Christian Churches of God

Commentary on the UCG Doctrinal Statement on the Calendar (No. 206)

(Edition 1.0 19970618-19970618)

This commentary is made because of the many requests for an analysis of the paper sent to this church. The paper has serious shortcomings which will be evident from the comments.

 


Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 1997 Wade Cox)

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Commentary on the UCG Doctrinal Statement on the Calendar

The following is a statement issued by the Council of Elders of the United Church of God (UCG) regarding the calendar. It demonstrates a thinking process which is seriously deficient and which misrepresents the true historical position. It also demonstrates a serious problem in the early scholarship of Herbert Armstrong, which should have been addressed.

Doctrinal Statement Adopted by the Council of Elders

Committee Members

Jim Franks, Burk McNair, Peter Nathan, Leon Walker, Don Ward.

The Hebrew Calendar

Questions have arisen in the Church of God regarding the use of the Hebrew Calendar in determining the dates for observance of the annual Holy Days. The questions seem to center around the validity of this calendar for Christians, as well as the validity of the rules of postponement that form the basis for the calendar calculations.

Comment: The term Hebrew calendar is a misrepresentation of the position. The calendar in question is the later Judaic calendar of rabbinical derivation, which commenced from 344 CE with the Babylonian rabbis. This was adopted by rabbinical Judaism under Hillel II and did not reach its present condition until the eleventh century. The Hebrew calendar is much older and has no postponements. There is a wealth of research on this matter.

The purpose of this statement is to address the subject in a general way while doctrinal studies continue. There is a desire on the part of the United Church of God, an International Association, to publish more on this subject in the future. This statement consists of material gathered from a variety of sources. We do not intend that this statement be the final word on the subject, but it does reflect our current position.

Several people and organizations have addressed this subject in recent years and have reached various conclusions. There are several interpretations currently being taught by various groups or individuals on this matter. Obviously, they cannot all be correct. We have a desire for unity in the Church of God and for a common gathering of God's people on the annual Holy Days. It is with this in mind that we present this preliminary statement on the subject of the Hebrew Calendar.

Comment: These people have allegedly been in command of this subject for decades and yet only now is it being studied. There appears to be no intention of adopting the true calendar as the comments of these people plainly attest.

Complexities of the Problem

We begin by pointing out the complexities of the problem. We must take into account the following factors:

1. The Bible does not provide us the complete means for calculating a calendar. There are no calculations provided in the Scriptures. The Bible clearly indicates that there were the components of a calendar in existence almost from the beginning: hours, days, months, seasons, and years are all mentioned. These are the essential elements of any calendar.

Comment: We have the biblical and historical record from ancient civilisations including early Judaism and also from early Christianity and the councils to attest to the process being well understood (see the papers God’s Calendar (No. 156) and The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195).

2. Most calendars that are being proposed use the new moon as the beginning of the month. While we would not disagree with this principle, we know of no definitive biblical statement to that effect. We accept the new moon as the beginning of the month, but we know of no biblical record clearly stating this.

Comment: There is no dispute whatsoever about the term New Moon and that it is the beginning of the month. All civilisations use the conjunction of the New Moon as the New Moon and the Hebrew terms mean "Hidden." This month is counted as being days of the month from the New Moon. The entire history of the Judaic people attest to this fact. The Encyclopedia Judaica acknowledges that the conjunction is [and always has been] the New Moon. The counting of the month begins from the first day of the month (Num. 10:10; 28:11; 1:1; 1:18 etc.).

The Bible clearly says there are 30 days in a biblical month.

The moon is also symbolic because it is in phases. The New Moon represents the beginning of the activity of each cycle. This is termed the phasis in Greek which is the origin of the Latin and thence the English term Phasis which then is the origin of the term phases of the moon. The four phases are the New Moon, the Full Moon and the First and Last Quarters. The nations have always understood this clearly, however, rabbinical Judaism seeks to mis-identify the phasis away from the New Moon as it is commonly understood which is a precise and perfectly predictable event to the observance of the crescent to enable the traditions to be effected through postponements.

