News Letter 5854-049
The 2nd Year of the 4th Sabbatical Cycle
The 23rd year of the 120th Jubilee Cycle
The 24th day of the 12th month 5854 years after the creation of Adam
The 12th Month in the Second year of the Fourth Sabbatical Cycle
The 4th Sabbatical Cycle after the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Sword, Famines, and Pestilence
March 2, 2019
Shabbat Shalom to the Royal Family of Yehovah,
This year brethren, I am fully expecting there to be another controversy over the state of the barley. With one group stating that the barley is not ripe and therefore we must add a 13th month to the calendar. But they will have declared that two weeks before the barley is even needed and in that time it can mature to a state that is consistent with it being ripe enough to be roasted or just ripe enough to be present as a first fruit offering.
One group has already declared the barley is ready and that was last week. This was forwarded to me on Monday via my contacts in India. I will have more to say about them later.
Shalom and greetings from Bethel!
We are pleased to announce that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there are green heads of grain in the land of Israel. Teaching Elder Jonathan Meyer was able to identify green heads of grain that clearly meet the requirements of Abib as listed in Deuteronomy 16.
This means that the projected dates for the Feast Days that the Assemblies of Yahweh published are correct. The New Moon of Abib should be visible on the evening of March 7, and with that sighting, the 10th of Abib will be-March 17th, Passover Memorial- March 20 (after sundown), 1st High Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread-March 21 (after sundown), Wave Sheaf-March 23rd (after sundown), and then the last High Day of the Feast will conclude at sundown March 28th.
We are entering a period of intense preparation, both physically and spiritually. We are commanded to search our possessions diligently for anything that will be unacceptable during the Feast and remove it. We must also look carefully at our hearts and minds, cleansing our vessels of any leaven in anticipation of being at close communion with Yahweh.
May Yahweh be with His faithful servants as we serve Him through Yahshua the Messiah. Shalom!
It was this same group, I think, that a few years ago got barley and wheat mixed up in their report saying the barley was being harvested when in fact it was wheat being cut for feed. And after looking at the pictures they posted, I am wondering if it is not once again the wheat they are looking at.
They often in Israel cut down the wheat and use it as silage for the cattle before it becomes mature. And this is from their own pictures which does not look like barley to me.
But, I am very pleased to now know that the Assemblies of Yahweh are now going by the Barley in Israel and not the vernal equinox. It is great to see people and whole groups repent and begin to do the will of Yehovah as He has said for them to do. But although they are nor going by the Barley we must still do two things. We must wait until the moon is sighted and then we must confirm that the barley is indeed ripe enough to be roasted and harvested on the eve of Wave Sheaf Day. That is when the Barley is to be harvested. That is when the sycle first is put to the grain. On the eve of wave sheaf day.
So prepare for controversy and let’s all pray it does not come this year and that we can keep the Holy Days in unison.
If you would like to hear our podcast on this subject then please go to http://sightedmoon.blubrry.com/2017/04/16/wave-sheaf-day-why-all-the-hype/
As I go to post I wanted to share this email I just got.
Shalom Mr. Dumond,.
I been visiting a couple who are in the same program I am doing (Methadone program). Actually it was just a woman at first. Her boyfriend did not have a problem with me coming and doing bible studies with his girlfriend but did not want anything to do with it period at first. Once he listened to what I was sharing with his girlfriend he started to interact with me.His name is George …… but he known as JR. He was raised Catholic and hates organized religion so when he noticed I was talking against the mainstream ideas of religion he got very interested.
I pulled out the Prophesy’s of Abraham I had in my bag and explained the prophesies and how the the cycles repeat to him. Once I was sure he understood the basics I asked how old he was and he just happend to turn 50 this year so I adjusted the year difference and started asking him about if certain dates ment anything to him.
I first figured I might find a few things in his life that matched the research you did but every date had a huge event happening. He actually lost his commonlaw wife smack in the middle of the 4th cycle of his life. I was astonded myself by the things he was sharing with me.
