Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
When Should the First Month of YEHOVAH’s Year Start?
Exactly when should YEHOVAH’s year start? Must it always start in the spring? Can it sometimes -- or even always -- start in the winter? The Jews call the Day of Trumpets “New Year.” Since the Day of Trumpets is sometimes in the summer and sometimes in the fall -- does this mean that the year can start in either the summer or in the fall? Exactly what does the Bible reveal about the start of YEHOVAH’s year?
by John D. Keyser
When YEHOVAH God was ready to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, He gave his servant Moses the following instructions –
"Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:1-2).
Right here we have, at the very time of Moses, a very clear and precise statement from YEHOVAH God that He wants the year to start with a specific month -- or New Moon!
The Hebrew expression translated into English as “THIS MONTH” is “ha-chodesh ha-zeh.” The word “zeh” is a demonstrative pronoun meaning “this” or “this one.” The reason I am pointing this out here is because this demonstrative pronoun makes it quite clear that YEHOVAH God is specifically singling something out. It is not just the definite article (as in “the month”) that is used here -- but it is a specific reference to “THIS very month.”
Next, the word “chodesh” means both “New Moon” and “month.” The reason being that YEHOVAH God intended every month to start with “a New Moon.” Therefore, it is perfectly correct to translate Exodus 12:2 in the following two ways:
1) “Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, ‘This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you’” (NKJV).
2) “THIS NEW MOON shall be your beginning of New Moons (or months); it shall be THE FIRST NEW MOON of the year to you.”
The key to remember here is that in Biblical Hebrew there is no distinction made between the concepts of “New Moons” and “months,” so it is equally correct to say that YEHOVAH God was specifically singling out TWO things in Exodus 12:2: THIS NEW MOON and also THIS MONTH! The Hebrew word “chodesh” simply does not allow you to divorce “the New Moon” from “the month” -- they both go together! A month is only a month because it starts on the New Moon!
So when we have a clear statement from YEHOVAH God that this New Moon is to be the first new moon of the year to us, then we obviously have a very clear responsibility to determine exactly when YEHOVAH wants that New Moon to occur! We cannot pass this responsibility off to other people (such as the Jews) by reasoning that it is really up to YEHOVAH to make sure that these other people (i.e. the Jews) pick the right New Moon for us! Why should we trust the Jews any more than we should trust the Catholics -- or any other group that has strayed far from YEHOVAH God?
YEHOVAH God listed the weekly Sabbath days right alongside the annual Sabbath days in Leviticus Chapter 23 -- giving us the first clue that the weekly Sabbaths should be determined the same way the annual Sabbaths are. The one group is as important as the other is; and we would not dream of allowing someone else to determine for us which day of the week we should keep as the Sabbath day. Just because the Jews happen to keep Saturday as the Sabbath, while most of professing Christianity keeps Sunday, does not mean that we did not check up on them to determine who -- if any -- are correct. We certainly didn’t accept “on faith” that the Jews have gotten the weekly Sabbath right -- and it’s a good thing we didn’t be cause the Jews are just as wrong as professing Christianity! We thoroughly verified the Jewish and Christian claims against all the facts that we have access to. After having made such a thorough investigation, it was somewhat mind-blowing to realize that neither group had it right! We came to this conclusion because we checked up on the facts -- not because we somehow trust the Jews or mainstream Christianity “on faith.”
In the same fashion we also need to check up and make sure that the Jews faithfully abide by YEHOVAH God’s instructions in Exodus 12:2 that “THIS NEW MOON” IS ALWAYS THE FIRST NEW MOON OF THE YEAR TO US. This is not something that YEHOVAH God would want us to accept “on faith” without making a determined effort to verify the facts.
The very fact that “the New Moon” and “the month” are exactly the same word in Hebrew, means the following –
1) IF “this month” starts in the winter, THEN “this New Moon” is also in the winter.
2) IF “this month” starts in the spring, THEN “this New Moon” is also in the spring.
3) You simply cannot have “this New Moon” fall in the winter, but somehow have “this month” in the spring. It is THE START of a month which determines which season that month is in -- and which season it belongs to.
The Hebrew word “chodesh” simply does not allow you to divorce “the month” from “the New Moon.” So, with this in mind, let us search for further clues in the Bible that will show us exactly when YEHOVAH God wants “this New Moon” and “this month” to occur.
