Church of God, New World Ministries

Has Time Been Lost?

Granted, the Bible says the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Granted, that God did, at creation, make the 7th day holy time, and that He has commanded us to keep it holy.

But how can we know, today, which day is the true 7th day God blessed and made holy at Creation? Has time been lost? Has the calendar been changed? Were not ten days dropped out of it at one time?

And how about living on a round earth? Does not one either “gain a day,” or “lose a day” in traveling around the world? And how about Joshua’s long day? Did that change the weekly cycle?

To all these questions, there is a definite answer – and many lines of positive proof! God’s Word says “Prove all things.” Let us banish all prejudice. Let us throw out preconceived or past opinions. Let us investigate and find the truth.

The calendar now in use, a Roman calendar, has been changed, but that change did not break the weekly cycle.

Prior to its change, it was called the Julian calendar, because it originated at the time of Julius Caesar, 43 B.C. – several years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The one change was ordered by Pope Gregory, and since then it has been called the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian calendar was imperfect – it inserted leap years too frequently. Back in 45 B.C. they supposed the year was exactly 365 ¼  days long, and to take care of the extra one-fourth day each year, added a day to the month of February every four years. But it was found later the year was 12 minutes and 14 seconds shorter than this. Consequently, by the time of Pope Gregory, the calendar had drifted ten days away from the seasons. The spring equinox, consequently, fell on March 11th instead of March 21st.

To correct this, ten days were dropped from the calendar. But they were dropped only from the number of days in the month, not from the number of days in a week. A man named Lilius proposed the method which was adopted in making the change. In the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, p. 251, under article “Lilius,” explaining this change, we read: “Thus, every imaginable proposition was made, only one idea was never mentioned, viz., the abandonment of the seven-day week.”

In the Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 3, p. 740, article “Chronology,” we read: “It is to be noted that in the Christian period, the order of days in the week has never been interrupted. Thus, when Gregory VIII reformed the calendar in 1582, Thursday, 4 October was followed by Friday, 15 October. So in England, in 1752, Wednesday, 2 September, was followed by Thursday, 14 September.

Since the Catholics changed the calendar, the Catholic Encyclopedia is the best historical authority there is on the question, and is proof positive.

So that the reader may clearly understand it, and see how it was worked out on the Calendar, we reproduce below the actual calendar. The change was made in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, in 1582. Here is the calendar for October, 1582!

OCTOBER                                              1582

Sun.    Mon.   Tues.    Wed.   Thurs.    Fri.    Sat.

1            2             3         4          15       16

17         18          19          20        21        22      23

24         25          26          27        28        29      30

31

You will notice how ten days were dropped out. One day was the 4th, and the very next day was the 15th of October. But the 4th was Thursday, and the next day was Friday.

To make it still plainer, the 29th of September that year was a Sabbath, or Saturday. The 30th was Sunday. The 1st of October was Monday, the 2nd was Tuesday, the 3rd was Wednesday, the 4th was Thursday, and the next day was Friday, but it was not the 5th: it was the 15th.And the following day was Saturday, the 16th. Actually Saturday, the 16th, was just one week of seven days after the preceding Saturday, the 29th of September. There had been exactly seven days, seven sunsets, from one Sabbath to the next. The change in the calendar did not in any way change the Sabbath, or the succession of the days of the week.

Now the British countries refused to change the calendar when the pope ordered it. They continued with the old Julian calendar until 1752.And while their days of the month were different, yet their days of the week were just the same as in Rome. Those who kept the Sabbath in England kept the same Saturday that was called Saturday in Rome. Those who observed Sunday observed the same day, both in Rome where the calendar had been changed, and in London where it had not.

Gregory XIII, the Great – Pope (1572-1585), corrected the error in the Julian calendar. His calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is presently in use.

The English countries changed the calendar in 1752.By that time it was necessary to drop out 11days.The change was made in September as follows:

SEPTERMBER                                         1752

Sun.     Mon.     Tues.     Wed.      Thurs.     Fri.     Sat.

