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What is the Calendar Telling Us?

If you want to spend your time with a complicated study try doing some research on calendars and dating systems. The details of how various cultures have tried to keep a record of time while making adjustments for lunar or solar cycles is mind bending.

Natural new beginnings— One thing that seems clear is that calendar dating has been influenced significantly by issues of solstice and equinox. Winter and summer solstice, for instance, mark that moment when, because of the sun’s relationship to the earth, the days are at their shortest and longest. Spring and fall equinox represent the two times in the year when days and nights are equal.

Since by the Julian Calendar December 25 marked the winter solstice, my mind makes an easy association with the beginning of the next month as the beginning of the New Year.  But reading the details of dating systems soon confuses me.

Spiritual new beginnings– What I find very clear, however, is that Moses established the spring equinox time of March-April as the “first month of the year”. According to Leviticus 23:5,  “On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.” Apparently, the Lord of Israel was establishing Passover as marking a “new beginning” for the calendar of his people. That makes sense, since it was on Passover that God defeated the “gods” of Egypt and delivered his people from slavery.

Yet, modern Jewish people celebrate their civil New Year on Rosh Hashanah (lit. “head of the year”) which is at the opposite end of the calendar and corresponds instead with their closely related fall holidays (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles).

In many ways it is understandable that, even though most of the world recognizes the Gregorian Calendar as an international standard, some are uncomfortable with this system because of its attempt to date years in terms of BC and AD, or in other words, “before Christ” and “Anno Domini” (i.e. in the year of our Lord). For that reason many prefer to avoid the reference to the coming of Christ as being the center page  in history and instead refer to CE and BCE, (Common Era and Before Common Era).

Yet for all practical terms, the turning of the calendar from 2008 to 2009 will once again silently, if boisterously, shout to the world that it has been, more or less, 2009 years since the Son of God took on a human body to reveal our Creator, and save us from our sins.

Meanwhile the Jewish Calendar has its own counting system saying that we are approximately 5769 lunisolar years from Creation.

In earlier posts, we’ve talked about how the death of Jesus on Passover and his resurrection 3 days later corresponds with the Spring Feasts of Israel, and that Jewish Fall Feasts seem to represent the yet unfulfilled events of the last days (i.e. sounding of trumpets, repentance, and God living among his people).

So here’s what I’m wondering. How well do we appreciate the power of a calendar that declares, for one reason or another, that we are now 2009 years from  Jesus  birth– and counting… toward his return? And are we just as aware that, for the purposes of Israel,  the month of Passover was declared by God to be the first month? Why then does the modern nation celebrate its civil New Year at the opposite end of the calendar? Could they be inadvertently signaling that, for the one nation originally and uniquely chosen to reveal God to the world, the idea of a new beginning won’t be fulfilled until the return of their Messiah?

Or am I just confused :-).

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27 Responses to “What is the Calendar Telling Us?”

  1. sawaybon says:

    Sorry that I cannot answer your question or add clarity to this complicated issue. Someone recently tried to explain it to me, but I just couldn’t catch on. In fact, that person only complicated matters by trying to explain why Ukrainians celebrate Christmas a couple of weeks later than the rest of us. Does anyone want to give that a try?

    Here’s my attempt to repeat the way it was described to me. The Babylonians had a solar time system based on 6. That explains why our time is based on multiples of 6 (for example, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day). What about the number of days in a year? It is not an even number of days — we say 365, except leap year, which is 366. But that is not totally accurate, since it is actually 365.2425, not 365.25, so time is lost (11 seconds every year). Therefore, one leap year day is omitted every 400 years. I did not know that. And the Ukrainians do not observe that adjustment, which explains why they celebrate Christmas later than others, and increasingly so.

    Jews used a system that was a combination of solar and lunar, which explains why Easter is on a different date from year to year. The formula is to observe it on the first Sunday after the first full moon after Spring Equinox. In 2008, having Easter on March 22 seemed very early, but it can be as late as approximately April 20.

