A Calendar Bias for Biblical Time
(Revised 2015)

By: Shawn Richardson

Section 15:


We have now seen the Biblical perspective of Yehovah's ordained signs that can be observed in the sky above us - His magnificent timepiece! We can always look up, at any point in time, to determine His time simply by observing the sun and stars to begin the day, counting the days from each renewed moon, and counting months from the renewed moon of Aviv barley - just as He instructed within scripture. It is a system that does not predict when these events will occur into the future, rather they require us to have faith in Yehovah to present to us such signs as He deems fit - putting Him in full control of His times and seasons that He hast appointed for the Biblical Festivals and Sabbaths throughout the year. Beyond counting every seven days to keep His perpetual Weekly Sabbath, we are also given instruction to blow trumpets with examples of gathering to partake in peace offerings (or meals) at the beginning of the month - promoting everyone to be of one accord at the arrival of the renewed moon.

But then our calendar bias kicks into full gear. We tend to believe simple observation is simply inaccurate and inconsistent. Much like our clock bias that ignores the sun at High Noon and, instead, relies on standardized time zones and rules like Daylight Savings, we tend to prefer the man-made timetables to synch our clocks - mostly for the sake of unity and predictability. This is no different than believing we must create a mathematical calendar system, rather than relying on direct observation. For the planners out there, they become concerned that they cannot predict with any certainty which day future Biblical Festivals will fall and, instead, have patience to confirm when His signs arrive. This just seems too chaotic and unacceptable to many people. While it is also true that observation can have mixed results amongst the population if not properly communicated, rather than pleading for His grace to cover one's ignorance, most would rather rely upon man's interpretation of timetables - knowing they are in error and believing they have been granted grace because everyone else is doing the same thing!

Many church organizations will even create doctrine, decreeing their members to strictly use the Hebrew Calendar system and avoiding observation entirely - mostly for the sake of unity and to satisfy their conditioned bias. Instead of looking to Yehovah and watching for His ordained signs in the sky, they simply don't want to accept the fact that they are, instead, putting their faith into a man-made system. They would rather make excuses by pretending the Hebrew Calendar has been endorsed by God Himself, claiming it was given to Moses by God and was merely kept a strict secret amongst the elite priesthood, only being passed down verbally within the Oracles. Apparently, it must have been that only the priesthood was special enough to understand the secrets of God and, for everyone else, these calculations and rules must have conveniently been too complicated to understand were they to exist within scripture. All of this while ignoring the fact that the Hebrew calendar utilizes Babylonian names - including a Pagan deity, uses rules that directly contradict scripture, and is not even fully accepted by the Jewish community. Even Orthodox Jews that do follow the Hebrew calendar and live outside of Israel also keep Yom Tov Sheni, deliberately observing two days for each Biblical Festival just in case they're mistaken of the correct day (yet most church organizations that endorse the Hebrew calendar won't even consider this as an option). Any discrepancies from actual events are simply ignored in favor of the supposed authority given to the Rabbinical leadership (at least for this specific topic) - a leadership that was once fought, on principle, by Yeshua Himself.

This is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed further by many church organizations today! Yet many of their members are afraid to ask their church leadership for answers to these conflicts. In fact, it is these organizations that have gone as far as to criticize their own members who attempt to even question today's Hebrew calendar. Mr. John Ogwyn of the Living Church of God agrees. He states [18]:

    "Does God expect individual Christians to determine His calendar for themselves? Many self-appointed calendar experts each claim that their calendar is the right one. Did God intend the calendar to be proclaimed by an authoritative body? Or is it "every man for himself"? Increasingly, we see people simply doing what is right in their own eyes."

