|God's Sacred Calendar 86-87
The biblical solar-lunar calendar, combined with the Roman calendar so widely used by today's Christian-professing world. HERE IS the true calendar for all mankind. Its principles go back to the very first chapter of the Bible, where the sun and the moon were appointed to be for signs, seasons, days and years (Gen. 1:14).
This is the calendar Israel used when God led the nation out of Egypt. It has been in continual use for more than 3,400 years since. In all major respects except one, it is the same calendar used from the days of the earliest patriarchs to the exodus from Egypt.
This calendar has been called the "Hebrew Calendar," but it long antedated the Hebrew peoples — having its origin in the days of Enos, Seth and Adam when men first determined the average length of the lunar month.
Here, combined with God's true calendar, is the Roman calendar. The Roman calendar begins a new year in the dead of winter, its months without reference to the moon — all in contrast to God's calendar.
But isn't the Roman calendar of Christian origin, some will ask? Doesn't it have the approval of almost all Christian sects? History answers: "Our [Roman] calendar is not Christian in origin. It descends directly from the Egyptians, who originated the 12-month year, 365-day system. A pagan Egyptian scientist, Sosigenes, suggested this plan to the pagan Emperor Julius Caesar, who directed that it go into effect throughout the Roman Empire in 45 B.C. As adopted it indicated its pagan origin by the names of the months — called after Janus, Maia, Juno, etc. The days were not named but numbered by a complicated system involving Ides, Nones and Calends. It was not until 321 A.D. that the seven-day-week feature was added, when the Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity. Oddly enough for his weekdays he chose pagan names which are still used." From "Journal of Calendar Reform," Sept. 1953, footnote p. 128.
Further study brings one to the realization that the entire Roman calendar is of pagan origins with the single exception of the seven-day-week feature. Ironically, the "Journal of Calendar Reform" would have men give up this feature also by adopting their World Calendar. This proposed calendar contains one day each year (two in leap years) that is not counted as a day of the week. The seven-day cycle of the week, which has persisted since creation, would then be broken. It would be a totally heathen calendar.
God Ordained This Way A new sacred year commences about the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. "This month [Abib or Nisan] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Ex. 12:2). The beginning of this month and of all God's months basically correspond with the appearance of the first faint crescent of the new moon in the west just after sundown. (Traditionally observed from Palestine.) The astronomical new moon calculated for the United States is, in general, a day or two earlier.
The word month means moon. A new month begins with a new moon. At first quarter the month is one quarter gone; at full moon half a month has passed. Months have 30 and 29 days alternately with a few minor variations on some years. Seven years of a nineteen-year cycle have a 13th month called Adar II.
A third unit of time, the day, was correctly observed by most people till only a few hundred years ago. The proper time to end one day and begin another is in the evening at sunset as the last rays of direct sunlight fade from the countryside. Notice the description of the Day of Atonement occurring on the tenth day of the month: "In the ninth day of the month at even [evening], from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath" (Lev. 23:27-32). Man has changed to beginning the day at midnight.
The division of days was correctly understood at Christ's time. On one occasion a Sabbath was drawing to a close. Those who wished healing waited, and "when the sun was setting all they that had any sick with diverse diseases brought them unto him," not being aware of the fact that Christ would have healed on the Sabbath day also (Luke 4:40). Mark records that they came to be healed "when the sun did set" (Mark 1:32).
A comparison of Leviticus 22:7 with Leviticus 15:5 gives the exact moment for a new day — "when the sun is down."
The final division of time, the week, with a seventh day set apart for rest and holy use, has been preserved by its continual observance among God's people.
The annual festivals God gave to Israel all occur on fixed days of the month, except for the feast of firstfruits or Pentecost. It occurs on a specific day of the week and is determined in the following manner. In the days of the Levitical priesthood a sheaf or omer of grain (barley) was cut very shortly after the sun set at the end of the Sabbath, in the early moments of the first day of the week. This first day after the weekly Sabbath always fell during the Days of Unleavened Bread, and it was the first of 50 days of the spring harvest (Pentecost means "fiftieth") which culminated in the feast of firstfruits or Pentecost. Pentecost is therefore always to be celebrated on the first day of the week, seven weeks after the cutting of the sheaf or omer of grain. It always falls in the third month — Sivan.
General Information In brief, God's holy days are to be kept in the following way. On two of them no work is to be done: the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Atonement (a fast day). On the following six no servile work is to be done (food, however, may be prepared): the first day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15), the last day of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day (Tishri 22). The Passover, Nisan 14, is observed with the service of footwashing followed by taking the symbols of unleavened bread and wine. This is the only festival not designated a Sabbath.
For Christians these holy days are convocations or commanded assemblies. Historians of the early Christian era record that these days, often misnamed "Jewish holidays," were kept by the true Church of God with a new spirit and fuller understanding.
Holy days for several years have been calculated to aid you in your plans to attend services and in your employment schedule.
Information as to where these meetings will be held and how you may attend may be had by writing to Herbert W. Armstrong at the office nearest you.
Information on the meaning of the annual festivals is available in the free booklet Pagan Holidays or God's Holy Days — Which?
God's Current Holy Day Calendar
[View/Download above PDF link for information concerning each month of God's Sacred Calendar for calendar year 86-87.]