3 Red April 2011 (Rishon/Pesach)|
Day #383, 5934 AM
The Creation Calendar
Afterthoughts for the Nay-Sayers
Continued from Part 3
I thought it might be appropriate on the last day of the old year - and for us, the last day of following the Roman system as far as time-keeping is concerned - to make a brief reply to the many who have (as I expected they would) reacted with horror at our decision to follow the Creation Calendar. Admittedly it is a little sad when your friends think you have gone quite insane though, again, it is to expected. We can often be very visceral when it comes to defending cherished traditions, and when we are visceral, logic is often quick to fly out the window. As one keen observer noted:
For me personally there is too much at stake to be swayed by the commotion that inevitably results from a deeply buried truth breaking the surface of man's consciousness. I have witnessed this reaction from both well-meaning and not well-meaning believers in the past. Accusations abound. Sadly, those defending true theological positions often do the same thing, so inevitably there are some lunar-solar sabbatarians whose conduct is less than charitable when dealing with the opposition. I have looked at some anti-Creation Calendar websites in the hope of finding good counter-arguments only to find that the main criticism is against the bad behaviour of some lunar-solar sabbatarians. This is regrettable. It should be possible to separate principles from personalities.
"A truth's initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic" (Dresden James).
As far as the Creation Calendar is concerned, the not unexpected retort that only those who are unemployed, self-employed or otherwise not a part of the system could possibly live this way springs to mind. I personally do not believe - because that is my faith - that Yahweh expects a man to live that which is impossible and that He provides a way for those who wish to be obedient. The same or similar complaint was made, amusingly, when I became a Saturday-observer - people said that if they abandoned Sunday-worship, they would lose their jobs, risk not being able to feed their families, and that therefore this couldn't possibly be God's will. And yes, living the Gospel in its fullness may entail the loss of a job, though I prefer to see it as a change of job rather than a loss - the gaining of something better. I think of the persecuted unregistered Baptists and what they were prepared to suffer in the former Soviet Union - the bottom line is really whether we are prepared to sell everything we have to get that "pearl of great price" or whether we keep something back so as to appease the world.
I do recall that it took Yahweh a great deal of effort on His part to get me out of school education because I was afraid of the economic consequences for my family if I quit - my fear kept me a prisoner. In the end He had to break my health so that I would be forced to quit my career as a teacher so that He could get me doing what He wanted me to do. My income today is a third of what it was but I am a far happier man than I ever was toiling as a slave in a system that was crushing both me and those I sought to serve.
As far as living the Creation Calendar is concerned, I will honestly say that it has been very inconvenient and poses all kinds of challenges - I would much rather have preferred to remain with the old system! Making the Saturday change was hard enough - this will be ten times as hard. However, I am not living the Creation Calendar for convenience, nor any other part of the Gospel. We serve an inconvenient Messiah, do we not? I consider living a lie to cost far, far more in the eternal perspective and I wish to come before my Creator with a clear conscience on that day when I am called to account for my choices in life. I have not become a lunar-solar sabbatarian to be 'bloody-minded' or to upset people - whatever you choose in this life will upset people and be seen as 'bloody-minded' anyway - that is life. You can't please everyone, even fellow believers.
It has been interesting to note two of the main objections of people to my announcement of the Creation Calendar. One of them - which was an objection I myself had entertained - was that it lacked the 'neatness' of a regular, uninterrupted seven-day cycle, and as a corollary to that, the claim was made that if Yahweh had wanted a perfect lunar-solar system He would have ensured that the moon orbited the earth exactly once every 28 days, because then there would not be a need to 'reboot' the sabbath cycle every month by inserting extra days. This assumes, of course, that the lunar-solar system is somehow 'unhealthy' or 'psychologically destabilising' and yet if you bother to do the historical research, you will discover that this was the natural way of man for millennia. No one suffered because of it. Indeed, the Genesis account tells us that orginally the moon orbited the earth in a smooth 30 day cycle, which I discussed in 360°: A Sacred Number and the Calendar.
When it comes to humans, what gives us comfort is habitual life rhythms rather than neat mathematical packages. Why should 'interruptions' to a regular cycle be so disturbing anyway? In the last 12 months the orbit of the moon has changed and sunrise and sunset have changed. One thing about the mortal universe that is certain is that things are constantly changing. About the only thing that isn't changing in this cosmos is Yahweh Himself...and of course His Law. There is, as I hope to reveal in the months to come, a beautiful pattern in the lunar-solar cycle, but that is beyond the scope of today's devotional. And since this is very new to me, I shall be sharing my experiences as I go along. One thing I do absolutely know for certain, and that nobody can do, is show from Scripture that Saturday is the true Sabbath, and that the Sabbath is every seventh day in succession. I have tried in vain to find it. Saturday Sabbath defenders are forced to rely almost entirely on the available historical record alone. History is useful though not always clear - Scripture, on the other hand, is always 100% reliable.