I’ve done a few people I been talking with now and what stands out the most powerfully are the curses. It blows my mind how there is a cycle of blessings and curses we can track in some cases. This is just something I throwing out there but it seems there is around a 7 year wait for curses for our actions if we deserve curses. The blessings come quicker. I asked everyone how they were living their lives prior to the curses they had to endure and most everyone admitted to living very badly before hand lol
I asked those I spoken with if it was ok for me to share this with you and they had no objections but were not eager for me to start telling people about their short comings and such but I had to share this with you.
What amazes me the most is this man who wanted nothing to do with hearing the Truth ended up at my door yesterday wanting to learn more.
I am asking if you could pray for this couple. They both are struggling with intervenous opiate addictioin. I know I layed seeds . Whether I get to see them grow is another story but I hopeful. They are hard core addicts but I know they can be reached
Anyhow I looking forward to this weeks article. Sure you busy with it as we speak. It Thursday evening at :940 pm. Couple hours you most likely have it posted up to the website.
I been keeping you and the work in my prayers Mr. Dumond. Hope you have a nice rest this coming Sabbath. Love out to you from NS. Canada
I am very proud of this man sharing to those who most would not even bother. Thank You, Steve, for doing the work that only you can do. I pray Yehovah to bless you more than you can ever imagine and grant you the grace beyond measure.
Also, know that now that you are obeying Yehovah all you have to do is pray and last week we showed you how. You can now pray for these people and Yehovah will hear your prayer. He does hear the prayers of those who obey Him as you now are.
Biblical Leap Years
The Biblical year begins with the first New Moon after the barley in Israel reaches the stage in its ripeness called Aviv. The period between one year and the next is either 12 or 13 lunar months. Because of this, it is important to check the state of the Barley crops at the end of the 12th month. If the barley is Aviv at this time, then the following New Moon is Hodesh Ha-Aviv (“New Moon of the Aviv”). If the barley is still immature, we must wait another month and then check the barley again at the end of the 13th month.
By convention, a 12-month year is referred to as a Regular Year while a 13th month year is referred to as a Leap Year. This should not be confused with Leap Years in the Gregorian (Christian) Calendar, which involve the “intercalation” (addition) of a single day (Feb. 29). In contrast, the Biblical Leap Year involves the intercalation of an entire lunar month (“Thirteenth Month”, also called “Adar Bet”). In general, it can only be determined whether a year is a Leap Year a few days before the end of the 12th Month.
Where is Aviv Mentioned in the Hebrew Bible?
The story of the Exodus relates “This day you are going out in the the month of the Aviv.” (Ex 13:4).
To commemorate that we left Egypt in the month of the Aviv, we are instructed to bring the Passover sacrifice and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) at this time of year. In Dt 16:1 we are commanded:
“Keep the month of the Aviv and make the Passover (sacrifice) to Yehovah your God at night, because in the month of the Aviv, Yehovah your God took you out of Egypt”.
Similarly, we are commanded in Ex 23:15,
“You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the time of the month of the Aviv, because in it you went out of Egypt.”
The same is commanded in Ex 34:18,
“You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as have I commanded you, at the time of the month of the Aviv, because in the month of the Aviv you went out of Egypt.”
What is Aviv?
Aviv indicates a stage in the development of the barley crops. This is clear from Ex 9:31-32 which describes the devastation caused by the plague of hail:
“And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Aviv and the flax was Giv’ol. And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot).”
The above passage relates that the barley crops were destroyed by the hail while the wheat and spelt were not damaged. To understand the reason for this we must look at how grain develops. When grains are early in their development they are flexible and have a dark green color. As they become ripe they take on a light yellowish hue and become more brittle. The reason that the barley was destroyed and the wheat was not is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Aviv and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail. In contrast, the wheat and spelt were still early enough in their development, at a stage when they were flexible and not susceptible to being damaged by hail. The description of the wheat and spelt as “dark” (Afilot) indicates that they were still in the stage when they were deep green and had not yet begun to lighten into the light yellowish hue which characterizes ripe grains. In contrast, the barley had reached the stage of Aviv at which time it was no longer “dark” and at this point it probably had begun to develop golden streaks.