1            2            14          15       16

17        18           19          20           21          22       23

24        25           26          27           28          29       30    

Now in Russia, the calendar was never changed until just recently, in our own lifetime. Consequently, in the year 1907, the day that we called the 14th of August, the Russians called the 1st of August. Our calendars were 13 days apart. Yet in both countries, we both called that same day Saturday. In both countries, Saturday fell on the same day of the week. The calendar has since been changed in Russia. And still their Sunday is our Sunday, their Saturday is our Saturday. For reference, see above article “Chronology,” Catholic Encyclopedia.

And so we see that the calendar that has been in effect since 45 B.C. – prior to the birth of Christ, proves that there has never been any change in the weekly cycle from the time of Christ until now. The Saturday of today is the same seventh day of the week as it was in Christ’s time. We can, therefore, be sure we keep the same Sabbath day that Christ kept, setting us an example, the same day He said he was Lord of (Mark 2:28).

Next let us consider this argument that we “gain a day” or “lose a day,” depending on which way we are traveling, in going around the world.

Did you ever stop to wonder how Jonah came to be out on a wild sea, so he could be swallowed by the great fish? Jonah was commanded by God to perform a certain task. But Jonah did not want to obey. So he embarked on a ship, in an attempt to escape “from the presence of the Lord.” Read Jonah 1:1-3. Now wasn’t it silly for Jonah to think that by journeying away from home on a boat, he could escape the command of God?

But we have many modern Jonahs. They try to tell us that a certain command, proclaimed by God’s own voice to all His congregation, cannot really be obeyed if we embark on a boat and travel far away from home, either east or west. It is the command which says: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy . . .. the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Did God so complicate this command that it would require an astronomer to tell us how to obey?

It might seem to some, who do not stop to think very deeply, that you have lost a day if you travel westward around the world or gained a day if you travel eastward. But this loss or gain is apparent, not real.

Think what would happen if this were so. Imagine twin brothers, one traveling westward around the world, the other traveling eastward. If one has really lost a day, while the other gains a day, then after one such journey, one becomes two days older than his twin brother. If they took enough trips, one would in time be enough older to be the farther of his own twin brother! This is ridiculous, but it illustrates the point.

When a person travels, his days are not of even length. The man who travels from San Francisco to New York in one day by airplane finds that this particular day, for him, is counted as only 21 hours, because the sun sets three hours earlier in New York, than in San Francisco, and therefore there is three hours difference in time between these two cities. If the man returns, also by plane, he finds his day on the return trip is computed as 27 hours.

If he leaves San Francisco at 5 a.m., and arrives in New York exactly twelve hours later, his watch will register 5 p.m., but all watches and clocks in New York will register 8 p.m. To compute time as others do there, he will have to set his watch up three hours.

If he kept traveling around the earth, he would have to keep changing his watch, until he had added 24 hours to his watch by the time he returned to San Francisco. But did he really add a day to his life? Of course not. The only change is in the way men count time. This is merely a trick argument designed to confuse people, and justify them in disobeying the commands of God. Sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4) – and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

The correct Bible definition of a “day” is not 24 hours of a man-made watch, but that period of time from sunset to sunset. A day is not measured by the journey of the earth plus our journey on the earth.

The Sabbath is to be observed “from even unto even” (Lev. 23:32). A day ends, and another begins, when the sun sets. (See Mark 1:32; Luke 4:40).See any encyclopedia. History shows that it was always custom to end and begin days at sunset until a few hundred years after Christ.

We live on a round earth. A day is measured by the revolution of the earth on its axis in relation to the sun. Since the Sabbath day begins and ends at sunset, we observe it here when the sun sets here. But the sun sets three hours earlier in New York than on the Pacific Coast, hence the Sabbath-keepers there begin their Sabbath three hours later on the Pacific Coast. In London the Sabbath begins nine hours earlier than on the Pacific Coast, if kept according to God’s direction. The answer to it all is, we keep the day when the day comes to us.

