A Calendar Bias for Biblical Time
(Revised 2015)

By: Shawn Richardson

Section 8:


We have briefly touched upon Jewish history and the documented support of an observational method of new moon crescents and barley crops to determine a calendar, which continued as late as the fourth century of the Common Era. It isn't until this timeframe we find evidence that the observation of signs based on Biblical principles were replaced by mathematical principles. The Encyclopaedia Judaica[9] further confirms this by stating:

    "By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued." {Underlined emphasis added}

So, we see that the Biblical event and gathering on the New Moon was eventually discontinued by men nearly four hundred years after the time of Yeshua. Today, most Jews are fully aware of this historical change and the abandonment of eyewitness testimony in favor of consistent mathematic formulas, not just because it's convenient but, because they have been directed to do so by the Rabbinical authorities. In fact, the initial changeover to a mathematical method is believed to be authorized by a member of the original Sanhedrin Court system, which in their eyes gives this mathematical method an overall stamp of approval.

In Jewish history, the Sanhedrin was a group of men consisting of the wisest elders that were believed to be originated from the Levitical Priesthood - the same group of seventy elders described in Numbers 11:16-24. They acted as court judges in interpreting scripture and Biblical law, and it is this authoritative system of judges that appear several times within the New Testament that tried the likes of Yeshua Himself, as well as Paul, Steven, and others.

As it pertains to a calendar, we read earlier that it was the Sanhedrin that oversaw the testimony of eyewitnesses of the new moon crescent sightings at the time of the second temple. They believed that it was their ultimate responsibility to determine and inform the people of Israel when the new moons were, indeed, sanctified as the start of each month. At the time, many people in the land looked to the Sanhedrin as the official authority on this subject and accepted them to fill the role of the high priest to sound the shofar trumpet blasts at each new moon. It was also this same group of men that would inspect crops searching for evidence of Aviv barley to begin the year (in addition to other man-made requirements they believed needed to be met). Eventually, the Sanhedrin developed a system of messengers that would quickly spread their findings on such matters across the land of Israel and even further as settlers began to disperse outside the Israeli borders. Even the Roman Christians relied upon the information of these messengers prior to the time of Constantine (as we will see later). Although this group of men created additional rules and practices not defined within scripture, many of them were based on the observational methods that we have seen are required within Biblical scripture.

Much of the history of the Sanhedrin has been preserved and has also contributed to several modern-day Jewish traditions. These historical records detail the procedures and methods practiced by the Sanhedrin that included the interrogation of witnesses who claimed to have seen the new moon crescent. The Sanhedrin would use methods to determine the validity of a person's testimony, a system that lasted for many generations up to, and including, the time of Yeshua. Much of these documented practices originated in the first centuries following His death as pressures from the Roman government took a toll on the Jewish authority. Although there were various courts and smaller Sanhedrin throughout the land, the primary Sanhedrin court (also referred to as the Great Sanhedrin) was located at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Jewish Encyclopedia explains this traditional role of the Sanhedrin in their New Moon [30] article:

    "In the Temple, New Moon was celebrated by special sacrifices and by the blowing of the trumpet. Of the greatest significance, however, was the proclamation of New Moon (Kiddush ha-Hodesh') by the president of the Sanhedrin - originally, of course, by the high priest - just as in Rome the Pontifex Maximus fixed New Moon by proclamation (whence the name Calendar)."

This traditional celebration is further explained:

    "The Sanhedrin was assembled in the courtyard ("bet ya'azek") of Jerusalem on the 30th of each month from morning to evening, waiting for the reports of those appointed to observe the new moon; and after the examination of these reports the president of the Sanhedrin, in the presence of at least three members, called out: 'The New Moon is consecrated'; whereupon the whole assembly of people twice repeated the words: 'It is consecrated'. The blowing of the shofar at the time of the proclamation of New Moon was practiced also in the Babylonian schools."