We know from several passages that barley which is in the state of Aviv has not completely ripened, but has ripened enough so that its seeds can be eaten parched in fire. Parched barley was a commonly eaten food in ancient Israel and is mentioned in numerous passages in the Hebrew Bible as either “Aviv parched (Kalui) in fire” (Lev 2,14) or in the abbreviated form “parched (Kalui/ Kali)” (Lev 23:14; Jos 5:11; 1Sam 17:17; 1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 17:28; Ruth 2:14).
While still early in its development, barley has not yet produced large enough and firm enough seeds to produce food through parching. This early in its development, when the “head” has just come out of the shaft, the seeds are not substantial enough to produce any food. At a later stage, the seeds have grown in size and have filled with liquid. At this point the seeds will shrivel up when parched and will only produce empty skins. Over time the liquid is replaced with dry material and when enough dry material has amassed the seeds will be able to yield “barley parched in fire”.
Aviv and the Harvest
The month of the Aviv is the month which commences after the barley has reached the stage of Aviv. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month the barley has moved beyond the stage of Aviv and is ready to be brought as the “wave-sheaf offering” (Hanafat HaOmer). The “wave-sheaf offering” is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the Sunday which falls out during Passover (Chag HaMatzot). This is described in Lev 23:10-11,
“When you come to the land which I give you, and harvest its harvest, you will bring the sheaf of the beginning of your harvest to the priest. And he will wave the sheaf before Yehovah so you will be accepted; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest will wave it.”
From this it is clear that the barley, which was Aviv at the beginning of the month, has become harvest-ready 15-21 days later (i.e by the Sunday during Passover). Therefore, the month of the Aviv can not begin unless the barley has reached a stage where it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.
That the barley must be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks into the month of the Aviv is also clear from Dt 16:9 which states:
“From when the sickle commences on the standing grain you will begin to count seven weeks.”
From Lev 23:15 we know that the seven weeks between Passover (Chag Hamatzot) and Pentecost (Shavuot) begin on the day when the wave-sheaf offering is brought (i.e. the Sunday which falls out during Passover):
“And you shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the sheaf of waving; they will be seven complete Sabbaths.”
Therefore, the “sickle commences on the standing grain” on the Sunday during Passover, i.e. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month of the Aviv. If the barley is not developed enough so that it will be ready for the sickle 2-3 weeks later, then the month of the Aviv can not begin and we must wait till the following month.
It should be noted that not all the barley ripens in the Land of Israel at the same time. The wave-sheaf offering is a national sacrifice brought from the first fields to become harvest-ready. However, the first-fruit offerings brought by individual farmers can vary in ripeness anywhere from “Aviv parched in fire” to fully ripe grain which may be brought “crushed” or “coarsely ground”. This is what is meant in Lev 2:14,
“And when you bring a first-fruit offering to Yehovah; you shall bring your first-fruit offering as Aviv parched in fire or crushed Carmel” (Carmel is grain which has hardened beyond Aviv to the point where it can be “crushed” or “coarsely ground”).
All of the above passages have been translated directly from the Hebrew and it is worth noting that the King James translators seem to have only understood the various Hebrew agricultural terms very poorly. In Lev 2:14 they translated Carmel as “full ears” and “Aviv” as “green ears” whereas in Lev 23:14 they translated Carmel as “green ears”!
In summation, barley which is in the state of Aviv has 3 characteristics:
- It is brittle enough to be destroyed by hail and has begun to lighten in color (it is not “dark”).
- The seeds have produced enough dry material so it can be eaten parched.
- It has developed enough so that it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.
Let me say it again LOUD AND CLEAR. YOU MUST HAVE BARLEY TO MAKE THE WAVE OFFERING ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, DURING THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. IT MUST BE THE ‘FIRST FRUITS’ NOT THE LAST FRUITS OF THE BARLEY. THEREFORE THE BARLEY MUST BE AT THE BEGINNING OF ITS RIPENESS IN ORDER TO BE FIRST FRUITS.
You cannot make the wave offering based on the equinox, because the equinox never determines if the barley is ripe or not.
Q: Doesn’t Genesis 1:14 show that the Vernal Equinox, not the barley, determine the holy day seasons?
We read in Gen 1:14;
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven, to divide between the day and the night and they will be for signs and for times (Moedim) and for days and for years.”