    This explains the discrepancy in the Gospels regarding the day of the Passover. Did Jesus die on Wednesday or Friday? It is not a mistake in the Bible — just reflects the use of two different calendars. Does that make sense?

  2. sawaybon says:

    What about the biblical ‘error’ of the sun revolving around the earth? Or reference to the sun standing still? We know that the sun always stands still, and that it is the earth that revolves around the sun. In fact, the terms ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’ don’t really make a lot of sense.

    What about biblical reference to the ‘four corners of the earth’? Is that suggesting that the earth is flat? I am always amused by the publications of The Flat Earth Society. However, I know that it is not true. I have flown to and lived on the other side of the world, pretty much the exact opposite longitude of where I currently live (100 degrees West longitude here as opposed to 100 degrees East longitude there). When we lived in Malaysia, it was interesting to celebrate the arrival of the New Year half a day before friends and family back home here did. Keeping that in mind allowed for extensions of such celebrations — birthdays lasted for 36 hours.

    So Happy New Year wherever you are. My friends in Malaysia are about to ring it in in just a few hours, whereas we still have most of the day ahead of us.

  3. OGramps says:

    Dear Mart,

    I am afraid that I have not taken the time to think about the calendar in those terms. But now that I am It seems a wondrous thing. Only God could time the actual birth of Messiah to the spring (so we are told by the scholars) which is the time of new beginnings.

    Just as here in the west we celebrate a curious mix of secular and religeous holiday I believe that Isreal is doing the same thing. There always seems to be a gravitational pull for fallen mankind to move away from God and toward self exaltation.

    As I read the Old Testament scriptures I try to imagine what in must have been like in that day. I think that for the most part they were just as confused by their current events as we are of ours. It is only by being guided by the Holy Spirit that we are able to follow and understand the path of events that God has ordained. Using that understanding as a foundation I am never surprised with the currnet events they seem logical. God is in control an because I belong to Him I have assurance.

    Blessings to all.

  4. BruceC says:

    I tried to respond to the last blog with a lengthy post but when I hit submit my dial-up decided it was lunch break and quit on me.
    I only concern myself about time for the purpose of marking past events, reminding myself of upcoming events, and those things that need to be done with use of a clock, such as appointments or cooking etc. Other than that it is used by us and for us as a point of reference. Interesting how the Jewish calendar starts with creation and ticks away until the “end” as we know it. I am one of those “young earth” people. When the church meets Him in the air our eternity will start although some events will still be measured in time. The Tribulation, the Millenial rule of Christ, and the unknown amout of time it takes satan to go about deceiving the nations. After that event time is no longer needed. Hard for our little human minds to take that in without the light of the Holy Spirit.
    May all here have a blessed New Year and may it be a time of greater service for the King, reaching many with the Gospel, joyous anticipation, and spiritual growth.

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Inadvertently??? Could be the Holy Spirit at work there.

    sawaybon, There are well documented accounts and reasons for our present calander not agreeing with older forms. Each change came about in trying to be more accurate.

    The Eastern Orthodox church adopted different calander dates to remember the dates of Passover (Easter) and Christ’s birth (Christmas). That’s why the Ukrainians and the Greeks and all the Eastern churches have different dates.

    I have found that there are no errors in the Bible. Only our own errors of understanding. Many years ago I was amused to hear Carl Sagan ( famous astronomer) on his show “The Cosmos” state that there were 24 hours “missing” in the astronomical clock. I was amused because the explanation as to why 24 hours are found in the Bible. God stood time still. There is also an ancient Chinese story of a day the sun did not shine. More conformation as to when the “sun” stood still.

    In the book of Job God asks Job to explain how the world is held up. Hanging out there in nothing. The prophesy of the rapture states that there will be 2 working in the field and 2 in bed and so forth. Describing a round world dark on one side light on the other.

