The Sacred Calendar:  Part 1
Should a Christian keep New Year’s?

John Plunkett
December 28, 2013

Today let’s talk about New Year’s!

In the Church of God back in the early 1990’s, during the time when “the faith once delivered” was under severe attack and the waters of the truth of God were being diluted, muddied, and made less clear among the brethren, we used to have Spokesman Club meetings every week during the winter months.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Spokesman Club, it was a church-based speech training club, similar in format to the well-known Toastmasters Club.

During one meeting that was memorable to me and which took place about this time of year, in the Table-topics session, the Topics-master asked the following question: 

We all know that Christmas is wrong; but what about New Year’s?  Is it okay for God’s people to participate in New Years celebrations?

I cannot remember all of the members’ responses; but I do remember that this topic generated a surprising amount of discussion and debate, and that some members seemed to believe that it is, in fact, okay for God’s people to participate in New Year’s celebrations.

What about you?  In God’s church today twenty years later, as the year 2013 turns over to 2014, do you think it’s okay?  And if not, why not?  But if so, what do you base your belief on? 

As the majority of people in our western nations are observing this holiday at this time, let us dig into this topical subject today.  Let us ask and answer the question: Should a true Christian participate in New Year’s celebrations?

First of all, what is the history of New Year’s?  There is a surprising amount of confusion about this – even in God’s church.  But in the same way, out in "the world," there has historically been much confusion regarding the calendar and even more confusion about when the beginning of the year should fall.  For some reason, both in and out of God’s church, calendars and New Year dates have historically been topics for much disagreement. 

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, even the ancient Mesopotamians could not agree on when the New Year should fall:

The earliest-known record of a New Year’s festival dates from about 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, where the New Year (Akiu) commenced with the new moon nearest the spring equinox in Babylonia, or the nearest the autumn equinox in Assyria.

So right there we have two possibilities.  And two disagreements.  It seems that there is so much confusion – maybe spawned by Satan – that even the modern encyclopedias can’t agree with each other on this thorny subject!  When we go to the Encyclopedia Americana, it moves the oldest New Year festival from Mesopotamia to Egypt and moves it back in time another 800 years earlier than the Britannica estimate:

Among ancient peoples the beginning of the year was determined by one of various events, such as the spring or autumnal equinox, or the winter or summer solstice.  {Now we have four possibilities!} 

In Egypt, for example, beginning about 2773 BC, the year began with the… rising of Sirius… {the brightest star in the night sky}… which coincided with the start of the flood period of the Nile and came not long after the summer solstice.

Now we have five possibilities for disagreement!  To confuse the issue even more, the ancient Phoenicians and Persians began their new year with the autumn equinox; and the Greeks – up until the 5th Century BC – observed their new year with the winter solstice.  The Greeks' timing is familiar with us, because it basically agrees with what our modern nations do – based on the winter solstice.  We will come back to this shortly.

What about the Romans?  They had ten months in their old year, which gave us the names that we use for some of our months today.  September, October, November and December were the last four of their ten and were derived from the Romans’ Latin names for the numbers Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten.  It is interesting to note that if you count backward from September as being their ninth month, you’ll see that the Romans’ first month was the equivalent of modern day March – the month in which the Spring Equinox falls.
As far as we know, the January 1st date was first adopted as New Year's Day in 153 BC when two Roman consuls chose that date for military purposes.  For obvious reasons, they did not want any confusion with their dates when making military maneuvers.

However, in 525 AD, for most European countries, New Year’s Day was moved back to the month of March when a monk by the name of Dionysius Exiguus set the start of the "Julian Calendar" at March 25th, which was just after the Spring Equinox; but also exactly nine months before December 25th, which is just after the Winter Solstice.  Why?  To celebrate the occasion on which it was revealed to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God.  We know that December 25th as the date they gave as Jesus’ birthday was greatly in error; and therefore, this March 25th date for the “the Annunciation,” as it is called, is also gravely in error.

This confusion continued throughout the Middle Ages, during which a variety of professing-Christian feast dates were used to mark the New Year, while calendars often continued to display the months from January to December in the Roman fashion.  Hence even more confusion!

