Newsletter 71, June 2003
Calendar Controversy | Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar | Wisdom from Spurgeon | Your Articles Welcome | Special Items from Giving & Sharing | Exodus 34:22 and the Calendar | Lessons for Pentecost | The Promise of the Parakletos | The Real Father’s Day | The Three Angels’ Messages | The Sea of Glass
Controversy over the Sacred Calendar is perhaps the most divisive issue among the Churches of God. When they come to different conclusions relative to the Holy Day Calendar, brethren are divided. There are many more than two camps of opinion on the Sacred Calendar. “Divide and Conquer” continues to be Satan’s most successful tactic.
Let’s review some of the contentious issues. (1) Does the Bible define a calendar? (2) Does the Bible mention the equinox? (3) When is a New Moon? Does the Bible define a New Moon? (4) Did Hillel II invent the calculated calendar? (5) Did the nineteen-year time cycle originate in Babylon? (6) Are Hebrew Calendar calculations non-Biblical? (7) Does the New Moon begin the Biblical week? (8) Which authority should we use to determine the Sacred Calendar?
During more than twenty years of research on the Calendar, I have collected many hundreds of pages of material on the Sacred Calendar. Yet when all is said and done, one has to ask the basic question: Does study of the calendar issue make one more righteous? The answer is clearly, “no”! “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding,” Proverbs 10:12-13. In the Churches of God today, there are too many “debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults,” II Corinthians 12:20. We need to shun “strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,” I Timothy 6:4. “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes,” II Timothy 2:23. There seems to be a shortage of understanding on the Sacred Calendar.
Let’s clear the fog. The Bible does not define a calendar. A few have tried, unsuccessfully, to claim my offer of $1,000 to anyone who can define a calendar using the Bible only. As the article in this issue, “Exodus 34:22 and the Calendar,” demonstrates, the Bible does not specifically mention the astronomical equinox, a pivotal point in Sacred Calendar computations. A New Moon can be defined as the conjunction of the moon, or the first visible crescent, but the Bible does not specifically define a New Moon for calendar purposes. History shows that in 359, Hillel II, Patriarch of Jerusalem, A.D. 330-365, published previously secret calendar rules, which had long been used for Sacred Calendar calculations. In so doing, he put himself and the Sanhedrin out of business in fixing the date of festivals. Why did Hillel II take this bold step? Because persecutions under Emperor Constantius forbade the meeting of the Jewish Sanhedrin for calendar setting. Hillel II decentralized calendar setting by placing at everyone’s disposal the rules which had guided the Sanhedrin until that time.
Neither the Babylonians, nor the Greek astronomer Meton, invented the nineteen-year time cycle. Almost all ancient calendars used a nineteen-year cycle because the alignment of the earth, moon, and sun, reoccurs every nineteen years. Hebrew calendar calculations do not contradict anything in the Bible; instead, they support and protect the integrity of the Sabbath. There is not a hint in Scripture that the New Moon is the first day of the week, indicating that the weekly cycle is changed with each New Moon.
It is a question of authority. Since the Bible does not define a calendar, one can (a) come up with one’s own ideas for a calendar, or (b) follow the Hebrew Calendar as defined and published by the last sitting Sanhedrin (compare Matthew 23:2-3). The right choice is (b). “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5.
See the series of calendar articles on our
website at www.giveshare.org/HolyDay,
or order the 500+ page book, Biblical
Holy Days for a $20 suggested
donation from Giving & Sharing.
Write for the free sixteen-page research summary of Calendar information
from Steve Kieler, 2193 Sheker
Drive, Fort Dodge, IA 50501-8707.
We recommend that you obtain the third update of Arthur Spier’s classic book, The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar. The first 22 pages briefly explain Sacred Calendar history and rules, while the next several hundred pages list the Roman Calendar and Hebrew calendar side by side for the years A.D. 1900-2100. Our suggested donation is $35, from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849. You may also order this essential calendar book online at www.giveshare.org/amazon.
From the 1800s to the 2000s, little has changed. Nineteenth-century minister, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, called “the prince of preachers,” said, “We are only at the beginning of an era of mingled unbelief and fanaticism. The hurricane is coming. Men have ceased to be guided by the Word, and claim to be themselves prophets,” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 29:214). “The new religion [the belief that the Bible is not entirely, but contains, God’s Word] practically sets ‘thought’ [scholarship] above revelation, and constitutes man the supreme judge of what ought to be true,” (The Sword and the Trowel, 1888, p. 43).
You are welcome to submit your Bible Study articles for consideration in the “Giving & Sharing Newsletter.” Articles must be in electronic format. For guidelines and format standards, please see www.giveshare.org/guidelines.html. Please E-mail your proofed articles to Rich.Nickels@giveshare.org.
Articles may be edited for clarity, brevity, and grammar.
We are always looking for items to help God’s people hold fast and grow in His Truth. But it is difficult to stock more material, as our Bookstore shelves are overcrowded. Here are several featured items, with their suggested donation for a printed copy (please add 10% or $2 minimum for postage, 20% International). Reprint items are also available free on our website.
Jesus Before the Sanhedrim, by Lémann, 39 pp. reprint, $5. Details of the most famous trial in history.
Handbook of Bible Law, by Charles A. Weismann, 144 pp., $8.
The Bible Story, by Arthur S. Maxwell, 10 volumes of 190-200 pp. each, the Bible in stories for children, $169.95 (regular retail is $399.95).
The French-Speaking Peoples in Prophecy, by Dibar Apartian, 33 pp. reprint, $5.
The Origin of Medical Practice, by Sherwin McMichael, 49 pp. reprint, $6.
The Jesuits, by J.A. Wylie, 42 pp. reprint, $4. Details of these implacable enemies of the Sabbath.
“History of the Jesuits,” by James Arrabito, VHS NTSC video, $5 to rent, $23 postpaid to keep. V202
History of the Waldenses, by J.A. Wylie, 206 pp., $7.50. B207
Islam Versus the Bible, 56-page reprint of several articles on this timely topic, $5.
Christianity Versus Islam, VHS NTSC video, sermon given by Richard C. Nickels on February 8, 2003, free loan, or $12 to keep.
Language of the KJV Bible, by Gail Riplinger, 179 pp., $10. Uncovers the pitfalls of the NIV, NKJV, NASB, and other translations. KJV has a built-in dictionary, which defines each word as it is introduced.
A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches, by Tamar Davis, 255 pp. photocopy of 1851 edition, $7.50. Armenian, East Indian, Abyssian, Waldensian, Anabaptist Sabbath-keepers in Europe and America. G011