We see here that when the Sanhedrin confirmed multiple eyewitness accounts given on the 30th day of the month (since the last new moon crescent was consecrated), the day would be declared and changed as being the first day of the current new moon instead - making the previous month a total of 29 days long. Otherwise, if no witnesses came forward, the new month would begin after 30 days were completed. Although this court methodology was ultimately a man-made system, waiting until the morning for eyewitnesses and confirming their validity before finally authorizing the sounding of trumpets to signal the new moon, this crude procedure became the norm for the Sanhedrin and the people of Israel. However, the basic principles were the same as the Biblical principles we read earlier (and they are fully documented within the Mishna [R. H. ii 5-7]) and clearly were based on a method to observe the Biblical signs. It's also very clear that the Sanhedrin examined eyewitness accounts of, specifically, the new moon crescent, and no other phase of the moon. Judaism 101[35] confirms the details of the Sanhedrin customs:

    "Observers would watch the sky at night for any sign of the moon. If they saw the moon, they would report their sightings to the Sanhedrin, which would interrogate them to make sure that they were not mistaken. Where in the sky did the moon appear? Which direction was it pointing? If two independent, reliable eyewitnesses confirmed that the new moon had appeared and described it consistently, the Sanhedrin would declare the new month and send out messengers to tell people when the month began."

We see here the added description of sending messengers as confirmation of the Sanhedrin's findings at the time the trumpets were blown each month.

Added Variables

The start of the year (the month of Aviv) was also determined by the Sanhedrin. In fact, their determination of years based on the barley crops were just one of several variables that would be considered before declaring the moon of Aviv. Arthur Spier, the rabbinical calendar authority, also explains further in his book [44]:

    "The Talmudic sources report that the Council intercalated a year when the barley in the fields had not yet ripened, when the fruit on the trees had not grown properly, when the winter rains had not stopped, when the roads for Passover pilgrims had not dried up, and when the young pigeons had not become fledged."

Dr. Spier continues,

    "The Council on intercalation considered the astronomical facts together with the religious requirements of Passover and the natural conditions of the country".

We see that it was by the authority of the Sanhedrin that the people would follow of when to insert a 13th leap-month based on several conditions that were deemed necessary to begin the Passover season. Although not all these conditions are given in Biblical scripture, it certainly shows that their decisions were not based solely on a fixed mathematical formula.

Yom Tov Sheni

Another piece of evidence that proves observation was used over mathematics within Jewish history is today's tradition of keeping Rosh Hashanah (the Day of Trumpets) for two days instead of one for those living in the diaspora. This is referred to as Yom Tov Sheni, and it also applies to other Holy Day celebrations throughout the year. Due to the Sanhedrin's crude timing of allowing for witnesses to come forward and report their observations to the court, it was possible that the people would be unclear whether the evening of the 29th, prior to the Day of Trumpets, was actually the Rosh Hashanah Festival day or simply the 30th day of the prior new moon crescent. The Day of Trumpets is the only annual Festival commanded by Yehovah to take place on the first day of the New Moon (considered the first of the secular year by Jews today) and is, therefore, intricately tied with the Sanhedrin traditions that were performed every month. Author N.S. Gill explains the origin of this double-observance tradition in an article titled Secular vs. Religious New Year [39]:

    "Rosh Hashanah was the first day of the first month of the secular year (Tishri), from at least the time when new moons were proclaimed by the Sanhedrin and its successor, the Jewish Assembly. As Jewish population grew, it spread out. Signal fires had to be relayed. Soon not everyone was aware of the new month on the same day, so Rosh Hashanah came to be celebrated for two days. Today, even with instant satellite communications, Rosh Hashanah continues to be celebrated over two days, possibly because the first glimmer of the new moon is visible in Israel before it is visible in many other parts of the globe." {Underlined emphasis added}

Again, we see the support for mass communications that were employed using signal fires to publicize the event to everyone in the land of Israel. However, these signal fires became unreliable when individuals (Samaritans and Boethusaeans) lit false signals to purposely mislead others to keep different days[17]. In addition to a population spreading further outward from Israel, the Sanhedrin commanded the observation of two days for Rosh Hashanah (Day of Trumpets) if they were, otherwise, unaware that the new moon crescent had been spotted. The fact that this double-observance tradition even came into existence supports an observed calendar methodology prior to the calculated Hebrew calendar used today. Additionally, this tradition has continued into modern Jewish practices even though they now rely solely on mathematical calculations. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia [38] confirms that:

    "Since the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE and the time of Rabban Yohana ben Zakkai, normative Jewish law appears to be that Rosh Hashanah is to be celebrated for two days, due to the difficulty of determining the date of the new moon."

