The Two Calendar Problem of the Last Days
Caution: Do not believe any of what you read here. You must study this for yourself.
In the last few years, new information has surfaced that may be of importance to Seventh-Day Adventists, especially for the end time. It will also become important for all true SabbathKeepers in the end. The information appears to have had the hand of God covering it for at least two thousand years. It is now being studied around the world with renewed vigor in some Adventist circles, as well as other 7th day Sabbathkeepers. This information may have surfaced briefly during the Millerite period, and during the early years of the SDA church. It was studied by a SDA Research Committee in 1938-1939, but the information was never released to the Adventist public at the time for fear of the impact and the consequences. It has been buried until recently.
The issue focuses on the calendar that was used to determine October 22, 1844, the cornerstone of the 2300 day prophecy and the Adventist movement. To fix the correct date for the Day of Atonement in 1844, the Millerites discovered they had to use the calendar that was in use when the information was given originally. The calendar they found appears to go as far back as creation and certainly to the time of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. That calendar is outlined in scripture and is different from the calendar we use today, which is the Roman calendar enacted by Pope Gregory, known as the Gregorian calendar.
The calendar the Millerites found they had to use is the one that God set up for the “feasts” or “appointed times.” It is often referred to as a “lunisolar” calendar, being neither all lunar, nor all solar. The biblical year began around the time of the vernal equinox in the spring (Ex 12:2), and each month began immediately following the dark or new moon, beginning with the sighting of the visible crescent moon.
To be consistent with Adventism's spiritual forefathers, do Seventh-day Adventists of today need to compute when the true Sabbath occurs by using the same calendar utilized for determining the Day of Atonement in 1844? This must be decided before the onset of the time of trouble.
The real reason for October 22, 1844 was hidden by the hand of God for a time and only revealed to those in earnest prayer and study. Could this be the case with the issue of the calendar?
What caused the SDA church to put this issue in the hands of a Research Committee to study? It was an effort by the League of Nations to impose a World Calendar during the 1920's to 1940's, or at least by the early 1950’s. The push to implement a World Calendar has never died. Once again, there is a move to implement this World Calendar, this time on January 1, 2012. (See www.worldcalendar.org) In the first year of implementation, there appears to be no problem. But in the proposed layout of the calendar, there is a “blank” day at the end of the year, which if the calendar is implemented, will begin to displace Saturday as the 7th day Sabbath. The first year, the last numbered day of the year is Saturday. The blank day following the last Saturday is suggested to be another Sabbath. (two Sabbaths) The Jewish community apparently has no problem with this. Because of the blank day, in the second year, Saturday moves one day from its original spot. It then is no longer in the position of the 7th day of the week where it was in the first year (2012).
But this is not the real problem with the issue. There may be much more at stake here than first appears, and that will become clearer as one studies the calendar issue. Here is one way to look at the crux of the problem. We currently use the Papal Gregorian Calendar to pinpoint the 7th day Sabbath on Saturday. If one uses the calendar outlined in scripture to pinpoint the feasts or appointed times, then uses the Roman calendar to pinpoint the Sabbath, it creates a bind between two calendar systems. Many scholars attempt to use and interweave these two calendar systems, but all it does is create confusion. When you study the calendar of scripture, you begin to see this dilemma.
During the flood described in Genesis, we find evidence of the same biblical calendar used for pinpointing the feasts. If this calendar was in play to track time during the flood, is it also possible that Noah was keeping the Sabbath by the same calendar? If not, which calendar was he using? By the way, Noah looked pretty foolish retreating to the ark and securing himself away during the 7 days prior to the rain and the flood. Foolish as he may have appeared, he had the truth for that time.
When the Israelites left Egypt after 400+ years, God had to reestablish their calendar. They had lost the calendar as well as the Sabbath during their enslavement. The calendar God reinstituted with them was most certainly the same calendar of creation. We know from the writings of Ellen White that Adam, Abraham and Noah, etc kept the Sabbath of creation. The question is what calendar was this and how did it work. Simply, it was determined by the celestial bodies; the sun, moon, and stars. (See Genesis 1) At the time of the Exodus, approximately 1446 BC, there was no Roman calendar, and there was no seven day week as we know it today. So one has to ask the question; if the 7th day Sabbath was on a different calendar system than the feasts, what was that calendar system, and how was the 7th day Sabbath kept track of.
