Church of God, New World Ministries

Which Is The Calendar Jesus Christ Used?

The Roman calendar on your wall originated with Julius Caesar about 45 B.C. But God gave Israel a different calendar! Without knowledge of it, you cannot obey the Creator!

What is the true calendar provided by God? Has God left it up to each individual to follow whatever calendar he pleases? Or is there an accurate one which He has preserved for us today?

How can we know the proper time to keep Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and the other holy days which God commanded for the Church!

Our Roman calendar is not Christian in origin. It descends directly from the Egyptians, who originated the 12 month year, 365 days system. This system is a pagan system.

Jesus Christ taught that man &lduo;shall not live my bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). He accepted the writings of Jeremiah as the inspired word of God, writings which contain the command from God, &lduo;Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:1-2). Jesus Christ did not use this heathen Roman calendar.

Then what is the word of God on this question? What calendar did Christ follow? The first Bible evidence of a God given calendar is found in Gen. 1:14. The sun and moon are &lduo;for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.”

Our present Roman calendar doesn’t meet this qualification. It divides the year in the dead of the winter. It divides the day in the middle of the night and its months have no reference to the moon. It couldn’t be God’s calendar. What, then, is the method of calculating time which God intends?

The first unit of time revealed in the Bible is the day. Six times in Genesis 1 the term &lduo;evening and morning” is used, always with the evening or dark part of the day preceding the morning or daylight part of each day. The day as revealed by God does not begin in the middle of the night but at sunset.

This division of days was understood and followed in Christ’s time. When the Sabbath was drawing to a close, those who wished Him to heal waited, and &lduo;when the sun was setting all they that had any sick with diver diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them” (Luke 4:40).

Although they understood correctly when the day would come to an end, they were not aware of the fact that Jesus was willing to heal on the Sabbath day also. The traditions of their Jewish rabbis had caused them to be ignorant of this point.

Can the &lduo;lights in the firmament of the heaven divide the day from the night” (Gen. 1:14) unless the moment of sunset is used as the proper division of one day from another?

The exact moment for a day to end is again revealed by a comparison of Lev. 22:7 with Lev. 15. Individuals designated as unclean by these laws were to bathe and then to be considered clean when the evening came. &lduo;When the sun is down, he shall be clean” (Lev. 22: 7). A new day would begin at sunset, not at midnight.

God wants you to begin the observance of His holydays at sunset, not in the middle of the night according to a man-made watch.

When did the period of time called the week come into existence? Was it first revealed to Moses and the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt? Far from it! Long before!

Several hundred years prior to the Exodus, Jacob was required to serve Laban seven years for each of his two daughters, Rachel and Leah. Following the first seven years of service for Rachel, Laban tricked him giving him Leah for his wife. A seven day period or week followed before he was allowed to have Rachel also and then only with the stipulation that he was to serve Laban another seven years (Gen. 29:15-30). They already knew at this time the symbol of a day for a year and they had knowledge of a seven day week.

Though this is the first time the word &lduo;week” occurs in the Bible, yet the first week mentioned is back in the very first chapter of Genesis. Seven consecutive days are listed. The sixth of these seven days was nearly over when Adam was created. This sixth day came to a close with Adam’s naming of the animals and his presentation with Eve.

Six of the days of creation were now past. One thing remained yet to be made for man. A day of rest had not yet been set apart. Jesus Christ speaks of it in Mark 2:27, &lduo;The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” History records the existence of the seven day week in many ancient nations even before the Exodus. It is easy to see now why God commanded, &lduo;Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” This special 7th day was added to the week the day after Adam and Eve were created. It was made for them; thus it had to be made at the time they were made, not 2500 years later at the Exodus.

God had completed the physical recreation in six literal days, then he &lduo;rested on the 7th day, and blessed the 7th day, and sanctified it” (Gen. 2:1-2). To sanctify means to set apart for a holy use.

