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Jewish Calendar Sacred and Civil Years includes the Star of David and Feast Table. Jewish Calendar fundamental concepts highlight other lunar/solar calendars. The 19-year lunar/solar Metonic cycle adds a final Veadar lunar month, or Second Adar, to intercalate some 209-days of lunar/solar separation time. Dating from 3,761 BCE, the Jewish year calculates to be one of six different lengths of days. Sacred years have a different meaning from Mesoamerican 260-day sacred years.

Jewish Calendar Sacred and Civil Years

The Jewish calendar is the most widely known lunar/solar calendar still in continuous use in our modern times. The Jewish Calendar applies the oldest calendar mechanics in existence. The present Jewish Calendar consists of two basic types of years, the sacred and the civil year. The sacred year comes from original directives given to Moses and is the official calendar year of the religious festivals. The national calendar at the time of Moses began in the spring or the month of Abib. The Star of David or Shield of David is an accepted symbol that recognizes Jewish character. National use of the Magen David sign reflects the supposition that it once adorned the Shield of David (figure 1). The symbol appears on the state flag for the nation of Israel. Some think the intertwined equilateral triangles have deeper theological meaning. Jewish synagogues have used the symbol to identify them as houses of worship.

Star of David  Figure 1

Old Testament scriptures in the left column of figure 2 specifically reference Hebrew months. The civil year is the later instituted version of the Jewish calendar. Both types of years contain twelve lunar months for 354-and-one-quarter days until the Jewish leap year adds a thirteenth "Veadar" intercalary month. There are seven leap years in every 19-year cycle. The focus of the Jewish calendar rests with the 19-year Metonic cycle. Developed in 432 B.C. and named after Athenian astronomer Meton, seven-extra-months are spread over 19-years. Approximately 209-days of lunar/solar separation time accumulate through close observation of the moon, sun and stars during the 19-year lunar/solar cycle. These extra 209-days divide into seven-intercalary-months to reinforce the sacred seven-day week and they usually alternate between 29-days and 30-days each in the Jewish calendar.

One extra Veadar month inserts seven different times during 19-years. The Veadar intercalary month is included seven different times and every two or three years within the 19-year lunar/solar Metonic cycle of the Jewish calendar. The intercalary month of Veadar, also called Second Adar, adds between the months of Adar and Nisan. Adar is the sixth month of the civil year and the twelfth month of the sacred ecclesiastic year in the Jewish calendar. Second Adar (Adar II) adds to the end of the 12-lunar-month year. Every two or three years, the Jewish calendar has 13-lunar-months. The Jewish Calendar year has six possible lengths. The 12-month lunar year is called a common year with 353-days, 354-days or 355-days. The Jewish calendar Veadar Year (Jewish Leap Year) adds one-lunar-month. Jewish leap years have 383, 384 or 385-days that furnish 13-months. Adjustment of the Jewish leap year within the 19-year Metonic cycle becomes complex. Seven times in a 19-year Metonic cycle result in the required 209-days of lunar/solar separation time.

The Bible imparts the calendar's lengthy development in a kind of diary fashion for the Jewish people. Adjustments to Rosh Hashanah and the resultant celebrations of the sacred festival year influence modern study of New Testament events. Perhaps the most well known tie between contemporary Christianity and use of the Jewish calendar is the Passover Sabbath. In celebration of the Exodus from Egypt (circa 1,250 B.C.E.), the Jewish Rosh Hashanah precedes the sacred Passover festival in the month of Abib (Exodus 13:4). To obey the will of God, the Passover commemoration must be recognized every year forever (Exodus 12:14-15).

The sacred feast and festival calendar year has origins dating from the Exodus. Leviticus 23 details when and how to observe the Day of Atonement, Passover, and the Feast of Weeks or Shavu’ot. Today, Judaism observes these celebrations the world over. Placement within the Jewish Calendar year held significance for the Holy Convocations. Feasts and festivals have served to sustain Jewish culture.