The Name of “this New Moon”
It is significant that there is no word in the Bible which is synonymous with our word “calendar.” The modern concept of the calendar, in which dates are all predictably laid out before us, was unheard of in the ancient nation of Israel. They did not always know from year to year the precise day when the New Year was to start. This is because the calendar YEHOVAH God gave to them was primarily determined by observation -- not human calculation.
Our Roman calendar is an artificially calculated calendar. It begins in the middle of winter (January 1st) when everything in nature appears to be dead and lifeless (in the Northern Hemisphere). YEHOVAH God’s calendar is different. It is intended to portray new life and great purpose. It centers around the natural cycles of YEHOVAH’s creation and the agricultural harvests.
YEHOVAH decreed that His calendar begin in the spring -- when new life appears in nature: “This month [Abib, also known as Nisan] is to be for you the first month of your year (Exodus 12:2).
“This month” and “the New Moon” that YEHOVAH God was singling out in Exodus 12:2 is actually named three times in the Book of Exodus -- and once in the Book of Deuteronomy. It is called by the Hebrew name “Abib.” For example –
"You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty)..." (Exodus 23:15).
The other three verses where the name “Abib” is used are Exodus 13:4, 34:18 and Deuteronomy 16:1.
The word “Abib” means “a green ear of grain,” from an unused root that means “to be tender.” This means the YEHOVAH God identifies “this New Moon” as being equated with green ears of grain.
The following literature, produced by the Worldwide Church of God and others, shows that they understood this cardinal principle -- notice:
1) Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 34 (1965, 1969): “Abib means, ‘the time of green ears of grain.’”
2) The Plain Truth, December 1964. “The Truth About New Year’s!” by William H. Ellis: “The first month of God’s sacred calendar is called, in the Bible, ‘Abib.’ It means the month of ‘green ears.’ Later, the Jews called it ‘Nisan’ -- a Babylonian word.”
3) Good News, November 1957. Vol. VI, Number 11, article “Why AMERICA Is Cursed!” by Herbert W. Armstrong: “People today don’t even know what the month ‘Abib’ is. It is God’s first month of the year, but it is not the same as the pagan January. It begins in the spring, when new life is budding forth in nature. But the nation has deserted God’s calendar, and accepted the pagan calendar.” Notice Mr. Armstrong’s statement that Abib “BEGINS IN THE SPRING!”
4) Personal Correspondence Department, Letter 013: “The true SACRED year of the Bible begins with the month of Nisan (also called Abib), in the spring (Ex. 12:2). The sacred year portrays God’s great plan.” Notice again the statement that “the true sacred year BEGINS...IN THE SPRING.”
5) Mystery of the Ages, by Herbert W. Armstrong, 1985 Hardbound Edition: “The final plague followed the sacrifice of the Passover on the 14th day of the first month of God’s sacred calendar -- starting in the spring. The Israelites went out of Egypt during the night part of the 15th. They reached the Red Sea.” Notice again Mr. Armstrong’s insistence (and he wrote this very shortly before his death) that the first month of YEHOVAH God’s sacred calendar STARTS IN THE SPRING.
6) Pagan Holidays -- or God’s Holy Days -- Which? by Herbert W. Armstrong, 1976 edition: “And so, on delivering His people from Egypt (sin), God straightened them out as to time. And, as the beginning of our salvation was wrought by Christ’s death on the cross, so God said, ‘This month [in the spring] shall be unto you the beginning of months...” (Ex. 12:2). Notice here Mr. Armstrong’s parenthetical comment that the first month is to be IN THE SPRING.
7) The Bible Story, Volume 5, 1987: “Today many churches have summer ‘camp meetings’ instead of observing the Festival of Tabernacles in the fall. They keep Easter instead of Passover, Whitsunday instead of Pentecost. They celebrate the beginning of a new year in the winter, whereas God tells us that the new year begins in the spring.” Again, notice the statement that YEHOVAH God tells us that the New Year BEGINS IN THE SPRING.
8) Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 33 (1964, 1965, 1969) -- “GOLGOTHA -- the Place of the Skull”: “They were forced to work seven days a week and to adapt themselves to the Egyptian calendar and holidays. Therefore, God had to reveal that the month of Abib -- the first month in the spring of God’s Calendar -- was to be the BEGINNING of the sacred year.” Again, the comment made is that the first month is to be IN THE SPRING.
9) Good News, March 1953, article “God’s Sacred Calendar” by Kenneth C. Herrmann, page 8, column 1: “The first day of this month [he is speaking about Abib] -- which occurs at the beginning of spring -- then would be the first day of the year.” Notice Kenneth Herrmann’s statement that the first month is to start AT THE BEGINNING OF SPRING.
