advance based not on when they actually see the moon, but from the date of the conjunction, then adding several hours or days to that. That is very hypocritical to me.

The new day starts when the sun goes down, whether the moon comes out or not, and the day ends when the sun goes down. This is very important when considering when the new month should start. If the new month starts when the first crescent is visible, then it is breaking the pattern the sun made in determining the day. To repeat: The new day starts when the sun becomes invisible, and the day ends when the sun becomes invisible again. To follow the same pattern, the month should start when the moon becomes invisible, and end when the moon becomes invisible again. The believers of having to observe the moon to start a new month are going against the example of how the day is determined.

The following is copied from the web site: http://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=40

The determination of years is to be controlled by these two lights, the sun and the moon. Years are NOT to be controlled by only the sun or by only the moon. They are to be controlled by BOTH of these lights working in agreement with one another. But they are NOT “equal partners” in that process; one is greater than the other. It is THE SUN that provides all of the light for the moon, and without the sun the moon would always be invisible.

Now the only way you can have a calendar that is luni-solar is if the solar year starting with an equinox or with a solstice is THE FOUNDATION for such a calendar. If you do not have the solar year with an equinox or a solstice as the foundation, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have anything that you could call a luni-solar calendar. Without the equinoxes you can have a lunar calendar, but you simply cannot have a luni-solar calendar.

All of the people using God’s calendar that i know of agree that it is a “luni-solar” calendar. Yet they don’t realize that to have the “solar” part, the sun must actually do something to determine the years, not just the days. If the barley harvest has taken over the function of determining the start of the year, then the function God gave the sun in Genesis 1 has been usurped. It is agreed by all too, that the start of the year cannot begin in the middle of a day, it can only begin when the sun goes down, signaling the end of one day and the start of a new one. Now some people trying to follow God’s calendar say to start the new year at the new moon that is NEAREST the spring equinox. But this leads to confusion, as it puts the moon in a position of superiority over the sun in determining the start of the new year.

The day is ruled by the sun. The nite is ruled by the moon. And it appears that they must agree to rule the year. The sun does not have full control, as the new year does not automatically begin at the equinox, it must wait until the first new moon AFTER the equinox. And the moon cannot just say: “I’ve gone thru my cycles 12 times, i will decide to start the new year now”. It must wait until the sun gets to its position in the sky (equinox), which seems to have something to do with where it is in relation to the stars but i haven’t studied that out yet, and then the new moon can start the new year.

The biggest objection to using the equinox to determine the new year is that it is not directly specified in the holy scriptures. That is true. However, it appears to me that there is a heavy weight of evidence to using the equinox of the sun, in combination with the new moon after it, to determine the new year.

If God is going to do something significant on his calendar this year, it should be in the spring around the beginning of the year – March 21, Passover – April 4, or Pentecost – May 26 (note that the biblical days start at sundown on these gregorian days). Someday the Ark of the Covenant will be brought out, signaling the start of the judgment of the living, and i believe the countdown to the very end of the age.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

12 thoughts on “new year starts with first new moon after equinox, new month with conjunction”

  1. So the Feasts of the Lord, which entail no “servile work”, for 2012 look to be all the following dates, starting at sundown on these dates and going to sundown on the next day:
    April 5 – thursday
    April 11 – wednesday
    May 26 – saturday
    Sep 16 – sunday
    Sep 25 (complete rest) – tuesday
    Sep 30 – sunday
    Oct 7 – sunday

  2. Another piece of evidence for beginning a new month at the conjunction:
    .
    http://www.cogwriter.com/hebrew-calendar-postponements.htm
    .
    Note that basing the new month upon physical sighting of the new moon would require keeping the Feast of Trumpets for two days! An observer cannot know, in advance, on which day he might see the new moon. Depending upon the exact time of conjunction, he might see the crescent on either the 30th or 31st day after the last new crescent. Since days begin at sunset, observers would have to keep the 30th day after the new crescent of Elul (6th month) as holy time, as they might see the new crescent that evening, though they would more commonly see it on the following evening.
    .
    For this reason, even in the land of Israel, Jews who follow the Pharisees’ traditions observe the Feast of Trumpets for two days back-to-back. Without making it a two-day celebration to ensure that the right day is observed, it is impossible to base the celebration of the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the seventh month, on physical sighting of the new moon. Yet upon examining Leviticus 23 and Numbers 29, it is clear that the Feast of Trumpets must be observed for one day rather than two. This alone mandates a calculated calendar, in which the new moon day is determined in advance.
    ….
    It is important to notice the difference between the weekly Sabbath that God gave to mankind, and the annual festivals that He gave to the Church. God did not tell the priesthood that they were responsible to name or designate the weekly Sabbath. God Himself had proclaimed the weekly Sabbath at the end of creation week. Mankind was simply told to “remember” and keep holy the time that God Himself had previously designated. The annual festivals were different, as Leviticus 23:2 and 23:4 show.
    .
    But this writer gets way off into saying that the Rabbinical calendar is correct with all its strange postponement rules, etc., and then says the crucifixion happened on a Wednesday!?!

  3. This person agrees, but also has several oddities. I notice everybody it seems who is trying to calculate God’s calendar has some strangeities:
    http://www.giveshare.org/HolyDay/calendar.html
    .
    Observation alone cannot be the basis for God’s Calendar, because God’s Holy Days are divine appointments (moed), times which God, and not man, has predetermined, Exodus 23:15, Psalms 81:3-5. God, not man, determines the seasons, Daniel 2:21. Even if the Jews themselves reject the true meaning of the Sabbath and Holy Days, still God has forced them to preserve the “oracles,” the Scriptures and the Calendar which tell us when to keep the Sabbath and Holy Days, Romans 3:1-4.