Holy Bible Jewish Sacred Festival Calendar  Figure 2
Holy Bible Jewish Sacred Festival Calendar  Figure 2

The Jubilee year is the Sabbatic Year that follows seven successive Sabbatic years (Leviticus 25:8-54). The numerical matching of seven days to seven years was elementary to counting the 50-year Jubilee cycle. After six years, the seventh year was a Sabbatic year. Groups of 7-year-weeks were often used to describe ancient Jewish time. Seven multiples of seven years are 49 years that result in a 50-year Jubilee cycle. Culminating the fiftieth year of the l/s calendar as a Sabbatic year included Hebrew custom. The Jubilee year gave rest to the soil, reverted landed property back to original owners and freed Israelites that were formerly slaves. Traditions reinforce the appointed feasts of HaShem.

The Passover Sabbath begins a 50-day countdown to the feast of first fruits or feast of weeks. Seven multiples of a Sabbath was either 49-days or 49-years. The feast of weeks closes the harvest with Shav’ot by usually celebrating a two-day festival on the 6th and 7th of Sivan. Christians assign Pentecost to be 50-days after Nisan 16, or the second day following Passover Sabbath. For many, the giving of the Law to Israel is synonymous with the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. Lunar/solar origins of the Jewish calendar combine with threads from other agricultural calendars. Observance kept the Jewish lunar/solar calendar on track year after year.

Dating from 3,761 BCE, the Jewish year calculates to be one of six different lengths of days. Intercalary months add with 354-days or 355-days to give 383, 384 or 385-days in the Jewish leap year (Eqn. 4a-d). Precise calculations of Jewish calendar science are elaborate. Other cultures worldwide, such as the ancient Greek, Chinese, Babylonian and Mesoamerican of Central and South America all used similar methods of lunar/solar observation and intercalation.

Equation 1. a-d.

a.   29 Days per Jewish Veadar Intercalary Month
+ 354 Days per Jewish Lunar Year
= 383 Days per Jewish calendar Leap Year

b.   29 Days per Jewish Veadar Intercalary Month
+ 355 Days per Jewish Lunar Year
= 384 Days per Jewish calendar Leap Year

c.   30 Days per Jewish Veadar Intercalary Month
+ 354 Days per Jewish Lunar Year
= 384 Days per Jewish calendar Leap Year

d.   30 Days per Jewish Veadar Intercalary Month
+ 355 Days per Jewish Lunar Year
= 385 Days per Jewish calendar Leap Year

Passover symbolizes deliverance and remembrance of the departure from Egypt. The fourteenth day of Nisan - Abib begins the Lord's Passover. A seven day holiday commences on the next day. Also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, God is thanked for the gift of freedom (Exodus 12:17-20). Seven days of celebration are the Jewish week of Hag Hamatzot . The first day, or the second evening of the festival week of unleavened bread starts a forty-nine day countdown that includes the 29 day month of Ivar, or Zif, and asserts true principles found in the calendar of Moses.

Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is now celebrated to begin the month of Tishri, on the first and second days outside Israel. All religious holidays begin slightly before sunset of the daytime prior to the holiday, and continue until the sunset ending of the Holy Day. Tishri corresponds to the September - early October time frame in the common calendar. The last month of the old year is a time of preparation known as the High Holidays. This month is a period of penitence through known guilts toward the family of God. God stands in judgement, presiding over the transgressions by mankind. Judaism perceives the New Year as the anniversary of Creation.

Rosh Hashanah was formerly held during the spring at the start of the month Nisan, or Abib. English varies the spelling as Aviv in some cases. Sometimes written as Nisan - Abib, this month corresponds to the present months of March and April. Nisan - Abib is the seventh month of the modern Jewish civil year. Rosh, means in Hebrew: head of, and Hashanah means: New Year. In celebration of the Exodus from Egypt (circa 1,250 BCE), the Jewish Rosh Hashanah precedes the sacred Passover festival in the month of Abib (Exodus 13:4). To obey the will of God, the passover commemoration must be recognized every year forever (Exodus 12:14-15).

Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement
The Jewish day of Atonement was ordained by God to be used in the lunar calendar of Moses. Also called Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is the most solemn of Jewish fast days. Yom means in Hebrew: Day, and Kippur: of Atonement. The Day of Atonement sets aside a major holiday to acknowledge the sins of mankind to God. Atonement implies sincere repayment for wrongdoing. Neither repentance, nor forgiveness is an issue. Rather, the occasion requires fasting from just before sunset, until twilight of the next holiday. The purpose is spiritual renovation, by avoiding the demands of the physical body through deprivation. Afflicting the soul concentrates on the spiritual, God determined qualities in place of humanistic needs. The calendar passed to Moses specifies the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 23:24
"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month,
shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation."

Feast of Tabernacles
The fifteenth day of the month celebrates the festival called Sukkoth. Seven days commemorate the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the desert following the Exodus from Egypt. A second harvest season that began with Shavu'ot is usually ended on the 191st day of the 354 day lunar length of year at the time of Sukkoth. The Feast of Booths, or Feast of Tabernacles, is sometimes called the Festival of Ingathering to signify the second harvest is over. The temporal nature of life gives reason to erect temporary shelters, wherein eating at least one meal per day in the Sukkah honors God's provisions. The Sukkoth is a seven day period, and ends on the 198th day of the lunar year. Seven days follow the anniversary interval to end the month of Tishri on the 205th day of the year. The 30 day month of Heshvan, or Bul, plus 24 days follow to reach the next holiday period on the 259th day. Kislev follows Heshvan to be the third month of the civil year, and the ninth month of the sacred year. Dual naming for the months shows Babylonian influence.

The 25th day of the month of Kislev begins the 8 day festival of Hanukkah. The reign of the Greek-Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, forbade regular worship by Jewish people. They were not permitted to read the Torah, and were ordered to sacrifice unclean animals. Only the worship of the Greek gods was allowed in the Kingdom. The Maccabees (Hasmonean family) revolted against these decrees. They sought refuge in the mountains, and waged armed resistance for the freedom to worship as they chose. The Maccabees regained control of the Temple and rededicated it in 165 BCE after more than three years of conflict according to tradition. Only enough undefiled oil was found to light the eternal Temple Menorah for one day. A single cruse of oil burned the seven candles in the Temple Menorah candelabra miraculously for eight days. More ritually pure oil had been prepared during this period to continue the Menorah. Hanukkah remembers the dedication of the Temple after rebellion of the Maccabees.

A candle is lit in the special Hanukkah Menorah that has nine candles on the first night of the festival. The Shamash candle is lit without a blessing, and is used to kindle the next candle on the first night. An additional candle is lit along with candles from the proceeding evenings on each of the following nights. The last evening of the festival lights the eighth candle, representing the total days that the Temple Menorah continued to burn. Since Kislev can have either 29 or 30 days, Hanukkah ends on the 266th day, or the 267th day of the Jewish lunar year, or the 3rd or 4th day of the month of Tebeth. Another 26 days in the month of Tebeth, plus the 30 day month of Shebat, add for the 322nd or 323rd day at the end of Shebat. Although the winter solstice is coincidental near the same time of year there is no bearing on the Feast of Dedication for the Temple.

The legend of Hanukkah also includes the story of a Jewish widow in Antioch. Her name was Hannah, from which the festival name was derived. Hannah and her seven sons refused to worship the Greek god, Zeus. The mother disobeyed the king by dissenting, and her sons were executed. Finally, Hannah clung to the baby that was left. Choosing death before a life of dishonor to God, she jumped from the roof of a building, holding her child beneath. Possibly, these eight martyrs aided introduction of the eight day festival. Although gift giving is a common practice during the Hanukkah period, these gifts relate to the Purim festival custom of giving presents to everyone, including children. Observing Hanukkah continues Jewish lore and should not be confused with the Christian Christmas holiday. Hanukkah represents victory over the strife of persecution.

