Herbert W. Armstrong

Passover is on the 14th of the first month, ABIB (Nisan). 
The problem is to figure when is the 1st day of the month Abib.

Because the Catholics and Protestants figure "Easter" a month earlier than the Hebrew calendar sets Passover this year, -- and because Brother Dodd has published the date March 22 as Passover, while both Stanberry and Salem organizations have published the date as April 21st, many of the brethren are in doubt, and want the FACTS.

Briefly, after very exhaustive study, and counsel with brethren who also have made thorough study of the question for years, the facts are these:

1) The Bible YEAR is solar, while the Bible MONTH is lunar.

2) PROOF the Bible month is lunar; that is, each month begins with a new moon: By studying Numbers 28 and 29, we learn offerings were held DAILY (verses 3-4), WEEKLY on every Sabbath (verse 9), MONTHLY on the 1st day of each month (verse 11), and YEARLY on the annual holy days (verse 16 and on through chapter 29). Compare with I Chronicles 23:31; II Chronicles 2:4; 8:13; 31:3; etc., where the same sacrifices and meat and drink offerings are mentioned, and in each case the MONTHLY offerings are on the NEW MOON. Since Numbers 28:11 says this is in the "beginnings of your months," or the first day of each month, we have Bible proof the 1st day of each month is calculated by the New Moon.

3) The Bible YEAR is solar. This is proved by the festivals and holy days. A month is between 29 and 30 days. A 12-month year, or lunar year, is approximately 354 days, whereas a solar year is a little more than 365 days. Thus a lunar year is about 11 days less than a solar year. If the Bible year were lunar, always 12 new moons, Passover would come about 11 days earlier each year. Thus, in about nine years it would come in the MIDWINTER; in another 9 in the FALL, and a few years later Passover would come in the SUMMER. In 34 years it and all the holy days would make the round of all four seasons. But Passover ALWAYS comes in the SPRING, at time of the early grain harvest. On the morrow after the Sabbath during Feast of Unleavened Bread, the priest waved the wave-sheaf, and none of the early Spring grain could be used until this was done, Leviticus 23. Pentecost ALWAYS came in the summer, Tabernacles always in the Fall at time of, or right after, Fall harvest, Leviticus 23:39. These were SET feasts, set for DEFINITE SEASONS of the year, Exodus 23:14-17; 34:18, 22-23; Deuteronomy 16:9, 13, 16; Leviticus 23:4; Numbers 28:2; Exodus 13:10.

4) These facts prove there had to be an intercalary, or 13th, month ADDED to the year SEVEN TIMES in each 19 years. God had set the sun, the earth, and the moon in motion so that once every 19 years the sun and moon come into conjunction. That is, once in 19 years there will be a new moon on March 21st, for example. There are SEVEN more new moons in each 19-year solar-lunar cycle than there are solar months, (12 to the year). Thus God's great time cycle, written in the heavens, is based upon SEVEN -- God's complete number, signifying Sabbath -- added to TWELVE, the number of Tribes of Israel, number of Jesus' original apostles, etc.! Since this is true, the ONLY POSSIBLE METHOD by which months can begin on new moons, and yet the solar year can be retained, is to add a 13th month every two or three years, 7 times in 19 years. Nowhere do the Scriptures specifically mention an intercalary month, yet these facts of astronomy and these Bible facts PROVE it was used.

5) Now, our problem is, WHEN, and HOW OFTEN, did God ordain these intercalary months should be added?

Research reveals two basic points on this question, 1st, GOD DID NOT RECORD IT IN THE BIBLE, which gives us absolutely NOTHING more to go on than I have stated above. 2nd, history is vague on the subject, shedding little light that can be accepted and trusted. Yet we know God gave HIS PEOPLE a fixed rule for calculating TIME PERIODS, and for figuring WHEN to hold the Festivals of Jehovah. Otherwise, the prophecies, so full of definite time periods, can never be understood. Otherwise God's people could not obey Him!

We learn in the Bible the men of old did have understanding of the times. They knew how to figure time. "Of the children of Issachar, which were men that HAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIMES, to know what Israel ought to do," I Chronicles 12:32. See Esther 1:13.

In Daniel 7:25, the "little horn," or papacy, was to "think to change TIMES" as well as laws. Notice, only to THINK to change them -- to deceive the world in general, but not God's people. Thus with the LAW and the Sabbath, the world is deceived. But have WE lost "TIME" in respect to the Sabbath? No! This Scripture, then, indicates TIME HAS NOT BEEN LOST! The true sacred calendar is no more lost than the weekly Sabbath. Then WHO HAS PRESERVED THIS TIME, this sacred CALENDAR? To whom did God give it? To whom were "the oracles of God COMMITTED?" To ISRAEL AND JUDAH, of course! Israel LOST the Sabbath, LOST time, LOST even her national name and identity. But JUDAH NEVER DID. Judah has kept TIME in respect to the weekly SABBATH. The Jews rejected Christ. They apostatized in doctrine, BUT THEY WERE STRICT, STICKLERS FOR THE LETTER. Would such a people have lost their CALENDAR? If so, TIME IS LOST! There is no other source through whom God could have committed AND PRESERVED His calendar. He did COMMIT it to them. Therefore it must be through them He has preserved it! They had the calendar correct at the time of Christ. They figured Passover, all the feasts, as He did. In 70 A.D., the Jews were scattered into every nation. The present "Jewish calendar" has come down intact without change since 100 A.D. -- that much is proved by history. Could they have changed it, and all changed it exactly in the same ways, while scattered all over the world, and that within a thirty-year period between 70 and 100 A.D.? IF THE PRESENT JEWISH CALENDAR EVER WAS CHANGED FROM THE WAY GOD COMMITTED IT TO THEM, IT HAD TO BE DURING THOSE THIRTY YEARS. The Jews in one part of the world, without knowing what the Jews in other parts of the world were doing, all had to get it changed in exactly the same way! That, of course, was utterly IMPOSSIBLE!