There are twelve months in the year (apart from intercalation) (1Kings 4:7; 1Chron. 27:1-15). They are generally reckoned to have 30 days length (Gen. 7:11; 8:3-4; Num. 20:29; Deut. 21:13; 34:8; Esth. 4:11; Dan. 6:7-13). This is a prophetic year of 360 days and is known as a prophetic time. The Essene attempted to base their actual yearly calendar around this structure. Hence their Passover always fell on Wednesday (see Schurer Hist. of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ (Vol. I, App. III; pp. 592n- 593, 599-601, II. 245n, 581, 595).

The Year begins with Abib or Nisan (Ex. 12:2). This is determined from the New Moon nearest to the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere which begins the summer season. The autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere begins the winter season. These are the two seasons mentioned by the Bible (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17).

The months are numbered in sequence so that the year might be identified and not later confused (Ex. 12:2; 13:4; 2Chron. 30:2; Neh. 8:2). The months and the courses of the priests are all listed in 1Chronicles 27:1-15. The New Moons were listed in the days of worship with the Sabbath and Holy Days in Numbers 28 and 29 (esp. Num. 28:1-2,11,14).

The fact that there are considered to be thirty days in a biblical month shows that the full days of a month are thirty rather than the twenty nine as there are twenty nine and a half days in the cycle. The month is exactly 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 3 seconds". The traditions attempted to introduce an inexactitude into this precise system through observation. They then proceeded to the Hillel system. These biblical texts show that the beginning of the month can only be the New Moon and no other. This brings us to the next piece of intellectual hocus pocus in this text.

3. The Bible does not define the term new moon. Today we can determine the new moon by mathematical calculation. Visual sighting was one of the methods used in the past. With visual sighting, what are you looking for? The exact conjunction of the astronomical new moon is not visible. The Bible really does not answer these questions.

Comment: This is completely untrue and the facts were available to the compilers of this text. They either did not read them or decided to pretend that they did not exist.

The word month is derived from the word for moon in the ancient root language which became English. The Hebrew word is chadash or chodesh (SHD 2320) meaning a New Moon – hence, it means a month. The New Moon is thus the means of determining the start of the month. The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon says of this word (p. 294) that it means I. New Moon or Month ... (as something surrounding) [from] II. conceal behind a curtain, conceal, confine. IV. conceal oneself, also abide, stay or remain behind.

1. new moon = day, time, of new moon, as a religious festival.

The sense of the term is clearly that of the full dark of the New Moon and not a later crescent.

Another word for month is SHD 3391 yerach (1Kings 6:37-38; 8:2; 2Kings 15:13; Zech. 11:8). This is from an unused root of uncertain significance and means a lunation, i.e. a month or moon. Another word is the Chaldean SHD 3393 yerach (Ezra 6:15) which corresponds to 3391.

The word for moon when used in the sense of sun and moon is SHD 3394 or 3391. It can be SHD 3842 (Isa. 24:23; 30:26). The word for New Moon (SHD 2320) is translated as month in the English. The exceptions make it evident that a specific day is being indicated (1Sam. 20:5,18,24; 2Kings 4:23; Ps. 81:3; Isa. 66:23; Ezek. 46:1,6; Amos 8:5). The months are thus the first, second, third etc., New Moon.

The New Moon is thus the central or determining point of the month. It forms the basis of calculation of the periods within a month. This is so with all of the Holy Days not the least of which are the New Moons themselves (see the papers The New Moons (No. 125); The New Moons of Israel (No. 132) and also The Harvests of God, The New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120)). The comments on the months are re-examined in our work God’s Calendar. Other works on this issue are Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar and The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? An interview conducted for The Journal: News of the Churches of God shows more false premises concerning this matter.

4. Most "sacred calendars" use Jerusalem time as the standard for calculation. When God gave the Holy Days to Israel, they were not in the land of Judah. What city was used in the book of Exodus for the frame of reference? None is identified. Where is the authority for choosing Jerusalem? This concept was accepted by the Jews, but it isn't found in Scripture.

