Add 1 day 12 hrs to Astronomical New Moon time. Adjust for sunset.1

The NT Bible Model is an approach to determine approximate dates for the New Moon worship day in accordance with the Bible and especially with respect to Isaiah's reference to this worship day being kept in the ages of eternity. Basically a day for worship that Christians can embrace if they want to and which is of course completely separate from the old Jewish system of sacrifices and ordinances [which were only for a period of time till the cross, and which came into existence well after2 the construction of the weekly cycle of worship and the new moon worship day].

The best way to answer the question of just what this model is can be done by explaining exactly how it came about. What follows is basically a condensed version. All full working for the model is given in the study The Search for Chodesh [The New Moon worship day]. Link given below.

The NT Bible Model came into existence as the result of a search I did looking for chodesh.

Just what is chodesh and where is it?

The Hebrew word chodesh occurs in the Bible and means simply month or new moon, depending on the context.

2320. chodesh, kho'-desh; from 2318; the new moon; by impl. a month:--month(-ly), new moon.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

It also appears to be day for worship as inferred by the prophet Isaiah:

For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says the LORD; so shall your descendants and your name remain.
From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath3 to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the L
Isaiah 66:22, 23.

The current Jewish view of the New Moon worship day is that it is a day specifically for women to worship on.

The search also brought to light the fact that the Jewish calendar is based on the day of the New Moon being the the first day of the Jewish month. As the beginning of the month the Hebrew term for this is Rosh Chodesh. Rosh means front or beginning, and Chodesh means month. Some Bibles translate this term as New Moon.

Rosh Chodesh is the Jewish New Moon worship day and is the beginning of each Jewish month. The exception to this is when the day is the beginning of the Jewish year, as one of these days must be. When this happens the day is called Rosh Hashanah.

From here things got messy.

As the search continued it became clear that the Jewish New Moon worship day was not based on the time of the Astronomical New Moon but instead on the first sliver of the waxing crescent following the astronomical new moon.

2013 insert:
Actually this is still not fully correct. The Jewish calendar for 2013 showed a very strong drift to the point where half of the rosh chodesh dates given fell on the same day as the astronomical new moon and a few of the days fell before the astronomical new moon dates! How this happened is because the Jewish calendar is constructed using a fixed length for the lunar months whereas the moon actually drifts a bit through the year. The Jews are aware of these discrepancies and readily admit them. See the Jewish calendar quote at end of this page.

Studying the Bible it was determined that this position was a little difficult to support from the Hebrew scriptures. I found that the Bible day is actually constructed from sunset to sunset--that is the dark part of the day comes first. Linking this with the concept that the lunar synodic month is exactly one lunar day led to the construct of starting the Biblical lunar month at the beginning of the dark phase of the moon.

And the Bible merism of Psalm 81:3 where both New Moon and Full Moon phases are mentioned appears to give some support to the view of the dark moon or current astronomical new moon being the new moon of the Bible. Merism means that these two extremes in moon phase mentioned in the same verse are actually polar extremes or opposites.

However the concept of Bible merism may also mean that these two phases of the moon simply make up the whole. And just how do we interpret the dark phase as being the beginning of the month? Could this mean the beginning of the dark phase, the actual time of the new moon [astronomical] or the end of the phase? Admittedly the Bible was not completely clear on this and these three possible views are left with us to sort out.

The Jews of course claim the end of the phase with the first sighting of the waxing crescent. And they claim they were given the command from God for this about thirty five hundred years ago. However, the verse reference for this is far from clear.

So could things have got muddled in time? And with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD could the knowledge of the original Biblical New Moon worship day have been lost?

Without any way of making any historical verification I proceeded to use my numerical approximation to generate new moon worship days for the beginning of the dark phase of the moon. The numerical approximation was determined from visual pictures obtained from Jewish sites showing their sightings of the waxing crescent. The value obtained was 1.5 days to be taken from the time of the astronomical new moon. This value could be taken before or after the astronomical new moon date depending on which view you wanted to follow.

It was also tested with the Jewish calendar for 2011 by using the value forwards and succeeded in landing on Jewish Rosh Chodesh dates for every month of the year. This verified that the numerical approach was a viable method for approximating new moon worship days. The method was then used for the beginning of the dark phase of the moon from late 2011 through 2014.

However late 2014 a historical search was undertaken using these various new moon approximations to see if a possible date for the crucifixion could be found. In short, this would give us a historical date before the destruction of Jerusalem and hopefully show just which of the new moon approaches was most likely to be the correct new moon worship day of the Bible.

Of the years looked at [4 in all] only one returned a possible Friday date for the crucifixion and the method that was successful in obtaining it was the waxing crescent approach. No Friday dates were obtained with the beginning of the dark phase of the moon. The results of this study were twofold. We successfully obtained a very likely date for the crucifixion of Christ. And at the same timed verified that the most likely new moon worship day of the Bible is the waxing crescent approach.

And from 2015 onwards the NT Bible model will be used to approximate new moon worship days according to the waxing crescent approach.

Note: some of the info below may be repeating as a lot of the above is a historical update.

The traditional approach was to visually observe the new moon. Whether this was just the first sliver of the waxing crescent as supposed or the actual dark phase of the moon, there is a problem with this. As the moon cycles the actual time of day of this event will shift changing by approximately 13 hours each month. This is not exactly correct but close and for arguments sake we can use it here. That said, if you observed the “new moon” at sunset one month you could expect it to move approximately 13 hours next month and so on.

