THE OLD TESTAMENT [OT] CALENDAR ?
The controversy over the calendar Moses had, the calendar
Christ was under, and the calendar the majority of the Jews use
today (called the Jewish perpetual or fixed calendar) first began
from among the organization known as the Worldwide Church of God,
or I should more correctly say, that organization's OFFSHOOTS,
started back in the 1970's with the first appearance of offshoot
churches from the WCG. It was at that time thoroughly hashed
through with paper after paper appearing on the scene, claiming it
had the answer and was the true way to govern the calendar. The
underlying premise for such papers was the claim that the Jewish
fixed calendar was UNbiblical and had a number of errors. The
new calendar papers claimed to correct the errors and restore the
true rules of the calendar.
The organizations known as the SACRED NAME churches got in
on the act. It was possible they had been doing so for many more
years than I knew about, as I had no contact with them until the
late 70's. I had never heard of them nor did I know they existed
until that time.
I read their magazines and papers on the subject together
with the many others circulating at the time.
In the 80's the topic seemed to level off and even to get
put on the back burner. I guess most had studied it to their
satisfaction and made their decision on the matter.
With the further, much larger break-up of the Worldwide
Church of God in the early 90's, this issue of the calendar has
once more surfaced, and surfaced with a BANG!! The old hands of
calendar reform have been given a new lease on life and have come
to life again, together with new pushers for new calendars. The
modern Internet and E-mail church forums among the offshoots of
the WCG has added to the controversy of this topic.
Out of it all, for anyone who has studied it, and not even
for very long, one thing soon is clear to see. HARDLY NONE of the
calendar reformers AGREE AMONG THEMSELVES as to the correct way
to govern the calendar for the observation of the Festivals of
the Lord. While at the same time, many of them claim THEY have
the TRUE method of calculating the calendar, or that they have
the calendar originally given to Moses.
I do not know if such people found where Moses was buried by
God and dug up his grave to take from his hand the manuscript he
wrote containing the rules of the calendar, but they seem quite
sure THEY are the ones with the correct calendar, while the
others must have found the grave site of a wrong Moses, with a
wrong calendar manuscript in his hand.
Then there are those who preach the OT itself contains the
calendar rules. If the cycle of the earth and its seasons were
fixed to a 30 days a month, 12 months a year, then all our
problems would be over; we would have no problems with a calendar.
Under such a cycle, knowing when to begin the first month of the
year, even a first grader could then figure out exactly when the
festivals of Leviticus 23 should be and mark then on the calendar
Ah, but life is not quite that simple, and the earth's cycle
in this immediate galaxy of ours is not that simple, not any more
at least. As we shall see there is evidence it once was that
simple, from the Bible itself, but it is not that simple today.
Somewhere along the course of time that simplicity was nudged or
swung, or blown or pushed out of orbit, and the nations of earth
had to learn to devise calendars to try to keep things "in synch"
with each other over hundreds and thousands of years. Sometimes
adjustments to calendars had to be made from time to time. Some
nations threw out calendars they had and started all over again
with another calendar.
The Bible itself and secular history records some pretty
HUGE miraculous events took place along the way from the
beginning to the present, that screwed up the nice neat little 12
month, 30 days to a month, year of the earth, with the sun and
Well all this can be found in the Encyclopedias under the
subject of "calendar." It will be good for the reader to spend
some time in investigating the matter, so they fully realize we
are dealing here with a rather complicated issue as we now find
What I want to undertake to do is simply go through the Old
Testament and look at all the passages that have any direct
bearing on what we might call a calendar issue. Ask some open
questions, see if we can find any open answers, see if we can
ascertain any calendar rules, and if so, see if there are enough
of them to claim we have the calendar Moses had. Then after all
that in the second half of this study, try to investigate what
kind of a calendar Jesus lived under. And to find that, we shall
have to look elsewhere from the New Testament of the Bible, as
nothing is given to us there for our answer to that question.
So let's begin.
