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TorahTimes Messianic Ministry

Teaching Truths about Torah, Time, and Messiah

The New Moon and Tishri 1, 2 BC

Excerpt — The Birth Day of Messiah — Currently being written

There is great controversy in the present age concerning what the correct biblical calendar is, and the proper way to determine new moons and holy days. There are many divisions among the faithful concerning what the Scripture teaches. Some groups follow the modern rabbinical calendar, which is modern in the sense that it did not exist before the 4th century. Some groups determine the new moons strictly by the astronomical conjunction which must be calculated in advance. And many groups determine the new moon by observation of the reappearance of the moon and or calculations which are equivalent to when the new moon can be seen. Some of these later groups allow or prefer local observation, and others prefer observation as near to Israel or Jerusalem as possible. More often than not all these divisions commonly end up with a day or two in difference of opinion about when a new moon or holy day should be observed. And this is only the apparent surface of the issue. Often underlying the divisions are deep chronological convictions about what scripture teaches and or eschatological speculations. Often different positions are taught by popular teachers who are ignorant and unpopular teachers who know the issues and understand the truth. The conflict worsens because of the anti-Torah legacy of many Christians returning to Torah, who really do not know what Torah teaches, or who take those whom they perceive to be Torah teachers as the whole truth, when they do not realize that those presenting themselves as Torah teachers do not even agree. The matter is complicated by the fact that people wish to follow a leader who assures them they have the whole truth rather than learning to tell the difference between someone who has a biblical basis and someone who does not. People want to follow authority in a controversy rather than thinking carefully about whose explanation of the evidence is logically consistent.

There is nothing new about these kind of divisions among Christians, because they go back almost two thousand years. In the early centuries of the Christian era divisions abounded about the date of Easter and how to calculate it. The bishop of Rome tried to excommunicate the Churches of Asia minor over a difference of opinion on the pascha on the 14th vs. the Sunday following. In the early centuries acceptance of a certain date for easter meant either submission to Rome or non-submission. The battles were fought graciously and ungraciously, and more often than not, the latter way. Most people just gave up and decided to follow the majority or the party with the most power and voice when it became clear that they would be persecuted if they did not. Now presently, Christians cannot expect to return to Torah and observe the laws of the Almighty without re-opening all these controversies at some point. We cannot expect to succeed without challenging the status quo and tradition. And these traditions are wreckage left over — evidence of a war lost long ago to the teachers of lawlessness. To be faithful, it is necessary for the people of Messiah to re-fight this war, and this time to win, and to win as graciously as possible without compromising the truth, and without being bullied into the wrong positions.

The Scripture never was a formal technical manual on how to figure the calendar. But the Scripture does provide all the starting points necessary when used in combination with other scientific facts that will produce the correct calendar. In Genesis 1:14 we are told that two great lights are signs for the appointed times, the sun and the moon. Scripture often satisfies a technical goal in simple ways and without technical language. The average reader tends to read right over these kind of details. But the reader who has pondered the matter and realized the requirements that need to be clarified reads the text and does not miss the detail that makes things plain. It says, “And let them be for signs,” which is the lights. The important point here is that it is the light that makes the sign. In the case of the moon it has to receive light from the sun, which in turn has to be reflected to earth so that it is visible. It is the return of visible light to the moon by which it marks the night heading up the first day of the month. So what else is there in Scriptural chronology to confirm that the new moon was visibly observed?

The New Moon Feast

In ancient times Israel did not depend on calculation to determine the new moon. At the very best some calculations might be done by priests or learned men in one of the larger cities. But in the average hamlet or village there was no precise calculated information to know the exact day of the moon’s appearing like we have now days. Even though calculations might have been possible, the practice was to use observation as the primary witness and to use calculation only to confirm the observations or to determine when observations should be made. Everyone had the most basic knowledge in those days. A month could only be 29 or 30 days long. This was considered astronomical knowledge then. Today it is trivial for lunar calendars. But it is a fact of utmost consequence. Since a month must be at least 29 days, then there was no point is making any observations until the end of the 29th day. Since a month was never longer than 30 days, no observations were needed at the end of a 31st day. Observations were needed only at two times, 1. after the 29th day, and 2. after the 30th day. If for whatever reason, weather, war, negligence, lack of observers, fog, dust, sandstorms, and the like, the moon was not seen by the end of the 30th day, then the next day became automatically the first day of the new month. If inclement conditions prevailed for more than one month in a row, the practice was to make the second month in which observation was obscured 29 days. People knew that more often than not the 29 and 30 days alternated month by month.

