Postponements: Part One
OF THE AGES
GOD'S HOLY DAYS
THE CHURCH OF GOD IN TRUTH
This booklet is not to be sold!
It has been produced as a free educational
service by the Church of God, In Truth.
Edition 1, September 1993
Edition 2, June 1996
Edition 3, January 2001
Mark 13:10 "And the gospel must first be
published among all nations!"
C 1993 Church of God, In Truth
All Rights Reserved---Printed in the U.S.A.
INTRODUCTION............................................................. Page 1
Simple Astronomy and Different Calendars...................... Page 5
Principles and Postponements of the Calendar................... Page 22
The Postponements, The Holy Days, and the
Part They Play in the Mark of the Beast............................. Page 28
BIBLIOGRAPHY............................................................... Page 34
The calendar affects all of us! It is our means of keeping important appointments and dates with God on His Sabbaths and annual Holy Days.
The Church of God, In Truth has been studying into the postponements of God's Holy Days since 1992. We have found that most Churches of God have been following the Hebrew calendar which incorporates postponements of God's Holy Days! After much research and study we have found no scriptures supporting the postponements of God's appointed Holy Days as the Jewish Hebrew calendar recommends and prescribes. The Catholic Church in the 4th century AD changed keeping the seventh day Sabbath to keeping Sunday the first day of the week, thus postponing God's appointed weekly Sabbath. The same kind of scenario is found to be in evidence when following the postponements rules for God's Holy Days. The religion of Judaism has changed the days for the Holy Days by postponing them according to the rules of postponements!
Arthur Spier, in his book "The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar,"writes on page 15, "In more than 60% of all years Rosh Hashanah does not occur on the day of the molad [mean conjunction of the moon] but is postponed according to one of the Dehioth [rules]. Therefore the Dehioth are actually not the exception to the rule, but the rule." Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, not the Feast of Trumpets. Most Churches of God that follow the Jewish Hebrew calendar interpret Rosh Hashanah as the Feast of Trumpets.
What is the mystery behind the POSTPONEMENTS? Why do the Jews celebrate the Passover on the 15th of Abib instead of the 14th of Abib as the scriptures say? Why do the Jews count backward 177 days from Rosh Hashanah to find the beginning of their festival year? Why do they count the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost] from the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread? Why can't Atonement fall on a Friday or Sunday? Why can't the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles fall on a weekly Sabbath [Saturday]? Where in God's Word does it say we are to start a new day at 12 noon? Why is one year called a leap year and another a regular year? We generally approach the calendar with the concept that it is too difficult to understand. When we study the calendar and its history, it can become very confusing with its unfamiliar charts, lists and names. It seems like it takes a mathematical genius with a lot of letters or titles after his or her name to understand the meanings. The result is, we can feel discouraged before we get started, and become convinced we will never understand. The problem with this kind of teaching is the approach of most study materials.
THE CHURCH OF GOD, IN TRUTH purpose for writing this book is to present simply and clearly how to keep God's Holy Days, the days God has chosen. We are attempting to use terms that any modern reader can understand, thus, AT THE COMPLETION OF THIS BOOKLET YOU WILL BE ABLE TO KNOW FROM YEAR TO YEAR WHEN TO KEEP THE CORRECT DAYS FOR GOD'S HOLY DAYS.
This book is divided into three parts. PART ONE, deals with simple astronomy and the basic history of different calendars, which will serve as an introduction to the principles of the calendar as set forth by God in the Bible. The ancient Israelites were familiar with the movements of the sun, moon and stars. They recognized the seasonal constellations and could tell time and compass direction from them. Before looking at the calendar, it will be helpful to study some basic principles of astronomy and re-familiarize ourselves with the correct terms.
Anyone reading God's word should be in awe and inspired by our GREAT GOD and HIS universe. David was inspired by God to write, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; What is man, that you are mindful of him?" (Psa. 8:3-4).
PART TWO, explains the principles and calculations of the calendar. Our goal will be to present the POSTPONEMENTS, to explain them in a way that the reader can understand. We want to present it in a clear and simple format.
PART THREE, will deal with the Postponements, Holy Days and the part they play in "THE MARK OF THE BEAST." Once you have developed an understanding of these basic principles, you will probably want to go on to a more advanced text on these subjects.