The historical record is complex and the defenders of the Saturday Sabbath, understandably, use it extensively. It is not 100% clear when Judaism made the shift from lunar-solar to solar sabbath-keeping. What I do think is significant, though, is the admission by Jewish Saturday Sabbath-keeping historians that the lunar-solar system was the original one - why would they do this when such an admission would not serve their interests? Their testimony is important for they admit that there was a rift in the Babylonian and Palestinian wings of Judaism and that the Babylonian Saturday-keeping system eventually prevailed over the Palestinian lunar-sabbath one. This I partially covered in my devotional yesterday. This, for me, is compelling evidence...from the opposition, no less. Indeed, one of my critics yesterday admitted that the Creation Calendar was used originally but that the solar one is the one used today. Like the Jewish Saturday-keeping historian, this was an honest appraisal...though he did not say why the solar system should be used today. That is, indeed, the dilemma for those Saturday-keepers who admit what was practiced in the past. Those who are in denial about the past, and especially the testimony of Jewish historians (who, after all, ought to know best since their people are the ones who switched systems), are the ones who trouble me the most.
The second objection that has been made to the lunar-solar sabbath is that Yahweh didn't spell it out in detail in Torah as He did, for example, the design of the Tabernacle. That is an interesting question worthy of a serious answer. The truth is that Yahweh did not 'spell out' anything that people had been doing right from the beginning. The revelation on the Tabernacle had, we must presume, never been spelled out before, and that it's tavnith or pattern was then important for mankind. There are a lot of things which are 'left out' in the Torah because for people back then these were matters of common sense. Only after periods of apostacy when that 'sense' is lost does Yahweh raise up teachers to restore to common usage what has long since become uncommon or forgotten, including that which was never codified:
All that we are doing, in restoring the Sacred Calendar, is giving the people the original sense back which anciently was 'common sense'. Things were commanded by Yahweh anciently which are not recorded in Torah because for those without common sense they are easily derived from Torah by careful study. As an example of this, take the requirements for the kosher preparation of food:
"So [the Levites] read distinctly from the book, in the Torah (Law) of Elohim (God); and they gave the sense (sekel), and helped them to understand the reading" (Neh.8:8, NKJV).
That previous command is nowhere recorded in Torah but that does not mean that there is not a proper way to slaughter and nor does it mean that we can turn to manmade tradition such as the so-called 'Oral Law' to find out how it should be done. The same is true in the making of tzitzit - we are not told to prepare them in a special way, just to wear tassels. The rest is up to us in determining the spiritual "sense" of Yahweh's revelation.
"If the place where Yahweh your Elohim (God) chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which Yahweh has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires" (Deut.12:21, NKJV).
The Creation-Calendar is, I maintain, really a matter of common sense. Anyone anywhere in the world can know the day of the week, even on a remote island, simply by looking up at the moon - you can't do that observing the sun. And what a wonderful antidote to priestcraft! We are no longer dependent on anyone who might make merchandise of our souls and lead us astray, as we know historically the Rabbis did. All the contradictions and confusion that arise from other calendar systems vapourise once you start using Yahweh's own. It's built-in corrective mechanism is brilliant, in my view.
Most of us accept that everything Yahweh asks us to do in the physical has a tavnith or pattern that reveals some spiritual truth. This is something we have been doing in respect of the annual festivals now for some years. What possible tavnith could there be, then, in the monthly resetting of the calendar? And how is that of benefit to us?
The answer, I believe, comes in the indvidual meaning of the various days. In the Creation Calendar, Rosh Chodesh or the Day of the New Moon, becomes centre stage and I have argued in many articles, long before coming to the conclusion that the lunar-solar calendar was correct, that Rosh Chodesh is literally a Day of the Patriarchs and represents, on different levels, our Heavenly Father, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and the heads of homes. The seven days of the week, by contrast, represent the seven-fold Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) one of whom presides over each of the Seven Annual Festivals. And the Ruach (Spirit), as you know, is female in Hebrew and properly denotes our Heavenly Mother. And the seventh or Sabbath Day, as you also know, is traditionally known by the Jews as the Sabbath Queen or Shegal haShabbat.