There were only two days of uncertainty. The day after the 29th day could be the first of the new month or the second day after the 29th day could be the first of the new month. Now everyone has seen a new moon. The concept of a new moon being only one day does not exist in English. Any thin sliver of a moon is called a new moon so long as it looks like a thin sliver. The newness lasts several days. This was probably the case in ancient times also and also with the Hebrew language. The concept of a new moon being only one day comes from precision calendar making. It does not come from the common use of language. If someone looks up at a thin crescent and calls it the new moon then no one is going to correct the person unless they were a snobbish academic or priest from a large city who knew that the day before was the precise new moon for counting the days of the month. More often than not, there was no snob to correct the usage, and therefore, it may be concluded that the language developed to call any thinly lighted moon the new moon. And this would be true for every language that had a word for new moon.

The practice of calling the conjunction a new moon is a modern development of chart and calendar makers who use astronomical information of when the conjunction occurs. But no one could use it to go out and observe the moon or say, “Look, the new moon.” The best any culture could do to start a calendar this way was Egypt. In Egypt they would observe the old moon in the morning until the day it disappeared. The day it disappeared was regarded as the first day of the new month. However, this method did not aways land on the conjunction day. Alongside this calendar two others were used, the first visibility method and also the fixed calendar of 365 days. These are the three calendars of Egypt.

Returning to the situation of Israel, a month could be 29 or 30 days. Now if an important event is to occur and one does not want to miss it, but one does not know exactly when it will occur, the the prudent thing is the prepare for the event to happen at all possible times it may happen. If important guests are to arrive from a far city and you know they might arrive in a range of two days then you make sure that the welcoming feast is ready for both days. We have lost this in the modern age due to the technology of instant communications. Upon this principle then, Israel held the new moon feast for two days when it was not known which of the two days the moon would show up. Without knowledge of which day the moon would show up, both days were treated exactly as if the moon had showed up. For this reason the day at the end of the 29th day was called the “new moon,” and celebrated as such, and then if the moon had not shown up then, the next day was called the “new moon,” and celebrated as such. As some point in this process messengers would show up declaring which of the two days was the first day of the month on the basis of observations.

The messengers might have to come from quite a distance if the local weather were bad or obscure, or if the local people were lazy about observing the moon. The local people might have to wait a whole day if their village was off the main track. Also the people wanted information on the official start of the month at the Temple or sanctuary. And for this, the messengers had to go to Jerusalem first to be examined by the calendar court. Then when the calendar court was satisfied, the first day of the month was declared, and then messengers sent out to the rest of the land. Seeing the moon at the end of the 30th day does not guarantee to most locals that it could not have been seen the night before at the end of the 29th day. For this reason, the practice was to hold two new moon days until the moon was seen or a report received. And even if a report was received that the first day was the first of the new month, the practice was to have two feast days anyway. People probably felt that more feasting was better than less, and more pious, especially if they had the means.

Therefore, at the close of the 29th day of any month, the new moon was expected, and a new moon feast was planned. If no one saw the new moon after sunset on the 29th day, then the feast would still go forward. This is because someone may have seen the moon and not reported the news. Until news was received one way or the other, the day after the 29th day was treated in every respect as the new moon. We can view the matter thus: [Day 29] + [1st Feast] + [2nd Feast]. If news arrived on the first feast day that the moon was seen then the calendar would go: 29, 1, 2, and days 1 and 2 of the new month would be feast days. If news arrived on the second new moon day, then the calendar would go 29, 30, 1, and the feast days would be on the 30th of the old month and the 1st of the new month.

Now in any case where it is said that tomorrow is the new moon and we are informed that two days of feasting followed upon this statement, then we know the statement must have been made after dawn on the 29th but before dawn on the next day. And the declaration that the new moon is to come need not mean that it is known for certain that the new moon will occur or arrive then. For this we have evidence in the book of Amos.