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS CHAPTER 18 VERSE 13 SAYS:
"He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him."
LET US THEREFORE, IN WILLING SUBMISSION TO GOD, DO HIS WILL WITH YIELDED HEARTS FREE FROM PRECONCEIVED IDEAS, WITH AN OPEN MIND DESIRING TRUTH. TREMBLING ALWAYS BEFORE THE WORD OF GOD, ASKING GOD FOR DIRECTION THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT, TO STUDY THESE QUESTIONS AND PROVE ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF GOD.
Two additional notes regarding our first letter on the postponements sent out in 1993, we said that the New Moon closest to the Spring Equinox was the lst of Abib. We want to make clear that this is true when the 14th of Abib, Passover, falls on or after the Spring turn [Equinox]. Some years have 12 months and some have 13 months. When counting from the 7th month to the 12th month, if the Passover, the 14th, would come before the Spring Equinox, then you see God has added a 13th month [Leap year] automatically. For example, in the year 2000 the 14th fell two days before the spring equinox. This means we go to the next new moon for Abib 1 to keep Passover in the Spring season. Thus we never have two Passover's in one Festival year.
Note 1: God never appointed vegetation at creation to be the determinate for a calendar year! "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14). "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" (Deu. 4:2).
Note 2: Michael Strassfeld in his book, "Jewish Holidays, a Guide and Commentary," page 96, gives us a better understanding of Rosh ah shanah [Jewish New Year]. "Rosh-ah-shanah is referred to in the Torah as the day of sounding the shofar. It was not called Rosh-ah-shanah the New Year until Talmudic times, [around 200 A.D.]. The nature of the festival is unclear. The notion of Rosh-ah-shanah as the year may have come later in the tradition. Rosh-ah-shanah as the new year is tied to the creation of the world. Thus in the Talmud there is a debate as to whether the world was created in Nisan [the month the Passover falls] or in Tishri. In fact the Bible's silence about the fall new year and its celebration is hardly accidental. Celebration of this festival were so fraught with pagan association that the rather Puritanical Biblical authors probably opposed the festival altogether, much as later rabbis fraught against too much paganism and magic for their comfort. Only in the Talmud does Rosh-ah-shanah emerge as a major Jewish Festival, showing that the fold, then as later, did not always listen to their more Purist religious leaders. It is likely that especially the first Diaspora Jews, those of Babylonia did much to support the acceptance of this festival, and gave it a legacy that is in many ways reminiscent of the ancient Babylonian new year."
If you keep the Jewish Rosh-ah-shanah for the Feast of Trumpets, you are not truly keeping God's Holy Day!
THIS PART IS A SIMPLIFIED DESCRIPTION OF THE SCRIPTURES WHICH GOD GAVE US, TO TEACH US. WITHOUT THESE TOOLS, SUN AND MOON, THERE COULD BE NO CALENDAR MADE. WITHIN GOD'S WORD CONTAINS A HOLY DAY CALENDAR THAT'S ESTABLISHED FROM GOD'S SPECIFICATIONS. WE MUST USE THESE AVAILABLE TOOLS TO KEEP GOD'S HOLY DAYS AND FESTIVALS AS HE INSTRUCTED.
HOW DO WE MEASURE TIME BY THE SUN AND MOON?
When GOD created the sun and moon and stars, He gave us four basic units of time: the day, the week, the lunar month, and the year. "And GOD said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14).
A day according to GOD is approximately a 24 hour period, beginning at evening. The sun sets, rises, and sets again. This cycle of setting, rising and setting, is called a day. God does not count time by half days, hours, minutes or seconds. Sunset to sunset constitutes a day!
"And GOD said, let there be light: and there was light. And GOD saw the light, that it was good: and GOD divided the light from the darkness. And GOD called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day" (Gen.1:3-5).
A week is seven days. The week is dependent upon the sun. One week is completed after the setting of the sun, seven times. "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an Holy Convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings" (Lev. 23:3). "And on the seventh day GOD ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And GOD blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which GOD created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3).
THE LUNAR MONTH
The cycle of the moon determines the lunar month. From new moon to the next new moon is one month, the length of time it takes the moon to circle the earth. The new month begins the instant the sun's light strikes the face of the moon at an angle which makes it not visible to us from the earth.
