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ANCIENT HEBREW CALENDAR

“Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets. America and Israel have a common love of human freedom, and they have a common faith in democratic way of life.” —Lyndon Johnson

Click the image to read the magazine article.

To better understand the Ancient Hebrew Calendar, please read the magazine article. The magazine article contains far more detail.

Georgia, USA (2022)
Jerusalem, Israel (2022)

Georgia, USA (2021)

Jerusalem, Israel (2021)

The Ancient Hebrew Calendar was a lunisolar calendar that depended on both the moon and the sun to calculate its duration. In ancient times, the duration from one new moon to the next determined the duration of what we now refer to as a month, and they based the duration of the days and years on the cycle of the sun. The time from one sunset to the next sunset was one day, and the time required for the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun was one year. Another way to think of a year is to say that the time from one vernal (Spring) equinox to the next (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45.51 seconds) is a year.

Our calendar uses the Hebrew names and the transliterated English names for the holy/set-apart festival days, the new moons (months), and the days of the week.

The average duration of a new moon cycle is 29.528 days, so a year of 12 lunar moon cycles (months) would be 354.367 days long; and the Hebrew calendar year is a solar year, which is 365.242199 days long. Therefore, the Hebrew calendar year sometimes has an intercalary (extra) new moon cycle depending on when the vernal equinox occurs in relation to the new moon closest to its date.

The Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) and the Shabbat (Sabbath) are closely associated as both are holy, set-apart days unto Yahweh and observing the new moon is as equal in importance as keeping Shabbat.

Ancient Hebrew Calendar vs Modern Jewish Calendar Differences

We consider the date of creation, based on biblical creation timelines, to be 7520 years ago instead of 5781 years ago. There will be a full magazine article to follow that examines the scriptural creation timeline. Suffice it to say that the vast majority of present-day biblical scholars do not believe the 5781-year creation timeline established by Maimonides on March 22, 1178, to be valid.

Our calendar does not include any set-apart/holy days not explicitly ordained as such in the Scriptures like Hanukah or Purim.

We do not refer to the holy day of Yom Teruah as Rosh Hashana (Head of the Year, New Year’s Day). We use the Chodesh Rishon (First New Moon) (1st month) of the year Aviv (the month of Spring) as stated in the Torah and in Exodus 12:1-2 as the Head of the Months (start of the year).
There is no predetermined number of days in each month on the Ancient Hebrew Calendar. The number of days in a month is based on the actual duration from one new moon to the next new moon.

Start Day of the Ancient New Year

The vernal equinox determines the start of the year.  Therefore, the year starts in the Spring not in the Winter like the Gregorian calendar or in the Fall like the present-day Jewish calendar. We use the Spring equinox to start the New Year, the same as the ancient Hebrews, as stipulated in the Torah and the Old Testament Bibles, which tells us that the Pesach (Passover) Festival occurs during the year’s first new moon cycle.

The first new moon is the last new moon before Pesach. New Year’s Day is established by the new moon which occurs closest to the Spring equinox (before or after) when the day and night are of equal length, which ensures the full moon of Passover always occurs after the equinox.

In the Gregorian system, the equinox can occur from March 21-23. The earliest date for the Ancient Hebrew New Year’s Day can be only 14 days before March 21. Thus, the earliest date possible for New Year’s Day is March 8th, and the latest is April 6th. This makes it impossible for Pesach to occur prior to the vernal equinox or later than April 20/21. For example, in Georgia (USA) where I live, the 2021 vernal equinox is on March 20th and the closest new moon to that date is March 13th, making it the 2021 Rosh Chodashim (New Year’s) date.

Chodesh Rishon (First New Moon) has 2 secondary names. It was occasionally referred to as Rosh Chodashim, which literally means “head of all new moons”, which we refer to as New Year’s Day and to Chodesh Aviv, the New Moon of Spring.

The Scriptural Creation Timeline

There is no real consensus amongst biblical scholars on the correct calculation of the start of Creation date. Innumerable scholars have attempted to calculate the date of Creation. 

My research indicates that the work of Sextus Julius Africanus is the most accurate. We have a magazine article forthcoming pertaining to the Creation timeline that will expound upon the reasons his scriptural based chronology is accurate. To summarize, the Creation timeline proliferated by Sextus Julius Africanus 2000 years ago is a 100% match with the calculations of most present-day bible scholars’ who use the Septuagint LXX to calculate the timeline. 

Ancient Hebrew Calendar Year Determination

Adding 5499 to the Gregorian calendar year number if the date is before the Rosh Chodashim (Ancient Hebrew New Year’s) date or 5500 if it is after yields the current Hebrew year number.

Rosh Chodesh (New Months)/(Months)

The word used for new moon in Hebrew is “rosh chodesh”, which literally means “beginning, head, or renewal” of the moon and thus the beginning or head of the month. It’s a time of spiritual renewal. It is the name for the first day of every new moon in the Hebrew calendar.  A new moon is the first lunar phase when the Moon and Sun have the same ecliptic longitude, therefore the lunar disk is not detectable to the naked eye during this phase, except during a solar eclipse

The new moons are named by their numeric place on the calendar. For example, the Chodesh Rishon (First New Moon), Chodesh Sheni (Second New Moon), and so on. The First New Moon is the new moon of the Exodus from Mitsrayim (Egypt). Therefore, whenever an individual mentions the number of another new moon, they are in effect recalling the Exodus from Mitsrayim: we are in, say, the Fifth New Moon, that is to recollect that there were five new moons since the time of the Exodus. Thus, the numeric naming is a continual reminder of the Hebrew’s emancipation from slavery in Mitsrayim.

Ancient Hebrew Days of the Week

The ancient Hebrew’s day (yom) was based on the local time of sunset, and a day went from sunset to sunset and didn’t have a fixed duration.

If you’re doing something on a Gregorian calendar day at a time after sunset, you’d be on the next day of the Hebrew calendar.

Scripturally Ordained Holy/Set-Apart Days

Chag Matzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread) along with Chag Pesach (Passover Festival) commemorates the Exodus from Mitsrayin (Egypt), but they are also a celebration of the beginning of the barley harvest. Chag Shavuot (Festival of Weeks) is a jubilee of the wheat harvest. Yom Kippur is a national day of atonement as described in great detail in Leviticus 16, and Yom Teruah is a day to sing and rejoice. Chag Sukkot (Festival of Booths) memorializes the wandering of the Israelites in the desert and Chag Asif (Festival of Ingathering) celebrates the final gathering of the years agricultural produce.

On three of the set-apart days, the Hebrew men were directed to sojourn in order to congregate with their fellow believers. These Festivals recognize the four seasons of the year, four moments of history, four stages of human life and the four states of human consciousness.