One comment on “Complications for Passover Dates

  1. There is no biblical evidence for the calculation of the new moon (or the beginning of a month). All people pitching a fit over the timing have to go by what they think outside of the Bible. What IS biblical is love, which seems to me is missing in many of those who have a cow about the timing.

    The new moon is important because it marks the beginning of a month. A new moon is defined differently depending on who is doing the defining. Astronomers say that the new moon is when the moon is between the earth and the sun and the lit side is facing away from view. More specifically, it’s when the Moon and Sun have the same ecliptical longitude. Historically, people would start the month when the first bit of light was observed (‘waxing crescent’) as the moon came out of its dark period. People see this at different times on earth depending on geographic location. The first light of the waxing crescent moon can appear up to a couple days or so past the time the moon first goes dark. If the sky is overcast, this makes sighting the first light of the new moon rather problematic.

    In addition, the lunar cycles are a little out of sync with Sun cycles (or growing seasons). They tend to drift a little compared to each other. So every once in a while in the Hebrew calendar an extra month (a ‘leap month’) has to be added to the calendar year to get the timing of the lunar cycles back in sync with the solar cycle.

    The Bible gives no definite calculation for the new moon. While being very specific in many areas, God does not include a method of starting a month. It is calculated now by math. The Jewish calendar uses the math calculation for the start of months. Other people throw a monkey wrench into the calculations by insisting on the traditional approach of sighting the first bit of light. Many of these are rather strident in their assertion that their way is the only way to do it. Of course, what they really want in my opinion is the authority to say what’s what. They also have a certain amount of ‘holier than thou’ arrogance, and are causing needless stress and dissension. This is not how Paul says to celebrate.

    Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:8, ESV)

    I see nothing wrong with going according to the majority opinion of the Jewish calendar. God didn’t make an issue out of the calculation, so I don’t think we need to either. It is much more loving to observe Passover at the same time as much of the Jewish community. Unity is the goal, as long as unity is based on the Word. It is more important to observe God’s feasts together than to argue over stupid things not in the Word. I’m sure God will be making some corrections to our timing pretty soon, and then I’ll be more concerned. Until God straightens us out, I’m inclined to avoid the strife and division of a false controversy.

    Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (Colossians 2:16, ESV)

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