From this verse, it is not clear what is dependent on what. Certainly, no mention of the Vernal Equinox is made. Perhaps the year is dependent on the moon or the stars? If the year is dependent on the sun, then what about the sun effects the beginning of the year? Gen 1:14 does not specify these things and we must turn to other Biblical passages to get a more precise understanding of the Biblical calendar. In Dt 16,1 we read:
“Keep the month of the Abib and make the Passover (sacrifice) to YHWH your God at night, because in the month of Abib YHWH your God took you out of Egypt”
Similarly, we read:
“You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as have I commanded you, at the time of the month of the Abib, because in the month of the Abib you went out of Egypt.” (Ex 34,18)
The word “Abib” refers to barley which has reached a certain stage in its development. This meaning of Abib is preserved in the verse:
“And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Abib and the flax was Giv’ol. And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot).” (Ex 9,31-32)
To keep the Passover Sacrifice in the Month of the Abib requires taking the Abib (ripening barley) as an indicator of the beginning of the year. This is entirely consistent with Gen 1:14, for the ripening of the barley, is dependent on the seasons of the year and therefore indirectly is controlled by the sun. Central factors, which cause the barley to ripen, are the lengthening of the days and the increasing sunlight, changes in humidity, and other factors which affect the environment. Therefore, it is the sun, which indirectly causes the barley to ripen, and thereby acts as an indicator of years. It is this indirect effect which causes the barley to become Abib which Gen 1:14 is referring to when it says the sun and moon will be for years.
It should be noted that the equinox is never mentioned in the entire Hebrew Bible. Gen 1:14, which has often been cited as proof of the equinox theory, does not mention the equinox either. On the contrary, the use of astronomical calculations for determining the time of the equinox was in this period synonymous with the idolatrous practice of fortune telling and was certainly not practiced in ancient Israel (Isa 47:13).
You are wearied with your many counsels;
let them stand forth and save you,
those who divide the heavens,
who gaze at the stars,
who at the new moons make known
what shall come upon you.
Q: Is the equinox (Tequfah) mentioned in the Tanach (Hebrew Bible)?
The claim has been made by proponents of the equinox calendar theory that the word equinox actually appears in the Tanach. They are referring to the word Tekufah or Tequfah which appears in the Hebrew Bible four times. Tekufah is in fact the post-Biblical word for “equinox”, however, it never has the meaning of “equinox” in the Tanach. In Biblical Hebrew, Tekufah retains its literal meaning of “circuit”, that is something which returns to the same point in time or space [from the root Nun.Quf.Pe. meaning “to go around”]. To claim that Tekufah means equinox in the Tanach, just because it had this meaning in later Hebrew, is an anchronism. This would be like saying that there were handguns in ancient Israel because the word EKDACH, the post-Biblical Hebrew word for handgun, appears in Isaiah 54:12. Let us consider another example of this anachronistic use of language: Before the invention of the electronic computer during World War II, the word “computer” referred to a man who sat at a desk calculating (computing) mathematical equations. Imagine if we found an 18th century document mentioning “computers” and proclaimed to the world that there were really electronic computers in the 18th century. This is exactly what the equinox-followers are doing with the word Tekufah. To better understand this, let us consider the four appearances of Tekufah in the Tanach.
Tekufah in Exodus 34:22
The first appearance of Tekufah is in the list of Pilgrimage-Feasts (Hagim) in Ex 34:22 which refers to the agricultural character of the Feast of Booths (Sukkot):
“And the Feast of Ingathering at the circuit of the year (Tekufat HaShannah).”
Being mislead by the Post-Biblical Hebrew meaning of Tekufah, some have interpreted “circuit of the year” anachronistically to refer to the Autumnal Equinox (it is doubtful whether the ancient Israelites even knew of the equinox and they certainly had no way of calculating when it would be). This anachronistic reading leads to the suggestion of fixing the beginning of the year so that Sukkot (The Feast of Ingathering) falls out at the time of the Autumnal Equinox. However, a closer investigation shows that “circuit of the year” has nothing to do with the equinox. The list of Pilgrimage-Feasts also appears in a parallel passage in Ex 23:16 which describes Sukkot as follows:
“And the Feast of Ingathering at the going out of the year (Tzet HaShannah), when you have gathered in your work from the field.”
