On another matter, you expressed a concern in paragraph 2 of page 29 of your paper, in reference to the following statement on page 8 of the COGWA paper: “Because of the secrecy that surrounded the calendar, no one knows with total accuracy how the calendar (or calendars) used in biblical times was determined.” [This is an absolutely false statement; the Mosaic Calendar and its methods is well known.] Your comment was: “By mentioning observation of the moon twice, and giving dates for the time periods when the observational method was in use, it would seem Rabbinic calendar expert Arthur Spier is clearly stating how the calendar used in biblical times was determined.”
I think the answer lies in the fact that the COGWA statement was not referring to the general method of observation with witnesses and calculations. That general method is acknowledged and stated several times in the paper, as I’ve already mentioned. Perhaps the key here is the phrase, “with total accuracy”. The COGWA statement is referring back to the secret rules mentioned at the top of page 8 of its paper. [There were no such thing as secret rules for the Mosaic calendar; that was an invention of the modern Rabbins.] The fact that the “sod ha‘ibur” worked in secret means that we can’t know about their calendar determinations with total accuracy. As Spier says, it was a “closely guarded secret” and was used in part, “to determine the beginnings of the spring season” .
As part of the opening remarks of his book, Spier says, “A special committee of the Sanhedrin, with its president as chairman, had the mandate to regulate and balance the solar with the lunar years. This so-called Calendar Council (Sod Haibbur) calculated the beginnings of the seasons (Tekufoth) on the basis of astronomical figures which had been handed down as a tradition of old … however, astronomical calculation was not the only basis for the intercalation of a 13th month … (he went on to mention the harvest, fruit trees, winter rains, etc.) [These calculations were to determine when to begin looking for the signs of the new year, which were those things required for the Passover and Wave Offering. In reality there was nothing secret about the astronomical observations which merely indicated the approach of spring by the approaching equinox.
In general the spring lambing and the ripening of the harvest were required [and are scripturally required] and the spring crop would ripen in response to the growing warmth of the sun and the improving weather in the spring. If the weather conditions were not good for travel, then the harvest would not be ripening either. This was a bundle and all of the parts were directly related to each other and all clearly scriptural.]
Perhaps Maimonides shed some light on the calculations for determining the spring season when he wrote: “Intercalation of the year depended upon the following three criteria: the “tekufah”, the barley harvest, and the blooming of the tree fruits. Namely, if the court ascertained by calculation that the tekufah [equinox] of Nisan would fall on the 16th day of Nisan, or later, it intercalated the year and declared the Nisan of this year to be a Second Adar, so that Passover might fall in the season of the barley harvest…” See Tekufah
Can we rely on Maimonides for accurate information? I don’t know. But in some senses, that’s the point. Beyond the acknowledged use of the general method involving observation, witnesses and calculation during the Second Temple period, we simply do not have complete information as to how the calendar committee made its decisions. [Nonsense! See how he quotes the information and then denies it! Fascinating! Then he does his best to cast doubts on the scriptural necessaries!] As the COGWA paper stated, we cannot know “with total accuracy” how the calendar was determined. Experts and authorities disagree in their speculations and conclusions on the subject – and many of the details are simply not known. [Perhaps not known 40 years ago, but the full details are well known today. God promised in Dan 12 that at the end knowledge would be increased, but it seems the COG leaders would rather reject God’s promised growth in knowledge to keep their false traditions]
- Starting at the bottom of page 29 of your paper you wrote, “These statements clearly illustrate there was a ‘former system’ of ‘direct observation,’ and now the Jews use a new system of advanced calculations by which they state ‘we determine our new moons and holidays according to the decision of Hillel’s Beth Din.’ Thus, it would appear the Jews have knowingly and admittedly chosen to divert from the original calendar observance of ancient Israel, to an alternate man-made system of advanced astronomical calculations which the majority of our COG membership cannot understand or use.”
I would agree that the Jews knowingly and admittedly chose to change to a fixed, calculated calendar. [Finally an admission of what this man has been denying; the two systems are NOT the same! He has spent so much time trying to say they were the same and finally admits that they were not! Then he says that these apostates have the authority from God to change God’s Word; just like the Catholics claim authority to change from God’s Word; and just like the COG leaders claim the right to change, bind, loose, or add to God’s Word! All of them in rebellion against God’s Word and deciding for themselves right and wrong contrary to the Word of God.
This is the real reason for their denial of the scripture and all their false statements; the calendar is really secondary; the real issue is their supposed authority as per “the Primacy of Peter” to decide for themselves like Eve and Adam to reject God’s Word in favor of their own ways! These COG leaders are in rebellion against God and God’s Word; which is the Mark of the Beast!] I believe God gave them that authority. [and by extension the COG leaders have authority to also depart from the Word of God to decide for themselves; to make idols of men and to stand on the false traditions of men. As for me, I will serve the Eternal!]
But I would disagree with your statement that we know what calendar system was used by “ancient Israel” – before the Second Temple period. The Bible does not say, and experts disagree. [absolutely false. Moses wrote Genesis probably from God’s instructions on Sinai, or most certainly by God’s inspiration. Moses gave God’s instructions for the calendar and Moses would most certainly have kept God’s instructions. Historians also agree on the Mosaic calendar kept from Moses to the exile. Nevertheless the issue is not what the people did; the issue is what God has commanded in his Word!]
I refer you back to several of the quotes I gave earlier. As Sacha Stern, a leading expert of recent date on the Jewish calendar, wrote, “The calendar of Israel in the pre-exilic period remains, among scholars, an extremely controversial issue.”
We really do not know whether (or how many of) your 6 calendar principles were used by ancient Israel. And unless Gen. 1:14, 15 is giving us a clear and perpetual command to begin a calendar month by sighting the first crescent, there is no problem with several methods over time — including possibilities of observation alone, observation with calculations and then finally calculations alone. Again this is a straw man argument; the issue is NOT observation vs. calculation; it is the basis on which the calculation is made; the Biblical LIGHT or the centuries AFTER Christ apostate Rabbinic darkness
And again, because calendar matters were delegated to a God-ordained authority, [False again! Amazing! God gave the scribes [NOT the Rabbins] authority to preserve and to keep the Word of God! No man was ever given any right to change God’s Word!] God never intended it to be necessary for members, ministers or our children to understand the calendar. (Not unlike the fact that it’s not necessary for church members to understand the rules by which the scribes copied the scriptures.) [Mind boggling! of course we are to learn to understand the whole Word of God! How else can we obey the commandments to prove all things (by God’s Word)? How else can we live by every Word of God Mat 4:4?]
- Another concern raised in your paper, near the bottom of page 31, at “B”, you gave the following quote from the COGWA paper: “There is no record of a witness system for determining the new moon … According to some scholars, they used the time of the conjunction.”