10) God’s Calendar Revealed to Man, page 10: “’Abib’ means ‘green ears.’ It was in this month when the green ears of barley were in full head in Palestine, and would soon begin to ripen. This was the month God instructed His people to commence their year. The new year began with the first appearance of the new moon in the spring season...”
To summarize, it is quite clear that the name “Abib” means “green ears of grain.” It is also equally clear that the various Churches of God have repeatedly stated over the years that the year BEGINS IN THE SPRING.
Let us now look at some facts regarding the present Jewish calendar.
Facts about the Present Jewish Calendar
In the fourth century A.D. the Jewish patriarch Hillel II decided to standardize -- or “fix” -- the calendar so that dates for festivals could be predicted many years ahead like on the Roman calendar. He found a “convenient” phenomenon for his purposes in what is known as the Metonic cycle.
In 433 B.C. A Greek astronomer, named Meton, discovered that the moon completed 235 revolutions around the earth once every 19 years. This became known as the Metonic cycle -- although it had previously been known to the Babylonians.
So, in 359 A.D., based upon the Metonic cycle, Hillel II designed a “fixed” calendar that would predictably synchronize the lunar and solar systems of dating. He proposed that every 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th year of a 19-year cycle, a 13th month be added to the year. This brought the lunar year more or less into line with the solar (Roman) year.
The present Jewish calendar, therefore, falls into a pattern of “19-year cycles.” In other words every 19 years the dates for the Holy Days (and the weekly Sabbaths) repeat themselves, with a gradual shift of everything going to 1 day later in the seasons for every 216 years, or about 9 days later in the seasons for every 2000 years.
With this in mind, let us now examine in which season the present Jewish calendar has started the year. First, let us take a look at the time when Hillel II instituted this fixed calendar -- then let us look at some of the 19-year cycles in our age:
According to the Present Jewish Calendar:
Cycle #217 was 344-362 A.D.
We should keep in mind that the Jewish postponement rules (when they come into effect) always place the start of the year one-day or two days LATER in the seasons. Therefore, without these postponement rules some years might start one day or two days earlier. This becomes especially important when you realize that without the postponement rules the year might be placed to start on the last day of winter. But with the postponement rules it then starts on the first day of spring -- thus making it look better. However, the reasoning underlying the postponement rules has absolutely nothing to do with wanting the year to start in the right season! They are purely concerned with the day of the week -- wanting to avoid “awkward days” for Atonement, etc.
The following data demonstrates clearly how the passage of over 1600 years (i.e. from cycle #217 to cycle #303) has placed all the Holy Days in the year from 7-8 days later in the seasons. The result is that after these 1600 years since the time of Hillel II, today FIVE YEARS out of the 19 start in the winter. Here are the facts –
1) For cycle #217 (344-362 A.D.) TEN YEARS OUT OF THE 19 STARTED IN THE WINTER! They were for the years 346, 348, 349, 351, 354, 356, 357, 359, 360 and 362.
2) For cycle #218 (363-381 A.D.) TEN YEARS STARTED IN THE WINTER! They were the years 365, 367, 368, 370, 373, 375, 376, 378, 379 and 381.
3) For cycle #219 (382-400 A.D.) TEN YEARS STARTED IN THE WINTER! They were the years 384, 386, 387, 389, 392, 394, 395, 397, 398, and 400.
4) For cycle #303 (1978-1996 A.D.) FIVE YEARS STARTED IN THE WINTER! They were the years 1980, 1983, 1988, 1991 and 1994.
5) For cycle #304 (1997-2015 A.D.) FIVE YEARS ARE SCHEDULED TO START IN THE WINTER! They are the years 1999, 2002, 2007, 2010 and 2013.
I suppose the good news is that in another 1800 years every year will start in the spring -- except for the occasional year when no postponements will still cause a year to start on the last day of winter (for example, 3742 A.D. And 3856 A.D.). All other years between those two years are scheduled to start in the spring. However -- the bad news is that very few amongst us are likely to have 1800 years available to see if this will be the case!
When Hillel II instituted his fixed calendar, he placed OVER HALF of the years to start in the winter (10 out of every 19 years). He caused the year to start more often in the winter than in the spring! Clearly, this is something that most people in the Churches of God fail to realize!
Even today the Jewish calendar still starts more than one in four years in the winter -- and that is with the postponements being applied. Without the postponements it would at times be 6 years out of 19 years that it would still start in the winter.
