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Does the Watchtower Society this year celebrate the Memorial or the Fast of Esther?

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Ann O'Maly -
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The Watchtower Society teaches that we must celebrate the Memorial of Jesus on the 14th of Nisan, but this year the date is March 23 which is the celebration of the Fast of Esther on the eve of Purim.
http://www.chabad.org/calendar/view/month.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_of_Esther

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Seems the practice (since the 4th Century) of adding an extra month, Adar1, every so often to realign the Jewish lunar calendar with the solar calendar puts the modern Jewish calendar out of sync with our Memorial date, particularly in 2016.

This well explained here: http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm#Links

There are other factors effecting the date. The timing of Nisan 1 by the sight of the new moon in Jerusalem rather than the astronomical calculation can mean a difference of 18-30 hours, placing our reckoning of Nisan 14 up to 2 days later. Also, the timing of the Passover Sacrifice as taking place between sunset and darkness of Nisan 14 (as substantiated by Ex 12:6 and De.16:6) differs from those Jewish authorities who place the Passover meal later, as occuring on Nisan 15.

Our calculations are based on the best evidence for the system used when the memorial was instituted by Jesus in the 1st Century, rather than the more recent Jewish methods.

Other references include:

WT 1 Feb 1976 p73

The modern Jewish calendar determines the beginning of their month of Nisan by the astronomical new moon. However, usually it is eighteen hours or more later when the first sliver of the crescent of the new moon becomes visible in Jerusalem. Each year, in recent times, the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses has determined the actual new moon that becomes visible in Jerusalem, which is the way the first of Nisan was determined in Biblical times. For this reason often there has been a difference of a day or two between the Memorial date of Jehovah’s witnesses and the Nisan 14 date according to the modern Jewish calendar.
 

*** w73 3/15 p. 175 Is the Date for Celebrating Passover Important to Christians? ***

Is the Date for Celebrating Passover Important to Christians?

JESUS CHRIST, the founder of Christianity, instituted the memorial of his death (the Lord’s Evening Meal) on a day marked by an annual observance, the Jewish Passover. This being the case, reasonably the Lord’s Evening Meal would also be an annual celebration. Hence the date on which the Passover was held would determine when the memorial of Jesus’ death should be commemorated. Christians therefore find it of more than passing interest to ascertain when Passover was observed. It is important, for they are under command to keep the memorial of Jesus’ death.—Luke 22:19.

According to the Jewish calendar, the anniversary date for the celebration of Passover falls in the month of Nisan. Regarding the lamb or goat that was to be eaten during the course of the Passover meal, Jehovah God commanded: “It must continue under safeguard by you until the fourteenth day of this month, and the whole congregation of the assembly of Israel must slaughter it between the two evenings.”—Ex. 12:6.

What does the expression “two evenings” mean? Does it have any bearing on the date for celebrating Passover?

Jewish tradition generally presents the “two evenings” as the time from noon (when the sun begins to decline) on until sundown. As the Israelites measured their day from sundown to sundown, this would mean that the Passover victim was slaughtered prior to the sundown with which Nisan 14 ended and Nisan 15 began. If this were correct, the Passover meal itself would have been eaten in Egypt on Nisan 15 and the Israelites would not have left Egypt until that date.

But the traditional Jewish view regarding the “two evenings” does not harmonize with the Bible account at Exodus 12:17, 18. There we read: “You must keep the festival of unfermented cakes, because on this very day I must bring your armies out from the land of Egypt. And you must keep this day throughout your generations as a statute to time indefinite. In the first month [Nisan or Abib], on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening you are to eat unfermented cakes.”

Had the Passover victim been slaughtered as Jewish tradition holds, namely, in the last quarter of the fourteenth day, which ended at sundown, then the Israelites could not have left Egypt that “very day.” The event that enabled them to depart was the death of the Egyptian firstborn. But, as this took place at midnight, it would not have come until about six hours after Nisan 14 ended.—Ex. 12:29.

So we must look to a source other than Jewish tradition to find out when the Passover victim was sacrificed and then eaten. We need to examine the Bible itself to determine the significance of the expression “two evenings.” Directing our attention to Deuteronomy 16:6, we note that in the case of the first evening a time beginning considerably later than noon is involved. The instructions to Israel here read: “You should sacrifice the passover in the evening as soon as the sun sets.” So the first of the “two evenings” manifestly designates the time when the sun sets, whereas the second evening would correspond to the time when the sun’s reflected light or afterglow ends and darkness falls.

This explanation of the two evenings was also offered by the Spanish rabbi Aben-Ezra (1092-1167 C.E.), as well as by the Samaritans and the Karaite Jews. It is the view presented by such scholars as Michaelis, Rosenmueller, Gesenius, Maurer, Kalisch, Knobel and Keil.