In the COGWA paper, the sentences preceding the one you quoted say, “As far as their form of worship was concerned, a number of things changed between the return of the Jews from captivity in the sixth century B.C. and the time of Christ. There is no record of a Sanhedrin when the Jews entered captivity.” [This is absolute fallacy. The Sanhedrin was the post exilic name for the Mosaic Seventy. The fact that they became known by a different name, in no way means that they did not previously exist. The 70 which became the Sanhedrin were established by the Eternal himself!]
So I believe the sentence you quoted is saying that there is no record of a witness system at the time when the Jews entered captivity. The first full paragraph on page 7 gives the context – the First Temple period. And I believe it is accurate to say that there are no records of a witness system at this earlier time in the history of Israel. [This is absolutely false as Moses would have obeyed God in the matter of the necessity to see the LIGHT, in order to use the LIGHT to begin the month as God commanded him (and us). The inability to understand, that in order to begin the month by the LIGHT as commanded; it was essential to see the LIGHT is incredible! ]
You immediately follow the quote at “B” on page 31 of your paper with a quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia. In mentioning the 3 time periods, the encyclopedia article does not define their use of the term “Scriptural”. My guess is that the meaning is the same as that of some of the other sources which explicitly define this earliest period as the Second Temple period, not an earlier time. At any rate, the Jewish Encyclopedia quote is not specific as to the meaning of “Scriptural” times. [False again. Scriptural means from the scriptures; which began when Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible!] And once again, the experts disagree among themselves on calendar matters from the early period of the history of Israel. [Not true; although if you search long enough you might find someone somewhere disagreeing, the vast majority do agree.]
- Another concern from your paper: on page 33, at “D” you quoted the COGWA paper, “whatever the reason may be, these four rules are as much a part of the calendar as the rules for witnesses and the secret rules for calculations that were active during the time of Christ.”
Postponements were not added until the middle ages and not finalized until 1178 AD; Postponements are NOT scriptural. In fact to postpone for our convenience, the time that God has made holy; makes us sovereign and God subject to us. Postponements are an abomination to God.
Let me be clear; the annual Holy Days are Sabbaths, just like the weekly Sabbath is a weekly Holy Day; postponing God’s annual Sabbaths for our own convenience is exactly the same thing as postponing the weekly Sabbath to Sunday! To postpone the annual Sabbaths and then deny postponing the weekly Sabbath to Sunday is inconsistent, double minded and hypocritical!
I think you may have misunderstood the COGWA statement. This statement was made in the context of a discussion of the postponements – and the apparent reasons for them. The COGWA quote that you referenced is saying that even if we don’t exactly know the reasons for the postponements rules, they are nevertheless a part of the Hebrew Calendar, just as the rules for witnesses and the secret rules for calculations were a part of the calendar of Christ’s day.
I believe the idea is that we don’t know the “why’s” – we don’t know why the calendar of Christ’s day had secret rules [It did not. The astronomic calculations of determining the spring equinox were not commonly UNDERSTOOD by the public, that does not man they were secret.] and witness rules [God said that ALL things are to be established by two or three witnesses. Everything about the Mosaic Calendar was absolutely biblical], and we don’t know why these particular 4 postponements were made a part of the fixed calendar. [The Rabbins added these anti scriptural postponements for their own convenience according to their own rasoning’s contrary to the Word of God, many hundreds of years after Christ and in rebellion against the Word of God!] In both cases, all we can say is that they “just were”.
These ungodly postponement rules did not exist before Hillel 2 and were not accepted by most Jews until the Rabbins gained full control away from the Scribes in the 12th century AD.
- On the same subject of postponements, toward the bottom of page 33 of your paper, you questioned the COGWA statement : “It is quite possible that they were in use from the Second Temple period, when at least some form of postponement would have been necessary for the calendar.” [This is absolutely false] (In the COGWA paper, that sentence was followed by: [This is about the fourth century and later Rabbinic calendar and NOT about the Mosaic calendar of the temple period; since the Mosaic Calendar went by the LIGHT (which could only be seen AFTER sunset) and not by the Rabbinic Molads or conjunctions. Notice the use of the word molad in the quote. Only the conjunction can occur during a day; the first LIGHT is NEVER visible during daylight.] “The rule for postponing the first day of the seventh month if the molad occurred after 12 noon was evidently in place already by the time of the Second Temple. But when rules are secret, how can you be sure what was included or what was excluded?”)
Again, the challenge in these matters is that scholars disagree. [This false statement is repeated over and over; it is not the scholars that disagree; it is that these folks pick and choose what they want to believe by deliberately misunderstanding the scholars] In many cases, history is unclear. I would be happy to contact Mr. Franks for more information and details, and I know he would be happy to help by giving any supporting material he has.
- You commented on the matter of secrecy. On page 18 of your paper, you began by saying, “The foundation of the Hebrew Calendar is a gnostic idea that only the enlightened elite know the secret knowledge of God. Without the Rabbinic Jew’s elite knowledge, God’s people would not know when to observe the appointed times of God on their own.”
I have three comments in that regard. One is that the knowledge of the sod ha’ibur was only a secret up until the time of Hillel II, and then he released the rules [Absolutely false; Hillel two did not release old rules; he created a new calendar and released some of its rules.] . Whatever that knowledge was, it was a secret at the time of Christ, [A use of truth to tell a lie. Yes it is true that Christ accepted the Sanhedrin calendar which went by the Mosaic LIGHT and had no postponements; while the Rabbinic calendar with its ungodly postponements and anti scriptural conjunctions did not even exist until hundreds of years after Christ ascended] and yet He accepted the Sanhedrin’s calendar committee and its decisions. He doesn’t seem to have had a problem with the fact that the rules were secret [There were no secret rules in the Mosaic calendar. All its rules are plain scripture which these folks are adamant in rejecting. the Rabbins rejected God’s calendar and the scriptures hundreds of years after Christ, to adopt their own anti scriptural calendar which began c 359 AD an developed until it was fixed and completed in 1178 AD] . And once the Hebrew Calendar was fixed and completed, the information was no longer a secret. It’s not a secret now. [There was never any such as any secret rules; that was a lie told by the Rabbins to impress people that they had extra biblical knowledge and to exalt themselves above the Word of God.]
This contradictory para falsely claims that men were responsible for the calendar, implying that God had delegated the creation of a calendar to men. That is of course an obvious falsehood; since the Seventy were to ENFORCE what God had already given to Moses and had absolutely NO authority to make changes from God’s Word! He then speculates on secrecy, when there was no secrecy. A secret oral law was a lie of the later Rabbins to justify their departure from the scripture.