Exodus 34 is actually an almost verbatim paraphrase of Exodus 23 and it is important to compare and contrast these two passages; the differences are often very enlightening. Comparing Ex 34:22 and Ex 23:16 it is clear that the “going out of the year” and the “circuit of the year” refer to the same time. The “going out/ circuit” of the year is described in Ex 23:16 as “when you have gathered in your work from the field”. This agricultural ingathering is also described in Dt 16:13:
“You shall keep the Feast of Booths for seven days, when you have gathered in from your threshing floors and from your wine presses.”
The Feast of Booths/ Ingathering is described as the “going out of the year” because it takes place at the end of the yearly agricultural cycle of planting, harvest, threshing, and ingathering. At the same time, Sukkot is described as taking place at the “circuit of the year” because once the agricultural cycle ends it then immediately recommences (making a circuit, returning to the same point in time) with the planting of the fields after the first rains (sometimes during or shortly after Sukkot itself).
Tekufah in Psalms 19:7
The term Tekufah (circuit) appears in Psalm 19 in reference to the sun, but here too it has nothing to do with the equinox. Psalm 19 describes the heavens and sun, which from their unique vantage point are witness to all things in creation, and thus (metaphorically) testify to the incomparable glory of God. Verses 5-7 describes the sun:
“(5)… He [YHWH] placed a tent among them [the heavens] for the sun. (6) Which is as a bridegroom going out of his chamber, and which rejoices as a strong man running a race. (7) From the end of the heavens is its [the sun’s] going out and its circuit (Tekufato) is to their [the heavens] ends, and none is hidden from its heat”
Verse 6 describes the sun as a bridegroom that bursts forth out of his chamber and as a hero that runs along a path. Verse 7 then describes the “going out” of the sun at one end of the heavens and the “circuit” (Tekufato) of the sun at the other end. Clearly what is being described is the daily path of the sun which rises at one end of the heaven (its going out) and sets at the other end (its return), “and none is hidden from its heat” during the course of the day. What has confused some readers is that the going out or exiting of the sun refers to sunrise, but this unusual terminology is used throughout the Tanach. For example, we read in Judges 5:31:
“Thus shall all the enemies of YHWH be destroyed; and all those whom he loves shall be as the going out of the sun (KeTzet HaShemesh) in its might”. (Jud 5,31)
Those loyal to YHWH shall shine forth with glory as the “going out of the sun”, that is sunrise. It may seem strange that sunrise is referred to as the “going out” of the sun. After all, in Exodus we saw that the going out of the year was the end of the year, whereas the going out of the sun is the beginning of the day. However, this is consistent with Biblical usage and in fact the common Biblical way of saying sunset is the coming in or entering of the sun. This is related to the ancient Israelite conception of the sun which at night was thought of as metaphorically dwelling in a celestial chamber (Ps 19:5). At dawn the sun goes out of this metaphorical chamber and the earth is lit while at night the sun comes into the metaphorical chamber and it is dark. This is also the thought behind the comparison of sunrise to a bridegroom coming forth from his chamber. Ps 19:7 refers to the going out of the sun (sunrise) at one end of heaven and its circuit (return to the same place, to its nightly chamber) at the other end, that is sunset (for a similar thought see Ecc 1:5). We see that here too Tekufah (circuit) has nothing to do with the equinox.
Tekufah in 2Chronicles 24:23
As seen above the “Tekufah (circuit) of the year” in Exodus referred to events in the autumn (the time of the ingathering). The same expression (circuit of the year) is also used to refer to events which take place in late spring as we see in 2Chr 24:23:
“And it was at the circuit (Tekufah) of the year that the army of Aram went up and they came to Judah and Jerusalem…”
In this instance the “Circuit (Tekufah) of the year” comes in place of the common expression “Return (Teshuvah) of the year” which appears several times in the Tanach as “the time when kings go out [to war]” as in:
“And it was at the return (Teshuvah) of the year, and Ben-Haddad counted Aram and went up to Afek to war with Israel.” (1Ki 20:26).