The beginning of the dark moon phase is the beginning of a new month. [Sunset, sets the precedent for the new dark moon phase to start the month]. The month is the cycle of the moon, not visible at first, then appearing as a thin crescent [young moon], which increases in size over a period of approximately 14 to 17 days to a full moon. The moons size begins to decrease over another period back to a new dark moon, then begins another new lunar month. The year consists of 12 to 13 lunar month from new moon to new moon. God does not count months by hours, but as whole days. The month we use today on the Roman calendar has nothing to do with the lunar month.
Sunset, sets the precedent for the new month. When the last illumination of the waning crescent has gone out, the new dark moon phase begins. "He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down" (Psa.104:19). "Sound on the new moon the shofar, at the darkening of the moon, the day of our festival; for it is a statute for Israel, a ruling of the God of Jacob" (Psalm 81:4-5) as interpreted by Edward L. Greenstein in "The Jewish Holidays, A Guide and Commentary."
God's new day does not start at 12 midnight----neither does His month start with the middle conjunction of the moon, which is called the molad, mean conjunction or [astronomical conjunction]. God always starts from the beginning---not the middle!! Following the mean conjunction of the moon is fine for the scientific community!
The Royal Observatory at Edinburgh, England has told us that the "New Dark Moon starts hours earlier than the mean or middle moon that most astronomers use for starting a new month. The only reason they [the astronomers] use the astronomical new moon [mean or middle conjunction] is to keep time uniformly regulated around the world. The new moon is defined as the time at which the sun and moon have the same celestial longitude. The celestial sphere on which this measurement is based is a theoretical sphere, centered on the earth which we look through when we observe astronomical objects. The time of all lunar phases quoted by the astronomical community are therefore what an imaginary observer at the center of the earth would see ." Griffith Observatory at Los Angeles, Ca. Notes: "The moon is not seen about 24 hours before the actual second of the [astronomical] new moon and about 24 hours after the actual second of the [astronomical] new moon has been acknowledged."
God's Festival year is determined by the earths one revolution around the sun. From one spring turn [equinox] to the next spring turn [equinox] is the most accurate count of a festival year. Equinox is the word turn in God's Word.
The turn of the year is when the sun turns from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere and then turns back from the Northern Hemisphere. One turn occurs in the spring and is called the vernal equinox, and the other turn occurs in the autumn and is called the autumnal equinox. We need to be concerned with the spring turns [equinox] only, which establishes the first day of spring, not the first day of the new year.
From one spring turn to the next spring turn constitutes a Festival year in God's calendar. This also is called a tropical year in astronomic language.
HOW DO WE COMPARE MONTHS AND YEARS?
At one time the Hebrew or Jewish calendar was based on the lunar month. When the Jews were taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. approximately 650 years after Moses led them out of Egypt, they fit the sun's position to their moon calculations to form a luni-solar calendar. In 538 BC the Jews brought with them into captivity, the 7 day week, consisting of 24 hour days, beginning at sunset. They were introduced to the signs of the Zodiac and the Babylonian new year [Tashritu-Tishri in Hebrew] which started in the autumn. Their calendar consisted of 29 or 30 day months, being adjusted by adding an extra month, 7 times in a 19 year period, to keep with the seasonal positions of the sun. These are called leap years. About every 19 years, the sun, moon and earth are almost exactly in the same position. The Jewish calendar has predefined years in this 19 year cycle which are to be leap years. They are the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years.
The first month of the religious year is called Abib by Moses. The Hebrew calendar calls it Nisan. Abib means month of green ears. It refers to the spring season of the year when the barley harvest is in green ears [not ripe ears]. GOD says: "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exo. 12:2). "And Moses said unto the people, remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten; this day came ye out in the month of [green ears] Abib. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year" (Exo. 13:2-4, 10).
"Observe the month of Abib [Moses is speaking], and keep the Passover unto the Lord your GOD: for in the month of Abib the Lord your GOD brought you forth out of Egypt by night" (Deu. 16:1).
The following scriptures strongly indicate the Passover must be kept on or as closely after the spring turn [equinox] as possible. "Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at its appointed season; in the fourteenth day of this month, at even, you shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it" (Num. 9:2-3). "And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand has the LORD brought you out of Egypt" (Exo. 13:9). The appointed season for Passover is spring!