A second thought is that I wouldn’t use the word “enlightened”. I don’t believe the concept has to do with enlightenment. Instead, I would say it was a matter of responsibility. Some few were responsible for the calendar; the vast majority was not. It may well be that secrecy accomplished the important purpose of helping to maintain unity. There were plenty of calendar disputes, and there were rival sectarian calendars. Perhaps there would’ve been even more disunity and disputes if the calendar committee was not able to go about their work privately and in secret.
God conceals and God reveals; that is up to God’s judgment and not to the decisions of man. Man has the responsibility to pass on to all people whatever God has given him. Jesus said that we are to keep and live by every Word of God, Mat 4:4.
Most certainly God is opposed to any man concealing and keeping secret any part of his Word! and there was no such thing as a secret oral law as the Rabbins later claimed and used to justify their departure from the Word of God! If there was; why do we not reject Christ as Messiah like they do based on their secret laws? The Whole Word of God is to be boldly proclaimed and no part of that Word is to be kept secret by any man.
God isn’t opposed to the idea of an authority keeping some knowledge “secret”. From Matthew 24:36, we know of a “secret” being kept within the God family itself. In His supreme authority, God the Father had chosen to keep the time of the 2nd coming a secret from Jesus Christ.
Third, knowledge relating to the formulation of a calendar is physical knowledge, not spiritual knowledge. Gnosticism pertains to spiritual matters. Now this is a big lie since changing the scriptures from the scriptural LIGHT to the Rabbinic conjunction darkness; is a spiritual matter and is genuine SPIRITUAL Gnosticism. Tyndale’s commentary mentions that gnostics claimed to have a superior knowledge which “enabled them to advance beyond the rudiments of the faith in which the common herd were content to abide”. That is exactly what the Rabbins claimed, to justify changing the calendar from the commanded LIGHT; to the darkness of conjunctions and adding man devised postponements! The Rabbins claim that they have some secret oral authority to do so! The modern Rabbinic calendar which is a radical departure from Moses and the scriptures is: PURE, UNADULTERATED GNOSTICISM!
The “Primacy of Peter” which is accepted by the COG so they can be the deciders in spiritual matters is: PURE, UNADULTERATED GNOSTICISM!
Again the deception of the “Calculation Vs. Observation” argument. of course these things can be calculated: The Gnosticism enters in when they change the basis of the calculations from the scriptural LIGHT, to the anti scriptural Rabbinic darkness of conjunctions.
Calendar computations (simple or complex) are not spiritual. They are matters of math and science. On the other hand, the knowledge of the specific days God has chosen to make holy on a calendar is spiritual knowledge. [This next statement is stunning; considering this man has abandoned the simplicity of the scriptures and rejected Biblical knowledge of God’s true calendar: to stand on a complex system of calculations, and Gnostic postponements and Gnostic man devised ungodly rules that neither he, nor the leaders, nor the brethren can understand!] God has made that knowledge available to everyone, including our children.
As I said earlier, the Bible does not indicate that the average Israelite, Jew or NT Christian was intended to be involved in calendar matters – or even understand the details of the formulation of the calendar. [This is absolutely false for we are commanded to prove ALL things by the scriptures. 1 Thes 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good [By God’s Word]. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. and to live by every word of God Mat 4:4. It is the job of the priests and elders to diligently teach the whole Word of God. Deu 3 and 6. Not to change that word or to follow idols of men and a false un biblical calendar system.]
The calendar is simply a physical tool to be used for God’s very important spiritual purposes. [False again, this is the rejection of God’s commands by proclaiming the lie: “its only physical.” While the heavenly bodies are physical, they were created by God to fulfill a spiritual purpose and to teach us spiritual lessons. If we then defy the command to use the LIGHT and we do the precise opposite of what God has commanded, using the darkness; we defeat the intentions of the Creator and reject his commandment; this is REBELLION against God, like Eve and Adam rebelled to do what they decided was good in their own eyes; in place of what God had commanded them.]
- You also expressed concern over the complexity of the Hebrew calendar.
Again the false “calculation vs. observation” fallacy. The issue is not calculations, but what to base those calculation on; the commanded LIGHT or the darkness of the Rabbins. Now we come to the complexity of the man devised Rabbinic calendar and its convoluted calculations vs. the simplicity of the calendar that the Creator put in motion and commanded us to use.
Here we have two false claims; First the implication that calculation is good: without mentioning the difference between calculating the LIGHT as commanded by God; against the false calculations of the conjunctions of darkness used by the modern Rabbins. the second false statement is that God did not intend his people to follow his Word and instead intended them to follow idols of men completely contrary to God’s Word.
Once again my comment would be that the formulation of a calendar is a based on physical knowledge of math and science. Complex math is not sinful. And furthermore, God didn’t intend for Church members and their children to be able to calculate the calendar for themselves. There is no problem with calendar calculations being complex.
When 2 Corinthians 11:3 warns us against our minds being “corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”, it is talking about spiritual knowledge, not about math and science. [The Scriptural calendar is a TEST just ;like the Sabbath; will we obey God or idols of men. Therefore the Biblical Calendar IS spiritual and not limited to its physical aspects. By his position he now can disregard ALL of the commandments as “Only Physical” when we know that ALL physical commandments are meant to teach us spiritual lessons and ALL physical commandments have their spiritual purpose! Of course the calendar command to use the LIGHT is spiritual, just as the command not to eat a certain fruit was BOTH physical and spiritual; it goes to obeying God, or following our own ways to do as WE like. ] The next verse demonstrates that the simplicity has to do with spiritual knowledge: “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.”
I’ll use sunset tables as an example. It’s not an exact comparison with calendar determinations, because as Maimonides stated, unlike the determination for the new month (which was the responsibility of an authoritative body) [Wrong again; God set sunset to begin the day and God set the LIGHT at sunset to begin the month. The Seventy only had the authority to examine to determine the month as God had commanded. They had NO authority to change God’s Word from LIGHT to darkness, add postponements or depart from God’s Word in any way, and they never did so! It was the apostate Rabbins gained control over that body from the Scribes about 357 AD, and abandoned the scriptures for their own ways] witnesses the beginning of the Sabbath is something God has made known to each individual. When the sun goes down on Friday, we know the Sabbath has begun. Determining when the Sabbath begins is information that has been given to us by God, and it truly is quite simple. But perhaps sunset tables can still be used as an example. [As God made known the sunset to begin the day; God also made known the LIGHT to begin the moon months! And as sunset times can be calculated; the times of the visibility of the moon’s LIGHT can also be calculated!]