The calendar of Rome began to come into view about 700 years after the Israelites left Egypt. Some records say 753 BC; some say 738 BC. In any case, it was the mid-700’s BC. If you do even a brief study of the Roman calendar system you will find that even the first Roman calendar was lunar in nature. It was similar to the calendar the Israelites were following and was determined by the moon and the sun.
The calendar around 60 BC just prior to the Julian reform was 304 days in length and had only 10 months, which began in what is now the month of March. The Roman calendar at this time had 8 days, did not cycle through a 7 day week, and certainly the 7th day was not a 7th day Sabbath.
The Roman Julian calendar was implemented in 46 or 45 BC. This was the first move of the Roman calendar away from being lunar-based. That was the recommendation of Sosigenes, the creator of the Julian calendar, to eliminate the lunar based calendar. Tensions were heating up between the Romans and the Jews, and calculation of the Jewish calendar was outlawed. Keep in mind there is still no 7 day week at this point (as we know it today). So where was the 7th day Sabbath pinpointed?
The Roman Stick Calendar found at the Baths of Titus (constructed A.D. 79 – 81) provides further proof that neither the Biblical Sabbath nor the day of Christ's resurrection can ever be found using the Julian calendar. The center circle contains the 12 signs of the zodiac, corresponding to the 12 months of the year. The Roman numerals in the left and right columns indicate the days of the month. Across the top of the stick calendar appear the seven planetary gods of the pagan Romans. Saturday, (or dies Saturni -- the day of Saturn) was the very first day of the week, not the seventh.
Jesus chastised the Jewish leaders on many things during his ministry, mostly having to do with interpretation of the law. What He didn't chastise them about may be just as important. He did not chastise them about keeping the wrong Sabbath, which He most certainly would have done. So what calendar were they using to pinpoint the 7th day Sabbath? Which Sabbath were they observing? History shows there was no 7 day week with a Saturday 7th day Sabbath established on the Roman calendar yet.
The seven day week was not fully put into place until 321 AD when it was made law by Constantine. Here's the dilemma. Did the 7th day Sabbath "magically" align with the Roman calendar at this time? How was that so? Where is the record? If it didn't show up on the Roman calendar at this time, when can it be pinpointed on the Roman calendar? With something as important and significant as the 7th day Sabbath, there simply has to be a record. Ellen White most certainly would have written about something of this magnitude. Maybe this explains why the Sabbath becomes of less importance to Adventists in the end because they haven't thoroughly studied the doctrine and know not where they stand. It becomes easier to make it of none effect.
If you study the history of the Roman calendar, you will readily see that it is highly improbable, more likely impossible, that there was any way the original 7th day Sabbath could have wound up on the Roman calendar. It would not have been in harmony with the Bible.
Now let us look at current day issues. Over the last few years, there has been renewed interest in God’s appointed times, otherwise known as the “feasts” There is much controversy today as to whether we should still be keeping the feasts or not. First, scripture says that they are to be ordinances “forever.” You decide what forever means. Secondly, there is evidence in the writings of Ellen White that it is only the sacrifices and oblations that were done away with, and not the entire feast-keeping system.
If the feasts are still applicable, then it means that the original calendar of scripture is probably still applicable; certainly for the feasts. This is the calendar that is set by the moon, sun and stars. And this is the point at which the larger question is raised. Is the 7th day Sabbath supposed to be pinpointed on the same calendar? Or is it supposed to be pinpointed as we have done it for 1800 years, on a corrupt calendar devised by a Jesuit, and manipulated, and implemented by pagan pontiffs, and papal prelates of the Church of Rome? This is the question and dilemma we are faced with today, as the possible implementation of the World Calendar draws closer.
There are essentially 4 methods of calendar reckoning that we are left to grapple with. This can be narrowed to 3, as one of them leads to another. Let’s take a look at them.
The Jewish calendar is the most likely calendar to be reckoned with today, if one is attempting to follow scripture. But is it accurate? The Jews were supposed to present the Messiah; one only needs look at history to see how that turned out. They have added to the laws that the Messiah laid down for them to the point that Jesus himself scolded them for what they were doing; literally they have made a mess of the laws. They have tinkered with the calendar, changed regulations, changed calculations, added postponements, etc, till no one knows for certain exactly which day is which. And they have done all this supposedly based on the original calendar of scripture given to the Jews at the Exodus. Some today think that the Jews have kept the count of the sabbath from the time of creation. The question is; where is that record? Eventually the Jews transitioned from the calendar given at the Exodus to the one that they use today; pinpointing the 7th day Sabbath on the Papal Gregorian calendar. We should seriously ask; can they be trusted?
