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 Response from Lighted Way on calculating biblical dates

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Number of posts : 135
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Location : Bellevue, WA
Registration date : 2009-03-11

PostSubject: Response from Lighted Way on calculating biblical dates   Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:22 pm

Thank you for your diligence as a student of the Word. May Yahweh abundantly bless you as you continue your pursuit of the Truth.

We will now try to address your questions, which I will show in blue, for clarity:

1. How did you conclude to use the first new moon AFTER the vernal equinox to mark the beginning of the year as opposed to the new moon NEAREST to the vernal equinox? I read your study several times, but did not catch the explanation on this.

It is true that although Exodus translates tekufah as "end of the year", it is unclear in that it appears to be the fall...  However, in 2 Chronicles 24:23, the words "end of the year" are translated from the Hebrew word tekufah. And in this case, it is known to be the spring. Some translations even render the verse as "spring". The spring tekufah is the vernal equinox.

Here is a quotation from John Keyser, which I think explains the process quite clearly (his quote is in red below):

Calendar Considerations

1)  The period of time from the Vernal Equinox to the Autumnal Equinox equals approximately 186 days, which leaves about 179 or 180 days between the Autumnal Equinox and the Vernal Equinox.
2)  From one New Moon to the next New Moon (a synodic month) equals approximately 29.5 days.
3)  From the first New Moon to the seventh New Moon equals 177 days (29.5 X 6 lunar months = 177 days).
Let’s assume this is a year in which a New Moon falls 13 days before the spring equinox:
As noted above, from the first New Moon to the seventh New Moon equals 177 days. Now since 6 lunar months is 9 days shorter than the 186 days between the spring and fall equinoxes, then it is a mistake to reckon the first of the year from a New Moon which is seen (as indicated above) 13 days before the spring equinox. It is true that Passover will fall on or after the spring equinox in this scenario, but what happens to the fall festivals?
Subtract the 13 days “spent” before the spring equinox from the 177 days comprising the six lunar months (177 days - 13 days = 164 days), then subtract the quotient (164 days) from the 186 days the circuit of the sun makes from the spring equinox to the fall equinox. This brings us to a time that is 21 or 22 days BEFORE the autumnal equinox -- thereby placing most of the Feast of Tabernacles BEFORE the “turn of the year” (before the tekufah or equinox).
If we accept a New Moon nearest -- but 13 days before -- the spring equinox as the first day of Abib or Nisan, then the 177 days (which make up the six lunar months) causes the first day of the 7th month (Tishri) to fall 21 or 22 days BEFORE the autumnal equinox -- thus placing most of the eight days of Tabernacles into the summer season instead of the autumn or fall. This clearly violates Leviticus 23:39.
4)  The sun and moon determine days, months, years and seasons [festivals -- including the weekly Sabbath] (Genesis 1:14-16).
Therefore, it is not the green ears of barley, but the sun and moon which determine the calendar and, as a result, the year. So what signals the end of one year and the beginning of another, if not the barley harvest? The equinox and the New Moon do!
Equinox = Tekufah
The equinox occurs because of the (apparent) action of the sun. The earth -- which is tilted 23.5 degrees -- circles the sun, thereby creating our seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter). The equinox occurs when the sun “crosses” the equator. The Hebrew word is tekufah, and refers to the solstices as well as to the equinoxes.
Tekufot (plural) means “seasons” -- literally, “circuit, to go round.” The four seasons in the year are called tekufot. More accurately, tekufot is the beginning of the four seasons and, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica (Vol. 5, article: Calendar, p. 46), tekufah stands for the true, not the mean, equinox.
The tekufah (singular) of Nisan denotes the sun at the vernal equinox.
The next tekufah denotes the summer solstice.
The third tekufah denotes the fall equinox.
The fourth tekufah denotes the winter solstice.
Tekufah appears in the Bible four times -- and relates to the calendar at least three times:
And it came to pass at the end [tekufah] of the year, that the Syrians came up against him:...(2 Chronicles 24:23).
Now this refers to the end and, therefore, the beginning of another year, demarcated by the spring equinox and the New Moon.
And you shall observe the feast of weeks, even the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end [tekufah] (Exodus 34:22).
This passage refers to the fall equinox -- the end of the summer growing season.
In them [the heavens] he has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs it’s course with joy. It’s rising is from the end of the heavens and it’s circuit [tekufah] to the end of them, and there is nothing hid from it’s heat (Psalm 19:4, 5 RSV).
This passage is describing the sun’s daily course, or it’s yearly circuit through the equinoxes and the solstices -- or both.
And it came to pass, when the time was come [tekufah] about, that Hannah conceived, and bore a son;...(1 Samuel 1:20).
This may indirectly allude to the calendar year. In any case, the above passages from the Bible indicate that the men of YEHOVAH God in the Old Testament understood the equinox and it’s place in YEHOVAH’s calendar.
Which New Moon? -- Nearest, or After the Equinox?