We could know when the Sabbath begins by watching for the sun to set each Friday, but for many of us, it would be inconvenient — and often not possible due to weather, obstructions at the horizon, etc. So we typically use sunset tables to determine when the Sabbath will begin. That way we can plan to have our work done well in advance of sunset, giving us the opportunity to “change gears”. I read up a little on the internet about sunset tables and found that they, too, can be quite mathematically complex. But there’s nothing sinful about the complexity. Sunset tables are only a physical tool, to be used to help accomplish an important and wonderful spiritual purpose. [He is now trying to say that calculating the Rabbinic calendar is proper because we can calculate sunset. This is enormously deceitful, because God commands us to begin the month by the LIGHT and that can be calculated; while this man is trying to defend the indefensible departure from God’s commanded LIGHT; to claim that we should calculate the darkness of conjunctions.
He comes back again and again to this false argument that all calculations are the same!
NO, Absolutely NOT! In the scriptures God commanded us to begin the month by the LIGHT of the moon and that can be calculated and then confirmed whenever possible by observation. This man wants us to depart form God’s Word to begin the month with conjunctions contrary to God’s Word. This conjunction system was first proposed by Hillel 2 in 359 AD and was not generally accepted by all Jews until after 1178 ad!].
Deu 5:31 But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.
32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess. The physical promised land is allegorical of eternal life in the spiritual Promised Land of Eternity.
Isn’t it possible that God has chosen to delegate calendar matters to an authority as a way of blessing His people with a particular type of simplicity – a practical and useful form of simplicity – the ability to use the Hebrew calendar for planning and preparing for God’s festivals, just as we use our Gregorian calendar to plan various aspects of our lives? [ABSOLUTELY NOT! No man may depart from the Word of God and be guiltless!]
- In regard to your quotations, on page 51 of your paper, from the writings of Mr. Armstrong and Kenneth Herrman:
I have Mr. Armstrong’s 1952 booklet from which the quote is taken. It’s important to understand the context of his comment. He had explained the biblical truth of taking the Passover once a year, unlike the practice of many churches who take “The Lord’s Supper” several times during the year. He covered the OT Passover, the NT Passover and the meaning of the biblical term “break bread”. He ended the booklet by clarifying which calendar we should use. [Here is now an amazing attempt at deceit! He tries to obscure HWA’s insistence that the Scripture calendar begins the months with the first visible moon light at Jerusalem; by glossing this over with the glib statement that HWA was trying to differentiate the modern western calendar from the Jewish Rabbinic calendar.
Brethren, regardless of his reasons for these statements, HWA was in fact declaring that the Biblical months begin with the first LIGHT of the moon as seen from Jerusalem; which is absolutely correct! Then HWA was falsely convinced that the modern Rabbinic calendar did go by the LIGHT; when of course it does NOT; it goes by the darkness of conjunctions. Herbert was right on this until his staff deceived him by falsely telling him that the Rabbinic calendar did go by the LIGHT to begin the months; now the time has come to restore this truth.
The next few paras are an attempt to hide the Biblical calendar truth; by distracting people from what they wrote and into a discussion of the supposed purpose of their writing. the deceitfulness is so blatant and self evident that I will not comment much on these paras. Concentrate on what Herbert and his assistant said and not on this man’s attempt to claim they did not say what they said.
For the record; HWA was wrong on many things and we should obey God’s word and not the word of HWA; nevertheless in this case HWA was consistent with God’s word; it was only when he was distracted from scripture into the traditions of the Rabbins that he erred on the calendar.
Because you grew up in the Church, it may be a little hard for you to relate to the idea of needing an explanation that the Gregorian calendar is not the calendar to be used when determining God’s festivals. That was the overall point Mr. Armstrong was making in the quote you used. (When I came into the Church as a teenager, I had never even heard of such a thing as the Hebrew Calendar. I would guess that was true for many that God called into the Church at the time – and for those in the world who read the Church’s literature.)
Mr. Herrmann’s 1953 article was an entire article devoted to the subject of the existence of a calendar that differs from what he called “the Roman calendar”. He explained that there is also a calendar used by the Jews — a fact that was unknown to many readers of the Church’s literature. Mr. Herrmann’s article is titled: “God’s Sacred Calendar”. The subtitle is “The Roman calendar on your wall originated with Julius Caesar about 45 B.C. But God gave Israel a DIFFERENT calendar! Without a knowledge of it, you can not obey the Creator.”
The article went on to ask the question, “ How can we know the proper time to keep Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles and the other sacred days which God commanded for the church?” He was explaining why we must use a different calendar from our “Roman” calendar, and he explained in detail where the Roman calendar conflicted with God’s requirements.
Additionally, much of Mr. Herrmann’s article is an explanation for the need for a calendar authority, along with the fact that God gave that authority to the Jews.
In Mr. Armstrong’s full 1940 article, “How to Figure Passover”, he concludes that the Church must use the Hebrew Calendar to make that determination for observing the Passover. He stated the same concepts that the Church believes today: 1) that the Bible does not give us enough specific information to formulate a calendar, 2) that authority over calendar matters was given to the Jews, not the Church, and 3) that history is contradictory and unreliable for this important matter (he wrote: “Surely we can see that profane history only contradicts itself, is inaccurate, cannot be depended upon, and HAS NO AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER.”)
The letter writer then deceitfully claims that HWA never changed his mind on the calendar while subtly introducing the 1940- date. He also hides the fact that HWA insisted on the first LIGHT form Jerusalem, and was deceived into thinking that the Rabbinic Calendar went by the LIGHT; when it does the exactly opposite and goes by the darkness. HWA was duped and these men have also been duped; they are spiritually blind men following false traditions and misunderstandings that have crept in over time.
That was the foundation for the Church’s calendar understanding from the time of 1940. To my knowledge it has never changed — and Mr. Armstrong never changed his beliefs in that regard. The quotes you referenced were not a statement about his (or Mr. Herrmann’s) believing there is a biblical requirement for observation of the new crescent. They were not given in that context or for that purpose. They were statements about their understanding (or misunderstanding), at the time, of principles on which the Hebrew calendar is based. I think you would clearly see that if you were to read Mr. Herrmann’s entire article.
Was Mr. Armstrong, in his quote, perhaps stating his belief at the time, that the first day of the month on the Hebrew calendar would always coincide with the ability to see the new crescent in Jerusalem? The 1952 version said, “… when the new moon is first visible …”.
Here the letter writer notices HWA’s change over time; a change that he had just denied above.
The 1974 version was written as you quoted it, “… when the new moon usually is visible …”
Mr. Armstrong’s conclusion [In 74 HWA made literally dozens of doctrinal changes as he fully apostatized] (that the Scriptures do not give enough information to formulate a calendar and that God intends for the Church to use the Hebrew calendar) is not contradicted by the quotes you listed. The quotes are simply references to Mr. Armstrong’s and Mr. Herrmann’s understanding of details of the Hebrew Calendar. The quotes are not references to their belief that the Hebrew Calendar could only be acceptable for our use if it is based upon observation. In context, their quotes were part of their evidence for using the Hebrew Calendar rather than the “Roman” calendar for observing God’s festivals.
