Shabbat shalom kol Beit Yisra'el and though we are not officially changing our calendar over from sunset to sunrise day-starts until Aviv 1 I wouldn't be surprised if you, like me, have not already made the personal changeover already. I just could not sleep through this morning's sunrise as I would ordinarily have done and praised Yahweh as the first light became visible. Being a full moon and midway in the month, there has been a lot of extra light around at night.
I know many of you assembled here and abroad have been both delighted and horrified by the new Dynamic Calendar that was completed yesterday. My heart goes out to one of our Messianic readers who said she was frustrated and in turmoil over the implications of what Yahweh's time-keeping would mean practically in her life. Like many of you, I recall the turmoil at even changing from Sunday error to Saturday error but the disadvantages were at least buffetted by the Roman 'weekend' since not everyone requires you to work Saturdays.
At the other end of the spiritual spectrum there are those who don't think that the exact time is important and that this is a temporal issue. However we must never forget that whatever is consecrated or set-apart (made holy) to Yahweh is by definition 'spiritual' and if it is in perfect tavnith (pattern) and emet (truth) then it is more so. As another of our readers remarked:
But as Yah'shua (Jesus) saw fit to remind us:
"...it was hard enough finding work during the Roman Saturday Sabbath Calendar. Now we find a [luni-solar] calendar which I feel is correct but see how it would be virtually impossible to find a job to fit round the Sabbaths on this Calendar."
"The things which are impossible with men are possible with Elohim (God)" (Luke 18:27, NKJV).
Turmoil inevitably results when we are challenged to alter our complete lifestyle to fit in with divine emet (truth) and here we must either doubt, fear and then panic, or we must trust and obey. Think of all the times when you have had to radically adjust your thinking, feeling and way of life as the Ruach (Spirit) operating through Scripture has born testimony to you of some emet (truth) which is anathema to society and to religious organisations still walking in error.
"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23, NKJV).
When turning from error to emet (truth) there is always adjustment that has to be made but it need not be turmoil, because turmoil is usually (though by means always) an emunah (faith) issue, and specifically, not so much emunah (faith) requied for the intellectual acceptance of a newly revealed emet (truth) but the emunah (faith) required to figure out how to practically live it. Purely theological challenges like accepting that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is our Heavenly Mother and as a result having to modify one's Trinitarian beliefs (and having Trinitarians accuse you of being a 'cultist' for challenging their Catholic idol) are not nearly as challening as having to accept, for example, plural marriage as biblical emet (truth), with the possibility one might be called to live it, even though in reality few are. But even that challenging doctrine is not half as intimidating as the Creation Calendar because living it or not living it is not an option or a choice as plural marriage, for example, is - it's absolutely required because without it you can't obey the Fourth Commandment to observe the Sabbath Day which is one of the tests applied by Yahweh identifying His people.
The reality of our frail condition is that we are not usually ready to receive everything all at once, whether it is because of a lack of emunah (faith) or because we simply can't process or handle so much concentrated emet (truth) all at once. By way of illustration, I am making a transition from one diet to another. Though I have never liked vegatables, I have come to realise that if I am to have any kind of decent health in my latter years that I have got to overcome my extreme prejudice against, and dislike of, chloroplast-containing life forms and simply get on with it. I have been drinking various combinations of vegetable and fruit extracts now for some months and even now my stomach sometimes reacts violently against it. This does not mean that what I am drinking is bad - though the reaction of my body would lead one initially to suspect that it was - but simply because what is being demanded of it is a complete change in habit. For those of you who have been habitual vegetable eaters all of your life you might think this is nothing, but I assure you that for me it is not. I have felt ill more than once and yet I know that this is the right thing to do. Better still, I know that at some point it may be a question of life or death.
Those coming from an Evangelical background may think this calendar business is very unspiritual and those coming from a Messianic background consider this a very serious issue indeed and may think that some rank heresy is being committed by being asked to accept the Creation Calendar because of loyalties to things Jewish; but I do want to assure you that every jot and tittle of Yahweh's Torah is important if for no other reason than Yah'shua (Jesus) said so:
Admittedly, this is much more of a 'messianic' issue than an 'evangelical' one. Nevertheless, we have never been given the luxury to pick and choose what we want to do or not from the mitzvot (commandments) so this is something that in some respects Evangelicals will have the greatest difficulty with since they have been pre-programmed by antinomianism to hate 'rules' of any sort. Here, though, is how I would approcah evangelical objections:
"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah (Law) till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these mitzvot (commandments), and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:18-19, NKJV).
