Mathematical Bias and the Biblical Calendar
(Revised 2015)

By: Shawn Richardson

Section 10:


So how accurate are the computations of today's Hebrew calendar? The Hebrew calendar claims to be lunisolar, meaning it takes into account both signs of the sun and moon. You have already seen, though, that this claim is not completely accurate due to some additional non-Biblical rules and redefinitions of observed signs to mathematical concepts to make the formulas consistent. We will also see that the overall calculated results are not 100% accurate - even when compared to the mathematical solar year - and is slowly drifting out of position over many centuries. Yet, supporters for using the Hebrew calendar continue to endorse its accuracy. John Ogwyn of the Living Church of God, author of an article titled The Hebrew Calendar[16], explains:

This does, indeed, describe an amazing level of accuracy for determining the lunar cycle using observation. We have already described, however, that a small level of error still exists and the culmination of that error tells us that this practice was first implemented at around the 9th or 10th century C.E. Furthermore, it does not explain why these computations used for the Molad begin with the moon's conjunction rather than the visible new moon crescent or why Jerusalem and the noon hour are chosen as the line of final determination. It also does not explain why 12 out of 13 months are not determined by this same Molad calculation and, instead, are assigned a fixed number of days for each month.

Finally, John Ogwyn does not continue to show that the calculation of a full year in the Hebrew calendar, using the 19-year cycle of inserting leap-months, is not as accurate as its lunar cycle counterpart. According to Edward Graham Richards, author of Mapping Time - The Calendar and its History (Oxford University Press)[20], the current Hebrew calendar year is off from the mean tropical year by 6 minutes and 40 seconds:

As a result of this phenomenon, the Hebrew calendar has drifted since the fourth century to just over seven and a half days relative to the equinox. This means that, currently, certain leap years within the 19-year cycle will insert a leap-month, which is meant to correct for the drift, a year earlier than it should have (causing the observed aviv barley to differ from the Hebrew calendar calculations more and more frequently). Over time, Passover will be pushed later and later into the year and, eventually, will end up in the summer season (rather than in the spring). Although, this will take a millennia to occur.

As purported, Rabbi Hillel II introduced the 19-year intercalary cycle that is responsible for computing which years to add a 13th month, which was intended to place the Passover in its correct season. This extra month is added in years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19 of the 19-year cycle. As we have discussed, this mathematical cycle has now abandoned the observation of barley as given in the Bible. The cycle's continued usage in modern years has proven to show these discrepancies, however, where ripened barley does not match the time when the Hebrew calendar denotes the New Year and the Passover season should begin. Over time, this 19-year timetable is proving to be less and less accurate.

There is extensive research from many sources, including Jewish studies, which continue to search for the perfect mathematical calendar that varies from today's version of the Hebrew calendar. But the mathematical details of all of these findings are beyond the scope of this paper and, needless to say, only prove that the system currently used is not standing up to the "test of time". The fact remains that our universe is in a constant state of flux and contains too many variables - known and unknown (including what Yehovah Himself may adjust at will) - that would not allow for any mathematical formula to accurately predict with 100% certainty. When you further attempt to standardize any formula into equal segmented chunks of time into a table of days (a calendar), you also lose any accuracy that the formula claims. Only Yehovah Himself would be able to administer a mathematical formula, or table of days, that would either be precise over a millennia and beyond the coming Kingdom. Or, He Himself would adhere to the current mathematics by adjusting the celestial movements to fit the formulas. Yet it is the celestial movements in Genesis (on Day Four of the Creation Week) that were ordained by Yehovah - not a mathematical formula.

Even the Jews view their own calculated calendar as temporary. The Jews understand that the current calculations are not accurate and are drifting beyond their intended purpose. But they believe that it's the best method they have for now - at least, until the Messiah arrives or a third Temple is reestablished in Jerusalem so that an authority can either change the calculations or, once again, authorize the reception of eyewitness accounts through observations as in the time of the Sanhedrin court system. The Wapedia Encyclopedia states in an article titled Rectifying the Hebrew Calendar[33]:

We, as followers of Yeshua, do not need to wait for a Messiah or a High Priest! We serve as a temple and as the body of Yeshua, the Church (I Peter 2:5)! Therefore, we have a foundational system that can reinstate the observational methodology from ancient history and one that is supported by the Bible. Yet most church groups have chosen to ignore this issue!

Rood Ministries, a group dedicated to following the signs of Aviv barley, have taken it upon themselves to plant barley near Jerusalem (and other surrounding locations within Israel) annually to determine the appropriate month the barley is considered Aviv. Here are their findings[14]:

The Wikia Encyclopedia confirms this finding and explains the conundrum of the supposed accuracy of the 19-year cycle and how it could be corrected. It states in the Accuracy[20] section:

How can the Sanhedrin be reestablished? AllExperts Encyclopedia[16] explains:

We see here that the Jewish community is fully aware of their calendar's inaccuracy. They believe that the ultimate fix to this problem will be with the coming of the Messiah, or a reestablishment of the Sanhedrin with the building of a third Temple in Jerusalem (which would return to the traditions of observation). Their only other alternative would be the Rabbinical authority to establish an exception to the calculations currently in place today, further modifying the calendar that Sabbath-keeping churches in the Western World claim as being preserved.

Today, a group claiming to already be the reestablished Sanhedrin[34] continues to push for restoration of a third Temple in Jerusalem and for the Jewish people to return to the original traditions. They agree that there is a major discrepancy in today's mathematical calendar as introduced in the 4th century described in their article Fixing of the Calendar[7]. They claim:

This supports the fact that the current calculated calendar will no longer be adequate for the current Jewish community in the near future without some sort of change. Yet, an observation method based on witnesses would be Biblical and acceptable, even by Jewish standards.

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