This Encyclopedia article continues:

    "Orthodox, Conservative Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism now generally observe Rosh Hashanah for the first two days of Tisheri, even in Israel where all other Jewish holidays dated from the new moon last only one day." {Underlined emphasis added}

Due to this Sanhedrin rule, many modern Jews who are now considered in exile (outside of Israel - or the Diaspora) continue to observe two days for the beginning of every new month (after the 29th & 30th day) just in case either is found to be the new moon in the Holy Land - this tradition is called Yom Tov Sheni today, and is also kept for most of the High Holy Days (except Atonement). However, this tradition of observing two days for the Day of Trumpets (or the New Moon) is strictly man-made. Obviously, we are not instructed to observe two days for the Day of Trumpets in the Bible; however, we do see a Biblical assembly that gathers at the expected New Moon to be in unison and hear the trumpets sound when the new moon crescent appears. We can see then that on the Day of Trumpets, this same assembly, patiently looking for the sign in the heavens, must be prepared to keep either day holy as being the Day of Trumpets. Not that it should be observed for two consecutive days.

We saw how this was laid out in the example of David in II Samuel 20 when we discussed Biblical Months. David planned to be absent for two evening meals at the time the New Moon peace offering was being prepared. This allowed for either meal to be the sacrificial fellowship meal that would be eaten when the new moon crescent had come, and trumpets were blown (either at the end of the 29th or 30th day from the prior crescent appearance). Just as we should always be watchful of current events that may serve as signs of prophetic times, the gathering together of Yehovah's people at the time of the New Moon, especially on the seventh month that is the Day of Trumpets, we need to be looking up to the heavens for Yehovah's ordained signs that perfectly fulfill the purpose this day pictures: the return of Yeshua, the Messiah!

The fact that today's Jews keep a calculated calendar and observe two days for Rosh Hashanah suggests that one of these traditions did not always exist, and now conflict on principle. If the calendar was always kept using a mathematical determination, there would be no need to add such a tradition. Only introducing a later mathematical component could lead to this problem.

Keeping It Secret

Some Hebrew Calendar supporters will claim that the mathematical origins of today's calendar always existed and were simply a highly held secret of the ancient Sanhedrin, and that its calculations were established through divine revelation from Yehovah Himself! Daniel 2:20-22[1] is referenced as proof of this theory:

    "Daniel answered and said, 'Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.'" {Underlined emphasis added}

We see here that it truly is Yehovah that is in control of the times and the seasons as it is He that sets the celestial bodies into motion, allows the weather to produce crops and can alter any of these signs at any given time. But does that infer that Yehovah gave secret calculations that then controlled them? Even though Dr. Spier documented that the Sanhedrin practices utilized astronomical facts within the court process - at best it would have been to confirm the testimony of witnesses declaring their sightings of the new moon crescent. But this would contradict the theory that they relied purely upon calculation - much less used the Molad or conjunction instead of the crescent. We also know that the equinox was not referenced by the Sanhedrin due to Christians changing to this method in their own calendar determinations for Easter.

Could it be that the Sanhedrin possessed calculations for the celestial movements that have since changed? Let’s look again at the story of Joshua’s Long Day in Joshua 10:12-14[1]:

    "Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel."

This example clearly tells us that Yehovah directly manipulated the celestial signs to delay time rather than simply issuing a revised set of mathematical formulas. If Yehovah determined times and seasons through mathematics (either directly or indirectly) then we would see a dire need here for them to be adjusted.

