Remember 2016 and the many “calendar arguments”? No? Well 2016 was the most recent year that the traditional calendar of Judaism established the month of Passover in the wrong month by the moon. What this means is that the traditional calendar of Judaism identified Passover in 2016 at the Full moon in April when it should have been identified at the full moon of March. We wrote extensively about the issue in our blog article “2016 Calendar Craziness!” Sadly the same problem happens again in 2019! So be forewarned that 2019 will be another year when Passover by the traditional calendar is on the wrong date and many calendar many arguments will ensue!
Unfortunately, we have to look forward to this problem more and more often as the modern, traditional Jewish calendar gets more and more out-of-sync with the real moon. This happens again in 2024, 2026, and 2035. (And that’s only as far ahead as I looked!)
Why is this happening?
It happens because the modern traditional Jewish calendar instead of using the real moon, calculates the annual calendar using what is called the “Metonic Cycle” to determine the calendar year in which to include a “Leap Month”. That is to say, that a leap month is rigidly inserted every 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th year of the 19-year Metonic Cycle. So what is the problem using this formula?
The problem is that the Metonic Cycle works quite well over the span of the entire 19 years, but within the 19 years, the Metonic Cycle often requires a leap month when the actual moon indicates a leap month is not required! That is exactly what happens in 2019.
The “rule” of when Passover falls is that Passover must be on or as close as possible after the Vernal Equinox. That is the scriptural requirement, (Deuteronomy 16:1). In 2019, the Vernal Equinox is on March 20th, just before midnight Israel time. And the full moon, of the 14th of the month happens on March 21st – clearly after the Vernal Equinox. So March 21st 2019 should be the 14th of Nissan, but the traditional Jewish calendar inserts the leap month, so March 21st is instead identified as the 14th of Adar II. By the Jewish calendar then, Passover in 2019 is not till the 19th of April – a full lunar cycle late! By scripture, holding Passover a full lunar cycle late establishes Passover “in the wrong season” (Deuteronomy 16:1, 6).
Toward the end of our annual Hebrew calendar we include an 8-page narrative of how the calendar should work. You are welcome to review it. Our 2019 calendar is found here.
We never argue with anyone about the “authority” of our calendar and we do not ask that “our calendar” be followed. Clearly, we do not have authority. But that is not the point. (The modern Jewish calendar also has no authority since no Great Sanhedrin authorized the many “rules” added to today’s calendar, and that calendar has many problems.) Scripture is clear, even though no calendar formula is found within Scripture, that YHWH’s appointed times are based on a calendar only of the sun, moon, and stars. Period. (Genesis 1:14). No “barley”, no “Metonic Cycle”, and no “postponements”! We have striven to identify the calendar of the Bible and that’s all.
Questions can always be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.