So let us now analyze the data we have covered. What was YEHOVAH God’s real intention when He told the children of Israel the following:
"This ‘chodesh’ (New Moon) which I want you to identify as ‘Abib,’ (i.e. as green ears of grain) is to be the first ‘chodesh’ (first New Moon) of the year to you."
What did YEHOVAH God mean? The answer to this question depends on your attitude! If you approach this question totally on its own merits -- following scriptural statements -- then you will reach the answer that the first month of the year must start IN THE EARLY PART OF SPRING!
However, IF you approach this question from a preconceived position of having to defend the present Jewish calendar at all costs -- then you will argue that “it’s OK with YEHOVAH God as long as at least the Passover is in the spring.” You will then not be approaching this question on its own merits. You will, in fact, be INTERPRETING YEHOVAH God’s instructions to fit in with whatever the Jews have done with their calendar, and you will overlook the fact that Hillel II placed EVEN THE PASSOVER INTO WINTER FOR THREE YEARS IN EVERY 19 YEARS !!
In cycle #218 this was on March 19, 368 and March 20, 376 and March 18, 379. Even as late as 854 A.D. (when the equinox was on March 17) Hillel’s fixed calendar STILL PLACED THE PASSOVER INTO WINTER -- that is, on March 16!
If you approach this question with the desire to defend the present Jewish calendar, then you will overlook the fact that for a PERIOD OF 500 YEARS Hillel II placed the Passover into winter in a repeating pattern of years. You will accept this although you yourself today would be totally unwilling to ever keep the Passover in the winter! You will overlook that it took over 500 years for just this one major flaw to work itself out of the system!
Now back to our question -- what REALLY was YEHOVAH God’s desire and intention when He said: “THIS MONTH and THIS NEW MOON shall be the first month and the first New Moon of the year to you”?
Did YEHOVAH God really mean, “It’s OK by Me as long as you have at least SOME years starting in the spring”? Is YEHOVAH God aware of the fact that there are FOUR distinct seasons in the year? Did He have anything to do with instituting those four seasons? Is YEHOVAH aware of the four “turning points” -- the four “tekufoth” -- in the year? Does YEHOVAH God want certain things to take place in certain seasons? WHY did YEHOVAH God tell them that a specific New Moon was to be known as “green ears of grain”? Is YEHOVAH going to be CONSISTENT, or will YEHOVAH God leave things up to chance -- sometimes having the year start in one season and sometimes having it start in the other season? What REALLY is YEHOVAH’s will in this regard?
All of the authors and sources mentioned above came to exactly the same conclusion when they examined the relevant scriptures -- that YEHOVAH God WANTS THE YEAR TO START IN THE EARLY SPRING! As long as they did not feel the pressure to defend a certain position, they always reached this same conclusion!
It is only AFTER they realize that the present Jewish calendar actually does not comply with this requirement that they changed their explanations, interpreting the scriptures to accommodate the Jewish violations of the PLAIN and OBVIOUS and INDISPUTABLE INTENT by YEHOVAH God for the year to start in the spring!
How Do We Know When Spring is Supposed to Start?
Let us look at one of the arguments people use to justify the present Jewish calendar. As ridiculous as it may sound, it is nevertheless true -- notice:
"How do you know when autumn starts and when spring starts? In our area (e.g. anywhere in the northern Unites States), winter starts by the end of November. We even sometimes have snow before the end of the Feast of Tabernacles. And we sometimes still have snow by the beginning of April; so for us spring starts far later than March 21. And what about the seasons being reversed in the Southern Hemisphere etc., etc.?"
My reply to this is: Who has made YOU the judge of when the seasons start and end? Are we going to do what is right in YOUR eyes (Judges 21:25), or are we going to try to establish what is right in YEHOVAH God’s eyes? (Isaiah 55:8). Where do you get the idea from that the start of the season of winter is determined by “when it gets cold in your area”? Is it all of a sudden the season of winter because some part of the state of Oregon had an unexpected snow blizzard in August? Is it all of a sudden the season of summer because there is some unexpected hot weather in February in California? The temperatures that may prevail do not determine the seasons!
The CAUSE for the seasons is the TILT of the earth’s axis. This tilt is 23.5 degrees from the vertical. Without this tilt we would not have any seasons. The earth’s revolution around the sun every year, combined with this tilt of 23.5 degrees from the vertical, produces our four seasons. Since this is the CAUSE of the four seasons, it follows that some specific point must mark the start of each of those four seasons in the earth’s annual revolution around the sun. This is TOTALLY INDEPENDENT of whether your area may have snow or a heat wave at those specific points in the earth’s journey around the sun.