But the question remains: why would any such mathematics need to be a secret to begin with? Would He not give this information to all of Israel or, at a minimum, mention to them that the Sanhedrin or other individuals would have this information bestowed upon them? If so, then who has them today? If it is the Jews and their Hebrew calendar, why are they no longer a secret? But we find no such example of calculations being administered. It then must be considered why Yehovah would give such detailed instructions for the Count to Pentecost and for the counting of days from specific new moons for all His other Festivals in the book of Leviticus yet remain completely silent on the math that would be required to determine the dates they are based upon.

The Wikia Encyclopedia [20] discusses the "secret calculations" theory:

    "...a popular tradition, first mentioned by Hai Gaon (d.1038), holds that the modern continuous calendar was formerly a secret known only to a council of sages or 'calendar committee,' and that Patriarch Hillel II revealed it in 359 due to Christian persecution. However, the Talmud, which did not reach its final form until c. 500, does not mention the continuous calendar or even anything as mundane as either the nineteen-year cycle or the length of any month, despite discussing the characteristics of earlier calendars."

This article continues to explain:

    "Jewish dates during post-Talmudic times (specifically in 506 and 776) are impossible using modern rules, and all evidence points to the development of the arithmetic rules of the modern calendar in Babylonia during the times of the Geonim (seventh to eighth centuries), with most of the modern rules in place by about 820, according to the Muslim astronomer Mu'ammad ibn Muammad ibn Mūsā al-wārizmī. One notable difference was the date of the epoch (the fixed reference point at the beginning of year 1), which at that time was identified as one year later than the epoch of the modern calendar."

Even math proves that the math used today could not have existed in its current state for more than 1100 years - much less from the time of Moses or even during the time of Yeshua. Not only do we not find scripture to support such a theory, but there is also no evidence in Jewish history either. It also contradicts Sanhedrin's documented practice of relying on witnesses in determining the new moon. If the Sanhedrin relied on secret calculations, instead, eyewitness testimony would not have been required, the declaration would not have been delayed waiting for witnesses and the commanded traditions of keeping the Day of Trumpets for two days, instead of one, would have never existed. Certainly, the Sanhedrin were fallible men, but it seems highly unlikely that Yehovah would have put full trust in their abilities to maintain His secret calendar calculations and not trust the remainder of Israel to even know they existed. This would also go against the instructions Yehovah gave us to not put our faith in the wisdom of men. But if this were, indeed, the case then Hillel went directly against Yehovah's intentions by making this secret public!

In the earlier scripture referenced above, Daniel was thanking the Creator for granting him the wisdom to interpret the King's dreams, but there is never any indication that the authority of times and seasons and the revealer of deep and secret things was declaring that times and seasons were those deep and secret things. Nor are the Sanhedrin ever mentioned receiving any such revelations. If anything, we should know of Yehovah by now is that He reveals all things and does not operate "in secret" with mysterious concepts - that is done by Satan with his mysterious Babylonian religions.

Math First Introduced

The Mishna also describes a possibility that the Sanhedrin may have used mathematical calculations, however, to confirm the testimony of eyewitnesses. In fact, one of these documents explains a specific conflict that occurred between two members of the Sanhedrin where specifically the mathematics of the new moon were argued. But we see that the eyewitness testimonies of new moon crescents were interrogated to confirm their sightings and it was these sightings that served as the basis of their ultimate decision - not the math. Whether the Sanhedrin utilized mathematics in addition to the eyewitness testimonies, it would have only been to distinguish whether a witness was likely telling the truth.