Viewing the Biblical evidence as a whole, we can see that the Passover victim was slaughtered at sunset, at the start of Nisan 14, and the meal itself was eaten later that evening. Whereas the Jews of today, in keeping with tradition, eat the Passover meal on Nisan 15, their practice is not supported by the Holy Scriptures. The correct anniversary date is Nisan 14.

Thus Jesus Christ must have eaten the Passover with his disciples on Nisan 14 “after evening had fallen” and thereafter instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. (Mark 14:17; Matt. 26:20-28) Jehovah’s Christian witnesses therefore observe the memorial of Christ’s death on its anniversary date after sundown on Nisan 14.

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6 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Seems the practice (since the 4th Century) of adding an extra month, Adar1, every so often to realign the Jewish lunar calendar with the solar calendar

For as long as the Jews have used a lunar-based calendar (many centuries before the 4th century!), they will have had to re-calibrate it with the solar year every two to three years by adding an extra month.

6 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

There are other factors effecting the date. The timing of Nisan 1 by the sight of the new moon in Jerusalem rather than the astronomical calculation can mean a difference of 18-30 hours, placing our reckoning of Nisan 14 up to 2 days later.

Yes, the Org. goes by the sighting of the new moon in Jerusalem to establish the month (in theory, anyway). But that's the same practice as the Jews. Unfortunately, sometimes the Org. calculates wrongly and JWs are a day out (case in point, the 2014 Memorial).

You are absolutely correct about the Jews celebrating Passover on Nisan 15 whereas JWs commemorate the Lord's Supper and subsequent 'passover' sacrifice on their equivalent of Nisan 14.

Also the Org. never takes into account lunisolar leap years but relies solely on the new moon nearest the spring equinox as the marker upon which to begin Nisan.

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8 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Seems the practice (apparently formalised since the 4th Century) of adding an extra month, Adar1, every so often to realign the Jewish lunar calendar with the solar calendar puts the modern Jewish calendar out of sync with our Memorial date, particularly in 2016.

 

 

Adjustment in italics. Thanks Ann O'Maly

2 hours ago, Ann O'Maly said:

Unfortunately, sometimes the Org. calculates wrongly and JWs are a day out (case in point, the 2014 Memorial).

What's the detail on that one?

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On 3/7/2016 at 9:19 PM, Eoin Joyce said:

What's the detail on that one?

 

*** w13 12/15 p. 23 ‘Do This in Remembrance of Me’ ***


MEMORIAL 2014


  "The moon circles our earth each month. In the course of each cycle, there is a moment when the moon lines up between the earth and the sun. This astronomical configuration is termed “new moon.” At that point, the moon is not visible from the earth nor will it be until 18 to 30 hours later.


  "During 2014, the new moon nearest the vernal (spring) equinox will be on March 30, at 8:45 p.m. (20:45), Jerusalem time. The following sunset in Jerusalem (March 31) will come about 21 hours later. It is doubtful that the first sliver of the moon will be visible then. More likely, the first sunset when the initial crescent of the moon can be seen in Jerusalem will be on April 1. By the method the ancient Jews used, that will be the day when the first month (Nisan 1) will start, at sunset.
 

"Hence, congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the earth have been informed that Nisan 14 will begin at sunset on Monday, April 14, 2014. That will be about the time of the full moon.—For more details on calculating the date, see The Watchtower of June 15, 1977, pages 383-384."
 

Part in blue: 

Correct date - new moon was on March 30.

Wrong time - new moon was at 21:45 Jerusalem time. The researcher hadn't factored in Daylight Saving Time that came in on March 28 for Israel.

Part in yellow:

Miscalculation of crescent visibility. Three astronomical programs calculated that the new crescent would be visible with the naked eye from Jerusalem on March 31. Granted, the crescent would be toward the limits of visibility criteria, but still would be theoretically possible to see according to,

Screenshots can be provided if you are that interested.

The Moon's crescent was indeed sighted in the vicinity of Jerusalem on March 31 as reported by this website.

JerusalemMarch31Nisan12014_zpse6caa285.j

Therefore, sunset March 31 was Nisan 1, and sunset April 13 (not 14) was Nisan 14. So JWs celebrated the 2014 Memorial on Nisan 15.

 

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Is it the actual time, that fails people, or is it the commandment that Jesus proclaimed to be observed. In a world full of imperfection, it would be mundane to cherry pick fallacies that are made daily by an overwhelming majority. The only logic behind such nonsense is to criticize. However, criticize what? Some here have failed with Saturnalia, what point can be made from those that question God’s Will. The disassociated can always find a reason. Does that make a person a genuine Witness, you decide. Just don’t blame the WTS or God if you chose poorly. Remember what the cup of Christ and the unleavened bread mean, not the object themselves.

The Christ myth and solstice

 

WILLIAM EDELEN

 

 

We are buried this time of year in mythology, legend and folklore. How many hundreds of times have we been told that Christmas celebrates the origin of Christianity? This, of course, is false. Christmas was around for eons before Jesus was ever born.