It may seem strange to some people today that the details of the Hebrew Calendar were not always completely and clearly understood by Mr. Armstrong (and others) during the early years of this modern era of the Church. After the “trail has been blazed”, it can at times be hard for generations that follow to understand or relate to the challenges of being a “pioneer”.
Herbert fully believed the scriptures on the calendar and was convinced that the Rabbinic calendar also used the first LIGHT of the moon to set the months. The Rabbins calculate the molad or average time between the conjunctions of full darkness, and do NOT calculate the first visible light of the moon as God commands us to use. This misunderstanding became entrenched to this very day. The time has come to reveal this falsehood and restore the Biblical calendar of the Word of God
But at any rate, Mr. Armstrong saw clearly the foundational calendar principles that the Church still believes to be true today – and to my knowledge, he never believed otherwise.
You made the statement, “It is said Mr. Armstrong was later misled by Herman Hoeh and certain Rabbis who convinced him the Rabbinic calendar uses light in its calculations to establish appointed times.” [He now tries to say that the information available is wrong, when his own letter speaks to his [and COGWA’s] complete lack of honesty on the subject.]
I don’t know who said those things. I came into the Church in 1963, and I have never heard of such a thing. I asked a minister who has been around much longer than I have — and who has a very good grasp of the history of the inner workings of the Church over many decades. He too had no knowledge of such a thing. I do know, however, that there is a lot of misinformation on the internet about what took place over past decades of the Church. Sometimes I’m quite shocked by the huge amount of misinformation about what took place since the time I’ve been in the Church. And as recently as our COGWA split from UCG there has been a great deal of misinformation (from supposedly knowledgeable sources) about the facts and about motives.
I won’t address any more points from your paper at this time, because I feel sure that you could anticipate my answers to them, with the two different paradigms in mind. If I’ve overlooked something important to you, please let me know.
I’ll just touch on one other area before wrapping this up. What I have to say will not constitute a proof of the Church’s position on the Hebrew Calendar. I’ll mention it only as food for thought.
He begins here with a misdefinition of the Ekklesia as being a corporate organization. The Ekklesia is the body of Christ; which means that the Ekklesia consists of all those who are faithful to Christ and zealous to keep the Word of God. Clearly that i8ncludes Christ’s command to begin the month with the LIGHT of the moon; and NOT to begin the month by the apostate from Moses and scripture average time between the full darkness of conjunctions. The body of Christ will obey Christ[ and not do the exact opposite of what Christ has commanded, as the Hellenic Rabbins and COG rebelliously teach.
The Church is described in the Bible as Jesus’ “body” and His future bride, purchased with His own blood. He is the Head of the Church. He leads, guides and directs the Church. Starting in 1930, He began to restore many truths to the Church. Many of those truths had been lost to the remnant of God’s Church at the time. [He admits that much has been lost and needs restoration. Let me quote this ;letter: “He began to restore;” that process is ongoing and is not yet completed! He is taking the Laodicean attitude that we are spiritually “rich, and have need of nothing” therefore because COGWA (and the other COG Groups), as corporate organizations, rejects the Word of God for their own idols of men and false traditions; Jesus Christ is rejecting them into the fire of tribulation, Rev 3:15 . . . . .] Those of us who came along later have had those truths handed to us on a silver platter, so to speak. Those truths are very precious to us. We would defend them with our lives.
I find it hard to believe that when God restored within the Church His festivals and holy days, and then later gave the Church an understanding of the meaning of those days, [This is a false assumption; The Armstrong based COG Groups DO NOT understand the Festivals and Holy Days! Jesus Christ is now revealing the true meaning of the Festivals and restoring the Biblical calendar; and the COG Groups as corporate entities are rejecting the restoration and the promised unsealing and the promised INCREASE in knowledge in the last days.
This is a big test for the brethren as to whether they would obey idols of men or turn to accept the promised increase in knowledge and restoration, with enthusiasm to follow the Word of God! Jesus Christ IS leading his Ekklesia and restoring all things! It is just that these corporate entities REFUSE to follow Christ or to keep the Word of God and insist on following their idols of men and false traditions.] that He would not also have led His Church to use the calendar He intended them to use to observe those days.
When it comes to our COGWA study paper on the Hebrew Calendar, perhaps my confidence is bolstered by the fact that I know the character of the men who did the work and who serve on the doctrine committee. When I visited you regarding this calendar matter, you stated the possibility that the Church had not accepted correction on our calendar stance because our leaders have pride, a desire for power and are locked into tradition. [That assessment of overwhelming pride is fully accurate for COGWA, UCG, LC G, RCG, PCG etc etc. They exalt themselves above the Word of God!]
Perhaps you made those negative judgments about the character of the leadership because your calendar position seems so obvious and so right to you. Therefore, if it’s not obvious to the leadership of the Church, surely it’s because of such things as pride, power and tradition.
In my case, I’ve known these men – and known many of them very well – for decades. Of course these men have imperfections, as we all do, but I clearly see their lives characterized by Godly character, humility and a self-sacrificing pattern of service. That gives me all the more confidence that Jesus Christ is able to use them as He leads, guides, directs and corrects His Church. [Your character assessment is not credible given the contents of your letter; which is full of rebellion against God’s word, false statements and contradictions. You are very like these leaders and elders across the COG spectrum and have set the same terrible scripture rejecting prideful example yourself. As Jesus said in Rev 3, you are all willfully “blind” and do not realize how spiritually wretched and naked of the righteousness of God’s Word you are.]
Thank you again for taking the time to explain in detail you beliefs. I have prayed and fasted about this matter. I know that you have prayed and fasted as well. I only ask that you might continue going to God, specifically seeking His mind on the matter of a right understanding of Gen. 1:14, 15. [Here he makes the issue, one of accepting God’s Word or rejecting it like he does. You would do well to follow your own very good advice in this matter.] So much hangs in the balance. [You are correct; in the balance is eternal life for those who KEEP God’s Word: and rejection by Jesus Christ for those who turn away from God’s Word to follow idols of men.]
Is it possible that God, from the beginning of this modern era of the NT Church, has guided it into a right understanding of this calendar matter? Is it possible that you have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way? [No absolutely NOT! It is never wrong to stand on the Word of God! While it is absolutely WRONG to follow idols away from God’s Word; like you follow the apostate Christ cursing Rabbins in rebellion against God’s Word.]
On our visit, you commented that you are prepared to suffer for your beliefs. I highly respect that principle and willingness. Yet how tragic it would be to suffer unnecessarily, and in a way that God never intended. But as I’ve stated before, you must ultimately be guided in this matter by your conscience toward God.
The elder then responds to the subject of observing the New Moons as the scripture commands.