Imagine for a moment you are driving in a car with someone struggling with such issues. One driver thinks that everything is too complicated and that he might as well remove all the lights from the car. After all, he only drives by day. Or he might be such a cautious and slow driver who only ever drives on the flat, avoiding hills and inclines, that he has concluded that the foot brakes weren't needed after all and simply removed them - he thinks the handbrake is enough. Or he might conclude that since he never drives in the rain that the windscreen wipers can be safely removed as well. Without legal constraints, different people might be tempted to remove all kinds of car bits that we know are essential for safety. The long line of car manufacturers over the decades have figured out what it is we absolutely need to own and drive a car safely in the same way that Yahweh has created Torah for believers. True, some items like cigarette lighters, radios, seat-warmers and CD-players are pretty much superfluous and you could do without them, just as some of the rules in churches and messianic assemblies are just optional 'extras' like whether you use pews or chairs. But pretty much everything else is necessary in our car just as it is in the Besorah (Gospel).
It is frankly no different with Yahweh's Torah. Just as a motor may be said to be more important than a windscreen-wiper - what good would a car be without a motor - so an evangelical arguing that having a lev (heart) filled with the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God) is far more important than knowing when a day starts or when the true Sabbath day is. We all agree with that - or ought to since what's the point of regularly assembling at the correct times if we aren't born again and aren't filled with ahavah (love)?
And yet when you pause to think about it, a congregation that preached that it would not have a fixed assembly time and anyone could meet whenever they wanted to would experience a different kind of frustration as the congregation spread itself out by meeting at different times and on different days. It would not do the fellowship much good. Deciding to meet on a particular day - like Saturday or Sunday - is for sure an improvement and a step in the right direction for by doing that the commandment to assemble together often is fulfuilled and much spiritual good is accomplished through regular fellowship.
But then we have the next mitzvah (commandment) to follow - which happenes to be one of the Ten Commandments - in which Yahweh demands that we meet on His Sabbath for worship and instruction. He also says in His Davar (Word) that this will be a sign to separate true worshippers from false ones:
In other words, one of the benefits of observing the sabbath is that it will give the one who observes it correctly knowledge (and not just emunah/faith) concerning sanctification.
"Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you" (Ex.31:13, NKJV).
He is pretty emphatic, isn't He? This doesn't just mean we have to get the right luni-solar sabbath dates for the Sabbath, of course, but that we must live the Sabbath in the correct way, separating ourselves from normal worldly pursuits. If you're living the correct luni-solar sabbath, then I congratulate you, but there is also the need to truly treat it as a set-apart day ... and the reverse is true too if, for example, you are a Saturday-worshipper still.
"Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths...hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am Yahweh your Elohim (God).' Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; but they profaned My Sabbaths" (Ezek.20:12-13, 20-23, NKJV).
Many of you are still resisting the Soli-Lunar Creation Calendar for various reasons. I understand. Just be honest and persist and don't close your minds down. The evidence is overwhelming. Today is, supposedly, 'Wednesday 7 March' and 'Saturday' Sabbath-keepers are wryly spiling convinced that the true Sabbath is in reality three days' away still. But the truth is, of you're a 'Saturday' Sabbatarian your calendar is 16 months out of sync. Why? Because there have been about 514 leap years since Caesar created his calendar in 45 BC. Without the extra day every four years, today would be 28 July 2013. And if you believe in the Mayan doomsday prophecies, and think the world is going to end this December, you're too late, because the Mayans didn't account for leap years so technically the world should have ended 7 months ago.
Now we may not like the Creation Calendar because it's inconvenient or whatever, but then this isn't about us but about Yahweh - are we going to be stubborn and rebellious or are we going to be obedient? And, yes, in order to do this we have to make the effort to sift through all the calendar junk Satan has piled up in Judaism, Christianity and Messianism, and persist until we have found out what Yahweh's time-keeping system actually is. We have to sort out solar vs. lunar sabbath, we have to sort out conjunction vs. first lunar crescent, we have to sort out the International Date Line, and so on. All very tedious, I know. In short, we have to sort through a lot of very boring mathematical material ... at least for some of us it was boring, I know some of you enjoy such things. Neverthless it had to be done if for no other reason that because we love Yahweh and want to do what's right. And if Yahweh says we must do something, then it must be pretty important, even if at first we don't understand the reason why.
Embracing an emet (truth) that may cost you your job in a time when jobs are scarce may be tough but don't you think that Yahweh will provide if you do what is right? Abram and his wife Sarai experienced cultural shock, economic shock, and disruption to family life when Yahweh commanded him to leave the Mesopotamian metropolis of Ur and become a nomad in a far-off land! Where would we be today if Abram had rationalised obeying Yahweh away by saying: 'Oh, this will destroy the family! My moon-worshipping relatives will think I am mad or a traitor to our religion, customs and heritage. How will we manage financially just packing up and heading off into the desert, abandoning the security of the city? Won't we starve out there?' Yet he did it and according to Scripture, his decision to obey and exercise emunah (faith) was credited to him for righteousness (Gal.3:6).