 

For thousands of years, the Winter Solstice -- Dec. 22-25 -- has been the most special time of the year and the most important date in human celebration. The sun has started its long journey home bringing springtime. Celebrating this event in this month of solstice I am part of the line of descent that has been uninterrupted almost from the birth of humankind. There has been no time when someone, somewhere, was not celebrating this date.

 

Long before the mythological birth date of Jesus in the solstice period, our bloodstream ran in the veins of sun gods and sun worshippers, Greeks and Romans, barbarians in the Germanic forests, northern worshippers of Thor, and Egyptians, Jews, Gauls, Persians and Indians.

 

No wonder humans have celebrated the date of the Winter Solstice for thousands of years considering our survival depends upon the return of the sun. No wonder that the birth of the gods in almost all religious traditions were said to have taken place during the solstice period.

 

Solstice comes from two ancient words, sol, the name of a sun god, and stice, meaning still, or the day that the sun stands still, the shortest day of the year.

 

Since all cultures have been so dependent upon the seasons, the four major festivals centered on the summer and Winter Solstice and the spring and autumn equinoxes.

 

An equinox, equi, meaning equal, and nox, meaning nights or equal nights, occurs midway between the winter and Summer Solstice, when days and nights are equal in length. Those are the four corners of the celestial year. But with the return of the sun to once again warm the earth and bring forth a resurrection of life, the Winter Solstice became the greatest of all the festivals.

 

The ancient festival in Rome was known as the Saturnalia. The emperor Aurelian established an official holiday called Sol Invicti, meaning unconquered sun, in honor of the sun god. It was held Dec. 24 and 25 and established Dec. 25 as the official solstice. All the other religions that worshipped sun gods also took Dec. 25 as the fixed date for their festivals. A major one was in honor of the Egyptian divine mother, Isis. Early Christians used to worship in front of statues of Isis suckling her divine child, Horus, the babe that she had conceived miraculously. [P.2]

When is the Longest Day / Summer Solstice?

When is the Shortest Day / Winter Solstice?

When is the date of the Equinox? Greenwich Time (GMT)

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2010

Equinoxes:

March 20 2010 17:32 GMT

September 23 2010 03:09 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2010 11:28 GMT

December 21 2010 23:38 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2011

Equinoxes:

March  20 2011 23:21 GMT

September 23 2011 09:04 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2011 17:16 GMT

December 22 2011 05:30 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2012

Equinoxes:

March  20 2012 05:14 GMT

September 22 2012 14:49 GMT

Solstices:

June 20 2012 23:09 GMT

December 21 2012 11:11 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2013

Equinoxes:

March  20 2013 11:02 GMT

September 22 2013 20:44 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2013 05:04 GMT

December 21 2013 17:11 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2014

Equinoxes:

March  20 2014 16:57 GMT

September 23 2014 02:29 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2014 10:51 GMT

December 21 2014 23:03 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2015

Equinoxes:

March  20 2015 22:45 GMT

September 23 2015 08:20 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2015 16:38 GMT

December 22 2015 04:48 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2016

Equinoxes:

March  20 2016 04:30 GMT

September 22 2016 14:21 GMT

Solstices:

June 20 2016 22:34 GMT

December 21 2016 10:44 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2017

Equinoxes:

March  20 2017 10:28 GMT

September 22 2017 20:02 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2017 04:24  GMT

December 21 2017 16:28 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2018

Equinoxes:

March 20 2018 16:15 GMT

September 23 2018 0154 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2018 10:07 GMT

December 21 2018 22:22 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2019

Equinoxes:

March 20 2019 21:58 GMT

September 23 2019 07:50 GMT

Solstices:

June 21 2019 15:54 GMT

December 22 2019 04:19 GMT

Date & Time of Solstices & Equinoxes in 2020

Equinoxes:

March 20 2020 03:49 GMT

September 22 2020 13:30 GMT

Solstices:

June 20 2020 21:43 GMT

December 21 2020 10:02 GMT

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The point would be the impression that the 14th of Nissan should be observed flawlessly on that pinpoint precise time. Depending on which sequential calendar scheme one uses. The 14th of Nissan can fall on, before or after. The observation is done at the Jewish rendering of sunset. Their calendar runs from sunset to sunset per day, so it really doesn’t matter what hour equation one uses.

 

The timing is not important much more than the observance, another thing you’re missing. Just like the erred view you have with Saturnalia in other posts. I believe, I was clear on that. So unless, one has been to the past to define the exact time? Modern mathematical computation tables will defer, there's nothing absolute. Just as illustrated with the Solstice and Equinox. Time will defer from GMT to any other time zone.

 

Gregorian calendar: 2016 March 23

Julian Calendar:       2016 March 10

Hebrew Calendar:   5776 Veadar 13

 

Hebrew Calendar: 5776 Nissan 14 / Gregorian calendar: 2016 April 21

 

Hebrew Calendar 3776 Nissan 14 / Gregorian calendar -3727 March 24 / Sunset to Sunset 23/24

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