Christian Churches of God

No. CB20

 

 

 

God’s Sacred Calendar

(Edition 4.0 20020131-20050212-20061224-20121114)

 

The One True God has always existed. He created a system in the heavens for us to know when to keep His appointed Feasts. This paper will review the basic points of God’s method of keeping time.

 

 

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright © 2002, 2005, 2006, 2012 Diane Flanagan and Wade Cox)

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 


God’s Sacred Calendar

 


The One True God (Jn. 17:3, 1Jn. 5:20) who always existed (1Tim. 6:16) created the Heaven and the Earth (Gen. 1:1), and the sons of God watched and shouted for joy (Job 38:7).

 

When the Earth became waste and empty (Gen. 1:2) Jesus Christ, under his Father’s direction and guidance, followed the example set by the Father originally. As a spirit being, Christ refashioned the Earth as a place for mankind to live.

 

On the fourth day of creation the lights in the heaven became visible (Gen. 1:4). The greater light, the sun, was to rule the day. The lesser light, the moon, was to rule the night.

 

One night and one day equal a twenty-four hour period. We refer to this as one “day” even though it includes the night-time. God begins His time-frames (days and months) in the evening when it is dark (Lev. 23:32). So the day is determined from dark the previous evening to dark or the end of evening nautical twilight of the following day. Since God is in charge and knows all, He designed our solar system in such a way that we would be able to know when the Sabbath, New Moons, and Feasts occur. We can therefore keep them correctly. Modern man may decide to start the day in the middle of the night, but whatever man decides does not change God’s Plan.

 

There are seven days in one week. We have six days to get our work done (Ex. 20:8-11). This means we should be actively working on all six days. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord God. On the Sabbath we stop our work. Six days during creation God actively worked, but on the seventh day He stopped His work. He blessed and sanctified (which means set apart) the Sabbath to be kept holy (Gen. 2:2-3). Every Sabbath we are to remember the creation and how God brought us out of Egypt.

 

A calendar based on the sun is called a solar calendar, while a calendar based on the moon is called a lunar calendar. The Romans spoke Latin and luna means moon in Latin. God’s Sacred Calendar is a lunar calendar. The time it takes the moon to orbit the Earth is about 29˝ days. Therefore, some months have 29 days and other months have 30 days. The months generally have 30 days in length (Num. 20:29; Deut. 34:8; Est. 4:11; Dan. 6:7,12).

 

As the moon goes around the Earth it looks different in the sky, because only certain parts of the moon are reflected. The New Moon means the moon is hidden or concealed. Therefore, when we look in the sky on a New Moon night we will probably not see any moon at all if we live in the city. If we live far from the city lights and conditions are right, we may be able to see a round ring in the sky. It is like one round ball in front of another slightly bigger ball, with only the edge showing.

 

On the nights following the New Moons we will see a tiny sliver of light (or crescent) that grows larger each night. There are scientific names for the changing moon but we will review it in a very simple way. As the crescent moon grows larger each night, it becomes a full moon approximately 15 days from the New Moon. A full moon falls within both the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles. The full moon looks like a bright shiny ball in the sky. After the moon is full it gradually reduces in size each night and the crescent moon becomes smaller and smaller and finally disappears. About 15 days from the full moon we have another New Moon. This cycle continues on and on while the sun and moon are in the sky.

 

Most years have twelve months (1Kgs. 4:7; 1Chr. 27:1-15). The months are numbered to make sure there is no confusion (Ex. 12:2; 2Chro. 30:2; Neh. 8:2).

 

God tells us there are only two seasons in the year, summer and winter (Gen. 8:22 and Psa. 74:17). When one side of the Earth has summer, the other has winter and vice versa.   There is an imaginary line called the equator that divides the Earth into the northern and southern hemispheres. When the sun crosses the equator the days and nights are about equal length. This is called an equinox. We then start the slow process into the other season. In spring this occurs about March 21, on the Roman calendar. It is referred to as the vernal equinox because vernal, means “spring”. In autumn (termed “fall” in the USA) it is the autumnal equinox and occurs around September 23 in the Roman calendar.