It is a member of the Sanhedrin named Rabbi Hillel II who is first attributed to implementing a Hebrew calendar based solely on calculation in the fourth century (358 C.E.). It wasn't until this time we find that the Sanhedrin changed the calendar system to be based on mathematical principles rather than observation. In the Wikipedia article regarding the Modern Calendar of the Hebrews [20], it is explained:

    "...there is a tradition, first mentioned by Hai Gaon (d. 1038 CE), that Hillel b. R. Yehuda 'in the year 670 of the Seleucid era' (i.e. 358-359 CE) was responsible for the new calculated calendar with a fixed intercalation cycle. Later writers, such as Nachmanides, explained Hai Gaon's words to mean that the entire computed calendar was due to Hillel b. Yehuda. Maimonides, in the 12th century, stated that the Mishnaic calendar was used 'until the days of Abaye and Rava', who flourished ca. 320-350 CE, and that the change came when 'the land of Israel was destroyed, and no permanent court was left.' Taken together, these two traditions suggest that Hillel b. Yehuda (whom they identify with the mid-4th century Jewish patriarch loulos, attested in a letter of the Emperor Julian, and the Jewish patriarch Ellel, mentioned by Epiphanius) instituted the computed Hebrew Calendar because of persecution.

The fourth century was a very dangerous time to be a Jew - most feared for their lives as Paganism (lead by the so-called Christian Constantine) forced its way onto the scene. The Romans established law prohibiting meetings of the Sanhedrin and it quickly became apparent that the standard practices for determining the calendar were not able to continue. Additionally, the Jews were being pushed out of the Promised Land, and their temple in Jerusalem had already been destroyed in 70 CE. It became more and more difficult for the Sanhedrin to proclaim new months and years and to send messengers, as was traditionally practiced. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia describes part of the tension put on the Jews at this time to adopt a standardized calculated timetable.

In addition, an increasing number of Christian followers began to look for a change to the early calendar system that was still using the Jewish method of observation that Constantine eventually outlawed. It was during this time that the Catholic Church was establishing its own doctrine and held the historical First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. The calendar was one of several topics that were addressed including the determination of Easter, which was being kept by many Christians in the first month, which was still being declared by the Jewish Sanhedrin (by this time, the first month was named Nisan). The Wikipedia article [11] states:

    "To determine which lunar month was to be designated as Nisan, Christians relied on the Jewish community. By the later 3rd century, however, some Christians began to express dissatisfaction with what they took to be the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar." {Underlined emphasis added}

The article continues to explain:

    "Christians, these thinkers argued, should abandon the custom of relying on Jewish informants and instead do their own computations to determine which month should be styled Nisan, setting the Easter festival within this independently-computed, Christian Nisan, which would always locate the festival after the equinox." {Underlined emphasis added}

We see here a growing majority of Christians were looking for a predictable, calculated calendar instead of one relying on informants, which the Christians viewed as being disorderly. It also supports that the Sanhedrin did not utilize the Spring Equinox, whether they were relying on observation, calculation, or both. If they were relying on calculation, it was still perceived as being unreliable. Emperor Constantine pushed for an accurate calendar based on the mathematical Equinox to pinpoint seasons rather than observing the barley crops and the new moon crescents. It was only a few decades after the Council of Nicaea that Rabbi Hillel II is now attributed to succumbing to mathematically computing a calendar for the Hebrew community. This computation was a mathematical average, likely based on Hillel's experience with the Sanhedrin, of observed seasons. In essence, he created a mathematical timetable of the average lunar cycle lengths that coincided with barley crops.

Hillel did not determine his timetable based on the equinox; rather it was an average of how often to insert a 13th leap-month that spanned a repeating 19-year cycle. This way, primarily because the Sanhedrin were being dissolved and the people of Israel were dispersed throughout the world, the people would not have to rely on a Sanhedrin court system. Instead, they could now predict mathematically when to insert the extra month. It provided the best alternative to an organized community searching for the Biblical signs - especially the barley crops no longer available to them within Israel. However, further evidence shows that Hillel did not continue to create the full Hebrew calendar, as it exists today, but was only partially responsible for contributing to the current version. The Wikipedia Encyclopedia [22] further confirms that Hillel II...