With the introduction of the "Gregorian Calendar" in 1582, many European Roman Catholic countries again began to celebrate New Year's Day on January 1st.  Many more countries adopted the January 1st date during the later 16th and 17th Centuries.  Others held out until the 18th Century.  Surprisingly, Britain and its colonies (including what would later become the United States and Canada) were among the very latest to adopt January 1st as the New Year date.  That was in 1752. 

One might assume that time and education would have diminished this confusion; but it certainly has not.  Because of the differences of opinion regarding the calendar, various countries still hold their New Year’s celebrations at different times.  The Vietnamese, the Islamic states, the Japanese, the Tamils, the Thais and, of course, the Chinese all keep totally different New Year dates as their preference. 

But let us get back to our discussion of the western world’s January 1st New Year’s Day.  How is it observed by the world today?

Traditionally, just like Christmas, New Year’s Day was observed as a religious feast; but in modern times, rather than being a spiritual celebration, the arrival of the New Year has also become an occasion for what one magazine called a “spirited celebration,” with such activities as wild parties, "Polar Bear" swims in frigid waters, and the making of personal resolutions.  Other New Year traditions are certainly less mentionable and less acceptable.  God’s Word accurately describes the goings-on at some New Year’s celebrations where some choose to let their hair down excessively and throw all moral inhibitions to the wind:

Galatians 5:
19: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21a: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:…

 I am not saying that all these things go on at every single New Year’s party; but it does happen.  Now here comes God’s stern warning about this kind of activity:

21b: ...of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Although this scripture does not specifically target Christmas and New Year activities, many of the sins described here are, in some circles, somewhat common to the season.  It has long been known that the whole Christmas and New Year period spawns more immorality, violence and even murder than any other time of year.  There are more alcohol-related traffic deaths that occur on the New Year’s holiday than any other day of the year.  I wanted to check that that was an up-to-date statistic, so I searched for the statements from some of the experts on these matters.  I have a couple of quotes that I would like to share with you.  First, a recent one from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: 

Some holiday predictions are tragically very predictable.  For example more people are likely to die in alcohol related traffic crashes during the holidays than at any other time of the year.  Statistics show that during Christmas and New Year’s, two to three times more people die in alcohol related crashes than during comparable periods the rest of the year, and forty percent of traffic fatalities during these holidays involved a driver who was alcohol impaired, compared to twenty percent for the rest of December.”

And from the National Safety Council for the United States:

Deadly US crashes tied to New Year’s are more likely to be alcohol related than accidents during other holiday periods.  There was an average of 108 traffic deaths a day in the New Year’s period, with about forty two percent linked to alcohol impairments, according to the National Safety Council citing data from 2007 to 2011. 

Another part of this article stated that New Year’s is statistically worse than even Christmas in that regard.

In the British Commonwealth countries, including Canada, many of the New Year’s customs, such as unrestrained immoral revelry, partying and excessive drinking – have been adopted from the Scottish New Year, which the Scots call “Hogmanay.”  Not that the Scots are any more sinful than the rest of us, of course; but the roots of Hogmanay go back to the celebration of the Winter Solstice among their Norse ancestors.  If we look into the history of the Scots, we'll find that they are more closely tied to the Scandinavian people than they are to the peoples in the rest of Britain.  They have incorporated customs that come from the Gaelic winter celebrations of Samhain, a very wicked, ancient pagan festival. 

The Vikings celebrated Yule, which later contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas, or the "Daft Days" as they were sometimes called in Scotland. “Daft” is a British term that means “silly” – and silliness just about sums up the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.  Some church brethren actually call it "the silly season."  But perhaps that term is too mild.

In mainland Europe, Winter Solstice observances evolved into the ancient celebration of Saturnalia, a major Roman winter festival, in which the people celebrated completely free of any moral restraint or inhibition. 

During the time of the Protestant Reformation and the Puritan years in England and Europe, those winter festivals were recognized as being pagan and they were forced underground by the Protestant churches of those times.  But they crept back in again and re-emerged near the end of the 17th Century.