Comment: The Bible states that Jerusalem is the point for the issue of the law. As the calendar is involved in the law around the festivals, Jerusalem is also its centre (Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2). The conjunction is an exact time and the standard time frame from the Red Sea to Jerusalem has no significant variation that would affect the New Moon from the Exodus to the building of the Temple at Jerusalem.

5. The vernal equinox is referred to as the first day of spring. This is virtually universal in the various calendars. There is no statement in the Bible to this effect. Most calendars also make the assumption that Passover must always fall after this vernal equinox. Again, the Bible is silent on this issue.

Comment: The Bible is not silent on the issue of the seasons. There are two seasons summer and winter. These are the two seasons mentioned by the Bible (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17). The moon was appointed for the seasons (Ps. 104:19). The turn of the year is thus the equinox. Turn or going of the year is wrongly termed end of the year (SHD 3318 yatsa’ meaning the going Ex. 23:16; SHD 8622 tequphah meaning to come about or revolve 34:22). These words show the meaning and confirm each other. The text needed some minor exposition by reference to the Hebrew. This simple exposition was overlooked by the compilers of this text.

6. The Bible tells us that the month of Abib is to be the beginning of months. The term Abib means "ears" or "green ears of grain" in Hebrew. Abib must be in the spring of the year. This requires the periodic addition of a 13th month to prevent Abib from occurring in the middle of the winter instead of the spring.

Comment: This is an over statement of a simple problem. The Full Moon of the fifteenth day of the month of Abib or Nisan must not occur in the winter season. This is the known rule for the calculation of the month of Nisan for the ancient societies whether Israelite or Gentile.

The point in all this is very simple. Every calendar is based upon some assumptions. While we can argue that some of these assumptions make more sense than others, we cannot argue the point of a "pure" biblical calendar. The question really comes down to: Which calendar will we accept? The one preserved by the Jews for at least 1,500 years? Or one devised by others?

Comment: This is a loaded question. The choice is not between these two calendars. This is the simple ruse in logic of facing people with a dilemma. The rule is to seek alternatives. The choice is more correctly: Will we keep the calendar issued by God through Jesus Christ and kept by him or will we keep this later Judaic alteration of the earlier system or will we accept a calendar devised by others?

The choice is obvious. We accept the calendar used at the time of Christ by Christ and the apostles. That calendar had little to do with the modern Judaic system.

The United Church of God has chosen to accept the Hebrew Calendar as preserved by the Jews. We have embarked on a study of the calendar and are reviewing submitted papers. At this point we have not seen enough evidence to cause us to reject the currently accepted Hebrew Calendar. For individuals or groups to accept some Jewish concepts regarding the calendar and reject others (when none are found directly in Scripture) is contradictory. There are several reasons for our position on this subject.

Comment: The leadership of the United Church of God are not keeping the Hebrew calendar they are keeping a later Judaic rabbinical invention that they know has no basis in the first century church or early Judaism. Fortunately their people are not all taken in by this intellectual dishonesty and many will be keeping the festivals according to the true calendar. The logic expressed here by the UCG team also applies to the keeping of the Hillel calendar. They accept some Jewish concepts regarding the calendar and yet reject others such as a Sivan 6 Pentecost which is clearly wrong and not kept by UCG or any of the Churches of God or by early Judaism.

Letter from Mr. [Herbert] Armstrong

In the spring of 1940, Mr. Armstrong wrote a letter addressing this very topic. There was division within the Church of God (Seventh Day). Mr. C.O. Dodd had rejected the Hebrew Calendar and was planning to observe the Passover a month earlier. Mr. Armstrong studied the issue and then wrote a letter to the membership.