Further PROOF comes through the continuous observance of Passover by one Jewish sect, going by the name of "Samaritans."

In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th edition, Vol. 17, page 357, we read:

"The Samaritans have throughout their history observed the Passover with all its Pentateuchal ceremonial and still observe it down to the present day. They sacrifice the paschal lamb, which is probably the oldest religious rite that has been continuously kept up." Here are the ONLY people who have kept Passover, continuously, through all generations without a break, exactly as God gave it to them under the Old Testament form. They have NEVER made any change in their doctrines regarding Passover, or the manner of observing it. Could THEY have lost the calendar -- the way of figuring WHEN to take it -- as God committed it to them? Hardly! Yet they use today the same calendar all the Jews use -- the sacred original Hebrew calendar!

Interesting, too, is the fact they observe Passover on the eve, or night part, of the 14th, not on the 15th. They kill the lamb between sunset and dark, at the very beginning of the 14th. They observe the FEAST the night of the 15th. Also they have continued to figure Pentecost from the morrow after the WEEKLY SABBATH during the days of unleavened bread, the true Bible way -- instead of from the first annual Sabbath.

In conclusion, unless God has preserved His sacred calendar through the Jews, then WE DO NOT KNOW how to figure Passover or ANY of the holy days this year. For there is NO AUTHORITY for any other way.

There is NO BIBLE AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER for figuring the 1st day of the 1st month from the new moon NEAREST the Spring equinox!

As soon as I learned of Brother Dodd's published dates for the festivals this year, I sent him a telegram asking his authority for his dates. He replied that he based his method of figuring on certain statements of profane history found in encyclopedias. He replied, "In some Bible dictionary, or Encyclopedia, or Jewish encyclopedia, I read something like this: The ancient reckoning of Passover was from the actual sight of the New Moon nearest the Vernal Equinox . . .'"

But, we ask, (though Brother Dodd is quoting from memory, and was unable to find the clipping or reference, or state WHERE he had read this), how did the man who wrote that article in the encyclopedia KNOW this was the ancient method of reckoning? Did HE offer proof? The Jews, continuing the observance of all of the seven annual festivals EVERY YEAR continuously, though scattered all over the world, say it was figured anciently as they figure it today, by the Jewish calendar. What more dependable record has come down from Moses' time?

Brother Dodd also cited Josephus, Jewish historian, to indicate that Passover could NEVER be earlier than March 20th, or later than April 19th. Yet in Hastings Bible Dictionary, I find this same Josephus quoted as saying the Vernal equinox (March 21), always occurred IN Nisan, which means the year always began with the new moon PRIOR to March 21st. They quote one more author to this same effect, (Muss-Arnolt, p. 77). Thus one writer says Josephus (Ant. I,x,5) to figure from the new moon PRIOR to March 21st, another uses the same Josephus to prove we ought to take the new moon NEAREST the same date, or about half the time the new moon FOLLOWING March 21st, while in the Britannica I find statements supposed to be historic that it ALWAYS began with the first new moon AFTER March 21st.

Surely we can see that profane history only contradicts itself, is inaccurate, cannot be depended upon, and HAS NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER. There is no Bible authority for any of it.

God did not commit His oracles, or the preservation of His TIMES to profane

history, or to the Roman Catholics, but to the Israelites. And they have been preserved BY THE JEWS.

The Catholics are the ones who have thought to CHANGE the Times. They say the paschal new moon this year is the one BEFORE March 21st, and figure Easter accordingly. The Jews say it is the one AFTER March 21st.

After thorough study of the Bible, of the Hebrew calendar, of history, and every angle -- after going into the matter with all the Eugene brethren, and other brethren who have made a special study of this question, we have unanimously agreed that the Hebrew calendar has been preserved correctly by the Jews.

The new moon occurs, IN JERUSALEM (World Almanac), at exactly 10:18 P.M., the night of April 7th, which is the eve of April 8th. However, God had the new moon observed by the naked eye, and by this method the first day of the 1st month begins the following sunset, April 8th. Thus Passover comes after sunset April 21st, and the HOLY CONVOCATION after sunset April 22nd, which is Abib 15th. The second holy day begins sunset April 28th, with holy convocation held during the daytime, April 29th. Pentecost this year is JUNE 17th, sunset, until sunset June 18th, instead of June 12th [Sivan 6] as erroneously figured on our calendar printed three years ago.

Sacred Calendar, for 1940

PASSOVER, after sunset April 21st.

UNLEAVENED BREAD, April 21 to 29th,

First Sabbath, meeting after sunset

April 22nd; second Sabbath, daytime

April 29th.

PENTECOST, daytime meeting, Tuesday, June 18th [sic., he means Monday June 17th].

TRUMPETS, Sabbath, October 3rd.

ATONEMENT (fast), October 12th.

TABERNACLES, sunset, October 16th to sunset, October 24th.

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