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Ambassador College Thesis
Calendar and Eclipse Interrelationships
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Calendar and Eclipse Interrelationships
Kenneth C Herrmann   
Church of God

Born: 1924
Died: 2006
Member Since: 1949
Ambassador College: 1953

Chapter II:


   A markedly different system has remained practically unknown even among the educated elite of today. A few slighting comments refer to a "very complex... calendar (that) evolved through the ages for religious purposes" and "a grouping of days into weeks of seven days (that) has no single historical origin." A belittling description of this type disposes of this "other" system. Why?
   Why is the 7-day week termed "a time measurement problem that has plagued the world"? (Page 212 Sun, Earth, Time and Man by Harrison.)
   When the children of Israel left Egypt, God insisted, "this month (Nisan) shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you." (Exodus 12:2.) The children of Israel were commanded to follow a lunar-solar calendar replacing the solar calendar of Egypt.
   If the moon and sun are in conjunction at noon and the sun centered directly on the spring equinox, then by sunset (6 o'clock) the sun will have moved ¼° eastward through the stars and its western edge would just touch the equinox. The moon would move about 3¼° eastward and be visible as a crescent in the western sky just after sunset. (If the conjunction is at noon or earlier, the first day of the month begins the previous sunset by present day rules.)

Why Observe the New Moons?

   "Thirty days hath September..."goes the rhyme that we learned as children, but why was it necessary to learn that pattern? Because the Roman month is longer than the interval between full moons and does not follow in step with the moon. Note also that man looks east in the evening for that full moon to rise, just after sunset. He looks east for sunrise. The Egyptians looked east to begin their year.
   We take note of the full moon in the sky, even as Job did, but probably not with the same extreme self-righteous concern. "If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand." (Job 31:26, 27.)

Worship Toward the East

   The most (self-) righteous man who ever lived was concerned lest he lift up his eyes to the sun or moon and behold them in an attitude of worship. Centuries later Ezekiel wrote of people with an opposite attitude, people "with their backs toward the temple of the Eternal and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east." (Ezekiel 8:16.) The women had observed a period of "weeping for Tammuz" (identified by Hislop as Nimrod in his book The Two Babylons).
   Ezekiel gives a further description of the events of that spring celebration. "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes (the original Hebrew word used here is boun or buns) to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." (Jeremiah 7:18.)
   The time here referred to is not the summer solstice observed in Egypt but the equinox observance in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. The Queen of Heaven is none other than Astarte (or Easter, or Öster in the German language), the mother of Tammuz (Nimrod). These people faced the east and continued to follow a practice of keeping time originated by Nimrod and his father Cush just shortly after the Flood.
   Why does it make any difference which way a man looks at the heavens? The year, the month, and the day could be determined from the east as easily as from the west, but would the end result be the same?
   Rather than looking toward the east some people by nature and training look west. A common slogan today is "Go West, Young Man, Go West." What event in the western sky would be used to keep time? How would it differ from looking east toward the rising sun? What difference would it make?
   While Egypt dropped the objectionable lunar month, the Muslems retained it. Their calendar today is totally lunar, a calendar of 12 lunar months without an intercalary 13th month. They do not keep Festivals "in their season." The beginning of the year works its way backward through the seasons by about 11 days each year, making a complete cycle in about 34 years.

Out of Step With the Heavens

   God's Way was not to be a yoke of bondage but an easy "yoke," not a temptation but a deliverance from temptation. We've grown up with the Roman days that begin at midnight as the sun reaches its lowest point in its circle around the earth. Then at sunrise we again say the day begins:
   We look to the blinding sphere of light in the east. We follow it through the heavens, and the day continues once more to midnight, and we are left in perfect darkness.
   The Roman year too is intended to start when the sun has reached it southernmost point of rising. Bonfires are lit even today to encourage the waning sungod so he will turn once more to warm the earth.
   Winter has officially begun on this day, December 21, but the returning sun promises summertime again. The year begins in darkness (as the day did) and continues through twelve months to end once more in darkness.
   Resolutions, tax time and perhaps an aching head from celebrating the New Year are the order of the day. What better example of a "yoke of bondage."
   The months roll by 31, 28 or 29, 31, 30, 31, 30, with the old rhyme, "Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest..." But there is no order. (The average must be held to 30.43685 days, a solar month, 1/12 of a tropical year.)
   Though the word month comes from moon and the length of the month was originally set by the moon's 29 1/2-day path eastward through the stars, today there is no agreement between the moon's phases and the month. Hardly anyone is at all sure where the moon rises, whether it does every day, whether it ever rises in the west and sets in the east or what. Man is certainly out of step with· this "hand" of his "celestial clock.."

Why Look West?