    The reason some believe Christ died on a Wednesday rather than a Friday, is because there are special Sabbaths Israel was to cellebrate. And there are some who believe that this was the case when Christ was crucified.

    Keep studing the scripture, my friend. All truth is found there. And a Happy New Year to you as well.

  6. violet D says:

    I can’t answer your questions either.
    The Scriptures which give me comfort – and hope – are those which assure me that God is in control. (As OGramps has said) I’m reminded in Psalm 90:4 and again in 2 Peter 3:8 that “a thousand years are but as a day in Your sight …” Calendars keep us all ‘on the same page’ so to speak so I wish each of you a Happy New Year and New Beginnings. (Mart, I’m glad you didn’t start a discussion on ‘resolutions’ – or ‘revolutions’ as one of my children called them!)

  7. macsisson22 says:

    There are some interesting facts and falacies surrounding the topic of time and our post and many of them have been picked up on.

    A couple of facts that I haven’t seen yet are these:

    First, the equinoxes’ fall on the 22nd of December, March, June, and September.

    Secondly, most scholars agree that Christ was born between 4 and 5 BC due to an error in the Julian calandar.

    And finally, yesterday I heard on the radio that the new time standard will include one extra second per year to help coordinate the atomic clocks with other systems of measures.

  8. macsisson22 says:

    Sorry, Christs birth was not due to an error in the Julian calander, but I think most of you understood what I ment.

  9. sitsathisfeet says:

    We’ll be going to church tonight (our small chapel) and we’re carpooling too. We’ll be having communion at midnight. I can’t wait. I was reading in ODB and the scripture was Ecc 3:1-8 A Time for Everything I read it and looked at it with new understanding today as I thought about the events of my past year, my friend whose father recently passed away, (A time to mourn), the wars around the world (a time for war), the loss of my marriage, (a time to weep, a time to refrain from embracing), the loss of our house and bankruptcy (a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away)And that is all true, but what Jesus brings to our lives is never dated; true forgiveness for us and for all, true peace, no more enimity with God or others through Christ, and eternal assurance which is timeless. So even though time passes marked in seasons, times, dates, years Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. That is the time I hope we will be marking tonight. The time of the Lord is at hand!

  10. violet D says:

    sitsathisfeet – Just wanted to express my deepest sympathy for the events you shared happened this past year in your life. I, myself had one of those years some time ago (the kind Queen Elizabeth called her ‘annus horibilis’?spelling!) God has been SOOOO good to me and it is a distant memory now. I pray that he will continue to comfort and uphold you. Blessings – Vi

  11. pegramsdell says:

    I got a call in the middle of the night about my son-in-law. He wrecked his truck in a tree. He is pretty beat up, broke a bunch of bones, smashed his hip, but they say he’ll be allright. He had 2 surgeries last night and 1 scheduled in a little while. His name is Tod. I have to go to the hospital with my daughter as she is worn out from last night. Please pray for them. Thanks

  12. poohpity says:

    Tod is in my prayers as well as your whole family in this time of trusting.

    I have some thoughts about the calenders of whomever. First I thought about creation and that being where we get our 7 day week. I do not know about time and how it is measured except in the days of old it was determined for planting and harvesting, grazing and celebrations. It seems that at a time when people were finding consistencies in how the days flowed and they learned how to communicate with writing they tried to put into account how to measure time. They knew when certain stars appeared and put a name on them just like Adam named the animals. They also wanted a name for God.

    It seems like in an attempt to rationalize everything’s being we have to name it so that we can fit it it into a box labeled and stamped and categorized. I bet God smiles at us trying to figure things out and measure them. It seems apparent to me that the times of celebration are what God had in mind when He gave Israel different weeks for worship to recognizing what God had done and was going to do in their lives. As usual a human’s attempt to use every hour of every day to benefit ourselves we even count seconds. Any way to put everything into a box for our glory.

