Saturday, April 30, 2016

Comments on the "Enoch Calendar"

Question sent to us:  I saw a document, sent by a sister, who is confused with trying to incorporate Enoch into the feasts and fix a 364 day calendar and make the feast cycle solar as per Enoch. I would please ask you to give me scriptural agreement or refutation carefully. 

Response:

There are many problems with the "Enoch" calendar as a Biblical, "Moed (appointed time)" calendar.  While the calendar described in Enoch does work to divide the year into four equal parts  associated with the seasons, it must be understood that it is an agricultural calendar, not a calendar for the annual appointed feasts (those delineated in Leviticus 23).  Please understand that prior to the Exodus, there was no "Passover" or "Sukkot" so the Spring and Fall equinoxes in times before the Exodus had no feasts associated with the equinoxes.  But Spring and Fall are times of harvest and sowing respectively, and are the natural times when the year would be divided.  Those times are determined by the sun - not the moon.  So the Enoch calendar has a place as "a" calendar, but not as a Biblical, annual feast, holy calendar.  (The Book of Enoch does not even mention the Biblical Feasts as specific Holy Days (appointed times, moedim) for the annual commanded observances!)

The Enoch calendar is based on the Book of Enoch beginning in Chapter LXXI (71).  The calendar described most often is essentially a solar calendar, though the movement of the moon is also described in Enoch as a relationship with the sun in the forming of "gates" through which both the sun and moon pass.  These "gates" are how "months" in the Enoch Calendar are determined.  The calendar has 364 days, and 12 months (gates).  Months are 30 days each, except in each of the four seasons, one month has 31 days.  Most "Enoch Calendar" variants (there are many) ignore the moon, probably because they can't figure out how to include the moon in the calendar, yet according to whomever wrote the Book of Enoch, the calendar described in the Book of Enoch clearly takes into account the moon! Nevertheless, most "Enoch Calendars" don't bother with the moon at all, yet the Book of Enoch talks about the sun and moon each passing through the "gates" so the moon clearly had a role, simply unidentified.   

Note that without considering the moon, there is no solid reason to divide the "year" into "12 months"!  The only reason to even TRY to fit "12 divisions" to the "year" is that the moon reappears 12 times in a single solar year.  So there is no question that the moon heavily influenced the Enoch calendar though the author failed to provide enough information.  The Enoch calendar tries to "blend" 7 day weeks, 52 weeks of the year, to a total of 364 days, and divides that into "12 gates" (months). But to make it work, every third month requires 31 days instead of 30.  But why not a year divided by 14-day months, or 13-day, or 26-day, or 28-day, 52-day, or even 91-day "months"?  Indeed, 13 "months" of 28 days each would each have 4 weeks of 7 days and every day of every month would be on the same day of the week!  That would be terrific, so why not that as a calendar that also does not use the moon?

Note also that a 364 day Enoch calendar gets seriously out of sync with the sun IF an intercalary period is not added. (An "intercalation" is an added number of days to a calendar periodically so the calendar remains in-sync with the sun.)  The Book of Enoch does not specify ANY intercalary period, so most people assume that a 53rd week is added to the calendar whenever the 1st day of the 1st month would fall before the Spring Equinox.  (Some Enoch calendar aficionados argue that in ancient times the "year" must have been "exactly 364 days long" and that something must have changed the year to the current 365.2422 days per year.  But ancient astronomical records demonstrate that this simply is not the case.  Records of ancient eclipses show the eclipses (which were documented) match predictions in-sync with a 365-day year projected back in time.)

One of the biggest problems with the Enoch calendar is that its supporters insist that the day of the Spring Equinox is not the same as the modern Vernal Equinox.  They argue that "equinox" (which means "equal night") must mean that it must be the day (in Jerusalem) when the day and night are equal in length. That day, when the number of hours of daylight and nighttime are exactly 12 hours happens several days BEFORE the date of the Vernal Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere) so they exclaim that today's equinox is not the same as that which ancient people would have known.  But it is not at all likely ancient people would have known this because to determine the day of ACTUAL "equal day and night" requires an accurate clock! One can't observe this by eye alone and ancient people did not have accurate clocks. 

They could, however, watch the sun as it moved northerly on the horizon at sunrise from the Winter Solstice toward the Summer solstice.  With only counting days and using crude clocks they could perceive that in the winter months (today called December, January, February), there are clearly fewer daylight "hours" and more nighttime "hours". (Enoch called the division of the day and night as "parts" instead of "hours").  And they could perceive that when the sun was approaching the Summer Solstice (in June), the daytime is clearly longer than the nighttime.  But at a point in the middle, that is, a day between the Winter and Summer solstices, there is a period of apparent "equal day and night" and that day is, by definition, "the equinox", and that day is unique, even by observation!

It is observed on the day the when the sun rises due east and sets due west.  That day is very easy to identify because the point of sunrise, due east, is entirely visible to the observer - even with no clock.  On that day, when the sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west would have been the day the ancients would have called the "equinox", and that is very close to the same day as we have today which we call the Vernal and Autumnal equinoxes (depending on one's observing latitude).  Let me reiterate: The actual day of "equal daylight and nighttime" as seen at the latitude of the observer would NOT have been detectable or known by ancient people, yet the day the sun rises exactly due east is easily determined.

Yet another problem with calling the "Enoch Calendar" the "right calendar" or the "creator's calendar" is that the calendar is mentioned nowhere in scripture.  In the Messiah's time, the Pharisees determined the calendar (which is known to have been the lunar-solar calendar with the moon determining the months) and we have no record in the Gospels that the Messiah ever objected to the Pharisee calendar!  We can assume that if the Pharisees were using the wrong calendar, the Messiah likely would have corrected them!  Note also, that in Exodus 12, God Himself CHANGED the calendar from whatever it was, to the "new" calendar where the 1st month of the year became the lunar month of Abib (Nisan). God did not say "The 4th gate month will be the 1st month of the year for you" (which would have implied the Enoch calendar was in use at the time.)

Still another problem with the Enoch calendar is the fact that the LOGICAL time for the year to begin and end is the Autumnal Equinox, not the Vernal Equinox.  This is because it is in the Autumn when the last of the annual harvests are done, and the sowing of new crops begins.  This is the logical time to "end" the annual season of crops, and "begin" the new annual season of planting - the "year's end and beginning".  The Spring equinox is not the logical time to end and start a new year because all the sowing was done months earlier and the new year's crops (planted last Fall) are just now growing.  Yet the Book of Enoch, supposedly written a 1000 years or so before the Exodus says the "1st month" of the year is at the Spring Equinox!  If , at the time of the exodus, this "Enoch calendar" was the "CORRECT" calendar already using the Spring Equinox as the 1st month of the year, then why would God have changed the calendar to the very same month?  It makes no sense.

There are other problems with the Enoch calendar, but I think this covers the most important problems.  The Enoch calendar is pretty good for an agricultural calendar, assuming the required intercalary week is properly determined, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the Feast calendar of scripture which is a lunar-solar calendar, with the sun determining the year, and the moon determining the months.

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