Rosh Chodesh, then, not only reminds us and establishes, on a regular basis, the headship of Yahweh our Heavenly Father, but also shows the rôle of the Ruach (Spirit) in daily life. In the solar sabbath or Saturday system, this headship tavnith or pattern is destroyed because then Rosh Chodesh is just a regular day of the week, and indeed sometimes the 'sabbath' itself. In the lunar-solar system a crystal clear distinction is made when it comes to proper toqef or authority. Rosh Chodesh is a day all on its own.
Why four weeks of four sabbaths? Because 4 is the number of Elohim (God, 3) + 1, the number of beginning, of creative activity. There are four new beginnings each month followed by Yahweh's own Rosh Chodesh marker, the time we are to assemble before Him to hear His Word through the prophets. The Saturday-system destroys this, often, as I have mentioned, combining Rosh Chodesh with Shabbat, which is a contradiction, since some activity is forbidden at Shabbat which is not at Rosh Chodesh. Then you have to invent man-made rules saying which takes precendence over the other, a complexity entirely eliminated in the solar-lunar system.
What of the occasional 'extra day' that has to be inserted to balance the equation? That is to remind us that we are fallen human beings in a fallen universe in need of periodical correction. And when we get that extra day, it is to give us grace in preparing to meet the Father at Rosh Chodesh.
One other thing about the monthly resetting of the calendar which is found in the solar-lunar system that I don't have time to address in any depth today, is connected with the 'switching of presidencies' of the seven Ruachim. Just as each Ruach presides over one of the festivals each year, so one Ruach presides over each month.
So, no, I have not been impressed by the contrary-sayers, even if I appreciate their dilemmas, which for a while were mine too for the last few years while studying this matter out. So I take no 'supremacist' position as some lunar-sabbatarians regrettably do. I have not allowed myself to be rushed into this but have taken the time to be absolutely sure. The history of how the changes were made is traceable, as I pointed out in my devotional yesterday. I think most of you know that I am of the careful and thorough sort and try not to rush into anything presumptuously, and whilst these are no guarantors in and of themselves of being error-free, they have at least served me well in the past.
I realise that many will part company from me as a result of this decision and that, I confess, I find sad. We don't need to be élitist about this any more than we do about other sacred truths that the end-time remnant is learning. There are, as I shall hopefully have time to discuss tomorrow, seven different bodies of developmental spiritual knowledge to be learned and we must all learn it at our own pace. However, I am quite convinced that many who depart will return, as I did, following my first exposure to this doctrine, and they will see that their reactions are, in many cases, as mine were, based on fear - the fear of the consequences of changing lifestyle.
So at the very least I hope my friends will understand that I have not been 'swept away' by some fad or "wind" - I don't belong to the "itching ears" brigade, neither do I have the desire for something 'novel' for novelty's sake. And I certainly don't want to make anyone feel that they are 'condemned' for not believing as I do. Far from it. Nor am I suddenly claiming to have "all truth" - I am still seeeking after it myself and I am sure I will be refining my beliefs on this subject as I go on. And I also want it clearly understood that I have not joined some other lunar-sabbath group's bandwaggon for in truth I find many of the other teachings of those who, like me, subscribe to the lunar-solar sabbath, to be objectionable, if not outright heretical. This Creation Calendar has been carefully handpicked, as it were, and simply added to what Yahweh has already revealed to me to be true. I am most careful to make sure that no other man's rotten apples are going to spoil my own.
Finally, I do not believe this teaching makes me 'superior' to Saturday Sabbatarians or even Sunday Church-goers. As far as sin goes, I struggle along with every other believer of every stripe. So I am not 'disfellowshipping' or 'shunning' anyone who is a nay-sayer in respect of the Creation Calendar even if perhaps some will not reciprocate. Neither do I particularly want to debate - it is up to every man to find the truth for himself. We all have our seasons of revelation when we are the most pliable from Heaven's point-of-view. People's reactions I understand only too well. I have been there myself.
I do want to apologise to those lunar-solar sabbatarians I may have disparaged in the past by calling them 'looney sabbatarians', wrongly taking my cue from mockers amongst fellow lunar-solar sabbatarians. This was not charitable on my part. May we all be filled with grace and charity for one another as we walk the derech (way) making adjustments to new truth. There's a lot to learn and a lot of repenting to do. Selah!
Continued in Part 5