  4. I would like you to consider a portion from the book of Enoch on the luminary cycles:

    78:6 When the moon begins its cycle, it appears in the sky one half of a seventh part; it will become fully illumined from the fourteenth day;
    78:7 it completes its illumination the fifteenth, becoming fulfilled according to the sign
    of the year and becoming fifteen parts. Thus the moon waxes in fifteen parts.
    78:8 In its waning, the moon decreases on the first day to fourteen parts of its light; on the second day, it decreases to thirteen parts of light; on the third, to twelve parts; on the fourth, to eleven parts; on the fifth, to ten parts; on the sixth, to nine parts; on the seventh, to eight parts; on the eighth, to seven parts; on the ninth, to six parts; on the tenth, to five parts; on the eleventh, to four parts; on the twelfth, to three parts; on the thirteenth, to one half of the preceding; on the fourteenth, all its light decreases to one half of one seventh; and on the fifteenth, all the remaining light disappears.
    78:9 In certain fixed months, the moon completes its cycle every twenty nine days, in certain others, every twenty eight.
    78:10 Then Uriel showed me another order concerning when light is beamed into the moon, from which direction of the bright sun it is beamed.
    78:11 During all the seasons when the moon is made to run its cycle, the light is being beamed into it the moon facing the sun until the illumination of the moon is completed in the course of fourteen days; and when it is lit completely, it radiates light in the sky.
    78:12 On the first day, it is called the new moon because on that day the illumination begins to set upon it.

    These are very interesting verses which blow all the theories of conjunction out of the water!
    What we must also recognise is that your use of Dawid and Yehonathan has nothing to do with conjunction but rather that the reason for the king having 2 days feast at the beginning of the month was to accommodate those were unable to attend the first night due to uncleanness, and that is why he said that Dawid must be unclean and expected him the second night!
    What we must also take note of is that at the time of Dawid there was still 30 day month cycles of the moon, which changed at the time of Hizqiyahu (Hezekiah)when the sun dial of ahaz was turned back 10 degrees which amounts to a loss of 10 days per year and the need for a 13th month every 3 years.
    Yehezq’el (Ezekiel) had to have been through a year with a 13th month in the year he began to lie on his side or else he would not have had sufficient days to lie 430 days – (go check it out for yourself by the key date makers given from chapter 1 through 8 where he is ‘sitting’).
    The point I am trying to make is that using certain Scriptures to prove a conjunction does not hold much weight and the reason for pointing out some other examples is to show how there was a change in the cycles that were before king Hezekiah, of which Enoch actually speaks of in that the moon would lose 10 days a year when speaking of the latter days.

  5. Thank you for the information Craig from the book of Enoch. As Enoch’s book is not in the Bible, we can’t be sure if it is inspired or not, but as a reference, it is a useful tool.
    .
    I don’t understand your point about losing 10 days a year. Could you please elaborate on that?

  6. Peace to you

    I have been doing some research into the old calendars over the last 2 or so years.

    I have found 2 historical sources of lunar dates, from which can be reconstructed a historical lunar calendar. These sources are … the elephantine papyrus of the mid 400s bc … and the dead sea scrolls of roman times ….

    the lunar calendar that can be reconstructed from both these sources follows the same formular for determining the start of the lunar year

    the first cresent of the first new moon after the spring equinox of march 21

    based on that formular … the start of the new lunar year in 2013… will be on april 12 … with passover falling on april 25

    and this calendar is in full accord with the year of the death and resurrection of messiah … in 31ad …. in which he died in the midst of the week … wednesday …on the 14th of the first month … and rose on the first day of the week … which would be the 18th day of the first month …. in full accord of the sign of jonah … 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.

  7. Thank you for that information, normanon.
    The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of starting the new year with the first new moon AFTER the vernal equinox. Thank you for corroborating evidence.

    I do agree too that the ancients seem to have calculated the new moon as being when the crescent was first visible. But there is also lots of good evidence pointing to the conjunction as being the proper time to calculate it. More research needs to be done in this area.

    Our Saviour was crucified in 31AD. Since the new year started on April 14 that year, it is simple math to determine that yes, Jesus was put on the cross on a Friday, just as multiple sources in history and of course the Bible attest to also. Jesus never said that he would be in the earth for 72 hours.

  8. in 31ad, there was a conjunction on april 10 at 11.32am

    this means that the first cresent was seen on the evening of april 11 … making april 12 the first day of the first lunar month of the new lunar year.

    this in turn makes passover to be wednesday april 25

    your statement that the new year started on april 14 in 31ad is therefore not correct. The timeiing of the phase of the moon means that passover could NOT be a friday in 31ad

  9. olson161@yahoo.com

    I agree with your article. But when I attend a 7th Day Adventist service, the weekly sabbath is called a holy convocation. But the other Levicus 23 holy days are not mentioned. So why do the SDA need a calendar?

  10. normanorr, Sorry for the extremely late reply! You mistakenly think that the moon is always observed one day after the conjunction. In reality, it can be 1, 2, 3, or even up to 4 days after the conjunction before it can be seen!
    .
    The translation period of the moon leading to Nisan 1, in the year 31 A.D., was 3d3h33m.
    note — As the conjunction was on April 10th, this means the new year 31AD started on April 14th, which puts the Passover on Friday, April 27th.
    .
    This also puts to rest the idea that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday.

  11. Maria Ramirez

    Just to put this out, it is the sun, moon and stars, look for it, in Egypt there were no abib, nor equinox, but if we look to the heavens we will see the sun, the moon and the stars (constellations)- the sun with the new moon is over a constellation every 30 days. In many readings, the first, leading is the Lamb, could this be that in the new moon over the Lamb could indicate the beginning of the year.

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