Reply to “Observing New Moons”
I’m assuming that you’ve read and studied the 2002 UCG doctrinal paper, “Should Christians Observe the New Moons?” – so I won’t cover identical material. Instead I’ll focus on a few areas that came to my mind as I read your material on the subject.
The term forever can mean as long as the physical conditions exist; for example as long as there is a moon, its LIGHT is commanded to begin the months. and we KNOW that the Father will come down to the earth and it will exist forever as his abode and the months will also continue Rev 22:2. There will be no NEED for sun or moon at that time however that dies not mean that they will not exist. That does NOT mean that people obey God’s command at this time. however when Christ comes he will enforce the keeping of the first LIGHT of the moon during the millennium and forever after!
- First, regarding the meaning of the Hebrew word, “olam”, translated, “forever”.
There are several Hebrew words which are translated into English as “forever”. One of these words is “olam” (Strongs #5769). At times, the biblical use of the word does indeed mean “going on without end”. Examples would be: Psalm 10:16 — “The Lord is King, forever (olam) and ever.”; Psalm 33:11 — “The counsel of the Lord stands forever (olam)…” ; 2 Samuel 7:16 – “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever (olam) before you. Your throne shall be established forever (olam).” [David’s dynasty will go on without end, since his descendant, Jesus Christ, will rule on David’s throne throughout eternity.]
The Church has taught, for as long as I can remember, that the biblical use of our English word “forever” can, depending on the context, have the meaning of “unending as long as certain conditions apply”. That understanding can be substantiated by checking such reference books as Zodhiates’ “The Complete Word Study Old Testament” or “The New Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament” .
Here are a few examples of scriptures where “olam” carries the meaning of “unending, as long as certain conditions apply”. Deuteronomy 15:17 – “…then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever (olam)…” In this case, the condition on the word “forever” is “as long as the servant is alive, ie, his lifetime”. During the second resurrection period – and on into eternity, this man will no longer be a servant to his master. Once the servant died, the condition was no longer in existence, and the law no longer applied.
In Jonah 2:6, Jonah feared that he would be inside the belly of the fish “forever”. He said, “I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever (olam) …”. Of course Jonah did not think he would be in the belly of the fish for all eternity. In this case, the condition on the word “forever” would’ve been until God rescued him, or until Jonah was digested by the fish. He would not be inside the fish for all time, without end.
Leviticus 24:2-3 is another example: “”Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually. Outside the veil of the Testimony, in the tabernacle of meeting, Aaron shall be in charge of it from evening until morning before the Lord continually; it shall be a statute forever (olam) in your generations.” The conditions here would be the following: generations of Israelites, a tabernacle or temple, the lamps on the pure gold lampstand and descendants of Aaron. Although the descendants of Aaron have continued down through time, the other conditions have not continued. There is no longer a tabernacle, temple or lamps on the pure gold lampstand. The statute is not currently in force, because the conditions no longer apply.
The last part of Numbers 9 describes the miraculous cloud that directed the movements of the Israelites. Numbers 10 begins with God giving Moses a command to have two silver trumpets made. The next verses describe the way the trumpets were to be used to call the Israelites – or at times to call just the leaders — to assembly. Instructions are then given for using the trumpets to direct the orderly movements of the various tribes as they journeyed from one location to another. When the cloud was taken up, the trumpets were to be blown, and the Israelites would begin to travel.
Numbers 10:8 – “”The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever (olam) throughout your generations.” In this case, the required conditions for blowing the trumpets were OT Israelites, a need to assemble or to make a journey, a miraculous cloud and the priests. These conditions no longer exist. The law to blow the trumpets to call an assembly or to direct the movements of the Israelites is no longer in force.
2 Chronicles 2:4 – “Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance forever (olam) to Israel.”
The “ordinance forever” spoken of here is referring to the set pattern of worship that had been given to Moses, which included incense, showbread and all the offerings that had been commanded. The system of worship was the “ordinance forever”. The “ordinance forever” in this verse includes the information of how often the sacrifices were to be made: daily (morning and evening), weekly (Sabbaths), monthly (New Moons) and yearly (set feasts).
This system of worship, including the sacrifices, had conditions – a temple, an Aaronic and Levitical priesthood, and the Old Covenant (of which the sacrifices were such a large part). Those conditions do not exist at this time. This ordinance (of all these prescribed aspects of tabernacle/temple worship) does not apply to us today. [This shows a lack of understanding. These physical sacrifices must of necessity end, for all physical things will ultimately end. However these physical sacrifices have their spiritual application. If he only studied the sacrificial system he would begin to see that it is spiritual and not exclusively physical. Right now the spiritual aspect functions, and when Christ comes he will revive the physical aspects as well.]
However, the fact that this specific “ordinance forever” is no longer in effect does not automatically mean that the days on which the sacrifices were offered are no longer to be observed in a special way. For that information, we have to go to other scriptures. “Weekdays” in this case is not relevant to special consideration. When it comes to the Sabbath and the annual feast days, many other scriptures make it clear that they are still to be kept in our day. In addition, the Scriptures make it clear that it is a sin to fail to observe the Sabbath and feast days. But what about New Moons?
For an understanding of the New Moons and God’s command’s regarding them: God’s Commanded New Moons and the Beginning of Biblical Months
What is significant is that there are no other scriptures that command us to observe the New Moon days as a day so special that it is a sin to fail to do so. [For the record; disobeying God on any point (even eating some forbidden fruit) is a sin! We are commanded to observe the New Moons LIGHT, therefore not doing so is a sin. God has winked at this until now because the persecution and dispersion caused the brethren to forget these things! Now Jesus Christ is restoring these things; and to reject this restoration is rejecting Christ and is a great sin!]
- That’s the second point I want to emphasize. There is no command in the Bible to observe new moons – and there are no verses stating that it is a sin to fail to observe New Moons.
The fact that sacrifices and offerings were to be made (and trumpets to be blown) on the New Moons – the first day of the months – does not automatically make those new moon days “set apart”, [This is pure double talk. God commanded these days to be “set apart” and if we reject God’s command it is sin.] in the sense of it being a sin not to observe them with additional special activities. Sacrifices and offerings were made on ordinary weekdays as well – and the fact that offerings were made on weekdays did not elevate them to a special status. [God commanded that the New Moons be observed as “set apart” times which he did not command for ordinary week days. By this argument it would not have been a sin to stop the Daily either! Nonsense; not keeping God’s Word is sin! ]
It’s true that in the Bible we can find certain activities taking place on the New Moon days — individuals carrying out various activities (a special meal, seeking out a prophet, etc.). But references to those activities are not the same thing as a specific biblical statement that New Moon days are special in the sense of it being a matter of sin if a person fails to observe them. Those references to various activities do not elevate New Moon days to the status of carrying a serious penalty for failing to keep them in some special way – or keep them at all. [He is arguing that refusing to obey God is not a sin! It is amazing how far from God we have fallen!]