In Amos 8:5 the complaint is made, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale....” We see that there is a basis for this complaint. The new moon feast could last only one day if news arrived right away that the new moon had been seen, and people less religiously minded wanted to get back to their commerce. The markets would be closed either two days or until it was known that the second new moon day was not the new moon. Then they could reopen. But the new moon is regarded as lasting two days by default and can only be over with a report of some sort saying the moon has been seen on the first day. This would be a common situation, and commonly the markets would have to be kept closed an additional day. The new moon day was not supposed to be a Sabbath in the sense of the seventh day, but it was supposed to be sanctified, and traditionally this was done by not making it a market day. People did domestic work, but did not usually work for employers on these days. It was not illegal to do so, but neither was it the cultural norm. Everyone was supposed to make the new moon special in some way that could be regarded as sanctifying it.

There is one case in which the Sabbath would be extended to two days if a new moon report did not come, and this was 1-2 Tishri. There was an annual Sabbath on 1 Tishri on which no work was to be done. This seventh new moon was specially sanctified. But it may be that the word Sabbath in Amos 8:5 is used on the broader sense of a sabbatical or cessation. In that case, the market closure for the new moon days is a sabbatical, the sabbath of commerce at the start of every month. We see this usage of the word Sabbath for days and times other than the seventh day in Lev. 23:11 and in the Evangelists during Passion week (cf. John 19:31). The verb form of the word is used for making leaven cease on the headmost day of Passover, i.e. on the 14th of Nisan (cf. Exodus 12:15). So we may see in the word Sabbath here a Sabbath from commercial activity on one or two new moon days. This means that the question “When will the new moon be over, and the sabbatical [of commerce]” was intelligently asked, even though on the basis of the ill will of greed.

A two day new moon feast is parsimoniously sensible if there are two new moon days, both days being treated as being the “new moon” while reports are pending. This occurred so often in ancient Israel that complaints about it were possible. In view of the fact that the period of uncertain duration is called the “new moon” in Amos, and in view of the fact that the period is uncertain to the extent of two days, and also in view of the fact that the first day of the new month can only be on one of the two days, it follows that saying the new moon will follow the 29th day of a month need not mean the reported new moon, but may mean the first of the two feast days. In other words, “new moon” is a short phrase for the concept of “new moon feast,” and like the loose popular usage of referring to any thin sliver of light on the moon as the “new moon,” the phrase “new moon” does not imply automatically that the first sliver has been seen.

Since it is so clear from Jewish history that the new moon was observed, the conjunction advocates have sought to incorporate visual observation into their conjunction theory. What they say is that the month starts with the day of the conjunction. They then argue that the feast lasts until the moon is observed, and that the feast ends when the observation is made. The problem with this is that the new sliver shows up from one to three days after the conjunction occurs. And this implies that a new moon feast might go three days. However, there is only biblical and historical evidence that it goes for two days at the most. The theory also requires calculation which makes it impractical for most locations in ancient Israel. The theory also claims that calculation of the visible new moon was harder than conjunction calculation. But by the same argument, no calculation is easier than calculation of the conjunction, and a no calculation method is the one that holds up to the biblical evidence. The no calculation method requires only two days of the new moon feast for which there is evidence in Scripture and history, but the conjunction method asserts the possibility of three new moon feast days, for which there is no evidence in Scripture or history.

The scientific fact that a lunar month is only 29 or 30 days proves to us that the new moon can only happen upon one of two different days, either 29+1 or 29+2. It therefore follows that for the practical purpose of making sure the feast synchronizes with the actual new moon only two feast days are required. It appears to us that the conjunctionist’s explanation of the evidence for new moon sighting that it ends the feast, and that they must allow three days for feasting in many cases, points to the unparsimonious and ad hoc nature of the theory. It is as if they want the conjunction and the visible moon to be the new moon both at the same time. In point of fact, if any accurate calculation of the conjunction were used instead of observation, then more than one feast day would be unnecessary in the first place. It appears to me that the thinking required to maintain these sorts of inconsistencies is some sort of combination of tradition with post modern thinking.