“And it was at the return (Teshuvah) of the year, at the time the kings go out [to war] and David sent Yoav… and they smote the Amonites and besieged Rabbah…” (2Sam 11:1)
The time that the kings went out to war was the late spring before the oppresive heat of summer and after the winter rains which made the mud roads in the Land of Israel impassable. We see here that Tekufah (circuit) of the year is used interchangeably with the more common Teshuvah (return) of the year. Whenever this annual set time for kings to go out to war comes around it is a “circuit of the year”, returning to the same point in time as last year.
Tekufah in 1Samuel 1:20
The term Tekufah (circuit) also appears in 1Sam 1:20 which says:
“And it was at the circuits (Tekufot) of the days, and Hannah conceived and bore a son…”
Here the “circuits” of the days refers to “the same time the following year” [or possibly to the completion of the term of pregnancy?]. It is worth noting that Tekufah is plural in 1Sam 1:20 as tekufot “circuitS”. If we apply the anachronistic meaning of Tekufah as equinox then we get the absurd translation: “And it was at the equinoxes of the days, and Hanah concieved and bore a son…” This emphasizes how important it is to understand Scripture in its historical and linguistic context.
None of the four appearances of Tekufah in the Hebrew Scripture have anything to do with the equinox. Instead, this term is used in Biblical Hebrew in its primary sense of a “circuit”, that is a return to the same point in space or time. Only in Post-Biblical Hebrew did Tekufah come to mean “equinox” and to read this meaning into the Tanach creates an anachronism.
Doesn’t Josephus say that the New Year is determined based on the “1st of Aries”?
The “1st of Aries” is a reference to the Vernal Equinox and as seen above the Pharisees determined the New Year based on 3 factors, one of which was the Vernal Equinox. In his autobiography, Josephus himself informs us that he is a Pharisee, so it is not surprising that he should quote the Pharisee practice of intercalation. As is Josephus’ practice he only gives the details of a lwhich would be comprehensible to his pagan Greek readers. In this case Josephus does not mention the agricultural indicators of the New Year [according to the Pharisees the Abib and the Fruits] and only refers to the astrological indicators which his pagan audience would have been able to relate to. Josephus’ repeating the Pharisee position on intercalation does not give it any more credence.
Last week I left you with a question about should we have two witnesses or can you rely on one that has proven himself trustworthy and accurate?
You may recall that we had only Dr. Roy Hoffman who was able to sight the new moon and he provided a picture as well.
I also asked where is this commanded in scriptures? And I then used the one witness of Roy Hoffman to number my days of the month. Last Sabbath I said it was the 4th day and wonder if I should change the date this week to be the 10th or the 11th. Why am I debating this?
Is going with one witness biblical? To set the precedent now in the fourth month will eventually lead to another great controversy in the 1st of 7th month when the Holy Days come.
How do we resolve this?
Where in scripture does it say we need two witnesses? This was the question I asked you all.
Deu 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins. At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be made sure.
Deu 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses shall he that is worthy of death be put to death. At the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
Psalm 89:37 It shall be established forever like the moon, and like a faithful witness in the heavens.
We also have two witnesses in Daniel 8 and in Revelation 11.
Dan 8:13 Then I heard a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that one who spoke, Until when shall the vision last, concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression that astounds, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled?
Rev 11:3 And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy a thousand, two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands standing before the God of the earth.
When Yehshua was at the temple they used two witnesses to sight the moon then. I have the following statement that says before that time the witness of one respected Jew was testimony enough. This comes from the writings of Rambam on the crescent moon.
Accordingly, in the early generations, testimony regarding [the sighting of] the new [moon] was accepted from any Jew [without further enquiry], for any Jew can be presumed to be an acceptable witness unless one knows with certainty that he is unacceptable. When the followers of Baithos 8 began conducting themselves in a debased manner and would hire people 9 to testify that they had seen the moon when in fact they had not, the court decreed that it would accept testimony regarding [the sighting of] the new [moon] only from witnesses whom the court knew to be acceptable. Moreover, they would examine and question their testimony. It was the de facto system used in Second Temple times by both the Pharisees and the Temple Priesthood.