This weekly cycle of six days of labor with a Sabbath devoted to our spiritual needs has never been lost by God’s true Church. This seven day cycle continued unbroken down through Christ’s time. It was a part of the calendar He followed and is a vital part of the Christian calendar for today. Those who observe the 7th day of the week, called Saturday today, are observing the same 7th day God rested on, blessed and sanctified!

Astronomy gives us no basis why the week should be a period of seven days. A seven day period does not divide evenly into 29 1/2 day month (from new moon to new moon); neither does it divide evenly into 365 1/4 day year. No signs in the heavens can be held accountable for its origin.

The existence of our seven day week demands an explanation. Its only sound logical origin is found in the literal truth of the account of creation week found in Genesis 1 and 2. The week points definitely to a literal seven day period in which God created out present day life forms and brought order out of the chaos that had existed on the earth just prior to this time.

Only by continual observance of the Sabbath between Adam and Christ has man been kept in the knowledge of the correct beginning of this seven day unit of time. An exception to this was a period of slavery of Israel in Egypt after which the date to begin the week, the month and the year were again revealed.

We have found that the new day begins just as the sun sinks below the horizon and that the week begins with the sunset following the 7th day. This was true in Adam’s time. It was still true over 4000 years later after Christ’s death when the day after the Sabbath was the first day of the week or Sunday (Matt. 28:1).

But where does the Bible give us information concerning the month and the year? When were they first made known to men?

God instructed Israel, while they were still in Egypt, when to begin a new year. Why was this necessary? Weren’t these facts known to the patriarchs and followed by them? They certainly were. The reason for the reissuing of this knowledge is that the descendants of Israel had been in slavery in Egypt for nearly two centuries after the death of Joseph and had lost contact with the true God. They had lost God’s method of keeping time. Only a few may have retained a partial knowledge of these things.

To clarify matters for everyone, God had to reveal it. Concerning the spring month of Nisan or Abib, God said: &lduo;This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Ex. 12:2).

The first day of this month, which occurs at the beginning of spring, then would be the first day of the new year. The first month of God’s sacred calendar is not January which lies in the dead of the winter, but rather a spring month when the earth is bringing forth new life. The new month and new year begin together on the same day, independent, however of the weekly cycle.

It is interesting to note that while the practice of beginning the new year of the Roman calendar with the first of January was begun by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C., this custom was not introduced into Great Britain until 1752. The colonies in America naturally followed the lead of the mother country. Thus, today’s history books record George Washington’s birthday as having been February 22, 1732, whereas the event would have been recorded in the Washington family Bible as February 11, 1731.

By moving the beginning of the year backward from April to January, it was necessary to have a forward shift of one year of all dates in between. The eleven day discrepancy was due to another change made in the Roman calendar in Britain at the same time. These changes did not affect the sequence of the days of the week in any way.

The word &lduo;month” comes from the word moon. In Hebrew the word for month when speaking of the calendar is identical to that for new moon or moon. The observation of this first faint crescent of the new moon just after sundown was always made from Jerusalem. Word was then spread to the surrounding area that a new month was beginning.

God’s months begin with the new moon. Yet because of certain special considerations they may begin a day or so later than the astronomical &lduo;new moon” noted on many of our calendars today. The observation had to be made from Jerusalem and is stated in Jerusalem time, not from the United States and Central Standard or Pacific Standard Time. The seven to ten hours difference in time between Jerusalem and the part of the United States one lives in can make our own observations and estimations as to when we would want to begin a new month somewhat misleading.

You can prove that each month begins with the new moon by comparing Num. 28:11 with I Chron. 23:31. In every instance these monthly offerings were made on the day of the new moon.

Compare these verses: &lduo;In the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offering” (Num. 10:10). Concerning one of His holy days, God commanded, &lduo;In the 7th month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath (rest), a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation” (Lev. 23:24).

These leave no doubt that the start of a new month is to be regulated by the moon. Each new month begins with the discovery of the crescent of a new moon in the western sky just after sundown following the 29th or 30th day of a preceding month.

Do these months coincide with the months of the Roman calendar which was also in existence at Christ’s time and with which He was certainly familiar? Not at all. The date of the new moon on the Roman calendar may occur at any time of the month.

