GET IN SYNC WITH GOD’S CALENDAR
Over 4000 years ago, God asked Job “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?” In His omniscience, the Maker and Creator of the heavens appointed a lunar/solar calendar. A year is simply the time required for the earth to travel once around the sun, completed when the day and night hours are exactly equal. The ancients called it the Equinox, but today, we call it the Equilux. We still have an Equinox, but it now marks the date when the sun crosses an imaginary line of the equator. https://fontanacommunitychurch.org/like_a_bridegroom_2019/
Surprisingly, the very first recorded New Year’s Day was celebrated following the ancient Vernal Equinox in the biblical area known then as Mesopotamia where Abraham lived (Ur) around 2000 BC. Mesopotamia means “between the rivers”, in this case, the Tigris and the Euphrates, among the four rivers which flowed from the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:14).
Other ancients also calculated the first month beginning on or after the ancient Vernal Equinox. Philo of Alexandria, a first century philosopher wrote, "Moses puts down the beginning of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year...” The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 410 says, “The New Moon is still, and the Sabbath originally was, dependent upon the lunar cycle. Both date back to the nomadic period of Israel.” (*Make a mental note that the Sabbath timing was originally dependent on the lunar cycle.)
Compare that to our modern solar calendar year that begins on New Year’s Day, an arbitrary day commemorating a feast for the Roman god, Janus, god of doorways and beginnings. It truly owes its beginning to the gods of this world, and not to the Almighty. In fact, all our months are named for Roman gods, goddesses and rulers. January was named for the god Janus. February was named for Februa, a Roman festival of purification; March was named for the god Mars; April was named for the goddess Aphrodite; May was named for the goddess Maia; June was named for the goddess Juno; July was named for Julius Caesar….etc.
Even our days of the week honor pagan gods. Sunday is named for the sun, “Sun’s Day”. Monday is named for the Moon, “Moon’s Day”. Tuesday is named for the Roman warrior god, Mars. We adopted the Anglo-Saxon word for Mars, “Tiw”, and it became “Tiw’s Day”. Wednesday was named for the Roman God, Mercury. Again, we adopted the Teutonic, Anglo Saxon name for Mercury, “Woton”, and it became “Woton’s Day”. Thursday is the Roman God Jupiter’s day, shortened to “Thor”, “Thor’s Day”. Friday is named for the Roman goddess of love, Venus. We adopted the name “Frigg”, Scandinavian goddess of love, and it became “Frigg’s Day”. Saturday is named for the Roman God, Saturn, “Saturn’s Day”.
The days of God’s week do not have names, only biblical numbers. (Exo 16:5,22, Exo 20:11, John 2:1). They begin with the first day following the rising of the new moon in the evening, known in Hebrew as “Chodesh”, also the word used to denote a month. (You will see on your calendar that the timing of the rising of the new moon is anticipated every month, but we won’t know for sure until it is observed. So, some months may not start when we think. That truly gives God all the glory!) The new moon day on the first day of the month is designated as different from the days of the week, as recorded in the Bible in 1Sam 20:5,18, 2Kin 4:23, Eze 46:1,6. According to Genesis, “the evening and the morning” are God’s definition of a day. So each day begins as God appointed it with the observation of the new moon at sunset, and lasts until the next sunset.
NOTE: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 The following facts are for your consideration regarding the Sabbath. The important thing is not the Sabbath keeping, but the "Jesus keeping". In all things, we seek to glorify God through His Son, Jesus.
All God’s Festival days appointed in Leviticus 23 also reflect His lunar appointment in the heavens. When Jesus came as the Passover Lamb, whose blood was shed for all mankind for forgiveness of sins, the divine appointment had been put on the calendar 1500 years before. When He was raised from the dead as the sinless, Unleavened Bread, He fulfilled the appointment of God Almighty also made 1500 years prior. When Jesus ascended to the Father after His death and resurrection on Firstfruits, He not only fulfilled the 1500-year appointment, but guaranteed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in His name at Pentecost, 7 Sabbaths and 1 day from the Resurrection! We eagerly anticipate at least 3 more divine appointments on God’s calendar. Jesus will return as the Divine Trumpet Call for our righteous gathering. Jesus will reign as the Divine and Appointed Atonement for our sin, and Jesus will Tabernacle with His people as the King of Glory!