   An epitaph "sundowners" is used by the less tactful in describing a system of keeping time by a people who have their "backs to the east" and are watching for some event in the western skies.
   Just as the Egyptians watched the east for the appearance of Sirius just before the "first flash" of sunrise, so this "other people" looked west just after the "last flash" of sunset, to catch a glimpse of a crescent moon, a moon that minutes later would drop from view. What remained as a temptation to worship? "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." No temptation remained.
   If this crescent "new moon" belonged to the first month of the year, this moment of sunset was also the beginning of a new year. Sunset! Not the Egyptian splendor of sunrise, nor the Maya moment of noon, nor the Roman choice of the blackness of midnight. But the quiet moments when the day of man's work is over, he returns to the campfire, to his evening meal. An hour or so later the sky fills with stars as darkness falls. "The heavens declare. the glory of God."

A Seven-Day Week

   A day of rest commenced with evening. Here is a gift to man, a Sabbath that was made for man. But doesn't the Roman calendar include a week of seven days?
   Do calendar makers like the division of time into sevens? Notice its insertion into the Roman system of timekeeping.
   A 7-day week period was inserted into the calendar by the Counsel of Nicea, "a time-measurement problem that has plagued the world since that day." (Page 212 of Sun, Earth, Time and Man by Harrison.).

Fractional Parts of The Day

   Could divisions of the day give us any clue as to the basic knowledge available to early astronomers? Daylight and darkness make obvious divisions into day and night. But is there any good reason for 12 hours in a day?
   Consider a morning of 6 hours. It might be easily divided in half, in thirds, and even in quarters of an hour and a half apiece. The entire 12-hour daylight part might be divided in the same fashion. The "dozen" system has its merits.
   The Roman calendar divides the hour into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds. The additional advantage of 60 over the dozen system is that 60 is divisible by five as well as the previously listed factors. The origin seems related to the 360-day agricultural year and the 360° into which a circle is divided. The sun moves eastward through the stars 1° per day, 360° per year.

Why 1080 Parts in an Hour?

   The Jewish calendar divides the hour into 1080 parts. Is there also a logical basis? A moment's thought reveals that 1080 is 360 times 3. A few moments further reflection reveals that 1080 is divisible by every number from one through twelve, except seven and eleven.
   These parts (or Halakim) are then further divided into 76 moments (or Regaim). A part would correspond to 3 1/3 seconds while a moment would equal 5/114 seconds. The choice of the number 76 seems unusual. It is divisible only by 19, 4, and 2. Of what significance is 19 to calendar makers?
   It seems certain that the 19-year Metonic cycle must have been known as far back as the division of parts (1080 to an hour) into 76 moments. One might also assume that the 365¼ day Julian (or Sirius) year provided the factor of four. The factors of four and nineteen would easily account for the 76 "moments" in a "part."
   Instead of dealing with a single Metonic cycle, suppose four cycles were put together giving a 76-year period (the Callippic cycle) of 27,759 days. This total of four Metonic cycles (6940, 6940, 6940 & 6939) could be divided evenly by 19 to form four-year periods of exactly 1,461 days each. Any measurement of the 76-year cycle in parts could be distributed evenly among the shorter periods in terms of moments.
   We are assuming here an "even" 6,939.75 days in a 19-year cycle. Early calculations just after the Flood would not have been as exact as they are today.
   The following table shows the elements of the cycle as determined today and are listed in descending order of length.

 Elements of the Metonic Cycle 

19 Sidereal years (365.2563604 days) 6939.87085
19 Julian years (365.25 days) 6939.75000
254 Sidereal months (27.32166 days) 6939.70164
235 Synodic months (29.5305879 days) 6939.68818
19 Tropical years (365.24220 days) 6939.60180
255 Nodical months (27.21222 days) 6939.11610
20 Eclipse years (346. 620031 days) 6932.40062

(See pp. 97-102 for the effect of this too-short eclipse period)

   Note that 19 Julian calendar years (the approximate equal of 19 Sirius years in Egypt, the Sirius year being a sidereal year modified by precessional factors) are.06 of a day longer than the 235 Synodic months of the cycle.
   Any nation wishing to keep its holy days "in their season" could profitably compare the 235 Synodic months with 19 Tropical years which are.09 of a day shorter.
   This difference between the Julian and Tropical years initiated work on the Gregorian calendar, where the year is considered 365.2425 days (still a trifle too long).
   The 19-year cycle would have been recognized shortly or immediately after the Flood. I believe we can almost prove that it was recognized. Whether the day, month, and year were the same length before the Flood is unknown. Longevity of life would have enabled pre-Flood man to discover long, accurate eclipse cycles. Variations in the length of the day, month and year in the centuries after the Flood must also be watched for in historical accounts and observations made at that time.

A Pharaoh's Oath

   We are going to show evidence that a lunar-solar calendar was in use shortly after the Flood. History records that the new Egyptian Pharaoh was forced to take an oath not to intercalate days or months. Yet a lunar-solar calendar would require such intercalation. Nimrod and Cush rebelled against the authority of Shem in this matter of the calendar and set up their own system both at Babylon and in Egypt.