Here are his conclusions from 1940:

"Briefly, after very exhaustive study, and counsel with brethren who also have made thorough study of the question for years, the facts are these: ... Research reveals two basic points on this question (intercalary months), 1st, God did not record it in the Bible, which gives us absolutely nothing more to go on than I have stated above. 2nd, history is vague on the subject, shedding little light that can be accepted and trusted. Yet we know God gave his people a fixed rule for calculating time periods, and for figuring when to hold the Festivals of Jehovah ... In conclusion, unless God has preserved His sacred calendar through the Jews, then we do not know how to figure Passover or any of the holy days this year. For there is no authority for any other way. There is no Bible authority whatsoever for figuring the 1st day of the 1st month from the new moon nearest the spring equinox! ... God did not commit His oracles, or the preservation of His times to profane history, or to the Roman Catholics, but to the Israelites. And they have been preserved by the Jews."

Comment: These comments show a misapprehension of the history of the calendar and the basis of the development of the postponements. God tells us to begin the year in Nisan and the Jews begin it and determine it from Tishri. This alone should have alerted Herbert Armstrong to the problem. He appealed to the Jews in order to head off a problem in the Church of God (Seventh Day) in which he was a minister on their payroll until 1940 when he wrote this work. He had been disfellowshipped from one of their conferences in 1938 but remained with the Oregon conference until he moved to Pasadena in 1940. Herbert Armstrong changed his view after this point. In this year he kept Pentecost on a Tuesday Sivan 6. However, he later rejected his position here and moved Pentecost to a Monday and then to Sunday which was the correct day and the day kept by the temple under the Sadduccean system until 70 CE. A Sivan 6 Pentecost was not kept in the Temple system (see quotes in the paper The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195)). The United writers quote none of these points. United continues:

In 1940 those members who were following C.O. Dodd observed the Passover a month earlier. His method of calculation was to begin the year with the new moon nearest to the vernal equinox, which in 1940 was in mid-March. According to the mathematically calculated calendar we use today, the Passover can occur one day before the spring equinox, the same day of the equinox or up to 36 days after the equinox during intercalary years when an extra month is added. The rules of intercalation keep the Holy Days in the proper seasons (Leviticus 23:4). The Holy Days must always occur in their specified seasons of the solar year. If the extra month wasn't added, the Passover would eventually end up in the winter. The Church has accepted and followed these principles since that time (1940) for the calculation of the Holy Days.

Comment: The fact of intercalation is not in question in this matter. It is when the intercalation is to be added. The rabbinic system wrongly intercalates on the eighth and the last year of the cycles, which was the case in 1940. This is the issue in question. It is an "appeal to motherhood" instead of dealing with the true point in question. It is done knowing that Herbert Armstrong changed his position yet concealing the fact from the reader and presenting an alternative false representation of the position.

The Rules of Postponement

Most of the controversy seems to revolve around the rules of postponement. The calendar is set and the Holy Days determined from the Molad (or new moon) of Tishri, the seventh month in the Hebrew Calendar. The time between the Molad of Tishri and the Molad of Abib is 177 days. In order for the Holy Days to be kept in their seasons, intercalary months must be added approximately every three years in a 19-year time cycle. The Hebrew Calendar also employs rules of postponement for the setting of the Molad of Tishri. Since all Holy Days are calculated from this point, some have questioned the use of these rules.

Comment: The Hebrew calendar employs no postponements as we see from the Mishnah and later Talmuds. Only the Judaic or Hillel calendar employs postponements.

There are four simple rules of postponement for the Hebrew Calendar. One of these rules states: If the Molad of Tishri occurs at or after noon of a day, the first day of Tishri on the calendar must be postponed to the next day. It is not the Molad which is all important, but rather it is the appearance of the crescent of the moon that really counts. The rules of the calendar state that someone might theoretically observe the crescent as early as six hours after the conjunction, but not a moment earlier. Since there is no scriptural method for establishing the new moon, this rule would seem to make sense. Would you celebrate the Feast of Trumpets when over half the day is gone at the time of the new moon? The next day would provide a full day on which to celebrate this annual Holy Day.