The dates of Messiah’s birth and his death and resurrection logically indicate the visual observation method of determining when the new moon is. Briefly, Messiah was baptized in the 15th year of Tiberius, which is AD 29 at nearly the age of 30 (Luke 3:1; 23). This points back to a birth date in 2 BC.1 From the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5), Zechariah ended his service at noon on Sabbath, July 23, 3 BC, and was home on 1 Av (July 24, 3 BC). Going forward 5 months and one day brings us to the first day of Elizabeth’s sixth month (Luke 1:24; Luke 1:26, 36), which was 10 December, 3 BC (1 Tebeth), the sixth day of the winter feast. From there we go forward 266 days, which is the the average term from conception to birth (the perfect timing), and we arrive at 1 Tishri, 2 BC (Sept. 1), which is called Yom Teruah (a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah, feast of trumpets). And at the end of the matter this agrees perfectly with the sign given in Revelation 12:1-2. So then, we should inquire which method of determining the new moon agrees with the date and the fact that the moon was under the feet of the virgin?

Figure 1: Conjunction
Aug 29, 18h 58m JMT

If the conjunction method is applied to this matter, then the 9th of Av in AD 70 does not fall on the first day of the week as stated by Seder Olam.2 It would fall on a Friday. And further, the priestly divisions would disagree by a week with Luke’s perfect chronology. Furthermore, we would have to speculate that John was conceived on a new moon, and we would have to speculate that Yeshua was conceived on a new moon rather than knowing that only new moons fit, i.e. V.1, X.1, and VII.1 for his birth, as well as the visit of the Magi on new moon XI.1 in 2 BC. As usual, incorrect methods increase the uncertainty and the entropy of the system. Finally, if we observe what a conjunction looks like for a conjunction based new moon in 2 BC the moon is not under the feet of virgo. See Figure 1. It is pretty obvious that the conjunction is not under the feet of the constellation of Virgo. It is aligned with the neck and shoulders. Not even the most obtusely drawn figure of Virgo is going to rectify this discrepancy with Revelation 12:1-2. Another problem, I should not fail to mention is that Jupiter is only at 10 degrees elongation on the morning of 8/30. We really cannot expect a heliacal rise on this date if it were the day of the birth.

Revelation 12:1-2 confirms what we know from Gen. 1:14. The light from the moon is the sign for the start of the month, and not the dark moon. The moon, which is dark at the conjunction, is not under the feet of virgo.

Was David referring to a Calculated Conjunction?

In 1 Samuel 20:5 David states, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I sitting I must sit with the king to eat.” The argument is made that David knew it was the new moon in advance, and therefore, he must be depending of someone’s calculations. Also assumed is that calculation of the conjunction was possible but that calculation of when the moon would be visible was not. A third assumption that has to be true is that David did not mean the new moon feast when he said “new moon,” because invariably the new moon feast is in the day after the night in which the new moon occurs. David could have seen the moon that night, and then meant “tomorrow is the new moon feast.” If any one of these assumptions fails to be true, then the argument is disproved. On the other hand, since they are all assumptions, then we are under no obligation to believe them. But Revelation 12:1-2 proves them false. These assumptions are or were made by Andrew Roth and 119 Ministries. Others might explain things incorrectly also, since the passages I am discussing are not easily understood in an age when the calendar of Scripture is not taken for granted.

If David means sunset by “tomorrow” and it is the 29th of the old month when he is speaking, then his knowledge might have come from calculations before the event. These could have been calculations for when a visible new moon would be seen. We do not however have to assume such calculations were possible, because tomorrow invariably means the morning. The usage in 1 Sam. 19:11 shows that tomorrow does mean in the morning, since David’s wife is speaking after sunset. So the assumption that David could not have seen the new moon and then mean new moon feast (in the morning) by his words is disproved. In fact, the NIV translators have correctly translated, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival.” Tomorrow refers to the morning. Either David is speaking after dark, and David has seen the new moon, and the words in his mouth “new moon” are simply a brief idiom for new moon feast, or it is before sunset, and he means the new moon feast, which always starts after the 29th day of a month, so he does not have to see the moon at all. The idiom is similar to the use of the word “sin” in Hebrew to mean a sin offering. New moon means new moon feast.