What does the Lord God say about all this heathenism and confusion?  

I Corinthians 14: 
33:  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints… 
40:  Let all things be done decently and in order. 

We will read more later on what God thinks about His peoples’ adoption of these heathen ways; but for now, let us ask the question, when is God’s New Year? 

Here is the first scriptural mention of a New Year’s Day – a very significant day:

Genesis 8:
13:  And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. 

There is some disagreement between Bible commentators as to which of God’s two New Year’s Days this was referring to.

Two New Year’s Days?  Yes, there are actually two true New Year’s Days that were given by God.  The first and most important, as clearly stated in His Word, comes in the spring-time and is understood to be the beginning of His Sacred Year.  The second New Year’s Day comes exactly six months later in the autumn of the year, and is understood to be the beginning of the civil, administrative and agricultural year.  Let us deal with the spring one first:

Exodus 12:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2:  “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” 

You cannot get clearer than that!  This first month of the year was initially called “Abib” (Strong’s 24), a word which stems from a verb that means "to be tender."  Some meanings of the noun “Abib” are green, greenness, the green ears of a crop, growing green, fresh heads of grain, ear forming, young ears of grain. 

The first mention of the word “Abib” is this one from the time of God's hail plague on Egypt:

Exodus 9:31:
And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear
{abib}, and the flax was bolled (in bud).

This gives a very approximate marker as to the time of year being mentioned for this particular plague.  Because of its proximity – technically part of North Africa –  Egypt's climate was (and still is) hotter than that of Canaan.  This resulted in Egypt's growing seasons coming somewhat earlier than in Canaan.   Although for this particular sermon, this fact is not really relevant, it is still one worth remembering.

The first mention of the word "Abib" as the name of the first month is given in:

Exodus 13:
3:  And Moses said unto the people, “Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. 
4:  This day came you out in the month Abib.”

In two other scriptures, the first month of God’s sacred year is called “Nisan” which means “their flight,” possibly – even probably – a reference to the month when the Israelites fled Egypt.

God clearly commands us to observe this month of Abib (or Nisan), and He tells us exactly how we should observe it:

Deuteronomy 16:1:
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night

We are to begin counting God’s sacred year on the first day of Abib.  We are to follow it up on the tenth day of the month by “beholding the Lamb” (Exodus 12:3-5; John 1:29, 36).  On the fourteenth day of Abib we are to keep the Passover.  On the fifteenth to the twenty-first days of Abib we are to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

(Note:  Although the term "Passover" has become a catch-all term for the whole eight-day season, the context of this verse in Deuteronomy 16 shows that it is more accurately referring to the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Abib 15 to 21 during which time God brought the Israelites out of Egypt) rather than the Passover Day (Abib 14) itself).  

There was also another hugely significant and symbolic event that took place on God’s New Year’s Day:

Exodus 40:17:
And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up. 

Now, what about God's second New Year’s Day? 

Although unsubstantiated, it was the opinion of the Jewish historian Josephus and some other ancient and modern Bible scholars that, before God’s command in Exodus 12:1-2, the commonly-accepted New Year’s Day (by the Israelites of that time) may have been the first day of what became God’s seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets, which comes in the autumn, exactly six months after Abib 1. 

What is considered to be God’s civil year begins on the seventh month which is commonly called “Tishri” or “Tisri,” which means “beginning.”  Elsewhere, including one scripture, this seventh month is called “Ethanim,” which means "enduring" or "ever-flowing":

I Kings 8:2:
And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 

This second New Year’s Day in the autumn was the date that marked the end of the main summer harvest time, by which the Israelites would have prepared their tithes and offerings, and shortly after when (on the Day of Atonement) they would begin counting the third tithe year, the seven-year agricultural cycle by which they were to let the agricultural land rest, the Year of Release cycle, and the fifty year Jubilee cycle.  Discussion of these must be deferred as they would take up the time of at least one whole sermon.  The Israelites needed a logical starting point for all these cycles which their loving God put in place for their benefit. 