Comment: The crescent is not the New Moon. The New Moon is the conjunction (cf. Encyc. Judaica; as quoted in The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195)). The crescent was associated with the worship of the moon god Qamar. This observation seems to have insinuated itself into Judaism to justify the postponements. There is an appeal to ignorance in modern circles based on the later erroneous writings of Judaism. It is claimed that the ancients did not possess the knowledge of calculating the modern conjunction and had to rely on observation. The astrology of the ancients was very advanced. We possess knowledge of the Egyptians systems which calculated the sidereal year and the revolution of Sirius almost exactly. We know the Minoan and Hebrew-Phoenician system had a transatlantic capacity which involved the exact calculation of latitude and longitude and the ability to place the coasts of Africa and America in their exact longitudinal relationships (see Cyrus Gordon Before Columbus, pp. 71-73 et seq.). These capacities were far in advance of the capacity to calculate the conjunction which we know was understood by the Greeks from at least 330 BCE, and hence the entire Hellenised world, and by the Babylonians before them who had less knowledge of navigation and astronomy than the "Sea Lords" of the Minoan and Hebrew-Phoenician systems before them. United continues.

Another rule of postponement forbids the first of Tishri falling on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. If the first of Tishri were observed on a Sunday, then the first day of the Feast would be on a Sunday and also the Last Great Day. Three out of the four fall Holy Days would be back-to-back with the Sabbath. The only Holy Days that can fall on Sunday are the first day of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost.

Comment: The Sabbath cannot be postponed. What convoluted reasoning would then assume that the Day of Atonement or another Sabbath could be postponed?

If the Feast of Trumpets were on a Friday, there would be no preparation day for the weekly Sabbaths occurring during the time of the fall Holy Days. We find reference in the Bible to the preparation for the Sabbath.

Comment: This is another bizarre reasoning process. The preparation has to be undertaken on the day prior to the sequence. Sabbaths do occur back to back and did so occur in the wilderness and in the days before the dispersion and up until the second century without postponement. They also occur but to a lesser degree with the postponements themselves.

If the Feast of Trumpets were on a Wednesday, the day of Atonement would occur on a Friday, which should be the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath. The command in Scripture for Atonement forbids any food preparation. If the Feast of Trumpets were to be observed on a Wednesday, there would also be an issue with the Passover, which would take place on a Saturday night, a most difficult time. By postponing the Molad of Tishri from Wednesday, this scenario is prevented. In any given year, we find that only the last day of Unleavened Bread can fall on a Friday.

One of the rules of postponement, therefore, prevents the significant difficulties that would arise from back-to-back Sabbaths in the fall Holy Day season. Although back-to-back Sabbaths can occur in the spring, they do not create a significant hardship, by virtue of taking place only once or twice in a two-month period.

Comment: This is a blatant appeal to the traditions of the Pharisees, which Christ condemned. The Day of Atonement fell on a Friday and a Sunday as is recorded in the Talmud and the Mishnah. Back to back Sabbaths were a regular occurrence up until the second century of the current era and the compilation of the Mishnah.

The Talmud clearly shows that the Day of Atonement fell on a Friday or a Sunday at the time of its compilation and at the time of the compilation of the Mishnah and, hence, at the time of Christ.

Holy Days were noted to have fallen on the day before or after the Sabbath also (cf. Soncino Talmud: K’rithoth 19a; Shabbat 114b; Menachoth 100b; Mishnah: Besah 2 (note esp. Besah 2.1-2); Shabbat 15; Succah 5). The Feast of Trumpets was noted as falling around the Sabbath (Mishna 2 Rosh Hashanah 1, cf. Talmud). The Feast of Purim also is noted to have fallen on a Sabbath (Megillah 1.2) as was Pentecost from the Pharisaic tradition and calculation (Hagigah 2.4). Pentecost is also noted as being able to fall on a Friday and a Sunday, i.e. around the Sabbath (Succah 5.7). It is thus impossible for the postponements to have been in place at the time of Christ.