That being the case there will be times when the correct observation of the new moon should actually be close to midnight or mid-day. Two problems: for mid-day a sunset observation will be 6 hours late. If at midnight well you won't see it at all as the moon sets and rises with the sun around the phase of the new moon. A sunset reading the following day would be 18 hours late. What this means very simply is that for most months a sunset reading really is not that accurate.

The NT Bible model approach attempts to resolve this problem by using a numerical value connected to the astronomical new moon time.

A sample of new moon phases obtained from internet sites gave a minimum numerical value of 1.0 days from the astronomical new moon time. First sliver pictures from some Jewish sites gave a maximum numerical value we would not want to exceed of approximately 2.0 days. The simplest approach we could take with a minimum and maximum value would be to try the average and see if it was workable. The value obtained from this was of course 1.5 days or 1 day 12 hours.

This value was tested with the Jewish calendar for 2011 by using the value forwards. It succeeded in landing on Jewish Rosh Chodesh dates for every month of the year. Sometimes the Jewish calendar had 2 Rosh Chodesh dates in one month. When this happened the numerical value was successful in landing on one of them.

As far as I was concerned this established the method as a reasonable approach to determining New Moon worship days. The method can be simply written as:

The NT Bible Model: Subtract 1 day 12 hrs from Astronomical New Moon time. Adjust for sunset.
Note: with the historical update above the future approach that will be taken is to use the method forwards and add to the astronomical new moon date in effect approximating the waxing crescent approach.

There are however some issues that arose with the Jewish calendar. When testing the numerical value for 2011 it became apparent that there was something odd with some of the Jewish dates. For half of the year they seemed to be advanced a bit and the other half they were lagging. There was also another anomoly with the extra Rosh Chodesh months: those months having 2 Rosh Chodesh dates.

By the correspondence I had received these should have been occurring every couple of months or so. But the year gave a couple in the early part consecutively and 3 of them occurring in the later part, again consecutively. As a check I obtained a table of Molad values, which appear to be the method used to construct the Jewish calendar. These are supposed to be the times when the first sliver of the waxing crescent become visible.

Anyway, a quick check revealed that the Molad dates and times had been constructed by using EXACTLY 29 days 12 hours and 44 minutes [add the 3 seconds if you want to] month to month. But the synodic months for 2011 ranged from 29 days 8 hours and 5 minutes to 29 days 18 hours and 15 minutes. It doesn't seem much but it was enough to show a difference in some of the Jewish calendar days when compared to a value connected with the actual astronomical new moon time.

The length of the lunar synodic month changes through the year and the Jewish calendar does not allow for this and actually gets a little out of step.*

The Jews are aware of these length discrepancies and readily admit them:

The Jewish Calendar: A Closer Look
Note that the calculated molad does not necessarily correspond precisely to the astronomical new moon. The length of time from one astronomical new moon to the next varies somewhat because of the eccentric orbits of the Earth and Moon; however, the moladot of Rabbi Hillel's calendar are set using a fixed average length of time: 29 days, 12 hours, and 793 "parts" (or in Hebrew, chalakim). The amount of time is commonly written in an abbreviated form: 29d 12h 793p.

The NT Bible Model does not have this problem. The NT Bible model approach uses a numerical value to follow the astronomical new moon date. As the synodic month length changes through the year the position for the new moon worship day adjusts accordingly.

And contrary to the Jewish version, the Bible New Moon worship day is a day for both genders, not just women. The reasons for this are given in a different study. See our Home page.

Also, according to the Bible construction for a day, New Moon worship days are from sunset to sunset.

The Jewish approach of using two chodesh dates when the numerical value falls near a sunset time is also taken. At present Jerusalem times are being used but the reason for this is purely geographical, not Jewish. If the command from God was given to Moses then it is clear the location is somewhere near the region of Palestine. Using Jerusalem times should solve any problem here.
To see how this all works see our Calendar page.

* It got completely out of step in 2013. See the PostScript section at the end of my Search page link below.
The Search for Chodesh [The New Moon worship day]

Isaiah 66:22, 23

1. The most common approach for determining the new moon worship day is the waxing crescent. The Jews and many historical documents favour this approach. The Jewish model I proposed on my search page failed in 2013 due to the moon's irregular travel. The true lunar synodic month is not a fixed length of 29.53 days but close and actually varies through the year. Nevertheless the NT Bible model numerical method should be a reasonable approximation for the waxing crescent approach.
2. It can be argued more correctly that the system of sacrifices really began straight after the fall. Instructions for an earthly sanctuary and rules pertaining to all sorts of sacrifices were given in great detail to Moses many years later.
3. The sabbath day referred to here is obviously the seventh-day sabbath that the Jews keep. A sabbath day is simply just a day of rest and usually used for worship. Most Christians keep Sunday as one day in seven in recognition of the weekly cycle of worship set up at the creation of this world. After completing His act of creating this world, the Lord rested on the seventh day and sanctified it and made it holy. As stated previously, in recognition of this fact, most Christians worship on Sunday, following a weekly cycle of seven days. But there is some debate whether Sunday, the first day of the week, is really the correct day for Christians to worship on. See the related study: Which DAY should Christians KEEP?

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: The New Moon worship day information page

Stephen Buckley
Last revised: 14 Feb 2015.