This is Neusner’s translation:
RoshHa. 1:7 A. A father and his son who saw the new moon should go [to give testimony]. B. It is not that they join together with one another [to provide adequate testimony], C. but so that, if one of them should turn out to be invalid [as a witness], the other may join with someone else [to make up the requisite number of witnesses]. D. R. Simeon says, “A father and his son, and all relatives, are valid to give testimony about the new moon.” E. Said R. Yose, “M‘SH B: Tobiah, the physician, saw the new moon in Jerusalem-he, his son, and his freed slave. F. “And the priests accepted him and his son [as witnesses to the new moon], but they invalidated the testimony of his slave. G. “But when they came before the court, they accepted his [testimony] and that of his slave, but they invalidated that of his son.”
It shows there were two rival courts and both required 2 witnesses, although they had different standards as to who was acceptable as a witness. Now this isn’t definitive proof of what the Torah requires, only what was understood in the 1st century.
The fact that the Temple Priests and Pharisees agreed on the basic principle, while disagreeing on some of the specifics, has weight for me.
In my time of observing the crescent moon I do recall a time when we had a few witnesses who all had seen an airplane. Should we have accepted their witness because all three said it was the moon they saw? When the pictures were examined it turned out to be a plane.
Rambam also says the following things;
7. 7What is the process through which the testimony regarding the sighting of the moon is accepted? Anyone who saw the moon and is fit to testify20 should come to the court. The [judges] should bring them all to a single place,21 and should make a large feast for them, so that people will come regularly. The pair [of witnesses] who arrive first are examined first according to the questions mentioned previously.22 The one of greater stature is invited [into a private chamber] first and asked these questions. If his testimony is accurate according to [the data that the court arrives at through] calculations, they invite his colleague in. If their statements are comparable,23 their testimony is substantiated.
[Afterwards,] the remaining pairs are asked questions of a broader nature. [In truth,] their testimony is not required at all, [and they are being asked] only so they will not depart disheartened, so that they will come frequently [in the future].24
Once the court sanctifies the new month, it remains sanctified regardless of whether they erred unwittingly, they were led astray [by false witnesses], or they were forced [to sanctify it].35 We are required to calculate [the dates of] the festivals based on the day that they sanctified [as the beginning of the new month].
Even if [a person] knows that [the court] erred, he is obligated to rely on them,36 for the matter is entrusted to them alone. The One who commanded us to observe the festivals is the One who commanded [us] to rely on them, as [implied by Leviticus 23:2]: “Which you will pronounce as days of holy convocation.”37
Rosh HaShanah 2:10 relates that once Rabbi Yehoshua differed with Rabban Gamliel concerning the acceptance of the testimony of witnesses with regard to Rosh HaShanah. Since Rabban Gamliel was the head of the High Court, his opinion was accepted. To emphasize the importance of following the necessity for uniform adherence to the decisions of the court, Rabban Gamliel ordered Rabbi Yehoshua to appear before him carrying his staff and his wallet on the day that Rabbi Yehoshua thought should be considered as Yom Kippur.
After consulting with his colleagues, Rabbi Yehoshua obeyed Rabban Gamliel’s instructions. Afterwards, Rabban Gamliel honored Rabbi Yehoshua for his humility and deference to the court’s authority.
As it stands now we have a number of people in Israel sighting the moon and they have become good and trusted at it. All of them report to Nehemiah and this information is then shared to the rest of us in the world. We also have relied upon Nehemiah for the barley reports to begin the year. And lately we have had a couple others doing the report as well. A difference in understanding when the barley must be ripe has occurred this year. And sadly we are this year on two different calendars.
So I am wondering if there is any way a court could be set up and all of us submit to it?
Lev 23:2 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, The feasts of Jehovah, which you shall proclaim, holy convocations, even these are My appointed feasts.
We, the people, must proclaim Yehovah’s feasts. He will make the moon visible and the ripeness of the barley apparent to us or hide them from us. But when we see them then the Holy Days are to be proclaimed, and if we err then we should do so united.
Are we ready for this?
Are we who were once alienated to Yehovah and have now come back to obey Him, are we able to work with Judah in this declaration of when the Moon is and when the Feasts are? Are those of us from Judah ready to work with those who claim to follow Yehshua yet still obey the torah? Are we ready to have an official court to rule over whether we have one witness for the moon or whether we have two? Are we ready to have a court rule over how the barley is to be determined? Are we ready yet?