I believe the case is probably that David saw the new moon in the night at the end of the 29th day, or someone reported it to him on the basis of 1 Sam. 20:27.5 Even if he spoke before sunset, someone saw the moon and reported it at the end of the 29th day. Either way he could say that tomorrow was the new moon feast, meaning after daybreak. We know it was just after the 29th day or at the very end of it that he spoke, because if it had been the 30th day, the new moon feast would have been on the 30th day and the 1st day of the month. But the passage has two new moon feast days following David’s announcement. If it was already the 30th day, then there would only be 1 new moon feast day following his announcement. This is because the new moon feast days were the 30th and 1st if the old month was 30 days long, or the 1st and the 2nd if the old month was 29 days long. This fact can be observed in Arthur Spier’s book.3. Thus, if two new moon feast days are ahead, then it can only be the 29th of the old month. And it matters not whether the next two days turn out be be 30, 1 or 1, 2 of the next month. 1 Sam. 20:27 clarifies that the case was 29-1-2 rather than 29-30-1.

David did not have to actually see or hear a report of the new moon. It simply had to be the 29th of the month, and because of this, the next two days were always new moon feast days. Only in shortened idiom they were called the new moon. Is there any other text where we can show that new moon means the new moon feast rather than the actual sighting of the new moon (or calculation if that is assumed)?

There is. First I will point out that it is well known that חֹדֶשׁ means both new moon and month. In many contexts it means month, because such texts speak about the 15th day of the month or a time of the month that is not the actual new moon. What I am saying is that the word also means “new moon feast” even though the actual new moon may happen on only one such day that is called the new moon feast. The new moon feast was always anticipated after the 29th day of a month, and it mattered not if the new moon was seen. The new moon feast days would not be changed. Only the second day might be canceled if the new moon was seen on the first day. This custom means that one did not have to figure out which day the new moon would be.

Second I should point out that “new moon” may mean “new moon day” because there were sacrifices upon it. And these new moon sacrifices lasted a day and a night. The new moon would be seen in the night before the day of the sacrifices. Thus one can mean, “Tomorrow is the new moon day.” Of course one could say that this night is the new moon night when the moon was seen, but since as we have pointed out that tomorrow meant the morning, it is not impossible to say that tomorrow is the new moon day. No matter how the day is reckoned, it is well known that a literal day only refers to the points between dawn and dusk. Therefore, it does not have to mean one is predicting the time of the new moon. One is only saying it would be the new moon day.

Amos 8:5 shows that “new moon” means “new moon feast”:

In Amos 8:5 the complaint is made, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale....” Now under ordinary circumstances they knew exactly when the Sabbath would be over except in one case. It is possible that the passage is hyperbole and that it speaks of any Sabbath or new moon, and they knew perfectly well when it would be over. But there is one case when it is literally true, and that is 1 Tishri and 2 Tishri. At the end of the 29th day of Elul (the sixth month) a new moon report does not come in right away. Therefore they have the new moon feast on the next day. During that day, it is uncertain if there needs to be a second day of the new moon feast. If a report arrives and is verified, then the annual Sabbath is one day. If no valid report comes then there is a second day of the new moon and a second Sabbath. During the first new moon day people can complain about the possibility of a second day being declared and also about a second Sabbath occurring. They wanted to get back to the business of cheating people. What this shows is that new moon means the new moon feast days and not exactly the day the new moon is seen or that it has been seen. The complaint is made at a time when the new moon is not seen yet, because then they would know when it would end. Yet the day is referred to as the new moon. Therefore, a feast day exists called the new moon even when it is in doubt if it is the new moon. Therefore, David does not have to mean that the new moon was seen when he says the new moon is tomorrow. On the 29th day there is a new moon feast regardless of whether the moon is seen or not.

Those trying to make the conjunction case often say the new moon lasts 1-3 days, i.e. from conjunction to sighting. But then they want to make the conjunction day the actual start of the month. They have to concede this because Amos 8 and 1 Sam 20 both imply more than one new moon feast day. This then implies that new moon can mean new moon feast. Thus the conjunction advocates are implicitly admitting that new moon does not have to mean its official occurrence, but may mean the feast days. This goes to show that they have to assume that the conjunction day is one of those days, and further that the other new moon feast day upon which the conjunction does not happen is not the one from which the month is counted. This is a big assumption. It is called circular reasoning. The ultimate proof of who is right depends not on assumptions applied to these passages, but upon finding out that overall biblical chronology and historical testimonies only work with one system and not the other.

