- How to Calculate the Feast Days
- By Jerry Gentry
The Creator has given his children an order for all of time, through his divinely ordained heavenly clock and calendar. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." (Gen. 1:14). In this brief Bible verse, we find the foundation of a Biblical calendar. We must administer and apply the principles of that heavenly calendar in order to find the correct times for celebrating the various "feasts of the LORD," found in Leviticus 23 and elsewhere.
The four seasons proceed from spring through summer then fall and finally winter, after which the cycle repeats. The seasons are defined by the rotation and axis of the earth in relation to the sun. Spring always begins on March 20, when the day and night are equal. This is called the "equinox." However, the Biblical year nearly always begins on a slightly different date. It is important that we find the correct beginning point of the Biblical year. Nowhere does the Bible say that the spring equinox is the beginning of the year.Rather, we read clearly that "This month [Abib, meaning "green ears"] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you (Exod. 12:2). From this verse and others, we learn that the Biblical year begins with the beginning of a particular month called Abib, also referred to as Nisan. The beginning of every month is always called the new moon in the Bible. There are new moon feasts in the Bible intended to call our attention to the beginnings of each month and the role of months in God's plan throughout salvaton history.
We know from astronomy that the spring equinox falls around March 20 without exception. How then do we calculate the first day of the Biblical year? We must use the principle that the Biblical year ends as spring arrives. We must find the first new moon after spring has arrived (March 20, the equinox) and find the beginning of the year. Astronomy and the Bible prevents us from beginning the new year on any other new moon. Therefore if a new moon falls before the spring equinox, that month is not Abib. That month must be ascribed to the old year. The new year always begins on the first new moon following the spring equinox. This bedrock truth agrees with both astronomy and the Bible, and stands in opposition to certain church traditions.
In church history, there was a great controversy concerning when to celebrate "Easter." The state church ultimately determined through Roman and Alexandrian influence to celebrate easter on the first Sunday following the first FULL moon after the spring equinox. This is known as the "quartodecimen controversy," which raged during the first few centuries of the church. Polycarp and Polycrates of Syria argued in favor of keeping Passover, in opposition to the Easter celebrations of Rome and Alexandria. The bottom line is that Biblicists have always followed the Bible feast days and the heavenly calendar, while those who would apostacize have followed the timing of the Easter found in Mithraism. These are well known facts of church history.
Today, we are challenged to find and comemmorate the corect Bible feast days. If we follow Rome's methods for calculating Easter, and if we then apply those methods to find Passover, we are clearly wrong. Easter is not a Bible feast day and Rome has always followed traditions of men over scripture. We must find our basis for the timing of our Bible Feast Days in the Bible alone, and use church history for confirmation but not for our rules.
When we apply the careful application of Bible principles, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread 2002 fall well after Easter. The first day of Abib cannot in any year fall in winter, before the equinox, at a time when "green ears" have not yet developed in the fields at the latitude of Jerusalem. Therefore the first day of Abib falls on April 14, 2002, on the first new moon following the spring equinox.
And more specifically, "In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORDS passover (Lev. 23:5). The fourteenth day of Abib, 2002, falls on April 26. Proceeding further "And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread (Lev. 23:6). Abib 15 is always the full moon and always marks the first day in the Bible celebration known as the "Feast of Unleaven Bread." The fifteenth day is always the full moon, the precise middle of the month. Repeatedly we are told to mark the Bible Feast days from "the fifteenth day of the month." (Lev. 23:6; Lev. 23:39; Num. 28:17; Num. 29:12). This "fifteenth day" is always the astronomical full moon, the most visible and discernable phase of the moon. The full moon always rises at sunset without exception. The full moon always transcribes the night sky from sunset to sunrise. On a clear night the full moon provides enough light to read a newspaper! It is the full moon each month that provides us the precise time of the middle day (15th) of each month and forms the bedrock points on the Biblical calendar. This provides the keeper of Biblical Feast days a far more accurate calendar than other methods, which can be rejected because of inaccuracies. Any calendar purporting to be Biblical wherein the fifteenth day of the Biblical months falls on days other than the full moon are less than accurate.
This brief exposition is intended to give you a solid Biblical basis for keeping "the Feasts of the LORD" (Lev. 23) with accuracy and consistency to the whole Bible. These principles will conflict with other groups and methods, who have tended to follow the traditions of men, rather than the inerrent words of God and His divinely appointed heavenly calendar, which is based on solid scripture. " "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." (Gen. 1:14).