Jerusalem is God’s headquarters for the earth. That is where Jesus kept the Sabbath, and we know He had it right! Authorities believe it was by God’s guidance that men were caused to set the international “date line” (where, because of a round earth turning on its axis a day must be dropped or added in computation), in the middle of the Pacific where it affects virtually nobody and almost exactly opposite from Jerusalem.

As time is now computed, Sabbath-keepers the world over keep the same Sabbath when it comes to them, that is and always has been the 7th day of the week at Jerusalem. But, for the simple reason that the Bible tells us to begin our Sabbath at sunset, and the sun does not set at the same time in various parts of the earth, the holy hours of the Sabbath begins, in China, several hours earlier than in Jerusalem – and likewise, in America several hours later than in Jerusalem. But, beginning in the middle of the Pacific, halfway around the earth from Jerusalem, all everywhere on earth keep the same day, as that day comes to them, which is kept at Jerusalem. Sunday observers have no trouble figuring when their Sunday comes to them, anywhere on the earth. We cannot run away from this truth on a boat.

There is still another argument. The long day of Joshua when the sun stood still for “about a whole day” is figured around in a manner to show that Sunday is the 7th day of the week.

The Bible account is found in Joshua 10:12-14.”Then spake Joshua to the Lord and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon: and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed and hasted not to go down about a whole day.”

Based on this is an ingenious argument, accompanied by a diagram, which is supposed to show that today Sunday is actually the continuation of the 7th day from creation. The gist of the argument is this:

“Joshua showed that the sun and the moon were within a few minutes of going into conjunction in the positon he placed them when he issued his command. Thus this week contained a 24-hour period without a corresponding sunrise and sunset. Professor Totten has clearly demonstrated that the conjunction was due to occur on Tuesday at 11:13 a.m. According to the accompanying diagram it is apparent that this particular week, from Sabbath day to Sabbath day, saw only six sunrises and six sunsets, though it contained the nominal seven twenty-four-hour periods. Numbering according to twenty-four-hour periods it is seen that Saturday is the 7th day. If however, we number our days according to the sunsets, then it is clear that Sunday becomes the 7th day from creation.

Following is a reproduction of the diagram used to present this argument:

_________Week of 7 x 24 Hours_____________

Sun Time___         7th       1st         2nd___              3rd             4th             5th      6th    7th        1st

Days of Week        Sat       Sun     Mon         Tue        Wed      Thur       Fri       Sat    Sun    Mon

Division of                                                                  Joshua’s                                                    

24 hours into                                                             Long Day

Night and Day______________________________________________________________

Order of Days         7th      1st       2nd           3rd                    4th      5th        6th        7th      1sst       2nd

Hour Periods          24        24      24           24                     24     24        24         24      24        24

Surely the reader can see what is wrong with this argument, and this diagram. First, it is stated, “according to the accompanying diagram, it is apparent that this particular week, from Sabbath day to Sabbath day, saw only six sunrises and sunsets.” That is true, according to this diagram. But not according to God’s Word! The diagram is in error!

What is wrong? Simply this: God says, “from even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.” The days of the week are counted from sunset to sunset, according to the measuring of time in the first chapter of Genesis. It is stated each day that” the evening and the morning were the first day” – “the second day,” and so on. Nowhere does God’s Word say “The first 24 hours was the first day! And the next 24 hours was the second day,” etc. God does not count time according to man-made watches and clocks! God counts days according to the setting of the sun.

Now in this man-made diagram, the man who designed it called this long day of Joshua’s two days – Tuesday and Wednesday. Is this in harmony with the Bible? Does the Bible call this long day two days? Notice, in speaking of it, in Joshua 10:14, it distinctly says “And there was no day like it before or after it.” The Bible calls it a day – just one day. But in order to twist it around to conform to the broad and popular way of observing the pagan Sunday, this one day must be counted as two days. But that is contrary to the Scriptures.