You can see the calendar bias being applied to Mr. Ogwyn's statement above. Instead of accepting the fact that an individual may simply be looking for the signs God has already ordained under His own authority, he instead assumes they are inventing their own calendar system under their own authority by claiming to be an expert. On the flip side, even if it's understood that an individual may be using strict observation, their bias causes them to have a sense of insecurity that when one relies on Yehovah to show them His signs, based on observation, it must be completely inaccurate and messy, and they cannot possibly know what they're doing. The United Church of God also recognizes the various groups struggling with this topic [19]:

    "Several people and organizations have addressed this subject in recent years and have reached various conclusions. There are several interpretations currently being taught by various groups or individuals on this matter. Obviously, they cannot all be correct."

They continue in their Doctrinal Summary Paper [41], though, fully accepting their calendar bias by choosing the Hebrew Calendar as the best option:

    "While there are some important considerations and legitimate questions about the Hebrew calendar, it does serve as a tool which has been preserved by the Jews. Its origin is impossible to determine. The origin of the rules of postponement is also impossible to know with any degree of certainty. It is therefore impossible to prove that Hillel II created the rules of postponement during the fourth century. We simply don't have enough information to substantiate that claim."

We see here an acknowledgment that they have not found answers to the issues surrounding the Hebrew Calendar - mostly because they don't exist in scripture. Notice they still claim the calendar as being preserved by the Jews, yet they don't even consider how the Jews themselves feel about the Hebrew Calendar. They do, however, understand that calculations do not exist in scripture:

    "The Bible does not provide us the complete means for calculating a calendar. There are no calculations provided in the Scriptures. The Bible clearly indicates that there were the components of a calendar in existence almost from the beginning: hours, days, months, seasons, and years are all mentioned. These are the essential elements of any calendar."

Yet their calendar bias continues by stating,

    "Someone has to make a decision about the calculation of the calendar."

The Biblical Calendar of observation requires no mathematical calendar system. Pure observation, on the other hand, reinforces the faith we should place in Yehovah - the Heavenly Father who is in control of the ultimate destiny for all of mankind. We cannot add to scripture by claiming calculations are then required or simply create a calendar system and rely, instead, on man's devices and computations (often involving mathematics so complicated that only computers can keep it all straight). It is then, suddenly, that this topic becomes overwhelming - it's no wonder why so many just simply turn back to the already established tradition of using the Hebrew Calendar. To them, it's reliable, predictable, and causes everyone to be integrated under the same umbrella.

The next step then often involves complicated gymnastics of proving that the events of the New Testament align with the Hebrew calendar and, therefore, must have been kept by Jesus Christ. This, of course, assumes a 3 ½-year ministry leading to the crucifixion in 31 C.E., fully accepting huge gaps of time where nothing noteworthy occurred. And as we have seen, the slow drift within today's Hebrew calendar's calculation proves, mathematically, that it was either created or, at least, re-calibrated in the 12th century C.E. with the earliest documented component, the 19-year intercalary cycle, as being introduced in the 4th century C.E. It is illogical to claim a system, created after-the-fact, must have been utilized when it didn't even exist yet. Simply put, this calendar system could have been created to fit the 3 ½-year ministry narrative.

I urge you, the reader, to seriously study this topic, let go of your calendar bias and tendencies toward calculation or relying on the opinions of ministers or earthly shepherds. Look to the Heavenly shepherd to guide you through the scriptures. Do not be discouraged by those that criticize you for only doing what is right in your own eyes. We are told in I Thessalonians 5:21[1]:

    "Test all things; hold fast what is good." {Underlined emphasis added}

We are given an example of how to test things in Acts 17:11[1]:

    "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." {Underlined emphasis added}

Finally, we need to prove to ourselves the truth (that truth which was once delivered) by using scripture to be considered worthy when presented to Yehovah. II Timothy 2:15[1] explains:

    "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." {Underlined emphasis added}

Therefore, we should be searching for what is right in the eyes of Yehovah! When we present ourselves before God, our church organization will not be standing beside us advocating for our actions. We must look to His Word; the answers are there; we just need our eyes opened to see it! Don't take my word for it, prove it to yourself and allow the Spirit of Yehovah to direct you. Stay on the path to always better yourself in serving Him - and may Yehovah bless and keep you on your journey.

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