Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.2 19960316-20000320)
The Calendar put in place by God was set in motion at the creation. It does not depend on man or on any system of observation to determine. Christians are obliged by law and the testimony of the Bible to keep this calendar and no other.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 1996, 1999, 2000 Wade Cox)
(Summary by Diane Flanagan, Ed. Wade Cox)
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The current calendar of the Jewish system is not the calendar that was in use during the temple period and before.
In the fifth century BCE the astronomer Meton devised a system to intercalate a month seven times in a 19-year cycle. But it appears that other civilisations possessed this knowledge long before Meton.
During the Temple period at Jerusalem the Samaritans used a calendar system based on the conjunction. They still use it today. They started the day at dark and kept the two-day festival of the 14th and the 15th, as the Sabbath-keeping Churches have done for two thousand years (cf. The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170), 1998 edition).
However, they differed in their determination of the equinox and the beginning of the year. This made the Samaritan calendar a month later than the Temple calendar for some sixty percent of the time, even though both were determined according to the conjunction. See the papers The Moon and the New Year (No. 213) and Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar (No. 191).
Rabbinical Judaism introduced pagan festivals and systems into their calendar from Babylon. Rosh HaShanah or the New Year being celebrated in the seventh month, Tishri, was not introduced into Judaism until the post Temple period in the Third Century. Tishri means "beginnings."
In 358 CE Rabbi Hillel II introduced a Jewish Calendar that contained postponements. This prevented back to back Sabbaths and delayed the day of Trumpets (see the paper The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195)).
The Pharisees accused Christ of being a Samaritan, because he did not go along with their teachings and traditions (Jn. 8:48). He kept the Temple festivals, which were based on the Sadducean and Samaritan system determined by the conjunction, which was the original Temple system.
On the fourth day of creation God established lights for the division of night and day and signs and for seasons (Gen.1: 14-19).
God’s calendar is determined by the heavenly bodies. Numbers 28 and 29 are the only complete list of days of worship. The Wave Sheaf Offering is included in Leviticus 23 even though it is not a Holy Day. It is integral to the Feast of Unleavened Bread and is the primary element of the Harvests of God.
The moon is the determinate factor of the calendar and not the sun. The sun is operative for the day only and as a pivot for the beginning of the year from the equinox (Ps. 104:19).
There are two seasons mentioned in the Bible (Gen. 8:22; Ps.74:17).
The evening and morning constitute the day. The evening precedes the day (Lev. 23:32; Acts 27:27-33). The term even or sunset is further defined in Nehemiah 13:19. God’s day begins at dark and ends at dark on the following day (EENT).
In today’s society there are three descriptive terms relating to twilight: 1) Civil Twilight which ends when the sun is six degrees from the horizon and which is used for streetlights; 2) End Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) is at twelve degrees; and 3) End Astronomical Twilight is at eighteen degrees below the horizon. At EENT it is dark. At BENT it is beginning to be dark at the horizon.
In 1812 the day still began and ended at evening twilight in Islam and elsewhere even in Europe, or sunset among the Italians. See the papers The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath- Keeping Churches of God (No. 170) and God's Calendar (No. 156).
The Roman Catholic Church used midnight as the start of the day. The day is generally understood as both twelve-hour and twenty-four hour periods.
The word for week in Hebrew is derived from the word shabuwa or shabua (SHD 7620). This word is derived from the word shaba’ (SHD 7650) meaning to be complete or to seven one’s self.
The week also means a complete or perfect Sabbath, which is present in the law on Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-21). The count for Pentecost commenced on the Sunday within the feast of Unleavened Bread. So seven perfect, unblemished weeks are fulfilled and Pentecost occurs on the 50th day, which is always the first day of the week – Sunday. It can never occur on Sivan 6 as some attempt to claim. See the paper The Omer Count to Pentecost (No. 173).
The Samaritans and the Church kept Pentecost on a Sunday (as above) and have not changed in this practice since the first century. Only Judaism changed its observations because they introduced traditions from the Babylonian captivity. The Trinitarian church manipulated the date of Easter so their Pentecost may fall in a different week, but it is always on a Sunday.
The Seven Day Week
The concept of the seven-day week is determined from Exodus 20:8-11. The week is composed of six working days ending with the seventh day Sabbath.