It is common knowledge that the spring equinox usually falls on 3/20 or 3/21 as reckoned by the Roman calendar we use today. Very rarely does it fall on 3/19 or 3/22. But could the ancient Israelites locate the equinox by the Roman calendar? No -- in the Old Testament times the Romans were not yet on the scene. The irregularity of the lunar months (compared to the solar year) cause the spring equinox to fall on a different day of the month each year (and sometimes in a different month), though always in the last month of the year.
Let’s assume that we live in King David’s time when astronomy and communication was not what it is today. We would first have to locate the equinox, and only then could we, with any certainty, choose the correct New Moon to begin the new year with. If we hope to choose the New Moon nearest (either before of after) the equinox, we may fail because of the uncertainty in the length of the lunar month. Suppose we choose a New Moon 15 days before the vernal equinox on the assumption the month will have 30 days. However, suppose it turns out to have only 29 days -- we will not have chosen the New Moon nearest the equinox since there are 15 days before, but only 14 days after! We must wait until the equinox is established, and only then can we choose a New Moon -- the New Moon next after that event. Because of the uncertainty regarding the length of the month (and other reasons) the year should always begin with the New Moon next AFTER the spring equinox -- rather than the New Moon nearest the equinox.

2. I understand and agree with using the first sliver of the moon being visible to mark the new moon. My question is what did you use to determine the dates of the new moons on your calendar (http://www.lightedway.org/html/calendar17.pdf)? My confusion comes from, for example, sites like http://www.moongiant.com/calendar/March/2017 which has March 29 as the day when the first sliver is visible, but your calendar has March 28 (sundown) as the new moon.

The dates used on our calendar are based upon local sighting of the new moon (visible sliver). We have used 3 different computer models to establish this basis (In the mouth of 2-3 witnesses...). They are, QuickPhase Pro, Planetary, Lunar and Stellar Visibility by alcyone software (my favorite and really accurate!), Nightcalc and Starry Night Pro (which visually is always one day late...but consistent). So, we have found a system by which we can accurately calculate the new moon, but still choose to actually go outside and actually witness it. That is how, over the years, we have been able to determine accuracy. Keep in mind that the elongation and age of the new moon also can cause some discrepancies in physical sighting as well.
There are a few "assumptions" I suppose. One being that we keep the weekly Shabbat based upon when it is Shabbat here (not in Jerusalem)...therefore we keep the annual Sabbaths based upon new moon sightings here as well. IF we were in Jerusalem, or some other part of the world, say Australia, we would keep the dates based upon the local sightings wherever we were at.
There have been attempts by others to create a "universal" feast keeping calendar...but it fails to establish the idea of sighting of the new moon at various sights around the globe.
Another witness that we have also enjoyed is here: http://www.truthofyahweh.org/moon.htm  This website has an area where you can email witness sightings. I am not entirely sure how this  website does it calculation, but I have found it to be reliable and in agreement with what we can see here in Oregon. I am not familiar with the website moongiant.com...but perhaps the are listing the 29th as the DAY of the new moon, versus the sighting being the night before (always a challenging thing to portray on a Gregorian calendar which goes from midnight to midnight, rather than sundown to sundown). If they are indeed showing that the sighting would not be until the 29th...then I humbly suggest that they are incorrect...but again, it may be there physical location being different as well...I just don't have the time right now to investigate.

Thank you for your questions. May YHWH bless you in your search!
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PostSubject: Re: Response from Lighted Way on calculating biblical dates   Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:58 pm

Would be easier to understand on a blackboard. When is the next seminar?
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