Is the Full Moon a part of God's Biblical Calendar??

Many Churches of God of teach and believe that the Full Moon has a role in God's Calendar. They claim that the 15th of Abib and 15th of Tishri must always fall on the full moon. They also claim that the Judaic Rabbinical calendar of Hillel has been designed to ensure that this will always occur and is thus the correct Hoy Day calendar.

These claims need to be examined critically to see what basis they have and if the claimed "perfection" of the Rabbinical calender in this respect is true. This paper will examine these claims and show that the full moon has no role in God's Calender and that the Rabbinical calendar does not consistently place the above Holy Days on the full moon.

The Meaning of Kece

When I first heard of the claim that the full moon must occur on 15th of Abib and Tishri, I searched the King James translation of the Bible, using both the Online Bible software and Strong's Concordance and was not able to find one single reference to the full moon, let alone a reference which says that the two dates above must occur on the full moon. Eventually I discovered the claim is based on a different translation of Psalm 81:3. The KJV translated this verse as (from the Online Bible):

Ps 81:3 Blow up <08628> (8 798) the trumpet <07782> in the new moon <02320>, in the time appointed <03677>, on our solemn feast <02282> day <03117>.

The Strong's numbers are in brackets. Those favouring the full moon theory change "time appointed" to read "full moon", claiming that this is the correct translation of kece (Strong's 3677). Some support is given to this idea by the NKJV, which also favours "full moon" in this verse.

Kece is only used twice in the Bible, here and at Proverbs 7:20 where it is translated this way in the KJV:

20 He hath taken <03947> (8804) a bag <06872> of money <03701> with him <03027>, and will come <0935> (8799) home <01004> at the day <03117> appointed <03677>.

This time the NKJV falters and agrees with the KJV. The translation problem here is two differing proposed derivations of kece. The "full mooners" like the one which claims kece means fullness and comes from kacah (Strong's 3680) which means "to cover or conceal" (Online Bible). The implication is that the moon is covered (or "concealed"??) with light. This dubious suggestion is further weakened by the simple fact that the moon (yareach Strong's 3394) is never mentioned.

Wilson (Old Testament Word Studies, pg 18) says this: "The most probable derivation is from kacac : to number, to reckon (Strong's 3699); and so it refers to specially appointed feasts, as of the Passover, of the Feast of Tabernacles."

Wilson's derivation matches with the KJV and fits well with the use of "appointed" meaning "at the correctly determined date". This translation, in the case of Psalms 81:3 particularly, is confirmed by Numbers 10:10 which specifies that "in the day <03117> of your gladness <08057>, and in your solemn days <04150>, and in the beginnings <07218> of your months <02320>, ye shall blow <08628> (8804) with the trumpets <02689>" . That it, all the times Psalms 81:3 says to blow the trumpets agrees with Numbers 10:10.

So we see that kece in Psalms 81:3 need not, and almost certainly does not, mean fullness and most definitely does not say "fullness of the moon".

The full-mooners are careful not to mention that the full moon is important in many pagan religions. The night of the full moon is frequently the time of their most immoral rituals.

Full Moons and the Rabbinical Calendar

Fred Coulter, a pastor of the CBCG and a "full-mooner", states that in the 30 years he has been keeping the Holy Days, he has never known the Jewish calculated calendar to be wrong about these days occurring on the full moon. Out of curiosity I compared these dates on the Rabbinical calendar he uses with the time of the full moon. The full moon is correctly defined and used astronomically as the time at which the moon is as close to opposite the sun in reference to the earth on each orbit of the moon. The results for twenty years are shown in Table 1. Note that the full moon times are given for Jerusalem's time zone, which Fred agrees is the correct location for applying the results of the calendar. As the table shows, the Jewish calendar is wrong for half of these dates.

One must wonder how Fred "determined" that all of these dates were on the full moon. Was it by observation of the moon's shape or its rising time? The moon often appears to be fully illuminated for two nights of each cycle. It's rising time also only provides a rough estimate of the moon's fullness. It is thus too vague to be useful for determining the dates of God's calendar. It is also useless for visually determining the start of the month as it does not occur until about halfway through the month.

The dates and times in my table can be checked in any astronomical almanac and with our calendric software on our website. The astronomical calculations in 'our' programs are really the calculations of many generations of astronomers, who have steadily refined and improved their calculations. In contrast the Jewish cabalists responsible for the Rabbinical calendar stopped refining their calculations many centuries ago, when their traditions became more important to them than accuracy. If you are honest, you must admit that the Rabbinical calendar is woefully inaccurate in this matter. The conflict between the visible new moons and full moons as to the start of the months is no better when using direct observation of the new moons either. The new moon and full moon times quite simply are conflicting and non-compatible systems. And that is why the full moons are not, and cannot be, part of God's Calendar.