I do not know how many people over the years have turned me
to this verse in Genesis to somehow claim the "calendar" is
here, but it is quite a few. In their mind they think they have
the rules and regulations for the calendar all down pat, nicely
tied up with a pink bow, and this verse is that little package.
Many of these people are either "moon crescent" watchers or
"ears of barley green" lookers, yet somehow they think this verse
is the key to the calendar question.
The Hebrew word "moed" for "seasons" in this verse is
indeed used in the other books of Moses for "feast." So some
immediately say: "There it is, God put the sun and moon and stars
in heaven to regulate when to observe the festivals." Even IF
God established His festivals from the beginning, HOW on earth
does this verse by itself propound the calendar?
We need to use some logic. Where in this verse does it say
which month is the beginning of the year? Where in this verses
is the phrase "new moon"? Where in this verse does it tell us
how many months there are to be in the year? Where does it say
how many days there are in the month? Where in this verse does
it tell us to look to the crescent of the moon to start the
month? What if it was cloudy one month and you could not see the
moon? What if it was cloudy for 3, 4, 5, months in a row? Where
is the sighting to be done from if we are to go by sighting? And
what has this verse to do with a 13th month to be added now and
then to keep everything "in synch" with the universe? When does this
verse tell me to add that month to the year? And who is the final
worldwide authority for all God's people to proclaim the adding
of a 13th month? Then for those who argue about the "spring
equinox" - tell me where in this verse does it mention the spring
Sorry, but for anyone to use this verse in an attempt to
establish the rules and regulations of the calendar, especially
for today, when the earth, moon, and sun, are not "in synch"
together with a nice neat 12 month, 30 days to a month cycle, is
not only taking BIG liberties with the word of the Lord, but are
also READING INTO and ADDING such large amounts of HUMAN
reasoning and interpretations, that I have honestly wondered
if they are trying to enter the "fiction of the year" writers
Certainly God has placed in the sky the heavenly bodies that
on a GENERAL overall view do divide the night from day, do give
us seasons in the year, and do tell us that after winter and the
start of spring is a logical time for a new year to begin. The
farmers have in the past taken note of the sky and heavens to
help them do their work on the land.
God promised Noah, and us, that while the earth remains,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day
and night shall not cease (Gen.8:22). The pattern and cycle of
the moving of this earth, with the moon and sun, give us day and
night, cold and heat, summer and winter - the seasons of the
year, AND THAT IS ALL GOD WAS GIVING US IN GEN.1:14.
The Eternal WAS NOT giving us the rules and regulations of
the calendar, especially for today, when He inspired Moses to
write the first chapter of Genesis.
Does Genesis INDICATE in any way that there was a calendar
used in those beginning days? If it does, is there any
indications as to the basics of that calendar?
YES, indeed there are very probable answers to those two
By reading the account of Noah and the building of the Ark,
when he entered the ark, the length of stay in the ark, the
resting of the ark, and the going forth from the ark, all found
in the 7th and 8th chapters of Genesis, we come to the conclusion
that in those days the calendar was neat and simple - 12 months
to a year, with 30 days to a month. If the festivals of the Lord
were established from the beginning, then God would have told
them which was the first month as He did with Moses. He would
have stated to them what is written in Leviticus 23 (except there
was no tabernacle and priesthood then as under Moses) as to the
months and days of the feasts. And with our immediate solar
system in simple synch from year to year (12 months, 30 days to the
month) at that time, it would have not taken very much education
to know the calendar of God and when the feasts of the Lord were
to be observed. Even a small child would have been able to have
There would under such a calendar have been no need to look
to the heavens, watch the moon, go out sighting for the crescent of
the moon, watch for the green ears of barley, decide when to add
a 13th month (for it was not needed), and whatever else is argued
about today, including the spring equinox.
So much for anything about the calendar in the book of
Genesis. The next time we encounter the calendar for God's
people is with Moses at the time of the Exodus of the children of
Israel from Egypt.
That we shall look at next time.
Written May 1997