Exodus 23:16:
And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of your labours, which you have sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when you have gathered in your labours out of the field. 

This means that this Tishri 1 date ended one civil and agricultural year and began another.  The main summer harvest season was over; the growing year was over; so then the tithes and offerings could be considered and calculated for the upcoming fall Holy Days and for the year ahead.

Exodus 34:22:
And you shall observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. 

The single Hebrew word translated "at the year's end" is “tequwphah,” which means “turning” or “the turn of the year.”   Hebrew language scholars tell us that the word relates to the Autumnal Equinox, which usually falls on September 22nd or 23rd and signifies the end of summer and the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere.  It also signifies the end of one civil/agricultural year and the beginning of another. 

The Feast of Ingathering refers collectively, of course, to what we now call the “the Fall Festivals”: the Feast of Trumpets on Tishri 1, the Day of Atonement on Tishri 10, the Feast of Tabernacles from Tishri 15 to 21, and the Last Great Day on Tishri 22. 

So we know that the time-setting for these festivals is at “the end of the year” and “at the year’s end,” i.e. in the autumn.

Here is a quote from the aforementioned Jewish historian, Josephus, who lived around the time of Jesus in Jerusalem.  He refers here to this second New Year’s Day:

This calamity {the Flood} happened in the six hundredth year of Noah’s government {age}, in the second month, called by the Macedonians Dios, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan; for so did they order their year in Egypt; but Moses {more accurately, God, who told Moses} appointed that Nisan… should be the first month for their festivals, because He brought them out of Egypt in that month: so that this month began the year as to all the solemnities they observed to the honour of God, although He preserved the original order of the months {i.e. the civil, administrative and business year starting with the second New Year's Day} as to selling and buying, and other ordinary affairs. (Antiquities of the Jews Book I: Chapter 3: Verse 3)

If Josephus is correct, this would indicate that in “the original order of the months” (as he puts it), the year began with Tishri 1, before God changed it in Exodus 12.

But if God’s Holy Days were in effect all of the way from creation, as many believe they were, then perhaps His command to Moses in Exodus 12 was actually reinstating – rather than initiating – Abib 1 as His sacred New Year’s Day to the Israelites who had been in Egypt for four hundred years.  Perhaps, in a similar way as He found it necessary to remind them to “remember the Sabbath Day” in Exodus 16 and 20, there is also a possibility that He had to re-set the calendar for them, as well.

In some scriptures in which God mentions the New Year’s Day, we cannot really be sure whether it is referring to the spring one or the fall one.  Let’s take a look at just one of these:

Ezekiel 40:1:
In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me there. 

The event itself is not important to this sermon; but the actual timing of it is.  The phrase “in the beginning of the year” is translated from the Hebrew words, “rosh” (which means "head" or "beginning") and “shaneh” (which means "year"). 

Although the modern Jews have adopted this verse for their term for the Feast of Trumpets ("Rosh Hashanah"), it is not really clear which New Year this verse really refers to – the first or second one – the spring or the autumn one.  The Jews have taken the phrase and applied it to the second one – the autumn one. 

It is interesting because, if it does in fact refer to the autumn one, then the event described in Ezekiel 40:1 took place on the Day of Atonement:

Leviticus 23:27:
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

However, if it actually refers to the spring one, then this event took place six months earlier on Abib 10 – the day when the Passover lamb was chosen and examined:

Exodus 12:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2:  "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3:  Speak you unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
4:  And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
5: Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats.'"

It is interesting to look at God's calendar and to consider the months, weeks and days as they go along.  That tenth day of both of those two months are quite important ones for God’s people.

We have often wondered about the possibilities that God might have re-created the earth about four thousand years earlier than Jesus’ birth.  I am not saying, of course, that the earth didn’t exist before that; but that He re-created it at that time.  The first man, Adam might, perhaps, have drawn his first breath on Tishri 1 – the Feast of Trumpets – just as the second Adam, Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:22, 45) may have been born as a human being on that same day of God's year – the Feast of Trumpets, Tishri 1.   Also, the second coming of Jesus Christ might fall on some future Feast of Trumpets.  We cannot be too dogmatic about these things; but there is a possibility that they might be true and it is beneficial for us to consider and wonder about such things.