When keeping and counting from the true conjunction of the new moon nearest the spring turn, Passover the 14th day, the Days of Unleavened Bread and God's Feast of Tabernacles all stay within a 30 day window of the assigned turn [equinox]. Thus the appointed time can never drift out of their assigned season plus fulfilling the active role of Genesis 1:14. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years."
The sun, and the moon at the time of the new moon are in the beginning of the dark moon conjunction. The side facing the earth is dark.
The mean conjunction [molad] is when the sun and the moon are in the middle of the dark moon phase.
The Crescent is the young moon. Moon's sunlit surface is now seen by observers, in the form of a thin crescent.
PHASES OF THE MOON
The moon revolves around the earth, but it receives its illumination from the sun. At the new moon, the configuration is: The lighted side of the moon is turned away from the earth; the side facing the earth is dark. Several days later, the configuration of the earth, sun and moon are as shown. A crescent of light is called a young moon, it can be seen by observers. In the course of half a month, the moon can be seen in the new, crescent, quarter, gibbous, and full phases.
SPRING EQUINOX CHART
1958 Mar. 21 1996 Mar. 20
1959 Mar. 21 1997 Mar. 20
1960 Mar. 20 1998 Mar. 21
1961 Mar. 21 1999 Mar. 21
1962 Mar. 21 2000 Mar. 20
1963 Mar. 21 2001 Mar. 20
1964 Mar. 20 2002 Mar. 21
1965 Mar. 21 2003 Mar. 21
1966 Mar. 21 2004 Mar. 20
1967 Mar. 21 2005 Mar. 20
1968 Mar. 20 2006 Mar. 21
1969 Mar. 21 2007 Mar. 21
1970 Mar. 21 2008 Mar. 20
1971 Mar. 21 2009 Mar. 20
1972 Mar. 20 2010 Mar. 21
1973 Mar. 21 2011 Mar. 21
1974 Mar. 21 2012 Mar. 20
1975 Mar. 21 2013 Mar. 20
1976 Mar. 20 2014 Mar. 21
1977 Mar. 21
1978 Mar. 21
1979 Mar. 21
1980 Mar. 20
1981 Mar. 20
1982 Mar. 21
1983 Mar. 21
1984 Mar. 20
1985 Mar. 21
1986 Mar. 20
1987 Mar. 21
1988 Mar. 20
1989 Mar. 20
1990 Mar. 21
1991 Mar. 21
1992 Mar. 20
1993 Mar. 20
1994 Mar. 21
1995 Mar. 21
When God created the heavens and the earth, He also set His calendar in motion. God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14).
God created the day, night, week, month and year. He showed us by the signs of heaven, we could recognize which days to keep Holy. The new dark moon [true conjunction of the suns and moon] tells us when the new month starts. "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exo. 12:2). "This day came you out in the month Abib" (Exo. 13:4). I Chron. 27:1-15 shows that there are 12 months in the year. When the 13th month was needed God had already created the turns to adjust the seasons.
God shows in Exodus 12:2 when the year is to start. It is at the beginning of Abib [Moses name for the first month]. After the Babylonian captivity this month was called Nisan in the Hebrew calendar. This is the time of Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. In scripture we see that Passover must be kept as close to the Spring Turn [equinox] as possible. Abib means green ears, the barley was not fully ripe yet in Jerusalem. If the 14th of Abib falls before the Spring turn [equinox], then the next new moon is the lst of Abib. The early true Christians kept the 14th of Abib for Passover, and the 15th of Abib for the lst Day of Unleavened Bread.
The Spring turn [equinox] begins the Festival seasons (Gen. 1:14, Exo. 13:10, Lev.23:4, Deu.11:14). The Bible speaks only of summer and winter. God's calendar has always been centered around the Holy Days "It shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought you out of Egypt, You shalt therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year" (Exo. 13:9-10).