Now he tries to claim that the New Moon offerings are suspended along with all other offerings. This is correct although deceitful, because suspending offerings for the lack of the temple in no way means that the New Moon day observation is suspended. To observe the New Moon is more than offering sacrifices; we must be aware of the reason for those sacrifices; and then keep the spiritual intent of the New Moon Sacrifices. if we studied into the sacrifices of the New Moons and of the Festivals we would have a large increase in our understanding of these “set apart” times.
2 Chronicles 31:3 refers to the “Law of the Lord”. It says, “The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord.” What is written in the law of the Lord, in this case, is the law of burnt offerings.
Although the law of burnt offerings specifies the days on which the offerings were to be made, that particular law does not give information as to whether the Sabbath or New Moons or the feasts were to be set apart as special days for which it was a sin to fail to observe them. We have to go to other scriptures for that information. He keeps harping that it is not a sin to disobey God, when ALL disobedience is SIN!
This man should go and ask Eve if God considered her disobedience as sin! Jesus commanded that we are to live by EVERY WORD of God! To disobey the teachings of God is Sin! We cannot offer physical sacrifice today because there is no physical temple at which to offer them. We CAN present ourselves before God as living sacrifices giving ourselves fully to HIM! We can study the meaning of the day and then keep it in its spiritual intent! They have Bible Studies each month: What is so hard about scheduling them on the New Moon day? These men show their true nature by working night and day to try and find excuses to disobey God; instead of keeping what is really something very easy and simple. they have fallen away from any desire to obey God, as the scripture has said
Once again, when it comes to the Sabbaths and festivals, there are plenty of other verses that give us that information. However, there are no other verses that give the same type of information about the observance of New Moons.
The Sabbath and the Feast days are clearly commanded in the Bible. There’s no doubt about the fact that it is a sin not to observe those days. With New Moons, you can read every verse in the Bible that refers to them, and you will not find a command to set apart the day in such a way that it becomes a sin to fail to do so. [What a willfully blind attitude! We are commanded to keep them, and Jesus tells us through the prophets that it is his will that we keep them! To not keep them is to defy God’s will; and that is sin!] Finding references to various activities taking place on New Moon days is very different from a stated biblical command – which of course would carry a penalty for the sin of disobedience.
2 Chronicles 8:13 does not give us a New Moon command. It reads, starting in verse 12, “Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of the Lord which he had built before the vestibule, according to the daily rate, offering according to the commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the three appointed yearly feasts – the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.”
The “commandment of Moses” is referring to the prescribed sacrificial system. The command is specifically in regard to burnt offerings. The fact that burnt offerings were required on New Moon days does not, in and of itself, automatically set aside New Moon days as days that incur the penalty of sin for failing to keep them. As I’ve mentioned, sacrifices were also offered on ordinary weekdays.
This scriptural passage, in and of itself, does not establish New Moon days as days God has set apart in such a way that sin is involved for violating them. A command to offer burnt offerings on New Moon days is not the same thing as a command to observe the days and set them apart as a biblical requirement. Those are two entirely different things.
No scripture can be found commanding New Moon observance.
All right: We know that Christ commanded us to begin our months with the first LIGHT of the moon (which these folks rebel against and do the opposite beginning with the darkness, in open rebellion against Christ). We Know that special sacrifices were commanded to set apart the new moon. We know that Israel observed the New Moon with scripture studies. We know that Jesus Christ will FORCE all nations to observe the New Moons in the Kingdom; and therefore it is Christ’s will that they be observed. We know that it is sin to disobey God or to go contrary to the known will of God.
These folks, instead of being zealous to discover God’s will and do it; are looking for any excuse they can find; to not do what God has made clear is his will. They are willing to do only the absolute minimum of what they think they must. Jesus Christ had somewhat to say of such people, calling them unprofitable servants fit only to be cast out into the fire. Mat 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Another factor to take into consideration is that there was a “common denominator” for what was required to be done on New Moons (ie, requirements of sacrifices and the blowing of trumpets): the existence of a tabernacle or temple, a sacrificial system and a priesthood. (These factors were also in existence at the time the book of Colossians was written, and they will also be in existence once again during the Millennium.)
Other than the offering of sacrifices and the blowing of trumpets, we simply don’t know exactly what all was done on New Moon days. How often and over what periods of time did people seek out a prophet? Who had special meals – and how often? What type of celebrations were engaged in – and how widely were they practiced? Not only do we not have answers to those questions, we also don’t know why people did these things. Did certain customs and traditions develop over time?
This is again absolute nonsense. Show me where there is a command on organizing Sabbath services? The instruction for Festivals, the Sabbath and the New Moons is to worship God. Is 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. The word worship means to learn of and obey God. What are we to do on the new moon’s today? We are to Worship, learn about and obey God; in other words to hold a Bible Study!
On page 40 of your paper, you wrote, “There are joint references to the Sabbaths, New Moons, and Feast Days. They were inseparable.” It’s true that the Sabbath, festivals and New Moons are frequently mentioned together. It’s also true that they’re especially mentioned together in verses pertaining to the tabernacle/temple service and sacrifices.
Lev 23 lists the Festivals; it does not list every instruction of God. Breaking any one of which is a sin. Will you commit adultery because it is not listed in Lev 23? Neither should you reject God’s will concerning the new moon LIGHT because it is not listed in Lev 23 but is presented elsewhere.
But to my mind, what’s even more significant (about this grouping together of Sabbaths, New Moons and feasts) is that New Moons are conspicuously absent from Leviticus 23, where God lists the days that He has commanded His people to observe – and days that He describes as His days. Perhaps there’s no significance to this – but I noted that New Moon days are never referred to as His days. Typically they’re worded as “the New Moon days”. Sabbaths and feasts are also worded as “the Sabbaths” or “the feasts”, but God makes a point in Leviticus 23 of letting us know that the Sabbath and festivals are His days.
Leviticus 23 gives details of sacrifices and offerings to be made on God’s feast days. Verse 38 makes a comment about sacrifices offered on the Sabbaths — but nothing in this chapter makes mention of New Moon sacrifices. In this chapter, Sabbaths and feasts are very clearly separated and distinguished from New Moon days.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the Church has a scriptural basis for teaching that God does not require that New Moons be set apart and observed in a special way. Deuteronomy 12:32: “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” The Church fears to add to God’s commands by teaching that New Moon days must be kept by Christians today. [What an abominable LIE! The scripture makes it very clear that it is God’s will to observe the new moons; it is this man who is taking away from the scriptures!]