Revelation 12:9:
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Part of Satan’s role as arch-deceiver is that he is also the great counterfeiter.  It is important that we remember this, because everything is not as it appears.  His calendars and New Year’s Days are some of his most confusing counterfeits.  The one that he has foisted upon the modern-day western nations of Israel is one of his greatest counterfeits.

Notice how he timed it!  God’s first New Year’s Day comes in March or April – in the beauty of the springtime of the year (in the northern hemisphere).  God’s second New Year comes in September or October – “in the beauty of the autumn” of each year (in the northern hemisphere).  But when Satan planned his counterfeit New Year, he obviously wanted to keep it as far away as possible from God’s true New Year’s Days and His true Holy Days.  “As far away as possible” translates to halfway between God’s two true New Year’s Days – or three months between the two.  The winter solstice is halfway between the autumn equinox and the vernal equinox.

Satan could have placed his counterfeit New Year’s Day half way between Abib and Tishri –  in God’s fourth month, which falls in our summer months of June or July.  But why would he do that?  If he would have done that, it would be too close (for him) to the Feast of Pentecost and it would be right in the middle of God’s true Holy Day season, which Satan hates so very much.  No, Satan seems to have set his New Year as far as possible outside of and away from God’s Holy Day season as he could; in the tenth month of God’s year!

We have looked at the facts and some history regarding New Year’s days; but what should God’s people do with this information?  Here is the short answer, directly from the mouth of Jesus Christ – speaking to Satan:

Matthew 4:3:
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” 

So, from Jesus Christ, this is exactly what we are to do.  We are not to live by man’s heathen traditions!  We are to live by God’s Word – "by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" – including this warning that God spoke through ancient Israel through Jeremiah: 

Jeremiah 10:3:
Hear the word which the LORD speaks unto you, O house of Israel: Thus says the LORD, “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain.” 

This warning was given six hundred years before Jesus walked the earth and said those things to Satan (Matthew 4:3).  Let’s go back even further – eight hundred or so years earlier – than Jeremiah.  The LORD had sternly warned the Israelites about these same things far earlier than Jeremiah's time:

Leviticus 18:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
2:  "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, 'I am the LORD your God.
3a:  After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein you dwelt, shall you not do…

We read earlier that one of the estimates of the earliest heathen New Year’s days was that of Egypt.

3b: … and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall you not do: neither shall you walk in their ordinances.
4:  You shall do my judgments, and keep my ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
5:  You shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD'"...

If we do God’s statutes and His judgments and if we live in them, they will bring us a better and happier life – even a better quality of life.

Verse 24:  Defile not you yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you...

The word "defile" means "pollute" or "dirty."

25:  And the land is defiled {polluted and dirtied}: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomits out her inhabitants.
26:  You shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourns among you...

Obviously, there were Israelites who were doing these things, as well as any residual Gentiles who may have dwelt amongst them.

27:  (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled {polluted and dirtied};
28:  That the land spew not you out also, when you defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you.
29:  For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people...

This is a strong warning!

30:  Therefore shall you keep my ordinance, that you commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that you defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

Did the ancient Israelites heed God’s loving and merciful warnings here?  No, they did not!  They initially gave them lip-service; but soon came to ignore them.  They rebelled against them and were punished. 

Perhaps surprisingly, their rebellion is recorded in the Psalms.  We often look at the Psalms and think they are all lovely words; but look what is being said here:

Psalms 106:
34:  They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them:
35:  But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
36:  And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them...
39: Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions...

What was the result?

40:  Therefore was the wrath of the LORD kindled against His people, insomuch that He abhorred His own inheritance...

If you think about God’s people as the Bride of Jesus Christ, He divorced them.  If you think about them as the children of God the Father, He aborted them and cast them off from His inheritance.

41:  And He gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.
42:  Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.