The word month is derived from the word for moon. The Hebrew word is chadash or chodesh (SHD 2320) meaning a New Moon – hence, it means a month. Historically the month began with the New Moon.
The word is related to SHD 2314 châdar to surround or enclose, to conceal or curtain. The sense of the term is clearly that of the full dark of the New Moon and not a later crescent. See the paper The Golden Calf (No. 222).
The New Moon is the central 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 (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)).
Months of the Year
There are twelve months in the year (1Kgs. 4:7; 1Chro. 27:1-15). They are generally reckoned to have a length of 30 days and that is the way they are referred to prophetically (Gen. 7:11; 8:3-4; Num. 20:29; Deut. 21:13; 34:8; Est. 4:11; Dan. 6:7-13). A 13th month is intercalated or placed 7 times in a 19-year cycle.
The rule for intercalation is that the time of the equinox must precede the 3 p.m. sacrifice on the afternoon of 14 Nisan. If it does not the year must be intercalated. This is and was calculated months and years in advance (cf. ANF, Vol. VI, pp. 147 ff; and the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277)).
The month of the Passover, which is Nisan or Abib is the beginning of the year (see also Num. 9:1-3; 33:3; Jos. 4:19; Ezek. 45:18,21). This beginning symbolises the redemption of the Israel of God from the world’s system (Gal. 1:4; Rev. 14:4).
The year began with the new moon nearest the vernal (spring) equinox when the sun was in Aries (Jos., Ant. 3.201 [better to see Ant. (Antiquities of the Jews) III.x.5]), and the Passover on the fourteenth day of Nisan coincided with the first full moon (Ex. 12:2-6). The observation of the autumnal equinox, i.e., ‘the going out of the year’ (see Ex. 23:16), and of the spring or vernal equinox, called ‘the return of the year’ (1Kgs. 20:26; 2Ch. 36:10 AV), was important for controlling the calendar and the festivals.
The method of determining the First month of the Year is that the Passover period on 14 and 15th Nisan must fall after the equinox. The preparation day of the Fourteenth may fall on the equinox, but the Fifteenth must fall after the equinox. These were the two governing rules until the revision under Rabbi Hillel II issued in 358 CE.
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 Feasts are dependent on the New Moons for accurate placement. Passover must coincide with the first harvest, which follows the equinox. Abib means green ears; it is the time when the barley is cut and waved as the Wave Sheaf on the morning after the weekly Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. This 9:00 a.m. sacrifice commenced the omer count to Pentecost.
The year is based on a symbolic or prophetic year of 360 days, being twelve months of 30 days (see the paper The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120)). This is known as a time. This period can also be extended prophetically on a year for a day basis to 360 years. Seven times is 2,520 years, with half that period (or 1,260 years) being the time, times and half a time of Daniel 12:7.
The sacrifice of the Wave Sheaf, when coupled with the feasts and New Moons, has a great significance. See the paper The Harvests of God, the New Moon Sacrifices, and the 144,000 (No. 120). The intercalary months have a relationship to the administration of God within Israel and also in the celestial system. See the paper The New Moons of Israel (No. 132). All of the activities of God in the creation are dealt with in symbols (see the paper The Covenant of God (No. 152)).
The New Moons are instrumental to the worship of the One True God and are central to the calendar. The calendar and New Moons are essential to any restoration. They fell into disuse and distortion over time. See the paper The New Moons (No. 125).
The argument that the Calendar is a responsibility of the Jews as part of the Oracles of God is false (cf. the paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)).
Tampering with the calendar happened off and on for some time (cf. Why Is Passover So Late In 1997? (No. 239)). God condemns the demeaning of His Feasts in these various forms through Isaiah. The king Jeroboam saw what God thought about postponing feasts (cf. the paper Jeroboam and the Hillel Calendar (No. 191)).
The lunar crescent is another system of worship addressed to the Sin and the Baal/Ashtoreth system and human sacrifice (cf. the papers The Golden Calf (No. 222) and The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)).
The New Moons were treated as days of worship (1Sam. 20:5,18; Isa. 66:23; Ezek. 46:11-3). The New Moon of the seventh month was especially sanctified (Lev. 23:24-25; Num. 29:1-6). 2Kings 4:23 suggests that both New Moons and Sabbaths were regarded as providing an opportunity for consulting the prophets, and Ezekiel marks out the New Moon as special day of worship.
