25 April 2010 (Rishon/Pesach)|
Day #41, 5934 AM
Keeping Yah's Calendar
Patching Up an Evangelical Blindspot
Almost nobody in the world is observing the biblical calendar today. Christians of every persuasion, including secular society in general, is following the Gregorian system invented by the Roman Catholic Church. Jews and most Messianics follow the rabbinical system which itself was invented in Babylon. So what is the true calendar? Does it matter any more? And if it does, what is it?
There is this dogma amongst orthodox Christians that Yahweh did away with the Torah or Law on the Cross of Calvary and that we only now need concern ourselves with the commandments in the new Testament. However, unlike the original Torah in the first five Books of Moses, the New Testament is not a comprehensive system of law but a collection of gospels, letters and revelations that took three centuries to assemble and canonise. There is no 'list' of 'New Covenant Commandments'. All we have are references to what the first believers did. And what we find they did was pretty much what the Old Testasment Torah said. Their only canonical scriptures were the Old Testament.
If the calendar had been changed and the festivals done away with, then you would not have expected to find the first believers observing them, let alone Yahweh commanding them to observe them. And yet we find Yahweh commanding the first believers to remain in Jerusalem for Shavu'ot or the Feast of Pentecost. Why? Because He wanted to give them a special anointing on that day which He had Himself marked for annual observance two millennia before.
Now if the first believers were no longer following the biblical calendar, they would not have know when to assemble, would they? And if they had missed the date, they would have missed the pouring out of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) at Pentecost. Did Yahweh tell them to stop assembling at the biblical Feast of Pentecost or for any of the other festivals? On the contrary. Many years later we find Paul not only telling believers to continue celebrating Passover (or Pesach) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (or Chag haMatzah) but how they were to observe it! This would also have included the Day of Firstfruits (or Yom haBikkurim) which came in the middle of it:
"And when the day of Shavu'ot (Pentecost) [was] fulfilled, they were all together in one place (Lev.23:15-16), and there was mitamuhl (suddenly) from Shomayim (the Heavens) a sound like the rushing of a violent wind, and it filled the whole bais (house) where they were sitting" (Acts 2:1-2, OJB).
Was Paul telling the early Christians to celebrate these feasts only on that particular year? That makes no sense. This was general counsel for a general practice. This was something all the first believers were doing and Paul wanted to make sure that their hearts were right, for the condition of the heart is the most important thing in the New Covenant.
"Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover (Pesach), was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast [of Passover], not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor.5:6-8, NKJV).
So we now see that the first believers were observing three, if not four, of the annual feasts. Is it likely that they were only observing some of them or all of the seven? Bear in mind that Yah'shua had only fulfilled the first four feasts (the ones we know for sure the first believers were observing) making it even more imperative to observe the ones which hadn't been fulfilled. And they still haven't been fulfilled today.
If the disciples were required to attend Pentecost in order for it to be fulfilled, and continued to attend two others after they were fulfilled, then don't you think it is highly likely that Yahweh will want us to attend Trumpets (Yom Teruah), The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and Tabernacles (Sukkot) each year, which mark the second coming of Messiah, which we are commanded to be watchful for? And how are we going to be watchful if we aren't keeping the biblical calendar?! Indeed, the calendar tells us which time of the year Yah'shua is returning - we just don't know which year! And yet orthodox Christians are telling us to celebrate all the wrong festivals (e.g. Christmas, Easter) at all the wrong times! And then there are some who tell us not to celebrate any at all (e.g. the Jehovah's Witnesses, though they do observe an annual memorial meal)! How are we to "be watchful" if we don't know what we are supposed to be watching for, or when?
Everything about our Roman calendar is wrong. We observe days from midnight to midnight (including Sunday as a day of rest) when the bible tells us to observe the Seventh Day Sabbath and days in general from sunrise to sunrise, as Yah'shua (Jesus) (Lk.4:16) and the apostles did (Ac.13:14). The days are named after (and therefore honour or reverence) pagan deities (demons) when the Bible says we are simply to number them (first, second, third, etc., ending in Shabbat on the seventh). The first reference to a Roman calendar system in the church does not appear until two generations after the apostles when Justin Martyr first mentions it. Aware that something was seriously wrong, the Asian bishops resumed following the Hebrew calendar in the second century again, provoking the Quartodeciman Controversy. Rome, under Bishop Victor, opposed the move, demanding a Sunday Passover, and was opposed by Polycrates who said believers should follow Scripture and not man-made tradition, citing John and Polycarp whom, he said, observed Aviv 14 in Ephesus as is correct! (Eusebius, Church History, Vol 4, Chapter 24).
Bishop Victor, in pursuit of man-made tradition. excommunicated every assembly which did not agree to hold the Passover on a Sunday, forcing messianic believers to go underground. Despite Yahweh's stern warnings in Deuteronomy 12:1-4 the apostacy accelerated and the counterfeit Roman Catholic Church evolved, with the Protestant Reformers later continuing the calendar errors of Rome. Easter replaced Passover and other pagan festivals like Christmas and Lent made their appearance to appease Roman pagans.
We know the first believers followed the biblical and not the Roman calendar because of the way they reackoned time: "We sailed...after the Days of Unleavened Bread..." (Ac.20:6), "I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost" (1 Cor.16:8), "...he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost" (Ac.20:16), "...the Fast (Day of Atonement) was already over..." (Ac.27:9-10), "when the day of Pentecost had come, they were altogether..." (Ac.2:1-2).
Not only are Passover, Unleavened Bread and Pentecost being observed, but also the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. Do we need any more evidence that the early Christians celebrated the seven annual feasts? Why were they doing this if the Law had supposedly been abolished? And does it matter what the 'church' later did if it was in violation of the commandments? It is the orginal apostles who will judge the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Mt.19:28; Lk.22:20), not those who succeeded them in the sub-apostostolic era or beyond. The faith that we must therefore follow is the faith of the New Testament, not that of apostate church councils.
What will you do?
 Norman B. Willis, The Torah Calendar: The Calendar Our Creator Wants Us To Keep (Nazarene Israel, Anderson, CA: 2009)