Figure 2: First Visibility of Moon
Aug 31, 2 BC, 18h 30m JMT

Now it turns out that the year and month this took place may be calculated. First, it is the first month of the year (cf. 1 Sam. 20:6). The annual sacrifice was the Passover. It is called “the sacrifice of the days,” (cf. Exodus 13:10; 1 Sam. 1:21). Second, the 4th day of the month proves to be a Sabbath because David fled on the third day and collected the holy bread from the priest on the Sabbath, which was the 4th day. Third, the year was 1069 BC.4 This is the year for which the week day synchronism works out, on the basis of the visible new moon. This confirms that we have the overall chronological picture correct, because the life of David and the astronomy come together in 1069 BC consistently with the sighted new moon and the weekly cycle. It is just like Revelation 12:1-2 confirming that the new moon is at the sighting, because that is when the picture described by the prophet is accurate.

In figure 2, I have scaled the size of the moon to 15x. Its real size and location are in the center of the enlarged disk. The point is that the moon is under the feet and legs. Remember that in Hebrew, the word for feet also means legs just as the word for hand also means forearm. If one wants to mean just the feet then one has to use a word like palm in the right context in Hebrew. The orientation is altitude-azimuth, which is the actual orientation one would see it from earth. The horizon line is drawn in and the cardinal point west. The astronomers know which stars go with the feet and legs of Virgo. I have the atmosphere simulation off, because if it were on, the sun would flood the whole constellation of virgo clothing her with the sun. Virgo is the greatest sign, i.e. largest, in the path of the sun.

Does Pslam 81:3 refer to the Conjunction?

The argument is made that Psalm 81:3 should be translated, “Blow at the new moon the trumpet, at the concealment, on the day of our feast” which is interpreted to mean that the new moon is announced at the conjunction when the moon is dark. Concealment is interpreted to mean a dark or invisible moon. But this is not the argument of the greatest authorities. The translation should be, “Blow at the new moon, the Shōfar; at the designated time; on the day of our feast.” According to Numbers 10:10, the trumpet was to be blown, “in the heads of your months,” “in your appointed times,” “over your ascending offerings,” and “over the sacrifice of your peace offerings.” The appointed times included the feast days. The list in Psa. 81:3 covers the same times. The disputed word is an Aramaic loan word in Hebrew, in the designated time = בַּכֵּסֶה. The Authorized Version, i.e. King James read the time appointed (and also “a long array of authorities” [Ellicot], including Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi [Gill], Rashi [page 383: Gruber, 1998, “AT THE kesse, the day appointed, prepared and fixed for it. In the same vein ‘He will come home at the kesse’ (Prov. 7:20) {i.e.} at the appointed time which has been fixed.”]), evidently as a loan word into Hebrew from Aramaic. Jastrow gives the following entry: for “כֶּסֶה,כֶּסֶא” (pg. 652), “mark, distinction; marked, appointed time”; Jastrow cites this very Psalm text in the noun entry and the verb entry on page 652 (I כסה). The LXX seems to support an idea of the Aramaic word use: ευσημω, "clear, distinct", only it applies it to the Shofar, "distinct Shofar", or "clear sound of a Shofar", "with distinctness" (εν ευσημω), cf. Jastrow, “distinction” above. The Aramaic (borrowed to Hebrew here) means to blow the trumpet “on the mark,” or “distinctly,” or “sharply,” i.e. loudly at the appointed moment. We should not be surprised at the occurrence of an Aramaic term in Hebrew. Aramaic occurs often enough, or is borrowed often enough. For example the Aramaic word for son occurs in Psalm 2:23 “Kiss the Sŏn” (בַר bar). The other use of the term in Psa. 81:3, in Proverbs 7:20 also supports the sense, “appointed time”: “He has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home on the appointed day.”

What do the scholars say?

The scholars, Jewish, Christian, Rabbis, other historians, and chronologists will all say that the new moon was visibly sighted in the first century. The Talmud and Mishnah will say the same, and also reading Philo will show this. The discussions of Passion chronology by Grace Edith Amadon (1872-1945) and Richard A. Parker in the Journal of Biblical Literature all assume the new moon was visibly sighted. Also the presentation of dates in Finegan’s Handbook of Biblical Chronology. I am not saying that one has to automatically believe what the scholars say, but it is more parsimonious to agree than not. And my work on biblical chronology has shown that the sighted new moon method is consistent with what the Scripture actually says, and the harmonization of its chronological statements. I do not think one could ask for a better confirmation. The light is the sign. Darkness does not show the way.