Point of Calculation
The New Moon is a precise astronomical event, which is perfectly predictable. The event can occur on different days because of the rotation of the earth. The determination of the New Moon is taken from the time the conjunction occurs in Jerusalem, to ensure uniformity of religious worship throughout the world, given increased communication.
Scriptures place Jerusalem as the throne of the Lord (Jer. 3:17), the centre of the law and the point from which it will issue under Messiah (Isa. 2:3) and through the waters of the Spirit (Zech. 8:22; 14:8-21). God has placed His name there forever (2Chron. 33:4).
The Biblical Position
The sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ, but the Feasts or Sabbaths themselves were not eliminated. The offerings were altered to spiritual offerings each day of the Holy Day sequence, from Sabbaths to New Moons to Feasts. The sacrifices under the law were provided for, from a special levy allocated under the responsibility of the national authority. The Prince’s levy is examined in the paper Tithing (No. 161).
The New Moons were listed in the days of worship with the Sabbath and Holy Days in Numbers 28 and 29 (esp. Num. 28:1-2,11-15). It was holy time and was calculated in advance and over which the trumpets were blown (Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:3). Normal work was not done (Amos 8:5). The King held special feasts on the New Moon. David makes mention of this event in 1Samuel 20:5. The New Moon was mentioned in precedence over the feasts (2Chro. 2:4).
The lunar calendar is the mark of the Holy People. It is part of the covenant with Israel. God destroys His people because they do not keep His laws. The end result is He destroys the wealth of the nations. Worship of the moon is expressly forbidden (Deut.4:19; 17:3).
The cleansing of the Temple commenced from the first New Moon of the first month. See the paper Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241). The cleansing of the inner court represented the elect as the inner wheel of Ezekiel’s vision. The cleansing of the simple and the erroneous was effected from the Seventh of the First Month or Nisan. The priesthood had prepared themselves and the nation.
The New Moon of the Seventh Month commences the restoration through the reading of the law. This occurs every seven years of the Jubilee cycle and carries over every day of the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. also Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250); Deut. 31:10-12; Neh. 8:18).
The seventh or Sabbath year represents the Millennial cycle, of one thousand years, which commences with the return of Messiah, who issues the law from Jerusalem. The law then spreads throughout the world from the subjugation of the nations. The reading on the Feast of Trumpets in the restoration of Nehemiah, was to point towards the restoration of Messiah and from Trumpets (cf. the paper Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272)).
The entire calendar system is based on the Jubilee. The jubilee is a fifty-year cycle, which is reflected in the construction of the Temple and the Church and the Bible structure. The Jubilee pointed towards the life of man and his fifty years of growth. See the paper Law and the Fourth Commandment (No. 256).
It is made up of seven cycles each of seven years. Harvests are granted in the calendar every six years so that the Sabbath year can be kept (Lev. 25:3-7). The Law is read every Sabbath Year at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:10-13). The structure of the Law and the Prophets as read at the Sabbatical Feast in 1998 is explained in papers on the Law and the Commandments (Nos. 251-263); (cf. also the paper The Law of God (No. L1).
A treble harvest is granted at the forty-eighth year of the jubilee in the sixth year of the last cycle so that the two years of the Sabbath and the Jubilee can be kept (Lev. 25:21). The Jubilee blown at Atonement in year forty-nine (Lev. 25:8-9), is kept holy for one year to Atonement on the fiftieth year (Lev. 25:9-13). All lands then return to the tribal possessors. Land values are calculated from this basis (Lev. 25:15). The lands can then be ploughed and sown for the spring harvest in Abib of the First year of the next Jubilee. This year is an eighth normal year of the cycle (Lev. 25:22).
The Jubilee occurs in the years 24 and 74 BCE and 27 and 77 CE in each century. The next jubilee is in the sacred year 2027/8. The year 2028 will start the Jubilee of Jubilees and the new millennial reign of Messiah as 1/50 (cf. Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250); The Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108); Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159); and Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272)).
God’s Calendar works perfectly within His law. If God had wanted His system to be changed or adjusted, He would have given clear instruction. God, not Judah, has authority over the unchanging Scriptures and His own Calendar. This authority rests now in the Church.