We'll always find excuses - plenty of them - not to do what Yahweh commands. I assure you that there's no end of them. If you want some, you'll find them in abundance. At the same time we do have to be absolutely sure that what we are called to do actually is Yahweh and not our own fantasy. I struggled with the calendar for 13 years once I discovered that the biblical one wasn't the Gregorian one we follow in the world today. Then I discovered that the Jews, whom I had trusted to be the faithful inheritors of the Tanakh (Old Testament) traditions, had wandered so far from the emet (truth) that they - like all flesh - couldn't be trusted in much at all and that I would have to find out the emet (truth) for myself. In other words, I would have to do some hard work. I'd have to get off my backside and do something I didn't particularly enjoy doing. I am glad I did now for the spiritual rewards have been huge.
I am very blessed to have a family that trusts my judgment but at the same time most of them also love to search the emet (truth) for themselves. My own conviction is that the emet (truth) will defend itself and that it does not me to do it, which is why I no longer debate with people. I present the evidence, look at other evidence that others point me to, and prayerfully weigh things up. That's all I ask you to do. Like I said, it has taken me 13 years to figure out the calendar, not just because I was lazy and procrastinating (and I admit I did do some of that) but because it takes times to see your own blind spots, overcome prejudices and learn to trust Yahweh with financial and related matters when these things affect our pattern of living.
I used to be in a profession as an educator that was quite well-paid that required me to be available Monday to Thursday. I managed with great difficulty to get Friday's off, and my insistance that I have that day off to enable me to be more involved in ministry and be more at home (as I was a weekend commuter), nearly cost me my job many times. Today the same educational establishment would not tolerate that, just as most state schools wouldn't.
At least a couple of years before I quit that establishment, Yahweh told me in vision after vision to quit. I disobeyed because I was afraid. I was afraid that I wouldn't get any more work and my family would starve. I was afraid it might even wreck the family. So I stuck it out and got so ill that I was forced out of that job. Now I have an income 30% of what I had before. We have had to lower our standard of living drasticaly but today we are free, I am homeschooling in a country where it's now virtually illegal (and not without some major battles fought and being fought), and I am able to minister full-time practically. Given a choice with hindsight I would never go back to where I was! Yet I resisted furiously what I now have. I could do with a few more pennies to be sure but we have what we need, and where we lack, Yahweh inspires others to come up to the plate. I am now 'Abram the nomad', I have left my 'Ur' behind and have been blessed enormously - in spite of huge trials and tribulations - for doing what is right.
I won't promise you that this will be easy - it will be very tough if your spouse doesn't walk in agreement with you in which case you will have struggles. But it's such struggles that develops our character and causes the greatest spiritual growth. One way or another we all have to go through the Nine Character Tests and in refusing to repent and obey we may be failing one or more of these and risking becoming least in the Kingdom. Do we really want to do that? Do we want to forfeit any of Yahweh's Amazing Graces?
The calendar change required of us if we are to be faithful to the Davar (Word) will require most of us to change jobs and become Yahweh-minded instead of career-minded - a good deal, don't you think? It will force us to take our children out of public schools where over 80% of all believers lose their faith anyway - is that such a loss? No question of that. It will force wives back into the home where Yahweh intended them to be and enable both husbands and wives (Prov.31) to develop home industries and learn how to be more self-sifficient. It will, in a word, force men to become more godly men and women to become more godly women. Is that such a bad thing? This world is already in such huge political and economic upheaval right now that you may find circumstances forcing you to take your children out of state school and quit your job. Far better to obey in order to follow the mitzvot (commandments) than to be forced to change for less than spiritual reasons, for the one converted against his will remains - deep down - unconverted still, with resentments that will need fixing hamper the spiritual life and require fixing later.
It all boils down to emunah (faith) - whether or not we will exercise it. Emunah (Faith) demands that we work with these things with Yahweh in prayer and study. The greater the investment of time and study, the more your emunah (faith) will grow. Will Yahweh provide for me if I lose my job because of the Creation Calendar? Will I allow fear and panic to consume me? Do I trust Him as much with my outward physical circumstances as with my spiritual internal ones? Am I willing to endure pain for the emet (truth) or do I insist on guarding my comfort zones, however unreal? Do I really want to honour Yahweh or are my confessions mere lip-service?
I have done it and others have done it so we know that Yahweh keeps His promises. Again, it's not been easy, so I won't try to whitewash any struggles you may have. You will have them but only in proportion to your emunah (faith). If our emunah (faith) is lacking, will we confess that honestly and seek His face until He gives us the confidence and assurance to do what we know is right?