Genesis 1 is Bible proof that GOD had HIS calendar from the beginning of creation. It is only when man adds to and takes away from it, that it becomes complicated. "YOU SHALL NOT ADD UNTO THE WORD WHICH I COMMAND YOU, NEITHER SHALL YOU DIMINISH OUGHT FROM IT, THAT YOU MAY KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD WHICH I COMMAND YOU" (DEU. 4:2). "WHAT THING SOEVER I COMMAND YOU, OBSERVE TO DO IT: YOU SHALT NOT ADD THERETO, NOR DIMINISH FROM IT" (DUE. 12:32).
The Hebrew calendar is lunar-solar. Their sacred year begins with the month Nisan in the spring. Their civil year begins with the 7th month Tishri. When in Babylonian captivity the Jews adopted the Babylonian way of naming the months. The Hebrew month ran from [their] new moon to new moon. The Hebrew calendar was established around the Holy Day seasons and followed the agricultural harvest year.
The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread were to be kept at the first full moon after the Spring turn [Equinox]. This was to keep the Holy Days in the right seasons.
It was not until 359 C.E. [Common Era] that Hillel II set a standardized form of the Hebrew calendar. He specified that the leap year of the 13th month should be the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th year, to adjust the lunar year to the right seasons. Such a cycle was called the Metonic cycle after the Greek mathematician Meton. This cycle takes into account that every 19 years the new moon and the full moon fall again at the same days of the solar year. But the Jewish Hebrew calendar does not follow the true cycles of the moon. They have put in the leap years according to the postponement rules.
AT THE TIME HILLEL SET THE POSTPONEMENTS IN THE CALENDAR CALCULATION SO CERTAIN HOLY DAYS COULD NOT FALL ON THEIR PROHIBITED DAYS. THESE CALCULATIONS ARE CALLED DEHIOTH. ACCORDING TO HEBREW CALENDAR EXPERTS, TISHRI I [FEAST OF TRUMPETS] IS NOT ON THE NEW MOON, AS GOD HAS ORDAINED, 60% OF THE TIME.
With the introduction of the permanent calendar, the solar and lunar years have been adjusted by a calculation which guarantees the coinciding of the lunar months with the seasons as required by Jewish Talmud laws.
The intercalary month in relation to Passover: According to the Talmud, Passover had to be observed in the springtime of the year, in the Abib season, which is the 15th day of Nisan. This season coincided with the vernal equinox, known in Hebrew as Tekufoth Nisan. The season of Nisan [meaning beginning]. It was important that the Passover festival be so fixed as always to occur after the vernal equinox. This was arranged by inserting a leap month just prior to Nisan whenever the vernal equinox happened to come after the Passover by counting from Abib 1 to Abib 14.
Michael Strassfeld in his book, "Jewish Holidays, a Guide and Commentary," page 96, gives us a better understanding of Rosh ah shanah [Jewish New Year]. "Rosh-ah-shanah is referred to in the Torah as the day of sounding the shofar. It was not called Rosh-ah-shanah the New Year until Talmudic times, [around 200 A.D.]. The nature of the festival is unclear. The notion of Rosh-ah-shanah as the year may have come later in the tradition. Rosh-ah-shanah as the new year is tied to the creation of the world. Thus in the Talmud there is a debate as to whether the world was created in Nisan [the month the Passover falls] or in Tishri. In fact the Bible's silence about the fall new year and its celebration is hardly accidental. Celebration of this festival were so fraught with pagan association that the rather Puritanical Biblical authors probably opposed the festival altogether, much as later rabbis fraught against too much paganism and magic for their comfort. Only in the Talmud does Rosh-ah-shanah emerge as a major Jewish Festival, showing that the fold, then as later, did not always listen to their more Purist religious leaders. It is likely that especially the first Diaspora Jews, those of Babylonia did much to support the acceptance of this festival, and gave it a legacy that is in many ways reminiscent of the ancient Babylonian new year." If you keep the Jewish Rosh-ah-shanah for the Feast of Trumpets, you are not truly keeping God's Holy Day at its appointed time!
The earliest Roman Calendar, possibly Etruscan, but attributed to Romulus, is supposed to have been based upon a year of 10 months, or 304 days. Like all lunar calendars, this had to be adjusted by inter-calculation to correct the difference between the lunar and solar years. Twenty-two or twenty-three days alternately, was inserted every second year. But in 452 B.C. the Decemvirs changed their positions and placed the months that are now in order.
