JEWISH POSTPONEMENT RULES DELAY THE LORD'S FEAST DATES

This year, 2011, the seventh dark new moon date, August 28, appointed the Feast of Trumpets to occur on the first day of the week, Sunday. Fifteen days later, that made the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles to occur on Sunday (Sept. 11) after the weekly Sabbath. Also the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles occurred on the weekly Sabbath (Sept. 17). The Last Great Day was on the following day, Sunday (Sept. 18). These back-to-back Sabbaths would not occur if we were following the Jewish Traditional Calendar, because their postponement rules do not allow it.

The following postponement (Dehioth) rules of the Jewish Traditional Calendar state the postponement rules that were used to calculate their seventh month new moon dates; which were used by the former Worldwide Church of God to calculate all their feast dates. (Note: For a complete list of the postponement rules read the two "Readme" pages Copyrightę Ambassador College, 1988-1989.)

(Note: Before we start reading the postponement rules, there are two terms we need to understand. The Molad is the appointed time that the new moon appoints [Psalms 104:19]. A common (non leap) year is a year that has 12 lunar months.)

Because these following rules apply today in the Jewish Traditional Calendar, I will now start quoting:
"POSTPONEMENT RULES USED: On or after 1443BC: (Apply only 1 rule)

1. If the Molad is on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, Trumpets is postponed until the following day.

2. If the Molad occurs at or after noon, Trumpets is postponed until the following day. If that causes Trumpets to fall on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, Trumpets is postponed an additional day (2 days total).

3. If the Molad of a common (non leap) year is on Tuesday at or after 3 hrs 204 parts, Trumpets is postponed until the following Thursday (2 days total).

4. If the Molad of a common (non leap) year which immediately follows an intercalary (leap) year is Monday at or after 9 hours 589 parts, Trumpet is postponed until the following day." Unquote.

The Jewish intercalary tradition also inserts a 13th month to the year 7 times in what they call an intercalary (leap) year cycle of 19 years. Let's look at the Merriam Webster's Deluxe Dictionary definition of the word intercalary. 1 a: inserted in a calendar (an intercalary day) b of a year: containing an intercalary period (as a day or month).

From the Ambassador College "Readme" page. Quoting: "Prior to 257AD we use the leap year cycle, 2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 18. After 256AD we use the leap year cycle 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, 19." Unquote.

After 256AD they insert a 13th month in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 16, and 19 of the 19 leap year cycle. This is the reason in some years their feast calendar dates can be a month later in the years when the sun and moon did not divided a 13th dark new moon or month in the year.

The Jewish seventh month new moon date is declared after using one of their traditional postponement rules to prevent the first day of the seventh month, the Lord's Feast of Trumpets, from occurring on (day 1) Sunday, (day 4) Wednesday or (day 6) Friday. (Note: The month Ethanim is the seventh month of the Hebrew year (1 Kings 8:2); Tishri is the Babylonian name that was used after their captivity.)

Depending on the postponement rule used, the new moon date can be delayed one or two days if it causes the feast of Trumpets to occur on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday. These Jewish postponement rules can delay the beginning of the seventh month by 2 days total.

If Ethanim 1, the first day of the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets is on Wednesday, the Day of Atonement (ten days later) will occur on Friday, which their postponement tradition does not allow. The purpose of these rules is to prevent the annual feast day, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur, Ethanim 10, the 10th day of the 7th month) from occurring before or after the weekly Sabbath. This means the Day of Atonement shall not occur on a Friday or Sunday. And if Ethanim 1 is on Friday then the Day of Atonement will occur on a Sunday, which their postponement rules do not allow. (Note: These rules do prevent back-to-back Sabbaths in the seventh month. Yet there is no problem with back-to-back Sabbaths at the Feast of Weeks also called Pentecost in the New Testament, which occurs on Sunday.)

Evidently these postponement rules were instituted by Jewish Rabbi's so the Jewish people would not be inconvenienced by not having a preparation day to prepare food between these two days when back-to-back Sabbaths occur in the seventh month. This was not a problem with the Lord. Notice what the Lord instructed Moses and Aaron in Exodus 12:15-16. 15 "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save (#389, surely, only) that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you." By this example of holy convocations on the annual Sabbaths, the Lord indicates that work preparing food to eat is permitted.