1. See Mosshammer, The Easter Computus And The Origins Of The Christian Era, Oxford University Press, 2008. Mosshammer makes exactly this point on the back cover jacket of the book: “The system of numbering the years AD (Anni Domini, Years of the Lord) originated with Dionysius Exiguus. Dionysius drafted a 95-year table of dates for Easter beginning with the year 532 AD. Why Dionysius chose the year that he did to number as ‘1’ has been a source of controversy and speculation for almost 1500 years. According to the Gospel of Luke (3.1; 3.23, Jesus was baptized in the 15th year of the emperor Tiberius and was about 30 years old at the time. The 15th year of Tiberius was AD 29. If Jesus was 30 years old in AD 29, then he was born in the year that we call 2 BC. Most ancient authorities dated the Nativity accordingly.”

2. Seder Olam — The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology, Heinrich W. Guggenheimer, Jason Aronson Inc., pg. 264, “R. Yose says: A day of rewards attracts rewards and a day of guilt attracts guilt. You find it said that the destruction of the first Temple was at the end of the Sabbath...when the priests of the family of Yehoiariv was officiating, on the Ninth of Ab....” The 9th of Av in AD 70 fell on the first day of the week, i.e. at the end of the Sabbath, August 5. Now if the conjunction were used to calculate the calendar in AD 70, then the 1st of Av would have been on July 26th (i.e. 2h 1m JMT, THU 7/26/70), and the 9th of Av would have been a Friday, which contradicts the witness of Seder Olam at this point. If the conjunction is calculated for AD 69, then it is on July 7th, and Av 9 on July 15th, a Sabbath. So the conjunction method does not agree with this year either. Niether does sighting the moon agree with this year. But the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, and Seder Olam agrees only with the visible sighting method using its synchronism, (9 Av = Sunday).

3. The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, 3rd edition, 1986, Feldheim Publishers. One can note from this work that the Rabbinic calendar has 29 days in Elul and that Tishri 1 and Tishri 2 are observed as new moon days. On the other hand, one can observe that in all the cases where the old month is 30 days, then the 30th and 1st are designated new moon feast days. The reason for this is that the the actual new moon sighting in Biblical times could occur either after the 29th day or after the 30th day. To make sure to observe the actual date then two days were observed depending. The days 29, 30, 1 are the same as 29, 1, 2. When the new moon is seen determines if the month will end 30, 1, or 1, 2 being the new moon feast days.

4. The Scroll of Biblical Chronology, 6th edition, Daniel Gregg, pg. 67. Willis Beecher, The Dated Events of the Old Testament figured the date to be 1068 BC in AD 1907. However, our calendar and calculation abilities have increased since then tremendously. Also, Beecher probably did not realize that David received the holy bread on the Sabbath when it was being exchanged for fresh bread as the Hebrew text must be understood. And this was the 4th day of the month. 1 Sam. 20:27 clarifies that the second feast day was the second day of the month. So the old month was 29 days. It took no more than a day to flee to Nob. So David arrived on day 4 of the month. These synchronisms are unique to 1069 BC and the length of David’s life as a fugitive from Saul. Beecher has David crowned king in the year 1063/1062 as I do. In his favor, he put a ? mark beside the 1068 dating.

5. 1 Sam. 20:27, “Then it was in the time after of the new moon, the second day. Then David’s place was given attention....” (וַיְהִי מִמָּחֳרַת הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי וַיִּפָּקֵד מְקוֹם דָּוִד). In this case new moon has to mean when it really occurred, because we see time being measured from it, and the second day is not called the new moon here. It is simply the second day of the feast, which had become optional because the moon had already been seen. So the second day happened to be the second day of the month. If the moon had not been seen at the end of the 29th day, then the first day of the feast would have been the 30th of the old month, and the second day of the feast would have been the first day of the month. But here it is made the second day of the month. This means the moon was seen at the end of the 29th day.