    "...is traditionally regarded as the creator of the modern fixed Hebrew calendar. However this attribution is tenuous. It first appears in a responsum of R. Hai Gaon (early eleventh century) cited by R. Avraham b. Hiyya in his Sefer Ha'ibbur, written in 1123. The topic of that responsum is the 19-year cycle for leap year intercalations, so the most that can be inferred from that attribution is that Hillel was responsible for the adoption of that cycle for the regulation of the distribution of leap-years. Scholars who have studied the history of the Hebrew calendar are in general agreement (and there is much evidence for this in the Talmud itself and in other rabbinic sources) that in practice, the evolution of the calendar into its present form was a gradual process spanning several centuries from the first to about the eighth or ninth century CE." {Underlined emphasis added}

The Hebrew Calendar we know today was an evolving process that was not fully established until hundreds of years after Hillel's initial concepts were documented. In fact, the topic of the calendar was recorded as being a hot topic and issue of dispute for hundreds of years after the time of Hillel II.

For example, in 1922 a letter was discovered in the Cairo Geniza, a collection of Jewish manuscript fragments kept in a storeroom located in Cairo Egypt. These manuscripts span Jewish history from the 6th to the 19th centuries. The letter was from a Babylonian named Resh Galutah that showed the length of the Hebrew year 4596 (835/836 C.E.) was different in length and on a different day of the week than that of the present-day Hebrew calendar. It further explained that the area of Babylon had obtained calendric information from Palestine. This shows that the Hebrew calendar still had not been widely adopted nearly five hundred years since Hillel made public his calendar calculations. Other letters attest to similar disputes on calendar dates for Hebrew years 4682-4684 (922-924 C.E.) between the Babylonian and Palestinian communities written by R'Sa'adia Gaon and Aaron ben Meir [82].

Many of these disputes involved the monthly computation of the lunar Molad, first introduced by the Babylonians. The Molad was an average estimate, albeit imperfect, of the moon's lunar cycle from one conjunction to another, but it did not measure the arrival of the new moon crescent. Although very accurate for the time, the Molad calculation of the lunar cycle differs, although very slightly, from the mathematical calculations of the conjunction available to us today. It is because of this variance, however, that we can now perform reverse math to determine when the Molad was first instituted by the Hebrews in its current form. Dr. Kelley Ross explains this in his article, The Jewish Calendar [26]

    "We can estimate the date for the present full mechanism of the calendar from the amount of error that has accumulated. The benchmark for the New Moon is now accurate for a meridian in Afghanistan. If we run things back to when it would have been accurate for a meridian through Jerusalem or Babylon, the centers of Jewish life and calendar studies, we just get back to around the 9th or 10th centuries. As it happens, we know that there were controversies about the calendar in that era."

He then concludes:

    "It seems beyond coincidence that was the period for which the new Moon benchmark would have been accurate, and it implies a Babylonian meridian."

Additionally, this timeframe would have been historically accurate to the level of mathematical knowledge of the period. Many who believe the Molad calculation has been preserved from the time of Moses want to see this as being a miraculous revelation for the time and, consequently, must have been presented to man by God Himself. However, this begs the question, if God originally provided it, wouldn't it have been completely accurate without any amount of error? Yet, it is the cumulation of error over time that provides mathematical evidence of just how old this Calendar system truly is, placing it (at the earliest) in the 9th century C.E. A stark contradiction that the Hebrew Calendar was a part of the Oracles preserved by the Jews! It seems that when Hillel II, in 358 C.E., introduced the intercalary 19-year average cycle, he opened the door to a calendar bias that would eventually take over, replacing all the Biblically observed signs in favor of pure mathematical findings - regardless of whether they coincided with the actual celestial events.