Solar-Lunar Simplicity

   The 19-year cycle does not demand a complex system of keeping time as some authors of modern astronomy books insist. Consider the simplicity of its rules. The final month of the year always has 29 days, whether that month is an intercalary 13th month or a normal 12th month.
   The next seven months, which contain Holy Days, are a standard series of 30, 29, 30, 29, 30, 29 and 30. Thus we have a stable 8-month section vital to national unity in the matter of Festival observance.
   At the time of the Feast of Tabernacles in the 7th month, the priests could give instructions to the people whether to add a 30th day to the normal 29 days of the 8th month, or to subtract a single day from the normal 30-day length of the 9th month.

Adding a 13th Month

   Instructions would also have to be given whether to add a 30th day to the 12th month and then add an additional 29-day intercalary 13th month. Observations to determine this would have been completed on the first day of the 7th month, on the date of the Feast of Trumpets.
   The entire calendar for the next 12 or 13 months would have been set in order at this time. Anyone on a far journey missing these instructions might have found himself in doubt as to the proper month for Passover. In line with this we find instruction as to the keeping of the Passover one month late.
   Was the intercalary 13th month always added prior to Nisan? In the centuries B.C. we do find evidence of adding an intercalary month prior to the 7th month in fall. There are accounts of Hammurabi also following this pattern. Early calendar authorities did not follow exactly the strict mathematical pattern which forms the Sacred Calendar today.
   The priests at times would be unable to notify distant regions of the need for a 13th month. Rather than have disunity, the addition of this intercalary month was delayed. The net effect was to observe the spring festivals and Pentecost one month early. There is also the provision in Numbers 9:6-11 for a Passover to be observed one month late. Some variation was allowed at this spring festival. Yet the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day allow no such postponement.

Delayed Festivals

   There is, however, a record of the "keeping of a feast of tabernacles'' in the eighth month, instituted after the death of Solomon, by Jeroboam for the northern kingdom. He had fled to Egypt in the time of Solomon fearing for his life. Upon his return with an Egyptian wife, Jeroboam seized control of the rebellious northern tribes. (I Kings 12.)
   It is Jeroboam who "ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah" (the proper Feast of Tabernacles). The reason for this change: "if the people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah." His rule would have come to an end unless he could change their religious observances.
   There is also evidence that it was Jeroboam who changed the weekly day of rest from the Sabbath to the first day of the week. The "statutes of Omri" and the "sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat" are repeatedly mentioned in the following centuries until the destruction of the northern kingdom and captivity of its people in 721 B.C. by King Shalmaneser of Assyria. When we again find these people they are keeping a late fall festival (Halloween), Sunday and the religious concepts of Nimrod. Sunday is also late by one day and at times called eighth:
   The urgency of national religious unity was recognized by early religious leaders. Nimrod recognized that by changing the calendar he could keep his people separate from the leadership of Shem. Moses led Israel out of Egypt under a calendar different from that of the Egyptians. Jeroboam knew he had to change "times and seasons" to hold his control over the people. The effect of any new world calendar in our time would be to create a sharp distinction between the people of God and those following the priests of Baal.

Quartodecimans Preserve Passover

   Religious leaders (and politicians too) have changed the date for observance of festivals to insure that people would be cut off from their former habits. Note the case of Passover, which occurs on the 14th day of Nisan and might properly fall on various days of the week.
"Most Christian sects agree that Easter (Passover) should be celebrated on a Sunday. Others follow the example of the Jews, and adhered to the 14th day of the moon (of the month Nisan); but these, the minority, were accounted heretics, and received the appellation of Quartodecimans. The council of Nicea, in the year 325, ordained that the celebration of Easter (Passover) should thenceforth always take place on the Sunday which immediately follows the full moon that happens upon, or next after, the day of the vernal equinox. Should the 14th of the moon, which is regarded as the day of the full moon, happen on a Sunday, the celebration of Easter was deferred to the Sunday following, in order to avoid concurrence with the Jews and the above-mentioned heretics." (Encyclopedia-Britannica, article "calendar." Parenthetical material and underlining added.)
   To ensure that their converts would be following faithfully after them, these religious leaders simply changed the day of observance. The article continues:
"The complicated, though highly ingenious method, invented by Lilius for the determination of Easter... is entirely independent of astronomical tables or indeed of any celestial phenomena whatsoever... the equinox is fixed on the 21st of March, though the sun enters Aries generally on the 20th of that month, sometimes even on the 19th.... the intention of the council of Nice (was not) rigidly followed... epacts are also placed to indicate the full moons generally one or two days after the true full moons; but this was done to avoid the chance of concurring with the Jewish Passover, which the framers of the calendar seem to have considered a greater evil than that of celebrating Easter a week too late."

A Goal Almost Achieved

   The subtle, step-by-step approach goes by unrecognized; the final goal to destroy every time-keeping principle that God gave Adam is slowly achieved, yet a vestige of the original way remains. The day, week, month, season and year all are recognizable in even the New World Calendar, yet NOT ONE IS PROPERLY OBSERVED. "Your new moons, your sabbath days..."

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Publication Date: June 1967
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