Rules three and four regulate the length of year in the Hebrew Calendar. The maximum length of a common year in the Hebrew Calendar is 355 days. Without rule three, a common year might have 356 days. The minimum number of days an intercalary year can have is 382 days. If rule four weren't in effect, some leap years would have too few days.

Comment: The Mishnah shows that the Hebrew calendar was not limited to the days prescribed by the later Jewish system (cf. God’s Calendar and Schurer Hist of the Jewish people in the age of Jesus Christ, Calendar Appendix III).

Without these postponement rules, the Hebrew Calendar would be in a perpetual state of confusion. Great difficulties would occur between the Sabbath and the Holy Days. The lengths of years would be irregular. Calendar reformers would be tempted to tamper with this calendar more often. But all this is avoided by four very simple and easily applied postponement rules. Instead of the festivals being subordinate to the Hebrew Calendar, the latter serves the Holy Days.

Comment: The reverse is the case. With the postponements the Hebrew calendar is turned in to the Judaic calendar. Instead of the festivals falling on their true days, the days are altered to protect the traditions of the Pharisees which were condemned by Christ in his lifetime.

Where are these postponement rules in the Bible? Just as there is no definition of the new moon, vernal equinox, etc., neither does the Bible list rules of postponement. Who authorized them? When were they created? No one really knows the answer to these questions. In the year A.D. 358, Hillel II released the rules for calendar calculation which included the rules of postponement. Prior to this time, the whole subject was shrouded in mystery. No one knows when these rules were added to the calendar. Could they have been a part of the calendar from the beginning? Possibly. Were they a part of the calendar during the days of Christ? We simply don't know. We don't know when the Jews began using a calculated calendar instead of simply relying on visual observation. Some speculate that the calendar was in existence long before Christ. They base their idea on the fact that the months are called by Chaldean names. The Jews were in captivity in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. Was there a calendar already in existence at that time and did it contain the rules of postponement? The Bible simply doesn't tell us and profane history is vague.

Comment: This is a misrepresentation of the known facts of history. We know beyond dispute that the Hillel system was not in force at the time of Christ and the early church. Moreover, we know that the postponement system was not fully in force until the eleventh century.

There appears to be no dispute (at least none is recorded) regarding, the calendar calculations during the time of Christ and the apostles. The use of an intercalary month in itself is a form of postponement. We have evidence of this being done as far back as Gamaliel II (to whom, reference is made in Acts 5), in a letter to Jews in Babylon as reported in Tractate Sanhedrin 1la of the Talmud. The Jews also argue that the intercalary year was used in the time of Ezekiel. The time span between Ezekiel 1:1 and 8:1 is a period of one year and two months. To properly understand this section of Scripture, you will need to consider an intercalary year to make it all fit.

Comment: The intercalary year was always in force. This has nothing to do with the Jewish or Hillel calendar. There were disputes concerning the calendar and we know that the Sadducees and the Samaritans and the Essene rejected the traditions of the Pharisees. Until 70 CE it appears that the Sadducean system was the one used in the Temple (see The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195)).

In addition, in Christ's time the new moon ostensibly was established by observation. There are those today who claim that the only way of calculating the new moon is by exact mathematical calculation. Visual observation is too erratic and could be one to two days off. What we know from first-century records is that the calendar was operated by observation and controlled by the Sanhedrin. If Christ and the Church followed this habit, then Christ accepted something that some are claiming is unacceptable.

Comment: This comment is incorrect for all the reasons that we have outlined in the papers on the calendar.

Conclusion

In Romans 3:1-2 Paul states very clearly that the Jews received the oracles: "What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God." Could the calendar be among these oracles? We really have no evidence to believe otherwise. The oracles clearly consisted of items beyond Scripture, and most likely included the calendar.

This comment is a misuse of Scripture. The oracles of God rest with, and is, the church. The oracle of God is the Holy of Holies or the Naos which naos we are (1Cor. 3:16-17). The oracle of God or the Holy of Holies was called the dabar yahovah in the Hebrew and rendered Logoi Theos in the LXX and the NT. As Christ was the Logos of God, we also are the Logoi of God and hence the Oracles of God. There are three other NT texts concerning the oracles not mentioned here (Acts 7:38; Heb. 5:12; 1Pet. 4:11). The position on the oracles of God is outlined in the paper The Oracles of God.