    No matter what day our hour we choose to celebrate new beginnings or our historical pasts, it is all to recognize what a wonderful God we serve. Obviously He wants us to enjoy life a little more and not worry about seconds that are passing all to quickly for some and to slowly for others. Every morning we experience new beginnings for another day of mercy and to glorify God.

    Have a party and celebrate God in this new day and new year however it is measured. The clock is ticking and time is running out, how scary is that. Unplug the clock or take the battery out, lol. :)

  13. daisymarygoldr says:

    As we bid adieu to another year in our calendar, let us not overlook the obvious here …With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. (2 Pet 3:8).

    God expressed His hatred for the new moons and appointed feasts that the Jews observed (Isa 1:14, Hos 2:11). In Gal 4:10 Paul forbids the gentile converts in observing special days and months and seasons and years. With God, there is no confusion… because He exists beyond time and space.

    Although God is beyond space and time, “He’s giving everyone space and time… to “change”… Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? … Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival… So, my dear friends, since this is what you have to look forward to, do your very best to be found living at your best, in purity and peace.” (2 Pet3: 9-14, The Message)

    As we celebrate the passing away of the Old, let us take time to reflect on God’s faithfulness…and as we usher in the New with all its expectant “changes”…both desirable and undesirable, let us solemnly resolve… to yield ourselves to the One- who never “changes”…and His years never end ( Heb 1:12)! Happy New Year!

    pegramsdell, praying for your son-in-law…

  14. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I have always found comfort in the BC and AD reference to our calendar. Kind of like hope for mankind to see God in the calendar. Silly, I suppose, but heartfelt. However I wonder if this is how future generations will refer to the calendar. I have a granddaughter at Ohio State and a grandson at Texas State. They both state that they know about BC and AD and the meaning thereof, however when at college it is more common to refer to the calendar in terms of CE and BCE. Sad, don’t you think? I truly had this very conversation with my grandchildren. I wonder if my gr8grandchildren will know about BC and AD. God Bless each of you this New Year.

  15. poohpity says:

    They, whoever they are, are going to try very hard to take God out of everything and at that I laugh. The harder they try and take Him out they more we will put Him in. Hope you have a blessed ECE that stands for an Extraordinary Common Era. LOL :)

  16. SFDBWV says:

    Peg, Will pray for Tod with all the rest. I am sure he will be fine. But sounds as though he is going to remember this wreck. Thank God he is alive.

    gr8, yes it is a shame what has been taken from us, the majority of American’s. Taken away by a small fraction of people who have now been able to rewrite history and alter what children learn in school. Thus creating an atmosphere where kids don’t know who to believe. Their parents ( better yet their grandparents) or their teachers.

    Children have a tough time ahead of them because the News Media, the government, and the “smart” people of this world are dead set on doing away with anything Christian.

    “As it were in the days of Noah”

    Tonight is just another night for us. Bedtime will still be 9pm. But to just give a quick answer for Mart. “What is the calander telling us”?

    It Tells me time is running out.

    Happy New Year’s eve to all.

  17. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I forgot to say I am praying for each of you and each of your individual trials. I only type about ten words a minute so won’t name each name. Love and Prayers to all of you.

  18. wretch-like-me says:

    perhaps I am being naive…but, I believe God gave us a calendar of sorts by creating the ‘heavenly lights’. Yes, they tell us seasons and seasons tell us when to plow, to plant, to harvest, and the tilling and fallow years.
    But, more importantly they tell us about His plan. The spring brings new life after a winter of death; Jesus brings us New Life after a season of sin.

    Summer brings us a harvest for our labor; Jesus brings judgement to all(for the lost, conviction & condemnation; for the saved, a judgement spared but a second judgement based on the talents we were given to invest, labor, and bring a return.)

    Fall is a season of late harvest and preparing for the winter death. Jesus holds his Second Coming in expectation of the second harvest of souls. The Final Judgement is Death to All Who Are Not Saved.

    We are not called Sheep because we are the ‘sharpest tacks in the box!’ (Surely, sheep are the dumbest animals on this planet…second to us,LOL!)

