Confused over calendar dates in the Scriptures?

Today, most Western nations use the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar calendar, or the position of the sun among the constellations. It is called the Gregorian calendar because it was established in 1582 by Pope Gregory VIII, the head of the Catholic Church.

The Hebrew calendar, on the other hand, is based on both solar and lunar movements and is called a lunisolar calendar. Since the Hebrew day begins and ends at sunset, a new day begins at sundown on the first Gregorian Calendar day and ends at sundown on the evening of the second Gregorian calendar day. This custom comes from the story of creation in Genesis 1. The book repeats the phrase: "And there was evening, and there was morning." Because Genesis first mentions evening, then morning, Hebrews view their days as starting at night, followed by the morning and afternoon and ending on the start of the next night.

The New Year of the Hebrew calendar also differs from when Western countries who States observe the start of another year as 1 January. Rather than starting on 1 January, the Hebrew New Year begins on Rosh Hashanah, which typically takes place in September or October.

The Hebrews have been using a lunisolar calendar since the time they left Egypt. The first command the Jewish people received after leaving Egypt was to determine the new moon (Exodus 12:1-2), and after that, the Hebrews also received the command to make sure that Passover falls in the spring which starts the three spring Feasts.

The 1st day of the first month (in Hebrew Abib/Nisan) was the first day of the Hebrew religious year. It would begin at the new moon of our March/April and coincides with the latter rains (Joel 2:23). Each Hebrew month began with a new moon. (Num 10:10, 28:11, 1 Sam 20:5, Psa 81:3, Isa 66:23, Ezek 46:3, Amos 8:5, Col. 2:16.) The 1st day of Tishri, in the Fall, customarily begins the new civil year.

When comparing the Hebrew calendar to the Gregorian calendar, Hebrew calendar days fall on different Gregorian calendar days. This is because the Hebrew calendar month was one lunar cycle which is approx. 27.3 days long (27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes). That means that the Feast days in the Scriptures, although they were celebrated on the same day number of the same month, they could not possible fall on the same day of the week each year, as weeks are 7 days long and 27.3 is not exactly divided by 7. There is no such thing as good Friday and e-a-s-t-e-r Monday in the Scriptures. We should be following the Spring Feasts.

Also, 12 lunar cycles add to approx. 354 days, and not the 365 days that an actual solar year takes. The error in the count of days/year is cumulative, so seven times in each cycle of 19 years the Hebrew calendar adds an extra lunar month to make the lunar year equal to the solar year on average. A month is added with years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 of the cycle, this is a frequency of every 2 to 3 years.

The seven-day week is used to determine the day of the Sabbath, the day of rest which is the fourth Commandment. The fourth Commandment tells us we must remember the last day of the week as the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). The week does not depend on the solar year or lunar month, it is a count of seven days that goes all the way back to creation.

To add to to confusion, there are three calendars in use. We need to be clear when reading Scripture which of these calendars is being referred to, and what calendar we ourselves are reading about. The calendars are as follows

  • First, the Creation calendar. This calendar defines

    • the commencement of a day at evening, thus Sunday night precedes Sunday light. (Genesis 1), and

    • the commencement of a month with the lunar conjunction of a new moon. (Numbers 28:14; 1 Samuel 20; Isaiah 66:23)

A lunar conjunction is the event when the earth, moon and sun, in that order, are approximately in a straight line. It is sometimes referred to as the new moon. In Judaism, the new moon is the first day of a Lunar month, which some reckonings determine by the timing of the conjunction, or by sighting the first visible crescent of the moon. The period of time between two lunar conjunctions is the synodic month, which is a basic unit in most lunar (such as the Islamic) and lunisolar (such as the Hebrew) calendars.

  • Second, the ancient Babylonian calendar. This calendar was later adopted by the Jews and defines

    • the commencement of a day at evening, thus Sunday night precedes Sunday light. (Genesis 1), and

    • the commencement of a month with sighting the first crescent of a new moon.

Jewish leaders, insisted on using the Babylonian method for determining the first day of each month. The High Priest waited until the first crescent of the new moon was sighted before declaring the commencement of Nisan 1. This was some 16 to 40 hours after the actual lunar conjunction that the Hebrews were told to use in the Scriptures. So the Babylonian calendar was effectively a day or so later than the Creation calendar.

  • Third, the Roman calendar. This calendar defines the commencement of a day at midnight, the result is that Wednesday night and Thursday morning share the same darkness but midnight splits the night into two dates. The Roman calendar has different month lengths, different names, and a different start of a new year to what the Creation and Babylonian calendars have.

 

Were there 2 Passovers just prior to the Messiahs crucifixion

There were always a few things that I had wondered about in the Scriptures with regard to the Messiahs crucifixion as set out oin the Gospels, and the dates of the Feasts. How did the Messiah have Passover supper with his disciples on the 7th of Nisan yet the priests were having Passover supper a day later?

 

Luke 22:15 records that the Messiah had Passover supper with his disciples. But John 18:28 records that the Priests would not enter Pilates judgement hall as they would be defiled and not be able to partake of the Feast that night. So the Messiah observed the Passover supper at the commencement of Nisan 14 in accordance with the Scriptures just before he was arrswsted, but the priests would then have been observing Passover supper on Nisan 15? So what was the second Feast that the Priests were keeping or were there two Passovers supper observances?

Matthew 26”:19 And the disciples did as Yahusha had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

Luke 22:15 And He said to them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering,

John 18:28 Then led they Yahusha from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

How did the Priests intend to celebrate the Passover on the 15th of Nisan when the Messiah had Passover supper on the 14th of Nisan at night, prior to the day period of 14 Nisan when he was crucified? At first I though that the Gospels did not align, but as my understanding has grown I can see that it is my understanding and knowledge that was the issue. All Scripture aligns.

 

​The answer is simple, there were there two Passovers dates due to the time period difference between the Creation calendar and the Babylonian calendar discussed above. Passover in the Creation calendar is 14 days from a  lunar conjunction. After the Babylonian exile, the Jews were divided on the date of the observance of Passover. Some Hebrews including the Messiah followed the Creation calendar specified by the Father where Nisan 1 began on the day of a lunar conjunction. Other Jews including the high priests used the Babylonian calendar where Nisan 1 lagged effectively a day behind the Creation calendar.

Constantine contemptuously referred to the practice of the Hebrews observing two Passovers in a year as evidence that one should not trust their calculations for determining the arrival of e-a-s-t-e-r. He wrote, "They [the Jews] do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for in their blindness and repugnance to all improvement, they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. (Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib iii., 18-20)

 

The celebration of two Passovers on two different days in Israel was not uncommon. In fact, the national Passover usually occurred two days later than the Passover observed by conservative Jews.

So the Messiah followed the Creation calendar for determining the date of Passover whereas the high priests used the Babylonian Calendar to determine the date for Passover giving the one day difference noted between Luke 22:15 and John 18:28 and the Gospel accounts aligns.