It is not until the 12th century where a certain Rabbi named Moshe ben Maimon "Rambam" (or Rabbi Maimonides) attributed to the calculated Hebrew calendar's accuracy, as compared to the solstice or equinox, in his book titled Hilchot Kiddush haChodesh in 1178 A.D.[32]. The same mathematical equinox referenced by Constantine's Christian calendar. It was also in the 12th century where we find documented evidence supporting the majority of Orthodox Jews, under the rabbinical leadership, relying solely on a calculated Hebrew calendar, giving in to their calendar bias. In other words, the Hebrew calendar became favored because the math of the equinox was compared to the math of the average timetables and found to best coincide - using math to confirm the math. Nowhere in scripture do we find the equinox even described, much less measured from for counting days, months or determining seasons. This purely mathematical calendar, first instituted in the 9th century and deemed mathematically accurate in the 12th, was the birth of the current Hebrew Calendar used today. This history strongly contradicts the concept of a preserved Calendar given within the Oracles.

Rosh Chodesh

The Sanhedrin practices for declaring the new moon developed into the traditions of the Jewish day Rosh Chodesh - a modern-day holiday that celebrates the event of the New Moon. Wikipedia Encyclopedia [36] describes this day as:

    "The name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the appearance of the New Moon. It is considered a minor holiday, akin to the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot." {Underlined emphasis added}

Judaism 101, a website that gives basic understanding for Jewish customs and practices, explains the customary Rosh Chodesh ceremony [35]:

    "In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh was a significant festival day. At that time, the new months were determined by observation. Each month began when the first sliver of moon became visible after the dark of the moon." {Underlined emphasis added}

Again, here is confirmation that not only did the Sanhedrin rely upon observation of signs, but it was also customary to gather at the time of the renewed moon to confirm its arrival. The Wikipedia [36] continues:

    "Despite the existence of a fixed calendar, the date of Rosh Chodesh is still announced in synagogues on the Shabbat (called Shabbath Mevarchim) prior to its observance.

    The day after the moon appeared was a festival, announced with the sounding of the shofar [trumpet], commemorated with solemn convocations, family festivities and special sacrifices [meal]. The importance of this holiday in ancient times should not be underestimated. The entire calendar was dependent upon these declarations; without the declarations, there would be no way of knowing when holidays were supposed to occur."

We see that the Sanhedrin traditions parallel what we have learned directly from Biblical scriptures. Today's Jews are fully aware of their own history and that of the Sanhedrin, which includes an empirical-based calendar They was a significance to actively communicating, through the blowing of a trumpet, when the new moon crescent was confirmed by at least two independent witnesses (a principle of II Corinthians 13:1 and John 8:17). This fact is still recognized in their Rosh Chodesh celebrations.

Today, a Jewish group claims to be the reestablished Sanhedrin[34] in preparation for restoring a court system, should a temple ever be restored in Jerusalem. It is believed, by these Jews, that should the people wish to return to the original traditions, the method of observing the signs would once again be standard practice. It is also fully understood that the current Hebrew calendar is tainted and unfit to continue much longer. They further explain in their article Fixing of the Calendar [7]:

    "In recent years, a situation has been created where more and more frequently the onset of spring does not coincide with {the} calendar currently in use. This means that the calendar is beginning to drift noticeably. Albeit, the rate of drift is very slow, much slower than other lunar calendars (such as the Islamic calendar). However, if continued unchecked, we will be celebrating Pesach in the summer, rather than the spring. Our current calendar will exceed halachically acceptable limits and we will be celebrating Biblically commanded holidays at times other than when Scripture requires them to be celebrated. One could argue that if a change is necessary in any event, it would be most correct according to Biblical and Jewish Law to once again use the system of witnesses. But it is certain that we will no{t} longer be permitted to use the mathematical calendar of Hillel II in the near future."

This clearly supports the fact that the current calculated calendar will no longer be adequate for the current Jewish community soon without some sort of change. Again, not a strong argument for mathematics being divinely given by Yehovah Himself to the Jews or within the Oracles. It is the desire for the Hebrew community to return to an observational method, based on eyewitness's accounts. Not only is this considered an acceptable method by Jewish law, but Biblical!

Now that we are more familiar with the origins of the Hebrew calendar, when it was established, and just how the Jews consider its validity, let's take a deeper look at just how the current Hebrew Calendar is constructed, why it is drifting, and why it's overall architecture and man-made rules may further contradict what we have learned from scripture.

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