These Jewish postponement rules also prevents the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles from occurring on the weekly Sabbath so they can observe their traditional rite called the Waving of the Willows (Hoshana Rabbah, Ethanim 21). On the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, they march seven circuits around the pedestal where the Torah scroll is placed during Torah readings in the synagogue. As they march, they shout great praises (hoshanahs) to God as they beat willow branches upon the floor. To them, this is work and should the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles fall upon the weekly Sabbath, they feel they cannot carry out those marches. To achieve this, the seventh month (Ethanim 1) is not allowed to begin on a Sunday; for if it did then Ethanim 21 would fall on the weekly Sabbath, which their tradition does not allow. So in those years when the Waving of the Willows (Hoshanah Rabbah) rite falls upon the weekly Sabbath they postpone (delay) God's annual Sabbath dates so Hoshanah Rabbah will not fall upon the weekly Sabbath. This results in delaying the new moon dates that determine the yearly feasts of the Lord in those years for no other reason than to be able to carry out these non-Biblical rituals. In doing so, they make their traditional rituals to be more important than the Lord's feasts in Leviticus, chapter 23. These Jewish postponement rules are not found in the Bible (KJV).
When Jesus was questioned by the scribes and Pharisees about his disciples not observing the Jew's traditions, Jesus called them hypocrites and said in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7. "But in vain (Strong's #3155, folly, to no purpose) they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." In Mark 7: 9 & 13, notice what Jesus stated to the Pharisees. 9 "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Note: In addition to the 10 commandments that God wrote on two tables of stone and gave Moses to teach Israel, 603 Jewish traditions, the commandments of men, when written down, formed the Mishnah and became the first part of the Talmud - the Jewish oral law, traditions, interpretation and expansion of the Jewish written Law. This was done more than a century after the death of Jesus Christ.)
Moses recorded the Lord's warning to Israel about adding to the word of God in Deuteronomy 4:2. "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."
The former Worldwide Church of God feast calendar dates were calculated by Ambassador College from 3761 B.C. to 2034 A.D. (the end of a 19 year time cycle). They called it a calculated feast calendar because they did not use the new moons to determine the beginning of the first month like the Lord used in Exodus 12:2. The Jewish civil year begins on their postponed seventh month new moon date and those dates are listed in some Collegiate Dictionaries as Jewish years and the date when their seventh month begins. These dates already have the Jewish postponement rules calculated into the seventh month new moon dates for various Gregorian years. All Ambassador College had to do is count back 177 days (three 30 day months and three 29 day months) from the Jewish postponed seventh month date to calculate the beginning of the first month of their festival year which occurs in March or April. They identify that calculated first month new moon date as "First Day of Sacred Year." Ambassador College printed a copy of the Jewish traditional postponement rules and which years in a 19 year time cycle a month was intercalated or inserted to determine the dates for the beginning of their seventh month. When they insert a 13th new moon in the years when the sun and moon has not divided a 13th dark new moon, they can be out of step with the Lord's "appointed times, set feasts" by as much as an additional month, causing them to observe their Feast of Tabernacles in the eighth month in some years. Most of the Church of God splinter groups today continue to use the feast dates of the former Worldwide Church of God.

In Numbers 9: 9-11, the LORD instructs Moses, if any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover unto the LORD on the fourteenth day of the second month at even shall they keep it. (The LORD did not instruct Moses to change or delay any other feast date.)

The Lord gave specific instructions when HIS feasts occur in Leviticus, chapter 23 and Numbers, Chapters 28 and 29.

Now, "where in the scriptures does it say; it is wrong to have back-to-back Sabbaths?" Many of the Church of God groups celebrate back-to-back Sabbaths every year at the feast of Pentecost. Yet many of the Church of God Organizations must think it is wrong to celebrate back-to-back Sabbaths in the seventh month because they blindly follow these Jewish postponement rules without question. Evidently, they see no wrong in the Lord's annual Sabbaths being moved about - something they would never agree is okay regarding the weekly Sabbath. Yet, the principle is the same, isn't it?

My personal opinion is "every Church of God member should know how to calculate the Lord's feast dates." This is the reason I have written various feast calendar articles, using the Bible as a guide, trying to instruct people how to determine when the dark new moons begin and how to calculate the Lord's feast dates so they will not be misled by many of the Church of God Organizations.

The JEWISH POSTPONEMENT RULES DELAY THE LORD'S FEAST DATES by delaying the beginning of their calculated new moon dates up to two days and by inserting an additional month seven times in a leap year cycle of 19 years.

Updated 9-30-11, Art Ryan