For example, Webster’s Dictionary defines the four seasons as follows –
Spring: the season between winter and summer comprising in the Northern Hemisphere, usually the months of March, April and May or as reckoned astronomically extending from the March equinox to the June solstice.
Summer: the season between spring and autumn comprising in the Northern Hemisphere, usually the months of June, July, and August or as reckoned astronomically extending from the June solstice to the September equinox.
Autumn: the season between summer and winter comprising in the Northern Hemisphere, usually the months of September, October, and November or as reckoned astronomically extending from the September equinox to the December solstice.
Winter: the season between autumn and spring comprising in the Northern Hemisphere usually, the months of December, January, and February or as reckoned astronomically extending from the December solstice to the March equinox.
The seasons are NOT determined by how hot or cold it is on any given day -- that is simply “weather patters.” The seasons are determined by the precise position of the earth in its path around the sun. The seasons all start -- as Webster’s Dictionary also makes clear -- at either an equinox or at a solstice.
These definitions for the seasons are well recognized in our modern world. However, it goes much deeper than this. After all, we are not really looking for how the seasons may be defined today, in our context. What we are really looking for is how YEHOVAH God wants us to define the seasons, right? Remember Isaiah 55:8 -- we want to know YEHOVAH’s thoughts, right? So let us just see what YEHOVAH God tells us.
What About the Barley Harvest?
Some in the Churches of God have insisted, due to the fact that YEHOVAH’s calendar highlights certain agricultural details, that the readiness of the barley harvest around Jerusalem determines which New Moon should be selected to start the year. The barley harvest has to be sufficiently in ear during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be used for the omer of the wavesheaf offering that takes place on the 16th day of Abib or Nisan -- see Leviticus 23:10-11.
However, during the 40 years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, there is no indication that they sowed and harvested crops. They were, in fact, fed supernaturally by YEHOVAH God (Exodus 16:35). Therefore, it is extremely unlikely they would have used the criterion of the maturing barley (grain) to determine when the New Year should begin. Then later, when they entered the land of Canaan, there were to be Sabbatical years when they didn’t sow or reap any grain crops at all! (Leviticus 25:1-24). On top of that, there can be as much as two months variation in the ripeness of barley from one region to another in Palestine. It generally ripens in April and is fully ripe in early May. However, more advanced growth was always seen in the crops in the plains of Jericho.
Noah, during his sojourn in the ark, did not need to monitor the growth of any crops to determine when the New Year began (Genesis 8:4, 13-15). It is, therefore, safe to assume that the factors which determined the beginning of the year were more usually astronomical ones than agricultural ones.
It is basic knowledge from what we see in Genesis 1:14 that the sun and moon determine days, months, weekly Sabbaths, festival times and years. Essentially, what must determine the beginning of the year is the relationship between the sun and the moon in spring -- specifically, the equinox and the New Moon that follows the closest from it.
The Egyptians were very advanced in their astronomical knowledge. The pyramids were built to a precision which revealed extremely competent astronomical observations. The great pyramid at Gizeh was so constructed that its east-west alignment was so precise that at the time of the equinoxes no shadow was cast by its east-west face. So the Egyptians knew the exact times of the spring and autumn equinoxes. According to the Handbook of Biblical Chronology: “It was no doubt possible to establish them [the equinoxes] with precision by observation of the length of a day and night and by measurement of the shadow of the sun” (Princeton University Press, 1964. P. 19).
Moses was probably conversant with this astronomical data since he was raised in the pharaoh’s palace and would have been well educated (Acts 7:21-22). But when he led the Israelites into the wilderness 40 years later, he may not have known precisely when the equinoxes occurred. In this situation YEHOVAH God would have provided what he lacked.
For us today, we have the benefit of computer calculations of when the equinox occurs and when New Moons are likely. It is the combination of this knowledge -- of the time of the spring equinox and that of the New Moon that follows the closest after it -- which determine the beginning of YEHOVAH God’s year.
How the Seasons are Defined in the Bible
It is a total waste of time to argue about what we think determines spring, or how we understand autumn, etc. Let us see what the Word of YEHOVAH God -- the BIBLE -- has to say. Let’s look again at Exodus 34:22:
"And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end."