Because sacrifices were offered on New Moon days — and because references are made to certain activities that at times took place on New Moon days — does not mean we are free to add to God’s clear commands. [Of course we are not free to add to and must follow the clear scriptures; not taking away from them as this man is trying to do. No wonder Jesus says that he will spew (VOMIT) them out of his body. ]
(I realize that for your part, you fear “taking away” from the things God has commanded. I’ll simply repeat that it is not possible to find a command to observe New Moon days in some special way, in order to please God and avoid sin. No New Moon command exists, so how can we “take it away” from God’s law?)
- A final thought about observing New Moon days is the question, “What should be done on those days?” [This is obvious and I have already covered the issue. We are commanded to worship (learn about and obey) God.]
With the Sabbath, holy days and the Passover, we’re given very specific standards by which we can measure our obedience. We know exactly what God wants us to do in order to keep those days in a way that please him! We have precise, objective standards. [Yet you walk all over those standards and routinely pollute God’s Holy time!] On the Sabbath and holy days, we refrain from our customary work and we attend a commanded assembly in order to worship and to be taught. In addition, Isaiah 58 tells us just what we should (and should not) think about and talk about during those 24 hour periods of time. Even our thinking process and our words provide us with a clear and objective standard for measuring our obedience to God. [You admit to this instruction and yet you routinely defy it. You buy and cook and travel on Sabbath and High Days; calling the Sabbaths holy as you pollute them.]
On the Passover day, although we don’t have to refrain from our customary work, we nevertheless have an objective standard (and clear instructions) as to what God expects on that day. His requirement is attendance at the sacred Passover service, after having carefully fulfilled the instruction to “examine oneself”.
But when it comes to New Moon observance, how do we know when we’ve observed a New Moon day in a way that God is pleased? How can we know we are not guilty of sin in regard to how we keep the day? What is the clear and objective standard? [We are certainly guilty of we refuse to even try. These are all childish excuses to refuse to even try; when the scriptures clearly say that we are to assemble before God to worship him (learn of and obey and acknowledge him as sovereign!)
You mentioned in your paper several activities for the day. One was “Offerings/Prayers” and “Worship/Praise”. We do this every day. We pray, worship God and focus our minds on His plan and His kingdom every day. How would we know whether or not we are doing it in such a way as to be setting apart the day in a special way? What is the objective standard that helps us know that we are not sinning in this aspect of keeping a New Moon day?
“Bible Study” was another activity you listed – and you mentioned extra Bible study on New Moon days. Again, where is an objective standard? We already study the Bible every day. What if a person’s habit of Bible study is to study between a half hour and hour a day. How much extra Bible study qualifies as properly observing the day? Must it be more than an hour? Or just more than half an hour? What if this particular day at work demands a great deal of time, and there’s no opportunity for more than a half hour of study? Does that constitute sin? Has the day been kept properly? Has a person pleased God?
The following is a nonsense non applicable argument as the Levitical priesthood is gone and the temple is gone as well as the physical sacrifices over which the silver trumpets were to be sounded. However any person may sound the shofar in rejoicing before God.
What about the matter of blowing a trumpet or shofar? In Numbers 10, God gives very detailed and specific instructions in this regard. The trumpets were required to be silver trumpets (not rams’ horns). They were to be made out of a single sheet of silver. They were to be used in pairs.
The trumpets were to be blown only by the sons of Aaron, the priests, highlighting the sacred nature of their use. They were not to be blown by members of the Israelite congregation. The Soncino commentary on Numbers 10:8 explains that the phrase “ordinance forever” is specifically commanding “that only the priests may sound these sacred clarions.”
As another requirement, the two trumpets were to be blown at a particular time of day – as the burnt offerings and peace offerings were being made. And they were to be blown in the hearing of the congregation.
How much freedom does the individual Christian have to modify these very specific instructions laid down by God. How much freedom does an individual Christian have to “spiritualize” their application? Why would it even be acceptable to modify them at all? If only the priests were to blow the trumpets, what does God think about individual church members blowing them today?
Is it acceptable to reduce the number of trumpets from two to one? Is it acceptable to use a ram’s horn in place of silver trumpets? Should the trumpet(s) be blown at the time a Christian offers “spiritual sacrifices”, to match as closely as possible the practice of the priests? Should they be blown only when a congregation of God’s people has assembled to hear them? How would the individual Christian know whether he was obeying and pleasing God in this matter of blowing trumpets? How would the Christian know whether or not he is sinning? What is the objective standard?
Who has the authority to decide on these matters of blowing trumpets – or on any other activity of a New Moon day ? Or is every individual free to do “what is right in his own eyes”? Among those who observe New Moons today, there certainly is a wide range of practices, and no doubt each person believes his own practice to be correct.
There are certain OT principles that very clearly must be put into practice today, and yet those principles cannot be applied exactly as they might’ve been in the OT. One example of such a command is found in Deuteronomy 16:16 – the command to appear before God with offerings at His three festival seasons. The Church has determined that we will apply the principle by giving an offering at church services on each of the seven holy days [Contrary to the Word of God! They are using a precedent that they broke God’s Word; to justify breaking God’s Word again! Claiming that one sin justifies another! How very Catholic! The Catholics claim that their changing of the Sabbath day to Sunday is a precedent allowing them to make other changes from God’s Word!] . God gives the Church leadership the authority and responsibility for making that type of determination [Here he teaches the abominable Nicolaitane “Primacy of Peter”(Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18) – always with the condition that no scriptural principle or command is violated. [Then why do you violate the Sabbath and High Days? Why do you reject God’s command to begin our months with the moon’s LIGHT? ] But does any individual Christian have the authority (and God’s approval) to modify such specific and numerous requirements as we find in Numbers 10 for the blowing of trumpets [This is a straw man argument and a classic of focusing on only one point to the exclusion of the unwanted material in an attempt to hide the whole truth. No one is modifying these trumpet instructions, the silver trumpets were only to be sounded over the physical sacrifices and to call the people in the Mosaic Covenant. The instructions of Num 10 pertained ONLY to the silver trumpets; while other scriptures speak of the shofar as Psalms 81:3 Blow up the trumpet (shofar) in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
Personally, I could not blow a trumpet on a new moon day. I believe the instructions God gave in Numbers 10 are specific instructions for a particular time and a specific set of circumstances. I would fear to appropriate the blowing of trumpets to myself – and I would fear to modify God’s instructions according to what I might feel is appropriate under today’s circumstances.
In conclusion, in regard to the belief that it’s necessary to observe New Moons today, is it possible that an assumption is made of a biblical command in that regard – and then a person works backwards to try to find in the Bible something to do on that day? And where is the objective standard for measuring our observance of the day against any revealed instructions from God as to how it should be kept?
The will of Christ is very clear in this matter; no assumption has been made. For a fuller explanation please go to the New Moon Study link above.