    God has continually set up reminders for us to follow. Check out the O.T… Rainbows, Stone Altars, Pillars of Salt, there is no end to the symbolism. Yet, man continues to deny God exists.

    How dumb can you get? Course its not just dumb; its willful disobedience. (even when I think I am doing God’s Will, I somehow seek it in ways that benefit me… Go Figure!)

    God Save Us All!
    Happy New Year… Lets Get it Right This Time???

  19. SFDBWV says:

    wretch-like-me, I don’t think you are naive at all. The celestial lights were and are a creation to show us the times and seasons. as scribed in Genesis.

    Have any of you ever heard the comentary that suggests, originaly the Zodiac told the story of man from creation through salvation? That the Zodiac was corrupted during the reign of Nimrod? Which is why so many cultures share a common or similar Zodiac.

    The Zodiac we see today as a fortunetellers genre is a corruption from the original. Just as evolution is to creation. A twisted lie.

    But at the outset, the stars marked the seansons both literaly and symbolicly. When to plant ect…and the seasons of man.

    So now we have a calander so we can be organized and keep track of time.

    By the Way I always buy several RBC calanders and give them as Christmas gifts. I enjoy reading the inside cover that gives a bio of all the staff at RBC. I love the pictures. Thanks to all the staff there at RBC. We enjoy having your calander in our home.

    Happy New Year to all today. It’s 08 degrees here and 6 inches on new snow.

  20. poohpity says:

    Hey it is probably 51 degrees here and we are going to find snow this morning so the young adults can go slipping and sliding around. We are going to Payson to play. Gosh I wish I had something profound to say but I am just excited to play. Have a fun day and make it a great day and enjoy what God has given us. Happy, Happy New Year!!!:)

  21. BruceC says:

    I will pray for your sil Todd. I was in a head on accident when I was young but just got a brokem nose and cut up knee.I somewhat have an idea how he feels.

    Interesting about the Zodiac. Typical of the enemy too. He can’t create and he can’t destroy what God has ordained so he tries to corrupt or put out a phony copy. A liar in all things. Cold here too; four below with 6+ inches of new snow.

  22. macsisson22 says:

    Like the Zodiac story Steve. Six degrees with a 20 below wind chill here and a couple of inchews. Have fun Poohpity. Prayers for all, especially for Peg & family for the New Year.

  23. macsisson22 says:

    Steve, Wondering about the source for your zodiac info?

  24. refump says:

    In Richard H. Perry’s book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Last Days” he advocates the time line that goes with the biblical reference of “a thousand years is like a day & a day is like a thousand years”. Day 1=Adam, Day 2=Noah, Day 3=Abraham, Day 4=David, Day 5=Jesus’ time on earth, Day 6=Present & Day 7=Christ’s return. We are truly living in the “last days”. How exciting & sobering at the same time is this! Considering this I have to ask myself the question, am I about my Father’s business?

  25. SFDBWV says:

    Mike, The information source about the Zodiac can be found through Dr. Chuck Missler. His Ministry is called Koinonia House. khouse.org

    I hope RBC lets that information go through. They have edited it out before.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    There is also a neat piece of information leading up to the flood of Noah. The genealogy of Genesis, Adam through Noah. It turns out since names use to have meaning. The Genealogy shown in Genesis 5 makes a statement from the meaning of the names.

    Adam (Man) Seth (Appointed) Enosh (Mortal) Kenan or Cainan (Sorrow), but, Mahalalel (The Blessed God) Jared (Shall come down) Enoch (teaching) Methuselah (His death shall bring) Lamech (The despairing) Noah Comfort,rest).

    Man, Appointed ,Mortal, Sorrow, (but),The Blessed God, Shall come down,Teaching,His death shall bring, The Despairing, Comfort&rest.

    The Gospel recorded there in the “booring” list of names of the genealogy from Adam to Noah. Signature of the Holy Spirit

    Don’t take my word for it look it up.


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