Stewarton Bible School

Part 2 ... File 8 of 10

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Question 8

How does Stewarton Bible School (SBS) set up the calendar?


Stewarton Bible School is based in Scotland and does not have associates in Jerusalem to look out for the new moon every month. The pre-printed calendar we publish is, therefore, based on computer output supplied by Greenwich Observatory in England. We do however allow a period of time, at least 24 hours, for the new moon to be seen before a month can start. The method we use is as follows:

8.1 Conjunction Times
Our first step is to determine the 1st day of each month in the year. We do this by consulting computer-produced Phases of the Moon charts supplied by the Science Research Council, Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmoneux Castle, Hailsham, Sussex, UK. From these charts we find out the date and time of the astronomical new moon, the conjunction. In the calendar chart SBS produces we use the following abbreviations:

8.2 First New Moonrise and Moonset Times
Our next step is to find out the date and the time (in JST) of the first moonrise and moonset at Jerusalem, AFTER the conjunction. This information is also obtainable at a fee from Greenwich Observatory.

8.3 Likely First Sighting
We them endevour to determine when that first new moon is likely to be seen with the naked eye from Jerusalem. The first moonrise at Jerusalem after a conjunction takes place in the morning at about sunrise. However the new moon is not visible to the naked eye on this first morning because it is too young. But is 'likely to be seen' for the first time just after sunset on the evening of the same day - if it is more than 14.5 hours old. If and when the moon is sighted, that evening (at sunset) the new month will begin. Days, as we learned previously, all begin and end at sunset.

If the moon's age is less than 14.5 hours and it is not seen on that first evening, it may be looked for at its second rising on the next morning when it will be over 24 hours old. Concerning morning sightings of the new moon I quote from the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, article Moon, page 407.
"According to the Talmud, the Sanhedrin assembled seven times a year early in the morning of the 30th day of the month. Watchman were stationed on the heights about Jerusalem to watch for the new moon and report it as soon as seen. When the evidence of its appearance was deemed sufficient, the Sanhedrin pronounced the word 'McKuddash' (consecrated) and the day became the first of the new month, leaving 29 days for the preceding month. If fogs or clouds prevented the moon from being discerned, the day was reckoned as the 30th."

8.4 The Beginnings of Months
After allowing at least 24 hours for an evening or morning first sighting of the new moon, we then make a list of the new moonrise/moonset times and the starting dates of several months. See Appendix A

8.5 New Years Day
From this list of starting dates, New Year's day (1st Abib) is selected. See our answer to Question 2 as to how we decide on Abib's new moon.

8.6 Blank Calendar Chart
Then on a blank calendar chart (See Appendix B) we enter the 1st day of each of the 12 months: making sure that all dates match the correct days of the week. For example in 1994 the 1st Abib was 14th March. This happened to be a Monday; so in 1994 Abib began with a Monday. The 1st day of Zif (the second month) was Tuesday 12/4/94. This left Abib with 29 days. Had the 1st Zif been a Wednesday, Abib would have had 30 days. This process is continued till all 12 months are completed. Some months will have 29 days and others 30. Sacred calendar months cannot have 28 or 31 days.

8.7 Determining The Feast Days.
Once the blank calendar chart is filled in for the whole year, we then count to the Almighty's Feast and Fast days as follows:

1) The Passover Service (communion) is held in the evening which begins the week of Unleavened Bread. This week is often referred to as the Passover week.
2) If the 50 day count to Pentecost is made from the 'morrow after' the weekly Sabbath, then Pentecost will always fall on a Sunday.

Yahweh's Feasts are sacred days on which no work should be done. They are eternal memorials of man's salvation which is made possible by Yeshua's sacrifice on Calvary. Failure to observe the Almighty's festivals is a serious sin. For further information see The Feast Days of the God of Israel.

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Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Updated: August 1998