In the year 46 B.C., Julius Caesar issued a decree, changing the Roman calendar from a lunar to a solar year. This calendar was based on the calculation of the Greek astronomer, Sosigenes. It had 12 months of arbitrary length, and a regular year of 365 days beginning on January 1. Its leap years brought in an extra day every four years, to compensate for the extra fraction of a day in the length of the tropical year which has a little less than 365-1/4 days. This was in error, because the length of the year is a little less by 11 minutes and a few seconds. Thus, by the 16th century a full 10 days had accumulated.
In 1582 C.E., Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar. Whereby the leap years were retained, but with the exception that those century years, with a number divisible by 400 be counted as a leap year. As in 1582, the vernal equinox occurred on the date, March 11 instead of March 20. In 1582, 10 days were to be omitted in that year, so that the day after Thursday, October 4, became Friday, October 14. This put the vernal equinox back into the season it belonged. This new style calendar was adopted exactly according to the mandate of the Pope in Spain, Portugal, and part of Italy and Catholic Europe by the 16th century. The changes were not carried out by England and the colonies until 1752, by changing September 3 to September 13th. The reason for dropping ten days out of the year was to bring the celebration of Easter back to the time that had been fixed for it by the famous Council of Nicea which had met in 325 AD. The Council had decreed that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring after the vernal equinox. When the date of Easter was fixed, the vernal equinox was occurring on the 21st of March.
Standard time, which is based on solar time, was introduce in 1883 by international agreement to avoid the complications that followed in railroad time schedules when each community used its own local solar time. Man, in his infinite wisdom, thought to change time by using the middle of the Pacific Ocean to establish time by arbitrarily assigning time zones every fifteen degrees." Man's time zones are divided into twenty-four zones with twenty-four hours in each day. "The base position is the zero meridian of longitude that passes through the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Greenwich, England and time zones are described by their distance east or west of Greenwich. If a person travels one hundred and eighty degrees east or west, he will come to this International Dateline in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The new date begins at the International Dateline--an imaginary line drawn from the North Pole to the South Pole" (Funk & Wagnall"s Encyclopedia). "In 1966 the U.S. Congress pass the Uniform Time Act, which established eight standard time zones for the United States and its possessions. In navigation, clocks are often set to the local time at Greenwich, called Greenwich mean time (GMT). Astronomers use this system but call it universal time (UT).
In Egypt the oldest calendar was a lunar one that counted 12 lunations or lunar months, beginning with the heliacal rising of the star Sirius.
The Egyptians divided the day, plus the night, into 24 hours, for which they had calibrated measuring devices. They also had 10 day weeks. The Egyptian month had 30 days each, with 5 extra days after the 12th month. Moon to the Egyptians meant measurer after their moon god Thoth. Around the 3rd millennium B.C. a solar calendar was introduced, at least for civil purposes. Under the Ptolemies it became a Greek calendar. Ptolemy III Eugergetes perfected the calendar by introducing a leap year, and his reformed calendar was made official by his decree of 238 B.C. It was a calendar later adopted by the Romans. At one time they also kept the beginning of the new month by the last visible waning crescent. The true beginning of the dark new moon!
The Babylonians had a lunar-solar calendar. Their year began at the spring equinox in the month Nisanu, though there is evidence that it had once begun at the autumn equinox [the name of the 7th month, Tasritu, meaning beginning]. Their month had 30 days each except when the new moon landed on the 30th day; then it would be a new month. There was no 7 day week, and days were counted from evening to evening. Every 2nd or 3rd year an intercalary month was added, by doubling the 6th [Ululu] or the 12th month [Adaru]. After the 4th century B.C., the method of calculating was by the 19 year cycle.
The Greek calendar was a lunar calendar. The Greeks divided their months into 'hollow' months of 29 days and "full" months of 30 days. They reckoned the day itself from sunset to sunset. The Greeks had to adjust their calendar constantly, so that it would be in harmony with the natural seasons of the solar year, and thus indicate the proper time for the celebration of agricultural feasts. An intercalary month was inserted every three years. Greek mathematicians worked out first an eight year cycle to bring the lunar calendar and the solar together. Later the astronomer Meton (432 B.C.) developed a better cycle of 19 years, but later the 8 year cycle was revived.
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