Consider Yah'shua's (Jesus') calling to die on the cross for our sins. He had a real choice. His human part wanted to say no - He was tempted even as we are - but He clung onto Yahweh's promise of the simcha (joy) that would be the fruit of the resurrection that would follow victory over death. He trusted that His Father would raise Him again even as Abraham trusted that he he slaughtered his son Isaac Yahweh would raise him up again too. To exercise this emunah (faith) we must relinquish control to Yahweh who did indeed raise His Son from the dead - Hallelu-Yah! He took that leap of emunah (faith) to do what He had never done before.
Consider this an opportunity to take up your cross to follow Him. But do it without doubting for double-mindedness will slay you. But don't do anything until you are sure. In the end, it has to be your decision and not my persuasive preaching. It's between you and Elohim (God).
In conclusion, may I share with you a well-known Tanakh (Old Testament) story which I feel has a bearing on this?
In any sacrifice, you lose something, but if it's a genuine sacrifice it will be one that means only Yahweh can restore to you what you gave. In this story one of the prophets lost an axe-head and was naturally upset because it didn't belong to him.
"And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, 'See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.' So he answered, 'Go.' Then one said, 'Please consent to go with your servants.' And he answered, 'I will go.' So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, 'Alas, master! For it was borrowed.' So the man of Elohim (God) said, 'Where did it fall?' And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float. Therefore he said, 'Pick it up for yourself.' So he reached out his hand and took it" (2 Kings 6:1-7, NKJV).
All we have is a stewardship from Yahweh - we don't actually own anything so whatever it is you are being asked to release to Him, recall that it belongs to Him anyway. He will return it to you in His own way and in His own time.
May Yahweh bless you as you wrestle with the Calendar and may you find shalom (peace) and assurance! Amen.
Comments from Readers
"OMGosh!!! Here we go again! My head is spinning and swimming and HURTS from trying to understand this calendar and this logic. HOW on earth, can we have the Rosh Chodesh/New Month beginning at conjunction when often times the conjunction or dark phase, APPEARS to the naked eye (as it was in Biblical times) to last between 1-4 days in a row?? HOW can we NOT begin the weekly counting of days until the day AFTER the New Moon day?? If Rosh Chodesh begins the count as Day #1, and the Sabbath is observed on the 8th Day, that would mean we are observing the 7th-day Sabbath on the 8th day ....... and if "some" observe the New Moon day as a rest day, then they are resting on more days than one. The charts on this website are so confusing I can't make sense out of any of it. I am so frustrated. It states that the ONLY solution to the calendar problem is to be SELF-employed and to HOME-school our children .. this is OBVIOUSLY and quite CERTAINLY "NOT" an option for many, if not most people. This makes no sense .. Our Father Yah tells us in His word that He is NOT the author of confusion .. and this is total confusion!! SIGHSSSSS.. :-(" (JS, USA, 7 March 2012)
"Mat 6:30 “But if Elohim so clothes the grass of the field, which exists today, and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more you, O you of little belief? (YYE, USA, 7 March 2012)
"With a new month beginning at conjunction, and how to be able to note that (with where the moon is dark), you are able to do that at sunrise… When the moon is still waning (growing dimmer), every morning just before sunrise, you will see the moon before the sun rises. The morning you see the sun rise first without seeing the moon is conjunction or New Moon Day. With where the moon remains dark or invisible for about 17 hours after the moment of conjunction, it means usually the next day (after the morning when you did not see the moon first with when the sun was rising), if you where to then again be there just before and with sunrise, you should see the first thin first crescent with or as the sun is rising. This has helped me to understand how you can observe when its Conjunction / New moon day.
(This is part of why there’s an option that you can see about when the sun should be rising with this calendar, so people can check for themselves if they like, just before and as the sun is rising, if it is indeed conjunction day or not).
With how to react to a solar-lunar calendar (and what that means practically), the biggest thing would be to seek out and through Scripture and keep it in prayer, knowing that whatever is really of Him, as we step out and are obedient to Him and His leading, He will bless and make a way for us.
And with things not making sense – since beginning my walk with Elohim, there are a lot of things in Scripture that didn’t seem to make sense or fit together to me at the beginning. As it turns out, it wasn’t that there was an issue with Scripture, but with where I had wrong assumptions and understandings on different things, both from things like my upbringing and past teachings I had known, and where I was trying to understand those parts of Scripture in the light of those misunderstandings that was causing the confusion or things 'not seeming to fit'. Later, Father Yah started correcting me on some of those things, and as He continued (and continues) to do that, so much more has lined up and made sense that didn’t make sense before… May He also lead and grant that for you in His grace!" (DP, South Africa, 7 March 2012)