 

We know we cannot have two Passovers in one year. We know the first New Moon of the year is the month of Abib (the northern spring) or Nisan. This month is that of the “green ears.” The barley in Palestine is green and beginning to fill out for ripening at this time. The first New Moon of the year (in the northern hemisphere) can occur before the vernal (spring) equinox, but the First day of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Abib, cannot precede the Equinox. If the 3 p.m. sacrifice of the 14th of the First month precedes the vernal equinox, we know we need to add a 13th month (called Adar II) to the year.

 

Every 19 years the path of the sun, moon, and Earth almost match (they are off by about 2 hours). This is often referred to as the Metonic cycle after the Greek Meton, but its understanding long preceded him. During the 19-year period there are seven years that need to have a 13th month added to keep the system balanced. The Babylonians were aware of this cycle and recorded it in their cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing.

 

Just as every seventh day is sanctified and set apart as holy, so too is every Seventh year. The Sabbath year (or Seventh year) is the year of rest for man and the planet. During the Seventh year crops are not planted to allow the soil to rest and recover. Anyone who owes us money is freed or released from the debt in the Seventh year. This means we tell them they no longer owe us anything. Also every Seventh year the Law of God is read for all the people (Deut. 31:10-11; Neh. chapter 8; Jos. 8:30-35).

 

We see this from the restoration of the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah where they began to read the law on the first New Moon of the Seventh month which is the Day of Trumpets. It was read until its completion on the 21st day of the Seventh month which is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. 

Nehemiah 8:1-2 When the seventh month came and the people of Israel were settled in their towns, all the people gathered together in the area in front of the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Instruction scroll from Moses, according to which the Lord had instructed Israel. So on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Instruction before the assembly. This assembly was made up of both men and women and anyone who could understand what they heard. (CEB)

 

Here we see that God's people were obeying the commands of the Seventh year and the law of God was read. The reading of the law is commanded by God so that we all may hear and learn to fear the Lord our God, and observe all the words of His Law (Deut. 31:12).

 

1984, 1991, 1998 and 2005 were Sabbath years. Then as the cycle continues we see 2012, 2019 and 2026 are also Sabbath years.

 

As we have seen, Pentecost means to count 50, and we have seven complete weeks from Wave Sheaf to the day of Pentecost, the same applies to the Jubilee year. We have seven complete Sabbath years, which equal 49. In the 49th year on the Day of Atonement a ram's horn or Shofar is blown to signal the Jubilee Year. The horn signifies that we are to hallow the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land (Lev. 25:10). From the blowing of the horn signaling the Jubilee year all the lands are returned to their rightful owners. Therefore, we do not plant or harvest, but we may eat of the land that which grows by itself (Lev. 25:11-12). See the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256).

 

In the Sabbath year the land is allowed to rest and we do not plant crops, so it is also in the Jubilee year. In the same way as the Law of God is read in the Sabbath year it is also read in the Jubilee year. God provides us a double harvest to get us through the Seventh year until we plant again for the First year of the cycle (Lev. 25:21). So also with the Jubilee, God will provide a treble harvest in the 48th year to see us through till the First year of the next cycle. We must remember the land belongs to God and it cannot be sold forever. It is ours to use according to His Plan (Lev. 25:23). God’s system is a perfect and just system for man and the planet. Even if a family gets into debt and loses a lot of money, the Jubilee provides them with the opportunity to start again after they learn how to correct their mistakes.

 

The Jubilee occurs in the years 24 and 74 BCE and 27 and 77 CE in each century. The last Jubilee year was 1977. The next Jubilee, which is the Fortieth Jubilee since the ministry of Messiah, is in the Sacred Year 2027/8.

 

We continue to go faithfully through God’s Festival Plan learning more and more as we obey Him (Pro. 16:3).

 

Refer also to the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156).