The good news here is that the full moons are not critical to the calendar. The visible new moons are. Think again on this: "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to divide between the day and the night; and let them be for signs, and for appointed times, and for days, and years: Genesis 1:14

The Hebrew word mow'ed, translated as appointed times here, is used to refer to God's Holy Days in such passages as Exodus 23:15 and 34:18, 2 Chronicles 8:13, etc. So God says He gave us His sun and moon to determine the times of his Holy Days. He does not say, anywhere, that He has given the Jews the authority to replace His 'lights' with their calculations to determine His appointed times.

The booklet God's Calendar and the Sign of Jonah and our calendric programs clearly show that the Rabbinical calendar is even worse at calculating the visibility of the New Moon than it is at coordinating with the full moons. In fact it gets 80% of the Abib 1 dates wrong and 90% of the Tishri 1 dates wrong. In 1989 it even claims the new moon will be seen on evenings when the moon has set about half an hour before the sun. What shall we trust, the inaccurate calculations of some long-dead Talmudic scholars or the visible new moon which God gave us to determine His Holy Days?

 

Fifteenth Day of Abib

Fifteenth Day of Tishri

Year

 

Judaic Calc.

 

Full moon

Date   Time

 

Difference (Days)

 

Judaic Calc.

 

Full moon Date    Time

 

Difference (Days)

 

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1/4

19/4

8/4

29/3

17/4

31/3

19/4

8/4

28/3

15/4

17:13

9:58

12:17

21:26

21:09

+1

T

T

T

+1

25/9

13/10

2/10

22/9

11/10

24/9

13/10

3/10

22/9

10/10

14:08

14:50

3:09

8:37

1:59

+1

T

-1

T

+1 

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

6/4

24/4

14/4

2/4

20/4

5/4

24/4

14/4

2/4

21/4

13:32

14:46

4:31

11:21

5:13

+1

T

T

T

-1

30/9

18/10

8/10

26/9

14/10

29/9

17/10

7/10

25/9

14/10

2:07

21:20

6:10

21:06

22:31

+1

T

+1

T

+1

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

10/4

30/3

18/4

6/4

27/3

10/4

30/3

17/4

6/4

27/3

8:17

9:16

6:41

20:42

13:09

T

T

+1

-1

T

4/10

23/9

12/10

30/9

20/9

4/10

24/9

11/10

30/9

19/9

14:01

0:39

20:03

20:53

21:58

T

-1

T

-1

T

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

15/4

4/4

22/4

11/4

1/4

15/4

4/4

22/4

12/4

1/4

14:08

2:07

22:34

0:22

0:48

T

T

-1

-1

T

9/10

28/9

16/10

5/10

25/9

8/10

27/9

16/10

5/10

25/9

17:50

4:49

5:45

22:11

12:51

+1

+1

T

-1

T

Table 1: Comparison of Rabbinical Calculated Calendar with Actual Full Moons.
Differences show that only 12 of the 20 Abib 15 dates occur on a full moon and only 9 of the 20 Tishri 15 dates occur on the full moon when allowance is made for dusk to dusk days. (A dusk at 18:30 hours and the Jerusalem time zone is assumed.)

It puzzles me that those who use the Hillel calendar are so eager to believe Maimonides' claim that their calendar goes all the way back to Abraham when there are dates more recent than the Jewish Talmud, written well after Christ walked the earth, which clearly contradict the Rabbinical calculations (See the Calendar booklet). And why does the Bible not record Jesus' rejection of the Rabbinical calendar? Jesus did not need to reject it because it was not being used to determine the dates of God's Holy Days then

The dates of God's Calendar are simply and easily established by anyone living in Jerusalem with normal eyesight. It does not require the complex, arcane calculations of the Judaic Rabbis. Our need for any calculation arises only for (1) convenience in predicting beforehand when the Holy Days will be, (2) establishing the visibility of the New Moon on evenings when the western horizon is obscured by cloud, (3) use by people living in locations distant from Jerusalem and (4) establishing the dates of the Holy Days in bygone years. Obviously the calculations are only of value if they accurately predict the visible new moons. The basics of our calendar software have been tested for many decades in Jerusalem against the actual visible new moon and have proven to be reliable.

The Bible does not spell out in one neat little passage every nuance of God's Calendar. Nor does it set out the Christian meaning and details of God's Plan of Salvation in one neat little passage. Does that mean we should refuse to accept God's Plan of Salvation as revealed by His weekly and Annual Sabbaths? Of course not! The same principle applies to God's Calendar. The Bible provides all the information needed to establish His calendar if one is willing to do a little work. This claim is verified by the fact that many Christians (and the Karaite Jews) have independently gone into the scriptures and have come out with the same calendar system.

The conclusions are inescapable: Kece means "fullness of time" and the Rabbinical calendar does not consistently place the 15th of Abib and Tishri on the day of the full moon. The full moon and the Rabbinical Calendar are not parts of God's Calendar.



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