Next, this argument ingeniously confuses the reader between numbering according by 24-hour periods, and numbering according to sunsets. The author of this argument used 24-hour periods to make Friday appear to be Saturday, the actual 6th day of the week appears to be Saturday the 7th day. Then he turns around and re-numbers these same days according to sunsets to make Sunday come out the 7th day. It is clever, but it is a deception. We cannot figure days in terms of 24-hour periods. God counts days from sunsets.

Joshua’s long day was approximately 48 hours of a man-made watch, but it was one day, and the Bible calls It a Day, and specifically says it was different from other days, “there was no day” – not “Days” but “day” – “like it before or after it.” The pronoun “it” is singular. Just one day! God says so! God’s week is not made of seven 24-hour periods, but of seven days counting from sunsets

Week of seven days, counting from Sunsets

Sun Time            1st            2nd                 3rd                        4th           5th          6th           7th       1st     2nd

Days of Week     Sun         Mon            Tues                     Wed       Thurs     Fri          Sat      Sun    Mon

Division of                                                  36 hrs.’

Night and Day                                            Daylight

Periods                                                        This Day__________________________________________

Order of Days        1st        2nd                   3rd                         4th             5th         6th         7th        1st         2nd

Hours per Day       24         24                    48                         24             24          24          24       24         24          

Do you notice the trick employed as a means of deception in the first diagram? “Joshua’s Long Day,” as it is plainly labeled in the diagram – a day – one single day is marked “Tuesday” and Wednesday” – as if it were two days. At the bottom of the diagram it is re-numbered a different way – as one day, the “3rd” day of the week. The day labeled “Saturday” is arrived at by counting Joshua’ Long Day as two days. Figuring that way, this day is made the 7th day of the week. Then, in the top line by re-numbering this day as one day – the 3drd day of the week, the day he has called Thursday is the 4th day, Friday is the 5th day, and Saturday is the 6th day of the week. This, of course, brings Sunday out the 7th day.

Do you notice the trick employed as a means of deception in the first diagram? “Joshua’s Long Day,” as it is plainly labeled in the diagram – a day – one single day is marked “Tuesday” and “Wednesday” – as if it were two days. At the bottom of the week. The day labeled “Saturday” is arrived at by counting Joshua’s Long Day as two days. Figuring that way, this day is made the 7th day of the week. Then, in the top line by re-numbering this day as one day, the 3rd day of the week – the day he called Thursday is the 4th day, Friday is the 5th day, and Saturday is the 6th day of the week. This, of course, brings Sunday at the 7th day.

Now this “Joshua’s Long Day” cannot be two days – the 3rd day and the 4th day of the week – as it is numbered below and also at the same time be just one day, the 3rd day, as figured in the top column.

Which is it, the 3rd day of the week – Tuesday, or the 3rd and 4th day – Tuesday and Wednesday? Since the Bible calls it “a day” and not two days, it is only one day, Tuesday, the 3rd day of the week, as shown in the correct diagram.

The error in the first diagram is in calling this day one day in one place, and two days another time. Actually it was just one day, Tuesday the 3rd day of the week. The day he has labeled Saturday, therefore, is not Saturday at all, but actually Friday, the 6th day of the week. And the seventh day should not be labeled Sunday as in his diagram, but Saturday, as in the second diagram. And that is exactly the way it actually was counted in history! It is surely plain that this first diagram is a deception and a delusion.

But now, finally, to prove the whole thing, let us remember this: To establish which day is the true Sabbath, the true seventh day from creation, which God made holy time, we need to go back no further than the time of Jesus Christ!