The “year’s end” is literally “revolution of the year” in Hebrew. The expression translated here as “at the end of the year” is “at the TEKUFAH of the year.” This word “tekufah” refers to “a coming round, a circuit, a turning point.” Wherever this word tekufah is used, it refers to the completion of a cycle -- the cycle of the sun in the sky. That cycle is from one equinox to another. It is formed from the Hebrew verb “naqaph” -- which means “to go around, to compass about.” Here are two passages where the verb “naqaph” is used in the Bible:
1) You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around (naqaph) the city once. This you shall do six days (Joshua 6:3, NKJV).
2) So he had the ark of the LORD circle the city, going around (naqaph) it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp (Joshua 6:11, NKJV).
These verses are from the account of the Israelites when they marched seven times around the city of Jericho before the walls fell down. This should clearly illustrate that the root word of tekufah does indeed mean “to go around in a circuit.”
Returning now to Exodus 34:22, it is well known that even in antiquity people were familiar with the two solstices and the two equinoxes in every year. They could easily be pinpointed by the movements of a shadow in the course of a year -- all they had to do was to note the position of a shadow at sunrise and at sunset for every day of the year. At the two solstices there are distinct TURNINGS -- the movements of the shadows change direction. In referring to this course of the sun in the sky, David said in Psalm 19:6 -- “It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit [tekufah] to the other...”
What “spring” and “autumn” may mean to you or to me is not important one way or the other. Nor does the location in which we live make a bit of difference to these definitions for the seasons. Whether you live in a cold climate like the northern United States, or a hot climate like the Middle East is entirely irrelevant to YEHOVAH’s definitions. Nor does it make a difference whether we live in the Northern Hemisphere or in the Southern -- all that matters is what YEHOVAH God said and what YEHOVAH God intended!
It is Quite Clear That –
1) YEHOVAH God was speaking about a specific New Moon in the year by using the expression “THIS New Moon” (or “THIS month”).
2) YEHOVAH God was speaking to the people of Israel in a specific geographical location -- the Middle East.
3) For the people that YEHOVAH God was speaking to in that specific part of the world (i.e. the children of Israel), YEHOVAH identified the New Moon of the New Year with the name “green ears of grain” -- an obvious reference to the season of spring. This, however, does not mean that “that specific New Moon” has to be the time of “green ears of grain” for other parts of the world (e.g. Finland, Norway, Alaska, Chile, Australia, South Africa, etc.).
4) In Exodus 34:22, YEHOVAH God identified the season of autumn by a clear reference to the autumn equinox -- one of the four “turning points” in the year.
5) Whether in YOUR part of the world “this New Moon of Abib” also happens to be “the time of green ears of grain” or not, is totally immaterial. “THIS NEW MOON” is to be “the first month of the year.” Whether you choose to live in the North such as Scandinavia or the northern United States or in Canada; or whether you choose to live further south in Egypt or Southern Africa or Singapore or Australia or South America, THIS NEW MOON is to remain “the first New Moon of the year.”
6) YEHOVAH God does not expect us to accept “on faith” that the Jews are observing the weekly Sabbath at the right time -- this is something that YEHOVAH God expects us to prove and to verify! Likewise, YEHOVAH expects us to PROVE that the Jewish calendar is in full compliance with His COMMAND that “THIS is the first New Moon of the year.”
7) A lack of compliance with YEHOVAH God’s commands should NEVER be overlooked! If something goes against YEHOVAH’s clearly stated commands, then we must obey YEHOVAH rather than adhere to human traditions.
8) The fact that 14 years in every 19-year cycle of the present Jewish calendar start in the spring, while 5 years in every cycle still start in the winter, is an inconsistency that we cannot overlook! Such an inconsistency implies that it does not really matter in which season the year starts. We must never submit to this kind of “logic”!
There can be no doubt that YEHOVAH God intended “THIS NEW MOON” to be in the SPRING of the Northern Hemisphere. This is also apparent from the name “Abib.” This is also the conclusion that ALL of the writers in the Worldwide Church of God came to as long as they did not perceive the need to defend a certain position. The fact that Hillel II started over 50% of all years in the winter, and that he even placed the Passover repeatedly into winter, should be a real shocker for most people who are at all desirous of obeying YEHOVAH God’s instructions for the calendar.
So when should the year start?
The NEW MOON for the first month of the year must be AT OR AFTER THE SPRING EQUINOX! If a New Moon occurs one day before the spring equinox (i.e. on the last day of winter) THEN the following New Moon will be the first New Moon of spring and THAT New Moon will have to be the start of the first month. That is what YEHOVAH God INTENDED in Exodus 12:2.
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