The months God gave average approximately 29 1/2 days, while the Roman months are close to 30 1/2 days in length. This difference causes the months of the true calendar to begin, in general, one day earlier each succeeding month of the Roman calendar. Check this for yourself.

It is important to recognize that the days of these God given months seldom coincided with those of the Roman calendar. The Passover (the day on which Jesus Christ was put to death) today varies from about March 26 to April 22 over a ten year period. On the Sacred Calendar it is always Nisan 14.

We have now established a daily cycle that begins at sundown, a weekly cycle that begins at sundown following the Sabbath (identical with the one in creation week), a monthly cycle that begins with the new moon observed from Jerusalem and a yearly cycle that begins in the spring with the first day of the month in which the early harvest would take place.

The day, month and year are easy to follow by watching the sun in its daily path, the moon in its phases and the seasons as the progress. The signs in the heavens were intended for this purpose. The Sabbath is remembered by its weekly observance.

In setting up this calendar, some divinely designed complicated relationships arise when an attempt is made to relate the day to the month and the month to the year. For example, the length of time between astronomical new moons is slightly more than 29 1/2 days. To solve this, one calendar month in general has 30 days, the next 29. Minor adjustments from this pattern take care of the remaining fraction.

In fitting the months into the year more difficulties were encountered. The time required for the spring season to return each year is approximately 365 1/4 days. Twelve lunar months (of 29 1/2 days each) make only 354 days. Unless something was done, the beginning of the calendar year and the time of the annual feasts would occur about 11 days earlier in the season each year. This could not be allowed for the feasts throughout the year have a definite relationship with the harvests.

Notice Lev. 23:4, &lduo;These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.” They could not be allowed to wander through the seasons as do dates on the Mohammedan calendar which always has but 12 lunar months.

The Passover, for example, had to be at the time of the early grain harvest for the High Priest was to wave a sheaf of the new grain crop on the morrow after the Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. &lduo;Keep this ordinance in its season from year to year” (Ex. 13:10). No other grain could be cut until the wave sheaf was offered (Ex. 23:14-17, Deut. 16:9-16, Num. 28:2).

To keep the month in accord with the year, God intended that a 13th month be added in certain years. Seven times in a 19 year cycle this 13th month must be added to keep the year in line with the seasons. Then the cycle is repeated.

The appearance of the new moon in the western sky just after sundown is the approximate beginning of a new month. A keen eyed observer might see this first faint sickle a day earlier than his neighbor. Is he justified in starting the new month with that day while his neighbor waits till the following evening? Is one man allowed to add a 13th month to the year while his neighbors wait until the next year to add the correcting month? Total confusion would be the result.

Logic requires that there be some central authority guided in the task of determining which months are to have 30 days and which years a 13th month. Each man is not left free to choose for himself. This need for a true central authority concerning the calendar is absolute proof that such authority existed. Add the fact that God requires us to keep His holy days today and we can only conclude that some such authority on the calendar exists for us today. God never fails to provide man with knowledge that he must know and cannot discover for himself.

The perfect clock of the heavens is the timepiece given by God to man. Instructions concerning its use were given after Israel came out of Egypt. They were only a repetition of earlier instructions known to Adam, Noah and Abraham alike. God told Israel through Moses the days to be observed but did not leave it to the individual to devise his own calendar adding an extra day to a month or month to the year when it might please him. Certain men were given an understanding of the mathematical principles upon which the calendar was to be based. Their decisions were accepted by the nation. God revealed to these men a calendar based on the laws of mathematics and astronomy, the very physical laws God set in motion, a calendar that would follow the movements of the heavenly bodies far into the future, one that would be accurate. Not a new calendar, but a mathematical continuation of an original revealed pattern based on the signs of the heavens; a calendar that would lead to order and harmony among God’s people in the matter of keeping time.