Is it possible that the Jews are wrong in the calendar they have Preserved? We simply don't know, We could ask the same question about the Scriptures. Are we sure they have faithfully preserved the scriptural accounts? We accept the Scriptures as being the Word of God, faithfully preserved for our benefit by the Jewish people. If we don't accept the Hebrew Calendar, then which calendar should we accept? Someone has to make a decision about the calculation of the calendar. Will it be by observation, or by calculation? How will you use the vernal equinox - the nearest new moon to it, the one just before it, or the one just afterwards? All would be in the vicinity of spring. But which would be right? And how would you know?

Comment: It is not only possible, it is definitely so that they have invented a calendar which was not in use at the time of Christ and the Temple priesthood and which preserves the traditions above the express word of Scripture and these people know that such is the case.

Some use the Sabbath to make a point, since we can't postpone the Sabbath, how can we postpone the Holy Days? It is the beginning of the year that is postponed, which of course causes the movement of the Holy Days during the year. The Sabbath is not determined by mathematical calculation. It occurs every seventh day. The seven-day cycle is not a factor when calculating the calendar. Dates in the month can fall on any day of the week. The Holy Days are observed on days of the year, based on a calendar.

Comment: The months are determined by the moons which fall precisely. The calculations of the conjunction can be determined correctly for thousands of years in advance. It is precise and forms the basis of the true calendar. These same people know full well that the Hillel system will not work for the Millennium. One of the contributors to this text has said in public sermons that such is the case and that the Hillel system will have to be "tweaked back into line" or words to that effect. God is not the author of confusion.

Some people have taken it upon themselves to determine the calendar. God lets them do so, but does He give them the authority in this matter? The United Church of God accepts the Hebrew Calendar as being authoritative in determining when the Holy Days are to be observed. There will continue to be an ongoing study into this matter. We currently have seen no evidence that would cause us to reject the Hebrew Calendar that has been accepted in the Church of God since at least 1940.

Comment: This is precisely the case with the Judaic system. It is not the Hebrew calendar. It is a post-dispersion contrivance to protect the traditions of late Judaism. It is a determination of men that has no biblical sanction. The evidence for the rejection of their system is overwhelming yet they do not see it because they do not want to see it. They make the commandments of God to no effect by their tradition (Matt. 15:3-6). This people honours me with their lips but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Matt. 15:8-9).

The comments regarding the 31 CE crucifixion are based also on a false assumption, which goes beyond even the Hillel system. A Passover on 25 April is not permitted even under the Hillel calendar. WCG and the ministry of that system through Herman Hoeh introduced a further rule of postponement not known until Hoeh invented it last decade. The so-called rule, introduced into a later reprint of the booklet The Crucifixion was not on a Friday, seeks to assert that the Passover cannot occur within six days of the equinox. No such rule exists and it appears to have been inserted in this later reprint of the work by Hoeh to answer the criticism that even under the Hillel system a 25 April Passover is impossible.

In 31 CE, 14 Nisan occurred on Sunday 25 March and that is identified as the date of the crucifixion by early church writers from Tertullian to as late as the calendar taken by the Anglo-Saxons to the Frisians in the seventh century. The error probably stems from the application of the timing of the years of the rule of Tiberius by Josephus which we have explained in the paper The Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159). The preoccupation with 31 CE appears to come from the mistranslation of Daniel 9:25 in the KJV which we have addressed in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13) . The WCG ministry sought to, and still does, apply the Seventy Weeks of Years to Jesus Christ from a fictitious application of the provisioning decree of the Levites under Ezra-Nehemiah to Artaxerxes I which is plainly false as we have shown.

The UCG paper on the calendar is fatally flawed with a series of arguments based on false premises and historical fictions some of which were directly invented by the WCG ministry to support a weak and erroneous case.

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