The next calendar to arrive on the scene that we would recognize today is the Julian calendar. This calendar was given to us by “pagan” Rome. What kind of influence would one expect on a calendar of “pagan” origins. A little study of the Roman calendar systems will be a real eye opener if you want to venture there.
Following the “pagan” Julian calendar, we move to the “Papal” Gregorian calendar (Paganism did not magically disappear from the scene; it simply moved into the Roman church). Eventually we will find that the Roman church is “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." EW278. This is the calendar that we are told to trust that the 7th day Sabbath is on Saturday and has been counted from creation and never lost track of. Satan has effectively worked through The Church of Rome and the Papacy which embodies every element of deception and corruption to overturn every law and doctrine God has given to us. Should we consider that he has done the same thing with the calendar? You decide.
The only significant calendar system left to reckon with is the calendar of creation, given by God to Moses at the Exodus to pinpoint the appointed times or “feasts.” Call it the “feast” calendar, call it the “lunisolar” calendar, call it “the sacred” calendar; or the “creation” calendar if you choose. But ask the question; Did God intend for the 7th day Sabbath to be pinpointed on the same calendar? Lets look a little further. Consider the account of the manna in Exodus 16.
Exodus 16 is the “Rosetta Stone” or the key to examining the true Biblical calendar. The Israelites arrived in the “wilderness of sin” on the 15th day of the second month, after they left Egypt. Make note of that; the 15th day of the month. That evening, the beginning of the 16th, God sent them “flesh” in the form of quail that they “murmured” for. He told them that in the morning (the day of the 16th) they would find the manna. He went on to tell them that they would find the manna every day for 6 days. On the 6th day, he instructed them to gather a double portion. After the 6 days of manna, God further instructed them that the next day after the 6th day was the 7th day Sabbath. (This is none other than the same Sabbath day of creation). From the data given, we can extrapolate that the first 7th day Sabbath mentioned, 7 days from the 15th, would be the 22nd. From this we can determine that the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and the 29th days of this month mentioned would be 7th day Sabbaths. This scenario outlining the 15th day of the month as a reference point occurs three times in the first three months of the Exodus.
The Biblical calendar is the only one left that man and satan can’t change or corrupt because it is regulated by nature. Satan can’t alter the calendar given directly by God. But he can confuse and obscure the issue. And he is working hard to do that because his time is short.
Now for those of you that still contend that all this calendar stuff applies to the “feasts” and not to the Sabbath, look again. This scenario with the manna in the wilderness has no mention of feasts. There is no feast on God’s calendar in the 2nd month. But it does mention the 7th day Sabbath. This has to be the same Sabbath of creation. God would not give them a 7th day Sabbath that was different from creation. Now we come to the heart of the matter and the real question; which calendar is this on? If you work this out for yourselves, you will find that you cannot find a 7th day Sabbath following the 15th of the month that falls on the Gregorian calendar Saturday, three months in a row. It may come out to one, possibly two in any given scenario, but it is impossible for it to occur 3 months in a row. Now we have come to the heart of the dilemma; the calendar of God’s Bible, and the Papal Gregorian cannot be harmonized.
Here’s a hypothetical situation for you to think about in regard to the calendar issue.
Suppose you awake to find yourself in the middle of a wilderness. You see nothing but desolation or wilderness in any direction as far as the eye can see. You have lost all track of time, including days of the week, or the month or year for that matter. You have no idea when Sabbath is, but you want to return to keeping it to honor God. You have no technology; no cell phone, no computer, no timepiece, no calendar, nothing. The only thing you have is a Bible. Using the Bible, reestablish where you are in time, and begin keeping the Sabbath again. Using God’s word and the instruction given, you can reestablish the appointed times and keep the feasts. But what about the 7th day Sabbath? This is the dilemma we are faced with when using two models of reckoning, or two systems of calendation.
The reason this issue is so important is that it is at the heart of the Three Angels Message and work of the Fourth Angel right down at the end of this earth’s history. The Sabbath is the focal point of worship and the Creator. What if we are not observing the correct 7th day Sabbath of Creation? God help us.
I have been shown that many who profess to have knowledge of present truth know not what they believe. They do not understand the evidences of their faith. They have no just appreciation of the work for the present time. When the time of trial shall come, there are men now preaching to others who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason. Until thus tested they know not their great ignorance. And there are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth . . . . Maranatha 45