A Calendar Bias for Biblical Time
(Revised 2021)

By: Shawn Richardson

Section 2:


To begin our Biblical search, we don't have to go very far. In the very first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1: 14-19[1], we find Yehovah Himself being quoted at the time of creation itself:

    "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth'; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day." {Underlined emphasis added}

Notice what is being created here: signs and seasons, days and years - a calendar? More specifically, He created lights in the firmament of the heavens, which are used as signs! The word firmament here is from the Hebrew word raqia (Strong's 7548[3]), which also translates as "expanse"; whereas the word heavens is shamayim (Strong's 8063[3]) meaning the "sky" above us. Therefore, this is describing these great lights in the expanse of the sky above us to give light on the earth below. Notice that these signs are being described from an observer's perspective right here on earth, not from some far-off place floating somewhere out in the solar system. There are no scientific descriptions given here, no mythical secrets, no complicated rules and absolutely no mathematical formulas!

What exactly is a sign? Many contemporary Christians today infer from this word as being an omen, something extraordinary or miraculous. Although the sun and moon, in themselves, are miraculous as Yehovah's overall creation, they are also to be used as instruments in our ordinary day-to-day lives. The Hebrew word here for signs is 'oth (Strong's 226[3]) which means:

    "226 A signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc; a mark, miracle, sign, token (in the sense of appearing)."

Therefore, these signs are the form of communication from Yehovah - a flag or beacon - that appear in the expanse of the sky. They are meant for us to take notice, to mark such an event! Just as a ship's lookout searches for land with the assistance of a lighthouse beacon in the midst of a storm, Yehovah created these signs for us to see with our own eyes. It is Yehovah's timepiece, a great clock in the sky above us!

Let's consider the difference, for a moment, between a calendar and a clock. If one were knocked unconscious for days at a time and awoke on a deserted island all alone with only a calendar lying in front of them, what would it tell them? Would they be able to determine the current date by simply looking at the calendar? Unless they could remember what day they were knocked out and had some other evidence corroborating how many days they passed out, the short answer is no. Unlike a clock, a calendar cannot immediately infer information to the viewer on its own. A calendar is simply a tool, mathematically constructed, to assist one in their own plans or to mark milestones from those that have occurred in the past. A clock, on the other hand, if it is functioning correctly and was properly set, can communicate information directly to the viewer. It would require no additional mathematics or information to determine the current time.

Genesis 1:14 is describing the components of this great timepiece and Yehovah God Himself is properly setting them in place. Notice verse 16 above where it states, "God made two great lights." The Hebrew word here is 'asah (Strong's 6213[3]) which means:

    "accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow"

This is telling us that Yehovah God appointed, or bestowed, the sun and the moon in the expanse of the sky. This does not necessarily mean the sun or moon were being created here from scratch. Remember, Genesis 1:14 was already the fourth day. If the sun did not exist prior to this, there would have been a need for some other light source to rule over the previous three days. Rather, the sun and the moon were being placed into their proper alignment, being put into motion to serve a particular purpose. In fact, it was from this very moment in history that the Creator God established His time. He ordained the sun and moon, along with the stars to divide the day from the night, to serve as signs - markers of time - to serve in determining His seasons, days, and years!

It's important here to take note that the word 'seasons' is the Hebrew word 'mow'ed' (Strong's 4150[3]), which we have already learned refers to Yehovah's annual festivals, or appointed times (His appointments) referred to in Leviticus 23:2-5[1], where Yehovah instructs Moses to:

    "'Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: "The feasts (mow'ed) of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts (mow'ed). Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the feasts (mow'ed) of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times (mow'ed). On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD's Passover."'"

And a list of specific appointed times continues to the end of this chapter:

  • First Day of Unleavened Bread - 15th day of the first month (verse 6)
  • Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread - 21st day of the first month (verse 8)
  • Day of Pentecost - 50th day from the day after the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread (verses 15-16)
  • Day of Trumpets - 1st day of the seventh month (verse 24)
  • Day of Atonement - 10th day of the seventh month (verse 27)
  • Feast of Tabernacles - 15th day of the seventh month (verse 34)
  • Eighth (or Last Great) Day - 22nd day of the seventh month (verse 36)

The term mow'ed makes the connection between the ordained signs of Genesis 1:14 and Yehovah's ordained appointments throughout each year. Exodus 13:10[1] instructs us:

    "You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season (mow'ed) from year to year." {Underlined emphasis added}

The word seasons does not describe the mathematical concept of an equinox, or the solar year being divided into winter, spring, summer, and fall. These concepts, which have been so carefully ingrained into our brains, is caused by our calendar bias and we then want to project these ideas into these verses. If we could overcome the mental noise within our heads and understand that this is referring, instead, to Yehovah's Festival Days, we can clearly see that He is allowing us to know when we should keep these appointments with Him - at His appointed time based on the signs of His great clock in the sky. Psalm 104:19[1] clearly makes this connection, as well:

    "He appointed the moon for seasons (mow'ed). The sun knows its going down." {Underlined emphasis added}

Jeremiah 31:35[1] further clarifies that the sun, moon and stars were officially decreed by Yehovah Himself:

    "Thus says the LORD; Who gives the sun for a light by day. The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night." {Underlined emphasis added}