They went into slavery; and even worse than that, into a terrible scattering.  Our modern Israelite nations today are doing exactly the same thing.  They are ignoring God’s loving and merciful warnings, that were given for their – and our – benefit.  And once again, the same kind of punishment is coming, in the form of captivity and repression, both of which appear to be coming on our rebellious nations – even now.  If you are watching world news, you will know that this is gradually sneaking up on us.  For so many years our people have been duped by Satan into keeping these false traditions of our heathen enemies!

Here is what Jesus said.  Yes, He was talking about the traditions of the elders; but generally, He is talking about all false traditions:

Mark 7:6:
He answered and said unto them, "Well has Esaias
{Isaiah} prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me'...

Not even a week ago, millions of people who normally would not even mention Jesus Christ’s name unless they were using it in blasphemy, were keeping Christmas and thus were honouring Him with their lips.

7:  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8:  For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do."

The traditions that Jesus is talking about here are the bogus traditions of the elders, which were unscriptural additions to God's holy laws; but whether these traditions were originated by heathen Gentiles or by wayward Israelites, God says that we are not to add or subtract from His holy Word.  If it is not according to His law and His testimony, He tells us, it is not of God and must be rejected (Isaiah 8:16-20).

God is the only One who has the authority to set or to change the calendar, the New Year and the order of the months.  Daniel wrote:

Daniel 2:
20:  Daniel answered and said, "Blessed be the name of God
{Aramaic: Elahh} for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His:
21:  And He
{God!} changes the times and the seasons: He removes kings, and sets up kings: He gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. 

Only God has the power and authority to do so.  If He wants to change the times, the seasons or the New Year’s Day, then it is up to Him to do so.  He does not take kindly to puny men trying to usurp His authority – even (perhaps especially!) men as relatively humanly great as the end-time "Beast" will be.  It is prophesied that this Beast will take to himself the power to change the calendar around for his own benefit:

Daniel 7:
23:  Thus he said, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces...
25:  And he
{this fourth Beast king and kingdom} shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time."

So this Beast king will be inspired by Satan the devil, and he will have the effrontery to change times and laws.  With Satan's rebellious influence, he will try to usurp the authority from God to be able to do this.  Thankfully, the power of this king and his kingdom will be short-lived and he will quickly have his dominion and his power torn away from him.  He is going to fall and he is going to be consumed and destroyed – along with his partner-in-crime – the false prophet, also named "the Great Whore" and "Babylon the Great."

This just shows how serious this kind of thing really is. It is not a light thing, although we might tend to think that New Year’s Day is nothing much to be concerned about.  This is what it is going to lead to in the end times.  It will be just one aspect of the Beast's rebellion and one part of the way of life foisted on the world by him and the false prophet:

Revelation 18:
1:  And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
2:  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3: For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."

The false prophet is symbolized here by a spiritually immoral woman.  Yes, all nations – the whole world – all have been deceived by Satan (Revelation 12:9).  The whole world, as we read in many other scriptures, is going to love and worship the Beast.  The whole world will commit spiritual fornication with Babylon the Great.  So we – God’s people – must be on our guard.  We don’t know when it is going to be; but in the days, months and years to come, Satan is going to give his power to the Beast-king and to Babylon the Great, in order to exert a last-ditch effort to deceive God’s very elect.  Jesus talks about this in Matthew 24.  

We could be getting an initial part of this deception right now with the false New Year, the false calendar and the pressures that have been put on us and our young people to observe the heathen celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s. 

Who knows if and when Satan, the Beast and the False Prophet are going to change the times and seasons even more?  Maybe they will come up with some other, newly-concocted, very convincing and enticing “times” or celebrations.  What we do know, however, is that God is going to boom out a warning from heaven:

4:  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.”

But if you think about it, God is also booming out  a stern, advance warning to God’s people right now through His holy Word in the scriptures.

What then is the answer?  The answer is that we must come out!  And we must stay out!  We must firmly reject Satan’s counterfeit times, dates and holidays.  We are to discover and observe only God’s times, dates and calendar!  We are to observe God’s New Year’s Days!  And by so doing, we can look forward to, plan and prepare for, God’s true Holy Days.