Fifty days after the passover anniversary celebrating the night of the Exodus is the festival of spring. Known as the springtime feast holiday Shavu'ot, the festival occurs during the Jewish month of Sivan (Esther 8:9). English translation adapts the word sometimes to Shav'ot, Sabbouth, or Shabout. Sivan is the third month of the sacred festival year, and the ninth month of the civil calendar year. Sivan corresponds to the May - June period of the western calendar year. The sixth of Sivan honors Shavu'ot for a single day only in Israel. Due to calendar definitions, the day is remembered on the sixth and seventh days of the Sivan month elsewhere. The 50-day lapse between the two festivals represents the complete 50-year lunar calendar of Moses. God ordained Shavu'ot to celebrate the revelation at Mt. Sinai. This holiday marks the anniversary of giving God's teachings to Moses. God gave the Hebrews the first Five Books of Moses, which are called the Torah in Judaism, or the Pentateuch by Greek terminology. Shavu'ot emphasizes the Torah with the use of dairy products.

Another reason is evident for keeping this Feast of First Fruits (Numbers 28:26). The early agricultural society ended the waiting period for the harvest. Most likely predating the Exodus, Counting the Sheaves for fifty days culminated with the first fruits of spring. Farmers brought the first fruits of the land to the Temple. Rejoicing in the bounty of the grain harvest marked the end of the fifty day interval. A new harvest season was begun on the 65th day of the lunar calendar year. Decorating with flowers, green plants, fruits, and vegetables are part of the tradition for the spring season. Avoiding meat and the use of leather goods reminds Jewish people to preserve living things during Shavu'ot. With the destruction of the second Temple in 70 BCE, the agricultural ritual of the first fruits could no longer be observed. The encounter at Mt. Sinai became the focus of the festival. Jewish_Calendar_Sacred_and_Civil_Years highlights fundamental concepts involving the Jewish Calendar.  The 19-year lunar/solar Metonic cycle adds a final Veadar lunar month or Second Adar, to intercalate some 209-days of lunar/solar separation time.  Dating from 3,761 B.C.E., the Jewish year calculates to be one of six different lengths of days. One of our more popular articles. 245 kb
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Seven weeks of seven days determines the name Feast of Weeks for same festival and the transition day from the sixth to the seventh day in the month of Sivan. Counting seven weeks for forty-nine more days, and the transition day from the sixth to the seventh day in the month of Sivan, are symbolic of the complete 50-year Jubilee cycle. The fiftieth Jubilee year capped the lunar calendar of Moses. To maintain the covenant, for six years the land was to be worked (Leviticus 25:3). Reminiscent of the seven day week, the fields were allowed to lay fallow in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:4f). Seven Sabbaths of years, or seven times seven years, counts forty-nine years. The Day of Atonement, or the tenth day of the seventh month in the forty-ninth year, was meant to declare onset of the fiftieth year. The fiftieth year was deemed sacred. The Jubilee Cycle terminated with the hallowed year of letting the land lie fallow again. Possessions were to be returned during the Jubilee year. Oppression toward one another was forbidden and liberty was proclaimed throughout the land for all inhabitants. The Jubilee year was the 50-year climax of the calendar and social rules for ancient Jewry.

Are you a pastor, educator or a student of the Holy Bible? seeks anointed people to review and contribute to the Ages_of_Adam ministry.  Ancient lunar/solar calendars like the Jewish and Mayan calendars provide the background to understanding early time.  Ancient calendars of the Holy Bible use differences between the moon and sun, numerical matching and a 364-day calendar year to describe X-number of days that match with X-number of years.  Ages_of_Adam is a free read at timeemits.

tags Jewish, Veadar, Second Adar, Moses, feast, festival, Old Testament, Atonement, Passover, Feast of Weeks, Jubilee, Exodus, Leviticus, timeemits

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