Observance versus Worship

It's also important to note that observing any of these objects (sun, moon or stars) has nothing to do with astrology or the worship of the heavenly bodies themselves. In fact, this practice is strictly condemned by Yehovah. Deuteronomy 4:15-20[1] clarifies this stating:

    "Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day." {Underlined emphasis added}

We see here that these signs were given to men as a heritage from generation to generation as a possession to use, but never worship! This warning is repeated in Isaiah 47:13-14:

    "You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before!" {Underlined emphasis added}

Astrology, the study of celestial movements as having an influence in human affairs (such as horoscopes and other mythical practices based on the movements of the heavenly bodies), is different from Astronomy. The latter is the mathematical and observational study of those objects to better understand the universe and its overall function. Prognosticators, as they are called in the above verse, are forecasters who claim to obtain special knowledge of future events who, then, make supposed intimate predictions about one's life or group of individuals based on their secret understanding. As we can see, being driven to worship the signs of the sun or moon as entities, or gods, would also be a sin. They are merely objects that Yehovah uses (and ordained) for us to understand His timetable. Seeing them in the sky, or observing their motions, is completely different from worshiping them. Just as one should not worship the hands of a clock or believe it brings the viewer secret knowledge!

Use of Signs

Jesus (Yeshua) gave a very moving end-time prophecy in Matthew 24 that also gives us an example of signs. The Messiah's disciples listened very carefully to His prophecy of the future destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and a later end-time age. As most of us in their shoes would do, the disciples immediately questioned when such things would take place. Notice what they ask in Matthew 24:3[1]:

    "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying 'Tell us, when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?'" {Underlined emphasis added}

Why would it occur to the disciples here to ask for a sign? The context here is that they wanted to know when this would happen. If we were in their shoes, wouldn't we be asking how many days from now this will take place? Our calendar bias would probably kick in, pulling out our handy scheduler with the desire for Yeshua to mark the exact box indicating the all-important date into the future when this would occur. The disciples, though, seemed more accustomed to telling time using visible signs. After all, that's exactly what Genesis 1:14 described when telling God's time.

Yeshua went on to describe several events that would eventually come to pass - earthquakes, betrayals, false prophets and the abomination of desolation, to name a few. All of these are signs, but Yeshua went on to explain the example of a fig tree in Matthew 24:32-33[1]:

    "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near - at the doors!" {Underlined emphasis added}

Yeshua refers to summer here. Again, he's not referring to the mathematical concept of the summer solstice (or the spring equinox); rather he is describing, in simple agricultural terms, the time of year when vegetative growth is about to begin. We can determine, through the arrival of simple signs, like leaves sprouting from the branches of a fig tree, that the full potential of the season is coming in the not-so-distant future. Yeshua stopped short of giving the disciples an exact date or sign. He only gave them warning signs to know when the time would draw near.

In the modern world, many "so-called" prophets give in to their confidence of mathematics, often leading them to imagine patterns and formulas within scripture that, they believe, indicate when the end-time age will occur. Referred to as "doomsday prophecies", these prophets tend to throw out dates, like candy, claiming the answer has been revealed to them. And they fail to come about time and time again, because these patterns and calculations are just not there! How do we know this? Verse 36 explains[1]:

    "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." {Underlined emphasis added}

Are we doing the same thing as these prophets when it comes to the Biblical calendar? Are we looking for patterns and calculations that don't exist? What need would there be for Yehovah to give us signs for His time if the intended result was to follow a mathematical formula all along? Yes, we can use attributes of these signs as variables within a calendar-based formula, but the formula would still be man-made, just like those of false prophets. If we were simply given a calculated calendar by Yehovah God, we would consequently have no need to actively look for any signs, making the purpose behind Genesis 1:14 completely moot. For us to know what time it is, we must actively keep watch for His signs! This theme continues in Matthew 24:42-44 that ends with this warning:

    "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your LORD is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." {Underlined emphasis added}

We can learn an important lesson here when applied to Biblical time (or observing His Biblical clock). Looking for signs does not involve relying on calendars and mathematical calculations. Sure, we can utilize math as a tool to help us look for these signs, but if we truly desire to know when Yehovah has appointed His Holy time - His appointments - then we need to be like these watchmen, looking for His signs that He ordained (His lighthouse beacon) to visually observe when his time arrives! If we are actively looking, then His timetable will always remain at the forefront of our minds. It also builds anticipation for His appointed festivals! This is something that we can easily take for granted when we rely strictly on invisible, abstract calculations - especially calculations that are never given to us in scripture. Even more, what if our calculations are wrong?

Only by observation of His ordained signs can we truly understand, in our hearts, that we are proclaiming and guarding His time properly. How do we know this? Because mathematical calculations and structured calendars, aside from simple counting the number of days, simply do not exist in the Bible. Something this important would never get missed by the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe! He would not have given someone a 'magical' formula and then relied on man to spread that key understanding by word of mouth. Remember the Bereans in Acts 17:11? Teaching done by word of mouth is not what they searched for when they were looking to prove a doctrine.

Now that we have a better grasp on these lights serving as "signs (observable in the sky) and seasons (to determine His Feast days), and for days and years", let's begin by looking at what constitutes a Biblical Day by using these signs.

Download full-version PDF document

<< Previous Section (INTRODUCTION) | Next Section (BIBLICAL DAYS) >>
GO TO SECTION: Index | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

This work may be reproduced only in its entirety and without cost to its recipient outside of reproduction and delivery.