OLD TESTAMENT APPOINTMENT: 3500 years ago, in Ex 5:1, God Almighty commanded the ruler of Egypt to free the people of His Abrahamic covenant who had been living there for hundreds of years. “Let my peop le go so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert”. When Pharaoh refused, God sent 10 plagues and announced His Deity. The 10th was The Plague of the Firstborn, known today as Passover. God desired to protect His people from the death of the firstborn, and required they identify their homes through the doorway blood markings of a sacrificial lamb. “On the fourteenth day of the month when all the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight… I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt…This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast…Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” Ex 12:6,12-15,17“Twilight” is more accurately translated “between the evenings”. There is a Hebrew word for twilight, not used here. “Between the evenings” was understood until 200 BC to be designating the afternoon before sunset of the following evening.
NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLMENT: From this scripture, we understand why this festival to the Almighty came to be known as Passover and the following 7 days as Unleavened Bread. Referring to this appointed time of the Almighty Paul makes the statement, “Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed, once, for all time. The old leavened bread of religious actions and posturing has been replaced by that which can never be leavened: the Only Begotten Son of the Almighty. But a little leaven can hinder our ability to see the truth. So when the timeline for Holy Week seems to be contradicted within the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus OBSERVING the Passover becomes the focus instead of Jesus, the Unleavened Bread, BECOMING the Passover, forever rendering obsolete the observance in the first place.
We need to start at ground zero with God’s admonition for future generations in Hebrews 12:26-27 “And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” The word “Passover” describing the sacrifice is the Hebrew word “Pesach”, actually refers to both the Lamb (the price paid for protection) and the day itself.
Passover Day is known biblically as the Fast of the Firstborn. The Jewish tradition of the Galileans and Samaritans was to have a meal together on the evening of the 13th before the fast. Known as “Seudah Mafseket”, it is literally translated "Last Supper". This tradition was moved later to the 3-hour period beginning at midnight on the 14th, when God preserved the firstborn of Israel. For many reasons, this supper, or an intimate evening meal other than Passover, HAS to be the one Jesus shared with His disciples. John refers to the Last Supper as an evening meal that occurred just before the Passover Feast. (John 13:1-2) Also, at a Passover meal, the focus is on the paschal lamb. But Jesus said, “This bread is my body”, which was certainly true enough. Also, in order to eat a Passover sacrifice during the days of Jesus, the lamb would be slain on the ceremonial altar by the priests in the Jerusalem temple, during the scheduled time for sacrifices, the next day. Again, the leaven of Jesus OBSERVING the Passover becomes the focus instead of Jesus AS the Passover Lamb of God, destined to take away the sins of the world.
According to the Book of Jubilees written before 150AD, the timeline for Passover events during the 1st month included Preparation Day on the 13th beginning between noon and 1pm, lasting until 6pm, during which time the lamb would be slain and prepared for the Passover meal to begin around 7pm on the evening beginning the 14th. After the Temple fell in 70 AD, there was no altar for a sacrifice, things changed to the current timing of eating the meal from sunset-midnight on the 15th day..
John the Apostle who was present at Jesus’ death, writes in John 19:14: “Now it was the Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he [Pilate] said unto the Jews, ‘Behold your king’” John 19:31: “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day…” Also, Luke 23:52-54 reports “This man went unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.”
Our timeframe for the Holy Week begins with the Last Supper on the evening as the 13th began. Jesus went to the cross the next morning and during the designated Preparation Day hours, he was “prepared” as the Passover Lamb sacrifice. He died around 3pm (between the two evenings) and was buried during the afternoon hours. He was the Passover Lamb Sacrifice in every way when the Passover Meal began shortly after sunset on the 14th. He stayed in the tomb 3 days and 3 nights, just as He said in Matt 12:20 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” He rose from the dead by the morning of the 16th, the Day of Firstfruits, appointed in Lev. 23 as the day following the Sabbath (the 15th). “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfrits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Cor 15:20
If we let go of our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday concepts, God’s Word stands perfectly. They don’t exist anyway. Indeed, they’re arbitrary appointments we have come up with to comfortably fit God’s schedule into our own calendar.
GET IN SYNC WITH GOD’S CALENDAR TODAY!