For, if this Joshua’s long day argument is true, then Jesus profaned the Sabbath God made holy time, and observed the 6th not the 7th day. And if we accuse Jesus of that, we accuse Him of committing sin, for sin is the transgression of the law, and no one will argue that the Sabbath point of the law was abolished during Jesus’ lifetime! If he sinned, then we are without HOPE!

But we know Jesus knew which was the right day. He was the Maker, and Lord of that day (Mark 2:27-28). He kept the true Sabbath, and the calendar record proves that the Saturday of today is the exact same 7th day Jesus kept. Certainly we should want to keep the same day Jesus kept!

Adam was created and living when sunset came the 6th day of creation week, when God rested from His work. Adam knew which was the 7th day. Jesus Called Abel “righteous” (Matt. 23:35), so Abel kept the Sabbath. Enoch “walked with God,” so Enoch kept the Sabbath – and he was “translated” less than a hundred years before Noah. They knew which day was the same 7th day all through this time. Adam lived 243 years with Methuselah, and until Lamech was 56 years of age. These men knew which day was the 7th day. Methuselah lived 600 years with Noah, and Lamech lived with Noah 595 years.

Noah certainly learned from them, and others, which was the same 7th day. And Noah kept it, because Noah was a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5) – and “all thy commandments are righteousness” (Ps. 119:172).

Shem was also righteous, and he lived until Abraham was 150 years. Noah died only about two years before Abraham was born. Abraham kept God’s Sabbath (Gen. 18:19; 26:5).  So also did his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, and his great grandson Joseph – all of whom were righteous commandment keepers. No, time was lost down to the time of Joseph.

But after the death of Joseph, the children of Israel (Jacob) became slaves in Egypt. “Therefore,” it is written, “they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage” (Ex. 1:11, 13-14).

The Egyptians did not observe the Sabbath. They lashed the Israelites, in their slave-labor, on the Sabbaths the same as other days. So these Israelites, for some 150 to 175 years – several generations were not permitted to keep the Sabbath. They had no priesthood. There were no Sabbath or religious services. Probably there was no religious teaching – certainly none was allowed on an organized scale.

And there was no Bible –no written record of God’s instruction-- or of God’s law! The Bible says, “The Word of the Eternal endures forever.” If any inspired Word of God had been written prior to Moses, it would be in evidence today. The first Scriptures were written by Moses after the Israelites were delivered out of Egyptian slavery.

The generation of Israelites which Moses led out of Egypt had had no religious instruction or training. Probably they knew little about the Sabbath. Time would have been lost – to them. But, if so, God revealed it by amazing miracles!

In the days of Moses, God revealed the true creation Sabbath to all the Children of Israel, in the raining of manna from heaven.

At the wilderness of Sin, two weeks before arriving at Sinai, they grumbled and complained for lack of food. The Lord said, “Behold, I will rain bread from haven for you that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My Law or no.”

This has to do with whether we will keep God’s law. To disobey is sin. And Moses and Aaron said to the people. “At even (sunset), then ye shall know that the Lord hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: and in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord.”

“And   Moses spake unto Aaron, say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, come near before the Lord and it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And it came to pass, that at even (dusk), the quails came up, and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay round about the host” (Ex. 16:4-13).

Notice, there was a religious assembly on this day, and the glory of the Lord appeared. The quail did not come up until the sun set. Why? Because this had been a Sabbath day. At sunset, when it ended, the quails came, and the people were privileged to go to work gathering in food to eat.

Next morning the manna fell. This was the first day of the week. If they tried to keep over any manna till the following day, it bred worms and stank (v. 20). On the 6th day (v. 22), twice as much came from heaven and all gathered twice as much. Then, that 6th day, the Lord said, “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord” (v. 23). They kept it over, and on this day it did not breed worms nor stink.

However, on the 7th day some of the people must have thought time was lost. They were like some modern people who were not sure which day was the Sabbath, or whether it makes any difference. They went out to gather on the 7th day (v. 27) – and they found none! On this day God did not send any! So, by three miracles God showed them which day was the true Creation Sabbath.