Who preserved this calendar down to the time of Jesus Christ? Who preserved it from that time forward? Has it been preserved intact down to this present day? If not, then in commanding us to observe His Sabbath and His holy days, God has commanded us to do the impossible. If God’s calendar is lost, God’s commandments in regard to His Feasts Days are impossible to keep! But since God does not command the impossible, the calendar is preserved.

To whom was this responsibility committed? The Oracles of God were committed to all Israel to be passed on from generation to generation. Acts 7:38 speaks of the Israelites &lduo;who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” Oracles are communications from God. They were given to all Israel, both the house of Israel and the house of Judah. The house of Israel went into captivity, losing her identity and her knowledge of God. She did not preserve the calendar or the Bible for us. Then who did?

The house of Judah also went into captivity over 110 years later in 604 B.C., but retained knowledge of her identity and her God. Recognizing the fact that she had gone into captivity for breaking the Sabbath, Judah became very strict in its observance adding many dos and don’ts which Jesus Christ ignored completely. The Jewish people have been forced to retain the knowledge of a Sabbath and a calendar which they however refuse to follow in truth.

Notice what Paul asks: &lduo;What advantage then hath the Jew?” Then he answers, &lduo;much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:12). If they did not fulfill this God-given commission, Jesus could not have observed Passover, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles in their proper seasons during His boyhood. He could not have lived a sinless life. The authority for keeping the calendar was delegated to the Jews. If they did not preserve it to this day, then we have no real basis for calculating and observing the Holy Days of God.

If the Jews did not preserve the Law and the Scriptures, how could Jesus Christ have lived His early life in the knowledge of them?

He accused the Jews of &lduo;laying aside the commandment of God (to) hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8) The commands Jesus followed were the ones written in the Law, the Scriptures Judah was forced by God to preserve, yet Scriptures they refused to believe and obey.

Here is absolute proof of Jesus’ recognition of the authority vested in the religious leaders of Judah at that time. Christ kept the same Sabbath that the Jews around Him did. He observed the same Holy Days proving that they had a correct knowledge of time. There were heretical Jewish sects, however, that observed these at the wrong time due to their misunderstanding of the Scriptural instructions.

He accepted the same Scripture which had been entrusted to Israel by Moses and the Prophets. Christ recognized that in all three points the house of Judah had carried out its commission. Do you? Or has some other group been used to preserve the Hebrew Scriptures accurately. Has another group preserved the knowledge of the true Sabbath? Or can we trust historians for a rule as to when the Passover should occur?

Some sects disagree with the calendar which the Jews preserved. These sects have developed their own formulas for beginning the year. The &lduo;authorities” they use are the writers of profane history.

Some believe the ancient reckoning of Passover was from the actual sight of the new moon nearest the vernal equinox and cite Josephus, a Jewish historian, to indicate that Passover could never be earlier than March 20, or later than April 19. Yet this same Josephus is quoted in Hasting’s Bible Dictionary as saying the vernal equinox (March 21st) always occurred in Nisan. This means the year began with the new moon prior to March 21st and that Passover could be as early as March 5th but not later than April 3rd.

Thus one writer quotes Josephus (Ant. I, X. 5) to begin the year with the new moon prior to March 21st; another uses the same Josephus to prove we ought to take the new moon nearest the same date; still another source, the Encyclopedia Britannica, asserts that the year always began with the first new moon after March 21st.

Writers of profane history only contradict themselves. They can not be depended upon to preserve this essential knowledge. God has in no way used them to preserve His Sabbath or Calendar. Neither the oracles of God nor the preservation of His times were committed to writers of profane history.

The Jewish nation has preserved the Scriptures, The Sabbaths and TheCalendar for us even though individuals in that nation lacking guidance from God have strayed from the truth on these issues.

Understanding that God commissioned and required His people, the Jews, to keep the calendar intact, we have left only the problem of transferring the dates from the true calendar of God to the present day Roman calendar.

How clear it is that God has provided mankind with His holy calendar. He preserved that calendar through the Jewish people. Through them God has given you His Sacred Calendar so you would be able to observe the days He commands. The only question left to answer is will you?

 
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