Time could not have been mixed up or lost under the strict Mosaic regime between then and the time of Christ. We have shown that Joshua’s Long Day was just one day, and it did not change the reckoning of time in any way. If it did, then, as pointed out, Christ kept the wrong day! And so we come to the time of Christ, knowing that time was not lost up to then.

Now if we are convinced that Jesus set us a right example, and that He observed the right 7th day, we need have no further difficulty.

Notice, the day Jesus kept as His custom (Luke 4:16) was the same day all the Jews kept, for they were holding their religious service in the synagogue, verse 17, 20.

About 43 years after this the Jewish people were driven into every nation on earth. From that time until now, they have been separated, scattered into all nations. Through the Middle Ages, the Jews in China had no way of communicating with the Jews of Africa; the Jews in Europe with those of other parts of the world. Yet today, with communication restored over every part of the world, we do not find the Jews all mixed up.

If time had been lost, the Jews of one part of the world would be observing one day, and the Jews of other parts other days, but everywhere – in every nations on earth, we find the Jewish people have been keeping the same identical day , the day we call Saturday – the true 7th day.

The Jewish people are the miracle of all history, and they are another proof that we have not lost the Sabbath. Ask any orthodox Jew today if he has lost his Sabbath. Why, such an idea would be nonsense to him. He is not in doubt.

Another line of proof! We have a history of the true Church of God through every century from Christ until now. It has always been a Sabbath-keeping Church. Through the Middle Ages, just as prophesied in Rev. 12:6, this true Church had to flee to the wilderness, clear beyond the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire, dominated by the Roman Catholic Church.

In 363 A.D. the Roman Church passed the Decree of the Council of Laodicea, pronouncing the death sentence upon any found to be keeping the Sabbath. Many true Christians were martyred for keeping this day. When men were willing to gives their lives in order to keep God’s commands, do you think they would lose track of the right day?

And coming down to modern times, we find this Church, the true Christian Church, keeping the day we call Saturday – the same day the Jewish people have been keeping right down through every year from Christ until now.

And another line of proof. Why should time be lost? How could it be lost? Stop, think! One person might, perhaps, wake up some Saturday morning and think it was Friday, and thus wait until Sunday to keep his Sabbath. But for time to be lost, not only one man, but every other person in his town or city, every person in every province, state, or country of the whole world – every person in every nation on earth, would have to wake up the same morning with the same hallucination! Do you think this possible? Yet you believe this has happened if you believe that time has been lost!

Finally, we have the scientific testimony of astronomers. We quote from the official government statements to the League of Nations, as published August 17, 1926, in an official League document.

The government of Finland presented this observation from one of its astronomers: “The reform (calendar reform before the League) would break the division of the week, which has been followed for thousands of years, and therefore had been hallowed by immemorial use.”

The government of France presented the following statements from two of its leading astronomers: “One essential point is that of the continuity of the week, a continuity which has existed for so many centuries.” “The continuity of the week is without doubt the most ancient scientific institution bequeathed to us by antiquity.” Stated by Prof. D. Eginitis, director of the Observatory of Athens, a member of the League of Committee, “The continuity of the week has crossed the centuries, and all known calendars, still intact.”

Would God set apart a certain day, put His blessing on it (Gen. 2:1-3), make it holy time, command that it be kept holy forever, and then let that holy time become so lost we cannot tell when to keep it?

Time Lost? If so, then you and I are lost, for it is sin to profane God’s Sabbath! That is the 4th point of the law.

Sin is the transgression of the Law (I John 3:4), and it we break only one of its points, any one – we are guilty sinners (James 2:8-11). The very last recorded words of Jesus says: “Blessed are they that do His (His Father’s) Commandments that they may have right to the tree of life” (Rev. 22:14). No, time has not been lost.  You may want to ask yourself, are you observing the Sabbath?

 
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